by Douglas Conrady
1/700 USS Carl Vinson CVN-70 (Trumpeter)
Here for your viewing pleasure is the USS Carl Vinson. This build was a commission for a couple to honor their late son, who served on the Carl Vinson on its first world cruise.
When I started, I went out and purchased an early Nimitz, the USS Eisenhower, for the air-wing and the other early features. What I should have done was go looking at the bumps and lumps on the hull. I had to scratch build SEVERAL sponsons onto the hull. These sponsons held the CIWS and other defensive weaponry. After the sponsons were built, I realized I needed something to go on them. The kit doesnt come with any CIWS. In between hull fittings, I worked on the island and all the teeny tiny details there. I hate to say it, but I think this 1/700 is more detailed than the 1/350. I used the brass set from Eduards for the ship. I was most impressed with what came in the sleeve. The set had all the details one would need for a Nimitz.
There were no issues with the painting. I used my normal Model Master acrylics. Since I was doing the Carl Vinson and not the Nimitz, I went out and got Starfighter decals for the Nimitz class. I'd dare say they are the best decals around. It did take me several evenings to do the deck... slow and steady wins the race...... Then everything was sealed up so I could proceed with the detailing.
For the air-wing, I was mainly worried about the markings. Fortunately, there is a Skywave set that has the exact CVW decals I was needing! Whew, cross that issue off the list. I used the Skywave set for the flight deck aircraft and I used the kit planes on the hanger deck. I tried to make each plane different by hanging different "things" off the wings and frames. Surprisingly to me, my favorite is the KA-6, it just looks cool. Since the couple's son was a "green shirt", it was decided to make the carrier in a landing configuration. I consulted with a friend, who served on the Nimitz, on how to best depict a carrier in day to day landing configuration. The result is what you see here. Trumpeter does not include very many deck tractors, so I hunted down the Blackdog set. Those tractors are awesome. So detailed, yet so small...... For a "cool factor", I found a 3D printed NS-60 crash crane on shapeways. It matched the tractors in fit and finish.
When it came time to detail the ship, first was sticking the aircraft on the hanger deck. I made a set of "tweezers" out of fine wire and carefully threaded the hanger door to place the 10 a/c inside. Next came the railings and nettings. After that was the island and radar tower. The deck aircraft were next. using the guide from my friend, I place the planes where they would've been. We even had a discussion about the E-2 and where it would be and where the wire would be. I was requested to add people. After a search, an Eduards set fit the bill. I think I ended up adding about 50 people. I even added a few drivers to the deck tractors. The only people missing from the set are the brown shirts, the aircraft handlers. I fixed that with a bit of paint. The last parts to go on were the deck antennae, flag lines, and the screws. One note about the flags. They have the sailors birth year, initials, and death year spelled out. The lone flag on the starboard side is the flight operations flag.
The base was made out of mahogany, stained to try to match the decor of the parents house. My commissioner wanted 3 coins on the base to show both sides of the coins he found. A plaque was made with all the sailors info and with the occasion's dates. The ship risers were made form lamp finniels. I had a cover made here, but it didn't make it all the way. It was damaged during shipping. Fortunately, there was a plastics company at the other end and a replacement was made.
This was a build that tested my abilities, and I think I passed. As an aside note, a co-worker suggested I make a 1/700 for me, that way I could remember what I used to be able to do (something about getting older). Well, I decided to go one better... next up... some 1/1200.
Thanks for looking and don't throw rotten tomatoes.