USS Enterprise CVN-65 by Pekka Rautajoki

Brand: Tamiya
 Scale: 1/350
Modeler: Pekka Rautajoki
 AddOns: Gold Medal Models PE Sets, Lot of scratch...

This model is awarded with the Aircraft Carrier Builders Excellence Award. As an award winner, no size restrictions apply to this submission. All the images opening by clicking on the thumbnails are
800x600 in resolution, and the big images are links to high (really high!) resolution images. Please feel free to discuss about this Excellence Award winner model in the Forum!



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The project started in early 1990s when I for the first time ever discovered Tamiya's big E in a shop, and bought it with discount (the box was in a sad shape, but the contents were OK). Early in the project, after having basically only brush-painted the hull and major parts, I got my hands on two reference books (Micheal O'Leary's and Eric Schulzinger's Airwing Enterprise and Bert Kinzey's USS Enterprise in detail and scale). In addition, first photoetch detail sets for ships from GMM came into my attention, and I ordered the USS E set and some additional sets (doors, ladders, crew figures etc). There are about 200 crew members aboard, most of them on flight deckbut some also inside the island and in  hangar


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aft deck.jpg (110240 bytes) Bow starboard.JPG (101314 bytes) Cats 1 and 2.JPG (101141 bytes) 

 Catapult area.JPG (146815 bytes) corsairs_and_lso.jpg (70967 bytes) catapults_1_and_2.jpg (97797 bytes)  

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Problems really started when I planned to use GMM etches in certain parts to replace molded-on detail - like with the safety nets. I came across the term "museum quality", which meant among other things that you must be consistent with the detail level. The biggest challenge from this were the elevator gratings - how to do these to the similar level as the safety nets, i.e. open gratings instead of just molded-on detail? I ended up trying to do photoetches myself - but that was a disaster, which I don't like to remember. Enter Photocut in the USA - they advertised custom-made photoetch parts. I sent them several designs and they provided me with perfect elevator gratings, aircraft pylons and undercarriage doors, storage racks for hangar deck, and life raft canister racks. 

Fantail 1.JPG (133520 bytes) Fantail 2.JPG (97189 bytes) Hangar door 1.JPG (83097 bytes) Hangar door 2.JPG (83407 bytes) 

Hangar door 4.JPG (83361 bytes)  Hull port 4.JPG (95648 bytes) Hull port 2.JPG (86113 bytes) Hull port 3.JPG (94352 bytes) 
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I built the complete hangar deck from styrene sheets and strips based on pictures in Kinzey's book. I also replaced the erroneous hangar deck sliding doors. I printed my own decals for the hangar deck walls, and hand painted the USS Enterprise mural in the fire door dividing the hangar in two. There are 16 small micro light bulbs in the space between the hangar ceiling and flight deck parts. The bulbs can't be changed, so I just wired them parallel so that if one fails, the others will still light. Batteries are hidden inside the Tamiya-supplied pedestal, which I needed to heighten just a bit. While doing the hangar decals, I also printed additional decals for aircraft, even though I used decals from both high-vis and low-vis decal sets from GMM. Most of the flight deck markings are painted, apart from elevator warning stripes and hatch surroundings. Some of these I printed
myself, and some came from the excellent Dunagain Decals USS Enterprise set. The new GMM carrier decal set includes these as well, and is also highly recommended. For me, it was released a bit too late. The elevator gratings are completely scratchbuilt, and they should match the real ones quite closely. Each has about 180 styrene parts for the support lattice under the photoetched grating. 


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Hull starboard 4.jpg (91024 bytes) Port vulcan.jpg (117514 bytes) Port 1.jpg (77317 bytes)

Port 2.jpg (102706 bytes) Port 3.jpg (111870 bytes) Port 4.jpg (130442 bytes)

Port 5.jpg (93291 bytes) LSO platform.jpg (84952 bytes)
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I used the extra aircraft set number two for two helicopters, prowlers and hawkeyes. I have also three hornets on deck decalled as Marines aircraft. As I wanted to model both landing and take-off simultaneously, my ship depicts a scene during carrier qualifications. There is actually one pic in Kinzey's book showing a similar situation, and similarly, the jet blast deflector behind cat 2 has one section down as the fault line of the landing area goes over it. Same has been done with my model. All missiles and external fuel tanks, as well as the smaller yellow gear is scratchbuilt. I only wish the nice White Ensign Models' photoetched gear would have been available back then (or it actually was at around the time I was finishing the model, but it wasn't economical to buy the whole detail set just for the yellow gear). Two of the intruders have been modified into KA-6D tanker versions. Parked aircraft have simplified attachment cables to anchor them to tie-down pads. Speaking of those - the molded-on circles on the model are in my opinion far too wide apart. I sanded them away and drilled small indentations to deck - about twice as many as there were originally. I had initially troubles attaching the planes to tie-down pads, and the reason was that there were far too few of them too far spaced...

Hull port 1.JPG (61321 bytes)  Hull port 5.JPG (84323 bytes) Hull port 6.JPG (105611 bytes) Hull starboard 1.jpg (99682 bytes)

 Hull starboard 2.jpg (106736 bytes) Hull starboard 3.jpg (84495 bytes) Hull starboard 6.jpg (117540 bytes)


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Flight deck weathering is done with spray-painting and toning down the flight deck markings, and using ground pastel powder - lighter for faded-look and black for tyre skid marks. The hull weathering is done with airbrushing darker shades of grey along edges and places that would be in shadow, and airbrushing lighter color at the centers of large even surfaces...I was pleasantly surprised that the method useful for 1/35 armor wasn't too bad for 1/350 ships either...here and there I added some rust as well. 

 

Crane 1.JPG (133665 bytes) Crane 2.JPG (145881 bytes) Elevator 1 under.JPG (129575 bytes) 

Elevator 2 under.JPG (115433 bytes) Elevator 2 under 2.JPG (97612 bytes) Elevator understructures.JPG (135714 bytes)
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I fixed quite a few sponsons in terms of shape based on reference pictures - particularly the bow port and fantail Vulcan sponsons. Miscellaneous details were added - again based on Kinzey's book - here and there along the hull, including pipes, windows, ladders, LSO platform etc. I used black thread for cable reel hoses. All the whip antennaes were replaced with thin steel rod. At this stage I ran out of GMM railing, and ordered also the White Ensign Models Enterprise ship detail set. This was a good thing for the hose reels, too, as I ended up using two different styles as appropriate. The WEM set also had nice handles for the whip antennaes. 


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The island was built as a separate model, really. I added interiors for the bridges, green-tinted windows from clear styrene (frames painted grey), lots of floodlights, and windshield wipers (each comprising three parts). The mast got additional antennas based on a couple of great high resolution pictures from Airwing Enterprise book. I modified the structure on the highest two levels as well, but I don't think it is still fully correct. 

Island 4.jpg (127145 bytes) Island 5.jpg (137103 bytes) Hull starboard 5.jpg (147379 bytes)

 Island 1.jpg (101894 bytes) Island 2.jpg (103568 bytes) Island 3.jpg (125256 bytes)

Mast.jpg (143234 bytes)
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I needed to duplicate certain parts, so these I cast from resin. These included correct life raft canisters (with two grooves each instead of ridges - these I cast in two parts each, with one of the grooves having the seam), smaller sea sparrow launchers (Tamiya's are way oversized), new radars for sea sparrows, and other small parts. 

Queue on cats.jpg (65925 bytes) Starboard 7.jpg (102045 bytes)
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And finally, 10 years after I started by gluing the bow section the the rest of the hull, I glued the last of the life raft canisters in place, and declared the model finished (I actually said it out alound - "there, now it is finished" and it really felt strange). During the 10 years many things changed - better etch parts came along (I did order the improved GMM set along the way), even the elevator gratings are now available, as are the etched hangar deck parts from Tom's Modelworks. All the aircraft details one could want are now commercially available, as are the decals. If someone would produce the life raft canisters and their racks, all the scratchbuilding would be reduced greatly. In hindsight, putting all that work on the model was worth it if you look at the pictures, but it sure wasn't fun all the time. It is a drag if you have to throw away most of the kit parts, because they are wrong, there are too few of them and instructions say they should be glued to a place where they do not belong. I doubt I will ever build another model of this magnitude with reference books. I can add photoetch parts, no problems with that, and even scratchbuilt some really major parts missing, but to strive for this kind of accuracy - probably not. This hobby should be fun, after all! The Studio Images were taken by Hannu Piirainen at Studio Amanda


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Starboard 1.jpg (120300 bytes) Starboard 2.jpg (109986 bytes) Starboard 3.jpg (125126 bytes)

Starboard 4.jpg (141650 bytes) Starboard 5.jpg (147250 bytes) Starboard 6.jpg (133034 bytes) Tomcat landing.jpg (110160 bytes)
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Photos and text 2005 by Pekka Rautajoki

www.carrierbuilders.net

Sunday, March 20, 2005