The USS Ohio SSGN-726, Guided Missile Conversion
This model is an excellent 1/350 scale depiction of the USS Ohio Ballistic Missile Submarine, SSBN-726. I decided to build it depicting it after the Guided Missile conversion of the early 2000s which turned it into SSGN-726. The model is actually Testor's remarket of DML's (Dragon's) model of the same name. It is well done, with many very good details. Very little flash, although the injection ports are fairly thick and will require a good sharp xatco knife or good sharp clippers to remove the parts successfully, particularly the very small parts that allow the missile cover hatches to open and close.
There are 172 parts on four sprues. The hull come seperately in two pieces halved along the horizontal axis. The model can be built with moving sail planes, amoving rudder, moving elevation controls, and a spinning prop. In addition, all 24 hatches can be built to open and close, revealing the missiles beneath the 24 hatches.
That area, under tha hatches, is the major area of physical difference for the new conversion. The tubes which carried a single Trident MIRV intercontinental ballistic missile, now carry a pack of seven Tomohawk missiles in each tube accept fo the forward two tubes which are used for SEAL dive tubes, or to enter a SEAL mini-submarine. Making the covers for those Tomohawk missiles would have to be built from scratch.
The instructions are very nicely done with easy to understand steps and a lot of detail, including hints and instructions on various aspects of model building, like weatherizing the vessel.
The decal sheet is also well done including all of the markings necessary to sepict the vessel in its SSNB capacity, which did not change (except for the hatch covers in the SSGN configuration..
The first thing to do is to examine the various pieces, dry fit the large pieces together, and remove any excess material so that smooth joins and smooth panels are created. One of my grandsons is helping me with this build as his father serves in the US Navy and has served aboard this boat.
So, we used our xacto knife and sand paper to remove some spurs on the hull halves before gluing them together, and along the upper hatch cover deck to which the sail is attached. We also applied the same remedy to the various pieces of the sail. We decided to make the sale plaens and the rudder operational, meaning they would be able to be manually operated on the model. The small plastic barsthat extend through the vessel to match up with the other piece of the plane on the other side have to be handled and glued carefull to make them work.
Once completed, the parts went together well enough, but rubber bands were requitred to get the best fit for the upper and lower halves.
At this point after we glued the hull together, we masked off and the portion to paint the upper half of the hull black. I used Model Master flat black for the upper hull above the waterline, and used an off black, weathered black, for the non-skid surface along the top of the vessel, leading forward and aft from the sail where the personnel walk while she is underway or in port.
Then, we masked off the lower half after the upper portion had dried sufficently...usually at least 4-6 hours if not longer. Masked off the upper half and then painted the below water-line area in Hull Red, from Tamiya. After that dried, we touched up the painting, ie. hand painting the curved forward portion of the above water line black area, and the detailed area of the missile hatch deck.
Having painted the missile tubes/silos a standard flat gray, it was time to complete putting the hull together with the upper deck which covers the tubes and houses the sail.
I used "weathered black" to paint the off-black areas of the non-skid areas for crew to walk, and then started building the hatches.
I decided to build the first two hatches as they are on the new SSGN as lock-in, lock-out tubes for US Navy SEAL divers and their equipment. Tubes 3-4 can be used for the same, dependig on the operation and the number of SEALS and their equipment. There are also mini-submersibles that can attach to these lock-in/lock-out hatches.
I made tubes 1 and 2 with hatches that can be opened to show the large tubes down into the vessel. I will ultimately add some PE parts with ladders and other details.
Hatches 5-6 I have made into representations of the 7-pack Tomahawk cruise missile packs for the vessel. Up to 22 of the tubes can be used for this, meaning the SSGN-726, USS Ohio and her sister SSGNs can carry a total of 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles if necessry.
I was lucky and found missile covers in the 1/72 scale Testor's NATO Armament accessory kit that have 7 tube rocket launcher covers for helicopters. These fit perfectly into these areas and with a little more painting will very much look the part of the SLCM packs. I am creating these two hatches with opening covers too.
As stated above, I ended up leaving hatches 1 and 2, and hatches 5 and 6 capable of being open and closed. The others I glued down in the closed position. Hatches 1 and 2 are used exclusively for Lock-Out chambers for US Navy SEALS and I will place two PE ladders up the internal sides of those chambers. They also allow for the docking of SEAL mini-subs, but one did not come with the kit.
Hatches 3 and 4 can be used either for more SEAL activity or as Tomahawk missile launchers with the 7-pak insert. Usually, hatches 5 and 6 and on back are used for Tomahawk missile launches and I have the 7-pak Tomahawk pack build and shown in the oepn hatches 5 and 67.
I also added the prop painted in brass, added the three small vent/openings along the hull, leaving the last two closed but showing the fist in the open position, and added the torpedoe tubes. On the port side I left the tubes opne and on the starboard side I have them closed. I am painting up two MK-34 torpedoes to place in these open tubes. The kit comes with instructions to paint them in the Blue, Silver, Black and Orange of training torpedoes. I am electing to paint my in the green markings of war shots for the US submarine service, which are not shown in the pain scheme. Basically mmost of the torpedo is flat green and I painted the warhead end a slightly darker greeen, with brass props.
Finally, I started the various Sail sensors/periscopes. There are five that came with the model and they have decals to add on the lower portion of the raised antennae (which I am depciting in the raised position) to show the gray splotched paint scheme on the lower portion of those sensors when raised. I may paint those patterns as opposed to using the decals.
Here's how all that has worked out:
I completed the sail sensors and added them, electing to paint the pattern on the periscopes and sensors instead of using the decals.
Also added the Photo Etched ladders to the lock-out chambers for the SEALS in tubes 1 and 2 (ladders in front and rear), and painted the Tomahawk missiles in the 7-pack in tubes 5 and 6.
Finally, all of the decals were placed after a coat of gloss-coat, let dry completely, and then added two coats of dull coat.
The completion of the PLAN Carrier group, centered on the already completed Trumpeter's 1/350 scale PLA Navy's Aircraft Carrier CV-16, Liaoning, (in addition ot the other escorts already completed) will incluide Mini Hobby's's PLAN Guangzhou, DDG-168; the PLAN Ningbo, DDG-139; and the PLAN ChangZhang5, SSN-405 by Hobby Boss. If a 1/350 scale model of the PLAN Type 071 LPD, Yuzhao Class, is added, I will add one of those, propbably LPD-999, Jinggangshan.
The completion of the US Carrier Strike group, centered on the completed Tamyia's 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-65, (in addition ot the other escorts already completed) will include Trumpeter's USS Bunker Hill, CG-52 and USS Freedom, LCS-1 and Hobby Boss's USS Texas, SSN-775. (All of which I already own). When a 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-80 (or any Gerald R. Ford Class) comes out from Trumpeter, Airfix, Tamiya, Dragon, or whomever else, I will add it to this group along with another AEGIS Cruiser. Whatever Ford Class coms out, I will build her as the USS Enterprise, CVN-80.
The UK Group will indlude the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious (which I already own), two Airfix 1/350 scale Daring Class DDGs (which I own and should arrive in January 2013), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (which I already own), and the Hobby Boss 1/350 scale HMS Astute SSN and Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Tragalgar SSN, both of which which I already own. One day, when a 1/350 scale HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier and a 1/350 HMS Ocean LPD come out, I will add both to this group.
The French CSG will be centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gualle (which I already own). I have purchased 1/400 scale Heller French De Grasse, D612 DDG, which is an ASW DDG, the French Duquesne, D603 DDG which is an anti-air multi-purpose DDG, and the French Aconit F713 FFG and Gueprattet F714 FFGs, both of which are Lafayette class frigates. These five vessels will round out my French CSG. As soon as a French Robin class nuclear sub, like the French Perale S606 SSN comes out, I will add that to the group. Also as soon as the Forbin D620, Horizon class anti-air DDG is available, I will purchase it and add it to the group as well.
The Japanese JMSDF group will be centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/350 scale Hyuga, DDH-181, which I own. It will be escorted by Trumpeter's 1/350 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG (which I have purchased), Trumpeters's 1/350 scale DDG-114 Susunami (A Tachanami Class DDG which I own), and by the 1/350 scale SS-503 Hakuryu (which I own), one of Japans new, very modern and capable AIP Diesel Electric submarines. As soo as a DDG-115 Akizuki in 1/350 scale becomes available, I will add it to this group.
The completion of the US ARG will include Tamiya's 1/350 scale, USS Iowa, BB-62 (which I have already completed), Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Iwo Jima LHD-7, Gallery's 1/350 scale USS Sommerset, LPD-25, and Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS The Sullivans DDG-68,
Then, finally it will be a complete Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which is available but I have not purchased yet) the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Trumperter (which I own), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Udalaoy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the Russian Alfa Class SSN, which I have already completed.
Recently I purchased Heller's 1/400 scale Foch, the Clemceau Class carrier that was sold to the Brazilians in 2000 and in 2002 was refitted and bacame the Brazilian CV, Sao Paulo, using steam catapaults. I will build the model as the Sao Paulo and thus start a Brazilian group, though the Type 22 DDGs and the FFGs the Brazilians use are not available at present.
Then, again, once the models are available, I'd like to build an Italian Group centered on the Cavour and their Horizon DDGs, a Spanish Group centered on the Juan Carlos and their F-100 AEGIS FFGs, and ultimatly an Australian Group centered on the new Canberra Class LPD and the Hobart class AEGIS DDGs. If they ever build the models, an Indian group centered on either the Vikramaditya or their new ADS Carrier the Vikrant and their Kolkata class DDGs and Shivlak class FFGs would also be nice.
You can see all of these actual carriers, read their histories and specifictions at my site:
...and most of their surface escorts at:
FINE ALL-AMERICAN, LIBERTY ORIENTED BOOKS AUTHORED BY JEFF HEAD
Dragon's Fury - World War Against America and the West: Following great success in the War on Terror, politicians and analysts alike thought that future global conflict was impossible...but they were wrong. Journey into a possible future where Islamic terrorists sharpen their horrific skills & ally with Red China. In such a future, can the U.S. & western civilization survive?
The Stand at Klamatjh Falls: How rural western farmers and their supporters stood up to entrenched environmentalism, activist judges, and agencies of the Federal gGovernment in southwestern Oregon...and prevailed.
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