from Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Nimitz CVN-68 KIT #5605
US Navy Aircraft Carriers after World War II
The United States learned during World War II that the aircraft carrier was the new principle combatant on the high seas, and that such a vessel, equipped with the poper, larger aircwing, made up of verious types of aircraft, and surrounded by the roper escorts, was the foremost power projection weapon...ouside of nuclear weapons...that the nation ahd.
After World War II, the United States had amassed nearly 100 carrier of all sizes, ranging from large fleet carriers, principally the Essex carriers and the newer Midway class that was an upgraded Essex class, down to small "Jeep" and escort carriers. Teh ability for these carriers to group t0gether and project massive air amdas anywhere around the wrld, aircraft in many hundreds...made the United States Navy the ost powerful maritime power on earth.
With advent of the jet age, the US immediately began a large upgrade effort to its lare Essex class carriers giving them new elevators, new catapults, and entirely new angled carrier deck, and new air wings consisting of the new jet aircraft.
These carriers, along wth the larger Midway class, were signifiantly upgraded and their displacements grew from 34,000 tons full load to 47,000 tons full load.
But, as the jet aircraft became larger and more powerful, the carriers likewise had to grow.
The United States embarked on building "super carriers", and the first of these were the Forresal Class, which were huge ships compared to the earlier carriers, being almost 1,000 feet long and displacing, full load, close to 70,000 tons. Four of them were built, followed closely by the Kitty Hawk Class of which four were built and which were just over 1,000 feet long and displaced 80,000 tons.
Then came the first nuclear pwered carrrier, the USS Enterprise, which was 1,120 feet long and diplaced 94,000 tons.
The success of the Enterprise called for the US Navy to build an entire class of nuclear powered carriers, and the US Navy put everything they had learned into it. The new class became the Nimitz class, with USS Nimitz, CVN-68, being the first in class. Ten were built, the last two of which were the USS Ronald Reagan, CVN-76, and the USS Geroge H. W. Bush CVN-77.
I took this same kit and built it into the USS Ronald Reagan, CVN-76. Click on that link to go there, for my build thread about the USS Ronald Reagan by Jeff Head on Fine Scale Modeling.
It took the United States thirty-four years to build and launch all ten Nimitz carriers and they are all still in commission.
However, over that time period, the US Navy learned a lot more about operating nuclear powered carriers and how to make them even more efficient. Some of this was built into the fourth carrier, the USS Theodore Rosevelt, CVN-71. Then, beginning with the Ronald Regan and especially with the George Bush, a lot more was built into them in preparation for the new class of carrier the US Navy by that time was planning.
The new carriers are called the Ford class. Here is a description of the new class,one of which is already launched and commissioned and the 2nd is slated to be launched in 2018, next year. This model, the USS Enterprise, CVN-80, will be launched in 2022 and its first metal was cut this year in 2017.
Gerald Ford Class Nuclear Powered Carriers
The Ford class carriers are 1,106 feet long and displace over 100,000 tons. They are powered by two brand new, very advanced nuclear reactors. Each of these reactors produces over 200% of the power that powered the Nimitz class crriers and they have provided ample electrical power to do some of the truuly innovative things that are built into the Ford Class carriers.
The Ford class uses three elevators (instead of four like on the Nimitz class), and each carrier is built to remain in service for fifty years or more.
Some of the innovations being built into the Ford class, or planned for them in the near future include:
- Electromagnetic Catapult launch system (no steam catapults for the Ford Class).
For an example of one of the differences from above, here are the pictures of the two different islands for the carriers. The first from the Nimitz Class and the second from the new Ford Class
All of these came into being in the first of class except the last two, which may begin coming into operation on the USS Enterprise in the 2022 time frame or shortly thereafter. As a result, I intend to build the Enterprise with those wepons systems in place.
In addition, each Ford class will be armed with the following:
- 2 x RAM self defense missile launchers (21 missiles ready to launch each).
So each of the Ford class carriers will carry 52 ready to launch short to medium range self defense missiles, and have three 20mm Phalanx guns. All of these systems are capable of engaging highly manueverable, multi-mach anti-ship missiles, as well as aircraft, and surface targets if necessary.
The Rail Gun will be able to launch hyper-velocity self defense munitions out to the horizon (as seen from the top of the carrier), or about 20 miles to engage and destroy incoming missiles or aircraft. The Laser System will be able to engage missiles, aircraft, and surface craft out to the same distance.
The US Navy has been testing its first laser system for the last three years aboard the USS Ponce, and will be testing the first Rail Gun at sea in the 201--202 time frame. The rail gun has been extensively tested on land to date. The rail gun can be used either for self defense, using smaller caliber shells, or for offensive capabiulity with larger munitions up to 155mm for attack out to over 110 miles. The USS Zumwalt class destroyers will utilize the 155mm rail guns starting in the 2020s nd they will be used in smaller bore sizes (ie 127mm guns) io=f the Burke class destroyers.
The first in class Gerald R. Ford, CVN-78 was launched in October of 2013 nsd commissioned into the US Navy in July 2017. The 2nbd in class, the John F. Kennedy, will be launched in 2018, and is expected to be commissioned in the 2021 time frame. The 3rd in class, USS Enterpise, for which this model is dedicted, is planned to be launched in 2022 and commissioned in the 2024-2025 time frame.
At this point, ten carriers are planned to replace each of the Nimitz class carriers over the next 35+ years.
Here are the overall specifications of the Ford class as found to date on the USS GErald R. Ford:
Displacement: About 100,000 long tons (110,000 short tons) (full load)
It should be mentioned, though it is too classified to document, that each US nuclear carrier, and the the large US AMphibious ships all carry a very highly classified anti-torpedo defense system using very high speed anti-torpedo, torpdoes to destroy incoming torpedos. They also have indirect methods built into that system that use highly classified electronic warfare capabilities to defeat incoming topredoes as well.
Finally, due to their speed capability, if they have the time to respond, is is thought that US nuclear powered carriers may be able to outrun most OPFOR torpedoes themselves.
The Ford class USS Enterprise will be the third US Navy fleet carrier named the USS Enterprise.
The first was launched before World War II and served thoughout the war and was involved in every major fleet action of the war. The carrier took damage and the HJapanese Navy thought they had sunk her a number of times, only to learn that she had survived, been repaired and came back to fight again. The USS Enterprise, CV-6, became the most highly decorated naval ship in US Navy history having earned a total of 20 battle stars during the war.
The second US Navy Entrprise carrier was the USS Enterprise, CVN-65. She was the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier in history and served longer on station than any other US carrier in history, She earned the name the old gray lady of the sea and was commissioned in 1961 and taken out of service in in late 2012 and officially decommissioned in 2017. She served almost 52 years on the high seas. She fought in the Vietnam War, the 1st Gulf War, Opertion Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi freedom, and many other opertions during the war on terror.
The third USS Enterprise will now be, fittingly, the 3rd Ford class carrier, the USS Enterprise, CVN-80. when she is launched she will be the newest and most powerful vessel on earth and we can expect her to be in service into the 2070s, long after this authopr has gone to his rest.
Introduction and What's in the Box - August 17, 2017
This model from Trumpeter is for the USS Nimitz, the first in class Nimitz carrier.
significant rebuild is required to be able to produce the new Ford class.
The entire aft end of the vessel requires rebuilding due to the large, wide spaces added to the Ford carriirs which add more maintenance space for aicraft and their engines, as well as addition machinary spaces. The aft starboard elevator has to be removed aand noew structure and sponson space added there. The island is a complete new build and must be built to represent the Ford class new island.
- Her sponsons for her self defense are different than the kit.
Finally, I am scratch building and adding two Rail Gun self defense weapons as well as two Laser Weapons Systems (LAWS) to the vessel as well.
Finally, of utmost importance, I intend to place a futuristic, 5th and 6th genertion air wing on the carrier, representing the early 2030s time period. THis ari wing will conists of the following:
20 x F-35C Joint Strike fighters by Lockheed which are just now coming into service.
In addition, and importantly, I intend to put a lighting system into the hanger which is not included with the kit.
In order to get all of these things right, a number of aftermarket kits and pieces have been purchased, and some pieces will be scratch built.
The kit by Trumpeter is superb. It does have a hanger bay deck, but little to no detial is included...just a deck with entries into it.
Still, the kit would make an impressive vessel built out of the box. There are over 1,400 pieces included, and she would be a very good representation of the Nimits in the late 1970s built as is.
There are no photo etch parts included, for railing and such, which I find to be a pretty sever lacking for a kit of this size and complexity and cost.
However, as I said, it still is a very superb kit and there are good after market photo etch kits for the Nimitz for any modeler who wanted to add that to this kit. GOld MEdal MOdels and Tom's Model Works have the best ones.
Trumpeter has esastablished itself as the premier 1/350 scale modern naval injected modled model making copany around. They do an excellent job in molding small detail pieces and provide a lot of them for their kits...the Nimitz kit cinldued. The kit comes in a beautifully illustrated box, that is well built and very protective. It also has numerous pictures around the box that depict the various features of the model.
There is a "waterline" option for this model. The hull comes in an upper piece and a lower piece and you can utilize the pieces provided to leave the lower piece off and have the entire, large kit be a waterline model. I will build the full hull.
Decals for the Nimitz are included and this means a very large decal sheet for the larger landing deck and for the aircraft that come with the kit, which is the 1975 airwing including:
F4-J Phantoms Fighter Aircraft
I will not be using any of these aircraft and have already sold themn on ebay to help fund the additional parts I need for what I intend here.
The hull does have some really nice surface detail along both sides, including the bilge keels.
The instructions are great. 26 pages explaining how the whole thing goes together. There is a full color glossy for the painting and the decals for both the ship and the aircraft that come with it.
All in all, as I said, a very good kit.
Here are the initial parts out of the box.
Introduction - Additional Parts purchased for the Ford Class Enterprise
As mentioned, a number of additinal parts were purchased to update the Nimitz model to modern tmres and to convert it into the USS Ronald Reagan, CVN=76. These included all of the following:
- KA-Models KP0-3501A 1:350 Scale, USS Aircraft Carrier crew, 100 crew x 2 (These are 3d crew members for the deck and carrier.
And from various Shapeways 3D Print providers (and really, the detail and authnetic look of the Ford class could not have been achieved without these( here are the Shapweways 3D Printing Proivedrs I used:
- BaconFist Shapeways 3d Print carrier sponsons and parts x 3 (Sponsons holding the self defense weaponry of the Ronald Reagan compatible with the Ford Enterprise)
These parts can be found at places like:
Free Time Models (http://freetimehobbies.com/)
Squadron Models (http://www.squadron.com/)
...and other model manufactures on the web.
Tom's Model Works (http://www.tomsmodelworks.com/catalog/index.php)
Gold Medal Models (http://www.goldmm.com/) have their own sites as well.
In addition, some of the links for Shapeways:
Shapeways is a 3-d printing site (https://www.shapeways.com/), where various individuals print and market 3D parts.
BaconFIst Site(https://www.shapeways.com/shops/baconfist I have to say that BaconFist in particular does GREAT work.
Be aware, some of these 3D printing parts are expensive. Between them and all of the other parts I have purchased I have more than doubled the price of the price of the Trumpeter model...but that is what it takes to get a 1/350 scale Ford class when there are none of them on the market.
Anyhow, Baconfist has full 3-D parts for all of the various sponsons for the various Nimitz class, as wwell as a lot of equipment, and Islands for many carriers, including World War II carriers. Full islands printed in 3D in 1:350 scale for example the CV-6 Enterprise...perfect for replacing the island on the Hornet to convert it to the Enterprise...also Islands and lots of equipment for many other carriers.
The Build - Initial grouping and painting of the air wing - August 19, 2017
I received the various new generation aircraft I had ordered. These included:
- The F-35C 5th generationaircraft
I wanted to get these put together where necessary and painted.
The Build - Initial Building of the aft portion of the ship - August 23, 2017
One of the distinctive parts of the Ford class is its wide aft section. In order to achieve this, I had to measure the width on each side and its length, and then build it into the hull. In addition, the starboard aft elevator goes away with the ford class, using only three elevators. This too had to be scratch built out of the exisiting deck area.
In order to achieve this, the aft portion of the ship needs to be completely rebuilt, adding the wider sections on both sides housing new maintenance areas, new machinery, etc. This all had to be scratch built.
I started off by removing the area where the Nimitz Island would be placed because the Ford Island sits futher aft near where the starboard aft elevator used to be. I put together the three sections of the hull and then painted the entire flight deck and added the hangar deck into the hull section.
These are relatively straight forward and simple tasks that prepared me to rebuild the aft portion of the ship.
The Build - Adding the main wiring for the lighting and adding the sponsons - August 29, 2017
I then added the main wiring trunk through the model that will allow for lighting the hangar deck later. At that point I went around abnd began adding the sponsons necessary for the Ford class. The sponsons on the Nimitz class evolved over time to be close to the same as the Ford by the time Ronald Reagan and Geroge H.W. Bush came along, but these are significantly different than what is provided on the initial Nimitz class as delivered by Trumpeter.
I used the Shapeways 3-D Printed ones, but sractch built a couple of more, particularly one later as you shall see for the starboard aft rail gun.
In preparing to do this, I also painted the entire lower hull in its hull red (and for the US Navy I have come to using a mix of one parts Model Master Brown, and two parts Model Master Insignia Red to achieve the color). I also added the aft-stern deck to the lower hull, which involved three or four parts to prepare for adding the after sponson for the Phalanx CIWS.
The Build - Gluing the uper and lower hull together, painting the catapult tracks on the flight deck, dry placing aircraft on the deck,adding more sponsons and weapons systems and main railing - September 4th, 2017
At this point I was ready to glue the upper and lower hull together. This involves getting the fit right and ensuring that there is no trim needed (or doing it) before gluing, and then using clamps and elastic to hold the two large assemblies in place.
Once that was done I painted the catapult tracks on deck and then when it dried, dry spotted my airwing on the deck to see how it would look. I was pleased.
I then went around and added the final sponson and normal weapon systems including a scratch built one in the middle of the port side for a Phalanx 20mm CIWS there.
Later I will add the futuristic laswer and rail gun systems which this ship will receive probably in the late 202s. More on those later.
The Build - Scratch building aft starboard quarter, buolindg Lasers and Rail Guns - September 14, 2017
The underlying structure where the 4th elevator used to be is quite a bit different than the Nimitz class. Ultimately the island will rest above this area. So I had to get good look at what that area looked like and then build to match.
Once that was done, I then decided to scratch build the laser system and rail guns. I decided to put one laser and one Rail Gun on each of the aft sponsons, on to port and one to starboard. Tis required building two of each system.
The Rail Gun has been being tested on land for years now and is slated to go to sea for testing in the next year or two. The 3rd Xumwalt class destroyer may come out of the yards with a rail gun on it for standard use.. Before then, it will be tested for a couple of years either aboard one of the Spearhead Swift Transports, or onan Arleigh Burk destroyer,
The laser system has been testing at sea for the last 2-3 yeard on the old LPD Ponce. She is about to be decommissioned, but the laser tests have been successful. The next step there is to build a higher power one for standard use in close in defense. Probably to be tested between 201 and 2022 of so. At that point, she could easily come out and the carriers and LHA/LHDs ultimately will all get the CIWS version of these weapons.
when I was growing up this was science fiction...it is now rapidly becoming reality and the US Navy will deply them first and have a huge benefit over all other potetnial adversaries.
The Build - Getting and painting the island, adding the hangar deck panels all around - September 21, 2017
I go the island in from Dutch Minatures and dry placed it on deck, and then painted it. I will detail it later. The structure is spot on, but there are a LOT of details that need to be added, including the upper cross spar and support...but she looks great and scratch building this structure would have been very difficult whereas this is, as I say, spot on.
I then got in all of the hangar bay panels from BackonFist. I then painted them all and added them into the model on the hangar deck.
The Build - Detailing the hangar bay, adding aircraft and equipment, building sponson for aft Rail Gun - September 29, 2017
I had a good bit of work in detailing the hangar bay.
This involved painting it, adding decals for various warnings and information, painting and adding decals to the aircraft and then setting them up in there.
I took some pictures through the hanger doors.
I decided to use some nice metal for the roof of the hangar bay instead of the stiff cardboard I had used in the past. This makes a big difference. So I purchased, cut to fit, and then added that to the hanger deck too...but did not glue it down yet. I still have equipment and personnel to place in there, and then add the lighting.
I then also added a sponson onto the starboard aft side for the rail gun there an put it in place.
In that last pic, the aircraft are all dry spotted and not glued on yet.
The Build - Adding the personnel and equipment to the hangar deck, adding th lighting to the hangar deck and gluing the fligt deck to the ship - October 4, 2017
At this point I added the personnel and the equipment (tugs, forklifts, etc.) to the hangar deck. Then I put together the LED lighting system and added it to the metal roof
The Build - Shafts, Struts, Props and rudders, detailing the ship, adding main landing decals, detailing the island and adding the landing radar structure - October 20, 2017
At this point I added the struts, shafts, supports and rudders, and then detailed areas of the ship, including the island, which ad a lot of details needed to make it realistic.
As is clear, I decided to build the full hull version of the vessel, though it can be built as a waterline vessel. I like havig the whole hull visible.
It was also time to add the landing radar structure. This is a very sophistiated system which can actually land the aircraft if it is in the "groove" and the pilot is somhow incapacitated,
The Build - Attaching the island, adding more details (life rafts, life bouys, fire hoses, ladder, adding the detailed deck decals - November 2, 2017
At this point it was time to firmly attach the island to the deck. I did this with a heavy fastener (its not going anywhere-hehehe).
A sloo built out all of the flight deck equipment...large rane, small cranes, tugs, forklifts, electrical chargers, etc.
I then added a myriad of details to the flight deck and the catwalk all around it including life rafts, life buoys, fire hoses, ladders, staris, and other equipment.
Finally there were scores of decals for the vessel, including the helo landing spots marked out on the Ford class as well as the armament elevators, electrical hookups, etc.
The Build - Detailing all aircraft, adding aircraft, equipment, and personnel to the flight dek - November 18, 2017
Now it was time to detail all of the aircraft...and it took a long time. The air wing on deck consists of:
14 x F-35C Lockheed 5th Gen Stealth Strike aircraft
44 aircraft on deck.
Then adding all of the equipment and personnel. Something like 140 prsonnel on deck and the island.
The Build - Final touch up and presentation photos, and youtube video - December 3, 2017
Well, now she is complete. All that was left to do was to do touch painting, some final tweaking, and then the presentation pictures.
I also added a youtube video that folks may enjoy.
...and there you have it.
This was a very enjoyable build.
I wish there were a Gallery, Trumpeter, or other major model make who had a 1/350 scale Ford class kit with very decent hadnrails and sensors in photo etch.
But there is not and with my terminal cancer condition, I decided I had best just do this myself if I was going to get a chance to do so.
I am glad that I did.
Thanks for taking the tie to read and review.
OH! I almost forgot. Here's a link to a youtbue video I made of the model too. Feel free to pass it around!
The completion of the PLAN Carrier group was centered on the already completed Trumpeter's 1/350 scale PLA Navy's Aircraft Carrier CV-16, Liaoning, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Mini Hobby's PLAN Guangzhou, DDG-168. I recently pre-ordered a 1/350 scale model of the PLAN Type 071 LPD, Yuzhao Class, announced by Trumpeter and due out in October, 2013. I will end up adding two of those, probably LPD-998 Yuzhao and LPD-999, Jinggangshan, add the PLAN- DDG-139, Ningbo, and the PLAN DDG-115, Shenyang, along with the PLAN Weifang, FFG-550 and thus build a PLAN ARG.
The completion of the initial US Carrier Strike group was centered on the completed Tamyia's 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-65, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Trumpeter's, USS Freedom, LCS-1, Trumpeter's USS Preble, DDG-88 and Hobby Boss's USS Texas, SSN-775. When a 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-80 (or any Gerald R. Ford Class) is released from Trumpeter, Tamiya, Trumpeter, or whomever else, I will add the USS Ronald Reagan, CVN-76 (made from the Trumpeter Nimitz carrier model) to this group, and then later, when one is completed, whichever Ford Class coms out in 1/350 scale, I will build it as the USS Enterprise, CVN-80.
The US ARG will include Tamiya's 1/350 scale, USS Iowa, BB-62 (which I have already completed), Gallery's 1/350 scale USS Iwo Jima LHD-7, Gallery's 1/350 scale USS New York, LPD-21, Cyber Hobby's USS Independence, LCS-2, Bronco Model's 1/350 scale USS Coronado, LCS-4, a Flight IIA US AEGIS class destroyer based on Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Ronald Reagan, DDG-68, and a Ticonderoga AEGIS cruiser...all of these models which I already own.
The completion of the UK Group featured the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious, R06 as its center piece until a 1/350 scale Queen Elizabeth carrier is released. When that happens, I will add that carrier to the group as its centerpiece. The Royal Navy CSG will also include two Airfix 1/350 scale Daring Class DDGs (one of which is already completed), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (one of which is already completed), and the Hobby Boss 1/350 scale HMS Astute SSN (which is also already completed) and Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Trafalgar SSN. One day, when a 1/350 scale HMS Ocean LPD comes out, I will use it to start building a Royal Navy ARG.
The French CSG is centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gaulle, R91. I have purchased the 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 D612 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 Pearle S606 SSN is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will add that to the group. Also as soon as the Forbin D620, Horizon class anti-air DDG is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will purchase two of them and replace the De Grasse and Duquesne with them, and then save those two for when a Mistral Class LPD is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale so I can create a French ARG with those vessels.
The completion of the Japanese JMSDF group was centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/350 scale Hyuga, DDH-181. It will be escorted by Trumpeter's 1/350 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG and the JMSDF, DDG-174, Kongo class (which I own), Trumpeterís 1/350 scale DDG-114 Susunami and DDG-111 (both of which are Takinami Class DDGs 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 soon as a DDG-115 Akizuki in 1/350 scale is released, I will add it to this group. Should a 1/350 scale Osumi Class LPD be released, I will buy two of those vessels and create a JMSDF ARG.
Then, finally the Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which I own) the Russian Kirov Class nuclear battle cruiser (CGN), the Peter the Great, by Trumpeter, the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Trumpeter (which I own), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Udaloy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the new Yasen class Russian SSN (which I own), all in 1/350 scale. Sometime in the more distant future when a 1/350 scale Russian version of the French Mistral class comes out (which is building in real life right now), I will add two of those and build a Russian ARG.
You can see all of these actual carriers, read their histories and specifications at my site:
FINE ALL-AMERICAN 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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