USS Constellation CV-64: 1:144 Part 1: The beginning by Denis Rochat
Brand: Scratchbuilt
Scale: 1/144
Modeler: Denis Rochat - Museum Quality Custom Airctaft Profile Prints

Why embark on such an enterprise (2009)


Each collection takes up space! I discovered small airplane models in scale 1/144, I was impressed: small is beautiful! And the collection was getting bigger. It was mainly about NAVY aircraft such as F-14, F/A-18, A-6 Intruder, E-2C Hawkeye, etc.

The models accumulate on the shelf and they make me less enthusiast, and suddenly I had the (crazy) idea to put the whole thing in scene!

An aircraft carrier in Scale 1:144! Speaking of saving space, it was not necessarily the best idea...

Why choose this good old Conny / The USS Constellation?

Just by chance I actually had a couple of F-14 squadron VF-211 with the name of the USS Constellation. So why not? I decided to build the model of the Constellation after its modernization in the 90s.

I must say that the discovery of the website "carrierbuilders" and the beautifully designed aircraft carrier type scratchbuilt encouraged me frankly to embark on this adventure.

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Planning (2009 2011)

To begin, we must know on what basis to work. I need to have a record of plans. There were two solutions: buy plans or do it yourself. I chose the second solution. Based on information found on many web site especially ACB (carrierbuilders) and with the help of a scale model 1/720 of Italeri, I drew the necessary plans.

I would like to highlight that this part should not be read by designers who care about the details! The solution described for making the hull is of a pure amateur. I used the model to 1/720 that I filled with foam insulation. After curing, I cut slices to obtain profiles. These are redrawn to scale. The result is more or less acceptable, in my opinion, but definitely not exact!

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The Hull (2010 work in progress)

Based on the profiles, the real work on the model finally began.

Cutting and overlap for the hull.

This is where I realized that my project is imposing, especially in length. I find it difficult to maneuver around the house with a large object that could be used as a kayak for my youngest daughter!

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The Island (2011 today)

The construction of the island is a real pleasure: cutting, assembly, painting, dismantling, correction, adaptation and reassembling. I feel to reproduce the same steps of the USS Constellation during the various stages of upgrades and modernization! But on a much shorter duration.

The work is far from finished. The mast, radars and the laying of railing is laid down in horizon 2047... Although with age, the hands become shaky!

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Air Wings and Support Equipment

Let's face it; all the planes are not scale kit to build. Many models are pre-painted and pre-assembled (Doyusha / F-Toys / Cafereo). However, I have undertaken numerous modifications, paint patina and create decals to match the squadrons of the USS Constellation. There is a mix of everything on squadrons. Purists do not keep me in rigor, I hope so. The model of the aircraft carrier is not intended for a museum, but I just want to have fun.

Crash and rescue crane "Tilly" is a scratch built realization. A real pleasure. I think the hardest part was finding the right wheels. I'm not an ace in sewing and my cabling is unsatisfactory. But at a distance of 200 meters, it shows nothing!

I also undertook the construction of one of the four elevators. Looking for information on the web has been difficult. I found a few images to understand the bearing structure view from below. That work has been a bit dubious

I take up after work when I have a bit more time ...

See you again.

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  Photos and text © 2013 by Denis Rochat

February 12, 2013