|USS Lexington CV2 by Barrie Hole|
Between the 4th and 8th May 1942 a combined American/Australian task force under Admiral Fletcher engaged the Japanese navy in the Coral Sea. This was to be the first engagement between the opposing forces carriers and the first where the fleets did not fire directly on each other. The action saw the Yorktown damaged and the Lexington lost but Japanese expansion in the Pacific was halted.
This diorama depicts the USS Lexington on the eve of battle escorted by the cruiser USS Minneapolis and the destroyer USS Phelps. My intention was that this model should be a companion to my Saratoga model in order to show the contrasts brought on by the war. To this end the carrier is again accompanied by a cruiser and a destroyer, the sea material is the same and both dioramas are housed in identical display cases.
The Lexington is from Trumpeter. Like their Saratoga model it is well detailed and a pleasure to build. GMM again provided the fine detail and Artwox the wooden deck. I didn't replace the guns this time as the kit mouldings seemed better on this model. Also I didn't bother with arrestor wires as after fitting one I found the dark blue deck rendered them invisible.
The USS Minneapolis is also Trumpeter. Like the carrier a very nice kit to build. Detailing is a mixture of GMM's cruiser/destroyer fret and WEM's New Orleans cruiser fret. The deck is a precut Artwox deck which was quite tricky to fit around all the moulded detail.
USS Phelps is the 1942 version of USS Porter produced in resin by Combrig. If you have never tried one of their kits I can heartily recommend them. For resin castings the detail is amazing. They did provide a sheet of PE which I augmented with GMM.
Rigging was a mixture of sprue and copper wire and crew figures were by Eduard.
Painting was nearly all Lifecolor acrylics either brushed or sprayed over a primer coat of Alclad grey primer. Weathering on all three ships involved stippling a light grey wash followed by dry brushing in the highlights.
The sea, as with Saratoga, was Faller lake sheet painted with a mix of household emulsion and artist's acrylics. Ironically one of the colours was Pacific Blue!
All Trumpeter apart from the two Wildcats with folded wings which are Fujimi. All were fitted with GMM props and painted the same way as the ships. Decals are from Starfighter's 1941-42 Lexington Air Group sheet. They were secured to the deck using PVA woodworking glue as CA adhesive doesn't work particularly well on wooden decks.
Another satisfying project and a fascinating contrast to my Saratoga model. Although only eight years separate the scenes portrayed the whole essence of sea warfare has changed and it is the carrier and its aircraft which has become the predominant naval weapon.
Photos and text © 2014 by Barrie Hole
February 13, 2014