USS Saratoga CVA60 by Barrie Hole
Brand: Italeri
Scale: 1/720
Modeler: Barrie Hole - Museum Quality Custom Airctaft Profile Prints



This is my model of the USS Saratoga as she was during her 1969 deployment to the Mediterranean with CVW 3. Actually to be completely accurate its a model as she was from the 16th to 24th October 1969. The reason for such exactitude is the presence of four F4K's of 892 squadron, British Fleet Air Arm which were deployed aboard between those dates in order to get their deck certification.

The Ship

It may say Saratoga on the box but its not Saratoga in the box. Italeri marketed the same kit for all four Forrestal class carriers and what you get is a somewhat inaccurate kit of Forrestal as she was in the 70's or thereabouts so the first job was research. Once I had found enough material it was a case of marking up the parts to be altered with a soft pencil and then proceeding bit by bit. The main changes I found were to the various hull sponsons and chief amongst these was the need to construct the rear gun mountings. I was lucky enough to find a plan of the ship albeit in her final form and although the guns were long gone Saratoga retained the mountings right to the end. The turrets themselves came from the Skywave modern weapons set. The other major job was the island which had to be virtually rebuilt as the kit has some major inaccuracies. I also added partial hanger decks. The PE components came from GMM's Supercarrier fret and I also added hose reels, arrestor wires and aerials. The crew figures are Eduard.

All the painting was Lifecolor acrylics applied over a spray coat of Alcad primer and decals were from Starfighter. The hull was lightly weathered really just to dull the newness of the paint but the deck was more heavily weathered using powder colours after the decals had been sealed under a coat of matt varnish.

Click on the images to enlarge!

The Air Group and Deck Vehicles

All Trumpeter apart from the COD Trader (Skywave) and the two Seasprites (WEM). Like the ship they were all painted with Lifecolor acrylics over an Alcad primer coat. Most have had their wings folded and one of the A3's has been modelled with flaps down and airbrakes open. Where possible I also drilled out tailpipes and intakes. Decals were the real problem as you can't get a set for CVW3 or 892 squadron so it was a case of going through Starfighter's range to see what would do and supplementing them with my own produced on the computer.

Deck vehicles are those from the kit together with resin castings from JAG Collective. The crash crane presented probably the biggest problem of the whole project. It only appeared partially and indistinct in three photographs and was quite unlike any other one I've ever seen. My version is scratch built using the kit crane as a basis combined with bits of plastic and odds and ends of PE. Its nowhere near as accurate as I would have liked but it does at least look right.

Click on the images to enlarge!


For all their faults these Italeri kits are nice to work with and can make up into very attractive models. It all depends on how far you want to go and until Dragon or Trumpeter decide that the Forrestal class would be a commercial success they are the only game in town.


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  Photos and text © 2015 by Barrie Hole

May 3, 2015