|USS Essex CV-9 by Douglas Conrady|
Here is my version of the USS Essex. Neither the ship nor the planes require any more words. She is done up in her Measure 32, Design 6/10D. I decided to model her in full strike deck. I am still trying to figure out what possessed me to do all 100 planes.
In my researching, I decided on Air Group 83. Further research led me to use 30 Hellcats, 30 Corsairs, 20 Avengers, and 20 Helldivers. There are 3 Hellcats, 3 Corsairs, 2 Avengers, and 2 Helldivers held in reserve in the hanger deck. To be sure the planes all came from the same air group, I had to paint the proper group symbol on all 4 surfaces of the planes, except for the corsair’s tails. Those were the only group decals that I could use. I used the national insignia from the box. As for detailing them, I painted the wing fold area olive drab, the canopy lines blue, inside the cowling black, the cowling band yellow, and the prop tips yellow. My plan is to take some of my extra planes and detail them with brass.
I purchased the brass detailing set made by Tom’s Modelworks. Using brass to detail anything was a first for me. I mainly wanted the radars and antennae to look better than the kits solid chunks of plastic. However, the further I went the more brass I used. As you can see, I put in the railings, radars, .50 cal gun shields, 5” railings, and various ladders. I didn’t want to obsess with being 100% accurate, so I did the best I could with what research I could find and made the rest up. I feel the radars are about as accurate as I can get them. I feel the railings are close. And the ladders were a complete guess work. Some other details that I did were, I cut out the holes in the cranes on the starboard side, removed the hanger deck cat, modeled one elevator in between up and down, and opened the doors in various places. The dazzle paint scheme came from Floating Drydock. First I painted the red of the bottom hull and then painted the light grey of the upper hull. To transfer the image from 8.5x11 sheet to the 1/350 ship, I copied the image to a clear sheet. Then I went to where my wife works and used an overhead projector and projected the image onto the Essex and traced the lines. After several hours of taping and sealing, I painted the black. I am very pleased with the results.
I really enjoyed the challenge of using brass and body putty for the first time. While it my not be the most accurate Essex out there, it’s the most accurate one I’ve done. I finished the whole project about 13 months after I started. This was also the first model I kept track of my hours. It took me 300 hrs to finish, 150 on the planes and 150 on the ship itself. This was mostly build time. I didn’t count research time. There are 1270 decals on this project, 1260 on the planes and 10 on the ship. There were approx. 2000 parts used between all the planes, the ship, and the brass details. There are a couple of details left, I want to put a few people onboard for scale, and I need to drill out the port holes.
Hope you enjoy, and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me.
Thanks for looking,
Photos and text © 2009 by Douglas Conrady
June 1, 2009