USS Franklin CV13 by Barrie Hole
Brand: Dragon/DML
Scale: 1/700
Modeler: Barrie Hole - Museum Quality Custom Airctaft Profile Prints

The Diorama


The Franklin, like her sisters, served with distinction in World War 2 earning four battle stars. She also became in March 1945 the most heavily damaged carrier in the US Navy and missed the remainder of the war due to undergoing repairs back in the USA. Unlike the majority of the Essex class however she never again saw active service and was finally scrapped in 1966.

I have to confess here that I never intended to build this ship. My original plan was to model the Essex plus destroyers in some form of Pacific War setting but after starting work on the air group I lost interest and went on to other projects. Only when I found a photograph of the Franklin being broken up did my interest rekindle as although I've seen model carriers in most situations I've not seen one at the breakers! Incidentally my portrayal of the Portsmouth Salvage Company's yard is ficticious. I'm afraid the real thing didn't look that interesting. 

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The Ships

The carrier is Dragon's USS Essex. Originally I had intended to use an old Revell Essex but soon realised the quality of the kit would not pass muster. The Dragon model was chosen not only because of it's quality but also it's full hull option. This lower hull was cut down to about half it's original depth to give the appearance of a light ship. Other modifications included omitting the hanger deck shutters and cutting out part of the deck where demolition work has started. The AA mountings were also fitted minus the guns. The model also utilised GMM's WW2 carrier fret rather than the PE supplied with the kit.

The other vessels are two Tamiya Fletcher class destroyers, a Hobby Boss Gato class submarine and workboats from the Tamiya Tugger set. The destroyers and sub were treated in much the same way as the carrier with details from GMM's destroyer/cruiser fret. The hull numbers are ficticious. Portsmouth did break one Fletcher but not in 1966.

Painting was virtually all acrylics and weathering was applied using powder paint either dry brushed or applied as a wash. 

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The Fine Detail

Here was where my railway modelling experience came in handy! I won't give a blow by blow account of how I built the scenery but if anyone wants further information please feel free to e-mail me. What I will do is give the source of the scenic elements.

Beach and vegetation - Woodland Scenics

Buildings, quay and lorries - Skywave

Cars - White metal castings by 4D Models

Railway tracks - Alliance Modelworks

Railway wagons - OKB Grigorov

Cranes - A right mixture! Alliance mixed with GMM and Italeri. The legs on the big rail crane are N Guage railway signal posts from Model Signal Engineering.

The piles of scrap are chopped up GMM frets on a model filler mound and the water is acrylic paint with many coats of satin varnish.

All the workers are Eduard - either their passenger or navel personel frets.

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This was certainly the most involved project I've done so far and one which called for techniques and materials not normally associated with ship modelling. It also mean't not having to model an air group which after completing my Forrestal model was a welcome break. If anybody feels that modelling such a fine ship in this condition is rather depressing I promise the next one will be portrayed in all it's glory!  


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  Photos and text © 2012 by Barrie Hole

August 12, 2012