USS Yorktown CV-10 by Mike Dillard
Brand: Hasegawa
Scale: 1/700
Modeler: Mike Dillard - Museum Quality Custom Airctaft Profile Prints


The Yorktown was built as the second Essex-class carrier at Newport News Shipbuilding, (now Northrop Grumman Newport News,) with the keel laid on December 1, 1941. The ship's original name was Bon Homme Richard, but was renamed Yorktown after the original carrier Yorktown CV 5, also built at Newport News, was lost at Midway in June, 1942.  The ship was launched on January 21, 1943, and delivered on April 15, 1943, more than a year ahead of schedule.

The ship was featured in the Oscar® winning documentary film, "The Fighting Lady," and carried that nickname along with "The Lucky Y" throughout the war.  The ship took part in the renewed Pacific carrier air war taking part in the raid on Marcus Island in August 1943.  While the ship's various airgroups suffered losses, the ship's force itself lost only five crew members to enemy attack for the entire war.

The Yorktown was modernized under Project 27A between May 1951 and February 1953, and had an angled deck fitted for Project SCB 125 in October 1955.

The Yorktown served through June of 1970 and became a museum ship at the Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1975.

The model, from the Hasagawa 1/700th scale kit, is an attempt to show the Yorktown as she would have appeared around January, 1944. The ship is still wearing the Measure 21 paint scheme she carried from her Commissioning.  Vertical surfaces are painted in overall Navy Blue 5-N and the deck was stained with Deck Blue 20-B.  Model Master Acryl paints were used through out the building of the model.  The hull and flight deck were weathered with a combination of washes and dry-brushing using various shades of gray to "fade" and dirty the paint. Deck Tan #4230 was dry-brushed on the flight deck to show the rapid fading of the deck stain under the pacific sun.  Weathering patterns were taken from reference photos and many shots from the "Fighting Lady" film.

A port side sponson was scratchbuilt to show the hanger deck catapult extension also built from plastic sheet and rod.  The extension was added to the starboard side as well using the existing kit sponson.  This could have been modified to look more correct, but I decided to use the LWEA principle. (Leave Well Enough Alone.)  This catapult was part of the original design of Essex class carriers and was included on the first several ships built. The plan was to be able to launch a scout plane from the hanger deck, using this catapult. This would save a flight deck respot from being performed if the scout had to be launched quickly.  The catapult was eliminated from later ships and deleted from the early Essex ships as radar improved so quickly that a scout plane launch would be unnecessary.

The kit's flight deck shows two bow catapults, which are not correct for the period I was trying to represent.  I filled the port "cat" with strip and tried to sand it flush.  Since I couldn't reproduce the planking, I cheated by parking airplanes over it.  The black stripe was unique to the Yorktown along with the shorter red stripe painted at the bow.  These were used as landing aids at the request of the ship's first LSO and remained until the May 1944 refit.

The Yorktown was one of the first ships to launch and land the Curtis SB2C Helldiver.  The ship's first CO, Jocko Clarke so despised the troubled dive bomber that he had them removed from the air group and replaced with SBD Dauntless aircraft.  After many improvements the Helldivers did serve, in the fleet, but I've used Dauntless aircraft aboard this Yorktown.  The aircraft were a mix of Hellcats, Dauntlesses and Avengers from the kit, Tamiya kit leftovers and Fujimi extras.

The island was modified with a scratch built additional level using strip and additional radars masts made from rod.  The starboard side had the incinerator stack added and beading wire was used to represent piping along both sides of the stack.

Photo etched parts were from Tom's Modelworks and additional fittings were from the Pit Road WW2 US Navy Equipment set E6.  Several pieces from the Pit Road set were cut and shaped to represent various pieces of equipment around the island.

The model was well into the finishing stages before the new Dragon 1/700 Essex kit was released.

References included:
The film, "The Fighting Lady."

USS Yorktown CV 10, by Robert F. Sumrall, Warship's Data #5

Essex Class Carriers in Action, by Michael C. Smith Squadron Signal Publications Warships Number 10

Pacific Carrier, Saga of the USS Yorktown CV 10 in WW2, by Reuben P. Kitchen, Jr., The Nautical and Aviation Publication Company, Charleston, SC.

Click on the images to enlarge!


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  Photos and text © 2009 by Mike Dillard

January 16, 2009