Going to town on the Trumpeter Nimitz - Part 4 by Laci Nagy
Brand: Trumpeter
Scale: 1/350
Modeler: Laci Nagy


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Well, after a long break, here I am again. The summer was waaay to nice to be indoors and be working on this monster. But for the last 2 months the cold weather allowed me to get back to my Nimitz and I took on the hangar this time. Shortly after this I realized I won't be able to cover the whole progress on the hangar from start to finish in one article. So here is part 1.

Starting with a happy note: there is nothing bad I (or anyone:)) can say about Trumpy's hangar because simply put: it's non-existent. So instead of correcting stuff, I had to build e-ve-ry-thing from scratch.It was nice of trumpy to provide the hangar floor at least. But they come with those awfully huge tie-down points. I used the same method as what I described in the previous article to correct these. Luckily there are a lot of "blind-spots" on the hangar deck even with all 4 doors fully open, so I didn't have to apply the same level detail to every square inch in there.


After dealing with the "floor" I moved onto the doorways. Despite asian (Trumpeter/Tamiya) model-manufacturing believes, he hangar doors aren't installed against the outer hull of the ship, but there is a deep door-well before you get inside the hangar. Even in the case of deciding on the doors being shut, these would have to be made to add reality to the model. And the hangar doors provided can be discarded because on the original ship the doors look solid and there is no "corrugated" pattern on them (meaning those scribed vertical lines), their surface is smooth. Luckily, in this scale this means that they can just simply be replaced with some styrene sheeting. After the doors and door wells were built I dealt with those red-yellow safety stripes on the bottom half of the oval shaped hangar openings. I had a hard time to figure out a good way to do this. But here is what I came up with: since yellow paint is generally low in pigments, I knew I couldn't just paint these areas yellow AND have them look good, so I applied strips of yellow decals from leftovers from other kits. After that dried overnight I started cutting thin strips of red from leftover decals. LOTS OF THEM, and just started applying them onto the yellow surface one by one.This way I could ensure thet they were both straight, and roughly the same distance from each other. This is insanely time consuming, but thinking of the end result kept me fueled so I just muscled thru it, and I am not sorry I did. After these guys dried on safely, I just trimmed them back to the desired width. Afterwards just shot some Matt clear over it. One thing hard to track down is the direction in which these stripes are slanted, because it seems to vary from ship to ship. WALLS :After all this "fun" I started making the hangar walls. I used 1 mm styrene for this. I found excellent reference photos of the hangar on the Internet, but what I didn't find is pictures specifically from the '80-s. And of course all the Nimitz-class carriers are slightly diffrenet from each other, and this is no different when it comes to the hangar, so I did some improvising, I hope nothing is too out of whack... The walls, the CONFLAG-stations and the the doors that separate the 3 hangar bays from each other, are in the same location on all Nimitz ships.

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Once the walls were also done, I started building all the little things to bring the hangar to life. I used mostly Tamiya aircraft for this. They are correct enough in shape to end up on the hangar deck. I never liked the idea of painting the canopies silver/chrome, or even light blue for display on the flightdeck, let alone the hangar bay where there is no reflection off the sky . I think Glossy Black looks the most realistic. (You'll be the judge) . Some types of aircraft have their somewhat "usual" parking spots in the hangar deck, as well as up on the flighdeck. These are the helicopters and the Hawkeyes. When in the hangar, they like to "live" in bay 1, close to the forward wall. I also found that a lot of times they store only cargo and motorized life boats (on trolley) in the back of the hangar and fill up the aft area with these entirely. I will model my hangar this way. Boxes, replacement engines, barrels, weapons stored here in neat piles...

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I made modification to the hangar equipment as well. The forklifts got the biggest makeover. Neither the ones in the kit , nor the ones that come with the photo-etch set are correct . To end up with something close to the actual forklifts the Navy uses, the solution for me was to scratchbuild the top of the forklifts (using styrene and PE railing sections), and borrow bigger front wheels from Tamiya tractors from my old Enterprise, and used the parts of the forks from the PE set.I probably over-did it, but I even added steering wheels to all of them. Yeah, this is a perfect time for some name-calling...

Of course nothing really brings the hanger to life like "people" do. I purchased Eduard's pre-painted US carrier personnel fret, because they are incredibly detiled. but: they are also incredibly 2 dimensional. So I got Goffy model's modern navy crew resin figures. While this company makes EXCELLENT deck tractors, their figures suggest that all crew members on a ships go around their business being bent over or are fighting a bad diarrhea or are already on the toilet. awful positions to be in when you are, let's say: wing-walking a 45 million dollar jet ....funny as hell though. I can use a few of them to drive equipment maybe, but mostly they are a waste of time and money.


I managed to save some time as well. I cut corners all over the place in the hangar, and this goes for the airplanes as well. I didn't even paint /decal/weather all sides or surfaces of the aircraft. But that won't be noticeable.

And I am willing to put so much confidence in that , that I even designed lighting in the hangar. I got some amazingly small incandescent bulbs from Miniatronics. Did I mention that they are AMAZINGLY small? 0.75mm in diameter. Those run on 1.5 volts, and got some bigger ones that run on 12 volts. But figuring out how many I am going to need and exactly how I am going to install them is gonna be in part 2 of this article because I haven't gotten that far yet.

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  Photos and text © 2011 by Laci Nagy

March 13, 2011