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USS Carl Vinson by Wolfman_63 - Trumpeter -1/350 - Plastic - Conversion of Nimitz Kit - Finished


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Hello all,

My present project is building the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) at the start of her World Cruise in March of 1983. I am using Trumpeter's USS Nimitz 1/350 scale kit.

I started this project in May 2017. Since I started this in May, I will make a series of posts to bring everyone up to date. The estimated completion is late December. For this conversion I will be using Gold Medal Models and White Ensign photoetch for the ship and Tom's Modelworks for the aircraft. I am also using 3-D printed accessories from Shapeways and resin accessories from Veteran Models and Black Dog. Many other areas like the CIWS sponsons and the hangar deck are scratch built. Many of the hangar bay decals and aircraft decals were made by myself. This ship will also feature fiber optic lighting (over 500')and 40 LED's to illuminate it.

 

I served aboard the Vinson with VA-37 during this deployment. In 1985 the Vinson went through a huge retrofit so many of the details are from personal photos and foggy memories (LOL)  Here is the a picture of the start of the project.

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The fantail was modified to add the crane and other details. I used 2 pico sized LED's to illuminate the fantail sections and made the landing light sections using .5mm fiber optics which run to a 5mm red LED. The lighting of the ship is representing how it is lit up at night so the illumination of the fantail, sponsons and hanger bays will be using the yellow lighting.

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I could not locate decals to represent the many signs and logos for the hangar bay so I made my own. On the forward part of hangar bay 1 is an area that was used to repair the ground support equipment for the ship and the forward tunnel to various sections. I illuminated this area using 1mm fiber optics and a white LED.

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On aircraft carries there is a Fresnel lighting system to aid the pilots for landing. This is nicknamed "The Ball". Typically you will hear the pilot "Call the Ball" on approach. This is a visual aid so the pilot can keep their aircraft in the proper landing lane. I scratch built the Fresnel lighting by using a pico LED for the center (the ball) and .5mm fiber optics for the blue and red warnings. It took about 5 tries before I was able to get all the fiber optic lines to fit and route where I needed them.

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Wow this is great to see.

 

I am a plank owner of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson and was serving in her for the around the world tour as we called it back then. I was a Machinist Mate first class in M division assigned to Main Machinery Room 1 (the forward engine room). In fact it was my last deployment. When we reached our new home in Alameda I transferred to Sima San Diego and detached from there.

 

One small detail. You left out the two big stainless steel cans on the hangar bay the housed the spare reactor coolant pumps.

 

I will be watching this one with more than a casual interest.

 

Wonderful job so far.

Edited by Osmosis
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On to the flight deck. I am illuminating the runway and the foul line. The runway is done with .75mm fiber optic lines and the stern, bow, and foul line is with .5mm fiber optic lines. To install the fiber optic lines the holes are drilled at a 45* angle. This is required because the fiber optic lines cannot bend 90* or they will crack. I needed the lines to sit flush to the bottom due to only a 1.25mm space between the bottom of the flight deck and the roof of the hangar bays. To hold the optic lines in place I used acrylic gel medium. super glue makes the fiber optic lines extremely brittle. The acrylic gel dries clear and has some flexibility to provide strain relief while handling and routing the lines. I also mounted the lines to stick up about 5mm. The reason for this is it allows me to paint and weather the deck then trim them so they are flush and nearly invisible. The illuminated photos look brighter due to the camera and the section of the fiber optic lines sticking out above the deck.

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16 minutes ago, Osmosis said:

Wow this is great to see.

 

I am a plank owner of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson and was serving in her for the around the world tour as we called it back then. I was a Machinist Mate first class in M division assigned to Main Machinery Room 1 (the forward engine room). In fact it was my last deployment. When we reached our new home in Alameda I transferred to Sima San Diego and detached from there.

 

One small detail. You left out the two big stainless steel cans on the hangar bay the housed the spare reactor coolant pumps.

 

I will be watching this one with more than a casual interest.

 

Wonderful job so far.

Thanks, I do not remember the big cans and do not show them in my limited photo's. Where were they? Which hangar bay were they in? Unfortunately At this point in the project I may not be able to include them based on location.

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The island was then modified for the Vinson. I used .5mm fiber optics for the numbers and 1mm for the yellow deck lights. The holes were drilled straight and the fiber optics were angled at 45* as there was a little more room in the island. The decks were illuminated with white pico LED's. While typically these decks are illuminated in red, I chose to use white so the island stands out more. All the port holes were drilled out.

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At this point I realized due to the routing and wiring the flight deck and island needed to be put on the hull together. This required the hangar bay to be filled and detailed first. I started with hangar bay 2 which was home to the A-7 aircraft of VA-37 and VA-105. I scratch built a cockpit maintenance platform and cut one canopy to show the canopy raised. Tom's Modelworks photoetch details were added to all aircraft. All the decals were made by me except for the EA-6B's. Star Fighter decals were available for these and the deck tractors. Anyone who has been on a US Navy aircraft carrier at night will remember working in the yellow glow of the hangar bays.

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Filling hangar bay 3 with the F-14's from VF-51 and VF-111. The only disappointing part of these is that Trumpeter decided to mold the windscreens with the fuselage in gray plastic. Do not understand why this was done. All the other Trumpeter aircraft have clear canopies.

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Edited by Wolfman_63
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Hangar bay 1 has multiple aircraft. Starting with the SH-3's from HS-4. On one I cut open the sliding door and the other one I folded the tail. The picture of the actual helo is one I took while aboard. There was some details I needed to add like the strut from the landing gear pod to the fuselage and the intake cover.

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The catwalk hose reels were made. The landing wires were installed using EZ Line and the flight deck was weathered. I used black, gray, and brown pastel chalk. I first took the brown and using a balled up paper towel I rubbed the chalk on the jet blast deflectors and the area between the catapults and JBD's. I then used same method and did the area's outside the brown areas and down each side of the catapults.

I then used the same method but went over the center of the JBD's and catapults with black. The then made blotches and stains around the entire flight deck. I made a large area around landing wire #3 (This is the wire that the pilots aim for as the perfect landing wire to catch). On this large area I then used eye makeup foam pads and made streaks with black and gray to represent where the aircraft touched down. Mostly near the center of the runway and extending from wire 1 to wire 4 in a diamond pattern centered on wire 3. Finally taking a makeup blush brush I brushed the surface of the flight deck from bow to stern to blend the colors and remove any excess chalk powder. It then gets a dusted spray of matte clear coat 3 times allowing each coat to dry. Then a final coat to seal it all. The dusted coats are required because if you spray a seal coat, it will pick up some chalk and give it weird streaks.

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The island detailing is next. I used Shapeways Mk. 95 NSSM's and modifed the masts to the Vinson configuration. The mast still needs to be tweeked and aligned which will be done when the rigging is installed.

 

That should now bring everyone up to date on the project. Typically I update every weekend. I am working on the rigging now then the radar tower that sits behind the island. Still need to do the whip antenna's around the flight deck and the life raft canisters. Then building many aircraft, deck tractors, and the tilly crane. I hope you have enjoyed my progress and continue to watch the build.

 

While I have posted many photos of the progress, There are many more photo's of this build in my build album on Flickr. You can view them at https://www.flickr.com/photos/128642409@N05/albums/72157687002588814

 

 

Thanks!

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Edited by Wolfman_63
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