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I have been building ship models since I was a kid (about 65 years). I started with plastic models and then began building scratch built models out of balsa. In my 20s (when I could afford it) I graduated to wooden ship model kits.


I was fascinated with ships and joined the US Navy, entering Officer Candidate School in 1968. I "retired" as  a Lieutenant in 1972. I served on three ships, two minesweepers (USS Cape MSI-2 and USS Ruff MSCO-54) and a cruiser (USS Oklahoma City CLG-5), all having wooden decks. I wanted to model two of these ships, but there are no kits made for them, so scratch building is the only resort.


I did nothing for years until Christmas of 2004 when my oldest son presented me with a 8" x 8" x 72" present. "They are giving me new skis?" I wondered. No, it was a 6 1/2 foot long fiberglass hull for a Cleveland class cruiser. The USS Oklahoma City CLG-5 was a converted Cleveland class ship. That started a 14 year odyssey (so far) to research, design and build a 1: 96 scale model. This evolved into a CAD model to create plans for the real model and an extensive web page for the ship, with the ship's history and a history of the modeling progress (https://www.okieboat.com/).


I have been posting on The Ship Modeling Forum (http://www.shipmodels.info/mws_forum/index.php) in the Virtual Shop Modeling section (http://www.shipmodels.info/mws_forum/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=70810) for years. I have just discovered this forum.


I am a former NRG member, and I am considering restarting my membership now that the Ships in Scale magazine has been acquired by NRG.


Phil Hays

ship stbd beam 1024 C.jpg

Edited by Dr PR
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I had a look, too, and your CAD model is indeed amazing -- I shudder to think of the effort that will be needed to replicate all of that in a 1/96 scale model, but I certainly applaud the attempt! The Cleveland-class were good looking ships, both in their all-gun and CG configurations, and of course they contributed greatly to US naval efforts. I wish you every success on your continuing project!

Chris Coyle
Greer, South Carolina

When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
- Tuco

Current builds: Macchi C.200 Saetta

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Chris (and others),




I agree that the Clevelands were handsome ships - little brothers of the Baltimore class, and they are well proportioned.


However, the CLGs were like the horse that was designed by a committee and came out looking like a camel. After being hacked apart and rebuilt hurriedly as early guided missile ships, with antennas hanging out everywhere, they certainly were a bit of a mess. To make matters worse, the already top heavy Cleveland hull had the massive missile house, flag superstructure and radar towers that made them even more unstable. In my opinion they may be the ugliest ships ever built! But I served on the Okie Boat for 28 months, and that is one reason I want to model it. Also, it was an historic ship, being one of the first guided missile cruisers in the US Navy, the flagship of the 7th Fleet throughout most of the Vietnam War, and the longest career and most decorated ship of all the Cleveland class.


The Oklahoma City CLG/CG-5 underwent continuous modifications during the 19 years it was in service, with bits added and bits removed frequently. Some of the whip antennas were repositioned just about every time we went into Yokosuka. This made it difficult to find a specific configuration to model. Finally, after studying many hundreds of photos I chose the configuration of the summer of 1971. This was just before the FAST gear was removed, and about mid way through my time aboard.


Someday I hope to create a CAD model of the 1945 configuration. That will be tricky because apparently all of the blueprints for the modified (square bridge) Clevelands have been lost - at least there is no microfilm for the superstructure, and there were major changes from the early round bridge Clevelands. To make it more difficult, no two shipyards built the Clevelands the same way. Each yard redrew the plans and added their own modifications. If you know what to look for you can often identify the yard where a ship was built by looking at the photos.


When I find time I intend to start a thread describing the research I have done of the Clevelands in general, and the CLGs and Oklahoma City.



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