Modeling War Damage – USS Yorktown (CV-5) at Coral Sea

Merit’s 1:350 USS Yorktown (CV-5) presents an excellent opportunity to display “that gallant ship” in a way that isn’t terribly common among shipbuilders: out of the water, but still within a vignette.  Even though most full hull ships are mounted on a base for display, the fact that Yorktown underwent one of the most famous repair operations of the Pacific War between her actions at Coral Sea and Midway lets us depict a historic scene without the need for waterlining.  That said, Yorktown entered drydock for a reason, and some work should be done to illustrate the damage she suffered which necessitated her repair.  This damage is often misunderstood, however, and can be difficult to depict accurately, so we need to examine damage reports and oral histories, primary and secondary sources, general plans and photographs to come up with a clearer view of how this scene could best be modeled.

Luckily I’ve done just that.

USS Yorktown at Pearl Harbor, May 29, 1942. Image Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

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Modeling First Guadalcanal: The History

No Battle Plan Survives Contact with the Enemy

This adage by Helmuth von Moltke (the Elder) sums up much of the Guadalcanal Campaign of 1942-1943, but perhaps nowhere near as completely as when describing the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.  This running nighttime brawl, fought in the early morning hours of November 13, 1942, has been described in exquisite detail both online and in print, so I won’t be using this post to re-tread old ground.  Instead, I want to focus on specific historical evidence which justifies and flavors a 1:700 vignette featuring USS O’Bannon and USS Atlanta as they steam into that confused and – for one of these ships – final action.

Image source:

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Sprue Cutters’ Union – Stalled Out

Seeing this month’s SCU topic actually gave me a burst of optimism: Jon over at The Combat Workshop is wondering at what point during the build do we tend to stall?  Given that I’m knocking out 3-4 builds per year (when I could probably double that), for a moment I thought this was directed at me.  That responses are already coming in, though, is proof that I am definitely not alone.
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First Impressions: FStar Model 1:700 Essex-Class (Short Hull/Late War Island) Super Set Upgrade

If you’re a regular reader, by now you’ve picked up on my insistence that each ship I build include as much photoetch as possible, both for accuracy and for realism’s sake.  For most modelers (myself included), one or two frets of the good stuff (usually from Gold Medal Models or Tom’s Modelworks) is usually sufficient, but lately I’ve been seeing more and more of these multi-fret “super sets” on the market.  Flyhawk and Lion Roar are two of the bigger names in this genre, but a recent build using the USS San Diego super set from FStar prompted me to double down on their product.  And boy, have they outdone themselves this time…

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Modeling First Guadalcanal: The Concept

When the Bug Bites You

When I was a kid, my father and I would watch history-related National Geographic specials, particularly those featuring oceanographer Bob Ballard.  In 1993, nine-year old me first heard the word Guadalcanal on one of those specials – an hour-long look at Ballard’s quest to locate the wrecks that surround the island.  It was the first time I’d heard of Iron Bottom Sound, and the first time I really understood how wide-ranging the Pacific War had been.

Guadalcanal NatGeo

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