Building 1/350 USS Carl Vinson (Circa 1983)

Wolfman63

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I have started a 1/350 scale of the USS Carl Vinson as it was during the 1983 World Cruise. I will be detailing the hanger bay, all 86 aircraft, modifying the island and hull to match the timeline and ship. It will also include illuminating many areas like flight deck, Island, hanger, and catwalks. It will be using 14 LED's and over 400 feet of fiber optics. Goal is to have it completed by December. The first challenge is to add the "as-built" sponsons. She only had the original sponsons for a short time. While there is limited photos (online and personal) for these I have been able to replicate them. I have the port forward and starboard aft sponsons mounted and am working on the port aft double-decker sponson.

I was attached to VA-37 and our squadron was assigned to the ship for the 1983 World Cruise. Leaving Newport News Virginia in March of 1983 and arriving in San Fransisco Bay October of 1983. I previously built a 1/48 scale aircraft of each squadron that was aboard during the cruise. These should be able to assist me with creating the decals for the numerous 1/350 aircraft for this project.

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Wolfman63

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This project started in May so in order to bring everyone up to date I will make a post for each of the sections I have already completed.
First up was modifying the CIWS sponsons to match the original Vinson sponsons. These were only on the ship from built to 1985. These were all scratchbuilt.

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Wolfman63

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Next up is the fantail. I modified it for the Vinson and added the maintenance crane. I then added LED lighting and fiber optic lighting for the landing lights. The lights are yellow as I am representing the ship "at night" .
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Wolfman63

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The kit comes with the hangar bay deck but no walls or details. The entire hangar bay was scratch built. Since there are no decal sets available, using internet and personal photos I made my own decals. These are the various details from around the hangar bay. The lighted section at the front of hangar bay one is the area that repairs the ground support equipment and the forward access tunnel. These are always lit with white lighting. As a side note, the hangar bay signs for are standard on all U.S. modern aircraft carriers. So if you decide to build one, I can add the ship and CVW logos to the page and email you a hi-res photo to print your own set.

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Wolfman63

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One of the biggest challenges on an aircraft carrier is landing. There is a Fresnel lighting system that allows the pilots to visually line up the aircraft with the flight deck. This is commonly referred to as "The Ball" So when you here the pilot "Call the Ball" it means he is lined up and can see the lights clearly. The challenge I had was to replicate this in 1:350 scale. It took 5 tries to get it all to fit and work. The "ball" is a micro LED and the sides are .5mm fiber optic lines routed to two different colored LED's. Here is the results:

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Wolfman63

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The next step was illuminating the flight deck. I am lighting the runway and the foul line of the deck. It is illuminated by 4 white LED's and one blue LED and just over 425 feet of fiber optic lines. The runway is .75mm lines and the foul line and deck edge lights are .5mm lines. All lines were glued down using acrylic gel.

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Wolfman63

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The next section was the illumination of the hangar bays. Since I am doing it "at night" the yellow lighting is being used. There are 19 micro LED's used to light it up.

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Wolfman63

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The captains launch and the numerous deck tractors were then detailed for the hangar bays.

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Wolfman63

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The island lighting came next. To light up the ship numbers another bundle of .5mm fiber optic lines and 2 LED's were used. Each deck of the island used a micro LED on each level. There are also the yellow deck lights but I do not show them illuminated yet. These fiber optic lines will be joined later with the 1mm lines I will be using to illuminate the external small sponsons. I also modified the rear of the island to represent the Vinson.

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Wolfman63

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It was at this point I realized I needed to fill the hangar deck with aircraft before assembling the flight deck and island to the ship. Due to the lighting and wiring assembly is kind of like a Chinese puzzle box. :lol:
So I started with filling hangar bay 2 with the A-7 squadrons (VA-37 and VA-105) Again nobody makes decals for the 1983 CVW-15 that was aboard in 1983. Back to the decal making process. I do plan on having all 86 aircraft aboard when completed. 26 of them will be on the hangar deck. I also scratch built a maintenance scaffold for working on cockpits and opened the canopy of one of the aircraft.

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Wolfman63

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And now we come to the present status. I have just finished the F-14's of VF-51 and VF-111 for Hangar bay 3. The only thing I did not like was Trumpeter changed the 1:350 F-14's. Originally in 2005 they had full clear canopies. But for some strange reason in 2007 they made the windscreen part of the gray plastic body. The Tamiya aircraft do not use clear parts for theirs. For the ones on the flight deck I am going to see if I can make clear windscreens.

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Wolfman63

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THANKS! :handgestures-thumbupleft:

There are over 250 detail pictures on my Facebook album. You can view them here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10208964525897838.1073741834.1457024256&type=1&l=50e8812e52
You do not need to have a Facebook account to view them.

I typically update once a week. At present I am working on the two SH-3 helicopters for hangar bay 1.

If anyone has any questions on using LED's or Fiber Optics to illuminate their ships, just let me know.

I can also help out if you need to make your own decals. The below pictures are the sheets I made for the hangar bay and all 86 aircraft.

:text-thankyouyellow:

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A

Aussie048

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I have seen words like amazing, speechless and I do think it is truly incredible.
I will be following along on your build log.

Cheers
Geoff
 
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