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Construction Tips for the
Tamiya 1:350 Scale Kit
by
Doug Corp

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After working for Newport News Shipbuilding on the overhaul of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), I found a model kit of the Enterprise produced by Tamiya in 1/350 scale.  As soon as I saw it, I had to have it!  This model is a monster at over 39" long!

I have put together this small website to help others who are about to undertake the building of the "Big E".  I will go over some of the enhancements that were made to my kit and some of the reference material I used to achieve more accurate results.

The overall kit is great.  The only complaint I have is the lack of a hanger deck.  I just scratchbuilt the hanger deck and bulkheads out of Evergreen sheet styrene.  Since I worked on the ship I had the best reference material anyone could ask for, the actual ship!  I did use a book for my project that proved invaluable.  It was called Airwing Enterprise published by Osprey Aerospace.  You may be able to find it by visiting Amazon.com. I also visited the official CVN65 website to get current information on the ship.

I have gotten a lot of email regarding colors for the Enterprise.  The debate seems to continue about color.  My feeling is if it looks good to you, it's fine.  I have broken down the type of paint and colors I used for this project.  They are as follows: 

Component

Paint Mix Ratio

Overall Hull

2 parts Gull Gray 1 Part White

Flight Deck & Hanger Deck

2 parts Gunship Gray 1 Part White

Anti-skid areas on ship

2 parts Gunship Gray 1 Part White

Low-Viz Aircraft

Dark Ghost Gray

High-Viz Aircraft

Light Gull Gray


NOTE:
  I used Pactra waster-based flat acrylic for the entire project.

As I worked on the kit I noticed that there was plenty of room to add more stuff that would make the final product interesting and more accurate.  Below is a list of modifications I made that showcases the ship and the aircraft on her.

  • Drilled out intakes and exhausts on all aircraft
  • Cut and folded wings on stowed aircraft
  • Modified control surfaces on F14 Tomcat launching from #1 cat
  • Added refueling probes to A6 Intruders and EA-6B Prowlers
  • Added tow bars to various aircraft
  • Scratch built hanger deck since one was not provided in kit
  • Added fiber optic lighting to Fresnel landing system
  • Removed all safety netting and replaced with photoetched brass
  • Added photoetched brass radar sets
  • Added photoetched railings, ladders, deck crew and life rings
  • Converted full hull to waterline version and mounted on custom base

I created the waterline version of the Big E by cutting down the hull with my trusty and often abused Dremel. I used blue textured acrylic for the water base and white acrylic paint for the wakes.  If I ever build this kit again (not likely!) I would use Celluclay for the water instead.  It gives you more creative freedom to produce waves and more accurate wakes.

I scratchbuilt the hanger deck using .010" thick Evergreen sheet plastic.  I first cut small shims and placed them around the perimeter of the hanger deck .010" below the elevator door openings. I then cut the Evergreen sheet plastic to the shape of the hull.  This step requires a lot of trial fitting and sanding. Once that was done, I painted the hanger deck anti-skid gray.  I then cut more Evergreen sheet plastic for the vertical bulkheads that line the hanger deck.  I did not paint these parts or detail them because once you attach the flight deck, you can't see much.

The final step is to place a few aircraft and tow mules in the hanger deck and attach the flight deck.

I added fiber optic strands to the Fresnel landing system by using a small pin drill to drill out all the lights.  I then super glued in the fibers.  I drilled a hole under the catwalk near the Fresnel system and ran the fibers down to a set of red and blue LED's mounted on a piece of sheet plastic that was glued to the side of the hull.  Since I had a wooden base, I placed the 2 AA batteries and switch there.

I  hope this site helps you out and has provided the information you need to create a great looking ship. If you want to know more about how I did something, have a construction question or want to ask a question, just shoot me a note, I'll be glad to help!! And I've put together a ship specification page. You can click on areas of the ship and read detailed descriptions of that section.  To check it out go here. (Editor's Note: It's really cool! Take a look!)

I  have taken a few photos of the ship for you to reference.  Remember that different monitors view images differently.
 These images are mainly for reference of aircraft location and location of ship details.

Click the thumbnail image to view full size picture

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Viewed from astern

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Starboard side, island
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Starboard midship profile

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Bow on view

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Port side view
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Wide angle view of port side