My latest build is a 1:96th scale model of the US Coast Guard Cutter DALLAS WHEC-716. She has taken me nearly a year of weekends and a couple of hours everyday after work. She started out as a model kit from BaD Shipmodels, which I highly modified. When the hull was nearly complete before applying resin, I made the decision to make her as close to scale as possible, and from the period of 1977-1978 when I had the privilege of being aboard her during Summer and Spring vacations from High School during that time frame.
The ship is of balsa ‘plank on frame" construction for the main hull. From the main deck up is plywood, sheeted with .015 sheet styrene. I then applied fiberglass and resin to acquire a nice smooth finish. The 3 loop stanchions on the main deck and part of the 01 level are from John R. Haynes fine ship models as is the 5" /38cal gun mount. I had modified the main battery with handholds, made a Mount Captains hood and installed a "basket cage" antenna just as the real gun was so equipped. The MK 56 gun fire control director is from JD Productions, I had also added a cable reel on the fantail from HR Products. The previous items mentioned were obtained through The Floating Drydock.
The watertight doors and various scuttles on the main deck were all scratch built using styrene. The masts are all scratch-built from photos using wood dowels, hand planed and sanded to shape, styrene sheet, plastic tubing and brass wire and plastic rod. The air & surface search radars (SPS 29 and SPS 64) were also made of plastic rod and are made to pivot about their axis. A lot of work went into the construction of the masts and I am very pleased with how they turned out.
The MK 32 triple torpedo launchers are also scratch built from photos, as was the 20mm gun mounts. The helicopter safety nets were also made to be possible either in the stowed or "Helo Recovery" positions. The railings mounted along the upper superstructure (02 decks and higher) were fashioned from brass wire, shaped and soldered. As is the various handholds and hand ladders along the superstructure were also fashioned from copper wire. I also made the boat booms along the forward 20mm gun deck and they also swing out. The ship’s whaleboats were from the kit; however, I detailed them using rubber coaming along the gunwales and added props, steering wheel and throttle.
For the "racing stripe" I airbrushed the colors using photos as reference and I made the decals, including the ship’s badge below the bridge wings, using my photo printer. Overall, I am very pleased with how Dallas turned out. I am still detailing her at the present time, adding "equipment" as I go along. She has already had her "tub" leak check, and draws true down to the waterline as I had trial placed her propulsion gear and associated radio equipment inside her main hull for tests. Over the winter I plan to permanently install all of her interior equipment so I can run her in a nearby lake in spring.
My model of Dallas depicted here could not have materialized had I not used reference photos from various books, and my memory.; The photograph of Dallas "underway " circa 1976-77, which is pictured along with model photo of Dallas underway is credited to Richard L. Banke Sr. Thanks to my friend Mike for his assistance on the base plaque, which really gives the model the class she deserves. And a very, very heartfelt thanks go to the staff of the Technical Information Management Branch at the Coast Guard Engineering Logistics Center, whose invaluable assistance through correspondence and technical drawings helped me take a box of wood, plastic, and metal wire and create as close as possible in miniature form, a replica representing the fond memories I had while on Governors Island, NY during school breaks back in the 70’s.
Once again- Thank you United States Coast Guard, for you are truly "SEMPER PARATUS"