I have both issues of the post war angle decked Lex. I was looking at the Midway with Gemini recovery version. Now I know the Lex is a Midway class but is the Midway kit the same as the Lex? are the aft gun tubs on the Midway like both Lexs?
Another Q, I know someone makes/made replacement AC for the 1/540 carriers but I cannot find anything more than F8s. Any ideas for F4s and '70s stuff?
Hey thanks Bill, anything 'Nam era '65-70, A3-5-6-7s, F4s what have you. My neighbor bought both Lex issue kits for me to 'replicate' the Shangri-la (I know wrong class but....) and there are some ADs, a couple A4s and F8s in the older version and only 4 F4s and a couple E-2s (no radome=S-2) in the newer version. I'm going to 'try' casting some extras from what I have available. The older Lex kit has some minor assembly already and a couple small parts are AWOL. The plan is to use this kit, add what AC I can, then he can 'bay the newer, complete kit later.
Now, If I can talk him into waiting for the Gemeni recovery Wasp kit, I won't have boat loads of rework but I'll have to make copies of all the AC. No Good Deed.............:-)
I found three A-3s, one modified with folded wings. There's also a bladeless H-34 in the box. The rest of the planes are F-8s, an F9F-8, a couple A-1s, 2 H-16s and a gaggle of indistinct aircraft from a Forrestal kit.
The Lexington is a "short-hull" Essex class (sometimes referred to as Essex-Hancock class since the Hancock was the first of the "long-hull" variants. The long-hulls had more rake to the stem (12' longer hulls) which allowed for dual 40mm mounts instead of the single mount on the short-hull bows).
The Midway class comprised 3 ships (7-8 years after Lex) - Midway, Franklin D Roosevelt, and the Coral Sea. They were nearly 100' longer than the Lex and had nearly twice the displacement. While the Midway ended life with a very odd deck plan, the FDR and CS looked very similar to the SBC-27C mod Essex-Hancocks, which is probably the source of your confusion.
If you are modeling the Lex as she was in the Training Command days, you need to remove the gun tubs from the stern and make a smooth rounded hull/rail. I can send you some photos of mine if you e-mail me offline ( email@example.com). All guns were removed from the Lex sometime in the early 60's (she became the training carrier in DEC63).
Also, be advised that the entire starbord side of the ship is wrong (for the Lexington and some others of the class) and cannot be corrected without widening the hull, which I have yet to figure out how to do.
White-Ensign models used to have a line of aircraft for this scale, but I don't see a lot of the birds I once did on their website now. The have a bunch of 350 and 700 aircraft but I don't see the 540 scale stuff I did before. You may want to contact them with your needs. I also got some resin aircraft from some guy on e-bay a while back but don't recall his ID. They don't look real great but will probably be fine with a little work. Have not used them yet.
Thanks John. I had though the Lex was a Midway, now I know better! The neighbor found the Wasp (no rear tubs I hope) and Bill is going to let me borrow a couple from him (if I can get his email). The ones you're talking about from ebay are probably from Star(?) F-8s and A-4s IIRC. Those are the only things available. I too went to White Ensign and SteelNavy because I know they used to carry a fairly extensive 1/540 AC line but not anymore :-(
As for the wider hull; the first set of photos of the Shangri-La during and right after the angle deck refit doesn't look much wider than before. In the last set, showing her on her decom shift, she looks like a very fatted cow! Maybe there were two refits?
There were actually a number of major refits, with the most famous being the SCB-27C modifications (these ships are referred to by Naval Aviators as 27-Charlies to this day), and culminating with SCB-125, but none I know of that changed the hull (though some catwalks and boat decks may have been enclosed, this would not change the hull widths). The problem with the Revell kit of the Lexington, Hornet and Wasp (same mold, different decals/airwing) is that if you look at photos of the Lexington, even during the WWII period, you will note that the starboard side of the hull extends up to and is basically flush with the flight deck edge. This is not the case in the Revell kit. While there is a narrow catwalk aft of the island, the Revell kit has a boat deck wide enough to play tennis on. The configuration of the starboard side in the Revell kits seems to be a conglomeration of two or three different ships. To my eye, it appears closest to that of the Ticonderoga (CV-14) and Randolph CV-15) - both Long-Hull ships.
If you have access to Bert Kinzey's excellent book on the USS Lexington (Detail and Scale #29), you can clearly see the starboard side on pages 8 (WWII) and 36 (current). Compare these photos with the kit and you will see what I am talking about. Also, the bow of the Lexington and Oriskany were different from any of the other ships. Revell got this wrong also, though it is a little easier to fix.
Also in Kinsey's book, beginning on page 23 in a section titled "Modernization," he very thuroughly outlines the various refits, what was applied to which ship and how they differ. Required reading for anyone who wants to accurately model these ships.
And by the way - can anyone explain to me why the kit-makers have ignored these very important ships to US Naval history for so long? Why don't we have a decent 1/350 scale kit of the modernized Essex-Hancocks? I'd even settle for a good 1/700 kit.
Really depends on which ship and what time period you are modeling. For example, you mentioned that you were going to model the Shangri-La. The last time she had A-3's embarked was September of 1965 (VAH-1) along with VF-24 (FJ-3) and VF-124 (F3H).
Between 66 and 69 she had A-4C and E's and F-8/RF-8's only. In 69 VA-82 was added with their A-7A's. Source: Aircraft Carriers of the US Navy by Setfan Terzibaschitsch.
When the A-3D's left in 65/66 the tanking was done by A-4's with D-704 "buddy stores", which became the norm for most air wings on these smaller deck ships. Also, contrary to Revell's inclusion in their kits, the F-4 never operated from the Essex-Hancock ships.
I dug through my spares box and came up with a few aircraft from the Lex. 1 each T-28 and S-2, 2 H-1 (one missing rotor blades), 5 F-9 Cougars - 4 with wings folded and 1 unfolded, and two F-4"s (again, not used on these ships).
Shoot me an e-mail directly ( firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want any of these.
ARII does a couple in 1/800 don't they? But yeah, this is a very deep void in kit offerings. I guess by then the first line of super carriers were underway and kit makers decided to pop them and leave the older conversions alone :-(