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david leigh-smith
283 articles

USS Enterprise CV6

July 9, 2017 · in Ships · · 15 · 3.8K

What can you say about the Enterprise? To me, she represents the spirit, the bravery and courage, the hope, and the good that humanity is capable of. I think it's impossible to overstate the influence this ship had on the war in the Pacific, both in literal terms of how many times she stepped up to the plate and slugged it out of the park, and in the way that she captured something of the need of the free world to stand against evil.

Anyway, as Sherlock would say, "the game is afoot", and the Big E is on my bench. For probably the first time I feel a little intimidated by a build, mainly because I want to do her justice - but more so because (and I know this would sound silly to a non-modeler) I can 'feel' the weight of history in this project. Her iconic lines, the amazing men who captained and worked her, and the countless young men who died serving her, all make me feel humble. I want to do her justice. Also, Imake no apologies for getting emotional here; this is certainly not sentiment, this is gratitude.

So, where to start?

Well, this is the Merit version of the 'Gray Ghost' and although the shape is good, those well documented armour plates are an eyesore; not to mention ridiculous in terms of scale. So before anything else gets done, there's a whole lot of sanding going on for a few days!

Here is the one piece hull set against a 1/48 Hellcat, to give some idea of her size.

And another of the whole of her hull - that cutting mat is size A1.

As yet I'm not sure if I want to go with the 'Midway' Enterprise, or post-Midway refit that saw her off to Guadalcanal. In all seriousness if I had the time I'd make at least three versions of this beauty.

"I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by"

(Sea Fever, by John Masefield)

Once upon a time a good time on a Saturday night was meeting with friends, off to a bar, maybe watch a band, and then off to a club...
In 2017, well, it's all about a sanding block, some old rock on the TV, a beer, and a bloody ton of patience.
Might be finished sanding these damn armour plates by Christmas.

Reader reactions:
6  Awesome

15 responses

  1. I see what you mean about all the sanding that lay ahead. Another thing I notice is that your "work area" is TOO CLEAN. You're making the rest of us ( at least ME). look bad. Don't you realize that a work bench has to cluttered, dirt and in disarray? Shame on you...or is it shame on US? 🙁

  2. A great ship indeed. I'm sure you'll do her justice. I did the old Revell and Aurora kits as a youth. This kit would be out of my comfit zone. Hats off to you.

  3. Ah, Craig. It's all part of the 'ritual'. As I get my head into a new project the cutting mat gets a brush up, the tools get a clean, and the room gets a reorganisation.
    Believe me - it's not always like this.

  4. Robert, I also made the old Revel kit and my memory is of gluey fingerprints for some reason. It was in some crazy scale (just looked it up - 1/487).
    I also think this kit is out of my comfort zone, so it'll be slow and steady. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Robert - hope you are well.

  5. This is going to be interesting...Great choice of subject! I am sure you will do her justice - just take your time and I promise you'll enjoy it immensely. And if you ever run into issues, you know where to find us 😉

  6. Thanks, Boris. I think you are absolutely correct; one of the critical keys to this build will be patience (and lots of gray paint!). In terms of issues, I'm sure I'll run into plenty, but as you say, there's a huge amount of experience and goodwill out there on iModeler to help.

  7. I hadn't heard of the armour plating controversy, but I understand what you have before you to do! I'm sure you can do it justice. The men who served on her would be proud, thanks to you.

    • I read an interview with a man who had served on the Enterprise discussing her undignified end in 1958, sold for scrap by a country she served like no other. He said he was pleased she'd gone, as the thought of kids running around those decks "dripping ice cream" where so much blood was shed would be too much to bear.
      We can't walk those decks in the way we can with 'museum ships', but you are right, Jeffry; we can try and do her some justice in our own way.

  8. David - looks like a great project.

    On a personal side note, the poem you quote at the bottom was a favorite of mine since I ran across it in 9th grade English class. As a young adult I looked for it for years because I couldn't remember the author (thought it was Frost of Longfellow), but about a decade ago I remembered my quest, and with the advent of the Internet of Everything - I found it again! I have never seen it quoted anywhere by nice to see it here on my favorite modeling site!

    • Thanks for that great story, Greg. It's a lovely line of poetry that speaks to that inner sailor in each of us.
      Speaking of poetry, a few years ago I came across this piece of work written two days after Pearl Harbour by Fremont Sawade as he sat among the ruins of that terrible day. It was the first poem he ever wrote, and he never wrote another line afterwards...

      'The Fateful Day’ - Fremont Sawade (died Feb 12, 2016)

      ‘Twas the day before that fateful day,
      December Sixth I think they say.
      When leave trucks passed Pearl Harbor clear
      The service men perched in the rear.
      No thought gave they, of things to come.
      For them, that day, all work was done.
      In waters quiet of Pearl Harbor Bay,
      The ships serene, at anchor lay.
      Nor did we give the slightest thought
      Of treacherous deeds by the yellow lot.
      Those men whose very acts of treason,
      Are done with neither rhyme nor reason.
      For if we knew what was in store
      We ne’re would leave that day before.
      For fun and drink to forget the war
      Of Britain, Europe, and Singapore.
      For all of us there was no fear
      This time of peace and Christmas cheer.
      Forget the axiom, might is right,
      Guardians of Peace, were we that night.
      We passed the sailors in cabs galore,
      Those men in white who came ashore.
      But some will ne’re be seen again,
      In care-free fun, those sailor men.
      The Sabbath Day dawned bright and clear,
      A brand of fire ore the lofty spear,
      Of Diamond Head, Hawaii’s own.
      A picture itself that can’t be shown,
      Unless observed with naked eye,
      That makes one look, and stop, and sigh.
      What more could lowly humans ask
      To start upon their daily task.
      The men asleep in barracks late,
      Knew no war, that morn at eight.
      The planes on fields, their motors cold,
      Like sheep asleep among the fold.
      The ships at anchor with turbines stilled,
      Their crews below in hammocks filled.
      And faint, as tho it were a dream,
      A sound steels on upon this scene.
      A drone of many red tipped things,
      The Rising Sun upon their wings.
      Those who saw would not believe,
      And those that heard could not conceive.
      A single shocking, thundering roar,
      Followed by another and many more.
      To rob the sleep from weary eyes,
      Or close forever those that died.
      A hot machine gun’s chattering rattle,
      Mowed men down like herds of cattle.
      A bomb destroys an air plane hangar,
      The planes within will fly no more.
      Bombs explode upon a ship,
      Blasting men into the deep,
      To sink without the slightest thought
      Of what brought on this hell they caught.
      What seems like years, the horrible remains,
      Blasting men and ships and planes.
      And just as quick as they had come,
      Away they went, their foul deeds done.
      To leave the burning wreckage here,
      The scorching hulks of dead ships there.
      And blasted forms of dying men,
      Alive in hell, to die again.
      At night the skies were all but clear,
      The rosy glow of a white hot bier,
      Showed on clouds the havoc wrought,
      And greedy flames the men still fought.
      But from the ruins arose this cry,
      That night from those who did not die,
      “Beware Japan we’ll take eleven,
      For every death of December Seven.”
      And from that day there has arisen,
      A cry for vengeance, in storms they’re driven.
      This fateful day among the ages,
      Shall stand out red in Hist’rys pages.
      Those men whom homefolk held so dear,
      Will be avenged, have no fear.
      And if their lives they gave in vain,
      Pray, I too, may not remain.

  9. Profile Photo
    said on July 10, 2017

    A good choice . Look forward to seeing completion.

  10. David, I'm sure that you'll do her justice. Shame about the "plating". I always wondered where that quote from the poem came from, thanks for that.

  11. The actual original armour belt on the Enterprise varied between two and four inches (according to Paul Budzik, and boy, is he good). I seem to remember reading in a review that if the plating on the Merit Big E were scaled up to full size it'd be around three feet thick!
    Great (as always) to hear from you, Bernard.

  12. Hello David. Interesting project. Far to much work for me.
    I remember seeing the armour plate on HMS Blake when I started work as an apprentice in Portsmouth Dockyard. If memory serves me correctly, it was 6 inches thick midships. She was laid down during WW11 when armour plate was normal. I was lucky enough to work on her during my apprenticeship.

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