USS Oriskany (CV-34) 1950 (1/700)
The USS Oriskany (CV-34) was the 24th and last Essex-class aircraft carrier to be commissioned. Construction on her was stopped in 1946 and she was completed in the fall of 1950 to a new design, SCB-27A, which better accommodated the newer and heavier jet aircraft that were coming into service. Numerous other carriers of the class were modernized to SCB-27A (and SCB-27C) standards, and all but one later received the hurricane bows and angled flight decks of the SCB-125 program.
I wanted to model a SCB-27A ship as part of my research into the program so I could see what the physical changes made to the class were. I chose Oriskany because she was the first, and her "as commissioned" appearance included a suite of sixteen 20mm twin mounts that didn't last long. By 1952 many of the mounts had been removed, and within a couple of years they were all gone. In addition, the SCB-27A ships originally had a simpler pole mast arrangement without the prominent "X" structure at the top that would become a feature by the mid-1950s.
My model started with Dragon's 1/700 Princeton (CVS-37), a mid-1950's unmodernized Essex. The first step was adding the 6' wide blister to both sides of the hull, as well as an escalator and island from Model Monkey (I also used their 3" gub tubs, port crane sponson, lift raft baskets and Mk 56 gun directors). The bow was reworked to add the secondary conn, and all the gallery deck catwalks were removed and replaced with thinner sheet plastic after the gallery deck itself was thickened up. All flight deck structures (gun mounts) were removed, and new sponsons for the 3" twin mounts built from sheet plastic and putty. Although photos sometime described these as the tubs for the earlier 40mm quads, they are actually significantly larger.
I also added the bracket on the hull for the ship's pole mast. Carriers using the Brooklyn Navy Yard (where Oriskany was built) had a bracket on their hull to hold their masts so they could pass under the East River bridges.
Late in construction I added the removable underwater hull after I added the partial blister to it. Unlike the later conversions, Oriskany's blister was more of a belt and went only partway down the side of the hull underwater, which I thought was worth modeling.
The aircraft are Dragon's early jets from the Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) kit, which also donated the twin 20mm mounts. The 3" twin mounts are from an old Skywave/Pit-Road USN parts parts set, along with the corresponding pieces from two CVL kits.
The photos include comparison photos with the class' original appearance, as shown in the May 1943 Essex (CV-9). The three bows featured in the class - short hull, long hull and long hull w/SCB-27A additions are shown in the photos as well.