1/700 USS Miami CL-89
This is a resin kit that included a few sheets of PE details that I built almost completely out of the box. I did add after-market 5"/38 guns and turrets as well as 40mm Bofors, and 20mm Oerlikon guns. I've found that photoetch AA is rarely as good as the 3d printed alternatives. Unfortunately, I also had to substitute plastic 6" main guns and turrets for the superior ones included in the kit after I accidentally destroyed the originals while trying to remove a poor paint job.
The inspiration for this build came from some photos of Miami in early 1944 wearing a heavily weather beaten MS 32/1d camo. Parts of the black paint had been washed off or removed in the lower bow section and heavy chipping patterns had developed where waves had battered her main full.
One of the most difficult parts of replicating USN camo is dealing with the painted decks. Almost all WWII USN ships had there natural teak decks painted over with a dark blue color. A careful study of contemporary color pictures shows that these decks took a lot of beating. The teak would show through in areas of heavy traffic and the 20-B deck blue color would fade in some areas and darken in others. I spent a decent amount of effort layering paint, chipping, highlighting, and applying various washes to try to achieve this look.
Another prominent feature from pictures of Miami (and other Cleveland-class cruisers) is the floater nets placed on the 6" turrets. These nets were loosely attached and would float free to the surface of the water if the ship went down. Crew could use them to as rafts or to store provisions while waiting for rescue. I was able to scratch-build these nets and they really tie the whole diorama together. Well worth the effort!
I scratch built all the pipes and vents around the funnels. These features are often missing from 1/700 kits but add a lot of detail. I also added some steam escaping from a vent near the aft funnel as pictured in the reference photos.
And here she is next to my previous model - a Japanese Akizuki-type destroyer. Both of these ships would have been active in the Pacific theater around the same time.