USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) 1/700 – Finishing a 1994 Build in 2021
Back in 1992-1993 I used Larry Gertner's article on accurizing a Hasegawa Essex kit to represent the Lexington (CV-16) in June 1944. After finishing that model in 1993, I wanted to build one that was as different as possible, and bought one of the "long-hull" versions of the Hasegawa kit, and decided to build it as Ticonderoga (CV-14) as it appeared when commissioned in May 1944.
Of particular interest were five things. First, the kit would need to be modified to shorten the flight deck at the bow and stern. Second, it needed the atypical flight deck cut-out on the port side forward for a dun director that was never installed. Third, it would be in "dazzle" camouflage. Forth, the island would have a different arrangement, with the extended bridge and different radars. And finally, instead of the closed hangar on CV-16, it would have the hangar doors opened, and the #3 elevator in the lowered position.
I had almost finished the model by the next summer, but bought my first home and model making gave way to refurbishing a 1908 home - and CV-14 never got finished. Instead, it sat on my #2 dock with a similarly almost-finished December 1940 Yorktown (CV-5).
It would be around 2017 before I would get back into modeling, and 2019 before I began completing 1/700 carriers. By the spring on 2021 I had four completed 1/700 Essex-class kits to joining the 1993-94 ships and was closing in on a fifth, and I decided to go back and finish CV-14. But it would need more just just a few final bits of railing, I realized. It needed some paint work and additional detailing to match the work I was doing on other 1943-45 ships of the class, even though it couldn't match the newer kits in detail.
New Paint / More Camouflage / Weathering
Back in the early 90's I was using different paint colors for USN warships, including Polly-S Sea Blue for Navy Blue, and Polly-S Ocean Gray and Light Gray for the corresponding colors. I now know that the Sea Blue was far too dark for 5-S, and the other two colors did not have nearly enough of a blue tint. I repainted all the Navy Blue and Ocean Gray on the ship with the correct colors, using Testors paints. I decided against handpainting the Light Gray, but used a wash of the correct color for a little fading and scale effect. I also added a little light grime to give some detail to the model.
The flight deck was weathered with several washes of the correct Flight Deck Blue, dark gray and rust.
I also added a number of additional camouflage panels based on a closer study of the camouflage patterns and photos. In several places the camouflage panels went up into the gallery decks, which I had not appreciated originally. Also, the tops and sides of the 5" turrets were painted, as were a number of the 20mm mounts in the gun galleries.
Railings / Floater Net Baskets
Other than a small section on the port side aft I didn't add any additional railings, but I did add a pair of 20mm gun tabs hanging off the aft end of the flight deck, and included another half dozen 20mm mounts from the spares box for Hasegawa kits. They're crude by modern standards, but meant the model had uniform 20mm mounts.
One of the details missing on many models are the dozens of floater net baskets attached to the railings on the gallery deck catwalks. I cut these by the dozen, painted them gunship gray, and attached them as shown on photos. They give the ship a much busier appearance, and break up the long lines of railings.
Hull ventilation openings
One of the most annoying characteristics of the Hasegawa kit is that the starboard side of the hull only has a few of the doors and ventilation openings. I examined photos of the hull side and added these.
I'm very happy with the finished product - although the handpainted camouflage and 27 year old details don't hold up to close scrutiny, it's now a consistently painted and detailed member of the class on my Essex shelves.