Friday, July 18, 2014

USS Arizona

The USS Arizona, BB39, is one of the most iconic ships in history. Originally launched in 1916 she proudly served with the US Pacific Fleet. On the morning of December 7, 1941 she was moored alongside Ford Island in Battleship Row, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She had recently returned from a fleet exercise and her crew was enjoying the relaxed routine of a ship at dock on a lazy Sunday morning. Most of her crew were at breakfast when the general quarters alarm sounded, the last thing they expected to hear on that fateful day. For most of them it would be their last as Arizona was hit in rapid succession by a torpedo and two bombs. The second bomb was armor piercing and struck her forecastle near the base of one of her 14" turrets. Since she was at dock many of the normal underway safety measures were not in place and it was likely that some of her internal doors were not secured. Whether that was true or not the blast from that second bomb ignited her forward powder magazines. That massive detonation and the ensuing fires killed many of her crew and trapped hundreds more below decks with no way to escape. When she settled to the bottom 1200 men went with her.

Last night my wife bought me Revell's 1/426 USS Arizona. It isn't a kit I would normally buy for myself but I'm glad she chose it. It allows me to build my own small memorial to the ship and her crew. I only hope that I can do it justice.

I will update this post with photos as the build progresses.


Started building the kit and here is the progress so far. First up ia the hull. As with most ship models this comes in two pieces, left and right halves. There are alignment tabs on the lower hull that are supposed to help the two sides line up. Unfortunately they do rather the opposite and I ended up cutting them away to get the outside of the hull to align properly. Also pictured are the forward and aft sections of the lower hull. These can be problem areas as it's very difficult to get them to close up properly. I used regular 1/2" masking tape laid about 3/4" apart to pull the sides together tightly then ran liquid cement along the joint from the inside. Some seeped through onto the masking tape but a few minutes work with an X-acto and fine sandpaper will take care of that.

I also started painting some parts by hand. Most of the work will be done with my airbrush but there are some spots where that just isn't feasible. Both the forward and aft main deck sections will be done entirely by hand. This is the forward main deck. I used Testors Acryl paints, Earth Red for the base with a wash of  Armor Sand. I'm not entirely sure I like the result and may just go over it with a lighter color. What I need to do is find out what kind of wood her decks were and try to find a paint that will match. The dark color on the lower right is Tamiya Medium Blue, a very close match to the Ocean Grey that her upperworks were painted. It isn't cooperating to well, but then again it is a 20 year old jar of paint so I may be asking to much from it!

More pics to follow!

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