Sunday's project was rebuilding the fantail. I used the kit platforms, and recut them to fit the Essex plans, as well as enclosing the top (gallery) deck. (See photos where it’s still white and gray to see what’s original and what’s added). While I had the flight deck on and aligned I added the structural members supporting the flight deck. Still needs detailing, including railings, but it’s ready for the flight deck back there now.
For comparison, an OOB Wasp from the storage boxes, circa 1977.
I thought I'd pass along a few thoughts on the fantail of the Revell angled deck Essex model that I thought I’d pass along.
I’m working on a resurrection build of an old Revell angled deck Essex into an October 1968 CVS-9, and spent yesterday building the fantail based on plans from FDD and photos, mostly of the Yorktown (CVS-10). A photo of my Essex next to an OOB Wasp shows the original kit configuration. I wanted to share what I learned.
First of all, the kit. Revell’s box scale Essex has a single piece for the fantail deck and bulkhead to the hangar bay, as shown in the attached photo, plus two open decks which represent the upper hangar and gallery deck levels. The two decks have built-in railings but no structure on the decks themselves. The upper deck overhangs the lower – more on that in a moment – but the height is correct, meaning that between them they are three decks of equivalent height.
I decided to use as much as I could of these two decks in the rebuild, so I cut off the support posts, sanded them relatively smooth, and replaced the posts with scratch built as needed.
UPPER HANGAR DECK
Surprisingly, with some rounding at the edges the first deck was almost exactly the right size per the plans. But what Revell didn’t have was the shops that were constructed on that deck. They didn’t come all the way out to the edge of the deck, which is about to become important. So I built those per the Essex plans, as shown in the photo.
The Revell kit differs from the original (including the Bennington (CVS-20) on which it was based) in two major ways here. First, the Revell deck overhangs the level below it, rather than coming out the same amount, as the photo of the plans clearly shows. And second, the Revell deck is open to the stern, when the original is enclosed completely by the massive transverse truss that supports the flight deck.
In photos and in person this truss is dominating (I once had a dinner on the fantail of the Lexington in Corpus Christi, and it is not a relaxing location sitting in the shadow of that monster of a truss). and sure looks like it is taller than the deck below and overhangs it – but it doesn’t. As this cross-section shows, it is the same height as the decks below it and extends no farther after than the deck below it. But it appears to because it does overhang the shops built on the deck under it.
And I think this is why the Revell engineers mistakenly thought that it did. Assuming the Bennington had enclosed shops extending only partway to the stern rail, the gallery deck would have overhung them. Now why they didn’t model this piece with a vertical wall, I don’t know.
In the attached builds of this kit, modelers have gone different ways with modeling the stern.
In preparing my build, I’ve looked for other accurized versions of the Revell kit on the Internet and found a couple that have been a big help. For his Yorktown (CV-10) John Higgins chose to keep the Revell configuration of the decks (adding an accurate fantail – note that Essex has a solid rail but Yorktown has 3-bar) but sanded off the kit railings and added photoetch railing. Louis Carabott a lso added an accurate rounded stern to his Hornet (CVS-12) but corrected the kit decks by enclosing the gallery deck at the correct length and adding vertical details.