One of the characteristics of the SCB-125 Essex class carriers was a prominent crease or "knuckle" at the bow which marks where the class' original open bow was plated in from the forecastle deck to the gallery deck. The knuckle disappears where it meets the hurricane bow, which was all-new construction, and this is approximately where the anchor is located.
On the modern carriers there is no crease – it's a smooth curve up to the flight deck – but on the modernized Essex class ships there is a distinct line.
The 1943 Essex model above shows the "lip" at the forecastle deck. The lower edge is what would become the "knuckle" in the postwar refits.
Unfortunately, when I measured the kit's version of the knuckle – which is really just a bulge – it was significantly below where it needed to be. The correct location is the upper pencil line, and the kit location was the lower.
So I sanded the existing knuckle down with the Dremel (ignoring the fact that as I've noted previously, the hull is a little wider than it should be here anyway), and glued strips of angled plastic. That white strip will tell me where the curve changes, and provide a sharp line that will hopefully match that on the real ship.
I did a little more work on the gallery deck and port sponsons before realizing that it was time for the big step – reattaching the flight deck. I double checked that all the gallery deck sponsons were sanded down properly, and marked the parts that needed plastic cement and the ones that needed super glue (the resin hangar deck needs it where it attaches to plastic).
Next step is the one I've been looking forward to for a long, long time – puttying the bow into the gallery deck – now with an accurate "knuckle" to guide the sanding. The selfie at the top is the current status with two applications of putty (too thick and it won't dry properly) – with the lower (hull) section getting a sanding in between. The upper (forecastle) part will need a couple more applications before I can start shaping it.