by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
WWII USN Wooden Deck Display Base
IntroductionSkunkmodels Workshop has brought the modeling world another carrier deck display base. Unlike other such bases, this one is modular and can be expanded to an unlimited size. It features real wood deck segments and photo-etch tie-down grates.
WWII USN Wooden Deck Display BaseSkunkmodels Workshop packs their display base in a light weight end-opening box decorated with a photograph of the assembled deck and a model. Inside the box are three sealed bags holding the base quarters, the anchors and fascias, decking segments are tie-downs, and instruction sheet. Strangely, the back of the box is the same box back as the modern carrier kit -- even the text!
The wood deck sections have nice woodgrain and have laser scribed planks. Each is nine planks wide between tie-down grates. My research shows that USS Yorktown class decks were seven planks wide while Essex carrier decks had 11 planks between tie-downs.
Between the plank sections are the tie-downs. These are built up of wood strips with laser cut ovals overlapped with photo-etched anchor grates. I sprayed the tie-down components with an enamel. The wood did not warp.
While this kit is titled WWII USN Wooden Deck..., Essex class carriers (and other classes) with wooden decks served through the Korean War, and beyond.
AssemblyThe decking sets upon square semi-flexible plastic base quarters. Four of these are secured together by slotted fasteners at the center, at each corner, and each center junction of every two squares. A slotted support also pinches the edged of each square to the adjoining pieces. These parts hold the four squares together and add support to the base. Along the edges are fascia strips. These are slightly higher the top of the base to secure the decking while providing a slight lip to keep models from sliding right off if tilted.
I placed the first deck plank section, then butted a tie-down strip against it, then added the next plank section, added another tie-down strip, and so on. The pieces need to be slightly bowed to fit. Once under the fascia lip the parts lie flat.
The basic set creates a square base almost 9.5 inches square. This is large enough for most carrier aircraft through the Korean War, though an Avenger, SB2C, and definitely the Skyraider and Tigercat would look out of place.
ColorsSMW does not provide painting guidance. Pre-war US Navy carrier decks were teak, and teak is a reddish brown color. I've seen the color referred to as a mahogany stain. Chrome yellow markings were used.
Archives show that as early as July 1941 the Navy was applying blue stain to some carrier decks. Prior to November 1941 the flight deck of USS Ranger was stained a sea blue, Blue Deck Stain, Norfolk Formula No. L-81-3m. After sea trials the stain was reformulated and became Norfolk No. 250N Blue Flight Deck Stain. Markings were a light gray.
During the war other colors were tried, such as a variant of 5-O Ocean Gray known as #21 Flight Deck Stain. In mid-1944 returned a dark blue color, #21 Flight Deck Stain (Revised). This color was used through the Korean War.
To show off the nice woodgrain I chose not to stain the deck -- yet.
ConclusionI am thoroughly impressed with this model. Mainly because of the wood planking. Also for the modular construction. You can theoretically expand the deck until Skunkmodel runs out of kits!
The display base is easy to assemble and looks very good. I would appreciate some guidance on deck color options. It is big enough to accept most USN carrier planes through WWII. Highly recommended!
Please remember to tell vendors and manufacturers that you saw this model here -- on Aeroscale!
Adoption of Blue Flight Deck Stain on US Navy carriers. http://www.shipcamouflage.com/specialtopics/BlueFlightDecks.html. Michael J. Vorrasi.
30 April 2005.