These photographs show a Mini Hobby Model USS Arizona in 1/350 scale, as it should have appeared in the mid 1930s. Major differences with respect to the 1941 layout are in the masts and mast platforms, the superstructure, the stack side platforms , and the absence of splinter protection of the AA 5 in. guns. I didn't want to make the usual Pearl Harbour Memorial, so I went for a somewhat happier period, with colorful Vought O3U Corsairs and nice "39" on the turret roof; the on-line build made by Charles Landrum was very helpful , and I partially followed his suggestions but only partially because I'm a relatively lazy modeler. I unexpectedly found an electric motor with reduction gear and shafts in the box, so I thought about making a RC model, but I didn't want to compromise the overall look by having to remove the central part of the bridge to access the battery and motor, so after some tests I went for a maybe unorthodox solution. I closed the bridge and kept the hull divided in an upper and lower part, carefully sealing the hull with adhesive tape before putting the model in the water. If done with due care, it proved to work, at least to cruise for a while in a quiet pond! But the adhesive band must be really holding. Then I used the components I had from an electric aircraft model of mine: a motor electronic control, a 1100 mAh 8 cells NiCd battery, a receiver and a cheap servo, plus two Grupner 413 stuffing tubes. The original motor was a bit weak and had compatibility problems with my electronic control, so I used a bigger one (a Graupner 480) that I got from my friend Marco (thank you). I made a lever-and-fork mechanism for the rudder, driven by the servo far in the front (being too near the motor it was getting strong interferences). 


Photographs by Mario Busto
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All these components fit in the hull tightly and are rather heavy (with some lead to keep the model balanced), and cause the model to sit low on the water, much like the original. In this way I thought that I could get a waterline, full hull and RC model at one time. Then I started working on the bridge. I sprayed it deck light brown (I use Revell colors and airbrush as much as possible), and then used colour pencils to paint some planks. The dark brown one I used was maybe too dark. If something goes wrong or you don't like it you can always clean it with a sharpened eraser. The difference looks very sharp, but by brush washing with thinned grey-brownish paint it gets a certain effect. Then I re-drew the plank boundaries with a sharp pencil. I covered the half-windows cut of the walls with plastic cut from slides transparent sheets, and scratch built some parts of mast platforms and bridges. I scratch-built the AA machine guns on the masts platforms and modified two White Ensign Model's SOC Seagulls to look like Vought O3U Corsairs. I used also WEM USN portholes and Tomīs Modelworks detail set for the ship and for the boats, plus some Aber inclined stairs and extra Saemann railings. I made the blast bags with little paper cones forced on the barrels and shaped to follow their movement when aimed and partly disappear in the turret when leveled. Finally, I put the model in the water not without some fears after so much work but everything ran smoothly (it was my first RC ship), and the little Arizona found her way.


Photographs by Mario Busto
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Mario Busto

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