The model is an in-progress build of USS Missouri, in 1/192nd scale, as she appeared in 1945, built from scratch. The model displays Gold Medal Models (http://www.goldmm.com/ , "GMM") photo-etch brass rails and radars and Floating Drydock brass floater net baskets (http://floatingdrydock.com/). She's about 80% complete now after two years of work. Inspired by Tamiya's 1/350th scale USS Missouri and the fine work of other modelers, most notably Bob Steinbrunn's USS Kidd, Tony Bunch's USS Missouri, and Charles Landrum's USS Arizona, I decided to try my hand at scratch building. Plans and primary references included photos from this website as well as the Naval Historical Center (http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/org11-2.htm), the excellent "USS Missouri Plans Book" from the good folks at Floating Drydock, and a set of plans drawn by Alan B. Chesley also from Floating Drydock.

I am in the Army and was deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11. My very supportive wife Cathy sent me a box of model-making stuff: Evergreen sheet plastic, some tools, liquid cement and CA glue and the like, and here's what I did with it. I started making the superstructure in Kandahar in the evenings as kind of a stress break. I made the hull after I returned home since it would have been too big to ship home.

Mo778sl.jpg (99758 bytes) Mo779sl.jpg (110168 bytes) Mo900sl.jpg (125370 bytes) Mo901sl.jpg (99977 bytes)

Hull: At 1/192nd scale the hull is 56 inches long. It is made from balsa sheet over an 1/8" thick plywood frame fiberglassed for strength. The hull is primed with automotive primer. Imperfections were filled with automotive putty. The hull strakes are made from thicker coats of primer painted heavily between masks. The bilge keels are sheet styrene. The main deck is covered with Evergreen v-groove sheet styrene simulating the wood planking over plain sheet styrene underlayer. The underlayer extends outwards from the deck forming the deck-edge waterway and forward forming the forecastle deck. The foremost 20mm tub is sheet styrene. The edge of the waterway is lined with a styrene strip. Bucket vents, minus the vent caps, are brass tubing. Anchor chain deck plate is an aftermarket item purchased from Floating Drydock. 20mm Oerlikon splinter shields are sheet styrene. The reinforcing members are styrene strips. The rudders are styrene with brass hinges. The 16-inch turret barbettes are styrene.

Superstructure: The superstructure is made from numerous Evergreen styrene sub-assemblies some of which are not yet glued into position to allow access later for painting. The splinter shields, decks, steam pipes, searchlight tubs and platforms, and main gun directors are Evergreen sheet, strip and rod styrene. Portholes were punched using a punch and die set. Though normally the portholes, or more properly "air ports", are closed when operating in combat conditions I chose to model mine open for visual interest. The navigating bridge window frames are GMM. Director tubs are made from brass tubing fronts and box stock rears fastened with CA. The funnel caps are a combination of resin fronts, styrene sides and exhaust, and GMM brass grills. The bulkhead-mounted vents are brass mesh as is the perforated mast platforms. The 40mm Quad Bofors tubs and shields are styrene as is all deck supporting reinforcing members. The masts are a combination of brass and styrene tubing. The main SK-2 search radar and Mk-37 radars are a GMM product.

Mo884sl.jpg (88483 bytes) Mo886sl.jpg (109741 bytes) Mo902sl.jpg (143951 bytes) Mo903sl.jpg (116354 bytes)

Turrets and Gun Directors and 40mm Quad Bofors Mounts: I built a styrene master for gun turrets and gun directors then cast duplicates from cream-colored resin I ordered from Bare Metal Foil. I used silicone-based RTV rubber molds exclusively also from Bare Metal Foil to cast the parts. The 16-inch/50-caliber gun barrels are resin cast over a brass tubing insert simulating the barrel liner and provides stiffness and straightness to the resin. The master was made from brass tubing turned on a "poor-man's lathe" (a Dremel moto-tool held tightly). The twenty 40mm quad Bofors mounts are cast in 10 parts each but I have assembled just two so far. The Bofors mounts are the most difficult and complex items I have cast.

Fittings: Other details such as fire hoses, oxygen and acetylene bottles, etc., are resin casts made from styrene masters. Many of the brass details such as the radars, ladders and rails come from Loren Perry's Gold Medal Models USS Missouri 1/192nd photo-etch set (too bad Loren Perry isn't making a new Super Set in 1/192nd!). The water-tight doors and stowed boat davits are duplicates cast using a GMM door and davit as the master. The stanchions are made from very small brass H-stock strips. I am not sure yet how best to make the 16-inch gun bloomers. The aircraft handling crane is half-round styrene over GMM brass. The crane base and back-stop are styrene.

Mo904sl.jpg (115479 bytes) Mo905sl.jpg (120728 bytes) Mo907sl.jpg (75093 bytes) Mo899sl.jpg (101250 bytes)

What's Next: Two more 20mm Oerlikon shields astride Turret #2 and lots of numerous details bits and odds and ends are yet to be fitted although most major structures are now complete. The outer propeller shafts have to be built then installed. I intend to use Raboesch propellers available from Loyalhanna Dockyard but have yet to buy them. And the Bofors will take a lot of work. I suspect that aligning the Bofors barrels will be tricky. I will probably use syringe needles for the barrels. Some of the other fittings yet to be installed include searchlights, practice loaders, etc., and are from H-R Products.

Steve Larsen

_____________________________________________________________________________________________