This model of the U.S.S. Patoka (AO-9) and Shenandoah was built in the late 1980’s by Dr. C.A. Stern who passed about 1996-7. He left the San Diego Maritime Museum ( 3-4 models, of which this is the only modern Navy type. He became fascinated with the subject when he saw the airship as a young man so, when he retired from medicine and moved to San Diego, he started building the airship U.S.S. Shenandoah. The problem became how to display it. The decision to produce the model in 1/32"=1’ (1:384 scale) was made before Patoka came into the scene and at that time not a lot of folks were building in that scale. Then came photo-etch.

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Photo-etching for modelers was first becoming available at the time and Doc Stern, who had been aware of Patoka, came up with this scheme to put the two together using the resources then available. I wish I could tell you where the P.E. came from but it was too long ago. I do remember the piano wire "water ballast" idea for supporting the "south end" of Shenandoah which executed better than I thought possible at the time.

The technique for the sea was supplied by the San Diego Ship Modelers Guild’s resident Ship-in-bottle expert Vic Crosby, who has also since passed, using plaster and acrylic paints.

U.S.S. Patoka (AO-9) and Shenandoah are a part of the Museums Naval History section, which also contains Henry Boucher’s (Bluejacket ship crafters founder and turn of the 20th century Navy model builder) ¼’=1’ 1905 12’ model of U.S.S. California / U.S.S. San Diego, my own 1/8"=1’ (1:96) model of U.S.S. Wasp (CVS-18) (9’6" loa), 1/8"=1’ (1:96) models of U.S.S. Monterey (BM-6), U.S.S. Bennington (PG-4), U.S.S. Holland (SS-1) U.S.S. Missouri (BB-63), U.S.S. Langley (CV-1), U.S.S. Langley (CVL-27) and Shamrock Bay (CVE-84), U.S.S. Balao (SS-285), U.S.S. U.S. Grant (SSBN-631)as well as a couple of sailing navy vessels in 3/16"=1’ (1:64) U.S.S. Cyane and U.S.S. Hartford, most of which were build by local builders. There are numerous other models and items also on display. One of my personal favorites is a set of wood WWII 1:500 Japanese ID models of both fleets. I’ll try to do a photo essay on them sometime in the near future.

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Captain Bruce Linder, author to "San Diego's Navy" and I (mostly Capt. Linder) are conceptualizing a complete remodel for the section scheduled for this coming fall. It is a touchy subject for museum "types" but for some reason models seems to have fallen from favor in many institutions as they appear to be going into storage more and more. I’m a big fan of 3D miniatures, where the full size is not available, in many scales and will certainly put in my two cents worth for keeping what I consider a superior collection on exhibit.

Bob Crawford
Collections Mgr., Curator of Models, Chief Engineer