Custom carriers from OOB's and painted pieces

  • 2019 2018 Customizer

    The first New Orleans class cruiser is done (or was a few days ago but I’m just now getting around to posting). This one is the USS Minneapolis, CV-36.

    The USS Minneapolis and the USS Indianapolis together for comparison:

  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Beautiful work!

  • 2019 2018 Customizer

    Thank you, Marc! While the rest of the New Orleans Class cruisers are getting done I wanted to share some more recent finishes. We’ve purchased some Independence Class aircraft carriers from Ebard at Shapeways for use as light carriers to go with HBG’s Casablanca light carriers, and the first one done is the USS Cowpens (CVL-25), also known as “The Mighty Moo” for its many Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons. There were a lot of references for the camo but very few for the deck and arresting cables. I was able to find a set of diagrams from some plastic model instructions, and with those and pictures of scale models and pictures of the class on FOlewnik was able to correctly place arresting gear on the flight deck. Although it’s a light carrier, it has 2 magnets for aircraft. To get better pictures of the sides, I put the piece on the edge of the board overhanging the table, but the first picture is when it was still in progress. I like it because you can better see the four colors used.

    Also done is the USS Trenton (CL-11) from HBG in Camouflage Measure 33, Design 2F, from a set of drawings prepared by the Bureau of Ships for a camouflage scheme intended for light cruisers of the CL-4 (Omaha) class found on

    Another GHQ Benham Class destroyer is also done, this one as the USS Stack (DD-406). Her camouflage is Measure 31, Design 11d. Photographs from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives, via
    DSC_0604-USS Stack-Benham Class.jpg
    DSC_0604-USS Stack-Benham Class-0540609.jpg

    The three of them together:


  • 2019 2018 2017

    Wow, this is some incredibly great work you are doing… And thank you so much for sharing!!!

  • 2019 2018 Customizer

    Thank you AA, we appreciate the compliment! FOlewnik completed the five New Orleans class cruisers 2 weeks ago, and between work and overtime we finally got together so I could add some roundels to the scout plane wings and add hull numbers to a few non-camouflage hulls. I took some shots before I added the decals, so from left to right, The USS New Orleans, USS Astoria, USS Tuscaloosa, USS San Francisco, and USS Minneapolis.

    The USS New Orleans is wearing a Bow Wave camouflage pattern, and the USS Tuscaloosa and USS San Francisco are wearing Camouflage Measure 33, Design 13D from a diagram just like the Trenton above taken from navsource. The tiny roundels went on with very little fuss (which is unusual- I must be getting the hang of it) so adding decals went quicker than I thought it would.

  • 2019 2018 Customizer

    I finished a few more Hawker Hurricanes from SNAFU at Shapeways, so while FOlewnik is kept from his painting by all the overtime he’s got to put in at this time of year, I’ll share these.

    A while back someone asked about storage and I tried to describe the old metal filing cabinet piece that FOlewnik found. I grabbed a couple of shots a while ago and forgot about them, so here they are. The drawers can fit 4 piece boxes in them, with the lids, 2x2. But the painted pieces don’t get tossed together, they get separated nicely, as in the Japanese Navy drawer shown here. We’ll eventually cut some foam for each drawer but for now this is how they are.

  • 2019 2018 Customizer

    Three Northampton Class cruisers are finished now, with a possible 4th being considered. As you can see from the comparison below, the out of box (OOB for those in the know) sculpt is suspiciously close to the Northampton silhouette taken from, so comparatively little modification work was needed to the OOB sculpt.
    Comparison Northampton Vs Sculpt.jpg

    FOlewnik chose to paint the USS Northampton (CA-26) wearing Measure One (dark) camouflage, with a Measure Five false bow wave, as it wore when it returned to Pearl Harbor on Dec 8, 1941. There are great reference pictures for the false bow wave on navsource on the Northampton’s page:

    If it weren’t sunk by Japanese aerial torpedoes off Rennell Island on 30 JAN 1943, The USS Chicago (CA-29) might have worn this camo pattern, and we needed a cruiser in this pattern, so FOlewnik painted the USS Chicago wearing US Navy Camo Measure 12:

    Last but not least, from a drawing prepared by the Bureau of Ships for a camouflage scheme intended for heavy cruisers of the Northampton Class, here is the USS Chester (CA-27) wearing Camouflage Measure 32, Design 9D, as seen prominently on

    The three Northampton Class cruisers together:

    And finally for comparison, the USS Chester (Northampton class), the USS Tuscaloosa (New Orleans class), and the USS Portland (Portland class):

  • 2020 2019 2018

    Northampton Victor Henry’s boat : ) Never heard of the false bow wave. I guess that was to make it look like it was going faster than it was ? Or is that just a customization thing ?

  • 2019 2018 Customizer

    @barnee Yes, the idea was to give the illusion of speed. The USS Saratoga also wore bow wave camo for a while. actually uses the Northampton as an example here:

  • 2019 2018 Customizer

    USS Ranger (CV-4) by FOlewnik. He actually finished this around the time of the cruiser mods for the Northamptons but I’m just now getting around to editing the pictures to post. Sculpt is from Ebard at Shapeways. Although we’ll most likely use it as a light carrier, it still has 2 magnets.

    Also done are the heavy cruiser USS Boston (CA-69) and the light cruiser USS Concord (CL-10), sculpts from HBG.

    I’ve been making aircraft for the US carriers, doing SBD’s from the out of box sculpts as seen earlier in the post, and as seen above atttached by magnet to the USS Ranger, HBG’s SB2C Helldivers. But I couldn’t find F4F’s. Undaunted, I took HBG’s Hellcats, which are smaller than the out-of-box Hellcats, and shaped the tail so it looked more like the top view of an F4F I found on Wings Palette (inset below). I used 400 sandpaper and made a few passes on each round end to flatten it out, then took an X-Acto knife and cut a nick next to the rudder and ran the sandpaper through a few times to create a groove between the rudder and rear wing. The test piece became Jimmy Thatch’s F4F. Tiny decal time (LESS than one millimeter!)- I used the bottom half of each side of an unused letter “H” for the dash between the “F” and the “1” on the fuselage, and to match the pictures on Wings Palette, the “1” is actually an upper case “i”, from the decal sheet LW-100 at HBG ( Now I just need FOlewnik to finish the USS Lexington so it has a place to park.
    Before the cockpit is inked:
    After the cockpit is inked:

  • 2019 2018 Customizer

    Doolittle Raid USS Hornet (CV-8) by FOlewnik almost finished in these shots. It actually is finished (arrestor cables & AA guns missing here) but I don’t yet have pictures of it. FOlewnik is using Ebard’s Yorktown class for the sculpt. The unpainted sculpt shows where the magnets have been set and leveled with putty. You can see the hollow underside has also been filled. Prior to painting and drilling the magnet holes, the island bits that look fragile are brushed with liquid Super Glue (not the gel kind). Shapeways pieces are pretty porous so the glue soaks in and helps strengthen the piece.

    Close up pf the deck lines. These are done with a 10/0 brush, both the black and white. The deck AA guns haven’t been done yet.

    Side views:

    I’ve finally finished the decals on the 1/500 Spitfire MkI’s from SNAFU at Shapeways ( so I thought I’d share shots of those as well. They come with landing gear down like the Hawker Hurricanes shown earlier, but I’ve taken them off. They were used as funnels on the Japanese transports.

  • 2019 2018 Customizer

    USS Yorktown (CV-5) circa 1938 started as the unpainted Shapeways print in the above post alongside the unfinished USS Hornet. Hornet is shown finished here.

    Port & starboard detail, USS Yorktown (CV-5):

    Port & starboard detail, USS Hornet (CV-8):

  • 2019 2018 Customizer

    USS Saratoga (CV-3) wearing Camouflage Measure 32 Design 11a, 3d print by Ebard at Shapeways, painted by FOlewnik. It has 2 magnets for aircraft hidden beneath the paint. Two photographs from 1944 are shown for reference.

    Short Stirling bombers from HBG painted by yours truly for the UK to use for long range or heavy bombers (or both). These are 1/600 scale, which is a little larger than the OOB bombers, but that gives room for more detail so I tried to take advantage of that. Each piece had to be heavily trimmed of flash plastic and mold grooves, and heated with a hair dryer to untwist and straighten out the fuselage and straighten the wings and rudder as best as possible. You can see a few rudders are still a little wilted, but compared to what they were, I was happy. From what I’ve been able to find in research, the actual bomber did not have counter rotating props like this sculpt does. These wear the markings of 7 Sqn, RAF, who were the first squadron to be equipped with the new Short Stirling heavy bomber, & the first RAF squadron to operate four engined bombers during the Second World War, flying the first bombing raids with the Stirling against oil storage tanks near Rotterdam on the night of 10/11 February 1941 (from the wiki).

    I accented the control surfaces with the same 20/0 brush used for the fine cockpit lines, which are molded into the sculpt. First a dark wash of brown over the first coat of camo, then go over the wash with the original color again, and it helps mimic the fabric control surfaces. The top turret and front and rear turrets and bombardier’s window were done with the 005 black pen. Fuselage windows were done in silver with the Insane Detail brush from Army Painter and shaped after the first coat of dullcote with the black 005 pen if needed.

  • @DMcLaren
    Makes me want to rebuild my Lexingtons.

  • '16 Customizer

    @DMcLaren said in Custom carriers from OOB's and painted pieces:

    It’s been awhile since I’ve been on the forums and seen your customized work DMcLaren. Just now coming back to it… wow! What kinds of paints are you using that you can get such crisp lines? Are you thinning the paint at all to give yourself more definition on your lines? It looks amazing!

  • 2019 2018 Customizer

    Thank you, gentlemen. We- FOlewnik and I- appreciate the feedback.

    @Spitfire38 - It’s not the paint, it’s the brushes. FOlewnik does the ships with water based paint and I do the aircraft in enamel, both are finished with Testor’s Dullcote. FOlewnik relies heavily on his 10/0 brush for these US aircraft carrier decks, with help from his 20/0 and 0000 with the same on the hulls for camo detail and fine lines. I’d have to say I’m right around the same when I do the aircraft, but I do a lot with my incredibly old Testor’s 0 with a wooden handle. I’ve had it for about 40 years, now that I think about it! It (the zero brush) puts down the main coat on just about everything. My Army Painter brand “Psycho” and “Insane Detail” brushes are still in great shape and get a lot of use. The 20/0 I have did the cockpits for the SNAFU/Shapeways Hurricanes & Spitfires, and the above HBG Stirlings. I dip my 20/0 in whatever stays on the underside of the paint lid when the lid is set on the table. No thinner, clean brush. FOlewnik pours his paint onto one of those round plastic artist dishes with all the little round spaces for paint, one or two drops at a time, more if he’s doing a large area. He uses water based paint so he keeps the brush wet. It’s also important to “load” your brush properly- that is, to pick up the right amount of paint for what you want to do. If you have too much, paint the wooden holder to get rid of some, lol. If you notice FOlewnik’s ship holders that he made (angled pics of Sara above), they’re covered with paint stripes from where he’s removing paint from the brush and shaping the brush head to get a good point a lot of the time. But the idea is the smaller the detail wanted, the smaller the brush needed. It also helps to have a set of waterproof .005 pens, or just a black one if you can’t find a set of colors. Pens are best used after a base of dullcote to give the pen a smoother, porous surface to draw on. I still use pens, but FOlewnik has fallen in love with free-handing with a 20/0 paint brush and hasn’t used a pen since he finished the Japanese navy.

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