First off, let me point out that I did a review about this ship starting with the Revell 1/720 model. For this, I will not repeat the technical data nor the time frame prior to March 1982 as this was dealt with in the Revell review already. [Jim, please add the according link here)
I am picking up the career of this ship after the major refit ending March 1982. The following is based on information I gathered from gonavy.jp as well as Wikipedia:
• Sep.1, 1982 - Apr.28, 1983 (WestPac, Indian Ocean)
In April 1983, Enterprise ran aground on a sandbar in San Francisco Bay while returning from deployment
• May 30, 1984 - Dec.20, 1984 (WestPac, Indian Ocean)
• On 2 November 1985 Enterprise struck Bishops Rock on the Cortes Bank during exercises, damaging the outer hull and propeller.
• Jan.11, 1986 - Aug.13, 1986 (World Cruise)
On 28 April 1986, Enterprise became the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal.
The Enterprise entered the Mediterranean Sea to support “Operation Eldorado Canyon”, the United States bombing of Libya.
Enterprise was supposed to appear in the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), but was for obvious reasons unavailable at the time of filming. Instead, the carrier USS Ranger (CV-61) played the part of Enterprise.
• Oct.25, 1987 - Nov.24, 1987 (NorPac)
• Jan.5, 1988 - Jul.3, 1988 (WestPac, Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf)
In April 1988, Enterprise underwent her 13th deployment and was assigned to Operation Earnest Will, escorting reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Persian Gulf while stationed in the North Arabian Sea.
• Sep.17, 1989 - Mar.16, 1990 (World Cruise)
Enterprise and Midway participated in Operation Classic Resolve, President George H.W. Bush's response to Philippine President Corazon Aquino's request for air support during the rebel coup attempt.
• Oct.12, 1990 - Sep.23, 1994 Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH)
and additional updates required through 1995 at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard
• Jun.28, 1996 - Dec.20, 1996 (Med)
The carrier enforced no-fly zones in Bosnia as part of Operation Joint Endeavor and over Iraq as part of Operation Southern Watch.
• Nov.6, 1998 - May 6, 1999 (Med, Adriatic Sea, Persian Gulf)
A EA-6B Prowler crashed into an S-3 Viking on the carrier's flight deck. The mishap occurred when the EA-6B was returning to Enterprise following night qualifications and struck the folded wings of the S-3 which was in the landing area of the flight deck.
In December 1998, the Enterprise battle group spearheaded Operation Desert Fox.
• Apr.25, 2001 - Nov.10, 2001 (Med, Persian Gulf, Northern Arabian Sea)
From 18 June to 28 June 2001, the carrier and four escorts participated in an exercise with the British Royal Navy in a joint and combined warfare training exercise in the North Sea, near the Hebrides Islands and in Scotland. Enterprise was beginning her voyage home from the Persian Gulf when the attack of 11 September 2001 was carried out. Without orders, the carrier did a 180° degree turn, came to flank speed, and headed back to the waters off Southwest Asia near the Persian Gulf, outrunning her escorts. In October 2001, the United States launched air attacks against Al Qaeda training camps and Taliban military installations in Afghanistan.
• Jan.7, 2002 - May 7, 2003 Extended Drydock Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, VA.
• Aug.28, 2003 - Feb.29, 2004 (SoLant, Med, Persian Gulf)
• Sep.3, 2004 - Oct.13, 2005 Extended Selected Restricted Availability (ESRA) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard.
From 2003 to 2004, the carrier provided air support for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, the ship participated in Summer Surge 2004 and several multinational exercises.
• May 2, 2006 - Nov.18, 2006 (Med, Mid-East, WestPac)
Enterprise supported both Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
• Jul.7, 2007 - Dec.19, 2007 (Med, Mid-East)
• Apr.11, 2008 – Today Extended Dry-dock Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard
Looking at all this makes one understand what it means if a ship remains about 5 decades in service. By pursuing the ships history from one deployment to the other you receive at the same time some good insight into historical events of worldwide interest. Yes, the Enterprise was always around and her fate is unclear at the time of this writing. The ship will be decommissioned for sure. From my understanding this is paying due to the immense costs the eight nuclear reactors require for operation.
Well, what about the air wings?
This is a tough one to answer because during the long service time there were many different air wings which did service on the ship. If you need precise information for any time frame please consider looking at http://gonavy.jp/CV-CVN65f.html as the site not only lists the according air wings but also further details them with the according Bu. No.
Oh yes, here it is, the Tamiya 1/350 scale kit of the subject of desire.
The package is huge and yet it is shorter than the built ship. The front shows an impressive painting of the Enterprise steaming through the sea with dark clouds in the background winding up and four airplanes flying in formation. The flight deck is kept busy with a F-14A Tomcat ready to start and some other airplanes with folded wings placed around the island and the stern of the ship. I cannot think of any better way to make the ship´s motto come to life: “Ready on Arrival”.
The sides of the package show drawings of the built model. One side elevation and one top view are given. Along come the drawings of the kit included airplanes: Vought Corsair II A-7E, Grumman F-14A Tomcat with opened and with closed wings, MD(Boeing) F-18A Hornet, Lockheed Viking S3A and Grumman Intruder A-6E.
The packaging itself consists of a double strengthened box. The parts are very well secured within and should survive any average handling through your mail service.
... and what is inside? ...
Upon opening the box one is welcomed by some injected-molded parts lying on top of the separately secured flight deck and the underlying hull parts. Over all we are talking about roughly 294 parts. The flight deck parts are secured by lying between two strong cardboards like an insert. Everything is kept well in clear plastic bags as not to provoke any damage before assembly.
Who reads my reviews is aware that this is one of the moments to get excited. You can replace and correct many parts of the superstructure but hardly a misshaped hull; few can be done in regard to provided errors.
The hull itself comes as a two parts affair. Roughly 3/4th of the whole hull comes as one part and 1/4th (mainly the bow section) as a second part. No extra under water hull to glue. This is good and bad news at the same time and the answer depends on what you are seeking for. If you like a full hull model, this gives you only one obvious seam to be concerned about. If you prefer waterline models, this configuration means cutting the hull yourself. The molded on demarcation line right where the underwater hull ends at the CWL will be a good guide to accomplish the latter option.
I loosely assembled the hull sections for the purpose of this review so you can judge yourself how much workload you are willing to take. The close up pictures reveals some minor mould issues like raised seam lines from the injection process. These can be easily sanded away and should be no problem for any one.
Since I did not manage to obtain some meaningful drawings for this model I had to compare with various photos and information about the real ship I found on the internet. The hull appears to be spot on. Since the hull on the real ship does show only minor plating structure, if at all, the kit gives the modeler a very fine and true to scale flush hull to work with. If you are one of those modelers who care to get as authentic as possible, please check with your reference photos. The ribs of the bow section of the Enterprise do slightly “shine through” if you look closely at that area. One can simulate this by carefully sanding down pre marked sections of the bow.
Material wise, the kits hull is made of thick injected molded plastic. This is part of the sturdiness that is rumored to be one of Tamiya´s advantages if compared with other manufacturer. In this case, it is true! The molded in portholes and other openings are nicely embedded with enough depth and sharp edges. This way you are not forced to make a real hole into the hull manually.
The hull also comes with the hangar doors. Three of those are in open position and one closed. I wonder what the designer at Tamiya thought they are doing with this configuration since there is no hangar deck detail – not even the floor of it.
The Flight Deck…
The kit provided flight deck consists of 3 parts. Your mileage may vary but I do not like that too much because it gives extra work at the joints in terms of extra filling and sanding. We are lucky the ship does not carry a wood planked flight deck. The flight deck comes with molded on raised lines for painting purposes. However – we will see with the decals later – this will require massive masking and painting to achieve an acceptable result. The ships side structure is molded to the flight deck. The protective side shields do look quiet thick and should be thinned. There is one elevator platform that is molded into the flight deck. Tamiya gives you no option to lower this platform. The structural elements are done nicely though. The tie downs are off scale to me and I cannot think of any workaround about that.
This is the first out of 6 sprues starting the numbering with A. This one deals with parts of the cleat deck, some side structure and the elevator platforms. The provided close up pictures do show the sharp edges of the molds mentioned earlier.
Well, here comes probably the reason why Tamiya missed providing the hangar deck. On this sprue one receives among all the missing hangar doors. The modeler is asked to close the hangar openings with these parts. This is a nice move in terms of giving the kit a complete look. However, with separate hangar doors this kit literally cries for a decent hangar section and yet (after roughly 20 years – the kit came out first in the 1980´s) no one cared to offer some solution to rectify this - not even Tamiya.
This sprue also comes with the 5 bladed ships screws, the simplistic rudders and the bossings with the axle drive shaft attached. The anchors, shaft brackets and a crane are also provided. The crane looks quiet simplistic though. Over all everything is molded with sharp edges and is made out of sturdy injected molded plastic.
This one comes mainly with the according elevator platforms and support beams. The side elevators can be built in up or down position! Building them in down position is a nice move though again, without an open hangar door this measure can only help to break optical wise the otherwise flat and wide appearance of the flight deck. A side elevator in down position is in my humble opinion nothing more than a hint to look below the flight deck as to discover the hangar deck, which is missing here.
Alright, I guess you were missing it already, so here it comes: The superstructure including the command bridge. What you get are nicely molded parts. Upon closer inspection first issue to notice is the fact that the windows of the command bridge are open but come with no clear sheet to show the glass pane. Also, a lot of support beams are missing underneath the side platforms of the command bridge. In fact, I cannot give you every missing part but by comparing the kit parts to various photographs I tell you that a modeler will have to allow a lot of extra time and research to rectify what is missing or needs further enhancements.
Find the Tamiya radar antennas on this sprue as well. As with almost every attempt to show radar antennas in injected molded plastic, these come with the common issues: the main structure is possibly right but there is no spacing between the various radar struts. One could use thin wire and try to build his own radar solution by taking the kit given parts as a template. This is no minor work to accomplish though. You may be better off looking for photo etched brass part.
Yes, this is the sprue coming with all those life rafts so very prominent in certain views. Further you receive a lot of hose reels but with no hoses. I am not sure the reels are over all true to scale but I am confident the reels are molded way too thick in this scale. Please feel free to check with this photo on Wikipedia: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b3/A-6E_Intruder_preps_for_launch_aboard_CVN-65.jpg - Lower left of the picture shows the reels.
MD F-18A Hornet, Lockheed Viking S3A and Grumman Intruder A-6E is what you get. This is no complete air wing nor does it suffice to build one. If you plan to build the Enterprise in the early post 1982 configuration be aware that the Hornet was not aboard at that time.
The provided planes come in grey injection molded styrene with no under carriage. Otherwise, the detail is poor but acceptable in this scale. If you really want clear canopies, then Tamiya cannot help you no matter airplane or helicopter and which additional set you get.
The according air wing decals only give you the national emblem and the word Navy. No Bu Numbers and no further wing decals are provided.
The Ship Decals…
Oh well, this was a little shock to me. The decals consist of a small sheet combining the ships marking and various signal flags. The “BigE” marking on the backside of the command tower is missing entirely. Foul lines are missing as well as markings around the elevators.
Oh Yes, this is one kind of instructions for itself. The modeler is presented a booklet with 28 pages. The build process is broken down into 25 steps. The print is top notch with text and graphical advise. No complaint about that. The first pages deal with some real b/w photos and drawings of the ships fittings! A very nice move by Tamiya and something I wished every single kit would start with. The instructions themselves are accompanied by various side notes pointing you to alternative options for the kit. Some parts within the instructions are named correctly within for easier identification.
The painting instructions…
Beside the notes at each building step the modeler receives an areal painting guide for the ship itself. The air wing is dealt with separately and the instructions are clear to read and comprehend.
This is a sturdy kit to start with. Ok, it lacks here and there but you receive a lot of value for your money. The hull appears to be just right. The flight deck has some issues but is very usable. The point where this kit disappoints is the details. Some parts are so simplified that the modeler cannot recognize their purpose. These are all issues coming with the kit and my overall impression is, that these can be rectified the one or other way through some more research and according scratch building. You will find enough real photos of the ship on the internet for this task.
However, I am saddened to say that the missing parts of this kit are the biggest hurdle to overcome. I always wondered why modelers seem to take a really long time to build this kit. Well, Tamiya gives you the bare basics and since ever then leaves you alone with completing an accurate task. With this kit being on the market for about 20 years now, I wondered, why the manufacturer never thought about an additional enhancement kit to rectify some problems. E.g. a separate hangar deck set comes to mind. With this offered, the road to endless air wing sets would have been opened. E.g. by providing the correct air wings for specific time frames and giving also according full decals in one set.
At least Tamiya gives you some helicopters with the second air wing set- sad enough those important pieces of hardware are missing from the start.
Well, I doubt anything will change for this kit so this is more like take it or leave it.
As a closing here is a link to a very respectable built on carrierbuilders.net by Pekka Rautajoki: Carrier Project
MSW Crew Member Louis Carabott is showing his stunning result here: Louis’ Build