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Topic review - Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans
Author Message
  Post subject:  USS Indianapolis Information  Reply with quote
I am building the Trumpeter 1945 USS Indianapolis 1/350. I intended to build her right out of the box as this is an interim project
while waiting for another kit to arrive. The Indy deserves my best effort so I have strayed from just OOTB and been adding details that
are not part of the kit.
I hope someone can help me with a rigging question. The mainmast (aft) shows flag halyards coming off the yard but I haven't been
able to find where those halyards terminate. It would be in the area near the base of the crane.
Any assistance is appreciated.
Thanks
Post Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:48 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
Great info there Jeff. So even the other cruisers that were in Ms11 had unpainted decks? That's interesting. Guess i need to see if I can get the deck off my New Orleans and put a natural wood one on.
Post Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:37 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
Here's a couple more testimonials from crew members
A SUNDAY SHATTERED
Lawrence Kotula Vol. I, pp. 23-24

(Ed. note: This is taken from an article which appeared in the Sioux City Journal, Dec. 7, 1991)

"I was in the Hawaiian waters out of Pearl Harbor on the heavy cruiser USS Portland. We had Life Magazine photographers on board to take pictures, etc. of "Life Aboard Ship" under wartime conditions. Well, they did not have to pretend.

"About zero ten hundred (can't remember the time for sure) word was announced over the speaker system Pearl Harbor was attacked, then no further word. I thought it was a show for life Magazine. We were sent to general quarters to prepare for action but we still did not believe it was the real thing. All at once I heard the whistling sound of bombs. (I thought it was the boatswain's whistle for further word on what was going on.) Here it was two bombs dropped on us from high altitude. They missed off the starboard quarter by 100 yards. We never did find out who dropped them. Later we figured it must have been friendly planes retaliating from one of our bases thinking we were Japanese.


THE THINGS I REMEMBER Vol. II, pp. 41-43
Kenneth Joy

I REMEMBER:

Reporting aboard the USS Portland at 1900 hours, January 17, 1941 with a small group of recruits. Lt. Bidell chose 5 of us for F Division. Worked in Sky Control and got my first "blackeye" as a rangefinder in turret one in February.

Commander Coleman - our new Exec - reporting aboard on February 15, 1941.

My first introduction to the PEAK TANKS.

At sea with Task Force 12 on the 7th of December when war was declared. Throwing all that loose gear over the side.

The "Life" photographers that we had on board that we transferred to DesComRon #1 for safe passage back to Pearl.

The terrible devastation we saw at Pearl as we reentered the harbor late in the afternoon of the 13th.


Rick E. Davis unearthed a list of the ships that had painted decks prior to the attack. USS Helena was the only Cruiser on that list. USS Nevada and USS Tennessee were the only Battleships with painted decks.
Post Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:59 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
Jeff, thanks for the link. I just realized I'm pretty dumb, I already had that photo saved to my computer. What this means for my future build is unpainted decks. Would it be safe to assume Indy had unpainted decks as well?
Post Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:45 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
Hi Abram,
That series of photos were taken aboard USS Portland on Dec. 7th, 1941 and chronicles very nicely the events that happened that day just before and just after the announcement of the attack reached the ship.
There are a few photos showing the crew in the process of painting the decks after the announcement.
Here is one of them.
http://www.gstatic.com/hostedimg/a1785d81da532fb8_large
The book "Sweet Pea at War" by William Thomas Generous JR. chronicles what happened that day as well and it is amazing how much the LIFE photos match perfectly with his account of the day.
Post Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:40 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
I'm sorry if this has been covered in the thread already, but does anyone know if Portland and/or Indy had painted decks in 1941 while wearing MS1? In the Life series of photos on Navsource it looks like Portland might have had painted decks, but I'm not sure if its that or just really dirty.

Here's on the stern, the deck looks dry and maybe painted?
Attachment:
Portland1941.jpg
Portland1941.jpg [ 186.08 KiB | Viewed 530 times ]


Here's looking out over the bow, the capstans and anchor chain area looks the same color as the hull, its hard for me to tell if the deck is painted or not, but it does look dry in this photo (also notice the clear recognition stripes on the forward turrets, from what I've been able to discern by looking through documentation on Tracy's website they should be yellow(?))
Attachment:
PortlandDec1941H.jpg
PortlandDec1941H.jpg [ 229.54 KiB | Viewed 530 times ]


The only pictures of Indy I can find of the same period are shots taken from Portland with her at a distance, which doesn't really help with the deck question, but you can see the false bow wave.
Post Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:11 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
It's possible but not likely that the turrets were repainted in theater. The rafts should be painted to match the color of the surface they are mounted on, but photos on her Navsource (this one and this one) definitely show something darker. I would bet that perhaps they were originally on the deck and were 20-B Deck Blue, but 5-N Navy Blue is also a contender.
Post Posted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:51 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
I've started my first 1/350 model in around 40 years with the Academy Indianapolis. I normally do 1/700. I'm using this kit as practice before I convert Trumpeter's 1942 San Francisco to Astoria in 1/350.

The engineering and fit on this kit is absolutely amazing. Fit is superb, no flash, and I was elated to find enough parts to build either of her last two refits. For PE I've got the GMM set and just to be different I've decided to go with the December 1944 fit. My main source of information is Warship Pictorial Indianapolis & Portland.

The photos of her leaving California leave me with a couple of questions. The turret and barrel tops are 5-H, not 20-B as I expect and there are no rafts on top of two of the turrets. The kit turrets have holes to position lots of rafts. The squared rafts on the sides of the turrets are not 5-H but a dark color, maybe 5-N?

So my questions: 1) do I leave the turrets overall 5-H or were they painted as they got in theater? 2) did they add rafts on top later? and 3) what color for the rafts on the sides?
Post Posted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:09 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
Phil,

As an aside, when the Pacific Fleet was doing evaluation of detection of the battle-fleet from the air in the summer of 1941, it was noticed that dry decks stood out like a "sore thumb". However, if the decks were wet, aka darker, the ships were less visible at longer ranges. When the recommendation was made to "paint" the decks to reduce detection to the battleship commanders, they said hey we could just keep the decks wet to avoid painting the decks ... :big_grin:

The impracticality of doing that was the reply (wetting the deck while under air attack warning would be "difficult"!!!). Hence USS TENNESSEE and NEVADA had their decks painted for evaluation prior to the Pearl Harbor attack.
Post Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 2:14 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
I appreciate the word of caution. It had occurred to me that this might be its actual color, and when I looked at some sites on the web, most (not all) teak is this color...which more or less confirmed my old memory/impressions.
Yes, painting the decks as the war came on was a painful evolution for those old chiefs, for sure.

Thanks again.
Post Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:54 am
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
I have to put in a word of caution about the color of teak wood used on decks. I have in my hand a piece of the teak decking from the ex-USS Oklahoma City CG-5 that was removed in 1999 just before the ship was sunk in a SINKEX near Guam. That was 20 years after the ship was decommissioned and mothballed. It is very dark brown, and it has not been stained. I also noticed that the deck planks on the USS Little Rock CLG-4 museum ship had also turned a dark brown color, and it was not stained (they have since been replaced with a synthetic wood). So teak ages to a darker color without being stained.

But when I was on the OK City the decks were almost white - from bleaching and holystoning. There is no way any deck crew would allow a nice teak deck to turn dark brown! So I doubt that the teak decks on any cruiser or battleship were ever dark brown while the ships were in service. They were painted a fairly dark gray during WWII - that must have caused quite a bit of consternation for the old salts!

One other thing about "teak" decks. The blueprints for the USS Cleveland CL-55 - drawn in the late 1930s - call for deck planks that are 2 inches thick, made of a lamination of 1 inch thick teak over 1 inch Douglas fir. So pre-war the Navy was cutting costs by substituting Douglas fir for teak where it wouldn't be seen.

Phil
Post Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:43 am
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
Well, thanks v. much for that info on the carrier deck wood, Tracy White. Answers my question & good to know, certainly.
Post Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:01 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
G-Opt wrote:
If not teak, what type of wood did carrier decks utilize?


It's a little off-topic, but the US carriers used Douglas Fir for the most part. On the Essex it was found that in some circumstances the tailhook would strike the metal tie down during landing and "bounce," thus missing the nearby arresting wire, so in the area of landing the last plank before the metal tie-down was changed to the harder teak wood, I presume to give a less sudden transition so there was less of a bounce. This was a change from "as built" and wasn't put into place until 1944, if memory serves.
Post Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:53 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
There are around ten photos from the Life magazine story of Portland out there readily available, and many of them show wood planking in various places, e.g. the flag box area, in front of "B" turret, etc. I have also seen photos of anti-skid mat strips laid on the deck. I say strips because you can often seen between the strips down to the deck underneath.

G-Opt wrote:
Colorized? Not sure what that means, but the teak was stained in a mahogany color, I think. Perhaps that's what you're seeing? I own a piece of teak removed from CA-30 in one of her 1930's refits on the West Coast (~1" x 1.5" x 4.5") , and it is definitely stained in a mahogany tone.

The B&W pic is more interesting as it does show planking on the "flight deck"...next to the 5" ready ammo box they're loading up.
Wonder what they were thinking in building her that way? Seems an odd decision.
Post Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:51 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
Very good to know about the mahogany stain...I didn't know that, although I probably should have.

If not teak, what type of wood did carrier decks utilize? (This little piece I have is certainly teak, and it is stained in a mahogany shade, but the gentleman who acquired it--and a good deal more of the same wood--served on CA-30 in the mid-to-late Thirties when she was in the PacFlt.)

TIA
Post Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:41 am
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
See this Idaho photo for the most excellent example of dry teak, wet teak, and red non-skid you could ever ask for and which illustrates Tracy's statement wonderfully:
http://navsource.org/archives/01/042/014200a.jpg

G-Opt's comment does get me thinking though... why did the USN pick a mahogany color for their flight deck stain? (best guess: As a darkening to cover up the grime while still being able to call it a "natural" wood tone in the days where anything cruiser or larger is expected to show off their wood decks as a sign of pride? Awfully garish for that, though. And it does raise the question of how the IJN managed to keep their unstained wood flight decks relatively clean.)

Oh, and do note: carrier decks were not teak (someone, correct me if there was an outlier to this statement. Graf Zeppelin's wood overlay above her armored flight deck maybe?)
Battleships and cruisers (and not all of them) were the ones that got the teak (when a country had access to it and/or was willing to pay for it), and they typically didn't stain it. Paint during wartime, yes, so it could be hollystoned off afterwards. Stain, no - though I'm sure there were some rare exceptions.

- Sean F.
Post Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:57 am
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
The deck was not stained - Mahogany deck stain was for carriers, which had a lot of wear and tear and oils, etc.

The deck in the color photo is wet, as Matt noted, which changed the appearance.
Post Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:31 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
Colorized? Not sure what that means, but the teak was stained in a mahogany color, I think. Perhaps that's what you're seeing? I own a piece of teak removed from CA-30 in one of her 1930's refits on the West Coast (~1" x 1.5" x 4.5") , and it is definitely stained in a mahogany tone.

The B&W pic is more interesting as it does show planking on the "flight deck"...next to the 5" ready ammo box they're loading up.
Wonder what they were thinking in building her that way? Seems an odd decision.
Post Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:55 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
taskforce48 wrote:
Per conversation over in the Northampton Thread, here a a few pics of the Portland upper gun deck in 1940 and 1941 to show wooden decks.

Image
Thought due to color it was possible linoleum but we see the crew is washing the deck do it's wet.

Image
Late 1941 we clearly see the planking on the upper deck.

Matt

I'm wondering about the color photo. Is it colorized? The maroon deck color in the photo looks an awful lot like the color of USN wooden aircraft carrier flight decks before they switched to the weathered deck blue color. If that's a faithful colorization, then I'd say there's wood planking underneath (that's not to say wood planking wasn't ripped up and tossed overboard shortly after Pearl Harbor for the fire hazard it was though). I also have some photos of a large USS Portland model that resembles a builder's model, and those gun decks are all the same as the main deck on that model, and they're all maroon colored.

Dave
Post Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:37 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Calling all USS Indianapolis & USS Portland (CA) fans  Reply with quote
Color photo is matting (?), not planking, I suspect.

Nope, let me rescind that.
Post Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:51 pm

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