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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:06 am 
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:welcome:
With the imminent release of Trumpeter's 1/350 Saratoga :woo_hoo: , I believe it's time to start an information exchange forum.
The Saratoga had three or four incarnations before and during the war, so there ought to be plenty of talk to go on.
Also what about merging this thread with the CV-2 Lexington?
***************************************************************************
MODERATOR EDIT:
Didn't realize there wasn't a list of available kits and gallery entries, so here goes (updated 8/27/16):


USS Saratoga CV-3 Available kits
(Please note “pre-war” means before US entry into WW2)

1/700:
Trumpeter Saratoga (Pre-War)
Tamiya Saratoga 1944
Fujimi Saratoga circa 1944/45

1/350:
Trumpeter Saratoga (Pre-War)

Gallery Entries:

1/700:
Martin J Quinn’s Fujimi Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Chris Smither’s Fujimi Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Larry Lebryk Fujimi Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Bob Nadell’s Fujimi Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Kostas’ Trumpeter http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Tom Keane’s Trumpeter Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Witold Kosinski’s Trumpeter Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Gustavo Z. Arriaga’s Trumpeter Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Kostas’s Trumpeter Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Paul Helfrich’s Trumpeter Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

David Seacy’s Fujimi Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Nanond Nopparat’s Trumpeter Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... /index.htm

Kostas’s Tamiya Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... /index.htm

Mike Komo’s Tamiya Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... /index.htm

Kostas’ Tamiya Saratoga (plus Gearing): http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... /index.htm

Eberhard Sinnwell’s Tamiya Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... /index.htm


1/350:
Dave Becker’s Trumpeter Saratoga (from Lexington): http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Bob Harris’s Trumpeter Saratoga (from Lexington): http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Peter Van Buren’s Trumpeter Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Steve Booher’s Trumpeter Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Noel Carpio’s Trumpeter Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Ron Scholtz’s Trumpeter Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Robert Apfelzweig’s Trumpeter Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Rondey Mead’s Trumpeter Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Stefen Loekito’s Trumpeter Saratoga http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Mauro Cattaneo Trumpeter Saratoga (conversion from Lexington) http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Jeroen Zuiderduin’s Trumpeter Saratoga http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Christian Huber’s Trumpeter Saratoga http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... /index.htm

Martin J Quinn’s Trumpeter Saratoga (conversion from Lexington): http://www.modelwarships.com/reviews/sh ... arSara.htm

Other Scales:
Eric Dufour’s scratchbuilt 1/192 Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Mario Beyer’s scratchbuilt 1/200 Saragota: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Damian P. Petro’s scratchbuilt 1/200 Saratoga http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... /index.htm

Pierre Marchal’s scratchbuilt 1/500 Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

John Bange’s scratchbuilt 1/500 Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

Peter Ohm’s 1/1250 Neptune Saratoga: http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery ... index.html

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 5:15 pm 
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Looking over the Trumpeter Saratoga kit I like what I see. One "oddity" I've noticed though is she comes with a 1936 airwing but her bridge is in roughly the pre 32 refit configuration. Not a hard change to make and it makes her easier to backdate to as built. :thumbs_up_1:


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 5:57 pm 
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The bridge platform itself is actually more correct for Lex at the battle of Coral Sea than the Lex kit is.... :censored_2:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:49 am 
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James Noblin wrote:
Looking over the Trumpeter Saratoga kit I like what I see. One "oddity" I've noticed though is she comes with a 1936 airwing but her bridge is in roughly the pre 32 refit configuration. Not a hard change to make and it makes her easier to backdate to as built. :thumbs_up_1:


I can't seem to find the Trumpeter picture of the built up model on the net anywhere...I'm curious to take a look at the bridge.

Here is how the Sara looked in 1935, after the flag plot was extended and the chin on the spotting top (IIRC this was the RDF room) was removed

Image

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:26 pm 
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Found the pictures of the Trumpter build up. They are on the Hobby Link Japan website here.

Yep...Trumpeter's Sara has the pre-1932/33, smaller flag plot. So, if you are going to build it out of the box, there was also a 'chin' on the spotting top that carried a radio direction finding room. I think the searchlight platforms on that level are incorrect as well. Pre-1932, they were separate platforms that were located higher than the flag plot roof on the tripod legs, IIRC.

This is what at 1936 version should look like - the flag plot was extended and the rangefinder moved to the roof of the aforementioned flag plot. As James wrote, it shouldn't be too hard of a fix.

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Last edited by MartinJQuinn on Fri Jun 15, 2007 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 3:22 pm 
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I looked over one at the shop Sunday... looks pretty nice. Similar warnings to the Lexington regarding the lower hull fit and general warning to ensure you're gluing straight and not imparting a twist between the hull and flight deck.

One other issue I noticed is that the stern area on the level below the flight deck (gallery level in most other carriers) has platforms extended too far aft for the time period depicted; she didn't have this done until January 1941. It shouldn't be too hard to fix, just cut it off to follow the hull countour generally. There are some fiddley bits on the corners that will need to be scratch built.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 9:01 pm 
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Tracy White wrote:
One other issue I noticed is that the stern area on the level below the flight deck (gallery level in most other carriers) has platforms extended too far aft for the time period depicted; she didn't have this done until January 1941. It shouldn't be too hard to fix, just cut it off to follow the hull countour generally. There are some fiddley bits on the corners that will need to be scratch built.


It wasn't that difficult to do on the Lex to Sara conversion I did. Here is what the area looks like (left hand part of the picture).

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 2:52 pm 
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I got my Saratoga today. It is very nice. The detail is good, but some peices have sink marks on the back. most of these will be hidden, but a few, for example those on the stern hangar, will need to be filled. The aircraft are great. Trumpeter thoughtfully included spare propellers and landing gear. The shapes look good. The hull is very flexable and mine was a little bent out of shape. Fitting the peices on should fix this though. Over all another excellent kit from Trumpeter, and one I look forward to building (After the 1/400 Titanic, 1/600 Ajax, 1/48 Skyraider (A-1H) and Liberty ship I have on the work bench right now :doh_1: :wacko:

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 Post subject: Air Groups
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 11:50 pm 
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OK, Here's the incomplete list I've got so far. Sources are the John Fry Book, the Classic Warship "Lexington Class Carriers," Squadron/Signal's "Navy Air Colors Vol 1 1911-45," Attack Squadron Histories, and Lineage For Fighter Squadrons (NHC). The list is incomplete in that some details are missing but I'll be adding to it as I uncover more.

First flight from Saratoga was January 11, 1928, by a UO-1

1928
March
* Twelve Boeing F2B-1s of VF-6B "Felix the Cat Squadron" are embarked as Saratoga's first operational squadron. Fuselage numbers would presumably be 6-F-1 through 6-F-12. She had a scouting detachment aboard at the same time that consisted of one UO-1 and one O2U-1 with radio.

July
* VF-6B is redesignated VB-2B and becomes a bombing unit with the same aircraft. Tails are painted white.
* VF-1B "High Hat Squadron" joins the ship with more F2B-1s. Tails are painted red
* VT-2B joins the ship with their T3M Torpedo bombers. The T3M is essentially an earlier version of the TG-2 with a different engine. Tails are painted red

August
* VT-2B starts transitioning into T4M-1s. The T4M is a radial-engined T3M. This transition stretches until January, so you would see both types on the deck between this time.

1929
January Start of Fleet Excercise IX
* VB-2B (Formerly VF-6B) upgrades to F3B-1s
* VF-1B is still in F2B-1s
* VT-2B has fully transitioned to T4M-1s
* VS-2B joins the ship with O2U-2s. Tails are painted white
* Two squadrons from CV-1 Langley temporarily assigned while she is in overhaul; VF-2B (F3Bs) and VS-1B (unknown type A/C).
* NH-75874 is a photograph taken during Fleet Excercise IX

May "Battle Force Practice" with squadrons other than her own
* VT-1B & VS-3B, normally from CV-2 Lexington.
* VJ-1B brings two Loening Amphibians for use as the utility squadron.
* Following this excercise Saratoga spends three months at anchor, without aircraft.

September
* The original "Fiddle Bridge" arrestor gear is removed. This gear included wires that ran fore and aft in addition to some running port to starboard.

December
* VB-2B takes delivery of 18 new F3B-1 (same type as used before) fighters plus ONE new F4B-1.

1930
January
* Saratoga left California for Fleet Problems X and XI on the east coast. Aboard were VB-2B, VF-1B, VS-2B, and VT-2B. The excercises run until April.

May
* VF-1B Turns in its F2Bs but remains attached to the ship sans aircraft.

July
* VB-2B Redesignated BACK to VF-6B.

August
* VF-1B gets Curtiss F8C-4 Helldivers and takes on a bombing role.
* VT-2B Transitions from T4M-1s to Great Lakes TG-1s.

1931
February
* VF-6B "Felix" transitions into F4B-2.
* Fleet Problem XII February - April.

June
* Film crew films parts of the movie Hell Divers aboard Saratoga.

November
*VS-2B starts transition to O3U-1 Corsairs.
* USMC Squadron VS-14M starts a three-year attachement to Saratoga with O3U-2 Corsairs. A photo can be seen here. (NHC)

1932
January
* VF-1B Transitions from F8C-4 Helldivers to F4B-3s
* VF-6B Tranistions from F3B-1s to F4B-2s
* VS-2B flying both the older O2U-2 and newer O3U-2
* VT-2B adds 7 TG-2s to their roster to augment T4Ms/TG-1s
* VS-14M Transitions to SU-1 Corsairs
* Fleet Problem XIII February --> March

June
* VF-6B sends all of its planes to other squadrons or overhaul at NAS North Island and takes nine of VF-1Bs old F3B-1s
* VT-2B recives more TG-2 and possibly retires the older T4Ms/TG-1s Inconclusive)

November
* VF-6B takes delivery of some F4B-4s but retains the F3B-1s

1933
January
* VF-1B had 17 F4B-3s
* VF-6B had 17 F4B-4s
* VS-2B had 15 SU-1s
* VT-2B had 15 TG-2s
* VS-14M had 5 SU-1s

April
* VF-1B gets first F11C-2 Goshawk and starts a transition to them that will last through the summer

August
* VF-1B consists of eight F11C-2s, six F4B-3s, three F4B-4s, and one SU-1
* VS-2B switches to O3U-2 sometime before September

1934
Saratoga in overhaul until February

July
* VF-1B redesignated VB-2B (bombing role) and F11Cs redesignated BFCs.
* VS-14M transferred from Saratoga to CV-1 Langley.

December
Three weeks in Drydock at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

unknown timeframe
At some time in 1934, one of the N2Y-1 trainers that had been used with the airships Akron and Macon was assigned to Saratoga as an utility plane. It was used in this capacity "for a few more years."

1935
May-June
* Fleet Problem XVI

September
Saratoga heads to Bremerton for a three-month overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. She is there until the middle of January, 1936.

October 22
An order was released by ComBatFor. The issued directive stated that tail colors for air groups was to be standardized based on ship to avoid confusion when different air groups operated together. The painting could be deferred until aircraft overhaul (I.E. not done immediately), but new aircraft were to be issued the new tail colors and recoloring was to be completed by February 1 of 1936. This is separate from the 1937 re-designation of squadrons and many sources have erroneously reported (including myself) the tail color change to have happened at that time.

We don't at this point know the exact date Sara's air wing painted over, but it was before February of 1936.

November
Camouflage experiments were done using various squadrons throughout the fleet. According to this, one section (three aircraft) of each of Saratoga's squadrons was painted in various camouflage schemes. No other information as to section or numbers is given, however the next month the second section (2-B-4, 2-B-5, & 2-B-6) and at least two aircraft of the fifth section (2-B-13 & 2-B-14) were painted in different colors for tests on Lexington, as Saratoga was still up north in overhaul.

1936
January-February
* VS-2B transitions to SBU-1

April
Fleet Problem XVII Starts. Squadrons aboard are:
* VB-2B (BFC-2s) (Red Tails)
* VF-6B (F4B-4s) (White Tails)
* VS-2B (?O3U-2/SBU-1?) (White Tails)
* VT-2B (TG-2s) (Red Tails)
* Marine Observation Squadron 8 (twelve O3U-6s) (?Tail Color?)

July
* V-6B begins transition to F3F-1

September
Saratoga drydocks at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard

November
* VB-2B (BFC-2s)
* VF-6B (F4B-4s and F3F-1s)
* VS-2B (SBU-1s)
* VT-2B (TG-2s)

1937
July
Saratoga starts a three-month overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
All Saratoga Squadrons are re-designated:
VB-2B becomes VB-3
VF-6B becomes VF-3
VS-2B becomes VS-3
VT-2B becomes VT-3

September
* VS-3 transitions to SBC-3s

October
* VT-3 begins transition to TBD-1.

December
* VB-3 begins multi-month transition into SB2U-1s. 3 NJ-1 trainers are attached to help in transition.

1938
January
* First TBD-1 landed by VT-3

March-April
* Fleet Problem XIX

August
* Awarded the Engineering "E" that is painted on her stack.

1939
This one gets complicated... get ready!

January
Preparation for Fleet Problem XX
* VT-3s TBD-1s
* VB-4 SB2U-2s (VB-4 was a CV-4 USS Ranger Squadron, tail color is listed as "willow green".)
* VF-2 "Flying Chiefs" F2Fs (VF-2 was a CV-2 USS Lexington Squadron, Tail color is listed as "Lemon Yellow")
* VS-2 with only two aircraft, one SBU-1 and one SBC-4. See Lex notes above)
Saratoga was to participate in this fleet problem but was withdrawn before it started and the aircraft landed.

February-April
* Overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard

May
63 aircraft attached to Saratoga for her trip down the coast:
* VF-2 18 fighters (type not listed but probably F2Fs listed above)
* VB-4 18 aircraft (type not listed but probably SB2U-2s listed above)
* VS-2 9 scouts (type unlisted)
* VT-3 18 TBDs

July
* VB-3 "High Hats" moved to USS Ranger and redesignated VB-4
* VF-3 "Felix" embarked on CV-5 Yorktown in F3F-1s, not Saratoga
* VB-3 (unknown details at this time, new squadron, probably SB2U-2s mentioned in January 1940)
* VT-3 in TBDs
* VS-3 (unknown aircraft)
* VMF-2 (unknown aircraft, USMC Squadron)

August
* Awarded another Engineering "E" and a diagonal stripe is painted on her stack below the original E

December
VF-3 starts transition from F3F-1 to F2A-1 Buffalos

I've got data for the below years but not the time to enter it... I'll get to it when I can.

1940



CharlesRollinsWare wrote:
Gang;

Saratoga's embarked Air Groups from 7 December 1941 thrpough June 1942 were:

8 December 1941 - 15 December 1941: San Diego to Pearl Harbor (66)
VF-3 (11 F4F)
VS-3 (22 SBD incl. CSAG)
VB-3 (22 SBD)
VT-3 (11 TBD)

15 December 1941 - 29 December 1941: Wake Island Relief (83)
VF-3 (13 F4F)
VMF-221 (14 F2A)
VS-2 (22 SBD, incl. CSAG)
VB-3 (21 SBD)
VT-3 (13 TBD)

31 December 1941 - 13 January 1942 (70)
VF-3 (14 F4F)
VS-3 (21 SBD incl. CSAG)
VB-3 (21 SBD)
VT-3 (14 TBD)

9 February 1942 - 15 February 1942: Pearl Harbor to Puget Sound (31)
VF-2 Det. (10 F4F)
VS-3 (21 SBD incl. CSAG)

1 June 1942 - 6 Jun 1942: San Diego to Pearl Harbor (99)
VF-2 Det. (15 x F4F folding)
VS-3 (23 SBD)
VF cargo (4 F4F folding assembled)
VSB cargo (27 SBD assembled, 16 SBD disassembled)
VT cargo (14 TBF folding assembled)

7 June 1942 - 13 June 1942: Midway Reinforcement Excursion (106)
VF-2 Det. (9 F4F folding)
VF-5 (18 F4F folding)
VF-72 (20 F4F folding)
CSAG (1 SBD)
VS-3 (24 SBD)
“VB-5” Det. (10 SBD) replacements for transfer to USS Enterprise (CV-6)
Ferry Det. (9 SBD-3) replacements for transfer to USS Hornet (CV-8 )
VT-8 Det. (10 TBF folding) for transfer to USS Hornet (CV-8 )
VT-5 (5 TBD folding) for transfer to USS Enterprise (CV-6)



1942

August
VB-3 SBD-3 x 18
VS-3 SBD-3 x 18
VF-5 F4F-4 x 36
VT-8 TBF-1 x 16

Saratoga was hit by another torpedo at the beginning of September and transitioned back to Pearl, where she underwent repairs until November, and again headed west, reaching Noumea at the beginning of December.

December
VB-3 SBD-3 x 16
VT-3 TBF-1 x 15
VF-6 F4F-4 x 33
VS-6 SBD-3 x 16

1943
In 1943, Saratoga's air group was split up, with roughly a third of the aircraft operating at any one time off the ship and 2/3 off of island bases.

On March 1st, Scouting Six (VS-6) was redesignated as Bombing 13 (VB-13) and shows up in the records for several months under that designation.

April
VB-3 5 x SBD
VB-13 4 x SBD
VF-6 4 x F4F-4
VT-3 6 x TBF-1
The balance of CAG-3 was based on New Caledonia for the first half of the month and then at Noumea for the second half (32 of VF-6's F4Fs, 13 SBDs of VB-3, 13 SBDs of VB-13, 11 of VT-3's TBFs as well as one of VT-6's which was on Guadalcanal for the month)

May-June
VB-3 4 x SBD
VB-13 4 x SBD
VF-6 4 x F4F-4
VT-3 6 x TBF-1
The balance of CAG-3 was based on Noumea (32 of VF-6's F4Fs, 14 SBDs of VB-3, 13 SBDs of VB-13 (feeling lucky?), and 12 of VT-3's TBFs)

July
At the beginning of July VB-13 disappears from the roster but the overall composition of aircraft present on the carrier stays roughly the same:
VB-3 8 x SBD
VF-6 5 x F4F-4
VT-3 6 x TBF-1
The balance of CAG-3 was based on Noumea (31 of VF-6's F4Fs, 28 SBDs of VB-3, and 12 of VT-3's TBFs)

August
VB-3 8 x SBD
VT-3 6 x TBF-1
The balance of CAG-3 was based on Noumea (all of VF-3, 28 SBDs of VB-3, and 12 of VT-3's TBFs)

Mid-October through mid-November
VB-12 12 x SBD-5
VF-12 11 x F6F-3
VT-12 6 x TBF-1C
The rest of CAG-12 was on Espiritu Santu or Guadalcanal at this time. At that point she picked up her air group and began the transit back to San Francisco, dropping off the F6Fs so that she went from the the below figure to zero F6Fs by the beginning of December

Mid-November through the end of November
VB-12 24 x SBD-5
VF-12 36 x F6F-3
VT-12 19 x TBF-1

Air Group 12 reformed while Saratoga underwent overhaul.

1944
January
VB-12 36 x SB2C-1
VF-12 36 x F6F-3
VT-12 18 x TBF-1C

February-March
VB-12 24 x SBD-5
VF-12 36 x F6F-3
VT-12 18 x TBF-1C

April-June
VB-12 19 x SBD-5
VF-12 43 x F6F-3
VT-12 17 x TBF-1C

Saratoga was in overhaul from mid-June until September

From October to January Saratoga was based at Pearl Harbor and used for training night-fighter squadrons with no squadrons officially attached.

1945

January
CVG(N) 53
VF-53 F6F-3 x 14 F6F-5 x 10
VFN-53 F6F-5N x 32
VTN-53 TBM-1D x 4 TBM-3D x 14

February (Iwo Jima Invasion; damaged on Feb 21
CVG(N) 53
VF-53 F6F-5 x 24
VFN-53 F6F-5N x 32 (sometimes F6F-5P x 2)
VTN-53 TBM-3D x 14-17

Saratoga returned to Bremerton and was under repair from March until May, 1945. She returned to Pearl Harbor in June, 1945 and remained there until the end of the war as a training carrier.

----------------------------------------------------

Regarding Fry's book; it's a good source of details, pictures, and personal stories, but you can tell that he blended deck logs, news clippings, and the odd oral history as the foundation for the book. It can be a little dry at times.... but I say this as someone who's done the same thing.

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-Barbara Tuchman


Last edited by Tracy White on Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:26 am, edited 17 times in total.

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 Post subject: CV-3 Air Group
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 8:40 pm 
I posted this info on another website, but after an E-mail from Tracy, thought that readers on this forum might want to see it. Much of it duplicates what Tracy unearthed, but it is presented in a different format. Hope it helps.

SQUADRONS AND AIRCRAFT OF CV-3 SARATOGA’S AIR GROUP 1928-1941

U.S.S. SARATOGA (CV-3) was commissioned November 16, 1927, and began trials January 6, 1928. Initially, flight operations were confined to Vought UO-1 and Martin T3M-2 floatplanes. Flight deck operations commenced February 18, utilizing UO-1s assigned to the trials unit.
The first of SARA’s regularly assigned units was VF-6B, which began operating F2B-1 fighters from the ship in March. They were joined in May by the T3M-2 torpedo bombers of VT-2B. In June VS-2B came aboard with O2U-2s for scouting. The air group was made complete in August with the addition of another F2B-1 equipped fighting squadron, VF-1B.
These four units would make up SARA’s regular air group for the next decade. It was common for squadrons to “cross-deck” and operate from a carrier other than their assigned ship, so they were not always all on board at a given time, and other units sometimes substituted. Usually this was for a brief period, although one Marine squadron, VS-14M, was assigned to SARA for three years and was treated as a permanent part of the air group.
The squadrons’ designations and roles altered during the frequent reorganizations that Naval Air underwent during those years. All would eventually take the number “-3” when it became official policy that an air group should reflect the assigned ship’s hull number. When SARA was refitting in early 1938, VB-3 went to sea with CV-4 RANGER. They were still aboard when RANGER redeployed to the Atlantic, and remained permanently with her. RANGER’s VB-4 was thus reassigned to SARA, and the two squadrons swapped designations.
The pace of aviation development during these years resulted in frequent changes of equipment. The lists below show the approximate date of the introduction to operations of each new airplane type. (Unless otherwise noted, it should be assumed that the previous type was discarded at the same time.) Aircraft designations could change, as they were dependent on the aircraft’s role. Curtiss F11C-2s were converted to fighter-bombers and redesignated BFC-2s. Vought O3Us became SU-1s when operated in the scouting role from carriers.
The commonality of the Martin/Great Lakes torpedo bomber types should be noted. The basic airframe of the T3M-2 was retained in a radial engined variant, the Pratt & Whitney Hornet powered T4M-1. When Great Lakes acquired the manufacturing rights, identical aircraft were produced as TG-1s. The final airframes built substituted a Wright Cyclone engine and were designated TG-2s. Essentially they were all the same aircraft, operating continuously from 1928-1937.
The colorful markings carried by these aircraft are well documented elsewhere. It is a subject outside the scope of this article, except to note that prior to October 1935 it was the practice to use tail colors to differentiate squadrons within a group. VF-6B and VS-2B used White, while VB-2B and VT-2B used Insignia Red. After that date, all aircraft in a group were to use one tail color, and SARA’s aircraft used White.


VF-6B
Mar 1928 Boeing F2B-1
Unit redesignated VB-2B July 1928.
Jan 1929 Boeing F3B-1
Unit again redesignated VF-6B July 1930.
Jan 1931 Boeing F4B-2/F3B-1 mix
Jan 1932 Boeing F4B-2
Jun 1932 Boeing F3B-1
Nov 1932 Boeing F3B-1/F4B-4 mix
Jan 1933 Boeing F4B-4
Jul 1936 Grumman F3F-1
Unit redesignated VF-3 July 1937.
Nov 1939 Brewster F2A-1
Oct 1940 Brewster F2A-2
Sep 1941 Grumman F4F-3

VF-1B
Aug 1928 Boeing F2B-1
Aug 1930 Curtiss F8C-4
Jan 1932 Boeing F4B-3
Apr 1933 Curtiss F11C-2/Boeing F4B-3/4 mix
(Curtiss F11C-2 were converted to/redesignated BFC-2 Apr 1934)
July 1934 Curtiss BFC-2
Unit redesignated VB-2B July1934.
Unit redesignated VB-3 July1937.
Jan 1938 Vought SB2U-1
Unit embarked CV-4 RANGER Jan 1939, permanently reassigned and redesignated VB-4 July 1939.

VB-4 (ex-RANGER CV-4)
Unit embarked CV-3, redesignated VB-3 Aug 1939.
Aug 1939 Vought SB2U-2
July 1941 Douglas SBD-3

VS-2B
Jun 1928 Vought O2U-2
Nov 1931 Vought O3U-2/O2U-2 mix
Jun 1932 Vought O3U-2
(Aircraft redesignated SU-1 Jun 1932)
Jan 1936 Vought SBU-1
Unit redesignated VS-3 July 1937.
Sep 1937 Curtiss SBC-3
Jul 1941 Douglas SBD-3


VT-2B
May 1928 Martin T3M-2
Aug 1928 Martin T4M-1
Aug 1930 Great Lakes TG-1
Jan 1932 Great Lakes TG-2
Unit redesignated VT-3 July 1937
Oct 1937 Douglas TBD-1


VS-14M (Marine Scouting Squadron)
Nov 1931 Vought SU-1
Unit disembarked July 1934


In addition to the air group, SARA usually retained a detachment of amphibious aircraft from a utility squadron. Vought UO-1s, Loening OL-9s, and Grumman JF-1s were used, but I have been unable to document aircraft types to specific dates.

AVAILABLE MODEL AIRCRAFT IN 1/350 SCALE

Great Lakes TG-2 (Trumpeter 6248) Suitable for T4M-1 and TG-1
Curtiss BFC-2 (Trumpeter 6246) Can be converted for F11C-2
Vought SBU-1 (Trumpeter 6247)
Grumman F3F-1 (Trumpeter 6245)
Curtiss SBC-3 (Trumpeter 6243)
Douglas TBD-1 (Trumpeter 6203)
Vought SB2U-1/2 (Trumpeter 6244)
Brewster F2A-2 (Trumpeter 6242) Can be converted for F2A-1
Douglas SBD-3 (Trumpeter 6204)
Grumman F4F-3 (Trumpeter 6202) F4F-4, delete folding wings for –3

Trumpeter also produces the Grumman F2F (6241). SARATOGA’s fighter squadron did not operate this type, but LEXINGTON’s did.

Trumpeter’s SARATOGA kit (5607) provides four aircraft types:TG-2, BFC-2, SBU-1, and F3F-1. This represents the composition of her air group from July 1936 to September 1937. By substituting the appropriate aircraft from the available accessory packs, one can correctly model the entire air group at any time from that point forward. Backdating is more problematic. The TG-2 can be used (as a T4M) all the way back to 1928, and the BFC/F11Cs are suitable back to 1934. But the Boeing, Vought, and Curtiss biplanes that made up the rest of the group during that period are not (as of yet!) available. (Aftermarket producers?)


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:13 pm 
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Hello, I just recently bought Trumpeter's 1/700 Lexington and thought I could convert it to the Saratoga but it doesn't look that simple after searching this web site.

I thought I only needed to trade up the quad 1.1's for dual 5" mounts but I guess it's not quite that easy.

What all would I need to transform the Lexington (May 1942) to a Late War Saratoga?

When did Saratoga get the added torpedo blisters on the hull?

TIA,
Jeff


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:18 pm 
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There'd be a lot of work in addition to the blister; you'd need to shorten the stack and make a lot of changes to the forward island as well.

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 Post subject: Trumpeter Kit Decals
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 7:41 pm 
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Spent some time going over the kit decals today at the model shop. Short review; the airwing portion is for the Pre-1937 July Airwing. In July of that year the squadrons were renumbered and the kit decals for the airwing do not reflect that, but the earlier numbers. Other than for section and group leaders the decals aren't going to work without a lot of work. Additionally, the BFC decals are incorrect in general. A little description of the markings so readers can understand why.

Navy aircraft had numbers on the sides of the fuselage to easily ID aircraft by air group, type, and aircraft (specific airplane, not type). For example, these F3Fs (VF-4 off of USS Ranger) are sporting 4-F-1, 4-F-2, etc. The 4-F means essentially VF-4. and the -1 means aircraft one, -2 is aircraft 2, so on and so forth. A bombing unit from the same ship would read 4-B-1, -2, etc. Note that -1 has a vertical band on the fuselage but the other two did not; -1 was the section leader and the vertical band denotes this. Notice too that the "F" inside the band is white whereas the other aircraft, missing the darker bands, have their "F"s in black. As an unrelated-to-decals aside, note that the -1 aircraft has a solid color ring around the engine cowling; it's harder to see but the other aircraft have either the top or bottom half only painted depending on their position within the three aircraft section; this document should shed some light on this busy little detail for you.

So the Trumpeter decals give you decals with fuselage bands; they are ostensively the six section leaders but the decals don't always reflect this. The numbers match up to section leader numbers (-1, -4, -7, -10, -13, -16) for VF-6B (in F3F-1s) and VT-2B (in the TG-2s) but not for the SBU (of VS-2B) and BFC (VB-2B). The later two squadrons are partially correct but for some reason Trumpeter started jumping numbers around so that you get several which are not section leaders but they still have the tail band and white "S" that goes over them. The BFC decals I mentioned before were from when VB-2B was flying BFC-2s, as such the number should read 2-B-XX and not the 2-S-XX that they read (which is correct for the SBUs of VS-2B). The interesting thing is that between these two squadrons, with the BFC error there are enough decals to correctly do the section leaders of VS-2B as the BFC markings provide the missing 2-S-10, -13, and -16.

If you want to do non-section leader aircraft you will need to find or make tiny fuselage numbers without the white "F" and with the correct numbers. If you want to do VB-2B BFCs you'll need to scare up new decals. If you want to do post March-July 1937 airgroup markings (when they made the transition to the V(X)-3 designation) you'll need new decals for the entire airwing.

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Last edited by Tracy White on Mon Oct 30, 2006 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 12:02 am 
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Just determined a *REALLY* small further error in the trumpeter air wing decals. When painting markings over a red background, the paint color for the markings was to be silver. So, if we look at these F3Fs again, 4-F-1 (foreground) has a silver "F" and not white, such as it appears to be.

I don't know how closely this was followed; the F is quite a bit brighter than the skin of the aircraft. In 350th scale it's hardly a show stopper either. Just something I came across today.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 12:38 pm 
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A major error in the decals, not in the airwing, but in the deck decals. The yellow border for the forward elevator does NOT fit. It's way to small about 1/4 OF AN INCH off :mad_1: ON EITHER SIDE. From the photos I have seen this is not correct. If someone could shed further light on this and on how Trumpeter made such a glaring error, it'd be appreciated.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 9:30 pm 
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Just finished this; artwork for one of Saratoga's squadrons that should illustrate the squadron and section markings.

Image

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Last edited by Tracy White on Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:23 am 
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Hi Tracy,

this is great!! Thank you for your helpful work.
So every section consisted of only three planes. Is it right that the only thing that differs on LEX is the yellow tail or were the section colors different?

Cheers
Torben


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:16 am 
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Section colors were standardized across the carriers, so yes, the primary difference would be tail colors after July of 1937. Before that point a carrier might have squadrons with different tail colors.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:39 pm 
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The other minor difference you'd need to account for in say doing the Lexington's Scouting Squadron for example, is that after you have the correct aircraft type for that squadron during the time period in question, you'd also have to ensure that the Squadron number was correct as well.

In the example of the Scouting Squadron in Tracy's excellent chart, where the aircraft are 3-S-1, 3-S-2, etc, assuming that the Lexington at the time you're modeling actually had VS-2 on board, besides changing the tail color to be Lexington's, the markings would be 2-S-1, 2-S-2, etc. And where there was a squadron insignia, that should be correct for the specific Squadron as well.

Tom

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 Post subject: Saratoga Air Group Info
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:24 pm 
If an airplane guy might provide you boat boys (:-)) some information of use...

Sara's air group in 1939 had a mixture of F2A-1s and F3F-1s for VF-3, this being due to the fact that the majority of the F2A-1s were sent to the Finns. VF-3 didn't have a full F2A complement until late 1940, when the production of F2A-2s caught up for VF-2 and VF-3.

A very common mistake made by modelers when it comes to painting USN aircraft of that period is failing to know that the use of light grey on metal airframe components stopped in 1934, when aluminum lacquer replaced it. For instance, thus most T4Ms would be light grey on metal, aluminum dope on fabric, while all BG-1s would be aluminum lacquer on metal, aluminum dope on fabric.

Another common mistake is the color "Orange Yellow" on the upper wing was not the same color as the USAAC "Orange Yellow." The closest match to this color from comparing period color photos is Gunze-Sangyo "Orange Yellow," though one would definitely want to do a bit of "scale effect" lightening of this color for use on 1/350 scale aircraft.

For those who may not know, White Ensign Models is getting a photo-etch sheet for this kit, that will include photoetch cabane struts and interplane struts for all the biplanes, so you can really go blind on the project. John Snyder tells me it will likely be available around the end of January. Personally I am waiting to proceed on the project till that is released.

As an airplane guy just coming back to ship models for the first time since 1961, I thank all of you for the information here on Saratoga, since I am about to start the 1/350 kit once I get over going blind on doing the photoetch for HMS Hood.

TCinLA


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