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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:23 pm 
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In World War II, there was a proposal to convert some or all IOWA class battleships into aircraft carriers. There’s not much I’ve been able to find out about this proposal. Only one official US Navy diagram exists of this never were project which is shown below.
During December 2016, I learned from a fellow modeling friend that he was thinning down his modeling stash and he had asked me if I wanted his partially built Iowa battleship/carrier model conversion. Being that he knew I loved doing what if model projects, I instantly said YES! I never even knew he had started something like this. And I’ve never heard of anyone else attempting this project either around the Internet or elsewhere.
So during the December monthly model club meeting and Christmas party, he brought the unfinished BB/CV and gave it to me as a gift. To say I was speechless is an understatement. The only bad thing was that a balcony/walkway on the port bow side broke off when I was transporting it home from the club meeting. But it should be easily fixable.
I’ve always dreamed of starting a what if project like this in the future, but never dreamed that somebody had already beaten me to it. It’s sad to see that my friend wasn’t able to finish this model, but he said that he highly doubted he’d have time for it anymore, so he needed to find a good home/person who would have it rather than chucking it in the trash.
I feel honored to have this model and I hope I can eventually do it justice and make it an outstanding piece of work. Also, this model is in 1/350 scale. I am hoping to have it completed in time for some model contests in Spring 2019 next year.

References that I'll be using for this model project:
1. “BATTLESHIPS: United States Battleships, 1935-1992” by William H. Garzke and Robert O. Dulin, Copyright 1995 (Updated Edition)
Chapter 8, Pages 288-291
2. “US Battleship Conversion Projects, 1942-1965, an illustrated technical reference” by Wayne Scarpaci, Copyright 2013, Pages 45 and 46.
3. “Essex Class Aircraft Carriers of the Second World War” by Steve Backer, Copyright 2009 by Seaforth Publishing.
4. “Iowa Class Battleships” by Lester Abbey, Copyright 2012 by Seaforth Publishing.
(NOTE: #’s 3 & 4 above do not have any carrier conversion information in them, but are useful with lots of model building information.)
And contrary to popular belief, Norman Friedman's book "US Battleships, an Illustrated Design History" does not have any information about Iowa battleships converted into the aircraft carrier conversion I am attempting.

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Last edited by EJM on Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:23 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:25 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:26 pm 
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Approximate sizes of 1/350 scale Iowa class battleship (Top), Iowa battleship/carrier conversion (Middle), and ESSEX class aircraft carrier (Bottom).
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Scratchbuilt the port bow 5"/38 gun platform. It's not perfect, but it's the best I could do. Still needs a little bit of light sanding where the putty is as soon as I am able to buy more sanding sticks. Next to work on will be the port aft 5"/38 gun platform which will probably have a similar configuration.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:04 pm 
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Location: About 50 miles away from the Gulf of Mexico ( traveling W is you do so :)
This is looking mighty great :thumbs_up_1: :thumbs_up_1: I love how the sleek bow can still be admired, just like IJN carriers.




Jose :wave_1:


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:31 pm 
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J. Soca wrote:
This is looking mighty great :thumbs_up_1: :thumbs_up_1: I love how the sleek bow can still be admired, just like IJN carriers.

Jose :wave_1:


One thing about the bow which I recently changed was removing the side by side 40mm tubs. I thought this was a really bad position for them. Maybe I'll put some smaller 20mm guns in their place or leave that area empty of armament. Most likely the latter though.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:43 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:54 pm 
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And lest I forget, here's information from Garzke & Dulin's BATTLESHIPS book about the Iowa carrier conversion for those who want to know.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:49 pm 
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That is a seriously awesome kitbash, m8!

As for the bow, I'd say maybe put a quad Bofors at the end, possibly flanked by a pair of dual-mount 20mm Oerlikons along the sides? I can't imagine the Navy leaving that much open deck unused in some fashion, especially considering the "long hull" modification of the Essex-class and the fact that the regular Iowas had 20mms at the extreme tip of the bow (now that must've been an interesting battle station!).

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:28 pm 
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I'm trying to figure out if I should put any sort of armament at the bow in front of the flight deck. I'm really hesitant on doing this as I feel it would interfere with flight operations. I removed the side by side 40mm gun tubs that my modeling friend had originally placed at the bow as I felt they didn't look good in that area. Thoughts on the following pics?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:23 am 
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Nice work. Certainly makes a great looking carrier


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:17 pm 
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Added a 20mm gun bow shield from a TAMIYA USS Missouri kit to see how it looks and if it might be too big/tall in that area to use.
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The 40mm gun on the left is from a TAMIYA 1/350 scale USS Missouri battleship kit. The 40mm gun on the right is from a Trumpeter 1/350 scale USS Franklin CV-13 Essex class carrier kit. The TAMIYA gun is slightly less detailed, but does have the gun shield. The Franklin 40mm gun is more detailed, but doesn't have a gun shield. Tough choice on which to use. :(
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Decided to ditch using a 20mm gun shield part from a TAMIYA USS Missouri kit at the bow as it was too big/high. Instead, I scratchbuilt a new shield piece which is slightly smaller from plastic strip.
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Side view to determine about using scratchbuilt 20mm gun shield at the bow or not. Sorry about the pic being blurry. Side view to gauge height of the 20mm gun shield on the bow in relation to height of the 40mm gun tub and the flight deck.
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Side view to determine about using scratchbuilt 20mm gun shield at the bow or not.
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This is the port aft side of the Iowa carrier model as my modeling friend had built it long ago. As you can see, it is very plain and lacks any detail.
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This is the port aft side of the carrier model where my modeling friend who originally started this model long ago had made an opening to the hangar bay. The lighter grey panel is a bulkhead part from a Trumpeter USS Franklin Essex carrier kit that I added to give more detail to the side of the ship.
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I built and painted a small plane to put in the hangar deck so that opening wouldn't look so plain. I added another bulkhead piece from an Essex carrier kit that had open roller doors to that area as I felt this would add more detail to the port aft side of the ship.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:51 pm 
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I've been told by other modelers that the 40mm gun tub that I had originally planned to put at the bow in front of the flight deck would be too big/tall for that area. So here's another alternative to possibly putting armament (Maybe?) at the bow area. Adding two 20mm machine gun tubs which are smaller.
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Port side of the model showing all the additional walkways, 40mm and 20mm gun galleries, Mk.51 GFCS director spots, and two scratchbuilt 5"/38 gun sponsons.
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Scratchbuilt support structures for 40mm gun tub and 5"/38 weapon sponson.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:39 pm 
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Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Not yet. I'm probably only at the halfway point of this build. Did a lot of scratchbuilding and detailing by adding walkways made from angle strip plastic, scratchbuilding two weapon sponsons (1 forward and 1 aft on the port side.) for 5"/38 guns, adding more 20mm gun galleries, adding spare floater net baskets from 1-2 extra TAMIYA Missouri kits, adding a few extra 20mm ammo boxes in some of the 20mm gun galleries from a Trumpeter North Carolina kit, adding a few spare tubs for Mk.51 GFCS for 40mm gun mounts, plus adding other miscellaneous details here and there. Still have a long way to go. My apologies for the extreme lack of photoetch detail, but I have very bad eyesight and cannot handle very small/tiny or complicated PE. Therefore, I had to "cut corners" where needed and rob parts from other kits or scratchbuild wherever necessary. It may look sh***y like that, but I had to do what I had to do.
Still have more to do such as detailing the island superstructure, the bow (Front of the ship.), the fantail (aft) end of the ship, all guns, all radars, all aircraft, aircraft elevators in the flight deck, life rafts, and so much more.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:40 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:22 pm 
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Kind of debating the following. Some portions of the underside flight deck on my model are a bit plain. I'm kinda uncertain if I should add extra supports (Indicated by red lines.) underneath the flight deck in certain areas. What do others think on this?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:33 pm 
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Both the Iowa carrier conversion model (Bottom) and an extra TAMIYA USS Missouri battleship model hull (Top) are both lined up and even with the aft ends of the models against the box on the right. Using available references at home on the Iowa carrier conversion, I was able to determine that one flight deck elevator would be positioned where the forward #1 16" gun turret would be, and the second elevator positioned slightly aft of the #3 16" gun turret. I used the elevator deck model parts from a Trumpeter USS Franklin ESSEX kit to mark the locations where the elevators should go on the Iowa carrier model.
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Red horizontal rectangle is main side armor box/belt on Iowa class BB which would have been left as is for the carrier conversion. Short red horizontal lines and red circles indicate approximate positions of where 16" main gun turrets would have been on an Iowa class BB, but removed for the carrier conversion. Short horizontal blue lines and blue squares indicate approximate positions for 2 aircraft elevators for the Iowa carrier proposal.
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After marking around the elevator parts with a pen, I then scribed into the deck with a scribing tool going around the elevator part. This is the location of the forward elevator on the Iowa carrier model.
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This is the aft elevator.
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Using various reference sources and pics of Essex carrier flight decks showing the starboard and/or port catapults at the forward end of the flight deck, I used Tamiya 6mm and 10mm masking tape to mark/make a straight "edge" where I wanted the flight deck catapults to go.
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Using various reference sources and pics of Essex carrier flight decks showing the starboard and/or port catapults at the forward end of the flight deck, I used Tamiya 6mm and 10mm masking tape to mark/make a straight "edge" where I wanted the flight deck catapults to go.
Using the book "Essex Class Carriers of the Second World War" by Steve Backer, I learned that the starboard catapult (Top) was about 97-100 feet long. The port catapult (Bottom) was approximately 150 feet long. Using a scale model calculator website, I determined the starboard catapult would be about almost 3 1/2 inches long (Red arrow to edge of flight deck on left.). The port catapult would be approximately 5 inches long (Length between red arrows on bottom of picture.).
After studying various flight deck pictures, the port (Bottom) catapult does not go all the way to the flight deck edge. I left about 1 inch of space between the flight deck edge and the end of the catapult.
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Using a ruler as best I could, I scribed the flight deck catapults. The port (Top) catapult didn't quite end up as straight as I wanted. There are some tiny "squiggles" that I may have to hide by adding a plane taking off or parking aircraft on the deck. :doh_1:
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:38 am 
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Great work so far, love these never weres. As to your question on the supports under the flight decks, I have always been curious as to how they would have made these structurely sound. I was toying with a similar conversion of an Alaska hull and noticed the width of the forward flight deck protruding out way beyond the hull. You would need to either have some sort of very curvaceous fairing to hide the structure or some large column supports that would have been very IJN looking. Perhaps reference the Shinano for what I mean. Haven’t quite come up with a USN’ish solution to this one myself. Perhaps some sort of bulkheads like the early Midways?
Keep up the good work!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:58 am 
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Why not like Lexington and Saratoga?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:57 pm 
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Added two 20mm gun tubs to the bow of the model ship below the front of the flight deck.
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Using Part 16 from Sprue D from a Trumpeter USS Franklin ESSEX carrier kit.
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Part 16 from the Trumpeter USS Franklin ESSEX carrier kit which I added a few "odds and ends" to for extra detail. I had to cut some portion on each angled end away otherwise the part would be too long.
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This pic shows the "wall" under the forward flight deck where Part 16 will be going. You can obviously see how plain it looks.
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Best I could do with my camera. Sorry. But you can see where I put the Part 16 bulkhead.
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The "wall" where you see the tiny brass photoetch door was a spare part from a Trumpeter USS Franklin ESSEX carrier kit. Before that bulkhead part was added, the original model wall was just plain styrene.
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