Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mystery Aircraft Carrier

I firmly believe you have to have a little fun with your collections. One of the ways I do that is to have some "fantasy ships" along with the never-was and that sort of thing. Some might look at the mystery aircraft carrier and say, why that looks like USS Enterprise as she was originally built, but it has the wrong number painted on its deck. Enterprise was #65 while I have #67 on this model, so what's up with that? Well, when Enterprise was originally built it was intended to be the lead ship in a class of nuclear powered aircraft carriers numbering up to eight. After Enterprise was built and, with its eight reactors, cost so much Congress flinched and the next two aircraft carriers (America and John F. Kennedy) were conventionally powered. But I had actually seen a couple of projected names in a contemporary edition of Jane's Fighting Ships, namely Congress and Constitution for subsequent units in the class. I doubt either of these names would have actually been used (especially since the sailing ship Constitution is still sort of part of the fleet registry), but I decided to do two of them just for fun. This is my version of Constitution. I also put twin Terrier SAM launchers on it, as were originally intended for Enterprise but never mounted (middle pictures with Terrier on left and the actually mounted Basic Point Defense Missile Launchers (BPDMS/Seasparrow) on right). This was also the period when Defense Secretary Robert McNamara wanted the navy and air force to buy the same plane for their next generation fighter (called TFX), which became the F-111 in air force service but which the navy ultimately rejected in favor of the F-14/Tomcat. However, I did have some F-111s so I put them aboard my USS Constitution as the navy version called the F-111B. This little project sort of came together over time and I'm rather pleased with the result. Sorry the closeups aren't sharper but hopefully you get the idea.

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