Thursday, April 26, 2012
Hawaiian Lines SS Leilani
Fate sometimes takes ships in diverse directions, just as is does the people who build them. A case in point is the USS General W. P. Richardson (AP-118), a unit of the General Pope class transport ships. Laid down in February 1944 and completed in November of the same year, the Richardson was one member of the vast fleet of ships that transported troops around the world during World War II. After the war she was operated by the army for a couple of years (yes, the army did operate ships from time to time) and saw some limited civilian service, then back with the army again for the Korean War before going into reserve. In 1957 she was acquired by the Hawaiian Steamship Company, a division of Textron, Inc., and operated for nearly two years as the SS Leilani on the Hawaii to San Francisco route before the parent company went out of business. Afterwards she changed hands a few times (the fate of many merchant ships) and was extensively rebuilt in the early 1970's. She served in one capacity or another until 1999 and was finally scrapped in 2005. A friend of mine had given me a CinC General Pope model he didn't have any need for and I was looking around for something interesting to do with it when I stumbled across the Leilani. I liked the look of her-not a lot of green ships out there-so I stripped all the guns off of her (not a mean feat I can assure you) and painted her as the Leilani. Just finished her up this morning and wanted to share. I think she turned out rather well.