I had built the USS ESSEX in 350 scale and enjoyed it. I had the Hornet and discovered that I had to paint it with a blue deck and a slightly modified scheme than the Essex. I could not change it over to a Yorktown or Enterprise without a very expensive replacement piece, so I opted or doing it (as the Essex) as the kit was intended.
I was very excited about the Lexington because my initial thought was here was one I could do pre-war with the non-blue stain decks and a new color scheme. Of course I was once again doomed to disappointment with the release of the kit; and to rub further salt it also didnít have the 8Ē gun batteries.
I found out that I wasnít alone and that several other modelers had contacted the owner of Yankee Model works who had produced a 350-scale resin version of an early Lexington. He agreed to produce a small inexpensive kit which would allow a backdate of the Lexington. Next issue for me was wanting the yellow / silver colored airwing.
I contacted a friend of mine, Tom Hathaway, who after explaining what I wanted to do researched types of aircraft, markings and color schemes. I found out that the only available 350 scale aircraft was the Devastator. The available Dauntlass and Wildcat were never in the desired paint scheme. The Vindicator and Buffalo were. After researching through several 3 views and photographs, I felt I could modify a Dauntless and Wildcat for my needs. Iron shipwrights did release resin versions of the Buffalo and Vindicator, but I was not over-all pleased with them and sought to mimic them using the available Trumpeter Dauntless and Wildcat.
So, now I have the Trumpeter 350 scale USS Lexington, the Yankee Model Works modification it, and the Tomís PE set. I also have purchased a mask set from Gatorís of large letters L - E Ė X. I had to refer to the three sets of instructions to build the ship. To do the island, I pretty much relied on the directions from Yankee Modelworks, as that is where all the modifications take place. On the hull / flight deck, the only major change was the removal of the kit safety netting to be replaced by the photoetched from Tomís. Of course using the photo-etch supplied gunshields, railing, and replacement parts for radars and such were done to a point.
After the research I had done with Tom, I knew I needed to paint the deck a mahogany stain and have yellow deck markings. I first sprayed the deck yellow as I had decided against using decals because of the fine lines of the wooden planks. I took strips of painterís tape 3/16Ē wide as I found out the scale of the yellow markings from one of the guys on model warships web that had converted the width, and applied the masks I got from Kenny at Gatorís. I used White Ensign Models Mahogany I was fortunately able to find at a model show in Texas. The deck completed, I then painted the rest of the kit the light gray color that was correct for the period.
Through the research I got from Tom, I knew that all tails were painted yellow. Planes were divided into three plane sections noticeable by colored rings around the fuselage and cowl. The cowl painting showed which plane was what number in each section. A completely overpainted cowl was #1; just the top half was the #2 and just the bottom half was #3. The sections had color schemes of red, white, blue, black, green, and yellow. As I am only doing 9 planes of each I am only depicting red, white, and blue.