1/350 CVW-8 - Operation Eagle Claw

Gallery Article by Douglas Conrady on Nov 3 2010


This is the next part of my USS Nimitz project.  As you can tell by the title, this is the airwing; CVW-8.  There isn't much more I can add about the airwing, so much has already been written about it.  The difference this version of the airwing has, are the invasion stripes that the fighter and bomber squadrons had applied to their upper and lower starboard wings for Operation Eagle Claw.  


As a result of my last submission, and the first part of my Nimitz project (see above), I received a few emails about my efforts.  One in particular peaked my interest.  After a few emails back and forth, I learned he was the Aircraft Maintenance Material Control Officer for VF-41.  At the time of the launching he was standing in between cats 1 & 2.  I couldn't believe it, someone who was actually there!  What an honor this was.  This project took on a whole new level of detail with the knowledge he possesses.  One of the major changes that was made was the arrangement of the RH-53's and CVW-8 aircraft, which I had totally wrong in the other article.  Although he was busy with the launching of VF-41, he did know where most of the -53's were sitting.  I was also advised on where to put and not to put the other aircraft.  As a result, the deck won't be nearly as crowded and more prototypical.  Plus, I learned that there was an EA-3B that was taken aboard before they arrived on station.  No resources I found mentioned that detail.

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I didn't do the complete airwing, but at least one aircraft from each squadron.  Basically, whatever came in the Nimitz box or an add-on box is all I did.  The RF-8's are aftermarket resin from Corsair Armada.  You get 2 in a package and they have outstanding casting, only a small amount of flash around the landing gear.  I know it's the most detailed aircraft on the deck.  I'd almost bet its more detailed than some other aircraft at a larger scale.  All others are Trumpeter made.  I had to get the F-14 and EA-6 add on boxes to complete the airwing, as the Nimitz boxing comes with the airwing of the Nimitz's maiden cruise.  I found out later that there are 2 versions of the F-14 (A and D) by Trumpeter.  Of course, I got the wrong one, but I was able to modify the parts to make A version F-14's.  The aircraft were all hand painted.  We won't go back to that repressed memory. (shudder)  My problem is at this scale, I can't use an airbrush successfully.  The decals are 100% aftermarket.  Half of the squadron decals are Yankee Modelworks (EA-6, E-2, SH-3, RF-8, and the S-3)  The other squadron decals are new from Starfighter (2xF-14, 2xA-7, and the A-6)  They are specially made for this operation's time frame, with the invasion stripes.  As always with Starfighter decals, perfection.  Most of the decals were made "together".  Example; all the decals that go on the nose are put together, instead of 5 decals there is 1.  This was a drawback with the Yankees.  Everything was a separate decal.  As you can tell, the EA-3B wasn't finished by the time this article was written.  The EA-3B decals for that cruise didn't exist before this project and I had a set made. 

Another change that I made based on the knowledge of someone that was there, is the "kneeling" of the F-14's that are on the cats.  I learned that they lower 2 to 3 degrees.  After I broke out the protractors and other such measuring tools, it came out to 1mm needed to be trimmed off the nose gear.  I cut off the wheels, trimmed the gear and attempted to glue the wheels back on.  What I found out is, black plastic doesn't like model glue.  When I went to paint the nose gear, the wheels flew off, only the "frame" of glue held them on.  The glue never melted the plastic.  I wrestled the carpet monster and won!!  I reapplied a "frame" of glue and I am hopeful that the glue and paint will hold the wheels on until I get the F-14's mounted to the deck. 

One last tidbit.  If you study pics of F-14's you might see that their mid-air refueling probe doors are missing.  (I missed it)  This was done on purpose, you wouldn't want your door to dislodge and tangle with the refueling basket (bad, terrible things can happen).  When this detail was pointed out, I immediately painted a removed door on all the F-14's. 

That's about it, normal construction with aftermarket decals.  The result is amazingly realistic marked aircraft that only existed for about 2 weeks. 

I would like to thank my friend for his invaluable knowledge he posses on all things naval aircraft.  This model wouldn't be nearly as meaningful without your technical assistance and personal knowledge.                                                     

                                                       THANK YOU JIM B.!!!!

Any comments or questions are always welcomed.  If wanted, more photos are available upon request.

Thanks for looking and don't throw rotten tomatoes!

Douglas Conrady

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Photos and text by Douglas Conrady