Thursday, December 1, 2011

USS Midway (CV-41) Recognition Model

This is a ship recognition model of the Newport News-built aircraft carrier USS Midway (CV-41), on display in the museum’s gallery. John Reeder, a volunteer with the U.S. Navy’s Curator of Navy Ship Models, provided this write-up for us:

This model of Midway is a 1:500 (one inch of model to 500 inches of real ship) scale and produced in 1954 or 1955 by the Comet Metal Products Company, located in New York City. The Navy approved a prototype of the model in October 1954. An earlier recognition model of Midway was produced by H. A. Framburg & Company in 1945. The model here shows significant modifications, particularly the replacement of the 40mm guns by 3-inch twin mounts and removal of most 20mm anti-aircraft guns. Also, the radars are shown, which were excluded from the original model for security reasons. A final recognition model of the Midway (actually, the sister ship Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42)) was produced for the Navy in 1959, showing the conversion to an angled flight deck.

The Navy acquired recognition models in three scales: 1:500, 1:600 and 1:1200. The Navy purchased a set of waterline models of British and German ships in 1:1200 scale during WWI. From 1918 to 1940 it bought very small quantities of 1:1200 models for use in Submarine Attack Trainers. In 1940, a need was recognized for models to be used in classroom training - the scale chosen was 1:500. Initial sets modeling Japanese, German, and U.S. ships were produced by David Taylor Model Basin. After December 7, 1941, and throughout WWII, sets were commercially produced, primarily by three companies: Comet Metal Products, H.A. Framburg, and South Salem Studios.

The 1:500 models were meant for shore classrooms and major combatants. The above companies and others also produced versions of the models in 1:1200 scale for use by small shore stations and small combatants. Small quantities of selected models were also produced in 1:600 scale for use in Submarine Attack Trainers (which were designed to use either 1:1200 or 1:600 scale models).

Production of recognition models essentially stopped after WWII, except for the continued acquisition of small quantities of 1:1200 models for use in the Attack Trainers. However, the Korean War and the growth of the USSR naval threat led to a rebirth of the 1:500 scale program in 1952. The program was cancelled in 1962.


Alleydude said...

Thanks for sharing this article. However, you state "This model of Midway is a 1:500 (one inch of model to 500 feet of real ship) ..."

Actually, it is 1 inch for every 500 INCHES. If it was as you stated, the whole model would only be a bit less than 2 inches long.

Nice article, otherwise.

Gordon Calhoun said...

You are so right, correction made. Thanks!

-Gordon Calhoun
Hampton Roads Naval Museum