Skunkmodels 1/48 USS Nimitz Flight Deck
Skunkmodels has been busy. With its sister brand, Kinetic, turning out a variety of very nice 1/48th scale carrier aircraft such as the EA-6B Prowler, E-2C Hawkeye, and C-2 Greyhound, Skunkmodels have been releasing a variety of vehicles and accessories found on the flight decks around these aircraft. Here we have a pleasant addition to that line-up: the flight deck itself!
In this release, Skunkmodels has produced a modular kit that assembles into a section of the flight deck from the USS Nimitz that encompasses the catapult and jet-blast deflectors (JBDs). The kit is molded in black styrene and presented on four parts trees plus eight deck segments and one tree of crew figures molded in light gray styrene. One fret of photo-etched parts completes this kit.
The modular aspect of this kit is rather interesting as it keeps the size of the individual parts from being too large plus the framing of each module provides additional strength to hold up anything you might park on that deck. Another aspect is likely because this deck has the open access hatches for the shooter rather than the protective bubble that later Nimitz-class carriers have near the catapults. We may see that segment replaced with the bubble in the future.
When you assemble the deck segments, you have a very strong display base that has the displayed aircraft on the catapult, but angled on the base in a way to make it more interesting.
There are three sets of JBD trees in this set (only one shown) which provide the structural detail on the rear of the JBDs as well as the hydraulic actuators that raise and lower the JBDs between catapult shots.
That nice photo-etched segment is flush-mounted to one of the deck segments representing one end of the catapult. A shuttle is also provided which you can engage the shuttle bar of your nosegear to set the aircraft up for the cat shot. The only thing missing is one of the hold-back links which are strong enough to hold the aircraft in place at full power but breaks once the catapult stroke begins.
The kit comes with a set of decals printed by Cartograf that provides deck markings found on the real flight deck.
It is long overdue for us to have a decent display base for modern carrier aircraft that wasn't made from printed cardboard. When you first pick up the box that this kit is packaged in, you'll appreciate just how strong this display base will be. I'd use liquid cement and clamps to assemble these deck segments to ensure the strongest possible bond. You'll only need cyano to laminate the catapult track segment into the recess molded in the deck.
My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!