Federation Strike Cruiser (CVS)
U.S.S. Nimitz, NCC-1951

1:3788 Scale Amarillo Design Bureau Gaming Miniature

Copyright
2011 Jim Lewis/GunTruck Studios
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Finishing materials and sequence can be found here on this page.
Gallery

Awards & Honors

Personally, I am not much into the pewter side of gaming miniatures. I have a bunch of them, but they all seem to have niggling issues that call for a lot of corrective work and adjustments to make them come out close in quality to the plastic Zocchi variety. I generally set them aside for later, and later, and later... Before I went on my quest to build a Franz Joseph Squadron of gaming miniatures, I cut teeth on this one. It turned out to be a bit of an adventure.

The example I had to use for my rendition of the Strike Cruiser USS Nimitz was probably the worst of the ones I had in my unbuilt collection - so I set out to do something with it - to get it out of the way. After all, it only comes in four pieces, how hard could it really be, right?!?

When I purchased #0229 from my local hobby shop, I really didn't inspect it much. It was one of a precious few left on the sales peg, and marked down - so on an impulse - I grabbed it. Like most modelers, I put it into the "to be built pile", where it languished several months before I took it out to actually inspect it and put it together. I was a bit dismayed with what I found. The Primary Hull was considerably warped, in different directions, all around the saucer's perimeter. The neck was twisted, as were both Warp Nacelle/Pylon assemblies. With some careful coaxing with a set of modeler's needle-nose pliers these problems could be reasonably addressed without adding more damage to the soft white metal, but the Secondary Hull was worse off than all the other parts put together. It had much more pitting on its surfaces, gouges and nicks and was asymmetrical - a misshapen representation of what it should have been, neither side or angle matching the corresponding area on the opposite side of the hull. The forward Hanger Bay Door section was cast onto the Secondary Hull out of alignment - severely twisted to the port side. I briefly contemplated sawing it off and attempting to square it up again, but set the thought aside. In actuality, the entire Secondary Hull needed to be replaced altogether because it really doesn't look the part as nicely as show in the drawing from the Starship Schematic Database. I admit the idea of creating a new Secondary Hull didn't interest me at all - perhaps at a later date when I wanted to get more into conversions of these gaming miniatures - but not right at this moment. So, I pressed on and attacked all the surface imperfections with Squadron Green Putty (which worked out surprisingly well) and a Wire Brush in my battery-powered Dremel Tool (also working out really well to cleanup and polish the surface of the white metal to something I felt I could get a good finish out of). I worked the Warp Nacelles into a relatively good shape, except for the port Nacelle - it was twisted and the inboard channel still displays a slight kink from certain angles. The Pylons weren't exactly in the same position attached on the Nacelles, so one is slightly out of alignment with the other, also noticeable in close photos. The last feature of the pewter miniature I don't really like is the deeply engraved Deflector Grid system on the upper surface of the Primary Hull. It just stands out too much on the finished miniature, deep trenches more than the thickness of a couple of men in that scale - it is the first thing that leaps out at you when you see the miniature, accentuated with a wash or not. I contemplated filling them slightly with Green Putty, but set the idea aside for a later attempt on a different one. Overall I really liked the miniature, and when put together and tweaked a bit, it definitely looks the part. Above, I photographed it alongside of its assigned escort, a Zocchi plastic miniature done up as the Destroyer Escort USS Halsey, NCC-565. I can't say enough about how much I like the Zocchi Plastic miniatures, they are nicely detailed and easy to work with. There is a slight difference in size that you can see when they are displayed together - but not dramatically enough to spoil the feeling. In the near term, I intend on buildups of her other two escorts; FFR Escort Frigates USS Fletcher, NCC-315 and USS Spruance, NCC-316 to complete the battle group.

The through-deck cruiser design is interesting, and looks quite a bit like a standard heavy cruiser design from certain viewing angles. I have hopes that the new 2500 series of miniatures coming out late-2011 will eventually offer this strike cruiser design - it could be a very nice addition as a centerpiece for a new gaming miniature task force.

The CVS operated with a battle group, consisting of an attendant squadron of fighter craft and up to three escort vessels throughout the General War. From years 168 through 173, a Strike Carrier Battle Group consisted of the CVS, one DE (Destroyer Escort) and either one or two FFE (Escort Frigates). The CVS carried a contingent of F-4 Fighters. From years 173 through 175, the fighter type changed to F-18 and an NEC (Escort Cruiser) could replace an DE or FFE. From Y175 through Y185, the fighter contingent remained F-18, but the escorts could be a combination of DEA (Destroyer Escort), NAC or FFA. Also, from Y183 and beyond, F-18C Fighters were used and a combination of NAC, DWA and FFA escorting vessels could be found making up a Strike Carrier (CVS) Battle Group.

When I finished USS Nimitz, I wanted to represent a battle weary veteran of the General War. These were desperate times in the Federation Commander Universe, and though the CVS design resulted in a precious few number of vessels built, I wanted USS Nimitz to both display a lot of use and good service nonetheless. I did not want her to be pretty and pristine. As there are no painting instructions nor specific set of markings (that I know of at this time) for rendering the CVS, I cobbled them together from Starfighter Decals Federation Commander Sets to suit my impression of USS Nimitz. I wanted to place Combat Leader Rings on her Primary Hull - but alas, I didn't have the decals handy to do so when I finished this miniature. Perhaps at a later date, I'll go back and add the Combat Leader Rings, fitting for a Strike Cruiser, but probably little else other than a minor touch up here and there. My rendition of USS Nimitz is by no means perfect, but I really like its gritty character and appeal - it looks like a battle-tested gaming miniature - having stalked many a victim on uncountable numbers of hex maps in her day.









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