CV-8 Hornet

Trumpeter 1/350th CV-8 Hornet by Pat Camp

This 1:350 scale model has been constructed from the Trumpeter kit with numerous alterations and additions. It depicts what would turn out to be the last take-off of Devastators of Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) from the flight deck of CV-8 Hornet at the start of one of the most decisive battles of history- The Battle of Midway – that had a far reaching and enduring influence on the outcome of the war in the Pacific.

Hornet’s dive bombers had been unable to locate the Japanese carrier fleet, but the 15 Devastators of VT-8, led by Commander John C Waldron, USN, found the enemy and pressed home their attacks without fighter protection or co-ordinated dive bomber attacks to draw enemy fire. They were met by overwhelming fighter opposition about 8 miles from three Japanese carriers and were shot down one by one as they attempted to engage the ships. Ensign George H Gay, USNR, the only survivor of thirty men, reached the surface as his plane sunk. He hid under a rubber seat cushion to avoid strafing, and witnessed the greatest carrier battle in history.

Of a total combined total of 41 torpedo planes launched by the American carriers, only 6 returned. Their sacrifices drew enemy fighters away from dive bombers of the Enterprise and Yorktown who, with assistance from submarine SS-168 Nautilus, sank the Japanese carriers Akagi, Kaga and Soryu. A forth Japanese carrier, Hiryu, was sunk the following day. Yorktown was lost to combined aerial and submarine attack.

Midway was saved as an important base for operations in the western Pacific. Likewise saved was Hawaii. Of greatest importance was the crippling of Japan’s carrier strength, a severe blow from which she never fully recovered. The four large aircraft carriers sent to the bottom of the sea carried with them some 250 planes along with a high percentage of Japan’s most highly trained and battle experienced carrier pilots. This great victory by Hornet and the other ships at Midway is widely seen as the turning point in the battle for the Pacific.

Torpedo Squadron 8 was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation “for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service beyond the call of duty”.

Hornet led a brief but busy life (and also launched the 16 B-25 bombers for the “Doolittle Raid“), receiving four battle stars before being lost to enemy action at the Battle of Santa Cruz some 5 months after Midway.

I made this model in veneration of the airmen and crew of CV-8, USS Hornet.

The Model…….

The hangar deck has been detailed and includes photoetched roof tresses beneath the flight deck. 7 miniature bulbs light up the hangar deck and are powered from a mains adaptor.

Splinter shields around the flight deck catwalks are made up from an aluminium soft-drinks can. Photoetch from White Ensign Models (WEM) has been used extensively to replace kit parts. All items were subject to alterations based upon photographs of the actual ship.

Main Parts Used:

  • Trumpeter CV-8 Hornet.
  • Trumpeter extra pack of 10 TBD’s.
  • WEM PE Set “The Ship”.
  • WEM PE Set “Catwalks”.
  • Gold Medal Models “Ladders and Stairways”.
  • Gold Medal Models “Access Doors”.
  • Gold Medal Models “1:350 figures”.
  • “Yorktown Class Carriers”, Warship Pictorial No 9.
  • WEM “Colourcoats” paints.

All the above were obtained from White Ensign Models.

The aircraft fuselages have been hollowed out and the cockpits detailed. Aircrew are made from twisted wire. Canopies have been cut into sections using a hot wire.

Painting is oils over acrylic or enamels. I am new to ship modelling, but have been painting figurines for a while, so tried applying the same technique of painting in highlights and shadows to give a sense of depth and shape.

The base is made from textured glass that was drilled out for mounting screws and the electrical cable for the lighting. Waves are depicted using white pigment mixed with Johnson’s “Klear” floor polish, with a mix of white and translucent silicone sealant along the water line and breaking waves.

New Foremast and platforms made from brass rod and plastic card.
Crane made up from kit and WEM PE parts.
Tyre marks in landing zone by airbrushing through a slit cut into a loose mask.
Devastator in construction. Fuselage hollowed out and cockpit detailed. Aircraft painted in a range of oil paint tones to emphasise light and shade.
Detail of aircraft elevator. Note detailing added beneath platform (guess work). Tyre marks are on here as well. The deck is shaded where the aircraft casts its shadow – this was done for the aircraft on the rest of the flight deck as well.
The Hangar Deck during construction.

Completed Model……

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