The most noticeable difference between the wartime battlewagon and the museum ship today is the presence of civilians. The museum is popular, and on the day we visited the ship it was filled with people. To suggest that busy atmosphere I added 22 GMM photoetched brass figures, painting them in shorts, brightly colored shirts, dresses—anything I could think of that looked non-military. They added touches of color to the drab vessel, and they also helped convey a sense of the massiveness of the real ship… which is not so easy to do on an 11 inch long model!
Just for fun I painted some of the figures to represent members of my family who visited the museum with me that day. I tried to make them accurate, painting them to match family photos taken aboard the ship, even trimming down two of the tiny figures to represent my young daughters. They were then scattered in groups throughout the ship. I thought this was pretty subtle, but when my seven year old found out I had done this she quickly located and identified every person!
Revell’s Massachusetts is typical of their late 1960s model kits: inexpensive and easy to assemble with basically correct outline and lots of attractive surface detail. It is a great project for a kid to have fun with, and I loved it when I built it all those years ago. For the more experienced modeler, though, getting this old girl into shape can be a real challenge. This time around it took me much more effort to get a pleasing result, but, like the first time, I had a lot of fun with it!
U.S. Battleships, An Illustrated Design History Norman Friedman, United States Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1985
(BB 59) Ship’s Data No. 8 Norman Friedman, LCDR Arnold S. Scott, USN (Ret.), and Robert F. Sumrall, HTC, USNR, USS Massachusetts
Memorial Committee, Battleship Cove, Fall River, Massachusetts, 1985
BB 59 museum photo gallery, photographs taken by Rob Mackie posted on the Steel Navy ship modeling website http://www.steelnavy.com/Mass.htm
U.S. Battleships in Action, part 2 (Warships No. 4) Robert Stern, Don Greer, Kevin Wornkey, Squadron Signal Publications, Carrollton, Texas, 1984
photoetch, decals: Gold Medal Models 1412 Fisherman Bay Road, Lopez, WA 98261 http://goldmm.com/
photoetch, resin parts, paints: White Ensign Models South Farm, Snitton, Ludlow, SY8 3EZ, UK http://www.whiteensignmodels.com/
scale plans: The Floating Drydock P.O. Box 9587 Treasure Island, FL 33740 http://www.floatingdrydock.com
flags: Archer Fine Transfers P.O. Box 1277 Youngsville, NC 27596-1277 http://www.archertransfers.com
styrene stock: Evergreen Scale Models, Inc. 18620-F 141st Ave. NE, Woodinville, WA 98072 http://www.evergreenscalemodels.com