This is my USS Oriskany model project page. I thought I'd post images of my progress as I build this Revell 1:500 scale version. The model is not totally accurate but my goal is to have the model appear as much as possible like she did in 1966 when I was stationed aboard.

This is not meant to be a "how to" or tutorial on modeling methods, just a documentary on the progress of the building of the model. This is the first time I've built a model in several years so please be patient with me (and forgiving) as I share my journey with you.

To start, below are a few shots of my workshop/tool shed. It took a bit of doing to make room for a work space and my biggest concern is the heat. Where I live, the temps are averaging around 102° right now. The work shop is made of metal but it is shaded.


March 27, 2017
I've had many requests on where a model of the USS Oriskany can be found so I've added my thoughts on the subject below:

I was fortunate to find a 540 scale model of the USS Oriskany on ebay. Because this model is rare, it sells for a premium whenever one comes up for auction. Because this model was very expensive, about $300 when I bought it several years ago, I was reluctant to attempt any serious modifcations such as removing the stern gun tubs considering my limited experience in doing that kind of advanced modification.

Your best bet to build a model of the Oriskany is to search ebay. There are several models to look for that will work although aircraft and decals would need to be customized.

Below are the Revell modernized (angled deck) Essex class aircraft carrier models that were made from the same dies that I'm aware of. The only thing different between these models are the types of aircraft provided, the decals and instruction sheets. The Oriskany model is very hard to find and the most expensive because of that.

Just be sure these models are the right scale. They are usually listed as being anywhere from 1/500 to 1/560 scale. Be aware that the USS Hornet can also be found as a straight deck version and it won't work as a replacement for the Oriskany but the angled deck one will.

USS Oriskany
USS Hornet
USS Lexington
USS Bonne Homme Richard
USS Shangri-La

Even though Revell made identical Essex Class Carrier models using the same dies, only the Oriskany model has the correct F-8's and A-4's included. For my model, I bought resin A-1 Skyraiders from Starfighter Decals. He also carries F-8's and A-4's. The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior I got from a 500 scale Renwal model of the USS Ticonderoga I found on ebay. The Willey Fudd was donated to me by a fellow model maker.

The SPS-30 radar is from the Monogram model of the "USS Columbus" CG12 Guided MIssle Cruiser that can be found on ebay occasionally. Another radar added is from the Gold Medal Models photo etched parts for REVELLS MIDWAY, FORRESTAL, AND ESSEX- CLASS AIRCRAFT CARRIERS (1/540)

Starfighter Decals Oriskany set includes the correct aircraft squadron markings for the 1966 cruise. The set does not include the landing stripes but if you email Mark, the owner of Starfighter Decals, he is very knowledgable and helpful and at the time I built my model, he was able to provide a set of landing stripes I could purchase.

You can get lots of help and suggestions at this model ship forum as well.

Shapeways now offers a highly detailed version of the Oriskany island structure designed by Model Monkey that depicts how it looked from 1968 forward. This structure is not suitable for ealier years since it has the ECM "box" added to the starboard side as well as the radar dome which was added in time for the 1967 cruise.  The island structure is in 1/530 scale and would look great when used with the newly released Revell USS Oriskany model kit.

Be sure to read the best ways to prepare these parts for use and the FAQ's on Model Monkey's website.

This is an overall view of the work area I will be using for the build. Here's a closer view from straight on. The black lamp has a magnifying lens too. Looking to the left. Looking to the right. Here you can see the compressor I use for my Aztec double action airbrush.


I've been asked what color of grays did I use for my model. The chips above show the FS numbers for the lighter gray I used for the ship's hull and island structure and the dark gray I used for the flight deck and regular ship decks. I used an even lighter gray for the aircraft.

Aug 30, 2008 - Making a little progress
I'm using a cinder block as a hand rest and to bring the model higher so I don't have to bend over quite so much. Please keep in mind these photos are very close up. The model will look much better when viewed from a distance...say, from across the room.


I've started to do a little painting. Here are some misc. pieces I'm painting in the main hull color. I've started to mask off the waterline for the main hull color. This shot shows the lower hull now masked off. Painting the main hull color.
Another shot of the hull being painted. In this shot, I've removed the masking after the paint is dry. Another shot after masking removed. Last shot after masking removed from the bow.


Sep 1, 2008 A beginning on the island structure
Here are some shots of the island. Except for the island halves, parts are only fitted together for now. The two photos below of Oriskany shows what the island looked like in 1966. This is what
I am trying to replicate.


I also did some decal tests using photoshop to get an idea of size and location. Above are a couple of shots of the model island compared to a couple of photos. Size and locations are approximations and eventually I hope to add some weathering effects such as a bit of rust. I only hope the actual decals I custom make turn out this well.


Sep 14, 2008 More work on the island structure and back to the hull.
I had hoped to receive my order of Micro Sol setting solution by now. This solution is used to soften decals placed on the model surface so it conforms to uneven surfaces. In order to place the decals (on the island) I want to also spray a coat of clear gloss first to help prevent 'silvering' around the edges of the decals.


So...all I've accomplished for now is some more detail painting on the island and associated parts. I also have been wondering if I can make a decal of one of the bridge windows from a photo and apply it to the model too...hmmm. I've also remasked and painted the lower portion of the hull...err, hull red. I've been dreading doing this part of the work but hopefully my waterline will look straight. Next will be the black waterline itself.


Sep 21, 2008 More work on the island structure and hull.
I finally received my order of Micro Sol so I could begin adding decals. The pics below will give you an idea of how they look. If you squint your eyes and lean way back, they don't look too bad. I'm only showing the starboard side of the island since I kinda messed up a decal and need to replace it for the port side.


The first three shots show a couple of decals. Most of the parts are not permanent yet and are just added to see how things look. If things look a bit crooked, that's why. This is the completed hull with the hull line.


Sep 28, 2008 Ordered replacement island and photo etch parts
I ordered a replacement island structure from Starfighter Decals that has a lot more accurate detailsincluding the bridge, flag bridge and unrep bridge. I've also ordered two photo etch sets from Gold Medal Models which should arrive in about a week.

I've been informed by Mark of Starfighter Decals that this island replacement won't work for the Oriskany.

This shows the replacement island structure main parts The main island assembled showing additional smaller parts This is the Gold Medal Models 540-6 photo etch set for Revells Essex class angled deck carrier at 1/540 scale This set is more generic and I'm getting this one for the bridge window frames, watertight hatches and life preservers I've also gotten this set of A1 Skyraiders from Starfighter Decals since the original model does not include this aircraft
Meanwhile, I am continuing paint work for the exterior bulkheads between the hanger deck and flight deck A closeup showing one of the small boats. From photos I've seen, these boats have the ships name abbreviated on their hulls as "Oris"


Oct 27, 2008 Progress Report
I can't believe how quickly time has passed. I've been very preoccupied lately helping my daughter and family deal with a financial crisis which isn't over yet. I have made a little progress on the model though. I've had a heck of a time with the "Beware" sign on the port side of the island. The decal paper from Testors kept smudging when printed. I ordered decal paper from Beldecal and it works much better. Then, I had problems with the yellow border around the sign. It kept wanting to curl when placed on the model. I finally opted to not use the yellow border. I've also done some more painting of the exterior bulkheads and added some number decals.

I've also done some small work on the mast using photo etched parts but haven't taken any photos yet. I still need to scratch build a mount for one radar set and figure out how to scratch build another. As they say, "The devil's in the detail".


The "Beware" sign finally added to the port side of the island. It looks like it does because of the island details under it. I used Micro Sol to get the decal to conform to the island. A quick shot of the starboard exterior bulkheads showing the decals I added.


Nov 2, 2008 Progress Report
I've been working on some photo etch parts this weekend. I put together the large rectangular radar set and the replacement for a smaller radar that goes in front of the mast. I also got ambitious and modified the "Tilley" crane used to move damaged aircraft on the flight deck.


These are the two photo etch radars I've done so far. The small one replaces a plastic version for the model and the other is not stock. I will need to create a mounting for it on the starboard side of the island. This is the stock version of the "Tilley" crane. In this photo, the crane is washed out because of the exposure. These two shots show the same "Tilley" once I removed the stock boom and added the photo etched boom and did some painting. I still need to add the rigging. Also in these shots, you can see how the flight deck is warped. This is how I received the model. Hopefully it will lay flat when glued down to the hull.


Nov 11, 2008 Progress Report
I've been able to get a lot accomplished this weekend as I have a couple of extra days off. First, I completed the mast by adding some photo etch parts. I also was able to add the radar mounted on the port side of the island structure. The radar is a photo etch part and the mount I scratch built. The mount appears to be a bit high but in comparing it to other the one used as the background on these pages, it's not too my opinion.

I've also gotten a lot done with the hull by assembling a lot of parts that have been painted previously. I still have some small details to add and do a bit of touch up. It won't be long and I will be at the point I've been dreading...the flight deck.


The mast completed These two images compare the new mast with the original. Comparing the new mast with a photo.
  These pics show the new custom radar made from photo etch parts and a scratch built mount. I still haven't figured out how I'm going to make the other radar on the port side.  
These two photos show the hull assembly at this point. The camera flash tends to wash out some of the detail. For the heck of it, I placed the flight deck and island structure on the hull to get an idea of how it will look.


Nov 16, 2008 Progress Report
 This weekend I've had a chance to work on the flight deck some more. I've painted the deck, attached it to the hull and started to add decals


 Considering how warped the flight deck was when I received the model, I was able to fit it fairly well. I still need to adjust the elevators a bit. The blotchy look of the flight deck is due to the clear gloss coat I added prior to placing decals. That will go away when I spray a clear flat coat when all the decals are added.

To paint the flight deck, I used the dark gray first then masked it off and used the light gray at the ends and catwalks around the flight deck. Then I used the dark gray again on the catwalks being careful to shoot at right angles to the deck. Then I used a small brush to paint the light gray back on the top edge of the railing. This way, all the horizontal surfaces are dark and the vertical surfaces are light gray.


Nov 29, 2008 Progress Report
 I was able to find the SPS-30 radar I needed for my model and have added it. I also added more decals to the deck. One comment on the decals...I HATE DECALS!!

Here's a few shots of the SPS-30 radar. Thanks to a tip from Mark of Starfighter Decals, I was able to find a different ship model that has this radar. It's a good fit and beats the heck out of me trying to make one from scratch.

This view shows a few more decals I've added. One thing I learned is not to follow the lines on the model for the landing stripes. I didn't realize until it was too late that the lines taper from the fantail forward to the port elevator. So, I had to remove one of the lines and am awaiting more decals.

Adding decals is a major pain for me...especially those long narrow ones. They keep wanting to either curl up on themselves or not want to lie straight...or both. Did I mention I HATE DECALS.
  This is a photo Jim Phillips kindly let me use from his website as a guide for most of the deck decals. This is the look I'm trying to achieve.
As the long weekend winds down, I've added the other landing stripe...again. It seems that every time I add something to the model, I create at least two other things that now need to be touched up. At least I'm almost over the cold I've been battling all weekend...just in time to get back to work tomorrow.


Dec 7, 2008 Progress Report
 Almost finished. I have almost all the decals added to the flight deck. What remains are a few minor parts and the aircraft. I also want to try and add a bit of weathering/wear to the flight deck to tone down the decals and to make things look a bit more realistic.

Finally, I will have a display case made so I can display my model and protect it from handling and dust.


Dec 16, 2008 Progress Report
 I've added the ramps at the bow of the ship now and a bit of wear to the flight deck.

 This shot shows the ramps added  This will be the new "home" for my model. This is my favorite room as you might guess. On the opposite wall is my 40" HD LCD. Once I get a display case, I'll decide whether I want to keep it on top of the 'fireplace' or mount it on the wall. A closer look at a bit of wear I've added to the flight deck.


Dec 21, 2008 Progress Report
 I'm working on the aircraft now. Still need to finish painting and adding the decals...did I mention I HATE DECALS!

 Here's a couple of shots showing the aircraft on the flight deck.


Dec 29, 2008 Progress Report
 I'm almost finished with the aircraft now. Still need to add two more aircraft. I have a display case and plaque on order

These are the F-8's of VF-162, "The Hunters". I also will represent VA-163 "The Saints". Due to the lack of aircraft available, I will only show one aircraft for VA-152 and HATRON 4 soon.
These six images show most of the aircraft I will include on my model. Missing still is the Spad and Whale. These images are very large.

Jan 19, 2009 Progress Report
 I'm finally finished with my model of the USS Oriskany. I now have aircraft representing those that were aboard during the 1966 cruise. Thanks for sticking with me while I stumbled through the building of this model. It's been a great experience...but frustrating at times.