USS Carl Vinson Project

The Journal - IPMS

Here is my project of the USS Carl Vinson. This represents how she was at the start of her maiden deployment on March 1, 1983. This deployment was a World Cruise starting in Norfolk Virginia and ending  in San Francisco California. The kit is the Trumpeter 1/350 scale USS Nimitz that was converted to the USS Vinson. The project took 9 months and 777 hours to complete. It has over 500 feet of fiber optic lighting and 40 LED’s to illuminate it. The hangar bay decals and air wing decal were made by myself. Most of these photos were taken by Andy Schneider Photography. Featured in the IPMS magazine “The Journal”

The build photos are at CVN-70 Build Photos

You can order Hangar Bay Decals at Modern Carrier Hangar Bay Decals

To add lighting checkout my tutorial on lighting models

UPDATE November 10, 2018 : Attended the Butch O’Hare Show. The Vinson won a Gold Medal and “Best U.S. Navy” Plaque!


UPDATE: On August 8th 2019 We CAREFULLY load the ship in the back of our SUV and drove over 600 miles to the beautiful city of Chattanooga Tennessee to attend the IPMS Nation convention. The model was entered  into the contest under class 401 “1/350 Aircraft Carrier” On Saturday August 10th we attended the award ceremony and the USS Carl Vinson won first place in it class! The model survived the trip there and back with no issues. I also would like to mention that the Chattanooga IPMS chapter hosted an awesome show. This was my first time at a national convention and it was great!


The Award Plaque
All back home.

Here is a short video taken by a fellow shipmate who served aboard the same 1983 World Cruise and great friend Kenny Wade:

Update 04/03/2020 – Another award. Eduard is a company that makes photo etch and resin accessories for models. They had a virtual worldwide model contest on their website. I entered the USS Vinson in the 1/350 ships class. I won 3rd place!

Eduard Model Accessories


Now on to the regular completed photos:


35 thoughts on “USS Carl Vinson Project

  1. The post amazing work I’ve ever seen! Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for your service and your talent.

  2. Unbelievable work, Dave!

  3. Awesome work Dave

  4. MaryEllen Gibbons-Mize September 19, 2018 — 8:35 pm

    Fantastic interpretive art!! 💙🙏🏼💙

  5. Absolutely amazing.

  6. Awesome!

  7. One of the most impressive builds I have seen. Unbelievable details, and truly a work of art. Well done sir.

  8. Very nice model as l was saying l just about to do one of her

    1. If you need any information or decals, just let me know.

  9. A monumental build. Have you done an paper on how to introduce the lighting to such a kit> I think that would be a fantastic photo / publication. You are truly a master builder.

  10. Fantastic work David! I didn’t know you were a Shellback too Shipmate! I hope my America is half as good!

    1. Thank you! Golden Shellback, we crossed at 0/0.

  11. That is AWESOME!! FANTASTIC job! I would love to do one of the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON and the USS GEORGE HW BUSH, both of which I served on.

  12. Shipmate, that is the BEST I’ve ever seen.
    Small world too, I served on USS O’Hare DD-889 in early 70’s till decommissioning.
    Once again, beautiful build.

  13. anthony dagostino August 11, 2019 — 2:35 am

    Congratulations David, she is a phenomenal piece of art and truly a one of a kind. One question, did she actually have that many aircraft? Seems like there are so many on deck and in the hangars, she is bursting at the seams! You put a LOT of time and energy into this ship, but from the results, it’s clearly a true labor of love!

    As always, thanks for your service brother!


    1. Yes, all 86 aircraft was aboard when she departed Norfolk.

  14. As a plankowner (80-84) that’s a spectacular job.. EN2 Kortman A div

  15. Served on her 4 years, July 83-87. Just missed being a plankowner. Got to say you sure captured the beast!! Brings back a lot of memories! Wow! She looks ready for sea! EM1 Beeber, RE Div.

      1. And here I see the awards you won in an alert. Wow! Most excellent. Got to share some memories from my time aboard with kids n grandkids over Father’s Day weekend, memories abound. I especially like the VF-111 F-14’s. Sweet!

      2. Thank you shipmate!

  16. Gordy Lindemann June 22, 2020 — 3:32 pm

    WOW!!! absolutely amazing attention to detail. Well done! Stationed aboard the USS Carl Vinson 1983-1987 V1 division AB aircraft handler.

      1. Which div were you in?

      2. AIMD Shop 3 I was attached to VA-37 during the world cruise.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close