Curtiss SOC-3 Seagull

by Richard “RJ” Tucker



            On Sunday, December 7, 1941 in Pearl Harbor, the watch on the battleships observed sunrise looking forward to a “holiday” routine. The battleships would not observe sunset. As we all know, the Empire of Japan struck a crippling blow to the mighty and overconfident United States Navy. All the battleships would rise like the phoenix and wreak their revenge on Japan, except the USS Arizona.  She is a tomb to her crew- the US Navy’s sacred monument. Ships still render honors to the Arizona when entering and leaving port.

            When Bill Blackmore, owner of Cottage Industries, asked to make two spotter planes for his 1/96 scale USS Arizona, (Yep! You read that right! In one picture you can see the dime.)  I readily accepted. He will float this beast of a model on December 7th  with two SOC-3 Seagulls ready to search for the enemy battle line and spot the rounds! 

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Bill measuring the finished model ship of the "USS Arizona".

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   The only model in the 1/96 scale is a limited run resin kit (run away, run away! Quick! a free one month subscription to ARC if you can name that movie!).  I used three kits to make two models.




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I started the ……..ahem ……. model kits by cleaning up parts, thinning the wings, filling in the blemishes, and boring out the fuselage of one kit. I used brass tubing for the engine cowl.



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After attaching the lower wings and painting with Testors enamels, I scratch built the cockpit on one kit.  I couldn’t come up with enough seats and the clock was ticking, so I made a canvas canopy cover out of painted typing paper for the second plane.


The kits came with the national markings, but they had no ship specific markings. I make the required decals with a laser printer. (WARNING SHAMELESS PLUG) See “Making Custom Made Decals” in the Tool ‘n’Tips  section of ARC.

             Then I assembled all the pieces using stainless steel rods, brass rods and straight pins for the struts and flower wire for the rigging.  The extra canopy pieces were fashioned from a plastic soda bottle.  The planes were delivered and mounted on the ship.

Resin kits are a change of pace for more obscure subjects; they will tax your skills and patience. They’re not for the faint of heart. Fore warned.


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Photos and text © by Richard “RJ” Tucker