In the main room, to the left are all of the railroad items, die cast cars, games and a plethora of other hobby products. However, I was not there for the
products on the left side of the first room. As a Republican with a Libertarian streak, I was drawn to the right side of the large main room of
Freetime
Hobbies
. Model kits of everything imaginable stretched into the distance. Tanks by the division load, aircraft of all generations and of course warships.
I stopped and opened the large box of a Gallery Models 1:350
USS Intrepid, angled deck Essex class, tempting, very tempting and upon reflection, I
wish that I had stretched the budget a little more and picked up one of those. I made a quick call to Felix Bustelo because I thought that he had told me
that he had picked up the
Intrepid from Freetime and was going to review it. Crafty Felix didn't answer, so left him a voicemail that I was in the heart
of modeling goodness,
Freetime. Well, after all, Felix is a New Yorker, working not far from where 1:1 scale USS Intrepid is berthed, so it is only
fitting that Felix reviews New York City's carrier. I was intrigued by a large shelf filled with Roden World War One fighters in 1:32 scale. I have always
liked the Albatros series and the Pfalz. Next to that was another stack of aircraft kits and I opened the box for a HK Models Dornier Do-335 B-2 Arrow
"Pfeil", pusher-puller fighter with wing cannon pods, a very nice kit and in 1:32nd scale big to boot. Tempting, but I was there for warships and would
not be diverted by the fare of treadheads and propeller beanies. This was not my first visit to
Freetime and I knew as packed with kits as the first
room was, it was a diversion. I knew that the true motherload lay further into the building, beyond the main room, in even larger rooms to the rear.
Again there were two paths. There to the left was Brandon behind the glass counter showing a couple various HO scale engines, Bowser, Atlas,
Bachman, names that had been around since I was a kid. On the left behind Brandon was a door that led into another room but I knew that this room
would be crammed with die cast vehicles. No. I was maintaining my course to the right where I knew I would go through a small second room before
I got to the huge warehouse size rooms at the back of the building, where the bulk of the warship treasure lay.

The second room, although fairly small, is interesting in its own right. To the right are a couple of desks with computers and monitors, which are work
stations for
Freetime personnel. There is also a large multipurpose table to the right, used for boxing orders among many other purposes. To the left is
the
Wall of Combrig. Serried shelves, filled with nothing but Combrig kits, Combrig, Combrig and nothing but Combrig, the most Combrig kits this
side of Moscow. The large 1:350 kits, waterline and full hull are on the upper shelves and the lower shelves crammed with row upon row of 1:700
scale kits. But then I stopped because there was one shelf in the
Wall of Combrig that had wooden decks with a blue label. I picked on up and read
"
Blue Ridge Models, 1/700 Virginia Class Wood Deck, for Combrig BRM-71015." I saw the possibilities immediately, as the deck was extraordinarily
thin and beautiful to behold. By then Brandon was finished with helping the train modelers and I asked him about the
Blue Ridge line of decks for
Combrig kits. Freetime uses ArtwoxModel to produce the decks for the Blue Ridge deck line, not just for Combrig kits but also for Blue Ridge
models. Brandon showed me the stack of
Combrig Virginia Class battleships and I narrowed my selection down to USS New Jersey or USS Georgia.
Brandon said he was working on the
Combrig Georgia with the Blue Ridge deck for some time, as Georgia is his state, and that seemed like a good
idea to me. So in emulation of my host, I picked up the
Combrig 1:700 scale USS Georgia and the Blue Ridge wooden deck.
When I first looked at ArtwoxModel wooden decks, I was very impressed with the product. If anything, the Blue Ridge 1:700 scale decks for the
Combrig Virginia class battleship kits, produced by ArtwoxModel is even thinner than the products that I had examined. As with all wooden decks,
there are openings that need to be cut out to fit the wooden deck onto the plastic or resin deck of the model. Some openings are for deck fittings to
rise above the deck and some openings are access into the interior of the ship. All need to be cut out. As with other ArtwoxModel decks, the
construction is in the form of a sandwich with the wooden deck on top with adhesive on the bottom, covered at the bottom with an extremely thin
film cover that is peeled off, exposing the adhesive for attachment to the deck. For the
Combrig Virginia class, the Blue Ridge wooden decks
actually has five wooden decks, the large main deck, the smaller boat deck and three small decks for the three stack houses.

I wasn't about to attach the decks at this time, as I will paint the model in Great White Fleet livery, before I permanently attach the wooden deck.
However, I wanted to do more than just show photographs of the wooden deck. I decided that I would just dry fit the deck on top of the
Combrig
Georgia
kit by simply removing the center boat deck and fitting the deck over the 01 superstructure. But then I discovered that I could remove most
of the frame with just my fingers. As it was that easy, I kept going. I gently pressed on the deck and the deck fittings popped through the wooden
deck. I then decided to get a hobby knife to open some of the spots for recessed features such as coamings for inclined ladders leading down into the
hull and the deck anchor hawse. However, it is impressive enough just with the little work that I did on the deck. Before attaching, I'm going to score
the film on the underside and clean up the openings to remove extraneous film. The deck has plates for the coal scuttles, so rather than remove those,
to show a recessed resin coal scuttle on the
Combrig deck, I'll simply paint the wooden deck scuttles buff to match the upper superstructure.
The Blue Ridge wooden deck for the Combrig 1:700 scale USS Virginia class battleships is a first rate product. Amazingly thin and easy to fit, I
recommend it without qualifications. I haven't tried fitting it to the
Niko or Samek models of the class, but is designed for the Combrig kits and I can
report that it fitted like a glove on the
Combrig USS Georgia BB-15 model. The deck is for the early fit of the ships with anchor washboards.