|This is my build of a Tom's Modelworks USS WEST VIRGINIA for retired USMC Sgt Dick Fiske, who served onboard the WEST VIRGINIA as a 19 year old Cpl, USMC, and Ship's Bugler, during the attack on
Pearl Harbor. I first became aware of Dick in December 1991, when the three major US TV networks all had 2 hour specials on TV, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I found
Dick's story to be one of the most emotional and moving eye-witness accounts about the attack, and met Dick in person at the USS ARIZONA Memorial Museum in 1994. As a result of that meeting, I stayed in
touch with Dick and became good friends with him. I contacted Tom Harrison of Tom's Modelworks, who was also a very good friend, and asked Tom if he would consider doing a kit of the WEST VIRGINIA
similar to the kit of the ARIZONA he did a couple of years before. Tom liked the idea and said he'd produce a kit if I would build it and get it out to Dick in Hawaii.
The model was built and painted using the best information available at the time, using Tamiya paints. Information on things such as the turret top colours was not available to me at the time of the build, and just
to make it really interesting - this would be my first resin kit build - with photo-etch! I rebuilt a number of the kit supplied parts as they were either mishaped or not completely formed during the casting process,
and scratch-built a number of detail parts that were provided as 2-dimensional P-E brass parts or cast in white metal. Parts that were scratch-built included both Funnels, both Boat-handling Cranes on the 01
deck, both Aircraft-handling Cranes on the quarter-deck on either side of the Main-Mast, and the Boat-Booms on the hull. The Aircraft-handling Crane on the stern received a scratch-built base, and the
splinter-shield around the Main-Mast Spotting Top MG positions was also replaced with a scratch-built item. The 2 x 3'/50 Cal gun tubs on the quarter-deck were also scratch-built as the kit supplied parts were
The sea-base was made from an acrylic gel median, painted using Tamiya paints. I still have to work on perfecting better wake patterns, as this one just doesn't look right. I completed the kit in late 1998 and
presented it in person to Dick on the 26th of January 1999, at the USS ARIZONA Memorial Museum. The look on Dick's face was priceless and well worth the time spent building it. Sadly - Dick passed away in
April 2004. In the short time I knew him, he became a good friend, and I'll always remember his story.