US Fleet 1941 Recreation Project

click for large image Russell Sandlin


I believe a picture is worth a thousand words. I also believe ship modeling is worth a thousand pictures.

No historical photographs, no matter how much clarity there is, can equal the great detail a diorama or model can provide. That is why I have recreated the U.S. Fleet, as constituted just before the Pearl Harbor Attack on December 7th, 1941. This project, in 1/700 scale, has been ongoing since 1981. I have researched the ships of the U.S. Navy in great detail. Many of the models are scratch built or built with cannibalized parts from model ship kits. As new ship models become available I will be able to increase the size of this collection in the next several months.

click for large image US Fleet 1941 model


For the last 35 years I have constructed, in 1/700 scale, ships of the US fleet that existed in 1941. On December 8, 1991 I conducted my first exhibit at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield California as part of the Pearl Harbor 50th anniversary commemoration ceremony. This exhibit consisted of 103 ships deployed in battle formation. I wish to donate this growing collection to all of America on the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 2016, I hope this will be a new way to, "Remember Pearl Harbor".

click for large image battleship division 3

In December 1941, Battleship Division 3 consisted of USS Arizona (BB-39), USS Nevada (BB-36), and USS California (BB-44). USS Arizona was the division flagship commanded by Rear Admiral Issac Kidd.

click for large image carriers Lexington & Saratoga

These carriers started life as America's first battle cruisers. The 1921 Washington Naval Treaty converted these ships to aircraft carriers. Saratoga added a black stripe on her smoke stack to identify her.

click for large image of USS San Francisco


The USS San Francisco (CA-38) dominated the Pacific naval war by participating in nearly every major sea battle in World War II. San Francisco won 15 battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation. To read a history of the USS San Francisco, entitled "The First Year of the Pacific War!", simply click here.

click for large image Destroyers Submarines PT Boats

Houndogs of the fleet. They searched and probed dangerous waters, reporting all enemy movements and strengths back to the fleet. They encountered all types of warships.

click for large image USS Langley

First a collier, or coal vessel, then America's first aircraft carrier in 1922, and now operating seaplanes, with new carrier construction in 1937, Langley was finally reduced to a seaplane tender.

click for large image of Auxiliaries

In 1941 supply, repair & replenishment ships made up the fleet train. Many had dual roles maintaining the fleet. These ships included mine warfare and coastal vessels of various types.

Vigilance has always been the better part of valor. To be ready to fight when war is thrust upon us, brings fear to our potential enemies, and threatens their success.

On the day of the Pearl Harbor attack, Admiral Yamamoto, commander of the combined Imperial Japanese Fleet, stated to his staff, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant."

                                                                                Russell L. Sandlin