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US Navy ZPG-3W &quot;Vigilance&quot; 1/700 scale 3d printed ZPG-3W in flight, photo: Eric Brothers

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ZPG-3W in flight, photo: Eric Brothers
US Navy ZPG-3W  "Vigilance" 1/700 scale 3d printed ZPG-3W in flight,  photo: Eric Brothers
US Navy ZPG-3W  "Vigilance" 1/700 scale 3d printed ZPG-3W in flight,  photo: Eric Brothers

Not a Photo

US Navy ZPG-3W  "Vigilance" 1/700 scale 3d printed
US Navy ZPG-3W  "Vigilance" 1/700 scale 3d printed

Not a Photo

US Navy ZPG-3W "Vigilance" 1/700 scale

  • 3D printed in Frosted Ultra Detail: Matte translucent plastic that showcases fine and intricate details.
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  • This product is intended for mature audiences.
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Product Description

PLEASE NOTE: The Spring 2017 price changes that Shapeways introduced for Frosted Detail printed items increased the price of this model enormously. Rather than remove it altogether, I have placed it in the LEGACY section of my shop. I will introduce a new version  in other materials and at a lower price as soon as I can . I do have a number of models to work through however, so please bear with me. Please message me if you would like to know when the new model is likely to be available.

This model includes a kit of parts to complete a ZPG-3W either "in flight" with the undercarriage retracted or "landed", with the undercarriage down. Additionally the model can be completed on it's own or attached to a mobile mooring mast and the accompanying towing tractor.

The ZPG-3W was the final version of the US Navy's N-Class fleet.  They were, and remain, the biggest non-rigid airships ever built with an envelope capacity of 1,516,00 cu ft and overall length of close to 400ft.  Four were built and they carried a massive 42ft rotating radar dish suspended within the envelope. The dome on top housed the height finding radar. 
The popular name for the ZPG-3W was Vigilance and they were an intrinsic part of the North American early-warning network during the Cold War period. Many details of their equipment and operation remain as classified information.

The N-Class, affectionately called "Nan Ships" by their crews, were large, non-rigid type airships built by the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation of Akron, Ohio for the US Navy. The Class developed through various configurations including anti-submarine warfare and airborne early warning (AEW) versions. The first of the type (Nan-ship, ZP1N) was delivered in 1952, with an envelope capacity of 875 000 cu ft.

Experience with ZP1N resulted in the larger (1 011 000 cu ft) and more capable ZP2N - later redesignated "ZPG-2" - and the introduction of the distinctive large radar housing on the belly of the control car. The 2N carried the most up-to-date submarine hunting equipment then available and was a match for any conventional submarine in the world. Deliveries started in 1954. 

1955 saw the delivery of the first of the ZPG-2W,  AEW version of the N-Class with a height-finding radar mounted on the top of the envelope. Production of the ZPG-2 series ended in 1957 with a total of 17 built including 12 ZPG-2Ns and 5 ZPG-2Ws. 

The Airborne Early Warning   ZPG-3W first flew in 1958. All of the N-Class  had been retired by the end of 1962.

My Inspiration for producing models of the N-Class 'ships came from reading through the pages of Larry Rodrigues's www.battleblimps.com website and from the e-book that he provides as a free download in pdf file format from the site.  Larry describes his experiences as an aviation electronics technician in the US Navy in the mid nineteen fifties and gives a brilliant insight into what serving aboard the Nan Ships (and K-Ships) was actually like. His straightforward accounts of the very special considerations needed in taking off, flying and landing an airship are a joy to read.

Please Note that you have the choice of scale and of material - please check your choices in the top right corner of this page.

ZPG-3W Length = 386 feet, or 118 meters

1/700 scale model length = 168.1 mm
1/600 scale model length = 196.1 mm

Please Note that when landed, the N-Class rested in  a nose-down attitude on it's under carriage. Once moored at the mast the craft was usually in a horizantal position with the nose-wheel off the ground or even slightly retracted.

For the ZPG-2 and ZPG-2W versions of the Nan-Ship, please click HERE.
What's in the Box
ZPG-3W 1/700 scale
Frosted Ultra Detail
3.7 cm
8.4 cm
20.6 cm

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