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US Navy ZPG-3W &quot;Vigilance&quot; FD 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" FD 3d printed ZPG-3W in flight,  photo: Eric Brothers
US Navy ZPG-3W  "Vigilance" FD 3d printed ZPG-3W in flight,  photo: Eric Brothers

Not a Photo

US Navy ZPG-3W  "Vigilance" FD 3d printed
US Navy ZPG-3W  "Vigilance" FD 3d printed

Not a Photo

US Navy ZPG-3W "Vigilance" FD

3D printed in matte translucent plastic that showcases fine and intricate details.
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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 here in the LEGACY section of my shop. A much more affordable, although less detailed, version of the model is now available in S&F here.

This 1/700 and 1/600 scale 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.

For the ZPG-3W in 1/1250 and 1/1200 scale , please clicvk HERE.
What's in the box:
ZPG-3W 1/700 scale
3.74 x 20.07 x 8.23 cm
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1.47 x 7.9 x 3.24 inches
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