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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 includesa 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-3Wwas 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 Vigilanceand 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.
SCALE and MATERIAL: 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.