William Tompkins built 307 different model ships at a scale of 1/600. Mr. Tompkins started building his massive collection when he was in his early teens, and he continued to make highly detailed models throughout his lifetime. The fleet of model ships includes a wide array of models that span several decades, if not more, so the collection offers an insightful view of naval evolution over time. A portion of William Tompkins’ fleet of 1/600 scale model ships is on display in the Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA.

USS New York (BB-34, 1938) was the lead ship of the San Antonio class. It was designed as the first ship to carry the 14-inch/45 caliber (356 mm) gun. Entering service in 1914, the USS New York was part of the US Navy force sent to reinforce the British Grand Fleet in the North Sea near the end of WWI. During that time, the ship was involved in at least two incidents with German U-boats. It is believed to be the only US ship to have sunk a U-boat, which happened during an accidental collision in October 1918.

The ship entered the Neutrality Patrol at the beginning of WWII and served as a convoy escort for ships to Iceland and Great Britain. Late in the war, the USS New York moved to the Pacific and provided artillery support for the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After WWII, the ship was deemed obsolete and was chosen to take part in the Operation Crossroads nuclear weapon tests at Bikini Atoll. Notably, the ship survived both explosions, and the effects of radiation on the ship were studied for years. The ship was eventually sunk as a target in 1948. The USS New York received three battle stars for service.

Exhibit added: May 6, 2014 - Last modified: January 25, 2024

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship