Project - Building WWII Bomb Racks in Oahu in Fn3 (1:20.3)


Building WWII Bomb Racks in Oahu Sugar Company Fields

By Nicholas Kalis

Prototype Photo

Fn3 (1:20.3) bomb racks located in clearings in Oahu Sugar Company’s cane fields during 1944, my layout’s setting. This sugar cane plantation railroad is located in Oahu, Hawaii. These bomb racks were surprisingly simple – no legs were involved nor were there any shelters from weather visible in published photographs.

When Prototype Constructed

During WWII, the US military requisitioned around Waipahu alone some 2,800 acres of Oahu Sugar Company cane fields. It is thought these bomb racks were constructed after the December 7, 1941 bombing at Pearl Harbor (which is also on Oahu).

Information Sources / Plans

Another photo (Source: Hawaii Plantation Village) on page 246 of Chiddix and Simpson shows bombs stored in wooden racks in a cane field. A third photo on this same page shows tunnel XT-10 (not modeled) built on Oahu Sugar Land to store military materiel during the war. No diagrams of these Oahu bomb racks have been found by this modeler nor are they thought to exist. Dimensions of these modeled bomb racks were extrapolated from the size of the Larry G Scale bomb models used.

How Operated

A photo (Source: Hawaii Plantation Village) of bombs being carried by flat cars to their dispersed destination appears on page 246 of Jim Chiddix and MacKinnon Simpson Next Stop Honolulu! The Story of the Oahu Railway & Land Company

Ancillary Facilities

On page 247 we see two Army sentries, a pedestrian gate (initially mistaken for a guard shed), and a somewhat complicated wooden/barbed wire fence guarding tracks into the Oahu Sugar Company.

Scratch built Features

My entire Fn3 bomb racks are scratch-built of strip basswood of two sizes. My strip wood was assembled using a WT-260 hot glue gun and hot glue sticks.

Wood chocks

To keep bombs from rolling off my Fn3 racks, prototype wood chocks (visible in published photographs) made of basswood with a smaller dimension are modeled.


In published photographs, the prototype wood appears unpainted so that was followed in my model. My modeled racks were stained in order to depict weathering likely as the racks were all outdoors.

 Commercial Components Appearing on Model 

Larry G Scale Number LG2033001 Two sets of ten bombs each - typical of the 200 plus pound general purpose (GP) bombs used circa WWII - are glued to scratch built wooden racks. Each model measures 1 7/8 inches long by 3/8 inch in diameter is similar in style to the type of short fin bombs used for carpet bombing and detonating on impact.

Materials Used
1.      X-Acto® knife
2.      Manufacturer Unknown Strip basswood
3.      Manufacturer Unknown Wood Glue
4.      Manufacturer Unknown Hot glue sticks