"I was bored to tears last month at 3 in the morning in seoul korea when i started bidding on old revell kits. I won a uss lexington kit. When it arrived the box showed 1970s airplanes with a 1959 ship. Having been a navy ASW aircrewman at brunswick maine in the 60s i used to fly over the essex and randolph quite frequently so i decided to build cvs 9 (USS Essex) as it was in 1960. I found your web site by going through Great Models."
Thanks for looking us up, Brian - and here at ModelFleet we already have several other ex-ASW guys. Not to mention also "SW" guys - "bubble-heads" - the ex-sub jockeys themselves!
Your comments go straight to the fascinating thing about the Essex-class carriers: they served for so long, went through so many different refits and roles - and with so many sisters in the class to begin with - that the variety of deployments and aircraft they encountered were truly legion.
In the specific case of Lexington-II, actually all but one of the aircraft in Revell's final boxing of her - depicting her as a training carrier, AVT 16 - are correct for her period of service from the late '60s right up through the early '90s, when she was (the last Essex to be) retired. The one - glaring - exception is the F-4 Phantom-II, which was just too much (afterburners too hot on the deck, IIRC) for any Essex-class carrier to handle, ever.
Even so however, all but one of the Revell OOB aircraft; the F-4s, S-2 Trackers, T-28 Trojans, F-9 Cougars - all but the UH-1 Huey helicopters - do in fact date all the way back to the late '50s . Which time period, you are correct, is the one for which the Revell kit (most correctly) depicts the actual ship itself. A depiction which is indeed far closer to your Essex CVS 9 than to Lexington-II, which had a significantly different-shaped "Combined" type hurricane bow enclosure.
So IMHO you're definitely on the right track with your build - very much like our own Falk Pletscher's build - to get the very best out of this classic mold.
Of course, even for the Essexes having the "Standard" type hurricane bow including Essex herself, the Revell kit still contains some substantial innaccuracies in the bow area - I'm working on upgrade parts to correct for that, too.
Meantime I know you're going to be pleased with how much better are the Matty's Models S-2 Trackers than the OOB S-2s of the Revell kit. And, as you complete your build, don't forget: Matt Stein Models also offers an AJ Savage, AD-5W Skyraider and AD-1 Skyraider; providing refuelling tankers, early warning aircraft and attack planes, respectively, which are appropriate to this late '50s period as well.
Again, thanks for your interest, your comments and definitely keep in touch about the progress of your build, Brian!