The hatches and the yellow tanks are now fitted. The winches have been adapted and fitted as well as cable reels.
Next job was the steps from the forecastle and also from various platforms.
A prominent cable or pipe runs up the back of the funnel and was a straightforward job with copper wire
Luckily Model Art generic decals had lettering just the right size for the large name on the side of the superstructure. Their sheet of white letters was also used for the port of registry on the stern and for the other name boards.
Davits were made from thin strips of 10 thou. and 8 thou. square section. I have to confess to cheating with the lifeboats – they are items from a Seals Model kit.
Life raft canisters on their rack were added along with a couple of small triangular structures in the run of the rails, the purpose of which I have not been able to determine.
Railings around the superstructure were relatively straightforward by working with small lengths at a time to cope with all the angles. The stern rails are a bit more of a challenge. These rails have been reinforced with extra plates on the uprights and a stronger capping rail. The uprights - made from 5 thou strip - were fitted to the railings with superglue and then trimmed with a new scalpel blade. The capping piece for the railing was made from 0.3mm copper wire. It was super-glued on in one place, and when that was fully cured bent in situ to the next angle and so on until the end.
Unfortunately in my haste to get on with the project I forgot to take any photos, so you will have to wait for the finished pictures to see what it looks like.
As things were moving towards a conclusion it was time to get the base ready. Watercolour paper was glued to the base plinth and the whole lot varnished and the sea colour was painted.
As this is an icebreaker, it seemed appropriate to set the model in an icy sea. I had been intrigued by photos of “pancake ice” and decided to try and replicate this.
Drips from a wax candle were dropped onto aluminium foil. This took a bit of practice to get enough drips of a reasonable size for the “pancakes”. Photos of this type of ice show a raised edge which I tried to replicate with white acrylic paint, but when these were tried on the sea base, the contrast between the white paint, the slightly greyish wax and the dark sea looked very odd, so I toned it down with light grey paint.
Now the hull has been sprayed and the decks painted, the next job is the white waterline. It should really have been done by painting it white and then masking off before spraying the dark blue on the hull as painting white over dark blue is not easy to get good coverage– hindsight is a wonderful thing. To try and overcome my stupidity I decided to try applying white decal strip instead. This is not straight forward as the level of the demarcation line changes near the bow, and the peculiar hull shape at the bow and stern adds to the difficulties; it also means I have to open up the water spray holes once the decal film has hardened.
My misgivings were well founded as the hull shape made the application of the decal film tricky in places, especially as it turned out to be particularly fragile. Where pieces of decal film overlapped, the white was more intense, so the only option was to overpaint the decal film to even things up a bit. One advantage of using decal stripes is that you can get a very sharp dividing line between the colours, but ironically, when it was all done it actually looked too sharp! Looking at photos, the white waterline appears to be a coating which becomes eroded at the edges showing hull colour underneath, so with my finest brush and some more Prussian blue I tried to replicate this effect.
When it was all done it looked better than I had feared, but I still wish I had thought to go with the masking option. Adding the windows to the superstructure broke up the slab-sided appearance of that large block and cheered me up a bit.
While waiting for the weather to change and allow the hull to be sprayed, I amused myself by making a few of the bits that will be needed later.
The stern crane was made from styrene tubing for the base with the main body and cab made from styrene oddments from the scraps box. I started to represent the telescopic jib by building up layers of thin sheet, but this was soon abandoned as impractical. In the end a thicker piece of styrene was filed into “steps” at the end to look like the telescopic elements. The hydraulic ram was made from Albion Alloys brass tubing with 0.3mm tube fitted inside 0.5mm tube.
The foredeck crane was made in similar manner.
A feature seen on a number of photos is pair of yellow tanks with a framework around them in the manner of a shipping container. These were made from styrene and the framework was made from pieces of single bar railing from different PE frets.
I intend to adapt the L’Arsenal US battleship winches to represent the anchor winches and also the ones on the stern.
Four deck hatches made from PE and 10 thou styrene are the other details waiting to go.
The laboratory which was added to the fore deck has now also been made.
Shipping containers or laboratory modules were made simply by cutting styrene rectangular rod to length.
Having corrected a couple of flaws with Mr Surfacer 500 and sprayed the superstructure elements with white primer, a bit of a delay occurred. I do paint spraying in the garage to avoid domestic disharmony, and when the weather turned frosty, rather than risk paint drying problems, I waited for things to warm up a bit.
A brief window of opportunity then allowed me to get some paint on the superstructure. The rear half of the funnel, which should remain white, was masked off. Vallejo Beige 008 was the colour selected for the superstructure elements and was airbrushed on. The windows on the wheelhouse were painted with Vallejo Dark Sea Blue and the deck hand brushed in Vallejo Flat Green. When it came to the orange stripe I opted to use some orange decal strip on a generic sheet from Model Art. The idea was that this would ensure an even stripe without having to mask off around lots of angles with the risk of the paint bleeding under the tape where there were joins. This worked well on the longer runs, but when it came to the angles there were just as many problems as if the masking option had been chosen!
I have made a decal sheet using the inkjet paper from Bare Metal Foil with various styles of windows. The appropriate size and spacing was chosen to make the windows on the bridge structure. This works quite well, but I have never been able to seal the decals well enough to make them completely impervious to colour bleeding. Fortunately I have discovered that literally dipping them into water and instantly removing them reduces this risk, but there is still the danger they will smudge when being moved on the model, or worse still, when spraying on a coat of matt varnish after everything is complete. I keep meaning to try with home printed decals on a photocopier or laser printer, but have never got round to it.
The main superstructure was masked off ready for the hull to be airbrushed with Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue.
Holes for the water spray system have been drilled in the bows. What appear to be guide rollers for towing hawsers at the stern were made from styrene rod and pieces of sheet.
Ventilation grilles made from mesh adapted from L’Arsenal and Gold Medal photo etch have been fitted to the superstructure. Once primed and checked for defects, the main superstructure block has been added. Now the final bulwarks on the forecastle deck can be fitted and a support pillar put in place for the overhanging corner of the helicopter deck. The area where the bridge structure is to be added has been masked off so that the styrene cement can do its job without primer getting in the way.
All ready to prime now and find out what needs to be corrected. The bridge structure has yet to be glued in place but has been placed loosely in position to check that it is beginning to look like the ship.
Just before priming, and after taking the photos, I realised that I had not made the fenders around the stern. My first thought was to use Milliput rolled into a sausage shape. However, looking at photos of the stern, the segmented appearance of the fenders suggested they could be replicated the same way by using 30 thou. styrene rod, cut halfway through with a fine razor saw at intervals which would help it to conform to the curves, so that is what I went with.
Back to the model now.
A platform has been added under the wheelhouse to provide the narrow walkway. The railings around all those angles should provide plenty of entertainment/gnashing of teeth in the future.
The wheelhouse now sits on top of the rest of the bridge structure and the funnel can be added. However, when I compared the funnel to the plan it seems I had not got the height quite right so pieces of 30 thou sheet have been added to correct the error. Then support brackets needed to be added under the overhangs.
Next job is the forward extension of the funnel above the wheelhouse. I had omitted this when making the masters for casting as it would have added another complication to an already difficult item. In view of the casting difficulties I am glad it was left off.
This is not an easy shape to replicate, not helped by the fact that interpreting the plans with the aid of photos is problematic because a) this area is seldom photographed close-up and b) many of the tricky angled parts are painted black which makes it difficult to discern the edges.
This meant I was not 100% sure of the shape I was aiming for, but I decided to start carving it from solid and see how it evolved.
The basic width and length for the solid block were achieved by laminating different thicknesses of styrene strip until the right dimensions were reached. The plan view was then marked on one end and the blank carved to shape. The profile was cut checking with templates for front and rear made from the drawings. Finally the front view was cut to shape. The result was not as sharp as I would have liked, so another attempt was made.
This time a built-up approach was used and the shape slightly simplified. The main elements were made from styrene strip and the awkward sloping panels made by adding and shaping Milliput. The result was much better looking and will now go to make another mould as I am feeling sorry for those who have acquired the castings, being left with one of the trickiest bits to scratch build.
The forest of exhaust tubes above the funnel was next. Four large and six small holes were drilled for them. The larger exhausts were made from pieces of styrene rod which were held in a pin vice for the ends to be drilled out before being fitted, mainly because I did not have any brass tube of the right diameter. The smaller pipes were made from 0.6mm brass tube. I don’t have a tube cutter, but find that holding the tube in a pin vice, and rolling it with an old scalpel blade to score around the circumference works very well with thin brass.
Last jobs on this element are small platforms just below the wheelhouse and platforms on the port side of the funnel which will be the landings for the staircase (just on that side).
I have just realised I am guilty of using jargon which might not be familiar to many people. I grew up when Imperial measurements were the norm, and although I have been “metricated” to a large extent I still use the old terminology which is still applicable when working on the elderly motorcycles I ride. The term “thou.” refers to a thousandth of an inch, so 30 thou. means 0.030”. Evergreen styrene, coming from the USA, comes in packs with the dimensions in fractions of an inch as the most prominent labelling and a metric equivalent in brackets. According to their labels, 20 thou. or 0.020” is equivalent to 0.5mm, and 30 thou. is equivalent to 0.75mm. I remain unrepentant about my terminology and will cheerfully mix Imperial and metric measurements depending on what I happen to lay my hands on. The important thing for me is “is it the right size as compared to the plan?”
Now that my responsibilities for making the casts have been discharged I am pressing on using the styrene masters I had made for the moulds. Unfortunately, this meant that the primer which was applied when checking them for imperfections had to be scraped off before styrene cement would adhere properly.
The next step was the helicopter platform and the top level of the superstructure. I opted to make the curved bulwarks around the corners of the superstructure from strips of 10 thou. styrene, pre-curving the strips before gluing them on. It may have been easier to get the curve accurate by using strips of brass.
There are ventilator outlets to be added under the helicopter deck which are not very clear on the plans, so reference photos provided the answers. There are also several doors made from 5 thou sheet to be added as well as stiffening brackets and small platforms . The brackets were made from strips of 10 thou. sheet cut to the correct depth but a bit longer than needed. Fixing with styrene cement creates a surprisingly strong bond for such a narrow contact area, and when it has completely set (ideally overnight) the brackets can be trimmed to length with scissors and then to the triangular shape with a scalpel.
By this time several other people had expressed an interest in acquiring the castings, so I now needed to be able to produce more than the one cast I had originally intended.
Using the elements already built, moulds were made for the hull and superstructure, but the funnel caused a bit of head scratching. It was too deep to for my usual crude method of pouring resin in and leaving a base plate to be sanded off, so I decided to try a two part mould with channels down which the resin would be injected. The halves could be separated to get the cast out easily and then there would just be the pouring channels to remove. After several attempts it became obvious that I could not get even large air bubbles out and the unsatisfactory result can be seen, so another mould was made. This time the mould made vertically and was split around the level where the funnel fitted over the superstructure. The idea was to fill the lower part of the mould with resin and then when any bubbles had been chased out add the upper half of the mould. When the lower part had cured, more resin was added to the upper half and the mould squeezed to dislodge air bubbles. This worked much better although I only managed to get two casts out without any tiny bubbles.
The other parts all came out of the moulds much easier than I had anticipated, but air bubbles tended to get trapped in the numerous undercuts so it took quite a bit of wasted resin to find out where all these were and chase the bubbles out by massaging the moulds and using a cocktail stick to dislodge them.