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.