Progress on Shoho

I was discouraged by the deck that came with the Shoho and it put me off working on this for awhile, but now I’m back at it.  I should be able to post a couple of pictures of the deck in progress soon.  I’ve sanded the raised parts off the rear of the deck so it will take a decal, and I shaved off the excess wood deck planking at the rear.  I’ve decided to paint the word part and mask that off before I continue working on the deck.  Some progress photos on that soon.

But here is a photo of the hull so far:

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I spent a lot of time getting the seam off between the bottom plate and the hull.  The forward superstructue then gets glued in.  I add a lot of the PE to it before I attached it – the brass deck you see, the brass front to the superstructure showing the windows, and the brass decking on either side of that.  In addition I put the prominent vent (I think that’s what it is) in the center of that brass deck and a bunch of cable reels.  When I attached it to the hull, the fit was tricky in a couple of places.  I had a slight gap along the metal deck.  I managed to fill that with a little dissolved putty.  It worked pretty well to fill that gap.  I was stressed about how I would do any sanding since the metal deck has a nice treaded relief.  I shaved the excess putty with my X-acto blade and it seems to be nice.  Therewere larger gaps on the decking around the side of the hull.  I filled and sanded those and they are invisible now.  I took close-ups but they just came out as a blur.

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There are additional compartments on either side of the hull structure.  Should I call it the superstructure?  The flight deck will go on top….  Anyway there is nothing in the plastic set that these correspond to.  I take it they are taking the opportunity to fix some things with PE.  That large sheet of brass making up the front linoleum deck is a little wider than the original and the shape of the rear linoleum deck (another pic that just came out as a blur) is different and wider than the original plastic deck.

You can also see a couple of the PE doors I’ve attached to the hull.

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Flyhawk 1/700 SMS Derfflinger

IMG_4548.jpgButterfly am I.  Something caught my attention about this kit and now I’m on to it.  I’ll do the Shoho also, but I’m on this for now.  I picked up the Gold Medal upgrade which has way more parts than I will use, but I do intend to use a lot of them.  The hull is mostly done now.

From the Gold Medal upgrade set I used PE attachment points for the torpedo net booms.  There is some detail on those, but I don’t think that’s ever going to be very visible.  At some point, I’ll probably do some weathering on the hull and an oil wash might bring out some of it.  I used the turned brass booms.  These also have some very fine detail on each end.  I think they look better than the plastic parts but the detail is really quite small.  I attached both of those to the hull with diluted white glue.

I didn’t like the plastic anchors in the kit.  The PE ones didn’t build up to something that was really convincing.  On photos of the ships the anchors are quite bulky.  I ordered an IJN anchor set from Nano Dread and used the battleship anchors.  I’m not sure about the details of the shape, but they look big and bulky like the ones in the photographs of the ships.

The only remaining things to be done on the hull will be to add the chains on the torpedo net booms.  I’m not sure what to use for that – stretched sprue or fine caenis line used for rigging.  I’ll not do that until later.  Once I add the deck I’ll attach the rolled up torpedo netting.  I plan to take the torpedo nets from the gold medal upgrade set and roll them up.  We’ll see how that goes.  They include a string in the set you can cut to length.  I’ll figure out what looks best.

After attaching the metal parts, I painted the whole hull with automotive primer and then two coats of Tamiya XF-83.  I spent a lot of time looking at my gray paints trying to figure out something that would be appropriate on the hull and then on the superstructure.  I’ve settled for XF-83 on the hull and Mr Hobby 334 for the upper superstructure.

For now I don’t plan to do a boot topping.  I intend to depict her as at Jutland and the post battle damage photos show the boot topping as quite worn down if not away.

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Equites Sagitarii

My friend Joe painted these for me – a unit of Equites Sagitarii for my Middle Imperial Roman army.  These figures are Aventine Parthian horse archers, with Roman heads, and painted in a semi-uniform manner: offwhite with blue borders.  These are awesome figures!

 

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I’ve played a few games of Mortem et Gloriam.  It’s an interesting game.  The armies are considerably larger than for ADLG.  Two of the armies I have that are large enough for ADLG are Middle Romans and Sassanids.  I think I need a little more cav still for the Romans.

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I can’t wait to get these onto the table for a game!

Hasegawa 1/700 Shoho

So I’ve been working on the 1/700 Aoshima Victorious.  It was to be my first aircraft carrier.  I received some good advice on the model ship forum to start with a smaller one, specifically that the Shoho would be a good one to start with.  I couldn’t find the PE sheet for the Fujimi 1/700 Shoho so tried Victorious.  I have a nice PE set for Victorious, but I’m not that keen on the kit.  There are quite a few fit problems.  The flight deck fit to the hull has lots of seems in strange places.  I’ve filled quite a few and some of them look ok, but some don’t, and some are in places that are really hard to fill because of surrounding detail that would be lost in sanding.  The superstructure isn’t a lot better.  I’ll finish it, but when I saw that Hasegawa released a super detail edition of their Shoho model with extensive PE I decided to jump on it.  I plan here to document the construction of it.

 

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I intend to do a lot of the PE for this kit.  It’s going to be my first serious attempt to put a lot of PE upgrades on a model.  In addition I bought a bunch of Fujimi upgrade sets for Japanese equipment for directors and AA armament.  Will see how much of that I use but I have it for comparison at least.  There are two sheets of PE and a nice instruction set for it.  Looking at the photos on hobby search of the box contents on the regular set, it looks like the sprues are identifical, so I assume this is the old kit with the PE upgrades included here.

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That is a photograph of the fold-out that comes for building the PE, full of instructions front and back.  It all looks manageable except perhaps for the ladders.  We’ll see how construction those bits go.

I put together the hull and put the flight deck on just to see how it all fit together (without glueing anything).  It all goes together beautifully and I’m not studying the instructions to anticipate any issues in putting it all together.  There’s a lot of PE for the structures below the flight deck so I anticipate a lot of work before the flight deck goes on.

The flight deck is interesting and brings up my first interesting questions.  The flight deck has a lot of relief in it – not only the wooden deck part but there are recesses that are flat where the white is painted on the flight deck.  So, I guess I could just paint that white and paint the wood deck and not use a decal.  I imagine I’ll paint the wooden parts tan along with the recessed parts and then just put the decals in.  That seems a little strange.  I’m not sure how well this shows up in the following photo.

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The rear of the flight deck has relieved detail for the red and white striping on the tail end of the flight deck and the instructions say to shave that smooth if you intend to use the decal.  I would like to use the decal, sanding that smooth sounds like a lot of work.  The area just in front of that is modeled with wooden decking, but I believe that was steel deck.   The steel parts of the flight deck are modeled with an anti-skid surface.  I’m wondering if I should sand the wooden decking smooth and leave it smooth, or replace it with PE anti-skid decking.

More later.

 

 

Perry French Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry Review

I purchased a box of Perry French Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry to make some late wars French Carabiniers.  I’m very disappointed.  I find this set really inadequate, and after assembling 8 of the horses and riders have just given up on it.  Happy to sell if someone wants a partially assembled set.

So, after you read this you may ask, why did I even bother buying it in the first place, so I’ll start with what attracted me and what I think is good about the set.  It was appealing to me to be able to do both Carabiniers and Cuirassiers from the same set.  The math of 14 figures per box doesn’t align perfectly with what I wanted to build, but pretty close and at around 3USD per figure, the price was right.  If you look down through my blog you’ll see that I’ve done quite few Perry plastic WotR figures for WotR and Venetians in the 15th century.  I like those figures a lot.  I am not particularly fond of the mounted figures in that range primarily because of the horses.  But I’d read a lot of nice reviews about the Perry horses in the Napoleonic range so assumed many of my concerns there were fixed.  Lastly, I’ve become quite fond of plastic – not because of the cost but because of the ability to do conversions easily.  For Napoleonics for battles the conversion ability is not that important as I really just want big units of guys marching or guys charging and doing a lot of one off conversions isn’t that important.

The riders in this set are pretty nice.  They all have separate heads and the heads are kind of same-ish.  But what can you do with guys with mustaches in a helmet like that?  So those are fine.  They have arms so you can make shouldered are swords extended and that is a nice touch.  I was only interested in the charging pose really so experimented with positioning the arm at various heights and it was easy and believable in a number of positions.  The scabbards are a little bit fiddly.  The instructions note that the built terminates under the cuirass and the turnback which was a helpful instruction.  The end result is really nice because the strap is clearly separate from the rest of the figure casting for a good result.  I gave up before I glued the carbines on their straps.  I was curious about the note instructions that say to attach them to the saddle rather than the rider?  Maybe if I got to glueing the rider onto the horse I would see what they meant but that’s really a bit of a head-scratcher otherwise.  There is a nice touch with a separate piece of plastic for the sunburst on the carabinier officer.  And lastly, the cleanup of mold lines on the riders was hardly necessary.

That’s about all I have to say about this set that is nice.  The rest of it is, shall we just say, extremely disappointing.  You get a command sprue with two horses, one for the officer and one for the standard bearer, presumably.  Interestingly the officer will set in the standard bearer’s horse, but not vice-versa.  The lower body of the standard bearer was carved too deep for the horse with the portmanteau.  You can’t really swap them because then you’ll end up with two layers of fringe underneath the cuirass for the officer and none for the standard bearer.  I ended up stealing a body from one of the other sprues and sticking the standard bearers torso on that.  You end up still not having fringe under the bottom of the cuirass, but at least it fits the horse.

I’m also not keen on having only one officer’s horse in the set.  I had envisioned doing 4 squadrons of carabiniers, each with an officer and a trumpeter, and the thought of the same horse for every officer in the two regiments sounded a little boring.  I’m told by folks online that I could raid the dragoon command sprue to get additional officer horses and that seems reasonable.

I wanted to do the units as charging so needed the horses in galloping poses.  I think the officer’s horse in the set might be thought to be believably at the gallop, but I’m not quite sure.  At first blush it looks like a horse that has had a mild fright and is starting to rear rather than a horse somewhere in stride at the gallop.  It’s clearly not standing or trotting, so not sure.

The rest of the horses come in two parts.  I fiddled around with them for awhile.  I ended up making three of the horse out to be in a reasonable trot.  I tried making the others somewhere in a gallop.  None of them are really convincing, and only one of them is really plausible even as a horse in a gallop.  And actually apart from the horses that are clearly trotting, I’m not at all sure what these horses are supposed to be doing.  Some kind of horse fantasy contortion I guess.  Of these 4 I think the 2nd from the left is possibly believable as being at the gallop.

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My second gripe is the amount of gap filling that is needed on the horses.  That was kind of my main beef with the war of the roses horses was the seam down the back of the horse’s rump that needed to be filled.  These are better, or so I thought, because there is a strap down the middle of the rump that will hide that seam.  It does, which is nice, but there are still gaps in a couple of places on most of the horse.  Here is the gap in the saddle furniture.

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And in the right front flank.

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On the first 8 horses I put together, 7 of them needed gap filling to hide rather noticeable gaps.  In fact, I prefer fixing the seam on the WotR horses because it’s a little bit of filler and a little bit of careful sanding and it’s done, whereas on these, the gaps are noticeable in places that either need sculpting afterwards (in the middle of the portmanteau in the top picture) or hard to reach (in the neck below the reins in the lower picture).  I don’t know whether this is a sculpting problem or a casting problem, but it’s a lot of work.

And that brings me to my last issue.  I’ve been building a lot of plastic models in the past year – 1/700 ships, 1/48 tanks, 1/72 planes – and coming to these after doing those made me think how awful the casting quality is.  I wasn’t able to get a really good photo of this, but here is my one attempt:

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It doesn’t show it all that well, but there’s a pretty clear mold line down the middle of the horse’s nose and along the front and back of both legs.  This is true and noticeable on the back legs also.  It makes for a lot of work to clean up and I’m just thinking about how these kinds of casting lines are all but non-existent with model making companies.  I imagine these are harder to cast than halves of ships or tanks, or planes, but still, the amount of work on this is quite noticeable.  Is that really the best we can get?

In conclusion, the tradeoff of the extra work required for assembling plastics is worth it to me personally, but not this much work, and not when the end result is pretty hard to believe.

 

 

Flames of War bits for sale

A failed project.  I have started two old UBX07 US 105mm battery sets.  I painted a jeep and crew and two command stands.  The rest of the box is in tact.  I’d like to sell these for $40 each, postage included in the continental US.  If interested, drop me a note at aphillathehun at yahoo dot com.

 

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Calpe Prussian Artillery

Finishing up another started unit.  This limbered 6lber has been sitting in a box next to my desk for years.  All painted, just not based.  I had glued the gun to the base so when I built up the base it would look like it had become buried in the mud.  It took me forever to just put it in water and pull it off the base to insert something underneath so it would be on the same level as the horses hooves and the men’s feet.  Glad I finally did it.

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A large part of this is motivated by a new set of rules – General d’Armee – which we’ve played a couple of times recently.  It inspired me to finish basing a bunch of painted stuff, and even to paint a new unit.  Hopefully I’ll photograph my Steve Barber Westphalian lights soon.

The rest of the battery has been done for awhile.  The ammunication cart:

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And the guns themselves:

I painted up a bunch of leaders for use in General d’Armee as AdCs.  This has made me remember how much I love Calpe miniatures.  I haven’t photographed all my napoleonics, but perhaps I’ll get to that soon.  I have close to 2000 figures.  I didn’t paint them all, perhaps not even half of them, but I’d like to document them.  And I’d like to get back to painting Calpe napoleonics.