USS NORTH CAROLINA IN 1:350
Rick Wilkes asked for some battleships, so here is one.
I built Trumpeters USS North Carolina in 2008 and she was my first big battleship in 1:350.
The build started with my strengthening the hull, using plastic from the base plate intended for the waterline option of the model. Next came the dreary job of joining the upper and the lower halves of the hull together.
Creating ship kits with a ‘‘waterline option’’ was a fashion for some years. Its a good marketing trick, allowing manufacturers to say that the kit can be build as either a full hull or a waterline model. In reality it means hours of work for those who build full hull models and a poor alternative for waterline model builders.
Only a ship that lies still or moves very slowly, has the surface of the water running perfectly level along the construction waterline of the ship. If the ship moves with any speed, parts of the hull below the waterline will be seen. If there is a sea running, even more of the lower hull will of course be visible.
Apart from that, it’s much more work to conceal a waterline joint, than it is to cut a hull along the waterline, for those who wish to build such a model.
In this case, joining the upper and lower hulls together meant cutting the reinforcements of the upper hull in order to make the halves fit. Then I strengthened the insides of the hull sides with pieces of scrap plastic, so that they would not flex when sanding the joint. Next followed hours of sanding, until I was proud and sure that the joint was flawless. It wasn’t of course, which became evident after priming the hull and more filling and sanding was required.
Over the years I’ve learned to hate waterline joints.
The next problem was the ugly joints of the main decks. Although I’m thankful that Trumpeter keeps putting out all these interesting ship models, they never had a modellers approach to kit construction. Two ugly joints, very visibly located right across the main deck, is evidence of that. I am proud though, that I through careful sanding and rescribing, managed to conceal them quite well.
Apart from those two major flaws the kit is sound enough, and the build went fairly smoothly.
Painting the deck to look like worn Deck Blue was fun. I started by painting the deck in a wood colour and then painted the less used parts of the deck blue. I sprayed a bleached version of Deck Blue over it and then carefully wore some of the blue paint away with fine steel wool, where the deck was likely to have been most worn. Later I brought out the seamlines with a thin black wash.
I used the excellent PE set from GMM to detail the ship. Fifty 20mm Oerlikons were detailed with barrels from 0,2mm guitar string plus four PE parts. Fifty guns, comprised of six parts each, makes 500 parts only for the light AA guns.
Anyone who wishes to avoid that kind of work, should build US or japanese ships the way they looked 1942 or -43, before they were overloaded with light AA guns.
I scratchbuilt the masts as usual, metal masts looking better and being stronger than plastic ones.
As for the paintjob, this model was built when I was in the beginning of my learning process of how to work with thin half transparent layers of different tones of the main colours. I hadn’t yet come up with the method of painting underwater hulls, that I first tried out fully on the Yahagi.
I finished the model almost exactly six years ago on the 28 of November 2008.
At this time I didn’t have a good camera, so my friend Lars Befring photographed the finished model.
Furthermore I think that waterline joints should be prohibited.
20 additional images. Click to enlarge.