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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.

20 responses to Uss north carolina in 1:350

  1. OUTSTANDING!!!! I like this one very much Ulf. Very good attention to detail has paid off well in this build!!!

  2. Thats a lot of guns to build let alone paint.
    Great detail and finish Ulf.
    Well done mate.

  3. You must have the patience of Job, my friend. That is a beautifully done USS North Carolina. My compliments to your personal photographer as well.

  4. Your inspirational work is getting me fired up over a couple of kits I have. Trumpeter Massachusetts with a Yankee Modelworks Indiana conversion & a Yankee Modelworks Indianapolis (resin was the only thing available in 1/350 when I bought it).
    I’m absorbing all the tips & insights you are offering so keep them coming.
    Your latest post is another one I’m overwhelmed by.

  5. Ulf, your post is perfect. I lived in North Carolina from 1962 till 1970. Starting in 1964 we had yearly school trips to her. I visited her again in the 1990’s and was amazed at how much more of the ship was open to the public.
    Thank you for posting your magnificent model of the Showboat. You made my day

    • Thank you Rick.
      I wished I had been aboard her. I was aboard the USS Massachusets and the USS New Jersey, but never got to the USS North Carolina.
      It’s really amazing, that there are so many battleships being kept as museum ships in the US. I don’t know of any other country that has kept any.

  6. Now Yer Talkin’ ..Great Job! – Marvelous Subject, Terrific rendering of this magnificent ship!

    Like Rick, I too have been fortunate enough to take the tour of the USS North Carolina and highly recommend it to anyone visiting Wilmington.

  7. Thanks for the inspiration. I have one of those kits. I don’t know what glue you use, but my experience of Trumpeter waterline hulls is that a “hot” glue like Tenax, applied a couple inches at a time with the hull parts squeezed together while the glue sets up, will generally do the job.

    • Thanks for the tip Tom. I’ll try it.
      Until now I’ve used liquid cement, that I let flow liberally into the joint. Then I press and rub the parts together, so that molten plastic gets pressed out of the joint. I let it harden and then sand the joint smooth. One would think that this would do it, but it usually doesn’t. I usually have to fill and sand the joint several times before I’m satisfied.
      On smaller ships the problem is manageable, simply because of the size of the parts i think.
      Luckily Trumpeters newer ship models have their hulls divided along their keel lines, and they provide bulkheads for stiffening the hull. Much better.

  8. Ulf, this is another consummate build. Your attention to detail is always worth a closer look.

    Great looking model.

  9. Very very nice build. Love it. I spurted now. Thank you.

  10. Absolutely gorgeous Ulf! I’ve always wished that someone would make a 1/350th kit of her sister ship i.e. USS Washington (my states namesake). The only US battleship in WW2 to sink another battleship in combat and they scrapped her. Oh well, at least I got to crawl all over the USS Missouri when I was a kid and she was kept at Bremerton Naval Shipyard. Again, fantastic build of the Carolina!

  11. Again AWESOME work, Ulf ! Completly flawless and perfect and i agree with you about the full hull options, A very long time runner on my bench is Hood, it was a royal pain to get this seam running along the hull to fill.
    She is still in the “fitting out” condition. Your postings are a good inspiration to get this and other ships to end.
    Imodeler need more naval stuff !

    • Thank you Bernd.
      I’m flattered that you are inspired by my post. Go for your HMS Hood, finish her, post an article about her and then take her to shows and competitions! There are not nearly enough ship models out there.

      • Hi Ulf, before Hood i will finish my Tirpitz in 1/700, switched mostly to the smaller scale, while my space is quite small. Hood is on already 50%, Tirpitz is, hmm…80%, Will use Ez-Line for rigging.
        Both are with a lot of aftermarked. PE, gun barrels from metal
        Hood will have, WEM turrets and both have wooden decks (yes a matter of taste)
        Sadly i never was on a modelling show, but you will see the result (hopefully) soon.
        My goal is in 1/700 to create Battleships from Dreadnought until New Jersey in their 1980 fit, i company with cruisers, destroyers and aircraft carriers ( if i live long enough)
        All ships will have a full hull on a display stand.


  12. you do beautiful work sir…i am your fan

  13. Nice clean work, great attention to crisp paint lines in doing the camo, not an easy task. One question, where are the float planes, does the kit contain them, if so what type?

    • Thank you Mike.
      Yes, the kit contained Kingfisher floatplanes, but Trumpeter, and then I, messed them up. Trumpeter moulded the floatplanes in clear plastic. That makes sense, since it could make the masking of the canopy easier, only they have divided the fuselage along the spine, so that you get a joint straight through the canopy!
      This is a typical Trumpeter design fault. These people are not modellers.
      I tried to fix it, by making my own canopy from clear sprue which actually turned out OK. However other shortcomings related to the difficulty of working with clear parts got the better of me, so I decided to omit the floatplanes.

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