RN Saetta, my first scratch build.
It was inevitable. After building the Roma, where I scratch built a lot of the details, and the Pola, where I scratch built half the model, scratch building an entire ship model was just the next natural step. Especially since I wanted to build more Italian ships and had built the only two available kits in my preferred scale 1:350.
(Since then, Trumpeter has brought out the Zara, but considering that the large and modern Italian Navy was a deciding factor in the War in the Mediterranean, it’s deplorable how few kits there are of these beautiful ships.)
Profile Morskie had plans for this cute little destroyer, that seemed small enough, so that I could finish it within reasonable time. On the whole, they were very good plans, even though I found some minor flaws in them.
I very much considered this to be a learning project. Failures and setbacks would be part of it; actually the build started with a major one.
I built the hull in layers, cut out using the water lines of the body plan as templates. I pressed the layers together with clamps to get really solid joints.
As could only be expected, the clamps pushed the layers sideways. I was aware of this problem and had tried to prevent it, by threading the layers on to 1,8 mm steel posts, secured to a piece of particle board, but the posts were way to thin to stop the sideways movement.
I made new layers, each with a centerline this time, and used only hand pressure when I glued them together.
Then I formed hull to shape using frame templates, that I had made by gluing paper copies of the frame plan to .5 mm plastic card and carefully cut out each frame.
This was of course time consuming, but actually very enjoyable. It was great fun to see this rough piece of plastic gradually being transformed to the sleek hull of a destroyer.
Building the superstructure was easier than I thought. It was just a matter of working systematically.
Making the funnel was another fun little challenge.
I started by winding a strip of .3 mm styrene sheet around a dowel and securing it with tape. The shape of the dowel corresponded to the inner measurements of the funnel. The package was then dipped into boiling water for a minute or two and then left to cool off.
When the tape was removed, I had several layers of sheet that could be cut loose and joined together…
…to form the funnel.
Only it wasn’t as easy as that. There were, eh, a few failed attempts….
One great thing about scratch building, is that, once you get the hang of it, you can build better details than the manufacturers can produce.
The most challenging and frustrating part of the build was building all those ammo boxes, davits, cranes, floats, fairleads, air intakes etc that. This is the result of three weeks of work, working a couple of hours every day. It fits into a matchbox.
The light artillery came from three sources. The double 20 mm mounts are resin parts from Niko Models, the 37 mm singles are from Trumpeters Roma, with barrels from Master Models and the 20 mm singles were scratch built.
It was almost a shame to paint the model. It reminded me of those bone models that French prisoners of war built during the Napoleonic Wars.
If you would like to learn more about the techniques I used to build the model, pick up the November 2018 issue of Fine Scale Modeler, that came out in september. It is available as a back issue.
For German speaking readers, there was an article in two parts in the May and June 2017 issues of ModellFan.
13 additional images. Click to enlarge.