Questions for those experienced ship model builders

  • 11 posts
  • Last reply 1 year, 2 months ago
  • Indianapolis, railings, ships
Viewing 1 - 11 of 11 posts
  • Ralph Clements said 3 years, 2 months ago:

    I have this Trumpter 1/350 scale 1944 USS Indianapolis kit I got several months ago and plan to build during the winter. As time allows I have been looking at model ships others have built for ideas on detailing, paint, etc. One thing that seems to be a must for a complete looking finished product is the railings, which usually seem to be an add on.

    Eduard company offers a PE railing set for the Academy Indianapolis kit and also a more generic “US Navy ships” railing set. I wonder does the one for the Academy kit work for the 1944 Trumpeter kit or would the general US Navy set work and include enough rails?

    Over the last year and a half when I started back building models after a 40 year hiatus, I have built 20+ WWII era airplane and a couple of tanks. Even so this Indianapolis kit seems a whole higher level of detail and complexity.

    Question 2: Does anyone recommend maybe starting with a smaller ship, I was thinking a destroyer, American or British preferably, but I see there are some pretty nice looking German Z series WWII kits available too. I like the WWII era models, be they planes, ships or models, generally speaking, and want to do 1/350 scale.

    I know there are those who post on iModeler that built really terrific ship models and hope some may share their sage wisdom and advice – Thanks!

  • Rob Pollock said 3 years, 2 months ago:

    Hi Ralph,

    You may be aware that I did a 1/350 Academy version a few months ago (subsequently reposted when I later corrected a hull colour), together with a long WIP thread which might be of help to you.

    The PE sets included with the kit were extensive. However, you might find that visiting Gold Medal Models will give you a good range of PE including the railings. I think 1/350 is about as small a scale as I personally would want to work with PE on a ship. Further, re the rigging, I got some advice from Ulf about this. He explained a few principle rigging points, and noted that the secondary rigging arrangements would change regularly, so that there would be a number of arrays that could be said to be ‘correct’. This turned out to be the case, when I later sought examples from Internet photo archives.

    It was, as you say, an intricate and challenging build, but when complete a worthwhile model, and one that has drawn favourable attention at shows, so my advice is to continue your preliminary work, but set off with great attention and confidence.

  • Ralph Clements said 3 years, 2 months ago:

    Thanks Rob, I will look back over the threads for your post, i am sure they will be helpful. This Trumpeter kit has extensive PE sprue’s – they will be a challenge in themselves, but does not include the rails. That Gold Medal site is something I will look at too. Thanks for the tips.

  • Mike Maynard said 3 years, 2 months ago:


    As with all creative projects starting out “small” and learning from that initial step will reap big dividends as you progress to the next model.

    I suggest Tamiya’s FLETCHER class destroyer in 1/350 scale as a starting point. It goes together nice, is well detailed and lends itself to applying and learning about PE railing detail (you’ll have to purchase the PE seperately). The Trumpeter USN destroyer escort in 1/350 scale is another good learning experience model, small enough to apply PE and not an overwhelming project.
    As a guide to building there are many web sites that offer photos, such as NAVSource and help from guys that work in 1/350 such as the Model Warship web site. They have an extensive forum on Model Warship, I’m sure you’ll see and read things that will interest you. Don’t forget to look at their model gallery for “insperation”, they have some fantastic builders. And a lot of hobby suppliers that sell nothing but 1/350 add on detail stuff.
    As an aside, Loren Perry, owner of Goldmedal Models is undergoing treatment for cancer and he’s cutting back on his mail order PE business during this period. He’ll resume full production as soon as possible. Loren offers a TOP NOTCH product, his PE is the standard of the industry, and he’s a great guy to deal with. There are hobby suppliers that offer his PE so you can place orders with them rather than him at this time. Good luck in your project.

    PS check out my Chinese Citadel ship on iModeler, I used some of his PE and some generic PE(I don’t remember what company) to add detail to a horid model. Cheers!

  • Ralph Clements said 3 years, 2 months ago:

    Thanks Mike, the Tamiya Fletcher is one I have seen and do consider – I appreciate all the input-

  • Ralph Clements said 3 years ago:

    going with the “start small” idea…glad I did too. this is progress to date on a 1/350 scale destroyer, the HMCS Huron, “Tribal Class”
    Lots of little bitty parts to fly off in the void…

    4 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Bernard E. Hackett, Jr. said 3 years ago:

    Ralph, not being a ship guy (though I started out as one, Revell Missouri) I had no idea there were any Canadian destroyers out there. Those torpedo tubes amidships sure have a lot of detail on them.
    There’s a mini ship museum downtown here near Harborplace. USCG Cutter Spencer (veteran of Pearl Harbor), a Fleet class sub, used late in WW II, (USS Torsk), and a light ship, forget which one. And the USS Constellation, a pre civil War sail frigate, used against the slave trade. All are open.

  • Ralph Clements said 2 years, 12 months ago:

    Thanks Bernie,
    After two weeks not getting to do anything with this I finally have a little progress – my first ever PE ships rail, and a curved on to boot….there weren’t no such thing as “PE” (or superglue, or the internet….) back the last time I built a ship model!
    This is a good patience building exercise, I’d say, something I lack by nature.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  • Christopher D Carr said 1 year, 2 months ago:


    I actually did my first ship as 1/700 Arliegh Burke class destroyer. ( I was stationed on)
    There is a photo etch set out there that corrects a ton of the kits shortcomings, and since it was a newer class of ship the mast was not as complicated as your seemingly preferred WWII era fleet. It was quite small, but working with that kit, the build went well, and the detail that is available at that scale is not overwhelming. I say that because the 1/350 of the same ship was filled with detail errors, so the little one “appeared” more detailed than the larger of the same ship. I was quite surprised at my appreciation for the little guy over its larger counterpart. I totally didn’t think that’s how I would feel going into the build. It is super tiny though, but that leaves more shelf space for a larger fleet.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  • Rick Wilkes said 1 year, 2 months ago:

    Rob, could you provide a link to your In Progress Build of the Academy Indianapolis? I have rummaged around the site for an hour or so and can only find the Update Artile you mention above. I have the “basic” Academy Indy, with all the Pontos sets, so I know your build will be a great help.

  • david leigh-smith said 1 year, 2 months ago:

    Hi Ralph.
    I think with ships there are a few rules I’d point out from personal experience. Run the risk here of singing to the choir, but it might help.
    1. More than any other projects, with building ships you need to know your subject (especially for WW2 as there are usually less references to work from). Research is everything because (as you noted yourself) it’s a new level of detail over a larger (scale) area. Small problems and discrepecies show up exponentially as a build progresses. You need to know what you are building and what you want her to look like. Can’t do too much research.
    2. Always wear gloves. Because of the size and amount of handling in funny angles, you run more chance of glue-prints or paint smudges if you’re not using latex. Get on the rubber. Safe modeling!
    3. You will need photo etch if you want a good ship; do yourself a favour – get some Fexy 5k CA glue; the stuff is brilliant for PE and has a lovely nozzle to get really precise work. Costs more than regular CA but boy, is it worth it!
    4. Ships will push your patience to the limit. Go slowly and dry fit EVERYTHING.

    Welcome to the ‘armada’.

Viewing 1 - 11 of 11 posts