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Everything posted by schooner

  1. Thanks for all the info Lou, especially for the 50 cal photos - I wish I had found those. I suspected the #3 photo was on a 4-piper but the Royal Navy cap on the sailor threw me until I recalled the destroyers for bases deal in 1940 or 41. This photo must have been taken when the RN crew was taking one of the ships out for shakedown right after the transfer because the RN heavily modified those ships as soon as they could to better suit them as convoy escorts and I'm sure the 50 cals were craned off right after the 4 torpedo tubes mounts!
  2. Jim, your note about the hanging shot racks got me thinking so I did some looking around online. The Connie as currently fitted out in Boston does not have any shot racks evident on the gun deck, maybe they thought they would be trip hazards for the tourists. The full scale mockup of Connie's gun deck at the US Navy Museum in the Washington Navy Yard likewise lacks shot racks. Soooo . . . I googled "USS Constitution shot racks" and the first thing to pop-up was a discussion thread from here at good old MSW titled "Cannon Shot Stowage on Deck" from Mar of 2015, if you look at the last post in the discussion someone put in a link to another discussion thread from someone who was building the Revell kit and had similar questions to yours and what he found out about them. hope this helps
  3. Thanks Lou. That is an interesting photo of the 50 cal in action. Now that you point that out, that must have been a tough location to work. When researching photos I tend to focus on what I'm after (in this case .50-cal info) and miss some of the other interesting stuff in the same frame!
  4. .50 Cal Machine Guns Once the Liberty production line got into full swing by late 1942 their light anti-aircraft weapon suite consisted of 6-8 of the excellent 20mm Oerlikon guns: The kit provides very nice cast Oerlikons: Like everything else weapon-related, the Stephen Hopkins was built too early in 1942 to get the good stuff, her light AA guns were water-cooled .50 cal machine guns from the USN which had plenty laying around since they were rapidly abandoning them in favor of the Oerlikons. When I saw the kit’s 20mm guns I thought it would be easy to convert them to .50 cals by thickening the barrel to represent the water jacket, replacing the cylindrical ammo magazine with the “tombstone” one which was unique to the .50 cals and changing the shoulder rests to the 50 cal grips that looked like bicycle handlebars. The only problem was that I was unable to find any photo evidence that shipboard .50 cals were ever mounted with a shield (unlike today where virtually every USN ship has multiple .50 cals with shields). All of the .50 cal mounts in early 1942 were variations of the “Tora Tora Tora” mounts that were on the battleships during the Pearl Harbor attack, they looked like this: So I needed to scratch build them. I made the pedestals and “C” shaped mounts from strip and rod: The details like the cooling water hoses, water tank, magazine, elevation crank were wire, wood and plastic, the gunsights are Northstar PE valve hand wheels: And the finished product after painting ( I decided to paint the mounts Navy Gray since that is how they would have been shipped and, like any shipyard, they would not have been repainted if it wasn't spelled out in the contract):
  5. Congrats on reaching the end, it took you about the same amount of time as it did to build the real ship!
  6. Wonderful work. You have got me thinking about this kit - I don't have the room for a fully rigged and cased sailing ship of this size but the hull is so nice it could look great on it's own with just stub masts, sort of like Model shipway's Confederacy kit. Please keep the posts coming....
  7. Amazing metal and sail work and your ice sheathing passes the dreaded close-up shot with flying colors!
  8. Incredible work, and par for the course for you...
  9. Very nice build Reed. Before moving to NC my wife and I had many great weekends on the Eastern Shore over 20 years, and like you, I became interested in the skipjacks. I'm currently about 80% done with the Willie l. Bennett kit from Model Shipways, probably the best kit I've found for any build, wonderful directions and plans - learned a lot. I remember reading somewhere that the skipjack design was so successful because it could be built by house carpenters -- not needing any experience with the complex curves associated with most hulls. Not sure if that is true but it sounds good. Great job on the winding machine
  10. Deck Details Although I have been spending a fair amount of time on the build lately there isn’t much to show for it since it has all been detail work with small strip plastic and wire. Anyway, the steam and fireman piping/shielding is all in, the fire stations installed (most are on the port side), and about 80 pad eyes are almost all in along the hatches and in the waterways. The pad eyes will be important when rigging the booms but since I'm not sure which ones I will be using at this point they are all pinned to the deck for additional strength. The fireplugs and hose racks are from BlueJacket’s catalog, the fireplug hand wheels are from Northstar and the rest is scratch. I’ll probably fabricate the 50-cal machine guns next.
  11. Steam Piping As I said in my first post for this log, one of the techniques used in the design of the Liberty ships to reduce costs and simplify building was to run piping outside the skin of the ship, mainly steam and fireman lines. The steam lines ran along the stbd side of the ship and the fireman lines along the port. Because any exposed piping on the main deck would be a high risk of getting squashed by a load of cargo, they were protected either by “fencing” along side the cargo hatches, or by overhead shielding in other areas such as between the hatches and the pipe runs to the winches and windlasses: I used small strip plastic to imitate both types-here the hatch on the left has the fencing: And here both types are done: I’ve still have a little more of the steam piping to go and then I’ll tackle the fireman - which will look the same except there will also be fire plugs and hose racks.
  12. Hey Jack, nice to see another Lib build underway, I've got a build log here for BlueJackets 1/192 scale Liberty. If you are interested in some onboard photos of the Brown this site has been a big help for me in detailing: http://www.geoghegan.us/brown/JWB-walkaround.htm best of luck
  13. Thanks Nic, You have put out a great kit that would look super out of the box, but at this scale, and with plenty of online photo references, it is irresistible for an OCD type like me to detail to it the point of absurdity!
  14. Warping Engine The Lib ships had a steam-powered engine on the after deck that was used to drive two capstan heads which were used to take the slack out of mooring lines or even to pull the ship into a pier if no tugs were available (the same thing could be done by the anchor windlass up forward). It was a simple two-step reduction gearing. Interesting feature was that there was no crankshaft - the piston rods were connected to the outer edges of two discs on the outside of the bedplate. The kit provides a simple drum winch of britannia metal to serve as the warping engine. It is a little under scale for height and I thought I might be able to scratch build something more realistic. Here is the the kit and what I started out with: Here’s after the gears (from a bag of old watch parts) , guards and shaft have been added: And the finished product with the shaft supports. The capstans are after market from the Bluejacket catalog. The kit provided slightly smaller ones which I had planned to use but then I got careless while sanding them and squeezed one out of round too badly to repair, I forgot just how soft britannia can be. Here it is installed on the model with the canted fairleads in place:
  15. Wonderful work - would be very impressive at 1:200 scale or larger but at 1:350 it is awesome.
  16. Aft Hatches With the installation of the mizzen mast, the hatches and their winches all the major pieces are now in place:
  17. Nr 2 & 3 Hatches The rest of the big items for the other forward hatches are in place.
  18. Tom, I just came upon your build - nice work! Are the carronades you are using the ones that came with the kit or are they aftermarket?
  19. Main Deck I’ll fit out the main deck working fore to aft and bigger to smaller. Hatch Nr1 has the big pieces in place:
  20. Thanks John! And thanks for all the likes Lifeboats The kit provides boats in britannia with laser cut inserts for the thwarts. I decided to show the boats with their canvas boat covers in place. I used a piece of wire as the internal brace for the covers. I tried to make the covers out of tape but that did not work very well so I used diluted white glue brushed onto tissue paper -you can see it one one of the boats here (it dries almost transparent): After trimming and painting I was satisfied with the “canvas” look of them. Here they are rigged in place: I’ll add coiled up monkey lines later but they are real dust magnets so I’ll wait to the end of the build for those. This finishes up the deck house except for the railings. Now it’s time to move to the main deck and start making this look like a cargo ship.
  21. Thanks Kevin Boat Davits The kit provides britannia davits. I had planned to drill out the tops and insert 1/16” split rings as the attachment point for the upper block of the boat falls and the span wire that runs between the davit pairs but there was not enough material (room) up there to support drilling a hole big enough for a split ring to run through. I thought about flattening the tops with a pair of pliers to provide more drilling surface but I was worried that the metal would become too brittle. Looking through my parts locker I found my stash of .75mm Backstay Eyebolts from Model Shipways. Although I have never used them for their intended purpose they have been invaluable every time I needed to anchor a small eye. They will work with a #77 drill bit which is about the smallest I have. There was enough room to put them in place: The line handling gear associated with the davits consisted of a T-bitt and a small line reel for each davit: The kit shows both items on the plans but does not provide any material or mention them in the instructions - just an oversight I guess. The T-bitts were easily fabricated out of plastic rod and wire for the cross piece. I also drilled them for pinning to the deck since they will be under tension. The reels were a little more work. They are quite small so 1/192 scale aftermarket line reels would be much too big. I have some 1/350 scale PE reels that would have worked but I did not have enough to build 8 so I ended up making them out of rod with sheet plastic supports: Here is everything in place: When I rig the davits I’ll snub the inboard end of the falls around the T-bitt and then pass it under the reel, draw up the slack and glue it in place. I’ll have to finish the STBD side and then fit out the lifeboats.
  22. Nic, could you explain, or post a pic, of what you mean by a 4" Grinder? It certainly seems to make quick work of hull shaping.
  23. Congratulations! Your work looks like you spent 4 years on it, not 4 months.
  24. Superstructure (cont) The kit does not provide accommodation ladders but when I checked the BlueJacket 1/192 Merchant Ship PE fret that I had bought a while back there were 2 of them on there which fit fine on this build: The remaining details were the engine room skylight, pelorus’, sidelights and the incline ladders. The kit provides solid-backed britannia ladders but I prefer the look of PE. I have a nice set from Tom’s Modelworks which have worked fine on 1/192 warships but they were a little under scale for this build - too narrow and a little short. Fortunately the BJ PE fret I just referred to has plenty of ladders that are more than long enough, just trim them to fit and they are good to go. Next up will be the lifeboat davits and their handling gear.

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