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USS Kirk (FF-1087) by schooner - FINISHED - Orange Hobby - Resin -1/350 scale

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I'll be using Orange Hobby's USS Robert E. Peary 1/350 resin kit to build a model of my first ship, USS Kirk (FF-1087), a Knox - class frigate I served on 1979-81.

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The kit comes with a boatload of PE ( more about that in the next post), a few machined metal parts and resin for the bulk of the model. The decal sheet has the name and hull #'s only for the Peary so I will use GMM decals.

There are 4 main resin pieces; upper and lower hull (in case you want to build a waterline model), the MACK (mast and stack structure), and the helo hanger.

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I was not real happy with the fit of the upper and lower hull, given the price of this kit. I had to remove the moulding plugs from the upper hull but I left on the lower ones to provide more strength.

 

There were several areas where the lower hull was too wide or too narrow. I built up the narrow areas with strip plastic and then used Bondo's glazing putty where needed. It took a lot of sanding and several iterations of priming, puttying and sanding before things were shipshape. I forgot to take a photo before I started removing the "hurricane" bow bulwarks which were added to KIRK after my time onboard. You can still see some residual parts of it - it was very easy to remove with an X-acto knife.

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I'll be assembling the MACK next, because as you will see it is the most complicated part of the build, and since the chances of getting replacement parts from a Chinese company are slim, it is also the most risky so if I end up having to trash the build at least I will find it out before investing a lot of time on the simpler parts.

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Photo Etch

 

This kit has a LOT of PE. It is incredibly detailed but also very thin and will not stand up to more than one or two attempts to fold it before that junction gives way. Some of it is very tiny, including 2 sets of counter rotating propellers for the torpedo on the ship’s helo, they are less than 1mm in size. 

Some of it is frankly over-engineered, for example the railings on both levels of the MACK have tiny extensions at the bottom of each stanchion which are supposed to fit into corresponding tiny holes - hard enough to do in a straight run but with multiple bends in is simple impossible. I ended up filing them off and even cutting the railings into smaller sections to make them workable. 

The kit instructions have NO text and very few sequential “how to” drawings of how to assemble some very complicated PE assemblies so they require a lot of study before snipping the first piece. 

 

Bottom line: I recommend that you not attempt one of these Orange Hobby kits unless you have a fair amount of PE experience above and beyond mere railings. These kits are pricey and you may easily find yourself in over your head with little hope of getting replacement parts to fix mistakes.

 

The MACK (mast & stack)

 

Here’s an example of the PE I was referring to, these are the first 3 pcs of the air search radar antenna, 12 more will be added before it is done:

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Here is the completed MACK which took me about 10 hours of work over 5 days, usually in 10 minute increments so I didn’t lose focus with the tiny parts. There are just under 90 pieces, almost all of which are PE (the wood and plastic domes are scratch additions to reflect a superseded EW system whose antennas stuck around for years after the system was replaced):

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After being down for a couple of weeks due to some "kid crud" brought home by my wife the school teacher I was about ready to spray the big parts of the model but had to find a part for my air compressor but I finally got it done. It was a bit of a learning experience. The paint & primer stuck fine to the hull but on several areas of the deck and vertical surfaces it came away in sheets. Apparently all the fitting work involving sanding on the hull left enough "tooth" for the primer to adhere to but the other areas were just too slick. After some light sanding where the paint came off I tried again with better results. Wish I had known that before all of the masking but at least I do now.

 

I'll be doing some of the painting of the details  that are cast onto the superstructure and then start adding the doors and other PE.

 

For anyone thinking about buying this kit it is a bit of a mixed bag - what they include is very detailed but obvious items are left off, kind of like it was designed by a committee with everyone doing their job right but no one making sure everything was farmed out to some one.  Some bulkheads have cables cast into them, but not all, there are no firestations or hose racks included, etc. It is still the best FF kit out there but a little research and aftermarket PE and scratch building is still needed - more than should be at this price.

 

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Edited by schooner

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Tim, next resin kit wash the parts in warm water and Dawn dishwashing liquid. It will remove the release agent still on the resin. I've used it and it works. And it's not a harsh chemical. :)

 

Another resin cleaner I've read about on some web sites is Bleech-White, a tire whitewall cleaner. Haven't tried it yet; probably stronger than Dawn.

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Helo Hanger

 

Painting and detailing the hanger took a little longer than I had planned but at least it is done. The 2 HF whip antennas are just dry fitted on their stands which is why they look a little out of kilter, I’ll glue them in at the end of the build so they are not in the way while rigging the wire antennas.

Although it’s hard for me to scratch details at this scale I couldn’t stop myself from adding a few:

  • the UHF SATCOM antenna (although its tower was supplied - one of those head-scratchers about this kit)
  • the binnacle for the after conn
  • the storage boxes for the spare helicopter blades
  • the glide slope indicator

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Most of the hull decals have been added at this point. The decals are good quality. I cut up the flight deck markings into sub-pieces because it seemed a bit much to try in one go. 

 

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Edited by schooner

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Upper deck details

 

At this point most of the details on the 02 level and up have been added. The pelorus’, signal lamps, “Big Eye” binoculars and the SRBOC launchers are after-market items from Veteran Models. The bridge railings and the HF antenna coupler with its "fence" aft of the FC director are scratch.

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Next up will be rigging the boat davits.

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Upper deck details

 

The superstructure is just about done at this point. The boat davits were more complex than I thought they would be - a ton of tiny PE detail, much of it buried underneath other pieces, just about every cable and pulley is included.

About all that is left to do is detail the foc’sle, fantail and flight deck nets.

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Foc’sle & Prop

 

The only real gripe I have about parts from this kit is the prop. It comes on it’s own sprue and each blade has a pour ridge on it’s backside which takes over an hour of careful work with an X-Acto to remove. Once they are off the results are underwhelming - the prop right-handed vice left-handed, it is noticeably under scale and there is almost no pitch to the blades so it looks like a little pressed flower hanging on the end of the shaft.

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I tried cutting off the blades and reattaching them with more pitch angle but it was hard to get the spacing equal and the result was as bad as the original. I ended up springing for a set of cast brass props which look much better.

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I added the ground tackle, gun and ASROC. The ASROC launcher is an after-market item from Veteran Models that I already had on hand, although the kit one was quite good

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I’m on hold awaiting the arrival of the case and display base because I want to transfer the model to it’s permanent base before adding the main deck lifelines in order to avoid messing them up. Hopefully it will be here in the next few days.

Edited by schooner

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Hi Elijah,

Hopefully she will fit on a shelf on a bookcase in my den - I really don't want to take up any more table top space since I'm afraid I may be approaching my wife's still undefined but undoubted ship model limit.

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Thanks for the kind words - I was a little surprised to see this build log stagger out of deep storage like a zombie.

Edited by schooner

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