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USS Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyer by rvchima - Bluejacket Ship Crafters - 1/16" scale


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USS Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyer

 

I recently took a trans-Atlantic cruise from Rotterdam to Norway, Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Boston. I saw so many unusual ships, both models and full sized, that I had to start another model. I was intrigued by the Aeronaut Bismarck model, but I couldn't find any useful reviews. Please let me know if you've had any experience with their kits.

 

Bluejacket Shipcrafters has a couple of WWII kits, but their kit of the Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyer caught my eye and I ordered it. It is by far the most expensive kit that I've ever bought. Please don't tell my wife. Is it worth the price? Well, lets see what's

 

Inside The Box

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The model came in a large box packed full of styrofoam peanuts. It was a pain to separate the parts from the junk.

 

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Here's what was inside.

 

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The hull is machine-carved from a single piece of basswood.

 

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The hull shape looks very good, but there are still attachment points that will have to be carved away.

 

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There is a 65-page instruction manual that seems to be very thorough. Bluejacket offers a CD of build photos for an additional fee. I didn't order it. The kit includes hull templates printed on self-adhesive paper, a guide for painting the helicopter landing marks on the deck, and a big piece of styrene for God knows what.

 

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The kit includes 5 pages of plans. You should be able to see the titles in the photo.

 

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There are 5 sheets of laser-cut parts. The cut lines are crisp and nearly free of char. All of the deck superstructure will be made from these parts.

 

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The instructions say that there are over 600 photo-etched parts. Whew.

 

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The kit had a tiny box packed full of beautiful cast metal parts.

 

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There are also a few cast resin parts. These don't look so great. I will be doing a lot of cleanup on them.

 

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There is a small bag of wood strips, a bag of metal strips, and a spool of rigging thread. The brass pedestals were extra. You'd think that for what this kit cost they could throw in the pedestals.

 

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I also ordered the optional paint kit. It came with a dozen bottles of Testors paints. I will probably spray most of the model gray and use the red and black for details. We'll see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This looks like a great kit so I will be following the build closely.

 

I'm currently working on Bluejacket's Liberty ship kit and have also done their Gearing destroyer and Destroyer Escort kits so I'm familiar with their Navy kits.

 

I see that you have quite a few kits under your belt so this one should be easy. If you have not worked with a solid hull before I think you will find this one a great place to start since it looks from your photos that it is about 95% done, which has been my experience with BJ kits.

 

One difference from your previous builds is that you can find a wealth of close up photos of the ship online in case you want to add your own scratch details.

 

Good luck

Edited by schooner
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Progress, Frustration, and more Progress       4 days, 21 hours

 

The first step on the Arleigh Burke kit, cleaning up the hull, was easy. I trimmed off the attachment points freehand on the band saw, removed the rest with a gouge, and cleaned up everything with a palm sander. The hull shape was nearly perfect but I had to remove a little material aft to match the deck plan. The back step on the aft deck is cut square but should be sloped inward a few degrees. I cut that on a table saw.

 

Then the project became frustrating.

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The cast resin prop shaft attachments were some of the worst cast pieces that I've ever seen. Not only were they full of pits, but they were covered with extraneous nubs and debris. Bluejacket should be embarrassed to include them in such a high-priced kit. I spent several hours sanding, filing, and filling and still was not happy with the result.

 

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The prop shaft assembly consists of the resin attachment point, a flexible styrene shaft, and a cast pot-metal strut. The strut looked OK until I realized how soft the metal was. I could just imagine the flexible metal strut and flexible styrene shaft bending over the first time I bumped the model.

 

There is no indication on the plans as to where the strut attaches to the hull, whether it should be vertical or angled. A short search on-line showed that the Arleigh-Burke has two angled struts on each prop shaft. I gave up on the resin/styrene/pot-metal construction and built my own prop shafts.

 

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My prop shafts are made out of brass tubing with wooden struts. I spun the egg-shaped bearings on my drill press and sanded them to shape. There are two struts on each shaft. One is nearly vertical and the other slopes inward to the hull center line. The whole assembly is rock solid and looks so much better than what came with the kit. The rudders were also cast resin and were flawless.

 

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The sonar unit is contained in the bulbous bow of the ship that reduces wave drag. On the model the bulb is made of cast resin. It had a few pits but was usable. I had to carve the bow to get it to fit into the slot in the bulb. I still need to do some sanding on the filler at the edges.

 

The anchor chain will go through a hawse pipe drilled through the bow. The hole is lined with more styrene tube. I expected a cast metal fitting for the bow, but the instructions said to use a "suitable filler" to build my own.  I used 5-minute epoxy putty that I rough-shaped by hand, then carved after it was solid. I guess it looks OK, but still another disappointment from an expensive kit.

Edited by rvchima
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Hi Robin,

 

The scale isn't 1:16 where 1 unit of model equals 16 units in real life. 

 

It is 1/16 where 1/16 model inches equals 1 foot in real life.  (1/16" = 1'

 

This works out to be 1:192 scale.

 

The first photo says on the box the model length is 31 1/2" (800mm)

 

Cheers

Slog

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Thought this might interest you.

1960 dry dock photo of the chipped screw after a collision, rudder and shaft brackets were not the focus, but you can see the same type of brackets that you fabricated and placed on your model is almost identical to what was on this  Fletcher Destroyer, ' USS Ammen DD 527 '. about the only thing in common with the Arleigh Burke

jud

ps Me at 17 posing as a scale bar.

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Edited by jud
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Hi Robin,

 

The scale isn't 1:16 where 1 unit of model equals 16 units in real life. 

 

It is 1/16 where 1/16 model inches equals 1 foot in real life.  (1/16" = 1'

 

This works out to be 1:192 scale.

 

The first photo says on the box the model length is 31 1/2" (800mm)

 

Cheers

Slog

Ah! ok.... :D

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Robin,

 

I really feel your pain in building this Bluejacket kit. I am currently building their Portland. Following their sparse instructions

on such an expensive kit has become a frustrating challenge. There were two builds on MSW but were of limited help. I'll

definitely follow your thread with the idea of, perhaps, learning some new techniques.

 

John

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Jud,

 

Thanks for posting the photo of the USS Ammen. The prop shafts appear identical to the Arleigh-Burke, but the Ammen props have 3 blades while the A-B props have 5. (see below.)

 

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The props in the kit have a metal hub and photo-etched brass blades. I haven't built them yet but they didn't seem nice enough, so I ordered a pair of of 25mm cast props from http://www.model-dockyard.com/. I'll decide what to use when they come.

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Jud,

 

Thanks for posting the photo of the USS Ammen. The prop shafts appear identical to the Arleigh-Burke, but the Ammen props have 3 blades while the A-B props have 5. (see below.)

 

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The props in the kit have a metal hub and photo-etched brass blades. I haven't built them yet but they didn't seem nice enough, so I ordered a pair of of 25mm cast props from http://www.model-dockyard.com/. I'll decide what to use when they come.

WOW  That bottom hull looks so shinny like new.

 

OC.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Superstructure        20 days, 53 hours

 

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Much of the superstructure is roughed out and she's starting to look like a real ship. Of course the components are just laying here and are only primed, not painted.

 

The model is listed as one of Bluejacket's most difficult kits but it is coming along surprisingly quickly. I know I still have a million little parts to attach, but I would say that it has been pretty easy going so far.

 

Forward Superstructure

 

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Building the forward superstructure was fairly straightforward. All the decks are laser-cut basswood. They are removed from the carrier board, glued along the centerline, then stacked vertically. After a layer is glued up, the angles are sanded with the piece upside down on a disk sander. Laser-cut angle jigs are included to set the table.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: YOU MUST HAVE A DISK SANDER TO BUILD THIS MODEL.

 

Then several layers are stacked to complete the forward superstructure. Sounds easy, right? Well not always. Although the instructions show several views of the stacked pieces, it isn't usually clear how they all go together and line up. Some of the pieces are not cut to quite the right profile, and it's hard to get the right profile off the plans.  One of the pieces is sanded upside down and 0.01" undersized to make room for windows. Not easy to do.

 

After everything is stacked up you apply lots of photo-etched and cast metal detail pieces. There is a whole page of instructions like the following: "Mark the location of the FAS brackets (FAB-39) on the forward angled face of the 03 level and glue them in place." WTF does this mean?

 

I have no idea what a FAS bracket is, so that's no help.  The instructions refer to level 01, 02, 03, but nowhere on the plans are the levels labeled.  You can try to guess, but it's just not clear where the levels spit.

 

The parts are all labeled with a code. F stands for Fabricated, or cast metal, PE stands for photo-etched, etc. AB stands for Arleigh-Burke, so (almost) every part has a redundant AB in its name. The final number is the part number. The photo-etched carrier sheet has part numbers all over it and they are relatively easy to identify. The several hundred cast metal pieces are sealed in lots of plastic bubbles in no obvious order. They are not labeled anywhere. The only way to identify them is to find the part number on the plans, then identify the part by its shape. There are several problems with that idea.

 

1. Some of the parts seem to be mis-numbered in the instructions.

2. There is no obvious cast metal counterpart for some of the parts shown on the plans.

3. Most of the parts on the plans are not labeled at all.

 

After struggling through the page of instructions there were still dozens of parts on the plans that had not been attached. Maybe they'll show up on a subsequent page, but I just decided to find parts that looked like the plans and glue them in place.

 

Aft Superstructure

 

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While the forward superstructure is all made up of solid stock, the aft superstructure is glued up as an angled box of laser-cut pieces. This piece would have been much easier to make from stacked solid wood.

 

The back end of the aft superstructure is a mount for the Gatling gun made out of cast resin. There is a similar piece on the forward superstructure. Both pieces are basically angled boxes with a notch cut in them. They would have been so easy to make with wood. I can't imagine why Bluejacket decided to cast them.

 

Stacks

 

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The stack are made like the aft superstructure, by gluing up a box of laser-cut pieces. There are still LOTS of grills, doors, and pipes to be attached.

 

 

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US Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis MD

 

Last weekend my wife Cinda Williams Chima and I went to the Baltimore Bookfest. She writes fantasy novels for young adults. I took a day off and visited the US Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, MD. The first floor of the museum has a history of the US Navy with plenty of ship models. The second floor houses the Rogers Ship Model Collection with 108 ship models from 1650 to 1850.

 

Azzoun gave a great description of the museum on MSW back in 2014, so I won't repeat everything here. I'll just state that this was one of the most amazing collection of ship models that I've ever seen. It made me want to go home and try harder. This spectacular model of the USS Maury might give you an idea what I'm talking about.

 

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Rod,

 

   I know just what you are saying< I went down there over a month ago and was in love with everything I saw there. The one mistake I made was I should have check and found out about all the other sites that are there, like John Paul Jones crypt and the other points of interest about the Navy. It was a trip I know I will do again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Resin Parts

 

After my problems with the resin prop shaft pieces I decided to check all the resin parts. I discovered that one radar unit was missing and several parts had serious voids. I emailed Bluejacket and received a quick response from Nic. It took a couple of weeks to get the replacement parts, but I'm not ready for them yet anyway. The new parts look good.

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Mast Construction,    32 days, 90 hours

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The mast is made from 1/4" square basswood set on the diagonal and swept back 15 degrees. The yards are photo-etched brass reinforced with 1/16" square brass tubes glued with CA.

 

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The yard braces are made from 1/32" square brass stock. The instructions said to glue these pieces together, but when it was time to sand them flush they just broke off.  Instead I soldered the main joint with long pieces, cut the braces slightly long with wire cutters, then sanded everything flush on a Proxxon disk sander. My other hobby is stained glass so I've done a lot of soldering.

 

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It was hard to hold the mast in my vise because it is set on the diagonal, so I chopped a square hole in a piece of poplar to make a holder.

 

To make the platform braces I spun the brass stock against the sander to make a point that I shoved into the mast. I clipped the other end slightly long, sanded the end to match the platform, and glued both ends with CA. They are super strong.

 

The mast has a zillion tiny photo-etched pieces. I put on my magnifying headset and started snipping, filing, and gluing. The 8 little antennas on the top mast extension are about the size of a grain of rice and were especially hard. It's good that the kit includes lots of spares because several pieces went flying, never to be seen again. The two radar antennas are cast pieces.

 

The mast took about 20 hours to build. It was challenging but actually a lot of fun, and it looks beautiful.

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Superstructure

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I've added a lot of detail parts to the superstructure - extensions around the top of the stacks, ladders, antennas, etc. I painted everything Haze gray using the Testors paints that I bought with the kit, and a cheap Badger airbrush. The horizontal deck surfaces on the aft superstructure are painted Euro gray using a brush and a lot of masking tape.

 

Speaking of antennas, the two antennas on the front of the aft superstructure are cast metal pieces that are butt-glued to a photo-etched platform. Well I've broken the platform and antennas off more times than I can remember, so the other day I deconstructed everything, drilled two holes in the platform, glued it back with a 1/32" brace underneath, and epoxied the antennas in the holes. They aren't going anywhere now.

 

Then today when I went to take this photo I broke the single antenna off the front stack. Looks like more deconstruction ahead.

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Oh Nooo!

 

Over the last couple of days I airbrushed Testors Haze gray above the waterline. I masked that off and sprayed Rustoleum Colonial red below. Last night I masked that off and sprayed the 1/4" waterline Krylon flat black. When I looked at it 1/2 hour later it was completely bubbled, crazed, and orange-peeled. I wish I had taken a photo to show just how bad it was, but instead I stayed up real late sanding everything off.

 

Today I filled a lot of gouges, primed, and basically started over with the Haze gray. I also ordered some 1/4" matte black chart tape for the waterline. I might still try to paint it, but with a different paint.

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Stay away from Rustoleum.  They have changed their formulation and all sorts of bad stuff happens when you put any thing else on it - even acrylics.  I will never have Rustoleum in the shop again nor will several other guys I know who learned the hard way.

Kurt

Interesting and worrying - I have it on my bottom hull its taken ok ontop of a well sanded acrylic, the question is though - I was going to spray Mr Topcoat Flat on it  by Mr Hobby.

 

OC.

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OC

Test the same combination off the model.  The Rustoleum problem was tested with many different paints over it with the same results - the color coats failed to cure/dry - enamels, and acrylics.  Maybe they have changed again - that's the problem, they seem to change quite often with poor results.  They may have solved the problem, but too late for me to ever try them again.  And I can assure you somebody is reading this thread and saying we are nuts that they have never had a problem - and they probably didn't have one - yet.    If it tests OK on similar materials in the same layering sequence then it's OK - but test off the model first.

Kurt

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