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Hello all. It's my first post here so a little about myself. Like many here, I suspect, I returned to the model hobby in my late twenties after a hiatus of 15 yrs or so. Since then I have made a number of wooden vessels, from kits, and I also very much enjoy bringing plastic kits mechanically to life - which is the main theme of my Youtube channel 'Gonzo mechanic'.


This current project was spurred by reading about the naval campaigns of World War Two. I was fascinated to find out that the Duke of York (Capt. Guy Russell) took on and destroyed the Scharnhorst at night, in an Arctic storm, with gunnery controlled entirely by radar. Before reading about this, I had not realised that such a thing was possible in this period of the war. Indeed, it turns out Russell specially trained his gunnery teams to fight at night having discovered weaknesses in night-time drill during his time on the Nelson. Unluckily for the crew of the Scharnhorst, the Royal Navy presented the right man with right ship in the right place at the right time.


I had planned to convert the Tamiya Prince of Wales to show the Duke of York in her post '44 re-fit form as the amount of anti-aircraft weaponry was truly awe inspiring: 12 pom-pom mounts (!) 2 quadruple bofors mounts and eight or so twin powered oerlikon turrets plus numerous single emplacements for the same weapon. It almost seems a pity this was never tested.


However, over time, I decided to do the more familiar 1943 look as this is a rare example of a paint scheme mainly intended for fighting fight in the dark of the Arctic winter when the Russia convoys tended to run. Having bought an addtional KGV kit to borrow the waist boat platform I decided to build this later and she will form a later posting.



So what did she actualy look like? I bought the KGV series book by Witold Koszela and a book of drawings of the DoY by the same author. I also found this site https://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-01BB-Duke of York.htm which turned out to be vital. Finally, there are the pictures from the IWM website of which the series taken at Rosyth 'from the 100 ton crane' are easily the most important.


However, beware pictures from the IWM site. Several turned out to be mirror images which resulted in quite a lot of wasted time. Some aspects of the ship are 'handed' - like the roof of the cabin abaft the main director and the mysterious little tub thing on the stbd. side of the forward superstructure and these need to be checked. Also the date appears to be wrong because on the 1 November 1943 the DoY was in Scapa not Rosyth. The pictures more likely date from around January to March that year.


The Koszela material is helpful in many ways but many details are wrong or missing. We'll come to those later. Finally the Pontos set while also hugely helpful is also missing a number of items and is also wrong in detail in some places.


In other words this project has required careful synthesis from disparate and sometimes conflicting sources. Some aspects remain unresolved and it will be most interesting to see if others here can shed light on them. It is, then, a source of some surprise that is can be so hard to piece together a reasonably faithful image of one of the largest warships the UK has ever put to sea - even within living memory.


First up: the hull

This, like all my plastic projects, is going to be rc so it can be filmed. There are various conversion kits for other vessels available but I decided to use my 3D printer to make a motor and servo mount. Anything to do with rc has to be maintainable because the first law of sod is that anything inaccessible will break first. In addition, and without disrespect to the many very fine modellers who use them this way, I could not face having the wooden deck show up with a 'real-world' 10" step - so joined the plastic deck together and cut a rebate around the edge so that it, with the wooden deck added, would fit flush with the hull sides.


Here you can see the 3d printed motor mount and dog bones. I inserted small brass washers where the dog-bones met the mount.




Stern glands


Rudder pintle


On the right you can see, just about the rebate cut into the under edge of the deck. This was a tiresome process involving a mini-router.

N.B. the hull on the left is for the KGV hence stern windows but is otherwise identical to my DoY



Next up: alterations to the forward superstructure.


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Hello again.

As others have noticed, one problem with the Pontos conversion set is that the suggested model - the Tamiya Prince of Wales - has completely the wrong bridge layout. In my case, it seemed the best course was to adapt it to match the KGV kit part which I have to hand. This is the same as the 1943 DoY. Why the Pontos kit does not suggest the KGV kit is a mystery - unless it is because there is no small Walrus. But adding a resin one would not, one assumes, be a stretch.

Here you can see the extended watch postions aft of the HACS director tower.


Below you can see the deck extensions that lead to ladders which descend to the hangar deck, just abeam of forward engine room vent. You can also see the consequences of the IWM 'mirror image' problem. Because there was apparently one of these drum shaped things visible on the apparent port side I assumed there was one on both sides. It took me a while to figure out why this feature appeared in no other picture!!


Some other alterations. In particular, the ADO has rather elaborate instrument panels with splinter shields on both sides of the deck. I made these out of brass sheet and added some p.e. bits and bobs to look more 'technical'.


Also, contra the kit, the search light platform is flush with the sides and has prominent railings. Out of habit, I drilled out the windows of bridge and the admiral's bridge below and put in some clear styrene sheet. So, from the right angle you can see right through. Also note the very visible antenna mount just forward of where there used to be a rangefinder postion, seemingly deleted by this point in time, and the revised bridge wing lay-out



More alterations: there is a prominent vent and a hatch which comes up from below. Also the oerlikon stations are not as seen in any plan. Bascially, there were three per side with a 'three bears' type situation. One had a whole tub, the next had the semi-circualr step plate only and the third had nothing at all.

The nav lights are much larger than those on the kit. There are both ordinary and, below that, dim lights for tactical situations. Mine are illuminated by optic fibre. Notice also the prominent down pipe thing on the superstructure sides. This is a simplification of the real thing.


Below is some of the work on the director tower. Atop this is a small structure with a tub on top which remains of uncertain purpose - at least as far as I am concerned - up to the present. Perhaps someone here knows? Anyhow, this is a much more complex structure than the Pontos kit makes out and has two prominent trangular shaped gusset plates supporting it and what looks a bit like a hot water tank just underneath. These ships were no place for anyone with a fear of heights.


ALO, ADO binocular mounts etc by North Star. Incidentally, I would recomend using local sellers, like Starling shop or Soveriegn Hobbies in the UK, to get their stuff rather than approach them directly. North Star themselves did not accurately or entirely complete my order and replied to precisely no emails.



Next up doors, more doors and small guns.

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One last post today as I am trying to catch up with where I am now.


One thing about this model is that the molded on doors are all far too small. Here the Pontos kit helps, though in reality you will need many more than this offers. I got an excellent batch from White Ensign. The other complication is that the Koszela drawings are slightly misleading as to the types of doors to use. The plans he supplies show 'waffle' doors at all deck levels. I can find no evidence that such doors appear anywhere on the weather deck. Instead all the photos I've seen show the larger, plainer type of watertight door.


On levels 01 and above you find a mix of fairly plain doors and in more exposed areas, the waffle doors appear as here on the pom-pom platform. Also noteworthy in this area are the splinter shields around the ready-use ammo boxes and the unusual hinges that extend behind.


There are also many doors to be found on the upper levels of the main superstructure - and here the Koszela drawings are very helpful. And there are plenty more around the boat deck superstructure.


Guns and things

I try and get the fiddly and repetitive aspects of any model done as soon as possible. The worst job of all on this project are the oerlikon mounts. Koszela gets most of them right on his drawings but misses some them. There are four abaft 'B' turret and four just forward of 'X' turret as can been seen -  just about - in the IWM photos from Rosyth. There are also, it turns out, one each side of the aft funnel, sitting in boxes that rest upon the aft engine room vents. It took me a long time to figure this out.


I was puzzled for a while by these shapes and wondered if they might be some kind of works platforms for the constructors: See here from the Imperial War Museum collection




And, of course, once you know they are there, the appearance of this chap makes more sense:


The confirmation for this came from the DoY war diary at www.naval-history.net/ which mentions the addition of gun mounts on the aft vents in the Jan to March '43 re-fit.


My no-doubt too simplified versions look like this:



I was quite pleased with this as I've not seen these on any other models. But, just in case, they are lightly glued so if I ever come across better pictures...


And the guns themselves? Since there are 36 Oerlikons on DoY and another 26 or so on the KGV I needed some more. So I assembled those by Pontos and some more from Infini and others from Master models. The latter are the best both in terms of appearance and component quality, and the Pontos possibly the easiest to assemble. The Infini ones were almost too delicate to use.


Here are the mounts being sprayed. The barrels have been chemically blackened to avoid paint build-up and will be attached later.


Also the two ships were going to need more Pom-poms so I ordered some from North Star but these never arrived. So got some from Tetra Model Works and these are simply fantastic, albeit a lengthy assembly.


One feature I particularly like is that the barrels locate into the breach box in such a way as to guarentee they'll all be parallel.


Here they are both for comparison, Pontos above, Tetra below. It will be seen that the Pontos ones are too high and would be 'unloadable' at full scale.


Also worth noting that on the DoY at this time the pom-poms had shields behind and smaller ones at the front. I do not know why.


One final thought, I have tried to find one but there seems to be no surviving example of this type of gun anywhere in the UK or Dominions. Remarkable when you consider they were almost universal at one time and present on almost every vessel down to corvette size. There were, once, literally thousands of them.





Edited by Gonzo
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Hello again.

Thought it might be useful to review some of the other missing items that need to be scratch built. It's quite a long list. Here are some supports that appear just under the rear extension of the watch/ bridge deck.


Then there is this opening that needs to be made as all the vessels of the class had this before their Pacifc re-fits to provide access to the catapult control panel. I've not made mine yet but it will appear shortly.



Circled in blue are two substantial vents that need to be made. One each side of the hangar. You can see both here in this IWM pic. Be warned though, in some of the ships the vents change to face/vent aft after the Pacific re-fits.



The Fore mast mast needs a lot of extra bits.


Blue: the starfish actually has two fore stays

Yellow. the radio cabin has boxes and a small open cylinder in top

Red. the cabin sits under a triangular brace that connects all legs of the tripod.


I'll try and get a better pic later.


Red. The ladder does not slant outward but climbs the back of the top mast.

Blue. The main fore mast, fore top overlap contains two perforated fillets that splay out at an angle from the lower mast head. All the sisters had these and I think they may have been inserted to support the weight of the 273 radar and its associated cabin.


Soldering. I solder all the photo-etch parts where possible because it is only slightly slower than gluing and much increases handling strength. I can most strongly recomend the excellent tutorial by Plasmo found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AeK7goc_xM

Using solder paste and rosin flux has all but eliminated the problems I used to have with dry joints and solder lumps. A lot of other good stuff on his channel as well.


That's it for now... thanks for looking.











Edited by Gonzo
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  • 1 month later...

Hello again, sorry for interval but summer holidays etc intervened.

Decks. There is some uncertainty what the decks look liked. All painted, part painted or not painted at all? Photos can be found to justify all three. In this case, late 1943, it seems her decks were painted at previous re-fit - but that this paint did generally not long survive being sluiced down repeatedly with hundreds of tons of icy salt water in the Arctic. Indeed, in some pics it is almost gone. What I could find no photographic evidence for was the mooted 'unpainted forward area around the anchors' scheme. Also this idea makes little sense. Why paint the rest if you leave such a large part visible from the air?


Meanwhile, there are modelling issues. Why use the attractive Pontos deck if you are goig to cover it in paint? In the end, I went of a sort of semi-weathered look using some supposedly ebony wood die that actually looks more like a dark grey. This was diluted some with cellulose thinners. After that I coated the deck with car spray type matt varnish as it will be exposed to water at some point.



While we are up at the bow, I had to find a way of producing hawse pipes that would not let water into the hull, so came up with these truncated tubes with sealed ends, in turn attached the brass anchor runs.





Meanwhile the cat-heads (devices to suspend the anchor when its hawse pipe is being used for a cable to a buoy or shore etc) supplied by Pontos, looked too small to my eye so I made these:





Another fiddly little task was making the small catapult control station visible in pictures of the class. Dimensions were something of a guess but their relation ships to other parts of the ship - and indeed passing crew - can be seen in the pics. The red thing is a fire extinguisher.20190717_170629.thumb.jpg.41162e1169ac3649e0a4af40c3d6f2ec.jpg20190719_155856.thumb.jpg.d453c869ab27326051ca0f29048085c2.jpg




And the real thing here on the KGV curtesy of the Imperial War Museum.


That's it for now. Thanks for looking.









Edited by Gonzo
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Hello again,


Walrus. I promised myself I wouldn't do this but, in the end, I couldn't resist giving it a clear cockpit. I had, after all, put clear windows in the ship's bridge and compass platform. Below you can see where I added a canopy made of clear sprue which I then faired in.


I used the Pontos wire bracing which I messed up first time but luckily had a second set from the KGV kit I would not be using. So, take two...



I destroyed the second upper wing roundel and so had to paint it by hand. the upper one in the pic above.



And the underside. I put the undercarriage in 'up' position. I know this all looks a bit rough but it is very small...


That's it for now.


Edited by Gonzo
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Great work Gonzo


I don't know why I have not seen your entries before but it was certainly worth catching up on your build.


One thing I do question though is the photo caption by the Imperial War Museum regarding the crewmen on the aircraft launching deck. It looks to me that they are practicing firing rifles from a prone position rather than any kind of flight drill, possibly using sticks rather than the real thing. Good thing too if they are, as some of the guys in the front rows seem to be in a direct line of fire from the guys in the back.:unsure::(

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Many thanks, you are right about the marines. They are certainly not taking part in anything to do with Walrus evolutions - unless they are trying to dissuade other planes from landing in the waist... If I understand correctly, one of the roles the marines had on board was to man the 38 or so oerlikons aboard. They also helped guard prisoners, as you can see in the pictures taken after the destruction of the Scharnhorst.


Small boats

There are few records of what these boats looked like and painting practices seem to have varied with time, location and even the whims of the boss. There are also some details about the boats I would query. The long open motor launches (32') did not, I think, generally have wheels to steer but used tillers. So I chose to copy a surviving example at the remarkable Chatham Historic Dockyard. Also the Pontos parts cannot be applied as per the instructions but rather the the rudders and screw parts need to be chased into the hulls to look at all realistic.


Finally, I hit upon the idea of using remaining stick-on deck to plank the decks of the boats. This resulted in a slightly higher freeboard and is probably innaccurate because the deck timbers of small boats curve around the superstructure following the lines of the gunnel. But, be that as it may, it looks better than my wood painting efforts. For windows I used crystal clear and the rubbing strakes are thin plastic rod painted a sort of mahogany colour.







The large motor launches have windows for some reason on the higher part of the superstructure - which is odd because this is where the boats were conned from. The windows, in other words, only offer a decent view to the feet of the driver. I blooked these in, as you can see below, and added the wheels that were not used in the open launches. Small windscreens were added from p.e. railings and 'glazed' with crystal clear.


The boat hulls and superstructure were painted the same colour as DoY herself, save the'admirals barge' which I made blue.20190808_190613.thumb.jpg.6e30490489d499bad4ad54853e80400f.jpg

Very cramped new home...


That's it, thanks for looking.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello there, not much to show as she is complete and in her display box.


A couple of things though.

Another discovery: at some point in late '43 she had fitted another Type 285 radar on her aft director. I can find no mention of this happening - but happen it surely did by the time she got to Iceland.



Picture courtesy of the Imperial War Museum.


Luckily I had a P.E spare available from a set I bought for the KGV


Also finished the fiddly little Oerlikons with their chemically darkened barrels...



And some cranes...20190825_155343.thumb.jpg.1829e250a349b9d1bcb6a3671b16ff1b.jpg

And then to make some flota nets. I bought ten from shapeways but these were pretty costly and you need another 30 or so more. I made mine from stretched sprue cut into bundles...20190827_205932.thumb.jpg.3f661be6cf4b54fc14bf3b1885e760e5.jpg

And that is the last of the build. Thanks for looking. Finished pictures next.







Edited by Gonzo
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Hi All,

Pls see my finished photos. The model is supposed to be of the museum type i.e it exists primarily to explain what was where. Thus the weathering is very light or non-existant. Besides there are many who do that kind of thing a lot better than me - many on this site indeed - and I didn't want to spoilt her looks. I'll post a film of her underway in due course but her trim is about perfect in the water and she has power to spare. Also her funnels smoke and the guns and main director traverse. Plus the nav, steaming and stern lights work.



























And one more of these because I like them.20191003_115317.thumb.jpg.55ef859888fa6390136a3468144284ac.jpg

Thanks for looking.












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Many thanks for all the very kind comments. Am relieved she is finished, finally, because it took much longer than I had planned, weeks in fact. There was a lot of staring at old, grainy photos and the constant discovery of things I had missed. But I do enjoy looking at her. For someone interested in politics, vessels of such size and power are such a startling expression of sovreignty or popular-will, even.  And the fact that we once had so many and now so few, even of her modern equivalents the SSN or SSBN, is a stark lesson on our changed place in the world.


She'll be making only a couple of 'voyages' on the local lake, likely when there has been a good snow fall, so that the background loses its scale a bit and might more plausibly be the edge of a fjord or something. The vid will go on my youtube channel, gonzomechanic, but I'll post a link here too.


Finally, I thought I'd add one last pic of the bow. I had a stab at showing the cap/cover/lid things used to keep the sea out of the anchor chain compartments. I'm not sure what the real things were made of. They look a bit like pressed tin. My ones are little dics of lead sheet pressed over the end of a tiny screw driver. They show up in all the photos of the time and must have been very neccessary because of the sheer volume of water that used to wash over the foredeck of these vessels in heavy seas.


It is mentioned somewhere that the oerlikon mounts and tubs you can see in the background were actually entirely swept away during a storm in December '43 leaving bolt holes in the deckhead of the junior rates accommodation through which the sea came in. Which can't have been popular. Interestingly, many of the photos of the class show a noticeable trim up by the bow. Perhaps they used the fuel in the forward tanks first to try and get the bow up a bit to better meet the sea? Someone here might know.




The anchor chain restraining shackles were made by taking a 'u' shaped piece of soft wire and then flattening it in a pair of pliers. It more or less resembles the real thing. Anchor chains were generally painted, I believe, but would rust fairly drastically after a couple of uses. I painted these in tank track primer with a bit of grey paint dry-brushed over to look like the remnant colour.


And here is the stern:



The screws are actually the brass accessory set made by Trumpeter for their 1/350 Hood. Turns out, in real life, they were near enough the exact same size as those on the KGV class.

That's it for now.



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  • 4 months later...

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