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Back in February, Luekutus started a build log for the Billings Calypso which jogged me into finishing a project that I started probably 10 years ago. I really appreciate that he has planked his, it looks great and I’m looking forward to seeing more! My goal was to build a nice model for the mantel that was a good scale and not a warship. While I’ve done some basic research, my model is not 100% accurate and I’ve taken some artistic license in some areas. 

 

The Billings kit is crude by today’s standards but can be spiced up with a bit of detailing and is the best available today in a large scale. The helicopter supplied is AWFUL! I’ve given up on trying to make it look nice and am looking for an after market substitute in 1:48 that’s close. I added some 1:48 welding gas cylinders that look fine and the rope I’ve used is the truly nice stuff from  Syren. Most of the trim is Evergreen and a lot of the wood is from my spares stash. 

 

Enjoy,

 

Don

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Beautiful, Don, you did a fantastic job on her! The Calypso is one of my favorite ships ever and you've certainly done her justice. Jacques would be proud of your model.

 

 

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You did a great job with this vessel. I built mine 35 years ago and I think it needs a little refresh.

 

The exact helicopter is not yet available in 1/48, but you can find approaching models. Maybe some parts of the existing kits can be used to improve on the Billing Boats helicopter.

 

Yves

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Bob and Yves,

 

Thanks for the nice comments, it’s appreciated. Growing up, my family subscribed to National Geographic and I always looked forward to articles on Cousteau’s expeditions and research, so when this model showed up at my local hobby shop, I jumped on it. It has been an interesting build but somewhat frustrating as my research has not  been able to turn up some of the details, particularly with respect to the rigging, and Billings documentation is somewhat lacking. Bob, with your experience actually spending some time on her, can you comment on the picture below. It made sense to me that the hoist just forward of the deck house would be rigged to be used with the two booms on the forward deck, and that’s what I did - pretty much speculation on my part. Does this make sense? I’m also really envious and deeply impressed that you were able to spend time on her and work with Cousteau!

 

Bob, I also want to thank you for encouraging me to post this - it’s been a nice interlude, but time to get back to the Longboat. Will be referring to your excellent log for guidance. 

 

Don

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Don, I wish I could be of more help but the actual time I spent aboard the Calypso was only an afternoon way back in 1969. So I really don't remember specific details like the use of the hoist. I think you've made a good hunch about how it would be rigged. I wonder if there is a Calypso museum or association you might be able to contact for more information?

 

I was stationed at the US Coast Guard Captain of the Port Los Angeles/Long Beach and only spent several hours one day discussing a LORAN program for responding to nautical emergencies at sea. We wanted the Calypso to be a part of it and they welcomed the idea. Anyway, spending time talking with Jacques and others onboard the ship was very special for me since I admired Cousteau and the Calypso so much for their work in promoting the education and conservation of the world's oceans and sea life.

 

Congratulations again on your wonderful model and I look forward to seeing you work on your Medway Longboat.

 

All the best,

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh my! That's absolutely beautiful!

Your deck planking puts mine to shame, I'm going to try to make the best of it (when I get back to working on it).

 

Do you mind my asking how you cut the "parts" that were black lines on a thick sheet of plastic? I'm struggling there... 

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Thanks, Leukutus, I really appreciate that. 

 

I used the deck planks supplied in the kit but ran short and supplemented them with some left over from another project that closely matched. They were just superglued in place, then sanded and finished with a couple of coats of wipe on poly. The wood supplied for trim was mostly junk so I substituted Evergreen strip of various widths and thicknesses to trim around the decks. I pretty much cleaned out my local hobby shops supply😸. I also used steel wire to replace most of the railings for the straight, long runs and reserved the brass supplied in the kit for places that needed to be bent. 

 

Cutting the plastic parts was a real pita, especially the vacuformed ones - that stuff is pretty crude by today’s standards and would not be acceptable in a kit with a suggested retail of almost $600.00. I used heavy scissors to do the initial cut, then finished with careful use of a scalpel and sanding. One of the problems I ran into was that once the part was cut out there was very little surface to glue it together, for example the submarine and the decompression chamber. Once again I used Evergreen strips superglued to the inside of the joints as reinforcement. Nicks and dings were filled with putty and sanding followed by several coats of paint. 

 

I’m really impressed with your hull planking and very much look forward to more - it was your original post that jogged me into picking back up on mine. 

 

Thanks again,

Don

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  • 2 months later...

Wow! Beautiful build nunnehi!

 

I'm getting ready to also build the Billing Boats 1:45 scale Calypso and I hope my model will come out half as beautiful as yours!

 

If you don't mind me asking... how did you do the porthole and underwater observation port glass? Did you use thin clear acetate cut to shape and glue from behind or did you use something else?

 

Thank you in advance!

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Fuji,

 

Thanks much for the kind words, I really appreciate it! Good luck with your build and start a log, I would very much like to see some pics as you move forward with it!

 

I used Micro Kristal Klear from Microscale on all the portholes and windows, applied with a toothpick. On the larger cabin windows, I first glued the acetate that was supplied with the kit using the Kristal Klear, then backfilled the opening once the acetate was firmly in place. It takes several hours for the Kristal Klear to set up and actually turn clear (it is opaque white at first) and it is not as transparent as the acetate, so if you’re going to detail the internal spaces, this may not be the way to go. 

 

Thanks again,

Don

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