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HS Pleias by Sooty - Greek Navy minesweeper - Πλειας in Greek, Pennant number M240 - as she was in c. 1983


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Hello and welcome to my first post!

 

This is intended to be a build log of my first modern ship built from scratch. I made the hull and some of the superstructure out of balsa and birch, with detailing made out of everything I could find, some milliput and spare PE bits from previous builds.

 

The sea is made of polystyrene foam, tissue paper, thick acrylic artist's medium and cotton.


 

Here is a pic of the finished model, I am just trying this one first pic to see how things work, then I will be building up the log!

 

There were no plans for her at all. It's all scaled from photos and known dimensions, and the deck and equipment was all sketched up with my dad's help (who was her skipper back in the early 80s).

 

I made my own lines plan from drydock photos and looking at similar designs, then cut sections in balsa, glued them into a rough hull and sanded them smooth. Sealed with dope, painted, then added all the details.

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Sooty,

Καλως ΗΡΘΑΤΕ!

Welcome aboard MSW. That is a very good looking model and it is not a common subject. I look forward to your build log.

 

Bruce

🌻

STAY SAFE

 

A model shipwright and an amateur historian are heads & tails of the same coin

current builds:

HMS Berwick 1775, 1/192 scratchbuild; a Slade 74 in the Navy Board style

Mediator sloop, 1/48 - an 18th century transport scratchbuild 

French longboat - CAF - 1/48, on hold

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A bit of background on M240.

 

She was built sometime in the late 60s / early 70s as part of the 'MSC289' class of coastal minesweepers for the USN. She was transferred to Greece as M240 'Pleias'. She was my dad's first command sometime in the early 80s and I had a few photos to work from, plus a lot of info from my dad.

 

I started this without have any grand plans of building it into a decent model a few years back; I was on holiday im Greece, the weather was too poor for sailing, I had some spare bits of balsa and a sharp blade,  a few photos and my dad, so I shaped up the hull and put it aside at the summerhouse, where it sat collecting dust till late last year.

 

Then, one evening in the Scottish Highlands, I was watching the stars and noticed again that little group of stars I've been looking at for years, wondering if they are called something. Not being a complete caveman, I downloaded a 'stargazing' app and quickly realised they are a constellation, called Pleiades. 'Pleias' came to mind again; as it turned out, Pleiades is the plural of Pleias. Then memories came back of me walking on her deck as a 5yo, my then young dad in a navy uniform... that was it, the hull was posted to me from Greece and I set about building a fairly good model!

 

Here are some pics of the very early stages, apologies if the quality is not great, the rest of the build is in high resolution and will be posting more!

 

 

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Some more pics of the build.

 

I could not find any decent-looking propellers, and it would have been a massive pain to try and make them in the 350th scale. 5-blade propellers, ca. 6ft diameter and funny-looking, probably to reduce noise? So I decided I am putting the model on a 'sea' diorama, and concentrated above the waterline.

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VERY NICE!!  She looks just like the real thing.  When I first saw your photo I said to myself,  “That’s not a Greek Navy minesweeper, That’s a US Navy MSC.”  Then I read your post and saw that it was indeed a USN MSC that had been transferred to the Greek Navy.

 

I spent an 8 week midshipman summer cruise in 1964 aboard two minesweepers, USS Widgeon MSC 208 and USS Loyalty both operating in the coastal waters of Japan.  Your model brought back fond memories.

 

Roger

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1 hour ago, Roger Pellett said:

VERY NICE!!  She looks just like the real thing.  When I first saw your photo I said to myself,  “That’s not a Greek Navy minesweeper, That’s a US Navy MSC.”  Then I read your post and saw that it was indeed a USN MSC that had been transferred to the Greek Navy.

 

I spent an 8 week midshipman summer cruise in 1964 aboard two minesweepers, USS Widgeon MSC 208 and USS Loyalty both operating in the coastal waters of Japan.  Your model brought back fond memories.

 

Roger

NICE! Actually, I found loads of reference photos of the sweeping gear from vet groups that sailed them around those waters! Some pretty good shots of the underwater parts from drydocks in Sasebo. I think the MSC289 class was very much like the earlier ones, so I see where you are coming from. My dad said they were very good boats, pretty seaworthy, very manoeuvreable, the crew were more like a tight family and he preferred them over destroyers.

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A few more shots of the build.

 

Deck equipment slowly being added, the mast has been started, and the sea is already looking pretty good.

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The small zodiac. Bent sprue, xacto and a bit of plastic card! All the sweeping gear was also made that way, plus milliput and bits of spare PE and brass wire.

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With no vessel drawings, I just made a sketch and got my dad to fill in the gaps (here come the "It's all greek to me!" jokes... 😂)

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Most of the sweeping gear is on, though I ended up moving things around a bit, based on more photos I found. Also made a start on the railings and sorted out ladders.

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Started rigging up the mast, with the fore stays going on first.

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A lot more detail is on now. More railings, and the rigging is more or less all done. I usually finish the rigging and then add all the finer details on the masts, as they tend to interfere with the rigging if they go on first.

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Sorted out a decent Oerlikon gun from spare PE from previous models.

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Pretty much finished, with the last job I did being hand-painting the callsign flags on the bridge wings.

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Some more pics of the finished model.

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(The 'lights' are photoshopped in, but the rest is all real)

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Here is a photo taken from a 'helicopter' at 'night' and under 'searchlights' 😂

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Next to a small Destroyer Escort, also at 1:350. I totally overdid the wake on the destroyer, but kept it much more subtle on the Minesweeper.

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And the final addition; the little red 'thing' just above my thumbnail. Apparently, a petrol tank for refuelling petrol-driven kit. On a quick-release fitting on a bulwark cut-out, so it could be jetissoned quickly if there was a fire.

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I think I am kind of working out how to add pics in bits of the text that I want, so I hope this post comes out OK! 

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The MSC that I spent several weeks aboard was homeported in Sasebo, a nice city.  When I joined her she was in drydock after a grounding.  Later I joined Loyalty a larger MSO.  She had deployed from the West Coast of the USA using a rubber fuel bladder on deck to provide the necessary Trans Pacific range.

 

The structure enclosing the bridge is a later addition.  In 1964 both the MSC and MSO’s had open bridges.  Also, in 1964 both vessels were equipped with conventional 26ft motor whaleboats.  It’s interesting to see the way that this classic design adapted over the years and withstood the test of time.

 

Roger

 

 

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3 hours ago, Roger Pellett said:

The MSC that I spent several weeks aboard was homeported in Sasebo, a nice city.  When I joined her she was in drydock after a grounding.  Later I joined Loyalty a larger MSO.  She had deployed from the West Coast of the USA using a rubber fuel bladder on deck to provide the necessary Trans Pacific range.

 

The structure enclosing the bridge is a later addition.  In 1964 both the MSC and MSO’s had open bridges.  Also, in 1964 both vessels were equipped with conventional 26ft motor whaleboats.  It’s interesting to see the way that this classic design adapted over the years and withstood the test of time.

 

Roger

 

 

I think Pleias was one of the very last MSCs to be built. She started life with a bridge that was closed on the front and the sides, but the rear was indeed open to the elements in the 70s, I guess to facilitate communication with the back deck and probably to also keep the place cooler! Closing off the back of the bridge was a later greek addition. Also the several A/C units. Other than that, she was probably not different at all to what you were on!

 

As far as I know, the last of the woodies were broken up around 5 years ago. I dug up some pretty sad photos of a JCB at work, never showed those to my dad!

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Sooty,  very nice small model. The sea is very realistic. It would be good to know how you did it.

Keith

 

Current Build:-

Cangarda (Steam Yacht) - Scale 1:24

 

Previous Builds:-

 

Schooner Germania (Nova) - Scale 1:36

https://modelshipworld.com/topic/19848-schooner-germania-nova-by-keithaug-scale-136-1908-2011/

Schooner Altair by KeithAug - Scale 1:32 - 1931

http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/12515-schooner-altair-by-keithaug-scale-132-1931/?p=378702

J Class Endeavour by KeithAug - Amati - Scale 1:35 - 1989 after restoration.

http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/10752-j-class-endeavour-by-keithaug-amati-scale-135-1989-after-restoration/?p=325029

 

Other Topics

Nautical Adventures

http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/13727-nautical-adventures/?p=422846

 

 

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34 minutes ago, KeithAug said:

Sooty,  very nice small model. The sea is very realistic. It would be good to know how you did it.

 

Hey, thanks!

 

The sea is actually my favourite part!

 

It starts life as styrofoam:

 

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put the boat on it and mark a rough waterline where you want it.

 

Then, cut the hole for the hull.

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Then, mark the wave pattern you want with a felt tip marker, turn the sheet upside down and carefully run a lighter at low power and from around 3-4" away, to get you the waves you want. If it is too much, throw it away and try a new piece. This one takes practice, so spend some time on smaller pieces before you try a bigger one!

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Fut the ship on and check that you are happy with the arrangement. There is a VERY specific set of angles to follow for the wake pattern, check 'Froude Pattern' on google, it never ever changes.20191123_234719.thumb.jpg.2abda4e4ba33fd216144d5366a1e6bdc.jpg

 

The styrofoam and lighter can give you larger waves, as well as wavelets from the foam's individual pellets, which is what makes this convincing.

As the styrofoam is now too rough, you need to smoothen it; use tissue paper which you glue with woodglue on the foam, and dope it with some extra glue.20191010_230103.thumb.jpg.b1327e30ccd6e03c588c72c5e01efac1.jpg

 

You should now have something that looks like this;20191011_093420.thumb.jpg.6ba9c4b948b5b7b1fc1d112bb75d58a9.jpg

 

It still has a bit too much texture, so you can use a very thick medium called 'acrylic artists medium' to smoothen things up a little. Make sure you buy the transparent version. It is best to paint the surface after you dope the tissue, as that shows you how much you need to smoothen it.

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Painted and with a few coats of artist's medium:

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You want to use a very dark blue. I find the dark blue the USN used for overall-painting their aircraft in WW2 to be spot-on for deep sea.

 

You should now have something like this;

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Once you are happy you have a good / smooth surface to continue with, then you put the boat on and spray a white / very light blue where you want to create foam and the wake pattern (remember the 'Froude pattern' angles);

 

 

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Don't go to town with the waves, just a light contrast.

 

Now the really tricky bit;

You take cotton, pull it out, lay it on where you want the 'foam' and wet it with more acrylic medium. This takes a lot of practice, but it is very satisfying to get right. Manipulate it to the right shape with a wet brush, cocktail sticks, the handle of your brush, anything that suits. If it looks bad, take it off and try another piece.

This is done wave by wave.

 

Here is one side done;

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At first it will look too white, but it becomes more transparent as you wet it.

Keep doing it till you get it right. You might have to dump the whole base and try again, but the materials are dirt cheap.

It should end up looking like this;

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It works much better for bigger models, but this turned out fine.

 

Top tips;

-Use artificial cotton that has no seed. I got mine off a surgeon mate, it is rayon cotton. You can also get it from vaping supply places, but they might sting you. This is essential, as the seed shows real bad and will ruin your work.

-Take it easy on the waves and don't go to town with them.

-Froude wake pattern angles are very fixed and the same for all displacement hulls. The distance between waves and their size changes, but the angle is ALWAYS the same; you need to get that right.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Finally, I cannot remember who I got this technique from, but I remember it was a Canadian ship modeller. He had tutorials online, and a few videos; worth trying to google it.

 

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1 hour ago, KeithAug said:

Sooty,  very nice small model. The sea is very realistic. It would be good to know how you did it.

 

I forgot to add the final steps;

 

-LOTS of coats of artist's acrylic medium till you are happy it is smooth and everything blends in. This is applied with a brush, and you need to be careful not to leave bubbles as these will show up quite bad and are hard to get rid of.

 

-Finally, a few coats of VERY glossy varnish.

 

-This is a dust-magnet and pretty hard to clean. You want it in a case straight after you are finished with it, so it will look its best for years to come.

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2 minutes ago, druxey said:

Interesting technique, but heating styrofoam gives off toxic gases, so I would not recommend it!

So are most glues, paints and solvents we use, so just take reasonable precautions such as ventillation or doing it outside.

 

One other hazard to note is some styrofoam can go up in flames, so best use the fire-retardant variety used for buildings' insulation.

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11 hours ago, KeithAug said:

Sooty,  very nice small model. The sea is very realistic. It would be good to know how you did it.

Ok, I found who I copied the technique from; it's Chris Flodberg, and he has a few tutorials. Here is a great one:

 

http://www.shipmodels.info/mws_forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=157503&p=637868#p637868

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