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USS Basilone DD-824 by schooner - FINISHED - Bluejacket - Scale 1:192

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Well here goes … my first build log, hopefully it won’t be sunk by my non-existent photography skills.


I’ll be building a model of the USS Basilone (DD-824) as she appeared in the early 1960’s, just after her Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) upgrade. I’ll be using the USS Gearing (DD-710) FRAM 1 kit from Bluejacket Ship Crafters. I plan to add some details to the kit and possibly replace a few components with some scratch building.


I selected this ship/kit for several reasons:


  • The “FRAMs” formed the backbone of the US Navy’s destroyer fleet for most of the cold war. While not as glamorous as the guided missile ships, they were still the epitome of a “tin can.”
  • Although they were leaving service just as my time in the Navy was beginning, they had enough in common with my ships that I can bring my experience to bear in adding details - something I can’t do with a sailing ship model
  • At 1/192 (1ft =1/16 inch) the scale of the model is large enough that it lends itself to adding details, something that is hard to do at 1:350 and smaller scales. On the other hand, with a length of 24” the model is still compact enough to fit on a bookshelf.
  • The Basilone had a long career that lasted well into the 70’s and as such is a fitting representative of the class
  • To honor a great Marine hero. The ship was named after Sgt John Basilone who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Guadalcanal in 1942. He then resisted efforts to keep him selling War Bonds for the rest of the war and insisted on returning to combat duty. He went on to win the Navy Cross on Iwo Jima  where he was killed in action.



References I’ll be using:


  • Sumner-Gearing Class Destroyers; Their design, Weapons, and Equipment by Robert Sumrall, US Naval Institute Press, 1995. This book is just what it’s title says, a technical study of the ships – not an operational history. I consider it “nice to have” rather than “must have” for someone modeling a Gearing destroyer. It has many good pix and is a great help for detailing weapons and antennas.

  • Waterline Warships – An Illustrated Masterclass by Phillip Reed, Seaforth Publications, 2010. This is a great book that I would recommend to anyone who wants to try their hand at either scratch building an entire ship or just adding details. He shows his construction of a 1:192 scale British WWII destroyer. It is amazing what he does with just wood, paper, sheet plastic, brass rod and wire. I hope to try a few of his techniques on my build.

  • 1:96 General Drawing of USS Gearing, 1970, from The Floating Drydock website. With a price of $22 I expected a little more but this is just one sheet of plans, showing the starboard side and an overhead view of each deck. I had the print reduced by 50% so it is at 1:192 scale and I can pull dimensions right off the drawing. It has some, but not a lot, of detail so I will also have to use contemporary photos from online.
  • USN General Drawings for USS Basilone, last update 1971, from the US National Archives in College Park,MD. The plans show several differences from the Gearing and have a higher level of detail than the Gearing plans from the Floating Drydock (not sure why, maybe the Boston Naval Shipyard was more meticulous in the blueprint-making than whatever yard did the Gearing).
  • Online photo resources:
    • www.navsource.org is a great resource. Although the coverage varies between individual ships, there are usually quite a few that cover the life of any given ship. Most photos are of the postcard variety, taken from too great a distance to reveal details, but some ships have onboard photos in their albums.
    • Former crew websites. Although it can be tedious to Google the name of each FRAM it is worth the time in that about half of the ships have active “alumni associations” many of which have photos from former crewmembers. These can be pure gold for clear, close-up photos of ships of the class. Bookmarking them has given me some excellent material.
  • USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr  (DD-850), a museum ship moored at Battleship Cove in Fall River Mass. I plan to take a trip up there with a camera, tape measure and notebook to get a good handle on deck details and dimensions.


Brief background on Gearings and FRAMs


  • The Gearing class destroyers (a minor modification to the Sumner class) came into service late in WWII. The design was the result of hard lessons learned in the war, with the result that the Gearings were probably the best destroyer design of the period. They were fast and heavily armed and posed a significant threat to ships, submarines and aircraft.

  • By 1960 the technology of  naval warfare had changed to the point that the Gearing destroyers need major modifications to remain relevant. The advent of jet aircraft made AAA guns of limited value, guided missiles being much more effective. Anti-ship missiles required improved radar and electronic countermeasures. Improvements in submarine speed and weapons range made it necessary to improve the DD’s detection range and ASW weapons range. Hence the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization program was launched. There where 2 major variants, FRAM 1 and FRAM 2 with the FRAM 2’s main difference being only a partial rebuild of the superstructure whereas the FRAM 1’s , like the Basilone, had everything above the main deck replaced.

  • The ships were rebuilt to focus on ASW with long-range sonar, a rocket-launched torpedo (ASROC), over-the-side MK32 torpedo tubes for quick-reaction to close-in sub detections. Additional radars and electronic sensors and countermeasures were also included, as well as a flight deck to support this little cutie, a drone helicopter - the DASH, to carry torpedoes and, believe it or not - nuclear depth charges. DASHs had a reputation for flying over the horizon, never to be seen again so maybe this sailor is engaged in some type of pre-launch prayer or sacrifice ritual.




My next post will show the contents of the kit.



Edited by schooner
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OK, here’s a quick look at what comes in the big box from Bluejacket:




Building Manual:



  • The manual is about 70 pages long, has plenty of line illustrations and some photos to help explain the steps laid out in the text.
  • This is probably a good place to discuss the model’s complexity. Bluejacket has a 9-level grading system to help potential customers figure out if a particular kit is within their skills. They rate this kit as an 8 out of 9 and, as they state in their catalog, “This kit is recommended for very experienced model builders.” Having built two of their previous kits I can vouch for the accuracy of their rating system. This is not a kit for a first-time model builder. Although none of the steps look to be as hard as planking a POB hull, it is still a complex model. The instructions tell you WHAT to do, but not always HOW to do it, which is appropriate for a kit intended for experienced builders. Both Bluejacket and Model Shipways have some great starter kits. One or two of those and maybe a Bluejacket kit that they rate as a 5 or 6 and you should have the skills for this one. You can always call the folks at Bluejacket and discuss what would be best for you, they are all very helpful up there.
  • The manual contains a complete parts listing, which should be checked against the kit’s contents upon receipt (mine had everything), and a list of recommended tools (nothing most modelers wouldn’t have on hand already)


The hull


  • This is a solid hull kit. If you have not done one before the idea of doing one can be a little intimidating. They are not really any harder than a planked hull … just different.
  • After building a couple of POB models I made the jump to solid hulls with Bluejacket’s USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413) kit. Same scale as this one. It proved to be a good choice because, just like the Gearings, the DE’s have pretty simple hull shapes. Compared to sailing ships, fishing boats and many merchant ships US destroyer hulls are basically slab-sided, have no tumble home, simple curved sterns and the bows have straight cutwaters and little flair.
    • With this kit at least you will not have to carve a block of wood. What you get is a hull that is either at, or very close to, its final dimensions and with the basic shapes in place. It can be considered 90-95% complete out of the box. There are plugs on the bow and stern left over from the machining process but they are easily filed off. The plans have templates you glue to cardboard to check that you are maintaining the correct dimensions and shapes as you sand the hull. I expect to spend more time doing the fine finish sanding needed to make painted wood look like painted steel than I will doing rough sanding to shape the hull.
  • Something to keep in mind if you have not done a solid hull before is that they are very forgiving to work on. If you take off too much or make a gouge you can glue a block of wood or a dowel to the hull and then file it down to the correct shape. After it is painted no one will ever know. Fillers like autobody putty or Bondo are your friends and will cover a multitude of sins.


The Plans



·    Four sheets are supplied that show where all the parts go, where to place the photo-etch railings and what color to paint what.


Resin Castings



·    Resin castings are used to supply the 5” gun mounts, the stacks, the GFCS director and other fittings too large for cast metal

·    Having built a couple of resin models I’m not a big fan of resin since it usually has a lot of holes or voids from casting but all the pieces that came in my kit were well done, just needing some fine sanding to smooth their surfaces. No voids and no over-pour except for the casting plugs which are easy to remove.

·    In case I forget to mention it later when I start working with the castings –remember that the chemical agent applied to the resin to keep it from adhering to the mold is also very effective at keeping paint from adhering to the resin. Always wash resin parts with warm (not hot) water and dish soap and let air dry before priming and painting.


Brittania Metal Castings



  • Most of the smaller details such as bitts, chocks, fire hose racks, gun mt bases, davits, etc are supplied as cast metal. They are well done with good detail and free of major flash


Laser cut parts



  • Most of the superstructure components are made up of laser cut wood, stacked where necessary to provide height. Smaller details such as vents and some mast components are also wood.
  • The other components using laser etch are sheet plastic parts such as superstucture decks and a neat adhesive template for painting the DASH deck markings


Photo Etched Brass (PE)



  • There is a large fret of PE containing small or thin details such as doors, lifelines, inclined and vertical ladders, flight deck nets, and DASH details
  • One unadvertised bonus is that the PE includes the parts to make either the SPS-29 or SPS-40 air search radar antennas. That may not seem like a big deal but they are a visually significant item and since the FRAMs were about evenly divided between having one or the other this allows you to accurately represent any ship in the class.


Miscellaneous Parts


  • There is an assortment of brass tubing and rods, plastic strips, stripwood, a 50-star flag, decals for USS Gearing and some rigging thread



Bottom line: No complaints or problems with the kit contents, it looks like it provides everything needed for a nice display model except paint, glue, tools and mounting hardware


My next post will deal with starting to sand the hull. It may be a few days since it’s too cold to work out in my garage. 

Edited by schooner
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Nick and S.os,

Thanks for the replies. I thought this would be a good subject for a build log since there are few "metal" ships included or solid - hull kits. The main reason I'm doing the log is to help keep myself on task since it will be very easy to be distracted as the trout streams around here start to warm up.


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The instruction books starts off with a cautionary note that due to varying manufacturing and environmental conditions the plans may differ in size from the Mylar masters they were made from. Several reference measurements from the bow to key items like the gun mounts and the front of the superstructure are provided in case there is some discrepancy. The length of the hull on the plans should be 24 7/16”. My plans measured out only 1/32” over. Since that is well within my personal margin of error resulting from clumsy fingers, aging eyes and poor technique I think I am good to go.


After mounting a temporary vise block to the keel, the hull is ready to mark up. The next 2 photos show the machining plugs on the bow and stern that will have to be removed.



Once the deck has been sanded smooth the centerline is measured and marked.


Using the centerline as a guide, the deck template is laid along it and the outline of the deck edges are marked and the locations (stations) for checking the hull shape using templates. (Sorry but the pencil marks don’t show up very well on deck against the dark grey primer I used to check for rough spots). I told you earlier that the rough hull comes out of the box very close to its’ final dimensions. Using the deck profile template as a guide it looks as if no more than 1/16” will have to be removed from some areas of the sides, in some areas virtually none will have to come off.



Finally the hull template station marks are extended down the sides of the hull. As the hull is shaped they will be sanded off and will have to be reapplied several times.


Now the hull is ready for shaping. The bow and stern plugs will be removed first, then the sides will be sanded to match the deck edge profile. After that is done the vise block will be unscrewed from the keel, the hull inverted and the vice block attached to the deck. The shaping of the hull will continue using the templates.

Edited by schooner
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Thanks Patrick, glad to have you aboard.


Congratulations on your Niagara, she is the best I've seen. You did a spectacular job on the woodwork, painting and rigging - first class all around!

The Niagara kit is one I've been mulling over for a long time, seeing what you have done with it may push me over the edge.


If you haven't already, you might enjoy looking up the history of what O.H. Perry had to do to build the Niagara and the rest of his squadron. It's amazing what they were able to accomplish in such a short time, given that every nail, rope, cannon (and flag) had to be dragged across hundreds of miles of roadless wilderness. It was just as hard, if not worse, for the Brits on the other side of the lake. Of course the price paid for building with green wood in a hurry was that all of the ships were rotted wrecks within 2 or 3 years of the battle, but they had served their purpose by that point.

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Shaping the hull using mainly sandpaper and occasionally files, and very occasionally a Dremel is for me the most tedious part of the build.


Having removed the machining plugs on the bow and stern and marked the hull with the template stations, the hull is now ready for shaping.


I started out by bring the bow into its proper profile, as viewed from the side, mainly using files, and verified by a laser-cut template provide in the kit. The gap at the bottom of the template is not a problem, the same gap appears when the template is layed on the plans so the height of the bow is OK.


After that I started working my way aft checking 2 or 3 stations at a time to see where the wood needed to be removed and then sand, sand and sand some more. If you have never worked on a solid hull my recommendations are:

  • Always use a sanding block, freehand doesn’t give you the control you need and it’s really tough on your hands
  • Use long strokes in a fore and aft direction, that will help keep the hull lines fair between the stations
  • Alternate your sanding on the port and stbd sides, don’t try to do one side then the other
  • Be careful near the deck edge, you want to keep a sharp edge (another reason for using a sanding block)
  • Avoid power tools except where you can easily tell what needs to be removed, in this case I only used a Dremel to remove the machining plugs. Power tools can quickly remove too much material and lead to an uneven, wavy surface. Also resist the temptation to use sandpaper any rougher than about 100 or 110, sure it will go faster but it may go too fast, and ending up taking off more than you want
  • Keep checking your progress using the templates, check both sides and 1 or 2 stations “further down the line” in the direction you are working. The hull doesn’t make any radical changes in shape between stations so you need to keep cognizant of how it will change as you progress
  • If you need to impart a curved surface into the hull, like I did to give the bow some flair, and some slight concave areas above the screws, then wrapping the sandpaper around a round object of the appropriate radius will do the trick.
  • Take your time. I find this kind of work mind-numbing so I only do it for 10 or 15 minutes at a time or I get sloppy


Since the furthest forward template station is a few scale feet aft bow, there is no indication on the plans of just how narrow the cutwater should be. I found some photos online, like the one below, that indicated the bow was rounded right under the forward-most enclosed chock (the “Bullnose”) but then narrowed to a knife edge just 2 or so feet below



A few words about the wood, I'm 99% sure it is Basswood. It sands easily but keeps a sharp edge where needed, it doesn't produce any "fuzz" so I didn't need to use any sanding sealer or wood hardener and it seems free of any oil so it takes spray primer well.


After about 5 hours of sanding spread over 3 days the hull is now in its final shape. Next step will be to give it a fine sanding using 400 grit sandpaper, then prime it to highlight any rough or uneven spots, sand or apply filler as needed and then repeat the whole process until the hull looks like metal rather than wood.



Edited by schooner
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Took a break earlier this week to go out to the National Archives facility in College Park, MD in order to look at the plans for the Basilone. It was well worth the trip because the Basilone had several differences from the Gearing and the plans at the NA are more detailed than what I got from the Floating Drydock.


Anyone who is thinking of building a model of a post-1880 USN ship and lives within comfortable driving distance of Washington DC may want to think about taking a trip out there. They do have more rules and procedures than the TSA but they are all laid out on their website – as long as you know what to expect it’s no big hassle. They do have a search function on their website that will tell you what they have available on your ship.


Another modeler who built this kit ordered the plans from the NA but the cost was several hundred dollars. If you go there they will print them out for you on paper there but it is still $3.50 per linear foot, given that each sheet of plans is about  5 ft long that is still pretty pricey. They will digitize the plans on a CD for you for about $3 per sheet. Since I only needed 4 that was about $11. I then took the CD to a local blueprint service who printed them out for me for $10. So for about 20 bucks I now have clear, detailed plans to support my build.




After shaping the hull I finally was able to stop doing subtraction and begin to do addition.


The first thing to add was the skeg. After marking the location on the hull,  some burr head fittings in my Dremel made quick work of excavating a trench for the skeg to sit in.



The rudders are made up of 2 pieces of laser cut wood.  After joining them they are sanded to an airfoil shape.


The joint between them should be maintained and not filled in or covered with too much paint because it represents the junction between the fixed and moving parts of the rudder and is visually prominent.


I dry fit the rudders to the hull to use as a reference point for placing the propeller shafts.



Next step will be fitting the bilge keels.

Edited by schooner
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The bilge keels’ location is marked on the hull and a 1/16” wide by 1/16” deep slot is carved using a hobby knife and a file.


The keels themselves are fabricated from stripwood, tapered at each end and sanded to a knifedge on the outer edge. After a lot of adjustments the keels fit into their slots. The bilge keels’ function is to help reduce rolling in a beam sea and provide stability during turns.




Next up will be fitting the struts and, temporarily, the props

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The prop blades are made up of PE brass, the hubs, collars struts and shaft bosses are cast Britannia.


The instructions call for making the props quite a ways further down the road but I’m doing them now to prevent a potential problem that I will explain in a bit. The prop parts fit together well. Twisting the blades to provide a right and left hand prop is easy enough but giving the blades the proper pitch (curl) is a little more tricky. Fortunately I have a set of four metal forming pliers that I got from Micro-Mark, one of which made this step easy.


After marking the axis’ of the shafts, checking them against the rudder post locations, and marking the locations for the struts slots are cut for each strut.


The shaft bosses (the shaft tube where it penetrates the hull) now have to be fitted so that they mate with the shafts, keep the shafts at the right angle, and most importantly – maintain their axis parallel with the axis of the struts so there are no “bends” in the shafts. By a combination of filing on the boss bases and getting them lower to the hull by removing some wood below them everything finally lines up.


When planning this section I had to stop and think “How can I possibly screw this up?” The worst scenario would be to get ready to add the props right at the end of the whole build and find they didn’t fit – that’s why I made them up now. The final check before everything is glued in place is to dry fit everything to make sure that the screws have adequate clearance longitudinally to the rudders and vertically to the hull.


After gluing the bosses and shafts in place strip plastic is cut to size to make up the inner shaft struts. I gave everything a preliminary coat of red so that when I get around to spraying the hull underbody I won’t have to try to reach the back sides of this stuff.




The props will be removed and stored in a safe place until they are added just prior to casing the model. They are very fragile and would be easy to damage during the build if left on the model.


Next up will be building the sonar dome.

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Thanks Patrick and Scott for the kind words.


Patrick – if you like that poster there are a million more at www.despair.com

Having spent too much time in offices and conference rooms where those “motivational” posters abound, finding that website helped me suppress the gag reflex everytime I saw one.

Edited by schooner
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Sonar Dome


This is an easy part – adding the sonar dome.


The Basilone carried an SQS-23 sonar which was a big improvement for its time. It was the first sonar with a rubber window in the dome and was supposed to be able to bounce active transmissions off the ocean bottom, although conditions for that to be able to work were very rare. When I served on ships with later, more powerful sonars we called to the SQS-23 the “Helen Keller sonar” although to be honest, compared to submarine sonars ours wasn’t much better.


The dome comes in 3 laser cut parts, the hollow piece goes against the hull. It’s hollow to reduce the amount of surface area that must be sanded to conform to the hull.


After stacking them and gluing them together they are placed on a piece of sandpaper taped over the hull where the dome will fit and its easy to sand it to fit.


After that the dome bottom is rounded and then it is glued to the hull. When the hull underbody is painted red later most of the dome will be painted black to simulate the rubber window.



Now that this is done I can remove the vise block, turn the hull right side up, attach it to a building board and start working on things that are not almost "out of sight - out of mind" like all this underwater stuff is.


That’s enough for now – time to go see if the trout are biting.

Edited by schooner
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Don, thanks for the pix!! That is a gorgeous build, way beyond what I could do. I was particularly impressed with you sheet brass work, your scratch inclined ladders and your radar antennas. Your album virtuosity is also clever, I really enjoyed just sitting back and watching the slide show of the build pix


Thanks again

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Anchor Hawses


The first topside job is to fit the anchor hawse pipes. The hawses consist of 2 pieces pf Britannia cast metal; the hawse lips, which are the portion on the outside of the hull, and the hawse pipes, which are on the main deck. Don’t get too aggressive when filing off flash from the hawse pipes – the upright pin on them should remain, it’s called the bolster or bitt.


The hawse lips are oblong and one end is thicker than the other. The thicker end is placed on the bottom and, although the plans don’t show it very clearly, the lips are glued on at a 45-degree angle, which matches the angle that the anchor will rest on them when it is housed. This picture shows what I mean, in addition to showing a disillusioned young man in the process of discovering that the Navy’s recruiting slogan “Navy: It’s not just a job it’s and adventure!” isn’t always true – sometimes it’s just a job. Note also the holes in the anchor flukes – I’ll be adding those to the kit anchors, not in some OCD lust for detail (that will come later) but because they will be used to tie off the anchor bouy for each anchor.



The hawse pipe locations are marked on the deck (using a copy of the deck plan and some pinpricks into the deck) and a 1/16” hole is drilled down and angled toward the hawse lips (don’t go too far).



Then the drill bit is placed in the hawse lips and drilled up toward the deck until in intersects the 1st hole drilled. A rat tail file is used to enlarge this hole to correspond with the size of the lips.


The anchors come with long stocks.


It is really hard to fit them so that they poke up thru the hawse pipe – I’m not going to do that since on a real ship they are barely visible in the hawse and I don’t want to have to attach a shackle on the end. I’ll just put the end of the anchor chain down the hawse pipe and trim off some of the anchor stock. Here are my modified anchors with the stocks trimmed and bent to fit (the stocks on real anchors of this type pivot at their base) and the holes drilled.


And the anchors dry fitted. I’ll leave them off until later because it is too easy to damage them while handling the hull. 


Edited by schooner
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The instructions call for drilling some locating holes for the 5” gun mounts, davits and some of the superstructure overhang supports. The plans clearly show 7 supports on the starboard side but those are not the ones that need to be addressed now. The ones that the instructions refer to are another set of 7 further forward. They are shown on the plans but are not labeled. The set on the port side will be a mirror image. Unlike the supports further aft these will rest 1/8” inboard of the deck edge, far enough in so that the lifelines will run outboard of them. They are not evenly spaced so consult the plans. Here is a pix of the plans where I annotated the supports, I also included “nr 8” even though it is not mentioned in the instructions it is shown on the plans and in photos of many Gearings. The nr 8 support is different from the others in that it does not extend down to the deck but connects with the bulwark below it.


Here’s what the supports look like on the USS Joseph P Kennedy, jr, she does not have the support nr 8 I mentioned because her bulwark design is different.


While this may be minutia (but then what isn’t when it comes to ship modeling?), this photo from the JPK show that the 2 supports that have the “X” crosspiece between them have their upper ends resting about a foot further inboard than the others. I’ve seen the same on other FRAM pixs also so I’ll try to incorporate that.


The directions call for scratch building a towing padeye per the plans and placing it on the focsle, however the plans don’t show it. Given how small they are I’m not sure putting them on the plans would be much help anyway. I carved one out of wood based on how I remember them looking, and did a second one for the fantail, where it is shown on the Basilone’s plans, since those who would be towed must be ready to tow in turn.


The prop guards are made up of 2 identical pieces of PE that are glued together along the curved surface (only!) and then the “legs” are peeled apart.


The directions call for drilling mounting holes for each leg and that is probably a good idea because that is the most secure way to mount them but in the spirit of making things as hard as possible I decided to simulate the welding pads they used.


I’ll trim the plastic pads after mounting the guards so they hopefully will look something like this:


I’ve started fabricating the big superstructure pieces. Just like the sonar dome they are made up of 3 pieces of laser cut wood, the bottom one being somewhat hollow. The aft structure is almost a rectangle and was easy to sand. The forward one is more complex , I found that sanding sticks and files worked best on that one.




​Note: I'm adding this paragraph and the following picture about 5 months after making this posting. The reason is I discovered an error in the kit and wanted to explain how to fix it for those who might build this kit. The problem is that one of the fan rooms, which are shown as projections on the superstructure piece on the right above, is in the wrong location. Specifically the second one on the port side (counting from the forward end) is about 1/2" too far forward and should be slightly longer. The error is apparent when comparing the part and the kit drawing with the USN blueprints. This is not a major problem (after all I went 5 months without noticing it and only discovered it while planning out the locations for some scratch detailing) so unless you are compulsive about accuracy you could skip this since this area will be behind a breakwater which will help hide it. If you do want to fix it now is the time in the build to do so, it is easier than doing it after the upper deck is attached like I had to do. All you have to do is saw it off with a razor saw and relocate it further aft in accordance with the blueprints. Since I couldn't saw mine I had to sand and chisel it off and then rebuild it using plastic sheet. Here's what the new one looks like before painting:


Next up will be priming and finish sanding the superstructure pieces and then sanding their bottoms to match the main deck.

Edited by schooner
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 I bought this "True Sander" years ago for sanding angles in strip wood for the deck furniture on my first kit. Haven't used it in a long time but it came in handy for sanding the beveled corners of the superstructure. Not sure if they make them anymore. 


Edited by schooner
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Shaping the superstructure


As I mentioned earlier, the superstructure is made up of several sections, each of which is made up of pieces 3 of laser cut wood, topped with a laser cut sheet plastic deck.


The shaping involves sanding their bottoms by placing sandpaper on the main deck so that they match the camber of the deck (minimal) and, more importantly, so that their heights are tapered correctly. The aft section tapers from aft to forward, i.e. the aft end is higher than its’ forward end. When done its’ top deck should be parallel with the keel.

The forward superstructure assembly also tapers from aft to forward but its taper is greater to allow for the shear (rise) of the deck as it approaches the focsle. Wood also has to be removed aft so that its aft end is the same height as the forward end of the aft section. When done its’ top deck should be parallel to the main deck, which in that area is rising. Here’s how mine looks after sanding (gap between sections is exaggerated for clarity, when assembled they will be in contact).


The joint between the two sections should be close, but since there was an expansion joint at that location, covered by a hinged plate, I’ll be covering mine up as well. Here’s what the real thing looks like:


The next section is what the instructions refer to as the bridge, even though “01 level” is probably more appropriate. This section also has to be tapered aft to forward. At this point I departed from the instructions, which call for putting sandpaper on top of the forward superstructure assembly. Since that section has several areas of unsupported plastic sheet decking I was concerned I would get some uneven contact under pressure so I just sanded it on my work bench, putting more pressure on the forward part to impart the taper. The instructions state that up to 1/8” may have to be removed from the front of the bridge section so that its top surface is parallel with the keel (i.e. level), that was a good estimate – after removing 1/8” mine is now level.



Next I’ll be trying a new method (for me) of putting in portholes – one of my consistent problem areas.

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