Jump to content

USS Iowa by channell - Trumpeter - PLASTIC - 1/200 superdetail build

Recommended Posts

My latest project is the Trumpeter 1/200 USS Iowa, without a doubt my all-time most favorite ship, and FINALLY a ship that I've actually had the opportunity to see in full scale.


It was quite the emotional experience for me to board the Iowa; without getting too wierd and spooky I'll just say there's A LOT of "energy" on that boat. I honestly felt like I've been there before too... maybe it's all in my head but the impressions I felt that day have stuck with me. Anyway, back to models...


First off, this model is HUGE, even by my standards. There is a wealth of aftermarket details available and huge amounts of potential.  Much has been said about Trumpeter's innacuraces and I intend to remedy them all!


I started a USS Missouri last year but I waterlined it and didn't care for the results so I set it aside. Oh well, but that also means I've got a head start on AA guns for the Iowa:














The quad 40mm bofors are from Veteran Model and are absolute jewels and models of their own; each gun is about 30-40 parts and takes me about 2-3 hours to build. The 20mm oerlikons are from Pontos. I'll have to modify the 20mm shields for the iowa but it shouldn't be too hard to do.


The single greatest accuracy error of the Trumpeter kit is the shape of the hull around the stern. It is off so badly that the only good solution is to get rid of the offending section and rebuild it from scratch... so that's what I'm doing.








Who says you have to choose between wood and plastic? :piratetongueor4: 


I'm planking it now; after that I will cover the planking with auto body putty and smooth it out for a (hopefully) flawless stern.


More to come, thanks for looking!

Edited by channell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good to hear from you too, Kevin!


My Bismarcks are shelved for now... I've been trying to accurize the hull on the second Bismarck but have done and re-done it so much that I'm getting frustrated and need to put it away for a bit. I just don't have good resources (i.e. accurate plans)  to pull it off to my satisfaction and I don't want to settle for a simplified bottom. Anyway, it doesn't count as starting construction if you can still put everything back in the box, right? :P


As for a diorama wreck... yea, I still want to do that and will someday. I never even started or made serious plans but man, would that be something if done well! Bismarck #1 is tentatively earmarked for that future project.


So, for now it's the USS Iowa and a 1/72 IXC U-boat that I'm doing on the side. :cheers:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do all the portholes need redoing again as per Bismarck


The portholes are mostly all good and round. This time Trumpeter molded the angled bulkheads seperately, so there are only a couple portholes on curved bulkheads behind a few of the secondary turrets that need replacement. The others can be ground out from behind to get the same effect as replacing them like I did on the Bismarck.


I got the KA detail set for this kit; it has circular PE pieces for the portholes that I plan to use to recreate this:




... so I'll still have my hands full on them.

Edited by channell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, here's the result of this week's efforts... it's  very much a work in progress so pardon my dust!:






There's still a ways to go but so far, so good. I was running low on extra planks and didn't have anything the proper thickness for the flat portion of the hull so I skipped it until I can make a hobby shop run and jumped right into the body putty. I also grafted the kit skeg ends on rather than remaking them entirely. If nothing else, it's a big improvement over the kit.

The bow and forward deck piece are just taped on for now; I also opened up all the deck hatches though I haven't decided whether I should display them like that. Even if they are displayed closed, it wasn't entirely wasted effort as the molded hatches were raised slightly and make the PE hatch covers look slightly wonky. I also cut the anchor capstan bases out of the deck; I'm gonna clean them up, patch the hole and reset them level to the add-on wooden deck.



As always, comments, criticisms, musing and banter are welcome! 

Edited by channell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Amazing Boffers. I'm kind of critical of those having fired thousands of rounds through twins and singles. The cooling system on your quad 40's are realeastic, water jackets on the barrel, hoses, water tanks and pumps on the rear of the mount are all there. The only thing I see missing are the flack jackets over the vents on the water tank and the fire hose there to add water as it boils out of that tank. Kind of stays in your mind after a whole gun crrew getting scalded from the boiling water in those tanks. A large scale model of those guns would make a worthy project.


Edited by jud
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yea, I can't say enought about these Bofor kits. Putting them together is like gluing legs on an ant but man are they gorgeous!


Here's how they come "in the raw", including vs pics with the standard Trumpeter kit bofors:












...And with an assembled Trumpeter quad:





Edited by channell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I've come a ways on the hull, I've even got some weird spinny things under the waterline :P along with the rudders and a hull that might possibly hold water now...










I've also been putting a lot of work into the forward half of the ship...I've been checking dimensional accuracy with reverse hull cross-sections and doing A LOT  of sanding as a result.








Anyways, I've almost exorcized this hull of Trumpeter's demons and am excited to get into topside detail.


Merry Christmas everyone!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fantastic job on the hull Channell. What a difference it makes!!

I am with you on this: it would have been impossible to live with a model with so many imperfections out of the box.


I wonder why Trumpeter is so wrong sometimes..... Maybe they only care about "time to market"....

I wonder if their upcoming Nelson will be worth anything.


Happy Holidays.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure they are watching and learning... quite a few problems from the Bismarck's moldings were resolved for the Iowas like the warped portholes so they are getting better. Also, most everything above the waterline seems fairly decent, although lots of it is recycled from the Missouri kit and doesn't account for many small differences between the ships.  The kit was fairly "modification-friendly" too.


As for why they do it,  I can only guess. I can't imagine they didn't have any resources; the plans I used only cost me 30 bucks and it wouldn't have taken any longer to do it right in CAD rather than designing the tanker stern found on the kit.. Maybe the correct shape is too complex and/or expensive to mold well at this scale and still turn a buck?


It will be interesting to see how the do the Nelson... that's one I wanna tackle in the future too...

Edited by channell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

It's ALIVE! I've finally finished my hull after going all Frankenstein on it, and I think it went pretty well...


Here's a display pic of the unaltered kit... it's been much criticized in steel navy circles for completely ignoring the real ship's lines below the waterline:




And my interpretation, based on hull plans and hours of internet/book photo ogling of the 4 Iowas:








The stern is the most shocking difference but the bow was wrong on the kit too and I've put A LOT of work into getting the right shape and blending it into the existing kit so the whole think looks like it came out of the box that way.




I've been working on the anchor + hawsepipes too; in stock form you can't even put the anchor in the hawse without breaking the anchor in half  and you can see straight through from side to side. Needless to say, that just won't do... so I packed the inside of the bow tip with squadron putty and ground out new interior pipes at their proper angles.




It may just be in my head but now it's finally looking like a massive almost 900 foot long battleship hull that was build for speed instead of a Chinese toy boat! :P


And next to my new Bismarck, also under construction and at the tail end of  a similar hull accurization treatment: (yes, I am certifiably crazy! :piratetongueor4: )





Edited by channell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fantastic work on the hull. Trumpeter should use your model to cast their corrected hull, if they ever correct it.....




I don't understand that company... they are always so "hit and miss"... and not just between kits, but between different aspects of a single kit. The superstructures of their 1/200 ships are generally spot-on with crisp edges, good detail. Their kit engineering is great and fit good too.


But it seems like they get down to the waterline and their designers think:  "*k it", and take 10 minutes to CAD in an amorphous blob that fits within the basic broadside and amidships cross-sections but is otherwise totally made up.


Maddening, really.... but who else is putting an otherwise beautiful 4.5 foot long Iowa kit on the market? Anyway, I doubt the folks at Trumpeter even care, as EVERY ONE of their 1/200 ships have suffered the same issues with the underwater part of the ship.

Edited by channell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent work Channell.  I cannot understand how Trumpeter can put out such well engineered kits with such glaring hull deformations.  I always been wanting to build their 1/350 Hornet kit, because from the flight deck up, its fabulous, but then they put it on a hull with a bow that looks like they pulled it off a freighter.  I guess this is where the modeling skills really come into play.  Cut the bow and stern off and scratchbuild. 


Ken, I agree, too many subcommittees, somehow, maybe someone mixed the CAD model from the Bismark in with the Missouri.  Maybe the same with the Liberty Ship and Hornet.  Hey, it looks like a boat, who would notice?

Edited by ScottRC
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it has to do with the cost of molds.  The company I worked for does injection molding  and it costs plenty to have them made.  I have a feeling that Trumpeter is trying to save money by using a generic mold.  By using that mold on several kits they are saving a ton.  The odds are their way of thinking is that most of the people who buy there kits are more interested in everything above the waterline and not the hull.

David B

Edited by dgbot
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it has to do with the cost of molds.  The company I worked for does injection molding  and it costs plenty to have them made.  I have a feeling that Trumpeter is trying to save money by using a generic mold.  By using that mold on several kits they are saving a ton.  The odds are their way of thinking is that most of the people who buy there kits are more interested in everything above the waterline and not the hull.

David B


Well, none of their ships use the same mold (except the Missouri and Iowa, which had identically shaped hulls anyway) but I have wondered if simple economics are the reason too. Maybe the correct shape presents problems in molding, or maybe they save some tiny amount of money per hull to do it like they do vs the correct shape which ads up in the long run. Then again, maybe they just don't have talented enough employees... afer all, it's a lot easier to make a superstructure from plans than it is to catch the complex curvature of a hull.


You'd think after a quick stroll through online model forums that it would quickly become obvious there is a legion of angry global rivet counters with caliipers  ready to pounce on every new release so any gross errors in accuracy aren't gonna stay hidden for long.


Then again, maybe someone REALLY wants me to become a scratchbuilder instead and slowly pusing me that way by selling me inaccurate kit hulls! I owe it to Trumpeter for pushing me out of my comfort zone and into the realm of scratchbuilding... I'm almost feeling ready and confident to do hulls entirely on my own now. :cheers:

Edited by channell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

Im gonna buy this kit, any recommendations for how to make the ship look better and get brass props on whitout redoing the whole aft of the ship?


I'd recommend you live with the kit stern... it's not accurate but it dosen't necesssarily look bad as a display piece. You can buy aftermarket brass props for about 30.00 or so... I bought the G Factor props and reworked them but I probably should have saved my money and worked with the kit props as the G Factor stuff was poorly cast and didn't look any better "out of the bag".


Otherwise, Pontos and KA make nice detail sets but you'd better save your pennies as they cost just as much as the kit. 84 bucks gets you about 1/3 of the way there...


It's easy to get yourself sucked into aftermarket heaven and bled dry on these things... consider doing an "out of the box" build as the kit photoetch is pretty dang good all things considered. Good luck with your Iowa!

Edited by channell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
  • 3 years later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...