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1/350 Laffey: The model I couldn't wait to build.

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Guest PetrolGator

The Battle for the Solomons was, in many ways, what finally broke the back of the Japanese navy. Both the USN and IJN were locked in a war of attrition, with the control of the sea lanes often in question.

 

The naval engagements of Guadalcanal took part around Savo island, in what is now known as "Ironbottom Sound" for the sheer amount of rusting wrecks litter its bottom.

 

Many American and Japanese sailors saw their last sun set around this island. Many more spent nights with one eye on the sky and another on the water, fearing attack from human and other aggressors.

The USS Laffey was one of the ships which was lost during an engagement latter described as "a bar room brawl with the lights turned out." Laffey's XO signaled out the largest target he could, the Japanese fast battleship Hiei, approached within twenty feet, and opened fire on her upper works, severely wounding Admiral Abe and killing much of his staff and unleashing torpedoes, though it is unknown if any exploded. Laffey was soon hit by 14" shells, and left in a sinking condition. During the abandon ship, a Long Lance found its mark and detonated her aft magazines, killing many of her crew.

 

Yeah. I love WWII Naval history, in case it doesn't show.

 

At any rate, this is one build I've been itching to start. I finally got the GMM PE set, and well, it's off to the races. The Maryland will be completed once she's done.

 

This build is dedicated to the men who still lay with their ships that went down in that chaotic battle.

 

Midships. The main hull has been primed with Future, but all upperworks are still naked plastic.These hatches are from the fantastic Alliance Modelworks set.

 

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The bridge port holes, along with most of her openings, have been drilled out or deepened. I'll put some clear plastic behind the windows before attachment to simulate glass.

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Bow view. The "seam line" along the deck edge is a rain gutter Dragon was kind enough to include. It makes for easy railing placement. :D

 

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That's all for now. I've built her 20 mm guns from the Model Master PE set. I used the same weapons on the USS England build and well, they're amazing.

 

Comments are welcome.

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Looks great. Drilled out portholes seem to make these models "pop out". Keep up the great work.

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Great looking model build. And such a great subject too. Just finished reading about the naval battles off Guadalcanal and was inspired by the sacrifices made. I had no idea how huge they were. This, along with the battle off Samar is some of the finest action of the USN. I have the Laffey kit too, along with the Gambier Bay. Someday they will get built as tribute to those who didn't return. Till then I get to watch your work! Looking forward to it all.

 

Rick L.

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Thanks. I'm going to shoot some more primer on the superstructure and paint on the hull this evening. I also need to finalize my attack plan on that UGLY seam between her midships deck house and forecastle.

 

I think I'm going to:

1. Paint her hull/midships 5-N and 20-B,

2. Install the anti-skid decals on her stern

3. Glue the offending superstructure to the hull,

4. Fill the seam with a mixture of putty, styrene, and Mr Surfaver

5. Mask around the area

6. Respray the damaged area 20-B again.

7. Complete anti-skid decal work.

 

I can't think of another way to pull this off. I'm also seeing some seams in these pictures I HOPE become less noticeable once I put a layer of primer down.

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Small update. I've taken some pictures of the 20 mm guns, turrets, and range finder. Note that I haven't bent the shoulder rests or the gun sights. I'll do that once it's in place... less change for damage.


Turrets have had some Elmer's like glue added. I've tried to make the layers take on some random rolls to simulate cloth.


Range finder is done.


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In progress update: I've taken the plunge. Hull has been painted in Model Master's 5-N, then lightened along the water line and chipped using the hair spray method to match the last pictures taken of the Laffey when she was loaded with survivors from the sunken USS Wasp.

 

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This will be darkened, to varying degrees, to represent rust and wash. The hull is currently drying from a layer of Future. I'll post final hull pictures tonight, hopefully.

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I think that went well! Sufficiently random in placement and intensity. I like it.

 

Rick L.

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OK. Serious frustration here. I knew the 5-N batch I had been using was rather light, but I didn't realize it was THAT light. I based my assumption on the cybermodeler paint chips that showed that this paint was not THAT off.


Here's the issue:


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That's supposed to be 5-N. It actually faded ON the model. I used the same batch on my Indianapolis and Chevalier and none of it is this bloody light. I mean, 20-B and 5-N should be somewhat close. Some in 1/700 don't even bother painting both on a ship, sticking with 5-N and weathering the deck.


I have a few theories as to the problem.

a) Dilution. For some reason, Master Model's 5-N turns almost 5-O when you dilute it for an air brush. I use distilled water to minimize any sort of reaction with the paint. It always worked with Poly Scale and this stuff's supposed to be idential.

b) Age. I mixed this bottle about two months ago. I shake it vigorously, but perhaps this could simply be an alteration of the pigment after sitting diluted?

c) Primer. I used Mr Surfacer 1200, diluted 50/50 with Mr Thinner. I let this dry some time before painting, again, to minimize reactions.


Now, I have enough "5-N" to finish the model and really do not feel like undoing weeks of work and a weathering job I'm rather proud of. I'm going to finish the ship, and try to chalk it up to fading the S. Pacific sun. I'm reading a book on destroyer actions in the Pacific which notes that the 5-N paint had a horrible tendency to fade, requiring near constant repainting.


When I'm done with this ship, I'm purging my supply. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to avoid this, outside of darkening the stuff to bring it back up to snuff? I can do that, as long as I don't have to remix a blend in the middle of a build. Also, anyone know WHY this happened?


Oh, and here's another milestone. The mast is done, outside of the uppermost ladder coming loose where I glued it up top. You can see how its not quite parallel to the mast. Easy fix. Photo etch comes from the excellent GMM set and Alliance Modelworks USN radars.


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More progress. I've finished the first layer (read: needs touch up, washes) of paint on the main superstructure. I am really impressed with how the main mast looks topped with that Alliance Modelworks SC radar. If you have a USN subject in 1/350, you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not picking up a fret of this.


Next step: I need to finish details on the midships superstructure, glue it down, then fix that horrible seam between it and the raise forecastle.


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Overall, I'm happy with the paint.


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I've started to dirty up the ship. Most of the upperworks have received a wash, with the tunnels and rearmost deckhouse being the exceptions. These will be done tomorrow.

 

I've notices some brass poking out here and there which I'll deal with tomorrow. Overall, it's looking used and dirty just like a destroyer should!

 

I'm debating adding some L'Arsenal figures. I guess my desire will to do this will depend on time.

 

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I've continued refining the paint on her main superstructure. So far, I've also attached three three main deckhouses to the ship. The aft superstructure will need a little filler and paint work, as the glue discolored some of the finish during curing. Thankfully, it's nothing terribly bothersome to deal with.


I'll focus on attaching smaller deck items this week and also finish up the anti-skid pads.


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You can see the "white" streaks at the bottom. Easy fix, for the most part.


I always appreciate feedback, especially of the negative or critical sort.

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It may be a few days before I submit some more pictures since I'm adding a LOT of small pieces, decals, etc that don't show up that well, but are very time consuming.

 

In the mean time, I have to ways I've debated displaying this:

 

1) On pedestals, as usual. For added appeal, I'm in the process of colorizing a reference picture showing Laffey shortly before her loss. It will be added to the base.

 

2) In the water, plowing into waves.

 

Opinions?

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I think ships always look best displayed on an ocean base. Not that I don't like the pedestal thing I just prefer "live action".

 

i wish my Fletcher looked that good.

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I love this part of a build. I'm adding small deck fittings and with this being a Dragon kit, it's taking bloody forever. Still, pretty happy with the results. She's getting there. I'll add some railing, then start gluing down a lot of the superstructure.


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Every time I look back at this build, I see more issues. Having my paint issue with the two different 5-N really kills this build for me. I'm going to try to cover up the shade difference (see supports for the gun tubs on the midships superstructure) but I don't think this'll be entered in any contests.

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It looks fine to me. I wouldn't let the paint shades bother me too much. It was wartime and they had to do touch ups at some point. It's all good. :smiley16:

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I DID fix a lot of the larger issues I didn't like, then dry brushed a wee bit to lighten it... worked well. I added a few bits here and there, but haven't gone too far. I'm still undecided if I'm going to waterline her or display her in all her glory. I'm brain storming ways to show her in heavy seas so you can actually see some of her hull.

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Perhaps she should be bow-on into a 50-foot rogue wave with part of the forward keel showing through the back side of the wave--a nice challenge to model.

 

Ed

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Ed,

 

That would be awesome, if I could pull it off. I'm still debating either way. I've added some more fiddy bits (300 lb depth charges, some navigator gear...) I also pulled off the rear deckhouse as it was crooked.

 

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Opinions are always welcome and appreciated.

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That PE mast is awesome!

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Thanks, Dick.

 

I'm going by Hobby Lobby after work to pick up some foam board for a sea scape. I've got an extra Laffey hull for the dimensions, and will form the waves around it. Ideally, this will give me the ability to simultaneously work on THIS ship. It should be a good building weekend, seeing as I'm (a) sick and (b) dealing with a massive weekend drenching storm system.

 

Ideas for thought:

1) I'm going to dull coat the entire model, once it's done. I'll then apply some Future along the waterline to "wet" where waves have hit the hull, with the same being carried on the fo'c'sle.

2) I have this white glue that dries crystal clear. I'll use that to add some water "pooling" along the bow. This will be supplemented with painted and clear acrylic gel to build waves along the hull.

 

The plan is to have her fighting heavier seas. If executed correctly, it should be a good build.

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...railing and working on the water base...


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The base is in the REAL early stages. I'm going to paint it dark blue and use a layer of clear acrylic base to smooth it out. That'll be glossed and waves will be built up on it. We'll see how it turns out.

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Here's what I have after the first layer of Vallejo's water effects. I'm going to place USS Canvas in saran wrap and place her into the gap. I'll build up some of the surrounding wake lines, then paint the whole shebang a deeper blue. Once that's done, USS Canvas will be extracted and I'll begin preparations to entomb the Laffey in her water base. I'll use more layers of acrylic gel to seal her, then carefully paint it. Once the water is almost fully painted (minus spray), I'll Future the hell of out the water and along the waterline to make her hull look more "wet."


...at least that's how I envision it. :thumbs_up_1:


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Well, the ship itself is about 90% done. I'm going to secure it in the water base once I touch up paint in areas that were stripped while installing the railing.

 

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All for tonight. I'll finish up the photo etch and set her in the seascape tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll start painting it as well.

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