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1/700 Orange Hobby Graf Zeppelin

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Guest PetrolGator

Pulled from the Group Builds. I'm flying solo.


Guys, I've decided to start this as it's gonna turn into a long term project. I also hope some building on this may get some of you all to jump in.

I wanted to win "Best Ship" in an IPMS contest. I, uh, succeeded and took home the "Best of Show" at the Lafayette show. I'm honestly stunned on that one. My next goal is to take a "theme" award. We have a contest in January with a "what if" theme which interests me. With that in mind, I'm going to take a stab at resin and build Orange Hobby's Graf Zeppelin, ideally in a nice dazzle or disruptive camouflage.
I'm also planning on scratching some little Fl-282s or an Fa-223. I figure the Zepplin's intended use was recon and commerce raiding, so why not fit her with some choppers? I can imagine them being rather useful in locating, tracking, and potentially attack convoys. I'll need some help making the masters for these (if I do both.)
At any rate, this is my first resin kit. I've absorbed all the advice and tutorials I can, cleaned the resin, and began the build.
I'm playing with the dry fit. All the major sections fit beautifully. This is truly a lovely kit.
Currently, I've cleaned the hull and began filling any casting errors. There aren't many. I've also started fitting a few of the platforms along the side of the hull. Most have gone on easily after some sanding. I got a little overzealous and removed a little bit too much on the aft most platform I've installed, but it'll clean up with some putty.
At least it's straight?
Gaps here are minimal and will easily be solved with dilute putty or Mr Surfacer.
Orange Hobby PE feels VERY stiff, but with delicate lattice structures, I like it. I just hope it isn't brittle like some of the Eduard stuff I've used.
I plan to build the PE supports on to the bottom of the forward and aft flight deck projections. I think that will ease overall construction and painting.
Resin is certainly interesting. The plan is to prime her with Mr. Resin, fit her on a sea base and MAYBE display her refueling a Zerstroyer.
Time will tell if I want to take it that far.

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Guest PetrolGator
Alright, a few observations from a newbie in resin:

- This stuff sands quick. (Yes, I'm using a respirator.)

- Fit, even on a good resin kit can be difficult (see below)

- Holy heck CA glue sets quick.

I'm currently adding small deck assembles to the hull and test fitting/building smaller sub assemblies where I can. The aft overhand of the flight deck doesn't quite mate with the hull. It leaves a gap. I will have to fill this thoroughly with thinned putty or CA glue. It's hidden under an overhand, but I hate even knowing it's there.

Note that Orange Hobby actually pre-drilled the holes for your casemate barrels. Nice touch.

Here's where I stand:


Nice gaps, gun. I'll set this as level as possible and gap fill like crazy.


Orange Hobby PE is VERY nice. It's stiff, but not difficult, well, minus that curved bit at the end. It feels like foil, twists like foil, but did not seem to want to shape as easily as foil. Pain in the butt.


Quick view of the topside details. And the carpet. Hi, carpet. No, you may not have and PE.

All for now. With all the stuff going on in the next few weeks, this will be a SLOW build.

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Guest PetrolGator
Small update. I'm going out of town for the weekend, so it'll be a while until I get to work on the GZ again.

The biggest issue I've seen are the gaps. They're not TERRIBLE, but will require a bit of work. I thinned some Tamiya putty down and applied it in layers. There's... still more filling to do. Bubbles-wise, she's pretty solid. There's also no sign of warping.

While waiting, I built all the casemate guns:


Sorry for the blur. Stupid phone. The pre-drilled holes are NICE.

I also built a single heavy AA gun. You have to carefully drill the holes for the barrels, but it's not too bad, being resin.


In place:


Here's where she is. Sorry, again, about the blur. Note the gap on the aft flight deck. That's gonna be fun.




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Thank you! The guns have been revised. Orange Hobby's instructions were off. I also had to attack the guns themselves to the photo etch covering to get them to sit right. It wasn't hard and they look fantastic.

I've dry fit the monster again. The AA guns fit into their slots like an injection kit. It's bloody impressive.


I've almost finished work on the forward flight deck overhang's PE support, with only some horizontal supports missing. Work has also been done on the top of this part. The biggest issue here are the missing boxes (ammo crates?) at the edge of the flight deck. These broke in transit, though I think I can fabricate some pretty easily.



I've also been filling the seams left by the AA gun tubs with thinned Tamiya filler. They're about ready for a first layer of primer.


Finally, here's a sneak peek at a little bit of fun I'll have in a few weeks. I'm still unsure if I'm going to go through the trouble of extending her bow, even if it is more accurate... unsure if my skill set is up to the task:


Also - Any advice on how to paint her flight deck would be most welcome. The Graf Zeppelin will be painted in some sort of camouflage (undecided) but the deck should be left in some form of naked teak, right? Tips on achieving something realistic in 700 are appreciated.

All for now. I'm out of town in Chicago this weekend and have a marathon the following. There won't be much building. :smiley5:

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I spent all weekend in Chicago at a wedding, so little has been done. I've spent MOST of my time casually sanding and filling, hoping I may actually get those @(%% seams filled along the flight deck. I guess I'll just be using more putty and Mr Surfacer...

Also: The main mast is mostly done. Fitting it for the picture resulted in one of the radars being knocked off, but it'll be an easy fix. I'm probably going to replace one of the smaller masts with brass as it is thin and fragile.

Hangers have been aligned and glued on. I've also finished the PE for the take off platform.




All for now. Perhaps, with this incoming weather system expected next weekend, I'll get done more than expected. I've love to prime her and get her ready for the paint bit of paint.

I just noticed that the little twin platform was crooked.... just remedied it with some creative and careful bending.

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Guest PetrolGator

This is a SLOW build. Resin is special. I've been watching some YouTube videos on construction and the safety issues have me a bit spooked, especially with lung issues fairly common in my family. Additionally, carrier just aren't my thing.


I'm still plugging along, slowly. I feel like major construction is winding down (finished the tiny crane) and the main hull needs to begin taking some paint in order to proceed.


I've got a few options on what to paint her.


1) Boring Grey.


2) This (Tirpitz type): zeppelin021.jpg


3) This: DKM4.jpg


4) Bismarck style. See the heavy cruiser in the background in the first picture.


Regardless, I'm using a filter to blend the cammo together. I want it to look dark, gritty, and realistic. This ship would have operated at sea for a long time and in a place where her paint would have been beaten and faded. I will also neglect the targets Swastikas, as one, I hate them, and two, they'd rather stick out to airborne attack. See the meatballs on the IJN carriers @ Midway.


Opinions on paint are appreciated.

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Portholes! Is that thing a carrier or a cruise ship? :smiley24:


Well done. Once again!


Rick L.


ps. I vote for Tirpitz style camo.

Edited by Spruemeister

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Guest PetrolGator

Good question. I've seriously considered shoring some of them up. Still, the Germans appeared to be fond of them and it adds a certain... charm.


Did I mention I hate how this ship was engineered? Seriously. I don't know what the Germans were bloody smoking when they designed her.


Running list of awful ideas:

  • Launch catapults requiring aircraft to be mounted on a cradle.
  • Heavy weapons at the waterline
  • Pitiful AA
  • Low island with little spotting ability
  • Portholes that would... inconvenience... damage control
  • Land based aircraft that were made heavier to operate at sea
  • Compartmentalization from a battleship that heavily limited her airwing.
  • AVGAS lines could not be drained.
  • Hanger had side armor making a bomb hit from above potentially catastrophic as there was no ability to ventilate the explosion except up and down into the machinery spaces.


Effectively, Graf Zeppelin was an aircraft carrying ship with surface engagement capabilities that was supposed to scout and engage convoy transports and escorts and potentially transform into a giant battling robot with a sword.


Somehow, for some reason, I just love this ship for it's oddball design.

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Guest PetrolGator

So, I'm going with option two. I'll be priming the hull tomorrow, and assuming that there aren't any annoying seams, I'll start painting the flight deck.


I'll be posting a LOT of pictures of the teak deck and what I'm going in case it turns out awesome. I know there are a lot of guys (like myself) who really are clueless when painting these decks. Hopefully, I'll even get to the main hull!

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I'm using the Mr. Resin Primer at about 30/70 to Mr Thinner. It sprays well, dries quickly, and fills shallow seams like a champ. There are a FEW small areas, but I can work them into the weathering fairly easily.

I have a few areas of concern with this model which anyone should consider before building her:

- Forward and aft flight deck extensions have some ugly gaps associated with them and a ton of fragile PE around them. The well decks also must be mostly built and painted to ensure that all the detail is in place. I'm still working out how to do this in a way to minimize potential damage. I despise seams, so I cannot just slam them on and move on.

- She's got openings on her hull suggesting hatches. These are really not mentioned in the instructions and Orange Hobby does not supply enough doors to cover them. I used what I could and dug into the stash.

- PE is rigid and the railing can be difficult to bend and has a lower ductility than I'm used to. You need to be firm, but careful.

- Kit is highly detailed. Painting will require patience... lots of patience.

- Aircraft have the most bubbles of any parts. Care must be taken to fill them and not damage the extensive detailing.

This is a NICE kit. I want to make sure that is clear. The engineering of the Graf Zeppelin herself plays into the worst of these problems. The others will be dealt with using some pre-painting of the well decks and hand brushing to repair any issues caused by hand painting. I may disguise the worst of the seams with a thin piece of styrene. Filling and sanding risks major damage to the support structure aft.

Sorry for the word heavy post. Here's the camouflage I've decided on:



I wish I knew who built her.

To summarize, my next operations will be as follows:

1) Pre paint well decks once all the unavoidable detail is added.

2) Attach flying off platforms and any parts associate with the wood deck.

3) Fill seams and/or cover where needed. Re-scribe plank lines on deck.

4) Begin painting process using Tamiya Deck Tan -> sharp colored pencils for individual planks -> Super thin Deck Tan as a filter for blending. I'll seal each layer to ensure that mistakes can be seen and/or fixed without damaging the lower layer.

Opinions are welcome.

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I've made some actual progress today. I've never, ever painted a deck. I've always cheated my way out of it with real wood.


This was.. interesting.


1) The aft and forward well decks were painted and weathered with a mixture of brown/black oil paints. I've found conflicting sources/models on the composition of these decks. Some said they were intended to be wood, others steel. I decided to go with steel, as it simplified painting and made more sense.



2) The forward and rear platforms were a REAL pain to attach. The planking didn't match up. The depth of the planking didn't match up. I glued them in place and did my best to scribe some degree of continuity. Thankfully, the aft platform appears to be grey in a lot of models. I'll do the same to better hide the line.


Process of painting the deck was as follows:

a) Painted the base with Tamiya Deck Tan. I then Futured the deck. (No picture, sadly)

b) Used colored pencils to mark some of the planking. I think I'll do this with more frequency on the next try. Dunno.

(Also forgot picture)

c) Used a 90% thinner and 10% Deck Tan to blend the deck.


d) Did it again.


e) Finally, hit it with a brown oil wash, once a Future layer protected the layers.



With some refinement, I think this will be superior to any wood deck in scale. I'm already seeing ways I can improve the idea. I still will need to paint the yellow guide lines. I'm not sure how I'll mask them.... may see if I can get a friend to make vinyl masks or I may try to see if I can make something like that myself. I'll hit the deck with another layer of grimy wash before final painting. I also need to paint the catapult tracks and other deck steel grey. This will probably be the longest portion of my painting, but it'll be fun.


Next: More deck work. I want this mostly painted before I mask it over for the main hull. Once that's done, I'll more on to the bridge, where vertical surfaces will be painted with my air brush and deck with thinned paint. Once that's done and some other small parts are added, she'll be placed on the water base.


This is sort of my plan for the dazzle:




Main paint: Tamiya Sky Grey

Dark camo: German Grey

Bow/Stern lighter portions: Modelmaster 5-P or something. Not sure here.


I'll blend the whole thing with a base paint filter, hit it with a wash, and may rust her up a bit, with scale considered.


Opinions welcome.

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More work to the deck. Grey has been added where either (a) The large Swastikas would be or (b) mechanical parts would be located.



I'm not going to add massive deck markings. It turned out bad for the Japanese at Midway, and I'm not fond of the symbol.

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So, I'm fairly incensed with this model. It's not beyond repair, or anywhere near, but I'm beginning to not like whatever Orange Hobby used as model ejector. I BATHED this thing in about three different cleaning solutions and took every precaution I could to ensure that nothing remained on the resin to potentially affect the paint.


I've completed:

- Main deck painting

- Well decks (with touch ups)


HOWEVER... I'm unsure if I'll pull off the dazzle I've been planning. I masked off some of the catwalks along the flight deck and pulled paint. Feeling dread and not wanting to REALLY mess this up, I took some Tamiya tape, ran it along the hull and, predictably, pulled paint. Mind you, I cleaned the **** out of this thing, used a resin primer, and did everything I thought I could to keep this from happening. I also felt my blood run cold imagining the paint getting pulled as I pull the tape off the flight deck. I would seriously throw this thing in a fire if that happened. Thankfully, it didn't. I painted the whole hull the base grey for the dazzle and sit at an impasse.


Path forward:

Option 1: Future the heck out of the whole hull, once some touch ups have been done. Once this has dried and provided a potentially effective shell around the ship, I'll mask and paint the geometric dazzle on to the hull. I'll do this piecemeal, instead of one giant mask. It'll take longer, but minimize any damage caused by masking. My only concern here is having the paint appear "raised" above the rest of the ship. I may be able to minimize this with thin layers and liberal use of clear coats. The white grey bow and stern colors, while really making the cammo look "German" may not be added. The filter will be added via paint brush (opposed to air brush due to danger of masking) to help blend the dazzle.


Option 2: Leave her grey. This is the safe route. It's rather boring, but will look a lot better with some nice oil washes.


Opinions and advice are welcome.

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I'd try using the Future option to help protect that paint. You might also look into using Post It papers to mask, or even dampened copy paper. Old school NMF painters used wet paper masks long ago simply because tape was NOT an option, and once wet is some what pliable to lay around curves and raised details. You need to spray the masks at 90deg angles and the lowest pressure you can to avoid blowing the edges of the masks up. Best of luck!


GIL :smiley16:

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Gil: Future worked! I only lost some paint where it just did not adhere. Spots have been fixed.

The Hull: Making a note here: Huge Success.

The Island:

Well, it went mostly OK. I'm going to have to let the port side paint dry so I can sand down the glomp of paint that formed over an accidental thumb print. Truth be told, while annoying, it's an easy fix. I'll start painting the island deck surfaces and catwalks tomorrow. This will be.. tedious.

You can see the big smudge on the funnel. Whoops.



This side is much prettier.


Once the paint is dry and I'm satisfied, I'll unwrap the wood (heh), trace the ship, then start forming waves with the hull wrapped in saran wrap. I'll also Future the main hull and install her casemate guns along with other hull bits.

Sometime later I'll start working on the insane amount of (stiff) railing in the kit. The island will be mostly constructed before final installation. Fun times.

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Oh man, that is SWEET!! Way to go on that splinter job. I love it!

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Paint update.

First oil wash and remaining major hull painting done.

Sorry for the odd angles.





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Final update tonight.

I want the Graf Zeppelin to feel alive and used. I've got additional aircraft coming in as well as Eduard's 1/700 KM crew members. Once she's glued to the base, I'll start working on the water base, building up her bow wave, wake, and disturbances along the hull.

Done: I've finished installing her life boats and launches, finished up the railing and PE along the sides, and done some rusting/weathering with oil paint. These little boats were a PAIN to install. The PE davits slid up on to these guides without much tolerance. Installation took forever.

...to be honest, building her port and starboard sort of felt like building an armed cruise ship with the boat configuration and numerous port holes...

Building wise, I'll move up the hull, installing anything needed and then finally attacking the island. I'll probably build up most of the island before gluing it in place. As you can see, the fit is excellent and seams won't be an issue.

Her air wing will consist of:

6x Bf-109t

6x Ju-87D

4x Fi-167





As always, opinions and criticisms are welcome.

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First off, I want to thank Chris Flodberg for being a great help in getting a better water base done. I think it would be unfair to claim credit for something that I'm trying to imitate.

For those of you also wanting to emulate his method, this is what I've discovered:

1) Cotton CAN be pulled thin where it looks good in 1/700. Use Tweezers.

2) Don't panic when your gel medium + cotton looks like a giant mess. Remember that that stuff dries clear. It'll tone down.

3) Don't be nearly as shy as I was spraying the lighter aqua color under where the water is disturbed. My water looks dark and uninspired, compared to his. I guess we'll just say the Zeppy was sailing either very early in the morning or at night.

I still have to add an epoxy resin "cap" to submerge and cover most of the cotton. Being that I'm going to see family on Thanksgiving, this won't get done until Sunday at the earliest. Overall, I deem this a "mostly" successful experiment, though I really, really like the method. I'm going to play more with getting the base to look more "wavy" in future builds.

I'll post pictures as I further my attempts to make this look good.



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Sequence of events:

1) Mixed up the 8 hour resin, let sit for several hours, then attempted to shape, as per tutorials. It continually just... leveled. I put it under a box to protect it from dust and left it.

2) Zep's water was still pliable and remained so almost 24 hours after application. I decided to try a thin layer of 30 minute epoxy to act as a seal. This was an abysmal failure and was full of air bubbles. It set before I could really get rid of most of them.

This is where I stand: The old layer of epoxy is still not hard after 24 hours. Furthermore, heat actually melts the garbage. Leaving it be will allow it to gel, but I seem to have reached an asymptotic gelation that doesn't seem to want to harden. The good news is heating it allowed me to remove the bad layer of 30 minute epoxy. The bad news is that it still has not hardened. I put it in the over @ 150 F in hopes that may help accelerate the chemical reaction.


1) I may not have mixed enough hardener into the resin. I measured it, but who knows.

2) The resin is garbage. I'm going to let a sample sit overnight and see what happens.

3) Weather conditions and impatience.

Going Forward:

I've let this thing sit. I'll let it sit a little longer. I have AA guns, a bridge, planes, and other bits that need to be completed. When/if the damn resin sets, I'll have most of the fiddy bits done. The wood base itself will be interesting.... will have to sand it like a mad man to get it nice.

If this doesn't set and remains a nasty gel, well, I don't know what I'll do. I could cut the Zeppelin free, though I risk serious damage to the model. I use a combination of screws and Gorilla Glue to attach models to bases, and frankly, it works VERY well.

I don't know. We'll see. I'm pretty pissed off at this stage... thought I had this method down. I think I'll make some sea scapes for giggles and experiment before I attempt something as dangerous as resin again.

As of right now, I'm seriously considering shelving this. I worked long and hard on this resin kit and the water utterly blew the wind out of my sails.

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I saved the ship, mostly. There was significant damage to about the first millimeter or two due to the resin, so she'll be in a nice, stormy sea!

New base is as follows:

1) Zeppy has been glued down.

2) Plaster of Paris was used to provide the larger swells. I used marked toothpicks to show high/low of about 15' foot seas and swells. It worked wonderfully. Plaster did not extend all the way to the hull.

3) Heavy gloss medium gel was used to fill in between the ship, plaster, and form the outline of the bow wave. I also coated the plaster to smooth and brush strokes not taken care of by sanding. A brush was used to stipple the water. My goal was to make it look choppy without appearing too overscale.


I will not complete the ship. All PE, figures, and planes will be added, with the exception of certain aspects of the rigging that could be destroyed by an errant finger.


4) Base paint will be a black/grey/blue to make the ocean look dark, angry, and foreboding. I'll add some variation via thinned colors (sort of like Jim Baumann does) to break up the uniformity. Some wave crests will be lightly colored.

5) Lighten along the bow wave and hull as per sargentx's suggestion to add depth. I will then add some cotton saturated with gloss gel to simulate the mixing of the wave underwater, along the hull, and wake.

6) Resin, properly mixed this time. Mild stippling to add some variation to the surface.

7) Mixture of tissue (Again, as per Mr. Baumann) along the bow and cotton (as per sargentx on Modelwarships.com) at the wake to try to add scale water effects. This will be held in place via gloss gel.

The Zeppelin will be passing through heavy seas, so her deck aircraft will be mostly tied down. I want to get the ship done and dull coated before messing with the sea. Hopefully, it would end up horribly.

I've finally made a little bit of progress on the island. I'm adding railing. Once that's done, she'll get a platform on the funnel and her range finders. I'll then add masts and hand paint where necessary. I also have to finish her light AA which I am NOT looking forward to... Pictures of her in the setting base:



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A fast ship going in Harm's Way.

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You at least have a Corsair for a computer desktop, so all is well.



Rick L.

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Think it is looking good and love the What If idea.

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Guest PetrolGator
I've finally restarted work on the Zeppy. 90% of the island has been completed. I need to add some PE to the aft(?) mast and must add the foremast. Most PE is done. I've dry fitted her heavy AA for giggles.

I'm placing a few layers of heavy gel to fill in and smooth out the sea. I've got the in laws in town, so I'm not sure a lot will get done.

To do:

- Most PE railing

- Light and medium AA

- Sea

- Rigging

- Masts (50% done)

- Crew

- Aircraft

I MIGHT have this ready by January. Maybe.




Comments are welcome, especially criticism.

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