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1/350 USS Fletcher (DONE!)

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Back to the bench. I'm going to be posting FINAL pictures of the Yukikaze tonight. Promise (if anyone REALLY cares.)


Anyhow. I think I can finally admit to have a severe case of AMS. OOB builds just don't seem right anymore.


I'm going back into the depths of my pile of unbuilt kits. I've decided to stick with the 1/350 tin can theme and grabbed another Guadalcanal veteran. USS Fletcher participated in the "bar room brawl" and was in the lead of US heavy cruisers that were simply beaten senseless by IJN destroyers. She went on to serve with a stellar war record and was used as an ASW trainer before being sadly scrapped.


I spent a lot of time collecting photographs of the ship and her sisters. My goal, as with Yukikaze, was to purchase at little as possible, relying on PE and aftermarket I already had collecting dust.


I'll be using in this build:

- GMM's excellent Fletcher class set

- Model Master's 20mm guns

- Alliance modelworks: Bofors gun, deck hates, hand rails, deck equipment, kitchen sink, radar, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

- GMM hatches.

- L'Arsenal figures

- Brass and sheet styrene where needed.

- DML spares, bits, and extras.

- Model Master barrels


This will, again, be placed in a water base and weathered to appear a little tired from battle. I wanted to aim for a calm sea scape with the Fletcher's crew tossing spent casings left on deck overboard and performing whatever repairs were necessary after the First Battle of Savo. This will involve a little bit of scratch building (and questions to Jeff Lin since he seems to have the shell casing thing down on his amazing Yukikaze.)


Anyway. Current progress. I've added PE to the forward, mid, and aft superstructure. They're mostly done outside of some port hole work at the bow. I have tool cabinets, cable reels, and ladders that I plan to add, but I'll do this after the base modified Ms. 12 camouflage. Again, I want Fletcher to look utilitarian and busy. I'll also be adding unreeled hoses and whatnot the crew was using to clean the deck.


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Bow view. I haven't puttied the hull/deck area but will shortly. The bridge wings also need a little bit of putty where they meet the conning tower. Still, overall? Fit is awesome. Her rangefinder is a gift from a good friend and currently has the IFF set that did not exist on the Fletcher at this time. I'm probably doing to remove it and save it for a late war Benson class I have in the stash.


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Port view. I attempted to use some styrene rod for handrails at the bow, but the steel surgical cable used aft of it looks SO much better. I'm probably going to shave it off and use the steel. It's a bit more challenging to place, but it looks much more in scale. Note the styrene extension on the midships superstructure. I've seen it on other Fletcher builds and photos, but have no idea what it was for, outside of some sort of shed to protect crew from the elements.


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Semi fuzzy plan shot of her port side. Note the AMW ammunition and storage boxes. These things rule.


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Aft. Note the AMW bofors 20mm, also a gift from the same gentleman who gave me the range finger. This thing is so pretty that I'm going to leave it as is.


Few questions:

- Did the five inch guns have blast bags during her early action in the Solomons? Photos of her running trials stateside show them removed, but they seem to have been installed when she was painted 5-N briefly before her overhaul in 1943.


- Does anyone have good photographs of the backside of her bridge?


- Has anyone scraped off the anti-skid, uh, ridge? I don't think I need to even say how utterly out of scale this is. Still, I'd hate to have to mask and paint this thing. I don't know what I'm going to do here.


Advice, comments, and criticisms are welcome.

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Tamiya's kit is nice, but lacks a lot of detail. I've been able to utilize extra parts out of my DML extras bag and even cannibalized an old, wrecked USS Laffey model for some bits on the bridge.


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The addition of the searchlights and whatnot have added a LOT to the busy feeling that should be present (though, I suspect those platforms at the aft of the wing actually had something else besides searchlights present. I'll check my sources and replace as needed.)


I've also finished up the gun director, minus some minor gap filling.


I've finished the funnels. PE from the GMM set and spares box helped outfit ladders and the whistle platform. I used handrails that were included on the AMW Gearing set as extras. They fit on the Fletcher's funnels perfectly. The whistle itself was scratch build and "powered" by styrene rod piped up the centerline of the forward funnel. Additional struts were also added to the aft funnel and wire rigging supports to the forward funnel based on photographs.


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I also hollowed out the funnels and added the GMM grating.


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Propeller guards were formed using indispensable DML propeller guard forms. I also ran Elmer's along the based of the aft tub, sealing that gap. I'll prime the hull shortly and see if I was successful. Any gaps, holes, etc will be addressed at this point.


I plan to work on her mast and 20mm guns todays. If I have time, I'll build the second Bofors gun.

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Looking good Chris.

 

I wish I could get back to building...not in the cards right now.

 

Good luck in finishing.

 

Bill

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I feel ya, Bill. I should be done with this boat but I've had a ton of things go wrong the last couple of weeks. I'm hoping to get some progress posted tonight.

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I've finished assembly of almost all the little parts. I plan to make some extra depth charges, which will lay near the starboard rack with crew around them (implying that they're reloading the rack.)


Here's the nasty little clay patty with all the the small pieces on it. Forgive the dog hair.


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Port side of the forward midships area. I need to do a little more sanding where I think Mr Surfacer is a bit too thick. There's also need to clean up some of the shoddy superglue work and around the hatch leading astern. I also need to fill some gaps in the range finder and carve off extra plastic on the rain gutters. I hate how they look right now. This area is the one area that'll need some TLC before paint (and seeing this is why I like taking photographs.)

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I plan to add some more detail to the torpedo launches, though mostly post-paint. I also removed some of the bulkhead PE where the cable reels now rest based on some photographs I found. Blast bags also need to be added via some thickened white glue. There are also little places here and there needing some additional light sanding before priming.

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GMM Depth charge racks. I have some VERY detailed AMW versions, but these were easier to assemble and I'm sort of ready to get this thing painted. At any rate, they're still VERY nice. 40mm bofors is the AMW version.

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Higher level view of the midships area. I appear to have gotten something on the hull. I'll clean that up before I paint.

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Overall, I'm needing to tighten up some of the fine details and clean up the plastic prior to priming. I try to spent a LOT of time at this stage to eliminate stupid thumb prints, obvious crusts from bad CA glue work, and other imperfections that can sully an otherwise good build at a show. I'm not competing until mid-September, so I have PLENTY of time to complete this ship and MAYBE repair/finish my Combrig Maine.

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I gave in to some positive criticism of the awardships are, because frankly, Tamiya's kit had a glaring flaw. I really appreciated the feedback. I did manage a first primer layer and noted a few small flaws that'll be easily fixed.



Here's the boat as of now:

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There are several deck and bulkhead details (valves, stretchers, etc) that I will add after the main paint is placed. These will be mostly hand painted and/or hand touched up. It's my experience that masking around them tends to cause undue damage. This also includes some scratch details at the auxiliary bridge. I'll add a small compass, wheel, etc.


Any more comments are welcome.

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I gave in to some positive criticism of the awardships are, because frankly, Tamiya's kit had a glaring flaw. I really appreciated the feedback. I did manage a first primer layer and noted a few small flaws that'll be easily fixed.
Here's the boat as of now:
<snipped images>
Any more comments are welcome.

 

 

PG, to what glaring flaw do you refer? Inquiring minds want to know.... ;^P

 

R/ Robert

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Originally, Tamiya had this little bit enclosed. I cut away the superstructure as you see here.

 

Awarthships_zpsa72d1045.jpg

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Thanks, Chris - that was fast! What is that thing, anyway? Is it an armored cover for a hatch?

R/ Robert

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In reality, it's rather thin. Fletchers were wet up front and this little structure was meant to help keep her amidships dryer.

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Paint! Yes, she has paints. I had her hull partially painted on Friday but suffered a massive airbrush fail (was lazy about replacing tired parts) and ended up having the scrap the paint, primer, hairspray, and top coat. Oh well.


Queue second attempt and I'm pretty happy so far. Fletcher saw heavy action in the Solomons and I wanted her to show the toll of time and abuse on her hull. I matched yellow-whiteish primer from photos and NOVA's excellent build as a base.


I'm using Master Model 5-N and will be using the remaining stores of my 20-B from Poly Scale (RIP) to paint the hull. Her antifouling paint is a mix of flat red and the Tamiya "hull red" to bring it more in line with the USN shade. Hairspray is being used to chip areas where the 5-N would be exposed to heavy wave action and splashing. I'm fading the paint with some oil mixes I made and will use oils to add rust to appreciable levels on her hull. Superstructure will be largely clean with some fading and yellow-white paint patches as per some color photographs of USN destroyers that are touched up in the field.


Clean destroyer!

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...not so clean destroyer. Note the effects of the faded paint and chipping. I made "chip" along her side a bit with a damaged brush We'll see.

D10E3B13-C2CC-495F-9515-9E7F7C2A7278_zps

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I did some oil weathering to help beat the heck out of a ship that saw near constant action around the Solomons. Early in the war, the USN didn't have a lot of time to pretty up the fleet. Her main deck hasn't been weathered. There's still a lot of construction left that I want to do before adding any salt stains/fading to her hull. I might tone down some of the oil on the upper platforms, though. I'd be happy with opinions.


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10501861_10105478982157651_3361764629702


10420031_10105478981818331_8901132232896


It's funny. Fletcher nearly looks done but I'm FAR from the finish line.

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Rick,

Nits are appreciated. I examined the feasibility of redoing the launchers and just didn't see how I'd have the Fletcher ready by the time I had planned. I guess I'll be a lessons learned for my next build from the class (which will happen. I love tin cans.)


Modeling time has been short, but I am making progress on the ship. I'm hoping to have all superstructure railing and detail done tonight. Ideally, I'll have the ship crewed out and rigged this weekend and may even start her water base. There are still some spots on the hull I need to work on, weathering and consistency wise. I DID lighten/stain some panels on her hull unevenly to give the illusion that she's received touch ups on particularly bad paint during her service in the Solomons. One may say that I am building her at the conclusion of that campaign shortly before heading stateside for an overhaul. I've always love a grizzled look for a destroyer.


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Bow. Lots of work to do here. I have a ton of PE to add to the bridge area as well as searchlights (which I may do a bit of detail work on.) I also still have the top 20mm gun to install above her navigation bridge. Several plastic details were either scratched or taken from a DML kit that I use for scrap.


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Annoyingly blurry midships. I'm VERY happy with the way the funnels, mast, and tubes came out. The torpedoes are scrap from DML kits that I did not use and are FAR better than the old Tamiya offering. I scratched the whistle on the forward funnel. Guards in front of her 20mm guns amidships are brass strip. Ammunition boxes are all AMW offerings.


DC1DF4E4-E979-4516-B0D6-538E36EEEC83_zps

Stern, where I'm most proud/ashamed of this build. Tamiya's auxiliary bridge is devoid of detail, both on the platform itself and on actual navigation equipment. All was scratched according to photos. The K gun launchers are... adequate and incorrect. I found ONE picture of a Fletcher (which is at home) that shows the Benson-type launchers, though it could just be wishful thinking on my part. At any rate, Fletcher never had them and replacement would involve significant damage to the build. I just wish I had spent more time researching this. Bofors are from different manufacturers. One is L'Arsenal and one is AMW. Both have their merits. The gun tub came with the Fletcher kit (not on instructions) but was significantly thinned, wall wise. I also sanded off the bottom of the tub. 40mm gun directors are surplus from DML kits.


Close inspection also shows an annoying smudge I did not previously notice below the gun tub. I'm hoping to mask it with some strategic weathering of the hull. I may even use a LITTLE bit of thinner to try to remove it.


E0A1C748-CD78-4634-9062-F2E862879A98_zps

...and here we have the ship for now. Tonight's plan is, again, continue the railing process and detail out the ship from the inside out.


With my work schedule, I'm HOPING to have it done by next weekend. I have a half finished Bainbridge sitting on the shelf and some new shipyard plans to help me pretty it up.

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Minus water, this one is about done. I'll add her launches once I finish the waterbase. It has been my experience that fumbling around loosely hanging boats tends to break them loose. :\

 

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958AE3EA-1057-4BBE-AE7C-538346E2F6AA_zps

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Hey, what is the source for those figures?

R/

Robert

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L'Arsenal. I also use Northstar figures when I can get them.

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Lovely piece of work. The WX effect looks great - I gotta try that.

 

Questions about the 5N and 20B: The topside bits look blue-purple in the first few pix and in the last few pix look like a really super Measure-21 (?). Is that an artifact of the camera/lighting/filter, or did you do something to blend the colors?

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Lovely piece of work. The WX effect looks great - I gotta try that.

 

Questions about the 5N and 20B: The topside bits look blue-purple in the first few pix and in the last few pix look like a really super Measure-21 (?). Is that an artifact of the camera/lighting/filter, or did you do something to blend the colors?

 

Little bit of both. Oil washes tend to produce off effects that are exacerbated via the usage of a alright camera in my iPhone. I use MM's dullcoat which also tends to mute the colors somewhat, helping to reduce the "purple" and make colors more uniform.

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...water has SHINE.


I still need to add her launches and bow wave, among other details.


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This is pre-shining but I love the view.

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"...doing the railings & PE detail from the inside-out..."

 

Words of wisdom that I will apply directly to the icebreaker in work.

 

That DD looks freekin' beautiful in the water. You've really got something there. Shoot that last pic again with a gray, stormy sky behind her!

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I took these outside with near overhead sun. I may try to get some other photographs later when it cools a bit. Southern Louisiana is under a heat warning and it seems to be affecting the varnish.


Kit used: Tamiya 1/350 USS Fletcher with some stolen DML bits from a destroyer that has been, effectively, "decommissioned."

Photo etch:
  • Gold Medal Models USS Fletcher (Late and early war)

Alliance Model Works 40mm bofors, hatches, deck details, funnel hand rails, radar, etc.

L'Arsenal 40mm Bofors, figures

Fujimi IJN sailors in working positions

Model Master's awesome 20mm guns (turncoated!)

...and others.



I painted the model using Polyscale (RIP), Master Models acrylics, and some Tamiya paints. Weathering was done via oil and acrylic washes. I added crates, barrels, and hoses using brass and styrene stock and rigged with stretched sprue. The ocean base was made using oat bran and paper towel, heavily soaked in gel medium.


Now, for the pictures:


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5B82DF8A-D35B-4A68-ABC9-C52EF1A9324E_zps

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Chris, that is another outstanding masterpiece! I bow in the presence of greatness!

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Awesome!!!!

 

 

Did you say oat bran? Do tell.

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WooHoo!!!!! Looks GREAT!!!!

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