My new 3-D 1:1200 card models of ships, complementing the Airfix Sink the Bismarck set.

17 August 2011:

Well, it's been a chaotic diaper-frantic summer, but here at last are the latest photos of some of my complementary set of Bismarck battles 1:1200 cardstock model Royal Navy warships. The deck gray (or green) and even Dorsetshire's Mountbatten Pink hull camoflage show up better in this side lighting I used.

One photo shows battleship Rodney, heavy cruiser Dorsetshire, and Polish Navy J/K/N class destroyer Piorun. I'm not a very good model builder, and I HATE masts!, so I don't plan on doing more past Rodney, although the various mast, support, and yardarm lengths are on the ships' plans. Other than the pom poms, single 4" antiaircraft guns, the monstrous crane to the left/port of the bridge, rabbit ears rangefinders on A and C turrets, and the wave breakers, Rodney is fairly well finished. B turret's barbette has been heightened a wee bit since this was printed off. Dorsetshire has some more stuff to go on its superstructure aft of its stacks, the rabbit ears for its twin 8" gun turrets, and its wave breaker, and I should add little the (fishing? garbage?) balcony off its County class fantail. Piorun is finished, other than some wave breakers alongside its second two gun turrets. It may be hard to see in this photo, but its rear turret is aimed forward off center to the starboard. It actually could not train perfectly forward, and to rotate from 10 degrees to 350 degrees, it had to be swung 340 degrees around, because the turret design didn't allow for full 360 degree rotation. Its white G65 hull (and stern) pennant number shows up better in this photo than previous ones, and I'm studying the Canon SD750 user manual for focusing techniques to get a sharper closeup.

A second photo shows side views of Rodney in front of 1:1200 balsa wood Nelson and Rodney battleship models I carved back in Alaska some 30 years ago.

A third photo shows bow views of Rodney alongside my 1:1200 balsa wood Nelson and Rodney.

A fourth photo shows my Bismarck battles Rodney going head to head with a 1:1200 plastic Miniships/ESCI/Revell Vittorio Veneto.

And a fifth photo shows my Rodney behind my partially completed King George V.

I'm not donig lifeboats, let alone liferafts, at this point.

KGV shouldn't take too much more time to finish - to my own satisfaction, anyway - but I don't look forward to fiddling with more of those cursed twin 4.7" turrets on Cossack. (They would be MUCH easier to do at 1:700!) The twin 4" antiaircraft turret in Cossack's 1941 X position is a breeze by comparison, but it is hard to keep the guns separated when gluing.

3 May 2011:

Despite Easter WEEK, a national holiday here in Norway having me way up in my wife's hometown mountain village - I married Heidi of the storybook, it seems - I've been building my Bismarck battles ships.

In the new photos are my JKN ORP Piorun, Tribal Cossack - destroyers - heavy cruiser Dorsetshire, battleship Rodney, battleship King George V, and in the back an Airfix Hood particularly well done by an unknown Briton. (I got it cheap on eBay to give to our 3 yr old Rohan, but the model was obviously lovingly built, so he can wait until he's old enough to appreciate/protect it.) Unfortunately, the camera focussed on the ships toward the back, so you still can't read Cossack's G03 and Piorun's G65 pennant numbers on their hullsides. I'll see if I can improve my camera skills.

I've got a sample twin 6" secondary gun turret on Rodney and sample twin 4" secondary gun turret on Dorsetshire, whose Mountbatten Pink seems a little clearer. On the other hand, apparently because of my kitchen lighting, the horizontal gray on the battleships and cruisers looks no darker than the vertical gray.

At this scale, KGV's twin 5.25" secondary gun turrets will necessarily be simplified, but overall proportional.

Contrary to the parallax effects of the higher angle photo, Rodney's stack is vertical, while Dorsetshire's and Piorun's are properly raked/angled back.

The tall mainmast abaft her stack is an indispensible part of Rodney's silhouette, and that will be in the next photos.

I haven't decided on the guns' plastic rod diameters, but I'll specify what those are, when I have at least the main battery guns in the next photos.

Since only one side of the sheets will be colored, the railings won't be able to be just folded up, like in my uncolored/unpainted plans, and gluing them back to their decks' edges is exacting and time-consuming. Trying to complete 5 different ships/classes simultaneously also prolongs completion.

Intriguingly, the Tribals are faster to assemble than the JKN: their deckhouses are more concentrated.

And on one of the ships I was going to photo/show the printing and my signature and date on its bottom but forgot to do so.

As of today - May is the 70th anniversary - Airfix still hasn't released its Sink the Bismarck set, so I don't feel any pressure for unwise haste in building.

Others could build these far better than I can.

16 April 2011:

Britain's Airfix plastic model kit company is coming out with a 7-model, 1:1200 (100 feet per inch) set of ships involved in the Bismarck battles: Bismarck, Prinz Eugen, Ark Royal, Hood, Suffolk (heavy cruiser), and 2 Tribal (as in HMS Cossack, Maori, Sikh, and Zulu) class destroyers. It has been advertized as coming out in April, but May is the 70th anniversary. (The classic film Sink the Bismarck should be on TV regularly, I would think, although Bismarck did not sink a destroyer the night before her final battle.)

Not included in the set (and never produced at this scale by Airfix) are battleships Rodney, King George V, (and her sistership) Prince of Wales, heavy cruisers (and sisterships ... fortunately) Norfolk and Dorsetshire, the Polish J/K/N class Piorun, and other Tribals.

Well, I have been staying up to all hours working on those. I have completed the basic designs - the KGVs' bridge and quadruple gun turrets, let alone those twin 4.7" destroyer turrets! are NOT as simple as they may appear. On their grey hull sides and sterns - the latter tricky, because the hullsides join at the stern as well as bow - I have in white the destroyers' Gnn pennant numbers: G03 for Cossack, G65 for Piorun, etc. I envision a set of 14 ships on 4 size A4 colored sheets. Rodney (and bonus sistership Nelson), KGV and Pow, Norfolk, and Dorsetshire, and 8 destroyers.

I have even designed a 1:1200 Walrus observation sea plane with camouflage coloring and am thinking of doing some also-simple little Swordfish biplane torpedoplanes, which the Ark Royal doesn't have. Also, I'll provide 7 extra twin 4" gun turrets, in case, someone wants to replace the funny-looking ones in the Airfix kit.

By the way, I've mentioned how an old Renwal 12-model 1:1200 set of 1950s era U.S. Navy ships went for $483 on eBay recently. Well, some of the old 1:1200 Eagle(wall) plastic model kits were selling for $33 for destroyers and the carrier Victorious went for $65!

In the accompanying photo you can see the Airfix models on the right and the building hulls of the 5 classes of mine on the left: Cossack, Piorun, Dorsetshire, Rodney, and KGV. The battleships are about 7 inches(17.5 cms) long and the destroyers a little over 3.5 inches (9 cms) long. The cruisers and destroyers I'm printing out at 400 pixels to the inch, and I have gone into the drawings pixel by pixel to correct distortions and inconsistencies. They should be able to be enlarged to 1:700, for example, easily. I re-testbuilt Norfolk's hull at 1:600 and test-built the destroyers at slightly under 1:300 scale.

(On mostly unpainted PoW, when it sailed forth from Scapa Flow on that May 1941 day, the only verticals with gray lighter than the horizontals were the sides of the quadruple turrets.)

I had hoped Dorsetshire's Mountbatten Pink and the destroyer numerals would show up better in the photo, but .... The Airfix Tribals seem to have very high freeboards, and the lower stern suggests room for a full-hull shafts and rudder.

As usual, assembling the hulls were an ordeal, and at this scale, the slightest mistake is glaring. I was literally sweating over KGV's ... and I don't have to tell you what one drop of sweat would have done to hours of work. Somehow, they all come together ... with the requisite sheer on the sides of the bow. These are NOT the far easier (albeit far less accurate) Micro Models. It takes a really good eye in very good light to build these and there is no tolerance for imperfect scissoring and folds' groovemaking. Happily my close vision is abnormally good for my age.

I'm hoping that, of necessity, plastic model ship builders and naval game players will try my set too and become interested in the potential of ("pre-painted") cardstock paper models. Paper is greener.

I'll post more photos as my ships progress. They are keening to get the Bismarck, already.

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