Ebay. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany

Most of my gallery material was bought on Ebay and it’s a fun past time to obtain more material. But there is also a problem: Ebay is a sellers website and many of these sellers try to sell warships bric-a-brac and prints; and do I loathe prints with a passion! They fully clutter up your search results and the fine people at Ebay do not think it is necessary to allow blacklisting sellers. You can do it manually but need to do so for each search, or, you need to save your search and manually exclude sellers in that saved search. I have a few of these searches standing by, but they work poorly on some mobile applications and recently some of my templates were reset. Editing them does not work well and the tools to keep them well administrated are non-existing. I find Ebay is an absolutely awful experience as a buyer.

Should you want to buy a few pics for your own, there are a few things to remember when applying for Ebay flagellation to keep your purchasing a “fun” experience and to avoid buying bad items; it will probably happen (certainly at first) and accept that as part of the experience.

  1. The feedback a seller has received is a good indication of reliability. Negative feedback can be particularly telling, but always be critical as some people leave negative feedback for the oddest of reasons (because they are idiots).
  2. A print is not necessarily bad and I bought particularly good ones from the Dock museum (Vickers photographical archive) but on Ebay they generally are terrible. Some sellers simply download images with the most horrendous jpeg compression, print them and sell them; they’ll argue you pay them for the effort or printing and mailing them, but they are worthless. In direct contradiction to the advice above: the feedback for print sellers is often good and apparently people are genuinely happy with them. I am not one of these people.
  3. So fine, not all print sellers are awful people and deserve to be in special hell; I have contacted a few and simply asked them for the digital image. That sometimes works and then you do not have to pay for postage, scan and toss the original. However, the source material is rarely original and you can find it with some effort.
  4. When the seller does not explicitly state that the image is not a print assume he is scamming you with a print. A photograph is typically adverised as RP (Real Photo) or RPP (Real Photo Postcard).
  5. When you do find a genuine photograph the quality may still be wanting. The preview should be a clear, crisp image; I bought some images with bad previews and none of these images was worth the effort. Good sellers will offer a high-res scan that will give you the best indication. I always download these, just in case. I usually cannot use them for posting on my blog as they are watermarked or otherwise partly spoiled but they may come in handy for your modeling project. Good sellers will also show the rear side of the image that may have some official texts, a stamp where it was produced, and so on.
  6. Be careful with the image size; a 3inch image is of most limited use while a 10inch IWM reproduction is as good as it gets. I have examples where the photographic reproductions from the IWM are even better than an A3 scans they offer. Some postcards scanned at 1200DPI can be magnificent.
  7. Never assume that as no one has placed a bid that the item is not being watched as there are many collectors and traders active. The bidding is only over when the clock runs out and many bids are placed in the last second (automatically it would seem). Determine your maximum and submit it at the last moment too. You may overbid yourself if you start an early bidding war or tempt another buyer’s maximum. Do not fret if you loose because you will loose often.
  8. Some sellers post an image for a low amount with high postage costs and when the item is not sold put it up for “buy it now” at triple the price. It’s interesting to see what they offer but I avoid doing business with them.
  9. Some sellers put up an album whole, but others sell the photographs individually, typically with high starting prices. Oh, the fun you can have with these strings of items when you are being outbid consistently by another buyer so you just starting bidding below his maximum (looser bids) on all items just to make him hurt. But of course, even though it’s technically not shill bidding and thus illegal, that would be frowned upon so don’t do that. The entire album is usually not worth it either as there are so many photographs in it that are simply not interesting but nevertheless included in the price.
  10. No need to pay a thousand pounds for that special original photograph of Winston that you can also buy at the IWM or download for free. Do a Google reverse image search on your candidates. Google “reverse image search” if you do not know how. This goes for postcards too; there are millions to be found on Ebay, all the same. Now you know where all these prints come from.
  11. Some sellers do not ship outside their country of residence. This is particularly annoying for a Dutchman to search for British images, because results from local shippers do not show up in your results unless you manually change your shipping country to their location every time you enter a search. Many sellers are unaware they have this local option selected and are willing to ship within Europe so I can only imagine how many fine items went under my radar because of Ebay’s awful search engine. People who refuse shipment out of the UK deserve to be in special hell.
  12. And finally: good and rare footage is simply expensive and you’ll recognize it at such after a few years, so choose your subject carefully. Avoid that rare Tirpitz album with 200 images. You may get lucky, but usually you have to pay. Accept that some items are out of your reach. I do not have any original HMS Hood material because many people are willing to pay very high prices. In all honesty, I have not found any HMS Hood material that was really worthwhile. Except that 5.5inch tampion I just had to let go.

Ever more deckersizing

In my previous decksercising post I more or less stampeded over the details of the planks at the deck edge and received some comments from John Tennier, followed by drawings and documents, to underline I was missing a few key aspects of the deck (which is a polite way of saying I completely missed the point and rightfully so). I left the deck information to simmer for a while, having a bit of a modeling burnout due to a combination of circumstances making 2015 a poor year.  I did plan to spend most of my vacation days around last Christmas picking up the modeling but ended doing mainly more work and the rest of the time, well..

the deck of the hobby room needed some repair after the north wall was modified when our house was refitted, so here I am adding the last bit of the spurnwater in the hobby room and relaying the deck using a mix of salvaged planks and new ones. The fun part is that we need to do the other half this Christmas vacation… But I’ve gathered enough patience to absorb the onslaught of tiny modeling disappointments when trying out something entirely new, such as “perfect” decks details. Naturally, you can buy these wooden decks you can glue to your kit, but there are many reasons why I do not want that; the contrast in the decks lines is too high and I prefer the hand-painted deck look. Plus, I build my models to scale and not to fit some kit so it’s not really an option to try such a deck anyway.

The documents John sent me were “Shipyard practice as applied to ship construction” by Neil McDermain and a CAFO on deck coverings. Most of the info below is ‘recycled’ from these documents. The length of the plank is generally 24ft, or, 20.9mm on 350 scale. Planks are between 2.5 to 3 inches thick and 5 to 9 inches wide (5-7: CAFO, 9″ McDermain), though the Anatomy of the Ship drawing I1 states that the planks aboard HMS Hood were 9 inches wide. That translates to slightly over 0.65mm wide on 1/350 scale. Now, I applied Evergreen 2025 V-grooved styrene to simulate the deck with a spacing of 0.25″ (or 0.635mm) that is just perfect.

Now, if I look at the image above and the what I assume to be a 4″ shell as a reference I get a plank width of about 8″ so that’s a actually bit less. The rest of the smaller images using distances between vents and such result in 7.6, 8.15 and 7.0″ when compared to the AOTS (The last one is a bit lower so perhaps that angled plate was not entire drawn properly to scale in the AOTS?). So, the actual plank width was probably much closer to 8″ than 9″ and we would have wanted a 0.58mm spacing. The only alternative I know of for a deck plate is Evergreen Car Siding 2020 that leads a (scaled) plank width of 6.9″ so the 2025 is actually less wrong and even if it weren’t, replacing the decks would be worse than just starting the entire model over from scratch.

On the edge of the deck with the hull there is a waterway that is laid first and is 15 to 18″ wide. For the ship the planks are laid in the centerline first and the position of all the planks is marked on deck. The planks are bolted to the deck on studs fastened to the steel deck. The plank end would be too fine for fastening and caulking if it were simply cut off at the waterway intersection, so a cut is made about third of the plank width into the waterway perpendicular to the plank and then connected where the waterway and plank first meet . The result is a nice nibbing pattern.

The pattern of nibbing around deck fixtures is not consistent between ships; the top left shows the nibbing around the bollards where a margin plank was present at the short end of the bollard emplacement, but not so for HMS Hood. The top-right image is from HMS Hood, showing the nibbing of the aforementioned quarterdeck deckplate. The lower image is of HMS Rodney; here the nibbing of the planks does not follow the barbette everywhere; there is not even a margin plank.

Margin planks are present at the flanks of the barbette but at what angle they stop differs between drawings and is very difficult to spot on photographs. For my model I simply took the 37 degrees as in the Anatomy of the ship.

This wonderful aerial shot of HMS Queen Elizabeth shows the deck details clearly and there is much to see. Note how the ends of the planks align really well and that there are 4 planks between planks with matching ends. The staggered pattern continues throughout most of the deck. Although it’s not too well visible, it appears the pattern does not continue between the barbettes, as you would expect with a barbette a large interruption of the deck planking. Very large margin planks are visible around the hatch coamings and bollards.

This is HMS Hood again, showing the margin planks around the hawse pipes. Chafing plates preventing damage to the deck by the anchor chain really lie on top of the existing planking and no nibbing is present. The hatch a bit further down in the distance does not have visible margin planks (the hatch coamings in front of the breakwaters and on the quarterdeck were fitted ‘blast plates’ angling out at 45 degrees and other hatch coamings may have other styles?).

The breakwater is slightly more complicated and I do not have good shots of HMS Hood’s. On this shot of HMS Rodney it appears there’s a wide ‘margin’ plank present at the breakwater right and the planking pattern continuing at either side. There is no nibbing present.

However, the other end shows some more detail. A few more planks are visible behind the second breakwater of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Rodney, Prince of Wales and an unidentified ship, with three planks fitted beneath the breakwater and its supports. Tricky, as my model is already fitted with a breakwater and I agreed with myself not to destroy anything (anymore).

A few minor details (Rodney) with no margin plank at the rear of the barbette (A). For the various deck fittings it appears sometimes there is a margin plank (B) and sometimes not (C). This leaves some artistic license when detailing the deck.

HMS Rodney again; near small derricks and eyelets the details appears to be quasi-random. The shot of HMS Hood’s anchor arrangement four images up shows not such planking around an eyelet. The plank nibbing is particularly well visible.

How to actually add all the deck detail is for the next update.

Bridge Superstructure, Part V

Image A171 from the Imperial War Museum was recently uploaded to their website and shows a few interesting details that were noticed on the modelwarships forum. Note the additional splinter shielding below the signal’s platform just behind the sailer and how the flag lockers are mounted. This part was actually ‘finished’ for my model but tot yet painted so could still be modified.

So some local demolishing was required. Fortunately the image shows there’s some girders flush with the deck; I added a strip to simulate that and used it to cut of the former flag locker positions.

The supports were glued to the forward shelterdeck. The funnel position looks horrible with that green putty!

After some work the splinter shields were added; here you can see a small spacer template for the flag locker support.

And nearly done. Some additional putty and sanding is probably required after closer inspection, but the weekend is done!

More Deckersizing

(This post was updated to remove some erroneous conclusions on the decks, to be discussed in the next decksercising post)

My model was built using Evergreen V-grooved styrene. At the time I didn’t know there was a finer material called Car Siding which I prefer to having used. Too late now. Also, many preprinted and lasercut decks than can be bought and added to most models. Some of these look really great but even with the finest wood grain they still look a bit odd to me, but they add a lot of detail I might have added to my model. What do the decks of HMS Hood look like in terms of structure?

Here you can see the deck in progress of HMS Hood taken from Ian Jonhston’s Clydebank Cruisers (I cannot recommend this book enough). This and other images show how they started with a line of two planks from start to end and the rest are added later. At the far left of the image you see the planks are simply cut off at an angle.

Note how the planks end; the one at the far left corner has the same length as every fifth one to the right of it.

Now, on many of the premade decks have a lot of detail in the deck around all the pieces of equipment, but here there is no structure whatsoever in the deck other than the planks. So no planks / frames around skylights, hatch comings, vents and so forth.

On t0 the painting . I start by airbrushing the deck in Humbrol 72 (Khaki drill mat) and letting it dry for 24 hours. I then first add a new layer of H72 by brush and paint in a very large scale accents adding white and a tiny bit of van Dyk brown. Then it’s time for my smallest brush, painting in the planks semi regularly with a larger brush standing by for corrections. The deck is painted with H72 and H110 (natural wood) with white and van Dyk brown mixed in. Although the real deck is irregular, I wanted to have at least some structure visible and painted an odd/even spacing, but not so much you would notice. This is before adding the wash that pulls all colors closer together, so one goal of the exercise was to learn how far the colors need to be apart, before washing, to look good after washing. I made several test pieces, also throwing in some H83 (too yellow) and H84 (H72 relabeled; at least, they are so close in tone I wonder why they bothered to issue it), but I like this one best.

After the paint as dried (again 24 hours) I added a few van Dyk washes; I wanted some brown to interact with the planking detail and not black. I also wanted to avoid an overly hard effect of  black caulking lines. I think I need to add a coating first as the paint was damaged in one location (beneath the turret). I really like the effect I have now but I’m a bit conflicted as I do not want to see individual planks but I also want color variation! And I want to see individual planks too and for them to be all the same color!

I have to be a bit more careful with the H110 but otherwise I think the effect is starting to look really good. I also have to be careful with all the small hairs and dust collecting in the paint; some of it probably accumulate during drying (add cap when drying) and lot of dust flows with wash…

Meanwhile, all photo-etched deck lockers have been soldered and painted as a small how-to-highlight-tiny-details painting exercise. A few minor corrections are required in a few shadow lines. I really like how well my solution for the design of these lockers worked out with the small legs running to the far edge of the locker extending below the fold line of the part done like so

The part right was supposed to act as a backbone but was not required; it was much easier to solder the part without it. The lid was held in place with tape before soldering which was a nice new challenge in terms of positioning.