On The Slipway

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Painting the deck

The next step after having added all this great deck detail is adding a bit of color. I previously experimented a bit with various colors and stuck with one combination that got acceptable results. Note that some pics were taken in daylight and a few using LED lights that throw the colour off a bit.

Step 1: The base color is Humbrol H72 Matt Khaki Drill.

Step 2: spots of H72 modulated with H110 Natural Wood and H34 Matt White were blended in. I’m not sure if this step leads to anything you can see once done so I guess this one can be skipped.

Step 3: adding color to the individual planks using a H72/H110 and H72/H34 mixture (roughly 2:1). This is simply a matter of taking a very fine brush (Winsor & Newton Series 7 #0 ), turn off your sense of time and add one line after another. I had a correction brush standing by to remove painting out of bounds.

Step 4: the last pass is H187 Sand. The tins I have are a slightly yellower and lighter sandy color compared to H72 Khaki Drill and they combine wonderfully; it’s nothing like the tone that Humbrol has on its website though. Actually, what is in the tin, what is on the lid and what is on the website seems to be largely unrelated lately and so unreliable I’m about to give up on Humbrol altogether. I read Humbrol had a brief adventure in China and now produces in the UK again, and that the Chinese tins are to be avoided. The H187 tin I bought are from the pre-Chinese era that my local hobby store was selling at half price as they dropped the Humbrol line. For my next model I’ll probably go for another brand and ready-to-airbrush paints… we’ll see. Anyway, this final round of color didn’t dry up matt so one layer of varnish is probably required too.

Step 5: the deck details are given a bit of color. I decided to simply hand-paint them in and not using hours of masking tape. I needed two or three passes.

Step 6: two layers of van Dyk brown oils were added for a wash.

Step… wait? People report their pristine laser-cut decks lifting from the model because that couldn’t possibly happen with these artisinal decks? Well, after the wash the styrene lifted a bit, probably in combination with the very hut summer we had and it sunk my spirits. Note that below this deck there is still a WEM resin hull from which I removed the deck detail and repaired some damage with putty. Not the smartest move, I admit, but then I knew nearly nothing about modeling! You can see two large bulges and two spots where the deck later lifted a bit later.

So after gathering my courage and went in using the Jim Baumann style; that is, appraise the situation and then solve it no matter the stage the model is in and get excellent results regardless (practicing that last point). I simply drilled in the deck, added a lot of glue and put the deck back. The damage was filled with a few styrene discs, puttied over, lines scribed back in and repainted. This I had to do twice because new spots either surfaces or went by unnoticed. The repair job was done… not entirely to my liking. The model was shelved for about half a year…

After the depressing repair action the deck details were given their shadows and highlights using some techniques I picked up from Marijn van Gils’ model of the USS Lexington. Rather than adding a wash + plus drybrush runs, all the shadows and highlights are added by a #000 brush with a #0 brush with pure thinner standing by for corrections. Although this takes a bit more time, it also allows for better contrast and control. But I have to add that at this stage I do notice that sloppy painting require a lot of correction moves adding a bit of a wash of their own; I am far from satisfied with the width of the shadow lines, but some lines were pretty hard to make on a large and stationary model. Although the results is fine, looking at macro pics taken with my phone shows more practice is in order. Now I’m about ready to repeat this exercise for the boat deck and the bow that are nearly done with their details for my next Christmas (deck below the boat deck was included in this phase).

A small improvement to the Proxxon PD230/E

I hadn’t used the lathe for some time so it took a whole afternoon until I could reliably produce parts again, if it weren’t for a small offset on my drill fixed in the tailstock of my Proxxon PD230/E. This offset has always been present and trying other drill chucks didn’t solve my problem. I took a few chucks to work and they measured an offset in the Morse Cone I of about 2 to 3 hundreds of a mm, just enough to be troublesome with thin-walled parts I was trying to make (20″ signalling projector). I ordered a ER-11 collet chuck with a MC1 fitting that is supposed to fit in the tailstock, but it doesn’t; the Proxxon PD230/E tailstock has a much shorter run.

The collet chuck is comparatively pricey but I just had to take a bit off.  Using drills with a 1/8″ shaft and ditto collet worked quite well. Nearly all my drills have a 2.2mm shaft and a 2.5 mm collet didn’t center them properly, so I ordered a new set of drills (only 30€ for 30 drills running from 0.1mm to 3.0mm in steps of 0.1mm) .

Postscript: I didn’t properly ‘snap’ the collet in the collet nut that may have been the reason the 2.2mm drills had an offset. In the nut there is an eccentricity on an internal flange that will cause the drill to be poorly centered if you just tighten the nut after placing the collet in the chuck. If the collet is first gently pushed past this internal flange (click!) and then placed in the chuck, not only is this problem solved (the problem being a poor user of fine tools), this eccentric flange will also pull the collect from the chuck when untightening the nut. Really clever engineering (post to be updated after checking the 2,5mm collet fit).

So it’s good news that the Proxxon tailstock that cannot be adjusted is well centered when it leaves the factory but a decent chuck apparently is not on the Proxxon menu.  So, now the cost of a 20″ signalling projector is €60 each, but who’s counting…. At least on of the two major problems I have the with lathe is solved; the other one is that the top slide for tapering doesn’t have an accurate angle read-out.



Gallery: HMS Prince of Wales; laying the keel

The keel of HMS Prince of Wales was laid at Cammell Laird’s shipyard in Birkenhead on 1 January 1937. A number of photographs of the ceremony is being held by the Wirral Archives service; I order a digital copy for personal use. I was so excited by both the quality of the images and how the event was captured that I asked the archives if the images could be published in small format on my blog. They replied I would need the express permission of the copyright holder, BAE systems. As the archives explained “BAE Systems took over Cammell Laird, including its intellectual property rights, as follows: Cammell Laird was nationalised in 1977, and was then privatised again in 1986 when it became part of VSEL Consortium; subsequently the VSEL Consortium was the subject of a takeover and became Marconi Marine, which then passed to BAE Systems. The present company shares the same name and site as the old Cammell Laird, but is in fact a different company.” I contacted the legal department of BAE systems; they agreed to my request provided I would place the following disclaimer

“Copyright © 2018 BAE Systems. All Rights Reserved. This work is reproduced with the kind permission of BAE Systems. BAE Systems is a registered trademark of BAE Systems plc”

I would like the express my gratitude to both the Wirral Archival Services and BAE systems both for their assistance and for making it possible to publish these photographs.

Unfortunately, the accompanying information regarding these images is no longer in the archives. However, the photographs are all marked “Stewart Bale, Liverpool”, a well-known photographer, with nearly 200,000 negatives in storage at the Stewart Bale collection of the Mersey Side Maritime Museum. I have not written to them, but they may hold some more information.

I’ve manually cleaned up the images, removing dust & scratches and repairing damage where I could. It’s not always easy to see the difference between damage or a pocket handkerchief as is the case with the gentleman standing at the bottom of the staircase—comparing with other photographs can rule such errors out— but I’ve tried to leave the images as close to the original as possible. Note that one of the photographers is captured , as well has a small furnace heating the rivets.

Gallery: HMS Rodney, main guns

Nearly all photographs of HMS Rodney could be classified under the “main gun” header with the main armament so prevalent in most images, so I made a small collection with either the barrel or the turret clearly in view (and not part of a larger series).

The crew receiving the following proclamation by King Edward VIII by the Captain (Wilfred Custance based on the date)

Royal Marine Guard for King Edward VIII

Hoisting a cutter

At the Canary Islands


“Gun jam practise” (?)

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