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About Midland1965

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  1. Here are the finished* photos of my 1/1250 HMS Queen Elizabeth, from the earlier WIP thread. The basis of the ship model is a Mountford resin kit but most of the visible surface and all the details are scratch built. The F35s and helicopters are from SNAFU on Shapeways. The finished model is just under 230mm long and dwarfs almost everything else in my 1/1250 collection. * The aircraft and deck vehicles aren't fixed in position yet - I want to get some more information on likely operating arrangements before I do this. I also need to make the four DS30M Mk.2 30 mm guns for which I need to find some better reference pictures and dimensions so any help or advice on these would be very welcome. My main reference for the deck markings and patches of darker grey and blue-grey was this photo from an article on savetheroyalnavy.org.
  2. I wanted to represent the crane, aircraft tow trucks and loader that can be seen in photos of HMS Queen Elizabeth on Westlant 18 and 20 but, whilst they are very visible in pictures of the ships, I needed better references for the vehicles. Happily davecov on Britmodeller kindly told me exactly what the vehicles were, based on information he'd gathered for his build of HMS Price of Wales 4 x Schopf F59 Tow Tractors 2 x JCB 541-70 Telescopic Handler 1 x Terex AC35 Crane From this I found plenty of reference photos and even plans for the crane and tractors that I could simplify and scale down. The JCBs look rather complicated, with their curved cabs, and I left those out but the others were blocky and quite simple, if rather fiddly. The other detail parts I needed were the Phalanx CIWS. Again I found some reference photos and basic dimensions and used these to make some simplified plans. At some point I'll do some better versions of these simplified plans and post them on my blog for any other 1/1250 scratch builders. The Phalanx are painted a slightly different grey to the ship - to represent USN Haze Gray rather than RN Light Weatherwork Grey. The last missing weapons are the DS30M Mk.2 30 mm guns. I'm struggling to find good enough references for these and, as they are not yet fitted and I've used deck markings from 2019, I've left them off, at least for now. I might add them later, if I can find some good references. With those done, it was a matter of painting the islands, attaching the video screens and ship's badges. The transfers I made for the ship's badge looked too blurry under magnification so I painted over them, almost up to the edges of each main colour, with a very fine brush and the aid of a stereoscopic microscope. By contrast, the monitor screens came out very well and all I did there, after applying the transfers to a sheet of plasticard, was cut them out, paint the edges and glue them in place. I gave all the screens and the large windows of the flying control a coat of gloss varnish - whilst this doesn't really show in the photos, it is noticeable on the model. Thinking about it now, I guess the screens would actually be non-reflective - ah well, it looks nice and breaks things up! I'll post a set of photos of the finished model up on RFI. Thanks for looking. Nathan
  3. Yes, I really wanted to avoid having exactly 12 F35s for exactly that reason. The Carrier programme certainly has attracted its share of cynics. Since it was begun, I've been reliably informed that: - Nothing I'm seeing makes me think the UK is serious about building new large carriers - at best they might get a couple of converted container ships. - They will be cancelled and scrapped on the stocks. - They will be sold on completion. - Prince of Wales will be sold to India at a bargain price. - F35B will be cancelled and we'll be left with two expensive LPH. - They are a rubbish design - we should have built something bigger with cats and traps that could operate proper aircraft. - They are a rubbish design - we should have built something smaller and somehow refreshed the Harriers. - They are far too expensive, we should have built something cheaper. - They were built on the cheap, lacking essential features. - Carriers with no aircraft. - The RN doesn't have the sailors to man them. - We don't have any ships to escort them. - Carriers are obsolete and just easy targets. (Hence being built by everybody who can afford them). I'm sure I've missed out a few. I think I'm going to choose to be optimistic on this one
  4. I'm continuing to catch up with documenting this and have just finished sorting out photos of the aircraft. I want to capture something of the business of an aircraft carrier deck, crowded with aircraft and vehicles. As well as F35s, I wanted to have a variety of Merlins and a Chinook to represent the range of aircraft you would normally expect to see onboard. After checking out the various options in metal and 3D prints, I decided to buy printed aircraft and helicopters from SNAFU on Shapeways. The detail on these is quite remarkable and, printed in Smooth Fine Detail Plastic, there wasn't too much cleaning up to do and the characteristic layered effects are only visible at quite high magnification. I already had some photo-etch propellors that would do for helicopter tail rotors and purchased main rotors from Mountford. You can see a frame of Sea Harriers and Sea Kings in the picture too - fantastic little models - these are for other carrier models I have in the pipeline. I soon found out the downside of tiny models with thin details 3D-printed in Smooth Fine Detail Plastic - they are extremely fragile and my first attempts resulted in several broken undercarriage legs and one tailplane. Eventually I sort of got the hang of it but had three out of 15 F35s damaged. After a bit of cleaning up by scraping the most obviously roughly layered areas with a sharp scalpel blade, I drilled a small hole in the underneath of each aircraft and glued them each onto a short (about an inch) length of fine wire to provide something to hold them by for painting. I attached the helicopter tail rotors at this stage but painted the main rotors separately. Everything got a coat of Halfords grey primer then I airbrushed the Merlins with Vallejo light grey and the Chinook with an olive green. I had been thinking for a while what colour to use for the F35s and sought advice on the aircraft modelling side of Britmodeller. They are actually FS31670 Have Glass Camouflage Grey which seems to have a slight metallic sheen. I was concerned that they could easily blend with the medium grey deck colour to the point of disappearing so I decided to go for visual effect rather than strict accuracy. I painted the undersides black and the top surfaces gunmetal then gave the whole a light airbrush coat of Vallejo London Grey with a bit of black and Brown Violet added. I painted the canopies with a normal brush but the roundels are done with the end of a cocktail stick, cut off to give a roughly suitable diameter to apply a pale blue dot then again with a smaller circle of the grey mix to fill in the centre. For the first few I painted the undercarriage legs and wheel centres white but soon decided that was too fiddly, even for me. I completed 4 Merlin HM2s; one with crows nest, one with folded rotors and two more unfolded. As a nod to the carrier's secondary role as LPH and for variety and a bit of colour I also completed a Chinook and a Merlin HC4. Photos of a Chinook on HMS Queen Elizabeth show a DPM type pattern on the rotor tips so I tried to depict that on my model, albeit grossly oversize. The grey-green area on the Chinook wasn't intentional or apparent in real life - either to the naked eye or through a magnifier. I'm not sure whether it is the undercoat showing through or just a digital artifact from overdoing the colour and brightness adjustments. So there is no mistaking the HC4, as well as missing the radar of the HM2s, I chose a model with the rear ramp lowered.
  5. With the basic hull and island structures done and primed, I started working on the flight deck markings and other decals The most striking features for me in photos of HMS Queen Elizabeth's flight deck are the yellow-black hazard markings around the lifts and the rectangles of different greys. The photo above is from an article on Save the Royal Navy and provided the main inspiration for my colour scheme and the reference for the deck markings. https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/what-are-they-for/ I ordered a couple of sheets of Xtradecal XPS2 simple white line transfers from Hannants. Unfortunately Hannants were out of stock of the black version so I decided to use the runway centre-line from the kit despite it being crossed by various red lines and white lines. I also used the "Q" from the kit although this much way too wide and needed to be cut and re-arranged, then over-painted by hand to cover up parts that just disintegrated on application. I struggled at first to find suitable numbers for the landing spots - all those of around the correct size (1.8 mm high) were the wrong font. In the end I found a set of generic RAF markings from Model Art in what looks like the perfect font and are only marginally too big at 2.0 mm. I can't praise their service highly enough and would recommend them to anyone looking for decals of this type. That left a lot of things for which I'd have to make transfers. For the lift hazard markings, I took an overhead photo, corrected it for skew and perspective then overlaid plain black and yellow lines. At the correct scale, the lines were so narrow that, when printed, the effect was lost so I re-did it with wider bands (about 1.5x) which looked right, even though it wasn't. I didn't want to have a physical trench for the lift edges - hard to scribe the rounded corners and these things are always oversize. Even a 0.2mm scribed line would be a ten inch gap scaled up to the real thing! Instead I decided to represent the lift edge by shading the lift edges a bit darker and having a highlight around the outside - I think this was a bit too subtle and I would have been better to just use full-strength yellow and black with a black line for the lift edges. I made the display screen decals from clippings of photos of the real thing - sadly whatever text they are showing will not match how the aircraft are eventually arranged on deck. Although I included pennant numbers on my transfers sheet, in the event I used some from a sheet I'd bought from Skytrex which had the correct white surround - I'd thought these would be too small but actually they were just about right. My plan for the deck was: paint it white, apply the lift transfers, mask and airbrush black and dark blue areas then mask the lift markings and airbrush the whole deck in Vallejo neutral grey so the black and blue would subtly show through. This didn't work and sprayed the whole thing Vallejo neutral grey (my usual choice for modern RN decks) then sprayed the blue-grey and dark grey rectangles on top. From there, things didn't go smoothly. The Humbrol acrylic spray varnish reacted with the edges of the home-made decal film or the adhesive, creating an uneven white line around the edges which I had to over-paint with fresh paint. The Xtradecal 0.5mm wide white lines seemed to kink and settle out of position at the least provocation whilst being magnetically repelled by their correct position. Their adhesive proved to have almost no stick and any areas where I'd not supplemented it with plenty of Microset just lifted off. They grey pencil marks on a grey background showed up just as well as you might expect. The runway centre-line that I'd salvaged from the kit decals was crossed by some white and red lines that needed to be disguised by hand painting and I didn't trim it quite as close as I should have done so there were some protrusions outside the bounding white lines that also had to be disguised. Once all the longitudinal lines were on, I gave it another coat of Humbrol Acrylic spray varnish - bad move as this reacted with the home-made transfers again despite the first protective layer! The cross-deck lines went on much easier - a combination of practice and being so much shorter. The landing spot numbers stuck first time, the only difficulty being that the film was so thin they were a bit prone to bending under themselves as I applied them. The 'Q' proved difficult too - I'd taken this from the kit decals but this was too wide - bizarely stretched out - so I cut a 1mm slice out and assembled it back together. Some of the white flaked off and some just wasn't very opaque so I hand painted over the top to blend it all in. The first coat of matt varnish revealed a couple of new problems: despite applying over a glossy surface and using Microset, some of the decals had silvered. Also the brush-applied touch-up Vallejo neutral grey looked a markedly different colour to the original airbrushed grey under two coats of Humbrol acrylic varnish. My only solution to that was to completely re-paint the affected sections (bounded by the white deck markings) and add a final coat of AK ultraflat varnish. Aircraft and deck vehicles next.
  6. I recently had the chance to look round HMS Belfast on a rather wet day and was struck by how dark the wet parts of the deck were. Now I appreciate the wood wasn't freshly holystoned so may not be fully representative of an in-service ship but the wet parts certainly weren't yellow or grey. I took this photo to include fully dry (apart from atmospheric dampness), damp and (a tiny bit of) fully wet wood.
  7. Thank you Dancona, rather less ambitious than your current build - I showed you photo of the hull on a patio table to my wife and suggested I might like to build a bigger model next time. That got a very firm no. Some more of my little build; the islands. Whilst I was struggling over the hull, I kidded myself the islands wouldn't need much work but closer inspection showed that this was not the case. Although the basic shapes weren't bad, platforms were in the wrong places, badly proportioned or missing, the exhausts were completely wrong, the radars looked little nothing the real thing, the very obvious large display screens were missing, the conservatory (sorry, flying control position) was the wrong shape and size and the casting overall was too blobby. I decided to cut off the details and re-make them from scratch but just dress the basic casting to give the characteristic sharp edges. Because of all the angles, I couldn't possibly do this free-hand so made a set of angled sanding blocks from thick cardboard to use in conjunction with a jig to hold things at 90 or 45 degrees. The front island went very easily but I made several mistakes with the rear island and had to build things back up, hence the large amount of filler and plasticard covering everything in the picture below. I also had to lengthen the rear island which also corrected the proportions of the funnel. The huge (armoured) glass windows and complex shape of the flying control are one of the unusual and distinctive features of the Queen Elizabeth class. To try to get this looking right, I did as I have with many of the other more complicated features of this build and made a rough scale drawing before trying to put knife to plastic. I scaled this off photos from different angles, averaged those with multiple values then related it back to known dimensions and dimensions that I'd already fixed on the model - in the end, looking right has to take precedence over calculations. The dimensions are in mm. After that, lots of platforms and the various radars and sensors. One part I initially struggled with was making a suitable circular platform for the Artisan radar - I know the reality is a lot more complex with a whole array of vertical aerials (?) arranged in a circle but at this scale, a simple circle would have to do. Unfortunately I didn't have any 4mm diameter x 0.5mm thick discs to hand. In the end, my solution was to cut a rough circle, slightly overside and glue it onto the end of a panel pin, mount that in a power drill and gradually file it down with the drill turning, checking the diameter every so often. For the more delicate parts I used brass rod and fine piano wire with soldered joints wherever I could. The three Ultra 2500 electro-optical directors are represented by pin-heads filed to roughly the right oval shape. The dark grey is the original resin from the kit. I photographed the islands sitting on top of a jar of Tamiya paint to give a sense of size - don't know why I dispensed with that ISO standard of small things modelling props, the Humbrol tin. The mainmast is brass tube with bits soldered to and in it then filed back to the right shape. I don't know what the double A-frame with a pole across the apexes is on the rear island - a play-tent for the air commander? - but making this was especially fiddly. I added final details like the ship's crest and the monitor screens at the painting / decaling stage and I represented the windows with paint or decals to try to get the near-flush glazed effect and narrow frames of the original.
  8. You've made a magnificent start there on your audacious enterprise. I'll watch your build of this illustrious ship with great interest - whatever formidable challenges along the way, I'm sure you will emerge victorious in the end. Yes, I did see what you did and probably like a pun more than is healthy! :-)
  9. As this seems to be the season for scratch built RN aircraft carriers, I thought I'd add my small contribution - very small compared to those in 1/200 or 1/350. I followed the protracted gestation of CVF / Queen Elizabeth class with huge interest and anticipation and was very pleased, having seen HMS Queen Elizabeth taking shape in the distance at Rosyth to have the chance to see her in Portsmouth in the summer of 2018 from the deck of a ferry, just before she left for Westlant 2018. I was keen to add her to my collection of 1/1250 waterline ships and obtained a copy of the Mountford resin kit - unfortunately there were a problems with this that required much modification and scratch building. I'm actually in the final stages of the build now but just catching up with documenting it. As mentioned there were a few problems with the kit - I think it must have been based on early renders before we have the wealth of photographs now available. The first one I found was that the deck was bowed: about 3mm higher in the middle than at the sides. Mountford kindly sent me a replacement but that was just the same. However, emboldened by having a spare, I cut the ski-jump off with a razor saw and sanded it flat. That brought a new problem - the height from flight deck to the side walkways was uneven but checking on more pictures showed that the kit walkways and platforms were not much like those of the real ship anyway. Another big problem was the lift openings - in the real ship, these cut through the wide starboard side sponsons but on the kit, the sponsons somehow continued under the lifts. I don't have any photos of the earliest stages but I decided to cut out the lift openings then make a new flight deck and walkways out of plasticard. I'd made a mistake in the deck length - hence the gaps - but later decided to make a new one rather that cut and fill like an MOT write-off. After reshaping the sponsons, I made new walkways and platforms from plasticard - the Queen Elizabetheth class have a lot of these and it isn't always clear how they fir together from photos. Luckily for me, there was an excellent WIP thread a while ago on here by davecov which made sense of a lot of this for me. Under a coat of Halfords primer, the resin and plasticard all starts to come together, albeit at the cost of showing up a lot of small gaps, burrs and blemishes the required repeated cycles of fill - sand - prime to bring under any sort of control. Another problem that I didn't realise until much later was that the "shelf" at the stern was too thin and fragile. To make the ship ride a bit higher in the water (to match the photos) and strengthen this, I made a reinforcing piece out of 1mm thick steel sheet, supporting the shelf and extending a couple of inches along the bottom then added continued that new level with plasticard for the rest.
  10. Thanks very much Doom3r. I have a bit of a plan now. I'm going a bit paler and more blue for the deck (dark sea grey) than usual - this matches with photos from Westlant 19 - paler again for the Merlins (medium sea grey) and darker with a hint of bown-violet for the F35s over a metalic base. Hopefully that will give clear differences and not be too far off the true colours.
  11. I'm making a 1/1250 model of HMS Queen Elizabeth and plan to include something of the variety of aircraft that could be embarked so: F35B, Merlin HM2, Merlin HC4 and a couple of Chinooks. I would be grateful for some advice on the 'correct' paint colours for these. From photos, it looks like the Merlins are now the same pale, neutral grey and the F35s a darker grey? Against the grey flight deck I'm concerned this is all going to blend to invisibility so I'll have to exaggerate the differences but would like to know what the theoretical correct colours are so I can exaggerate them in the right directions. At least the Chinooks would be olive green rather than another grey but which one?
  12. Very interesting. I didn't realise cutting machines that can cut through plastic sheet existed - at least not home, desktop ones. Not cheap but it does open up possibilities that would be difficult and a lot less accurate a neat by hand. Does the cutter leave an angle around the edge or does it somehow cut through clean at 90 degrees? I'd be rather daunted by the prospect of scratch building 14 tiny aircraft like that - hats off to you.
  13. Fantastic, inspiring project, following with great interest. I'm extremely impressed with the aircraft - are you planning on casting from those or scratch building individually? I wondered also where you got the plans and how you transferred them onto the plastic sheet?
  14. Thank you, that's very helpful and much appreciated.
  15. Can anybody tell me the rough dimensions of modern RN life raft canisters, in particular those on HMS Queen Elizabeth, please? I can find plenty of photos but no dimensions. This is for a 1/1250 model so the original sizes don't need to be exact to the mm - I just want to get close enough that the overall look is right.
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