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Hi, long time visitor but first time poster here. I am hoping someone can help with some information for a diorama I am currently working on. It is based on a story my Grandfather told me about his time in the Merchant Navy, I'll include it here as best I remember it as it may have some details that someone can use to point me in the right direction. He joined the Merchant Navy in '41, sailed from Aberdeen on his first voyage, heading for somewhere in the Indian Ocean or Pacific, via the Cape. En-route he had his first real encounter with the Royal Navy when they laid over at Gibraltar. As he told it, soon after they arrived, a battleship called in but could not berth (Not sure why, maybe no free space?) and as his ship had free hold space they assisted in ferrying fuel and supplies over to the battleship so it could continue its journey. Of course, most of his story concerned dealing with Sailors on shore and later on having to deal with small boats ferrying crew back to the battleship as they were trying to unload onto her decks at sea. Now I realise this is very likely an Apocryphal story, He did like to tell tales. However, I thought it would make an interesting diorama, a Warship at anchor, merchantman alongside, small boats in the water around them, certainly unusual. I am assuming the Battleship in question was the Prince of Wales returning to Scapa Flow after escorting convoys to Malta. As she is a pretty well documented ship I don't have any issues there. Tamiya kit, eduard PE and it's got all the small boats I'll need. What I am stuck on is the "Merchant Vessel". The only kit I can find is the Trumpeter liberty ship. Could it have been a liberty at that time? (or more likely a victory I suppose), But victory ships were coal fired and the story specifically mentioned transferring fuel. It was certainly armed with at least some AA guns as they crop in another story. How likely is it that it was the class the Liberty ships were based on? (I forget what they are called). Would it most likely have been in re-painted navy grey, or in merchant colours - and if in merchant colours what is the best bet on what those might have been? I realise that's a lot of "what ifs", especially for a story that might never have happened. But even if it is a tall tale I'd like to get things as accurate as I can.
I've not done historical models for a long time, mainly doing fantasy and sci-fi stuff for various RPGs and table-tops over the past 25 years. But recently I've decided to do a naval diorama, you can see my thread on that here : I need a merchant ship for this, but there's not many kits available. So I need to convert the Trumpeter 1/350 liberty ship to the older "Sunderland Steamer" class, this was the design used as the basis for the much more numerous and famous Liberty, Victory and Park classes mass produced during the war. As a pre-war merchant vessel "class" there's no real single design for these. Four holds, central boiler and turbines. Super structures varied but mainly had the bridge forward of the funnel and passenger accommodation. I've decided this will be an unspecified vessel of the Blue Funnel line in late '41, she's seen multiple North Atlantic convoys and is now en-route to the Pacific. She has been DEMS armed but not fully re-painted from her line colours, this seems to have been not un-common for lines that had colours which pretty matched the Admiralty rules for north Atlantic convoys. You can see my research and decisions in the thread above.