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  1. I’ve always loved GHQ’s ‘Micronaut’ line of 1/2400 scale warships. Intended to be used as wargame counters, these models are simple to assemble and ridiculously tiny, but the detail on them is first rate! This one is one of the Japanese navy’s ill-fated light aircraft carriers, the IJN Ryujo. I started by cleaning up an old Nichimo 1/200 U-Boat stand. Taking a sheet of high quality artist’s drawing paper intended for watercolors, I traced and cut out an outline of the ship. After gently rolling the paper over a pen to create a lightly undulating “sea”, I lightly attached it to the base with dots of cyanoacrylate (super glue). Once I was happy with the positioning, the whole paper got a soaking with the cyano. This fixed it securely in place and made it rock hard. Then I trimmed the paper and sanded the sides smooth to integrate the sea seamlessly onto the base. The sea base was painted with a coat of Tamiya Royal Blue (X-3) acrylic with enamel paints for the wake. The sides were then shot with Tamiya Desert Yellow (XF-59) acrylic followed with a streaky coating of Winsor & Newton Burnt Sienna artist’s oil (with just a touch of Burnt Umber) to simulate the look of a wood base. Now back to the ship! To depict the Ryujo as she appeared at the time of her loss at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons on August 24, 1942, the model was painted in Tamiya Kure Naval Arsenal Gray acrylic (XF-75). Then I applied the decal to the previously glossed flight deck. The end result is quite effective – and SO much easier than painting all this would have been! To complete the paint job, I added small details on the boats and funnels followed by a thin dark gray oil wash over the gray acrylic to outline details and deepen recesses. The ship was then attached to the ocean base with Soft Gel Medium, a clear viscous polymer used by artists as a thickener for acrylic paints. It works great as an adhesive, too. As with all Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carriers, the Ryujo carried multiple masts to support communication antenna wires. These masts rotated down to horizontal during combat or flight operations. Matching the dimensions of a scaled down drawing of the vessel, I cut the three smaller units from brass wire and attached them to the ship with polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue. To replicate the main mast’s lattice structure, I repurposed a type 13 radar from a 1/700 scale Japanese destroyer photoetch set, cutting the piece down and attaching it to a wire cut to the appropriate length along with a yard and antennae spreaders. As a final step, I installed copper wire rigging taken from an old coil. This stuff is about as fine as human hair, but even so it is fairly heavy for 1/2400 scale. I added just a representative sampling of the ship’s rig to keep from overwhelming the little model. The tiny IJN Battle Ensign is a Peddinghaus decal from their 1/1250 scale “Marineflaggen Japan” set. And done!
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