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  1. Hi, Having no real clue as to where to put this WiP I decided to put it here as it pertains to Diorama related things, more than say civil vehicles or armour. It can't fly either although the subject is definitely aviation-related. So without further ado: the French Air Force (Armée de l'Air) has used quite a variation of GPUs (Ground Power Units) for their aircraft over the years. As I only model aircraft that were operational a very specific era (well one specific year actually - 1983!) the choice was somewhat narrowed but still there's a lot to choose from as even in that one era the French used GPUs of several different sizes, often differing per air base. The Socea GLF-223 was a very common one, used by most Mirage bases. I wanted a couple to put next to my Mirage F1s. Luck (is it though? - see below) would have it: a kit exists for it in 1/72. L'Arsenal of France produces a mixed-media resin and PE kit which I ordered online directly from them. The price, almost twenty euros excluding shipping put me off at first, to me the price seemed rather steep. But after a while, failing to find accurate measurements of the real thing online, I reckoned the resin body would form a nice guideline for further French projects so money was forked and shipment was gotten. It came bagged in a tight-fitting box with photo-copied instructions. First off, I decided to build two and for that I needed to copy the GPU's main body as one l'Arsenal original is expensive enough. Creating parts with resin is still somewhat of a hurdle, so I went for an old-fashioned approach instead and made the part from lime wood and bits of plasticard for side panels. I chose wood mostly because of the opportunities for practice with the medium. Here's a side-by-side comparison of the two parts: and this is the wooden body (already with a coat of Mr Surfacer on it) with the control panel created from leftover PE: Only now did I make an effort to inspect the l'Arsenal kit more closely. And I must say, if the contents of this kit represent their quality standard, this is certainly going to be the last one I'll build. The resin main body is nice enough and the detail is adequately crisp. But that's the only positive. There are a couple of points but I'm especially irked by the incomplete Photo-etch fret. Granted, some parts are 'luxury' items such as ladders to improve your diorama but most parts are essential for the GPU itself. Spot the missing parts! Alas, l'Arsenal gets no recommendation from me. But, we have to move on with the kit: To the rescue then! Till next time. Jay
  2. Having looked at this review by Shar2, what are their products like ? Anyone build a resin ship from them ? The reason I ask is i will be coming into some money in the near future and want to build a Hunt class type II ? I believe there wasn't much difference between the two. My only other option is from Iron Shipwrights in 1/350 for there Hunt class type II. http://www.steelnavy.com/Hunt.htm I already plan on using colorcoats paints as Jamie really knows his stuff. My grand uncle served on L72 ORP Kujawiak from 1940 until her sinking in the Mediterranean in 1942. It will be a rarity for me since i don't have much space but it is important for me to build all of my familial connections. He also served on two U.S.Navy vessels from 1944-1954 one was a landing ship but i cant remember the hull #. The other was CVE-86 USS Sitkoh bay. Anyone do a 1/700 model or a 1/350th model for future build purposes. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Sitkoh_Bay Any info would be very helpful on either of them. I have the hull # for the Landing ship but will have to dig it out of my safe. Dennis
  3. Type III Hunt Class Destroyer L’Arsenal 1:350 The Hunt class, of which eighty six hulls were completed, were modelled on an escort sloop HMS Bittern from 1938, she was 262-foot in length and of 1,190 tons with 3,300 shp on geared turbines for 18¾ knots. She had an armament of three twin Mark XIX mounts for the QF 4-inch gun Mark XVI. The guns were controlled by a Fuse Keeping Clock AA fire control computer when engaging aircraft. The Hunt class was to ship the same armament, plus a quadruple QF 2 pounder mount Mark VII on a hull of the same length but with 8 feet less beam and installed power raised to 19,000 shp to give 27 knots. The first twenty were ordered in March and April 1939. They were constructed to Admiralty standards, as were contemporary destroyers, unlike the frigates, which conformed much more to mercantile practice. The Hunts posed a major design challenge. They would be too short and narrow and of insufficient range for open ocean work, being restricted to the North Sea and Mediterranean Sea. This sacrifice was accepted to give any chance of meeting the requirements. The demanding specifications in an overworked Admiralty design department resulted in a major design miscalculation. When the detailed calculations were done the centre of gravity was lower than expected and the beam was increased. As the first ships were being completed it was found that the design was as much as 70 tons overweight, top heavy, leaving them dangerously deficient in stability. The first twenty ships were so far advanced in construction that it was necessary to remove the 'X' 4-inch gun mount and add 50 tons of permanent ballast. These ships became the Type I group, and had the multiple 2-pounder gun relocated from behind the funnel to the more useful 'X' position. The design deficiency of the Type I was rectified by splitting the hulls lengthwise and adding a 2½ foot section, increasing the beam to 31 ft 6 in and the margin of stability sufficiently for the designed armament to be shipped. These ships became the Type II group, and also had a revised design of bridge with the compass platform extending forwards to the wheelhouse face. Under the 1939 Emergency War Programme 36 more Hunts had been ordered; three of these were completed to the original Type I design. Depth charge stowage could also be increased from 40 in the Type I to 110 in the Type II. For the 1940 building tranche, torpedoes were deemed necessary. The next 27 ships were completed to a revised design, the Type III group, and were intended specifically for Mediterranean work. They sacrificed 'Y' gun for a pair of 21-inch torpedo tubes amidships, the searchlight being displaced to the aft shelter deck as a result. The Type III Hunts could be easily identified as they had a straight funnel with a sloping top and the foremast had no rake. Fourteen of them had their stabiliser fins removed (or not fitted in the first place) and the space used for extra fuel oil. The Model The model, which depicts one of the twenty seven Type III Hunts is packed into a brown cardboard box with a picture of the model on the front. Inside there is the single piece hull, nicely wrapped in bubble-wrap, along with several Ziploc bags containing the rest of the resin parts, and one containing the propellers which look like they’ve been 3D printed. There is also a bag of turned brass parts, produced by MASTER models, a fairly comprehensive sheet of etched brass and a nicely printed decal sheet. Most of the resin parts are still attached to their moulding block, although many in the review sample had come off the blocks and were loose in the bags, so be aware when you remove them. The moulding is very nicely done throughout, although the hull has a large seam that needs to be removed from the whole length of the keel. There also appear to be some areas where the resin has splashed that will need some careful cleaning up. Other than removing the small parts from the moulding blocks, some will also need to be cleaned up of flash, particularly the large items such as the torpedo tubes and main gun shields. The splinter shields on the main deck and superstructure sections is some of the thinnest resin I’ve encountered so care must be taken in not breaking them as the build progresses. Due to the way that the parts have been moulded, the hull can be cleaned up and painted before any other parts need to be glued to the deck, great for those of us that use an airbrush. The separate parts can then be painted and fitted in accordance to the instructions. The assembly begins with the fo’c’sle with the bitts, cleats, capstans, anchors the hawse pipe onto which the Jackstaff is attached and a ventilator. Aft of the breakwater the ready use lockers for A turret are fitted, along with a cable reel, and seven ventilators. The twin 4” gun turret is assembled from three resin parts, the mounting, breeches and gun shield and two turned brass barrels. The bridge structure is assembled next with fitting of two flag lockers, two signal lamps two PE watertight doors at main deck level, two PE life raft racks onto which the resin life rafts are then attached, a PE frame fitted to the front of the bridge, onto which a separate anemometer is attached. On either side of the flag deck, one on either side of the ship is a 20mm Oerlikon mount, each made up from one resin and two PE parts. Aft of the bridge is the main gun director, made from four resin and eight PE parts. The instructions show the director access ladder running from the flag deck to the director access hatch. This doesn’t look right as the director rotates and the ladder would prevent this, so check your references. The completed bridge can then be glued into position and the various bits of deck furniture fitted, these include cleats, ventilators, intakes, inclined ladders and tall deckhouse with PE door and the two PE wing support frames. Aft of the bridge, the foremast is assembled from six PE parts and one resin part; this is then glued into position. Between the main deck and fo’c’sle are two inclined ladders and on the bulkhead there are two more intakes. Just aft there are two more deckhouses, to which two cable reels are attached along with four large intakes, two of which have a support frame between them and four PE access hatches on the deck. There are two more cable reels just forward and outboard of the intake structures. The funnel is a single resin part to which three chimneys are attached along with a PE walkway facing aft. The assembly is then glued into place just aft of the mast supports. The intake structure mentioned earlier also acts as support for the PomPom deck, accessed by two vertical ladders from the main deck and fitted with a four barrelled PomPom made up from six resin parts. The two ships boats are then assembled, each with a separate PE rudder and supported by PE davits, the whaler is then fitted on the starboard side and the motor boat on the port adjacent to the PomPom deck structure. Aft of the PomPom is the twin torpedo tube launcher and the deck is fitted with more cleats, bitts, ventilators, a cable reel and a small crane. The central superstructure block is fitted with a cable reel each side, a vertical ladder and a resin searchlight. The assembly is then glued into place. The aft superstructure is fitted with the second 4” gun turret, several ventilators, four ready use lockers, a short mainmast with brass yardarm, watertight doors, cable reels, five depth-charge reloads on one side and three reloads on the other, plus two intakes per side. Once complete the assembly is glued into position. The quarter deck is then fitted out with more cleats, bitts, and ventilators, along with another cable reel, a capstan, three smoke generators per side, plus two depth charge rails, each made from a resin part and a folded PE frame before being attached to their positions on the stern. Just aft of the aft superstructure is a bandstand for a 20mm Oerlikon mount and either side of this there are two depth charge throwers with stands for three reloads each and their associated cranes. Since this kit has a full hull option only there are parts for the lower hull to fit, these include the two brass propeller shafts, resin A frame supports/bearing shafts and two beautifully rendered 3D printed propellers, along with the rudder aft, whilst forward there are the two stabiliser fins, one each side and the ASDIC dome forward. The decal sheet provides enough numbers and designation letters for any of the 27 Type III’s, but there are no nameplates or any other markings included so you will need to source these yourself should you really want to. Conclusion This is my first look at a full kit from L’Arsenal and I am quite impressed. Yes it’s a little rougher than those from another company that deals mainly with British subjects, and will take little more work to clean up and build, but at the end of the day it is a Hunt Class in 1:350 and we should applaud L’Arsenal for releasing it. I know it has been selling very well for them, as it took quite a while for a review sample to be made available. Highly recommend to the more experienced modeller. Review sampled courtesy of
  4. L'arsenal is to release in 2018 a 1/48th Fenwick TM 35 carrier aircraft tractor - ref. 48-14 Source: http://www.larsenal.com/fenwick-tm-35-1-48-c2x26325151 V.P.
  5. Mirage 2000P Fuerza Aera del Peru ( 1/48 ESCI kit version with the corrected production fin) FCM decals Neomega resin cockpit Eduard PE and masks Master pitot l'Arsenal fuselage pylons, wing pylons, SAMP 250 bombs Kinetic 1700L tanks Revell Matra Magic IIs WIP here you go! from the fantastic Mirage group build, still running till Oct 29th.... first a clean one for the purists: and fully loaded thanks for any comments and suggestions! Cheers, Werner
  6. In stock in the shop today, lots of new kits and accessories from L'Arsenal including HMS Fearless, HMS Sheffield, HMS Glory and loads of vehicles in 1/700 and 1/350. A wide range of accessories in both scales with more new items to be added shortly. http://www.starlijng-models.co.uk Mike
  7. R81 ROYAL NETHERLANDS NAVY AIRCRAFT CARRIER HR.MS. KAREL DOORMAN Short History: Type: Light Fleet Carrier. Admiralty Job Number J3697 / Yard Number 1126 She was laid down on 3 December 1942, by the yard Cammel Laird & Co Ltd. Birkenhead. Completed: 17 January 1945 Service Record: HMS Venerable Royal Navy 17 May 1945 - 28 May 1948 March 1945-March 1947: British Pacific Fleet (BPF). Liberation of Hong Kong, repatriating thousands of former prisoners, soldiers and equipment, between Fremantle, Bombay, Batavia and Singapore. In 1948 sold to the Dutch Government. ----- Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman Royal Netherlands Navy 28 May 1948 - 8 October 1968 1955-1958 extensive modernization, at Wilton-Feijenoord Shipyard in Holland. During this time she was fitted with a new steam catapult, an angled deck, and mirror landing sight, new island, massive mast and funnel, also ultra modern radar equipment, air search, height search, target acquisition, navigation and carrier controlled approach radar systems. These were all delivered by the famous electronic company Holland Signaal. (Now Thales) General information after major refit: Length: 214 meter. – Width: 34.80 meter. – Draft: 7.30 meter. – Displacement: 13800 ton. Two engine rooms, producing 40.000 HP- 2 screws – 1 rudder, – Max.speed 24.5 knots Armament: 10x 40 mm Bofors AA. – Crew: 1500 including air group. Air Group 1958-1962 Grumman Avengers, Hawker Siddely Sea Hawk-Sikorsky HO4-S3 (S55) Air Groups 1962-1968 Grumman S-2A Tracker- Sikorsky HSS-1N SeaBat. With only anti-submarine Trackers and Helicopters, the carrier became a Carrier Vessel Submarines (CVS). The carrier took part in many NATO exercises and was mainly operational in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and the Caribbean waters. One exception was a “Show the Flag“world deployment in 1960, lasting 7 months. During this trip the carrier transported next to its own air group also 12 Hawker Hunters (partly dismantled in the hangar) to the former Netherlands New Guinea, to boost the Dutch defences against the Indonesian so called Confrontation Politics. In 1968, she was severely damaged by a major fire in the engine room and subsequently sold to Argentina. “ARA 25 de Mayo” In service: 1 September 1969. A refit took place at the Wilton Feijenoord Shipyard. On her maiden trip to Argentina, the ship had her first encounter with the prototype of the British Sea Harrier, landing on her deck for a possible (ordering) interest from the Argentine Navy Officials. During the Falkland War (1982) the carrier was flagship of Carrier Task Force (CTF 79 /01-03 may 1982) and was indeed ordered by the Naval High Command to attack the British carrier battle group, after the precise location was detected by Grumman Trackers, operating from the carrier. Due to the fact, that a night strike was not possible by the A-4Q Skyhawk, and knowing to be detected, the British battle group moved to the east and out of range from the Argentines. In the year 2000, she was towed to Alang (India) to be broken up for scrap. The model, scale 1/400 Combination of Heller (Arromanches) plastic kit, enhanced with a resin set, etch set and decal set by www.Naval Models.com. These extensive sets make it possible to construct the carrier after the major refit. (Angled deck, new island, and new radar suite.) Construction: This multimedia kit needs a lot of TLC, especially connecting the resin to the plastic over large areas. A large etch set with radars, main mast, propellers, rotor blades, tail rotors, everything is included. Basically, the same items that were used during the real major refit Length in centimeter 56 / Width in centimeters 8+. The model is built full hull and placed in a wooden casing. This casing is then filled with molding powder and left alone for shrinking. After the water is dampened out of the powder, the difference (3mm) is then filled with liquitex gel and sculptured with a little spoon. This gel hardens out after 24 hours. Then it is studying the water pictures, to make the final choice on the colors. Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman entering Toulon harbor, 03 november 1967 The Diorama dated 03 November 1967: In October 1967, the Dutch Navy concentrated a Task Force that included eleven ships, including the carrier (flagship), destroyers, frigates, submarines, tanker and Fleet Air Arm assets for naval operations on the High Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The entry of the carrier into Toulon anchorage was the idea for the diorama (See text and pictures) www.vlaggeschipsmaldeel5.nl/html/2e_najaarsreis_1967 By arrival, two French Naval Tugboats are assisting the carrier to its anchorage. The carriers’ air group, consisting out of Squadron 4 and 8, are in full force (show the flag) ranged on the deck. Starboard and Port anchor are both “presented” and ready to fall in case of emergency or during the coming anchoring procedure. Lockheed Neptune (SP-2H/214) from Squadron 320 is making a low fly-past over the rear deck of the carrier. (Aircraft connected inside the plexiglas dustcover.) Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman entering the harbor of Toulon, 3 November 1967. The complete air group 12x Trackers and 8x HSS-1N are ranged on deck. Assisted by the French naval tugs Robuste and Hercules. The complete flight deck, including the island with flight control station, navigation and admiral bridge. Main mast with clearly visible in the top of the mast, the white TACAN (Tactical Airborne Navigation), target aquisition scanner, the large air warning scanners, the front height indicator radar from the Holland Signaal electronic company. Starboard and Port anchors are "Presented" ready for use in case of emergency or by the anchoring procedure. The naval tug "Hercules" is in the process of hauling in the towline from the carrier. The naval tug "Robuste" in position on the port side. Points of interest: The oil rig, salute battery, HSS-1N with folded tail and rotor blades, batsman position on the flight deck, including escape netting, and the stowed accomodation ladder under the the salute battery position. Clearly visible also the white life-rafts. Points of interest: Batsman position, salute battery platforms, oil rig, 2x HSS-1N Sikorsky ready for take off if necessary. On both sides of the elavator 2x HSS-1N with folded tail and rotor blades. The arrester wires 5 and 6 are repositioned, so that the elavator can be used in harbor. Points of interest: Flight control tower, carrier controlled approach radar (CCA), deck tractors, the port and starboard deck landing mirror sight,, the AA Bofors, deck winches on back side of the island for the handling of the derrick. Tracker "160" is lashed to the catapult. Notice full national markings and navigation lights including tail beacons on aircraft. Close up of the fast Blue and Red motorboats, the crash tender, deck landing mirror sight and the Trackers and HSS-1N Sikorsky's. Also the outrigger under the Blue motorboat in stowed position. Points of interest: The "Blue and Red" fast motorboats. The crash tender and the HF-MF communication antennas, connected in between the two mast. Under the AA gunplatform is the stowed accomodation ladder. On the side of the island can be seen the stowed derrick. This was used in harbor, or during transferring, or receiving oil. The winches to handle the derrick can be seen directly behind the island structure. Points of interest: The two grey height indicator radars for 360% coverage. In connection with the radar scan from the large black air warnings radars the operators know exactly height and position of incoming targets. Flag indicators: Command flag 1 star (Commodore on board) French flag (Visiting Toulon) Pilot on board and a speed indicator for other shipping in the area. All radars are in the "zero" position and turned off. Living near the WF dockyard at the time, each sweep of the big scanners in harbor would interfere with your personnel radio receiver at home. (1960's) Only the sea navigation radar is rotating. This is positioned between the front height scanner and the ADF equipment. Before heading to the French Naval Air Base Hyeres, Lockheed Neptune SP-2H "214" makes a low fly-past over the carrier. The SP-2H Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft (LRMPA)Lockheed Neptune from the Royal Netherlands Navy Air Arm (MLD). Kit and Accessories: The complete kit is from Naval Models, http://www.navalmodels.com/producten/koninklijke_marine_1_400/ Grumman Trackers are from Larsenal (www.larsenal.com) French naval harbor tugs (Acharné Class) from Larsenal Winches, watertight doors, firefighting reels, from Larsenal Crew is from North Star, via Larsenal Lockheed Neptune is from Larsenal Railing is from Tauro (www.tauro.com) Scratch built. Books: British Aircraft Carriers by David Hobbs The Colossus-Class Aircraft carriers 1944-1972 by Neil Mccart Wings of the Malvinas by Santiago Rivas Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman by Bert Brand Verguisd en geprezen by LTZ1 Willem Geneste. Op de grens van zee en lucht (Lockheed Neptune F.C. Van Oosten) Website: www.vlaggeschipsmaldeel5.nl (Webmaster Steven Visser) Paints and airbrush: Revell, Xtra Color, Humbrol, Revell Master Class airbrush. Water: Molding powder, Liquitex Medium Gloss Gel, water paints for the color. Enjoy. Regards, Dirk.
  8. Mulberry Harbour 1944 L'Arsenal 1:350 D-Day; 6th June 1944, the Allies finally start the assault on occupied Europe in order to push back the occupying German forces. Of the many landing beaches along the Normandy coastline two were to play a bigger role, after the initial landings had taken place to secure the beachheads. Initially, beach assault landings had to be made as all the docks and ports were held and dominated by the enemy; so the only way to get the troops, their armour and supplies ashore was by using large Landing Ship Tanks (LST2's) to make a direct assault onto the beaches. The problem with the beach landing is the time it took to offload before the LST's could withdraw from the beach. Each LST2 could carry as many as 22 tanks or 33 trucks and the turnaround at the beach could take an hour or more; with the implications that the ship could become stuck until the next tide twelve hours later. The solution was for the allies to construct their own artificial harbours and assemble them as near to the beachhead as possible but with enough depth even at low tides to maintain continual operations. The intention for having artificial harbours, which were given the codename "Mulberry", was so that the craft could arrive, offload and depart without the limitations of the tides. Two locations were identified; one off Gold Beach at Arromanches (Mulberry B ) and the other at Omaha Beach (Mulberry A ) situated 20km to the west. Within the confines of each Mulberry Harbour there were three 'ports', the main port, also known as the General Service Pier, was a series of up to seven pontoons connected in line to form a long jetty which was positioned east-west and used to take small ships such as coasters etc. The second port was primarily for LST2's and designated the LST2 pier and this consisted of two spud pontoons assembled in a 'T' formation with the head of the T facing the shoreline. The third pier was a smaller section of 3 pontoons in line, running north-south and was much closer into the shore which, due to the lesser depth available, could only be used as a stores or barge pier for smaller craft. All three piers within each harbour were then connected to the shore by a long line of floating bridge sections; with as many as 44 in a single link. Once the beachheads had been established and secured the assembly of the two Mulberry Harbours commenced; the first vehicles were able to be offloaded and driven to the shore by 9 June, just three days after the initial invasion. The Kits To make up a model or diorama of any of the ports within the Mulberry Harbour will need one or more kits from L'Arsenal's Mulberry Harbour series. Each kit is comprised of resin main parts, with some having photo-etch detail parts. The pieces are supplied in small zip-lock type clear bags and packed within a sturdy white cardboard box with top lid opening. Some of the items are very small and fragile and so the sturdiness of the packaging is paramount, especially if they are going to be stashed for a while before building. These kits are produced in resin with very crisp and accurate details. Two types of pontoon pier assemblies are available; a standard spud pontoon and a LST offloading pontoon. The difference between the two being the addition of trellis work and ramp parts with the LST pontoon. Other associated components would be required if one wanted to construct a full Mulberry Pier setup (an example of which is illustrated at the bottom of this review) and these can be purchased separately from L'Arsenal. This means that any one, or all, of the three ports/pier types can be built just by adding more sections. I have broken this review down into stages, each describing one of the kits from the Mulberry Harbour series. Spud Pontoon The first unit, MB 350-01 Mulberry Spud Pontoon is the main platform and is common to all three ports/pier units. These pontoons, with spuds (legs) fitted at each corner that could be raised and lowered to compensate for the tidal range, where the main functioning unit the harbour. Once in position ships and landing craft could berth to them and offload their tanks, vehicles, personnel and stores at any time of day or night and without concerns of high or low tides affecting the offloading process. MB 350-01 Spud Pontoon set The kit consists of 46 resin pieces including the pontoon base, spuds (raising and lowering legs), spud machinery spaces and many fittings and components to make up the spud platform. A sheet of photo-etch containing 45 items for the finer details is also included. The main resin components are the pontoon base, and this depicts a very good representation of the 200ft x 60ft real thing; two Spud machinery houses and bridge spans (one having an armoured control house on top); four spuds(legs); four 20mm gun positions; an electric warping winch, plus various anchors, cleats and liferafts etc. The p.e. sheet contains parts for the railings, ladders, gun platform supports, cargo handling derricks, anchor crane plus the trellis supports for the liferafts Each piece has been crafted to a very fine detail; the pontoon deck is particularly well done with all the deck plates and mooring points scribed to a high degree. There is a very small amount of flash present but this is common with short-run resin moulds and should clean off quite easily with a fine file or wet&dry paper. The Spud Pontoon kit can be built up to a nice little stand alone unit on its own but imagine how it could look in with the whole harbour complex assembled alongside! LST2 Pier The next pontoon kit in the set is the LST Pier, which is the specialised pontoon for receiving the LST2's alongside. There were only two of these actual pontoons in use, one at Mulberry A and the other at Mulberry B. As such, you would only need this kit if you were building the LST2 pier. MB 350-04 LST Pier set This kit has all the components of the spud pontoon (MB 350-01) plus the additional items to make up the ramp offloading assembly, making a total of 60 resin pieces and two photo-etched sheets. These additional components consist of a timber platform, a Bailey Bridge ramp, two side gantries; all of witch make up the elevated ramped platform and hinged outrigger trackways; plus a set of Baker Fenders which were fenders fitting along the side of the pontoon specially adapted for the larger LST's coming alongside. The second p.e. sheet has the detail parts for the platform supports and Bailey Bridge sides. When the LST is berthed alongside, the trackways would be lowered by pulleys, attached to the side gantries, onto the LST's upper deck therefore allowing the simultaneous offloading of the vehicles from the upper deck whilst the vehicles in the tank deck were offloading via the bow ramp. LST Buffer Pontoons In order to allow the LST's to offload their vehicles onto a pontoon, via their bow ramp, a floating pontoon with a sloping front edge similar to a beach incline was required. The buffer pontoon also needed to have the ability to depress/submerge under the LST's bow weight and the whole whole unit was required to act as a buffer between the spud pontoon and the LST's bows. There are two buffer pontoons in each kit, one for either side of the LST pontoon. MB 350-03 LST Buffer Pontoons Extension Pontoons The full working length of a port; whether LST pier, Stores pier or barge pier, can be extended by adding further Spud Pontoons in line; however, sometimes only a short extension may be required. In such a case an extension pontoon, called an Intermediate Pierhead Pontoon or Baker Dolphin would be used; they were 80ft (24.4m) in length as compared to the full Spud Pontoon of 200ft (61m) MB 350-02 Extension Pontoons There are two extension pontoons per kit plus three bridge/pontoon joining ramps which vehicles would drive over to get to the next pontoon or floating causeway. The pontoons in my kit have approx 5mm of excess resin below the representative waterline which appears to show them in their 'lightened' configuration, when being towed across the Channel. To have them shown in position would require that 5mm to be sanded off so that the pontoon was settled at 6' 9" (2m) draught depth which would make them sit at the same height as the other pontoon bases. I don't know whether this additional depth is intentional or over fill but the pieces look to have been specially cast that way. Floating Causeways Once the vehicles have offloaded from the ship or LST2 onto the pontoons they need to get to the shore which could be a mile or more away. To achieve this floating causeways were constructed and joined together and these formed an extended roadway to the shore. These roadways, once correctly assembled and tensioned with mooring cables could allow a medium tank to travel up to 40mph (64km) along them. The causeways would be kept afloat by being seated on a floating airtight caison known as a Beetle. When the causeways were moved into position, after being towed across the Channel, each end would need to be raised for them to be moved over the Beetle and then lowered into position. This was accomplished with by fitting an Erection Tank (top of photo below) underneath the causeway. Each extension tank had air cocks and flooding valves that would let air in and out thereby raising and lowering the causeway into position over the beetle. The majority of floating causeways were standard 80ft (24.4m) length spans but some were of the telescopic type that could be shortened from 80ft down to 71ft 3in (21.7m). These telescopic bridge spans were primarily utilised between the Spud Pontoon and the LST pontoon; between a Spud Pontoon and an Intermediate Pierhead Pontoon, and also as the first roadway link of the floating causeways. MB 350-13 Mulberry Floating Causeways Each kit contains resin pieces consisting of four standard length causeways, one telescopic length causeway, five beetles, one erection tank and a set of (tiny) endplate clamps known as 'keepers'. Both causeway types are made up of a roadway section and two sidebridge spans and these would be seated on a beetle at each end. The erection tank would normally only be found in position during the assembly or re-positioning of the roadway sections. Shore Ramp A solution was also needed at the shore side of the causeway so that vehicles could drive of the roadway onto a ramp facility to the beach/hard standing. This would need to have the ability to be manoeuvrable with the tide but also maintain a rigid transition way between the roadway and the beach The shore ramp also contained two SLUG boats and two mooring shuttles. The SLUG boats were used for towing the mooring shuttles and were fitted with a warping drum, of 6cwt load, and 370ft (113m) of circular steel wire rope (S.W.R.). These boats were 20ft x 8ft (6m x 2.5m) with a draught of only 2ft (0.6m) and propulsion was by two 8h.p Austin engines with reduction gear to two shafts. The mooring shuttles were 26ft 9in by 7ft 9in (8.2m x 2.36m) had a cable drum and two kite anchors fitted which would be used to secure the shore ramp to the sea bed once in position. MB 350-05 Shore Ramp The shore ramp kit consists of a resin ramp unit, two SLUG boats, two mooring shuttles, four kite anchors, two half-ton winches, an erection tank and a set of three 'keepers'. There is also a p.e. sheet containing railings and SLUG boat davits, plus side and stern railings for the SLUG boat. An instruction sheet accompanies each kit and is printed in picture format, with additional guidelines in French and English text. Each component is printed in a separate colour which helps understanding of parts fit quite well. An example page is displayed below. Conclusion These kits are beautifully designed and cast in high quality resin, with most having additional fine work supplied on photo-etch sheet. The workmanship in the detail is commendable and each kit is worth getting just for the level of detail provided. L'Arsenal are to be congratulated for making this Mulberry Harbour available in small modular components, which not only keeps it simple but affordable as you only have to buy what you need as you need it. The construction can be as simple or as complex as you want it; with the decision being yours as to whether to have one kit or get the whole set and make an astounding diorama - such as the one below that was on display at SMW2014. Images courtesy of L'Arsenal. All the kits described in this review, with the exception of the two display images at the end, have been sourced from my own collection. Highly recommended
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