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A few weeks ago I started building a 1/700 resin & PE kit of Ark Royal 2, the pioneering First World War seaplane carrier. However, I think it’s fair to say that, as a committed 1/350 man when it comes to ships, I am finding the scale a real challenge. The kit is great, and I will continue to build it... but I find that 45 minutes in teeny-weeny über-delicate brass-land is enough - and when I do achieve things I find that it pays to let everything really cure and stabilise before moving on. Anyway, as those of you who’ve been kind enough to look into that build already know, I have been interspersing WW1 pioneers operating flimsy Shorts & Sopwith machines with experiments with the next Ark, the WW2 aircraft carrier. I have now decided that this deserves a separate thread, before it all gets too confusing. So here we are. This will be the 1/350 Merit kit, released 2 or 3 years ago to a fair amount of excitement from us RN fans, especially RN carrier fans. We understand that market forces mean that yet another Yamato or Bismarck will sell like hot cakes... but even so. I am sure I’m not the only person who finds it utterly weird that model companies will invest in the wherewithal to produce 1/350 kits of, say, Graf Zeppelin (never finished) and even Peter Strasser (barely even started, and never officially named), but not of Illustrious, whose aircraft changed the Mediterranean war in a couple of hours. Still... Nazis sell. So a mainstream kit of a British carrier is something to be celebrated! The Merit kit is... very good, certainly, though not completely without errors. Definitely the basis of a good model. The game changer for me, however, is the Tetra Modelworks detail up set, which takes us to a different league in detail. I have also obtained some other after-market RN detail goodies - notably from North Star: - HACS Mk.IV directors (the Merit ones are basic, to put it mildly, and have a radar which was never actually fitted before Ark’s demise); - winches (to populate the boat bays etc, which are devoid of anything much by way of detail); - RN anchors (one of the most obvious Merit mistakes is that the anchors are much too small); - RN bridge equipment (of which there is none); and - paravanes (US cruiser paravanes, but they’ll look close enough when stowed). This will depict Ark at a very specific moment, at about 1900 on 26 May 1941, as she turned into wind to launch 15 Swordfish of 810, 818 & 820 Naval Air Squadrons on a torpedo attack against Bismarck - the attack that jammed Bismarck’s rudder and sealed her fate. The Merit kit includes 5 Swordfish (plus 4 Skuas & 4 Fulmars, none of which will be used for this build), and I have ordered 2 boxes of Trumpeter Stringbags, which come in batches of 6 (and are by all accounts essentially identical to Merit’s, which is hardly a shock). Anyway. For some discussion of colour schemes and stuff, plus my early test runs with Tetra’s wing fold PE on a Fulmar, see the old thread. This evening, along with a very frustrating session of clumsiness in 1/700, I did manage to get the undercarriage on my test Swordfish (test because I’m playing with ideas for how to improve it... like maybe rigging it): here seen upside down.. ...and here resting on her own two feet: Even this is a right performance: Merit provide the u/c in two parts - a V-shaped part that fits into two holes in the fuselage, and a straight piece with the wheel. Getting them to line up is not simple - though eventually I landed on a technique that seems to work, namely gluing the V-strut first, and only then adding the straight oleo/wheel section. This design means that getting the aircraft level is a challenge - dry fitting completely impractical! The wheels are too thick, I think; I’d already reduced them before fitting, but once everything’s dry I’ll experiment with getting them a bit better yet. But basically it’s a pretty credible Swordfish (or will be with a second wing!), for which kudos to Merit. The next experimental Stringbag will be a folded one. Anyway. We’re off. In due course I’ll show you some more of what comes in the various boxes. More soon Crisp
The latest shipments from both Infini Model and Tetra Modelworks are on their way to Sovereign Hobbies. Amongst the new products from each are the following maritime delights! Infini Model's new set IM-535009R1 is a comprehensive detail set including wooden deck for Tamiya's Imperial Japanese Navy I-400 Submarine http://village.photos/images/user//images/user/483a5850-3d62-4900-8176-6062170ac842/6ce1933c-8522-437f-a8e2-8e3868a4df40.jpg For modellers who prefer to stick with the Royal Navy, Trumpeter's 1/700 HMS Queen Elizabeth battleship gets the detail-up treatment with SE-70018