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S-boat coming alongside


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This is the Airfix 1/72 E-boat from 1975. I spent some time researching this type of boat, and looking for an opportunity for a small diorama. I found an interesting dockyard scene with a travelling crane and this gave me an idea to use a Dapol crane and railway workmen figures in front of a low-relief corrugated warehouse. I would also use some of the Revell German Navy crew I had purchased previously. I started off cutting a dock area from foam board as the foundation to work on. This was set aside for the glue to set and I airbrushed all parts while still on the runners with the light grey chosen to represent RAL 9002 Grauweiß. I then turned my attention to the crew figures. All of the men in summer parade dress, standing at ease, were cut from their bases along with two officers and one of each of every other pose. I also cut the kit supplied figures (five in all), from the runners and set about painting all of them. They were primed in black and then airbrushed with the skin tones before serious brushwork commenced. I continually flitted backwards and forwards, tackling the basic colours, fine detail and retouching previously painted areas.

As far as assembly goes, I followed the instruction sequence, omitting stage 1 to waterline the vessel. Masking tape helped to hold the hull together as the glue set to minimise gapping. I faced the dock wall with Superquick paper D8 Grey Sandstone Walling, using PVA to adhere to the foam-board. Some Vallejo Plastic Putty was used to fill the gaps at the prow; I use this as it can be smoothed into the gap with a finger thereby practically eliminating the need to sand smooth when set. Back to the dock: I cut a piece of old flexible track to length then purchased two packs of Wills SS204 Granite Sets. This was cut in strips for the four foot of the track and apron to the track for the travelling crane and the remainder of the dock surface. This was airbrushed, then Humbrol Enamel Washes AV201 Black and AV206 Blue Grey were brushed on, thinned with white spirit.

For the backdrop I wanted a really simple warehouse type of building. The floor plan/outline was determined by the area uncovered by the granite setts. For the foundation walls I used corrugated card and cladded this with Wills SS230 Concrete Blocks for the lower walls and SS216 Corrugated Iron for the upper section of the walls and the doors. I painted the area behind the doors black so I could have the doors slightly open. I stuck a length of square section extruded rod along the top of the building. H section rod was used for the door runner. Normal rod was cut and bent for the drainpipe and Ratio industrial fittings (vent covers and cocks) were put on the facing wall.

My attention then turned to the S-boat. One of the transparencies was short shot on the runner so I substituted a small length of the runner. The deck was airbrushed though the paint was quite thick and needed thinning. I brush painted the upper surfaces of the cabins. I believe the torpedoes are the G7a type. Assembly was quite straightforward provided the parts were carefully cleaned up. Some stanchions broke as I trimmed them, but they were stuck back together and are unnoticeable from the others.

Returning to the build after my summer holiday, I prepared for the decals with a brushing of Humbrol Clear Gloss Varnish AC7431 over the areas to receive the decals. I also carefully fitted the self-adhesive Imperial Navy flag, having first converted the central cross to a swastika. As a foundation for the river area of the diorama I painted Winsor & Newton Designer’s Gouache Winsor Blue and Yellow Ochre mixed with Artisan water mixable oil colour 465: Payne's Grey. I then mixed Humbrol Powders AV0005 Chrome Oxide, AV0006 Iron Oxide and AV0008 Rust with Humbrol Enamel Wash AV210 Rust, thinned with white spirit and applied not too heavily (I hope – I did not want her to represent an old rust-bucket) down the hull and on various parts of the superstructure. I then spread clear bathroom sealant over the river and sculpted this with a pallet knife, sculpting the area between the boat and the dock first, positioning the boat, then applying and sculpting the sealant outboard of the boat. Finally I tightened some of the rigging as I didn’t like the sag.

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Edited by Ratch
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Thanks gents, I should correct something; the dockside crane is not the Dapol (ex-Airfix) one. I'm now not sure where it originates from as I reclaimed it from my old model railway. I have a Dapol Travelling Crane and the jib is different.

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Nice scene, but a trifle of a language quibble. "Docking" is for ferry boats or major underwater repairs. What your scene shows is "coming alongside the jetty". Also, if they're that close, the shore party would be fallen out and ready to handle the lines the boat's crew will be throwing them any moment now.

I think it also needs a waterfront cat lurking about somewhere.

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Very nice indeed. A few nit picks regarding coming alongside which 28yrs on the grey crinkly stuff caught my attention straight away but I'm not going to let them detract from an excellent diorama and doing a great job on that old Airfix classic. BZ on that one.

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Cheers, some elements have worked well and some could be improved - I guess its all part of the learning process, and the day I'm completely happy with a build will be the day to give up - its the quest to make something really decent that keeps me practicing :winkgrin:

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