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U-Boat-hunting WW1 Freighter: Lindberg (Round-2) 1/390 'Q-Ship'


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Greetings all.

 

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Got Round-2's re-pop of the old Lindberg "Q-Ship" last Christmas, and in a fit of nostalgic juvenile enthusiasm, decided to give it a little love. As a ship model it's pretty atrocious---it's Lindberg, after all, so not only is there little (or wrong) detail, but the hull and decks are bizarrely truncated, with what should be the 'hold' areas largely missing---but I decided to do what I could to 'dress her up' as the sort of nondescript workaday pre-WW1 freighter of the sort that genuinely furnished the bulk of the Royal Navy's U-Boat-hunting 'Special Service vessels'---better known as 'Q' ships---during the Great War.


I give you the 3200 GT collier Atholl Star (of my own made-up 'Green Diamond Line'), laid down about 1905, and with a hard-used but completely unremarkable career before being caught in the waters off the west of Ireland in 1917.


('Dressed up with Tom's Modelworks etched railings, doors and ladders, and Alliance Modelworks' gorgeous etched ratlines. Rigging a combination of EZ-Line and good old-fashioned stretched sprue)

 

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To be continued....

Edited by thorfinn
Photobucket betrayed us all....
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Part 2  - When the U-boat strikes....

 

The box says 'Q-Ship'...so Q-Ship it is.

 

For those unfamiliar with the term, the Germans' name for the vessels---'U-Boot-Fallen,' or 'U-Boat traps'---pretty well sums it up. They were mostly hard-used civilian ships...fishing smacks, tramp steamers and sloops...that were taken into RN service and fitted out with whatever armaments were available---and could be concealed. Plying the waters where U-Boats were active, they would cruise along on their plodding courses, hoping to lure a German submarine to attack with the promise of a tempting 'easy kill.'


With extraordinary courage...and unbelievable patience...the Q-Ships would often steer into torpedo tracks, or slow their speed to knowingly take gunfire. (They typically carried cargoes of timber or other buoyant materials, to help...or so it was hoped...keep them afloat.) 'Panic parties' would take to the lifeboats, giving the appearance that the crew was abandoning their doomed vessel. Usually wishing to save valuable torpedoes, the attacking U-Boat would generally surface, hoping to 'finish off' their target with deck-gun fire. The steel-cajoned Captain of the Q-Ship...usually alone on the bridge...would bide his time, and wait for that perfect moment when the U-Boat crept just a little too close...


First...always...the 'Red Duster' of the merchant fleet would be hauled down...and the White Ensign of a British warship run up in its place.


Then false bulkheads and hull-plates might open...'false' crates and lifeboats be pushed aside...or harmless-looking pieces of 'ordinary deck machinery' might lose covers or false end-pieces to reveal guns. torpedoes, and even depth-charges. Opening a sudden and quick-firing 'broadside' of as many weapons as could be brought to bear, they'd aim for the waterline and the base of the conning tower, hoping to fatally hole the U-Boat...often, before their own ship went down....


Launched as Atholl Star, 'my' ship was re-christened HMS Burnham Wood when taken into RN service. Weapons depicted are pretty 'typical' of real Q-ships' fitting-out, based on historical accounts. All weapons positions...and the 'ruses' depicted to conceal them...are based (broadly) on authentic accounts and /or photographs. (You can't make this stuff up....)


(Armament mostly courtesy of Mirage 1/400 Wickes-class 'spares')

 

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Thanks for having a look. For those interested, build-log is here.

 

Edited by thorfinn
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Tis a veritable silk purse and to create that amount of detail is remarkable in it's ingenuity. One tiny piece of critique though unless it's my shoddy eyesight and I can't see them; the red diagonals of Northern Ireland in the Union Jack on the ensign are missing.

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19 minutes ago, Darby said:

the red diagonals of Northern Ireland in the Union Jack on the ensign are missing.

GOOD eye...and entirely my fault. I did not look carefully at the image I used to print it.

'T shall be fixed....

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Thanks, gents, fun it was...when I wasn't trying to 'hinge' things about half the size of a fingernail!

Just thought I'd throw in here that today happens to be the 100-year anniversary of renowned real 'Q-Ship' commander Gordon Campbell's sinking of SM U-83 by his ship HMS Farnborough...for which action he was awarded the Victoria Cross. A heartfelt tip of the cap to all those brave seamen---many of them 'civilians'---who went to sea knowing they were supposed to be targets. It surely deserves to be remembered.

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Hello,
It is superb.
A great idea served by an excellent achievement.
I'm a fan.
(I will now look for this model to try to get closer to what you did ... poor me.)
Marc
 

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Thanks, gentlemen. It's a great basic kit to use as the basis for something different...since one doesn't feel the least bit reluctant to poke a hole or lop a bit off here and there. Almost any change or addition cannot help but be an improvement.

Cheers

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Fantastic. I do mean everything. The model, pictures, explanation. A model with a soul.

Regards, orion

 

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  • 1 year later...
2 hours ago, lars_opland said:

I would love to see this, Thorfinn. Any chance of getting the photos hosted at Flickr or somewhere?

 

Cheers, -Lars

Thanks for your interest, Lars! (Always heartening to see a thread rise from the dead!)

 

I shall see what I can do. (I'll quote you again so you receive a notification.)

Cheers

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14 hours ago, lars_opland said:

I would love to see this, Thorfinn. Any chance of getting the photos hosted at Flickr or somewhere?

 

Cheers, -Lars

 

1 hour ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

Id love to see this to bad the Photobucket Ransom things have replaced your photo’s.

Thanks again for the interest, gents! It was a fun project.

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Thank You, Thorfinn! I'm an old modeler while this is an old model kit I heard about but don't remember ever seeing. Aurora did one of the German raider "Atlantis", IIRC, the molds for which were lost somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean...or so the story goes....

 

Cheers, -Lars

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