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Ex-FAAWAFU

Sink the Bismarck! HMS Ark Royal, 26 May 1941

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Observers, maybe.  Us Pilots had a picture of a clock drawn in crayon.  
 

 

[Just thought I’d get that in before we’re visited by representatives of the No-Stick Directional Consultants & Allied Trades (NOSDICAT)]

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In case you were wondering, work on Ark continues, but there is nothing worth taking photos of.  Last night I spent building two more of the Tetra brass gantries that supported the large lowering aerial masts (4 per side) - a trip to Fiddly McFiddlyface’s home town of Fiddlesville, but safely completed.
 

Plus starting work on a new area of the ship, namely the cable deck.  Thus far it consists purely of removing much of Merit’s styrene detail in preparation for replacing it with Tetra’s ‘wooden’ deck and lots of brass.  Important, but really not worth looking at or photographing.  Having never used one of these wooden jobs, I am taking it slowly; initial dry fitting suggests that Tetra’s engineering is characteristically excellent - it fits beautifully - but as so often it pays off to stop and plan before ploughing on; the end result will be a busy mixture of styrene, veneer (whatever that’s actually made of), turned brass (e.g. bitts), photo-etched brass (e.g. deck chafing plates for the cables) and 3d printed resin (the cables themselves).  Planning the order in which things should be a) fitted and b) painted (and the two regularly over-take each other) is critical.

 

More later this evening.  I might even take a photo or two, you lucky people.

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4 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

More later this evening.  I might even take a photo or two, you lucky people.

And when you next see her 1988 cousin, a snap for old times' sake would be good too! (If cameras are allowed in the more sensitive areas of the shelf of doom, of course.) :D 

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@Kirk, not actually pictured on the shelf of doom itself, but this is pretty much where Ark 5 is now:

 

IMG_2998


I am particularly proud of the masking; only the numbers (10 spots plus the distance to run marks on the runway) are transfer - all the lines are painted.

 

Currently sitting in a box at home carefully wrapped in tissue paper.

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU

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Does look fabulous, Crisp. I've been catching up on the BBC series on the QE carrier and noted the comment that most of the current crew were still at primary school when Ark Royal 5 was prematurely retired. Mind you, I dare say it's a little easier to land on something the size of the Isle of Wight so I'm sure they'll do just fine.

 

Looking forward to the end of the tissue paper hibernation and the resumption of normal service. AR3 is proving an excellent distraction from an audience perspective. 

 

PS/ I was going to say all those painted lines looked very crisp, but decided against it. I'll, er, :coat:

 

Edited by Kirk

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1 hour ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

I am particularly proud of the masking; only the numbers (10 spots plus the distance to run marks on the runway) are transfer - all the lines are painted.

:gobsmacked: Impressive! :worthy:

 

Ciao

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3 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

but this is pretty much where Ark 5 is now:

 

IMG_2998

oooh, that looks good. The forward superstructure of the Island looks black.  Primer/undercoat I assume?

 

Terry

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41 minutes ago, Terry1954 said:

oooh, that looks good. The forward superstructure of the Island looks black.  Primer/undercoat I assume?

 

Terry

Yep; Alclad black primer & micro-filler.  I use it on most of my builds; swear by it.

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Moving 47 years earlier than the beloved Ark Royal of my first front line tour... back to an era when aircraft carriers had boats entitled old fashioned things like “35’ fast seaplane tender” and similar.  Yes, I decided to do a bit of work on the first of many boats this evening (as well as finishing off the unphotographed cable deck styrene removal campaign - see above).  
 

Merit’s offerings are... see if you can guess?  Actually I am not being entirely fair; they are OK to a point, in that they provide reasonably serviceable styrene replicas of two different types of boat.  The problem being that Ark had 6 or 7 different types of working boat, plus a couple of sailing dinghies:

 

36’ motor pinnace; 

35’ fast seaplane tender; 

35’ fast motor boat;

Admiral’s barge;

32’ motor cutter;

27’ whaler;

25’ fast motor boat;

16’ dinghy; and

14’ dinghy

 

For once Tetra don’t ride to the rescue, but I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that Mrs WAFU had given me the WEM PE set for this ship, and WEM do provide a way to make the boats more authentic.  They are constrained by the fact that only 2 hull sizes are available (when 4 or 5 would be required for true authenticity), but they make a decent effort by scaling the assorted boats for either 35’ or 27’ and accepting the fact that some are thus fractionally too small / large.  At this scale, that strikes me as a decent, pragmatic compromise.

 

So I present to you a 35’ fast seaplane tender.  Not yet finished, but even to get it to this state took me 90 minutes - fettling the innards (6 pieces of brass) so that they fitted properly inside the 7th piece (the deck) took a lot of delicate filing...

49067059677_8cee54f291_b.jpg


in due course there will be a stumpy mast, a roof and so on - but I‘ll let it all dry and then paint the inside before going any further.

 

Rather funky, I reckon.

 

Not all the boats will need this much work - in fact most of them will not; I am depicting Ark as she was going into action in filthy weather in open ocean, so most of her boats would have been covered up and heavily lashed.  Of course that gives me latitude in case any of the brass detailing doesn’t come out all that well - if that happens I’ll just slap a cover on it!

 

More next week

 

Crisp

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU

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Blimey Crisp that is lovely

 

Almost, almost I say makes me wonder if...

 

(The answer is NO because I couldnt even pick that up, let alone glue it together)

 

Lovely

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Sure you could; I’ve seen your sorcery in 1/72.  You & that @The Baron bloke: both need a test on the ducking stool, pronto, I’d say.  Wizards, the pair of you, and it baint natural, like.

 

[As so often, Tamiya are the key; I have two sets of their pliers and also a very, very fine file - both explicitly designed for handling PE.  They are 100% indispensible; trying, for instance, to open up that brass deck a gnat’s tadge (to use a technical term that I am sure you will recognise) more is extremely delicate, so you need pliers that really hold it steady without crushing it, and you need a file that does remove material, but without snagging, bending or ripping the brass.  In both instances, Tamiya’s tools knock the brief out of the ground.]

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Sticks with which to fiddle

 

My last word is 1/350 or 1/700 makes fiddlier than any normally scaled model in natural scales

 

I can figure a foot equals a ninch on the reduced world I work in

 

350 feet? Wow

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10 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

So I present to you a 35’ fast seaplane tender.  Not yet finished, but even to get it to this state took me 90 minutes - fettling the innards (6 pieces of brass) so that they fitted properly inside the 7th piece (the deck) took a lot of delicate filing...

49067059677_8cee54f291_b.jpg

Holy cr.p, you are the sorcerer! :gobsmacked: :worthy: :worthy:

 

Ciao

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Very nice to see that while Trumpeter and so on completely get the boats wrong and here the seaplane tender is done right (modified standard 35ft fast motor boat)

 

2200.23_35ft_fast_motor_boats_gen_arrang

 

Four lovely shots at the IWM: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205157066 (and so on from there)

 

Edited by foeth

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1 hour ago, foeth said:

Very nice to see that while Trumpeter and so on completely get the boats wrong and here the seaplane tender is done right (modified standard 35ft fast motor boat)

 

2200.23_35ft_fast_motor_boats_gen_arrang

 

Four lovely shots at the IWM: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205157066 (and so on from there)

 

Those are indeed evocative shots (& give me decent painting guidance, to boot).  Clearly very important to look sharp when testing one of His Majesty’s tenders: you wouldn’t want to proceed to sea without your trilby on, now would you?

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That seaplane tender is something else! It will look quite majestic painted up.

 

Terry

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More boat-ery this evening.  Before I went much further, I decided that I needed to rationalise WTF was going on here; multiple boats in multiple locations, Merit’s outfit massively over-simplified, and various bits of brass available to help sort it... a recipe for a return visit from Commodore Cock-up.

 

After a lot of poring over references (Kagero coming up trumps again) I have worked out that eventually I need to build:

 

4 x 36’ motor pinnace

2 x 35’ fast motor boat

1 x 35’ fast seaplane tender (which you've already seen)

1 x 35’ Admiral’s barge

3 x 27’ motor cutter

2 x 27’ whaler

... all of which can be done from the kit styrene & assorted brass, albeit with the slight size compromise mentioned above.  [The Admiral’s barge will probably need the most adaptation from what’s on offer.]

 

I’ll also need 2 x 16’ dinghy & possibly 2 x 14’ sailing dinghy too - which will need to be scratch built (though since they’re c.50% of the size of their 35’ brethren, a raid on some 1/700 boats might help).

 

After that, I got down to some more teeny-tiny brass-wrangling.  Seen from the top, the 35’ fast seaplane tender you saw last week; a 27’ whaler (hull too fat, but it will do - plus the Tetra innards are exquisite); and the inside of one of the 35’ fast motor boats

 

49087382502_0e1b7ce003_b.jpg

 

...and here essentially the same view from further back, showing my increasingly cluttered diagram of what additional stuff goes where plus the assorted hulls with pencil marks inside to work out which will be which.

49087382452_6ab7faca36_b.jpg

 

The RN has always been obsessed with a ship’s boats [“you can tell a ship by her boats” was still oft-quoted even in my era], and many a Commander has given career-limiting feedback to some hapless young Officer of the Day because of messing up the boat routine for some VIP.  This was trebly so in a large ship, partly because they had more than their fair share of VIP visitors (with all the nonsense that entails) and also because they cannot get alongside in many ports they visit, so end up anchored off and getting everything done by boat.  
 

[Edit: for this very reason, I really do not envy the Officer of the Day in Queen Elizabeth or Prince of Wales on their future port visits; like US carriers, they are too big to get into most ports, so are going to spend a lot of time with a twitchy Commander breathing down their neck making sure that the VIPs’ boat has clean cushion covers, etc.]

 

More later this week

 

Crisp

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU

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Do you have pics showing the 35ft Admiral's barge? For HMS Hood this barge is also a modified standard 35ft fast motor boat that is very similar to Vosper's Royal barge. I'm curious if they carried the same version. For Hood I only have a handful of pics showing parts of the barge...

 

p-13744-0024563_mm356-vosper-royal-barge

(Cannot upload pics so this will have to do)

 

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8 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

4 x 36’ motor pinnace

2 x 35’ fast motor boat

1 x 35’ fast seaplane tender (which you've already seen)

1 x 35’ Admiral’s barge

3 x 27’ motor cutter

2 x 27’ whaler

...a grand fleet of boats, should look great when they're done. You'll be able to point out which-is-which 'cos their isn't much call for such things on a sub, we sometimes had an inflatable though.

 

Stuart

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1 minute ago, Courageous said:

...a grand fleet of boats, should look great when they're done. You'll be able to point out which-is-which 'cos their isn't much call for such things on a sub, we sometimes had an inflatable though.

 

Stuart

You were lucky; I spent most of my career sitting on a one-man boat, strapped to my backside

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1 hour ago, foeth said:

Do you have pics showing the 35ft Admiral's barge? For HMS Hood this barge is also a modified standard 35ft fast motor boat that is very similar to Vosper's Royal barge. I'm curious if they carried the same version. For Hood I only have a handful of pics showing parts of the barge...

 

p-13744-0024563_mm356-vosper-royal-barge

(Cannot upload pics so this will have to do)

 

Basically, the answer is ‘No’!  I have no clear pictures of Ark’s posher boats at all, let alone being used.  The only exception is that she always appears to have had a 32’ motor cutter swung outboard on her starboard davits when she was at sea - I assume the WW2 equivalent of a seaboat / crashboat in my time, always at immediate readiness to be launched for a man overboard, crash or whatever.  For example, you can see it clearly here, during a transfer with HMS Kelvin [IWM photo]:

Ark Royal starboard side, November 1940, seen from HMS Kelvin during a RAS


I don’t know the circumstances of that photo, but everyone is clearly very relaxed - aerials raised, no apparent aircraft on deck, lots of “goofers” (matelots standing about watching nothing in particular, at which sailors of all eras are unsurpassed world champions).  I suspect it is close in-shore and they’re about to go into harbour - that would also explain why the larger boats (the ones launched by crane rather than sliding out on davits, as lower down) are uncovered.   

[By the way, that photo also clearly shows that they continued to use the aircraft signalling booms right into the war: that thing sticking out sideways from the island was a hinged horizontal mast to carry flags used to signal to aircraft in the circuit; there was another on the port side of the hull at flight deck level.  It all sounds a bit quaint to us modern peops, but Swordfish radios were Morse key jobs in the back - not exactly “346, slot, 1000lbs” stuff.  In silent ops all the more so; transmitting on any radio was / is always a risk; after all, one of the things that sealed Bismarck’s fate was her sending a long radio report home, believing that we knew where she was anyway, when in fact it tipped the balance in finding her again.  As so often, a photo is worth so much; it shows all sorts of stuff in the background]

 

That photo is, believe it or not, the clearest I have of the Admiral’s Barge, which is the for’d of the two large boats under the crane - i.e. the one visible above the motor cutter and in line with the funnel.  That appears to support your Hood example, Jan Evert- and it makes sense to me that the Admiral’s Barge would simply be a clean, spotlessly-painted, elite-manned version of a normal motor boat. 
 

The only evidence I have comes from Kagero.  Yes, it’s very much secondary evidence, but the more I look at Witold’s work and compare it with primary things like photos and the constructor’s plans, the more I trust it; he seems to get most things right (unlike Profile Morskie, I am afraid).  The Kagero page on boats is as follows:

49088429493_b788912d8e_b.jpg


That shows the obvious relationship between fast motor boat and fast seaplane tender - but this Admirals’ Barge is different; deeper hull, more “sit up & beg” appearance, rather more pompous (which would be right), not as fast.

 

[Incidentally, studying this page again also shows why my ill-formed unease about the whaler hull in my post last night had some substance: it’s not a whaler, it’s a cutter [for the non-seamen among you, whalers have a teardrop hull, pointed at both ends, and cutters have a flat transom (that’s a flat back end, @hendie).  That means I need to find 2 whalers from somewhere, since Merit don’t provide any.  I think I might have some at home from the splendid hand of Mad Pete (Atlantic Models)].

 

So, @foeth, that’s a long-winded way of saying “No, I don’t have any evidence of note!”.  All contributions from anyone who knows more about 1930s-1940s RN ships’ boats (i.e. just about any ship modeller, then) gratefully received!   The same goes for colour schemes.
 

The only other thing worth adding is to repeat that most of these boats will be covered up - no self-respecting “Buffer” [Chief Boatswain’s Mate, the mega-experienced specialist in charge of all seamanship things - anchors, mooring, boats, rigging etc.; an absolute key pillar of any ship] would allow his shiny Admiral’s Barge to get all salt-stained and manky after several days in heavy Atlantic weather.  That means I don’t have to be too anal about the details, provided the overall shape / dimensions look plausible. 
 

Thanks for taking an interest.  More soon

 

Crisp

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU

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The Kagero version might well be correct; in fact all the boats in that document seem to actually exist (in contrast to most publications; have to check my references on the 35ft barge though). I've recently written to Seaforth if they are planning to release the Lambert collection on ship's boats as well so I'm a bit in "boat mode" at the moment. (They are interested but in flux). A reference on these small craft would be a most welcome addition to my library... (even though I have most of Lambert's drawings already). I also decided with my Hood model to cheat, so no covers on any hawser or boat...

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10 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

...and here essentially the same view from further back, showing my increasingly cluttered diagram of what additional stuff goes where plus the assorted hulls with pencil marks inside to work out which will be which.

49087382452_6ab7faca36_b.jpg

All the pictures you post give excellent reference and detail, but that one above is a veritable feast showing your meticulous approach to this build. Stored away for a future T build!

 

Press on!

 

Terry

 

 

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48 minutes ago, foeth said:

The Kagero version might well be correct; in fact all the boats in that document seem to actually exist (in contrast to most publications; have to check my references on the 35ft barge though). I've recently written to Seaforth if they are planning to release the Lambert collection on ship's boats as well so I'm a bit in "boat mode" at the moment. (They are interested but in flux). A reference on these small craft would be a most welcome addition to my library... (even though I have most of Lambert's drawings already). I also decided with my Hood model to cheat, so no covers on any hawser or boat...

You can definitely put me down as in the market for a Lambert “boats” volume; I have the first two of the recent re-issues on weapons (which are, needless to say, fantastic), but at a guess very few, if any, kit designers actually know what real warships are like (& anyway there are doubtless cost limitations on molds).  Even the premium after-market chaps (Tetra, Pontos) tend to concentrate on adding detail to the sexier bits like weapons, which means that people like you and me have to improvise.  Which is fine - half the fun - but getting good references even for ships that still exist is hard; for something that’s been at the bottom of the Med for almost 80 years, references for details are as rare as rocking-horse poo.

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