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Sink the Bismarck! HMS Ark Royal, 26 May 1941


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46 minutes ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

This IWM photo of the real thing on the day of her sinking shows the kind of thing I am trying to represent.  All adds to the busy-ness which real ships have, and which (IMHO) many models lack.

Ark Royal sinking, 13 November 1941, seen from HMS Hermione

 

You know Crisp, looking at this pic, I thought you might as well have skipped the "cleaning the glue residuals" phase: you could have turned them to your advantage to reproduce that heavy weathering...

 

In all seriousness, I'm very much looking forward to how you are going to achieve that look :popcorn:

 

Ciao

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That is something that is much exercising my mind at present, Giorgio.

 

The answer is almost certainly a combination of techniques.  I always black base anyway; then it will probably be a base layer followed by quite a few heavily-thinned applications using a combination of mottle templates...

50848519936_709bfcdb8b_b.jpg

 

...and salt or hairspray techniques.  Jamie assures me that these work fine with Colourcoats, but I’ll be experimenting first (not that I don’t trust him, but I’ve never tried it with enamels and want to know roughly what I am trying to do before I start!)

 

Then my other standard weathering technique, namely oil dots and streaks.  
 

It’s going to take a lot of patience and slow building up, I think, if it is to look right.  And probably a good few layers of sealant!

 

Incidentally, there were numerous areas - especially under the round down - which were much worse than that earlier photo (IWM again, obvs):

 

50600725758_17889f4759_c.jpg


As you might know, there is a lot of discussion and numerous theories about her colour scheme (Jamie’s the real expert on that).  Some are adamant that she had a (deliberate) two-tone scheme with a band of different colour low down.  Others disagree, and inevitably each side can produce photos to support their point of view.

 

On the face of it the above photo of the sinking from further out seems to show a band of a different colour low on the hull, but personally I lean away from the deliberate scheme theory.
 

My view - based partly on my own experiences of ship husbandry 40 years later - is that the Commander and his Buffer (senior Seaman rating, a hugely important figure in any ship) would have taken every opportunity they could to get people over the side with paint brushes - like here (Portsmouth 1940 - look below the hull openings):

Ark Royal 3 starboard side close-up in Pompey

... and even here in this shot I’ve used a lot, which claims to be of her at sea but where the wake etc is clearly painted in (the horizon isn’t even level!); look carefully on either side of the round down & you can pick out planks lashed under the catwalk for matelots to perch on while painting):

Ark Royal stern detail (?painting?)

 

It is known that she had (at least) 2 schemes in her short life; Home Fleet Grey (507A) and the Lighter 507C colour used by the Med Fleet. 
 

The severe weathering showing by 1941 is partly the result of the paint - known issues at the time - and partly the fact that she was worked very hard in often appalling weather.  The weather would start to damage the paint quite quickly; this picture is pre-War (she has Spanish Civil War “neutrality” markings on her for’d 4.5” turrets, and the three aircraft ranged astern have Cerrux Grey & silver dope schemes), but even so look at her bow:

Ark from starboard, ?1938 (N.B. Spanish Civil War neutrality markings on fwd 4.5” turrets)

 

My theory is that the apparent band low down by her sinking in late-41 is simply the fact that those were the areas of the hull which could be reached by matelots alongside (mostly in Gib towards the end of her life) when they got the chance... and the areas higher up and/or under overhangs could only be accessed with proper staging, which takes time and a designated period alongside in a dockyard... which she didn’t have in her final months (she was overdue a proper refit when she was sunk).

 

Jamie’s research will probably shoot me down comprehensively now.  But personally I’m reluctant to “buy” the argument for a third scheme (with the band) because I think the photographic evidence is much too sketchy.  Even the proposed “band” is not a uniform colour (which it would be if professionally applied, at least for a bit); look again at the sinking photo at the top of this post; to me it looks much more like a series of patched areas.  And if they’d applied a complete new scheme, why didn’t they sort out the poor state of her upper hull at the same time?

 

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16 minutes ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

...and salt or hairspray techniques.  Jamie assures me that these work five with Colourcoats, but I’ll be experimenting first (not that I don’t trust him, but I’ve never tried it with enamels and want to know roughly what I am trying to do before I start!)

 

That's just wisdom Crispin, not mistrust. Hairspray chipping is all about timing and you have to get it right. Salt is a bit more flexible but it's just good sense to practise before attacking your model with these techniques.

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1 hour ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

and the areas higher up and/or under overhangs could only be accessed with proper staging

In any event, wouldn't it make sense to priotitise painting the lower areas most subject to salt?

 

Les

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Yes it would - though in any kind of weather there is so much salt in the atmosphere that corrosion is just as much of an issue higher up the hull.  It's the spray that really gets into every conceivable place and starts to eat the ship!

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Barring someone finding a written order for it, I personally don't think there was an official deliberate attempt to give Ark Royal a third scheme.  I'm with you in thinking that it was just the crew or dockyard workers painting as much as they could in the time they had.  Thus a rough, de facto third scheme sort of appeared.  RN ships were worked too hard with too little maintenance during the war, and I doubt that during that time Ark Royal would have been pulled off the line for a proper painting.  But I do think that it is a little too even to be strictly patchwork painting. 

 

My neighbor is a Navy Seal, and he has a medium grey truck that I joke is Haze Grey, and that he should put battleship numbers on it.  He says it's painted way too cleanly for some disgruntled crewman to have done the work.  Maybe I should debate with him the exact shade of 5-L his truck really is. 

 

I agree with you about making a model look busy.  I find it really hard to get the correct amount of busyness without making it look bad.  I know on my model I didn't make it busy enough, but I was kind of floundering a bit with what to add, and how visible it would really be.  I just tried to give it the appearance of being busy.  You are doing a great job. 

Edited by PolarisPrime
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I haven’t disappeared, but the clean-up & general tidying work is not easy to photograph.  One thing it involves is harmonising the scuttles - many are built onto Merit’s moulded holes, but not all, so I’m carefully drilling them all out.  Which is also a good test of how securely they’re glued (only 3 have come off so far).

 

Hard to show, but before:

50856653143_4267cc2cc1_b.jpg

 

...and after:

50857370151_6b41e84857_b.jpg


More soon

 

Crisp

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Don't go too mad with that drill or she'll si...

 

Oh 🤔😒😲🤬😭

 

She really is demanding of the paint job you're planning now, such a delight Crisp.

 

👍

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4 hours ago, perdu said:

Don't go too mad with that drill or she'll si...

 

Oh 🤔😒😲🤬😭

 

She really is demanding of the paint job you're planning now, such a delight Crisp.

 

👍

 

I know I'm not the only one crossing fingers on both hands that the National Archives at Kew reopens and someone can get there to photograph what it says in HMS Ark Royal's ship's book as regards her dry docking history and what anti-fouling paint was used before Crispin really needs to get some paint on.

 

Whilst most of the ships' books for warships in the Royal Navy were destroyed, the one for HMS Ark Royal happens to be one of the precious few which survives!

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Current planning assumption is the greeny-grey colour used on the builder’s model of Indomitable at the FAA Museum.  But yes, I’d love it to be right!

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Only one of the 17 suppliers of Admiralty quality anti-fouling paints supplied in green so it is the least likely colour. In the absence of D495 info I would default to red given where and when Ark Royal was built.

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Well I’m definitely not going to get advice from anyone who is more likely to know (pre Ship’s Book, at least), so consider the planning assumption changed.

 

It’s pretty academic at present anyway.  People are getting excited but only because they’re pretending not to notice when I remind them of just how much work needs to be done before paint.

 

The most you’re likely to see in the next couple of months (at least!) is a first coat of primer.  Which I can exclusively reveal will be black.

 

 

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On 18/01/2021 at 10:29, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

Jamie’s research will probably shoot me down comprehensively now.  But personally I’m reluctant to “buy” the argument for a third scheme (with the band) because I think the photographic evidence is much too sketchy.  Even the proposed “band” is not a uniform colour (which it would be if professionally applied, at least for a bit); look again at the sinking photo at the top of this post; to me it looks much more like a series of patched areas.  And if they’d applied a complete new scheme, why didn’t they sort out the poor state of her upper hull at the same time?

 

8 hours ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

I know I'm not the only one crossing fingers on both hands that the National Archives at Kew reopens and someone can get there to photograph what it says in HMS Ark Royal's ship's book as regards her dry docking history and what anti-fouling paint was used before Crispin really needs to get some paint on.

Since returning to modelling it's been an unexpectedly rewarding fascination to see the high levels of research into colour history and interpretation that yourself and Jamie exemplify here Crisp.

 

My day job revolves around the necessities of solving colour problems so routinely  that I'm always fascinated to learn new instances of how colours (historically-speaking)get coded as a function of cultural and operational factors. 

 

Whoever said grey is a dull colour?!

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Not much time at the bench today because such a beautiful day (& such a horrible forecast for tomorrow) that I spent most of it outside.  
 

But I also did some (very rare!) tidying of the man cave, and found one of those characteristic Micromaster little cardboard pots.  In fact the very first thing I bought from Micromaster, & I thought I’d lost it!

 

Small details, but they look good: tiny RN hatch covers

50867780501_c502a15abe_b.jpg


Plus stage 1 of the paint mule to test weathering techniques with Jamie’s paint for Ark’s battered 1941 paintwork:

50867060198_228f9a5fdb_b.jpg

 

(You’ve seen the lower half of this Fulmar wing before if you followed my 1/48 Sea King build).

 

More soon

 

Crisp

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27 minutes ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

Not much time at the bench today because such a beautiful day (& such a horrible forecast for tomorrow) that I spent most of it outside.  
 

But I also did some (very rare!) tidying of the man cave,

 

We did same not far away in Purbeck. A cracking day.

 

Also quite spooky that on return I did a massive tidy of my hobby room (man cave coming later after garage conversion), and it had the net effect of bringing back some of my lost mojo of late.

 

Love the micromaster stuff, and those hatches look the biz. 

 

Terry

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2 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

Small details, but they look good: tiny RN hatch covers

I had to look hard to find them - tiny they are! Looking ace, nonetheless :clap: :clap: 

 

Ciao

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One of the things about complicated builds like this is that every so often it pays to pause, step back and really take stock, planning what to do in what order.  Today was such a day.

 

However, before that I just had to get out and take some pictures.  Salisbury ain’t such a bad place to live.. 

50868923303_96c71bf99d_b.jpg


Now that work on the hull sides has come close to being done, the next thing to do is the hull openings (because the flight deck can’t go on until they’re all buttoned up. This takes a lot of planning if I am not to screw it up; Merit simplified it a fair amount (especially with the boats - see discussions of many months ago on this thread... the ones which ended with me spending money on a set of Shapeways/Micromaster replacements).

 

And of course the Merit hull wasn’t designed around replacement boats so you need to be certain that they fit.  Which they kind of do, but not without careful dry fitting (and in this case some fettling to remove a bit off the Cutter’s rudder and forepeak!):

50870815261_6b4e512c0d_b.jpg


So I have actually done no physical work on her today... other than the odd bit of measuring:

50871219827_a9e6da4dd4_b.jpg 50870412173_0b6f3516d3_b.jpg


... and a lot of thinking & making lists:

50870412183_a40415bca6_b.jpg

 

It will all pay off in the end - not least by ensuring that I don’t get excited and close something up prematurely!

 

More actual modelling soon

 

Crisp

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Crisp, that is an amazing picture of Salisbury Cathedral.  Thanks for sharing. 

 

One of the things I would change about my Ark Royal build are the boats.  I did the kit boats with the Tetra PE and I am fairly satisfied with them, but in retrospect I would use the ones from Shapeways or even better, Black Cat. 

 

Just so you know though... The kit boats don't fit in the openings.  I didn't realize it till after the 11th hour.  They were one of the last things I did and I guess I assumed that they would fit, so I didn't bother test fitting them.  I had a nightmare time getting them into their berths(?) and looking halfway decent.  Once again I wish I had been a few months behind you instead of a few months ahead. 

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1 hour ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

.. and a lot of thinking & making lists:

Probably safe to say that nobody has ever spontaneously built an aircraft carrier?

 

Wonderful vertical serenity to that photo of the cathedral as well Crisp.

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4 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

However, before that I just had to get out and take some pictures.  Salisbury ain’t such a bad place to live.. 

50868923303_96c71bf99d_b.jpg

 

Awesome picture! Takes me back to when I lived in both Broughton and the Wallops (not at the same time I hasten to add) for quite a few years. Salisbury was our go to town most of the time, and we got to know it very well. There was a great model shop in Endless street, and now (I think) one in Fisherton street. Also went to many live gigs at the Salisbury Playhouse. A great city which I miss. I also did much of my PPL training out of Old Sarum. The take off from runway 24 and immediate right hand 45 degree  (almost) turn to avoid overflying the Old Sarum heritage site is something I shan't forget easily.

 

I do venture up that way for the annual Salisbury IPMS show of course, but that hasn't happened much lately!

 

Nice work on those boats.

 

Terry

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The Fisherton St shop is alive & well, but  David (proprietor of Endless St one) died a couple of years ago so that one has gone.  For a city this small to have two LMSs was pretty unusual anyway. 
 

And the Salisbury show will no doubt return with a vengeance once we’re allowed to do that kind of thing!

 

[On the whole, even as a long-retired Naval aviator I’m pretty glad that the Spontaneous Class of carriers never caught on.  There are too many fish-heads who live up to the WAFU caricature of “Hands to flying stations.  Starboard 35!” as it is, without encouraging them to improvise any further...]
 

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Nice work Crisp - the planning will surely pay off :) 

 

8 hours ago, Terry1954 said:

I also did much of my PPL training out of Old Sarum. The take off from runway 24 and immediate right hand 45 degree  (almost) turn to avoid overflying the Old Sarum heritage site is something I shan't forget easily.

Me too Terry. I moved there from Thruxton with Barry (of the famous jumper) and the lovely Jean. Great memories.

I've uploaded a picture of 24 here - feel free to download and reminisce!

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14 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

One of the things about complicated builds like this is that every so often it pays to pause, step back and really take stock, planning what to do in what order.

Did I mention I'll never build a ship? :D 

 

I fully respect your attitude here, Crisp :worthy:

 

Gorgeous and evocative Salisbury pic, BTW :thumbsup:


Ciao

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1 hour ago, CedB said:

I've uploaded a picture of 24 here - feel free to download and reminisce!

To most it's just a grass field, but we know Ced, we know!

 

Terry

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