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Gidday All, I've commenced my next build, a model of the 'Crown Colony' class cruiser HMS Jamaica, in 1/600 scale.  AFAIK this class of cruiser comprised of two sub-classes, Fiji and Ceylon class, Jamaica being one of the Fiji class. This class of cruiser followed the Southampton (Town) class, carried the same weapons but were shorter and about a 1000 tons lighter, so their design was rather tight, with little scope for war additions and improvement. They were still a successful design however, and provided terrific service during the war. HMS Jamaica's war service was unusual in that, except for a short stint off North Africa, she spent her entire war in the Arctic. I think she is most remembered for the two battles she took part in - the Barents Sea and North Cape.
      In the Battle of the Barents Sea on New Years Eve 1942 HMShips Jamaica and Sheffield (R Adm Burnett) comprised Force R and drove off a powerful German squadron consisting of the heavy cruisers Hipper (Adm Kummetz) and Lutzow plus six destroyers, one of which was sunk by Sheffield. The German squadron had attempted to attack a convoy but was gallantly held off by Sherbrook's destroyers until Burnett's cruisers could arrive.
     On Boxing Day 1943 off North Cape HMS Jamaica escorted the battleship HMS Duke of York (Adm Sir Bruce Fraser). On that day the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst and five destroyers had intended to attack another convoy but was driven off twice by Vice Adm Burnett's cruisers. During Scharnhorst's run for home she was intercepted by Fraser's ships, brought to battle and ultimately sunk. Some references say it was Jamaica's torpedoes that dealt the Coup de Grace to Scharnhorst (others say it was HMS Belfast).

     Like others before me I'm using a hull of the Airfix HMS Tiger. I'll be using the guns from a Belfast kit, plus other fittings, and I'll probably scratch build everything else. My build hasn't progressed very far as yet, I've been researching the ship and planning the modifications required. I'm not a very fast builder and if Vickers-Armstrong took as long the build the ship as I'm expecting to build the model then HMS Jamaica would have missed WW2 entirely and been ready just in time for the Falklands War in 1982.  -  Maybe I'm not quite that bad.  🙂


    Anyway, here's my progress to date. I've joined, reinforced and cleaned up the hull halves and scratch-built the main deck. The kit decks aren't suitable.

JAM30 hull joined and reinforced

 

     And the main deck dry fitted. The fair-leads on this kit were simply rectangles of plastic so I removed them. I'll try to make something better later. I've also drilled the scuttles in the hull, not all that noticeable in the photo.

JAM40 main deck dry fitted

I've touched up the bow (it was a poor fit), and added a chin plate to the forefoot (the extreme bottom corner of the bow).

 

    I've had to do some work on HMS Jamaica's shafts. The ship had four but the model comes with only two. One option was to use shafts from a Belfast kit but I didn't like them much - I thought they were a bit chunky, plus the spread of the struts (legs) was too wide for the inner shafts. They are spread at 60* but I thought 45* would be better. So option two, make my own.
     First I had to work out how to make them. After a couple of trials I came up with this method, for better or worse.

JAM60 shaft construction 1

     1. Bottom right - the shaft itself is simply Evergreen 0.75mm styrene rod, cut about 25mm long. The thicker bit is the strut bearing. The screw (propeller) will push against this. The strut bearing is 1.6mm rod, drilled 0.9mm down the centre, tapered at the front end then cut to 3mm long.
     2. Top right - attaching the first strut. The struts are 0.5 x 1.0mm styrene strip, chamfered where it 'slides under' the strut bearing here. As usual for me I cut them a bit long, about 8mm. The other thick bit on the right end of the shaft here is to keep the shaft level while gluing.
     3. Bottom left - the tricky bit of the construction, attaching the other strut. I made a jig to help here. To hold the shaft steady I drilled a hole 0.9mm diameter right through a block of wood for the shaft to sit in. Then counter-sunk it about 2mm deep at 1.7mm diameter for the strut bearing to sit in, the existing strut now sitting on the wood. I made a 45* jig from 3mm MDF board. I cut the second strut about 8mm, chamfered the end where it will be glued to the strut bearing, glued it then wedged it in the jig while the glue dried.
    4. Top left - the finished strut. I reinforced the glued joins with a small dab of 5-minute Araldyte glue. The strut bearing is still free to slide along the shaft at this point. I made five of these, the first with a bracing leg between the struts. This one was expendable and was to experiment with to get the struts to the best length.

And here they are, fitted to the hull.

JAM70 shafts fitted

     The inner (aft) shafts sit where the kit shafts would have. There are small indents there for the kit shaft struts so I used them as a guide for positioning, and to get the correct length, which is 19mm (discounting the bit that will sit inside the screw. I used my test shaft assy (that's it behind the model) to test for the best length of the struts. I settled on 5mm for the outer strut and 4mm for the inner strut on each of the inner shafts. When I was sort of happy I attached the inner shafts to the hull.
     Then the outer (fwd) shafts. Both struts are 5mm here, as it needed a bit more clearance to clear the inner shaft passing through it. There was nothing to guide me here so I used the mark one eyeball and positioned them starting from and lining up with the inner shafts.
     Also on the block of wood behind the stern is one of the Belfast screws I'll be using, slightly large I think but I can live with it. Also you can see a Belfast shaft. It's not so obvious in this photo but it is a bit chunkier than what I've made. Another issue I addressed here is the hole for the rudder post. It was too large and also elongated so I drilled it out to 2.5mm and inserted a short length of styrene rod as a plug.
     I'll reinforce the strut/hull joins tomorrow with a small dab of Araldyte glue. I don't know how accurate these shafts and struts are but I'm not a rivet counter. I think they look OK, although the DNC (Director of Naval Construction) would probably have a fit - they don't all line up the best - but for better or worse I'm going with what I've done.

     This is as far as I've gone to date. Soon I'll have to start thinking about the camo scheme. Some references I have show the camo scheme of 1943, but I don't know what she had in 1942. I haven't decided yet whether to build her as at the Barents Sea or North Cape. I may have to do a bit more research. I'm not too pedantic about colour tones but whatever I go with I would like to get it sort of accurate.

     I'll call it quits for now. Thank you for your interest.
Stay safe, and regards to all, Jeff.

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Gidday, thanks, I didn't know that. I've always considered the turrets of the Airfix Ajax and Nelson too shallow, but I hadn't thought of those of Belfast. It seems a common issue with a lot of kits. I found the same with my 1/700 Hasegawa IJN Yugumo/Yukikaze.

     Thanks for the tip. Regards, Jeff.

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Another excellent project underway Jeff.

 

Nice looking ship that one, especially in her full war paint. Am looking forward to seeing the final product in the flesh. 

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Gidday All, thank you for your interest. I was thinking of either 1942 or '43. I haven't decided yet but I'll have to soon. Most of the diagrams and models I've found seem to show her in a 1943 camo scheme, with four colours on the stbd side and three on the port side.

     As built I believe the ship had a director mounted on 'X' turret. I think it does nothing for the ship's looks but it will be something different in the display cabinet. I guess she would have it there during the Barent Sea battle. I think Jamaica had a refit in early/mid 1943, during which said director was removed and two 20mm Oerlikons placed there. Other twin and single 20's were added then also. Whether the camo scheme was altered then I have no idea.

     I also have a bit of a query about a radar lantern. As far as I can ascertain HMS Jamaica carried a radar lantern right before the bridge, behind 'B' turret. According to a crew member's report this was disabled by her own gunfire off North Africa in mid/late 1943. It was not repaired but left there, while a smaller unit was fitted to the fore-mast. Photos supposedly of a later date show it gone. 

     This is a rather long-winded way of saying I've not decided on the model's final configuration yet. If anyone has any info that could clarify my queries I'd be grateful.

Many thanks. Regards, Jeff.

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Hi Jeff,

 

I found it. Claude Muncaster/Graham-Hall's observations listed MS1, B5 and MS4 on HMS Jamaica in summer of 1942. Whilst that particular report was not exhaustive in its listing of paints on ships in the case of HMS Anson on the same document (i.e. it only listed 2 of 4 paints) it cannot be considered as conclusive proof in of itself, but examining close-ups back in 2018 as a group I think the general feeling was that there were only 3 paints per side.

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Nice; deffo got my attention.  
 

[We could have done with a newly-completed cruiser in Op Corporate in 1982; excellent NGS platform!]

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8 hours ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

Hi Jeff,

 

I found it. Claude Muncaster/Graham-Hall's observations listed MS1, B5 and MS4 on HMS Jamaica in summer of 1942. Whilst that particular report was not exhaustive in its listing of paints on ships in the case of HMS Anson on the same document (i.e. it only listed 2 of 4 paints) it cannot be considered as conclusive proof in of itself, but examining close-ups back in 2018 as a group I think the general feeling was that there were only 3 paints per side.

 

 

(As you say those three paints were not mentioned in the various observation reports/file papers in such a way as to imply they were the only three on Jamaica.)

 

At the time I did not get closely involved in that particular debate.  One of our group was very insistent that there were only 3 colours in this scheme whereas I thought there were perhaps four (both sides) but I did not push it at the time. It remains my opinion that there were probably four paint tones port and starboard. I suggest that in 1942 the fourth and lightest paint would have been 507C. The palette of MS1, B5, MS4 and 507C seems to have been applied to a number of large ships at that time in the MS&B era. Sometime post May 1943, in the B&G paint series era, these presumably morphed into G5, B15, B30 and G45.

 

(See also my e-mail) 

 

 

Edited by dickrd
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Interesting build Jeff and I shall follow with much interest. I have a long term plan to build HMS Birmingham (Southampton class cruiser) ideally in 1/350, but that has a few challenges, not least a suitable kit to start from. I recall it may have been you in another thread, suggesting that if I chose 1/600, the Airfix Tiger might be another start point to tackle it from.

 

Great start!

 

Terry

 

 

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Gidday Jamie and thanks. I've had a bit of life's drama these last couple of days so haven't been able to do much on the model.

     I've got a photo of Jamaica dated September 1943, showing her stbd side that I think I'll base my colour scheme on. Although a black and white photo, after considering what you and Dickrd have told me I think I'll go with colours I have as close to G5, B30, G45 and white. The photo I think definitely shows four colours. I'm very grateful for the help of you both, and your colour chart to guide me. 

 

     And Terry, thanks for your interest. One issue with HMS Birmingham is that she's the only RN cruiser from the County class onwards (that I know of) that didn't have the knuckle at the bows. She had a flared bow like a destroyer. A Tiger hull would be a little bit short but I think could be lengthened, plus the stern would need to be rounded. A Belfast hull on the other hand would need to be shortened, and the bulges removed. I'm thinking of trying this to make HMS Sheffield in the future. But at least the stern would be correct, and the kit  have the correct number of shafts. Advantages and disadvantages of either option.

     Again, thank you all for your help and interest. Stay safe, and best wishes, Jeff.

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3 minutes ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

Gidday Jamie and thanks. I've had a bit of life's drama these last couple of days so haven't been able to do much on the model.

     I've got a photo of Jamaica dated September 1943, showing her stbd side that I think I'll base my colour scheme on. Although a black and white photo, after considering what you and Dickrd have told me I think I'll go with colours I have as close to G5, B30, G45 and white. The photo I think definitely shows four colours. I'm very grateful for the help of you both, and your colour chart to guide me. 

 

Hi Jeff, I'd hold off a bit there - as the colours in late 1943 will have been different to those recorded in 1942 especially if you're aiming for the Barents Sea time period which predates the G&B series paints. Also, white would not be a common camouflage paint for a cruiser. It won't take too long to get this drawing knocked together and we can give you a better steer for the model. I don't think you'd be satisfied with the end result using the above tones - they won't look right.

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Gidday, thanks again. 1943 would be the camo scheme for North Cape wouldn't it(?) which was one of the options I'd be happy with. I've started the paint but I've not gone that far that I'm committed yet. The photo I was working off seems to show a very light colour on the stbd hull about midships plus A turret, and X turret I think. I'm afraid I don't know how to post links to it, and I don't know if I'd breach copyright if I posted it. Regards, Jeff.

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4 hours ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

Gidday, thanks again. 1943 would be the camo scheme for North Cape wouldn't it(?) which was one of the options I'd be happy with. I've started the paint but I've not gone that far that I'm committed yet. The photo I was working off seems to show a very light colour on the stbd hull about midships plus A turret, and X turret I think. I'm afraid I don't know how to post links to it, and I don't know if I'd breach copyright if I posted it. Regards, Jeff.

Is this the scheme/photo? 

 

 

Jamaica 1943 9 18

 

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Gidday, thanks, yes, that's what I was basing my proposed colour scheme on. I've got a lot of Humbrol paints I want to use up (I was brought up on Humbrol enamels and I got these at a very good price at a closing down sale) so I was trying to select those that came closest to those on Jaimie's colour charts. I'd planned on the white amidships, those dark patches would be Hu79 for G5, Hu matt230 for B30 (B15 seems very close) for the patches 1st and 5th from the bow and at the stern and Hu64 for G45 for those patches 2nd and 4th from the bow. To my eyes the Humbrols seem a close match to Jaimie's colours.

     Admittedly the printer itself may not have reproduced the colours on the chart accurately (I had this problem years ago when I did a Prinz Eugen) but these look OK to me.

Thanks again. Regards, Jeff.

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Hi Jeff,

 

No one's going to try to flog you more paints - but the lightest paint on there isn't white, it's grey. B15 is a dark blue-grey compared to B30 which is quite a light blue-grey.

 

Carry on as you see fit of course - it's your model after all. I'll finish the scheme regardless for our collection of them :)

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Gidday All, in the light of the help and advice of Jamie and Dickrd above I've decided to put the painting of the model on hold until I see Jamie's diagram he's working on. And as I paint as I go this puts the major construction on hold a bit, but worth it I think if it prevents me from making a major stuff-up of the build.

     But there are other things I can work on in the interim, turrets, light weapons etc,    -    and anchors.     I have a set of 'HMS Tiger' anchors from the hull donor kit, and a set from a 'HMS Belfast' kit, but I'm not overly happy with either. So, again, make my own!

JAM80 anchors 1

     These are called stockless anchors. The top left anchor in grey plastic is from an Airfix 'Belfast' kit. OK I guess but a bit chunky. The other two at the top of the photo in blue/grey plastic are the Airfix 'Tiger' anchors. From photos of HMS Jamaica these appear more accurate but are rather rough, and as you can see the flukes are not equal on both sides of the anchor. In the centre of this photo is my first attempt at making an anchor. It is simply a generic anchor, of five parts, with no claims of being accurate in any way, other than size. It was simply a trial. In front of that is one of the anchors I'll be using. The head (shoulder, crown, thick bit, whatever) is modeled on the actual anchors in photos of the ship and is reasonably accurate I think, within the bounds of my limited skill. It comprises of seven individual pieces of styrene. And in the foreground is the other anchor being made. To give an idea of size, the squares on the cutting mat are 1cm square, the anchor shaft/shank is 7mm long. It can be shortened later if required.

     Well, that's it for now. Only a very small amount of progress, but I guess that's better than no progress at all. Stay safe, and regards to all, Jeff.

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Hi Jeff,

 

Nice work scratchbuilding those anchors! I've got a bit more done and can start colouring in soon. I need to add the AA and main fire control directors, another deck house aft, the LA/HA secondary guns, masts and larger bits of deck furniture. Also I need to delete hull portholes which had been plated over. I wanted to stay off the computer this weekend though as I spend all day during the week sat at it and it seems to be affecting my eyesight which is something I value a lot.

 

6445e947-760a-4266-856a-300e4729b3d9.png

 

I had to split the time I did spend on it between Jamaica and my feeble attempts to learn 3D modelling, which are, umm, in their embryonic stages! This is however my very first model of something I actually wanted - a Blakes Stopper Bolt, Blakes Slip Stopper and shackles, although I'm a bit stuck with shackles at the moment so will try different things during the week.

 

bf27a693-bab2-46a1-9948-8eab37b08063.png

 

 

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Gidday Jamie, thanks for that. Your eyesight comes first so please don't rush things on my account, I have plenty I can go on with.

     You've actually inadvertently answered a query of mine - different photos of the ship show different numbers of scuttles on the hull. I did wonder if some were plated over, now I know for certain. Thanks. But accuracy of scuttles is something I'll consider in a future model. I've done enough of them on this one to look OK I think without being too concerned where they are. 

     Good luck with the 3D modelling. It might be at the embryonic stage at present but isn't just about everything at the beginning, including us?

Looking forward to seeing your colour scheme for HMS Jamaica but I stress again, please don't rush it and strain your eyes on my account. I can wait.

     Regards, Jeff.

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Sitrep: I think another hour or so on HMS Jamaica will complete the line work. I think I've just the foremast, LA/HA twin mounts, boats and porthole deletions to deal with. I'll do the portholes after the camouflage as it will make it easier for me to work out which ones they retained.

 

b5088f4b-64ac-4d47-96fe-bf9171e5c048.png

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