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1/350 HMS HECLA - 3D printed


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Some may have noticed that I posed a question in General Modelling Chat about 6 weeks ago about generic wooden deck 

 

as I was thinking about scratch building HMS HECLA in memory of the fact that 40 years ago I was heading south in her to act as an ambulance ship with our sister ships HYDRA and HERALD in the NOSH Box - Naval Oceangoing Surgical Hospital - supporting the principal casualty receiving ship, SS Uganda.

 

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Unfortunately the only reply I got to that topic didn't answer the question of whether either of those wooden decks are worthwhile investments, but with the 40th anniversary commemorations coming up in Portsmouth in 6 weeks time which I am attending, and in which the Royal Naval Association is hosting a model show, I thought I'd give it a go and see what could be done.  I doubt it will be finished because I am not the world's quickest modeller at the best of times and I know I am really busy over the next few weeks.  But 3D printing should speed up the process (even if some would say it is cheating!).

 

So over the past 6 weeks I have been slowing growing my CAD skills and trying to draw an entire ship.  I have no plans whatsoever, just a series of photos of which fortunately one is taken very nearly beam on and which I can scale to 1/350 to take the measurements.  The advantage of this ship over many others is dating the photos is very easy -no red cross and it's not of the right period (we left Gibraltar on 19 April and returned to Devonport on 29 July).

 

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It looks very out of scale because I haven't included the bulwarks or decks which I shall add from 20/40 thou plasticard.

 

My printer (Elegoo Mars) has a reasonable sized print deck but not big enough for the whole project so I have had to split the hull in two.  Fortunately It did seem to print reasonably well but when I came to fit the two halves together, I found the stubs that I moulded to ensure it was lined up lacked the tolerance for the corresponding sockets.  So I ended up taking those off with a razer saw and shall have to rely on Mk 1 eye ball.  It also didn't print the end plates completely flush so there is some more sanding and filling to do to get a decent fit.  But a lot quicker than cutting frames and plating as I did with BULOLO.

 

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Next job is to strip out the 3D design into smaller pieces and start printing the superstructure.

 

Wish me luck - I think I will need it!  Oh, and if anyone has any experience of the Artwox or Mk1 wooden decks (or indeed any other generic wood deck), I'd still value your thoughts

 

Thanks for watching

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Looking amazing so far!  I need to acquire one of those 3D printers.  I don't have any experience with the Artwox generic wooden deck, but I have purchased one of their decks for the USS Missouri, and it seems to be top-notch.  I'd feel pretty confident that their generic wooden deck would suit your purposes perfectly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fwd and aft hull halves now epoxied together, filler added to hide the join and a first coast of primer to see where we're at.  Still some more filling and sanding!

 

I also took the main superstucture off the print sprues and flattened off the base ready for a dry fit.  Unfortunately I thin I should have UV cured it before taking it off the sprues because the port side of the hangar, which was pretty thin (0.2 mm IIRC), warped as soon as the support was removed.  So will have to replace that with some sheet styrene.  The hangar door isn't much better I'm afraid so that may have to go as well.  The other area that needed attention was the bridge roof.  Where I had cut through the bridge windows for visibility, I ended up cutting too close to the roof and it was less than 1/20th mm think in the end which of course crumbled as soon as I cut away the supports.  So that's already replaced with some 20 thou styrene.

 

I also had an issue where I was trying to be too clever.  Just aft and 1 deck below the bridge was the main chart room.  This was a huge open space with a large plotting table in the middle where the hydrographers would manually prepare the chart masters.  I thought I would mould the table to the deck below so that it would be visible through the fairly large windows.  Only slight snag was that for some strange reason I drew it in the wrong place.  So out with the razor saw and off it came.  In hindsight, it was a bit too big.  It was only about 6 foot square and that was closer to 10 or 12.  I have very fond memories of using that table to "amend" a large chart of the South Atlantic on which we had plotted all of the seabirds we had seen which was to be presented to the Royal Naval Ornithological Society when we returned.  Let's just say that there may have been some additional ones added that probably have never appeared on any bird watcher's list before or after!  In our defence, they were only in pencil...

 

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(and no, that is not a fingerprint though I do concede in the photo it does look spookily like one)

 

@Andreas.R was very kind and offered me the offcuts he had left over from his Artwox deck but no matter how I played the jigsaw, I couldn't get all of the bits to fit and I can't find any suppliers outside China who are all quoting July/August delivery times.  So I guess I will have to try the Mk1 deck which Hannants do have in stock.  Or I might just resort to painting the deck as I always have done in the past.

 

I've also printed all of the smaller bits and pieces - funnel, foremast, main survey crane, capstan and windlass and have started to draw the boats in CAD.  There must be an easier way to draw boats that I have found.  So far I have done a first pass at the Survey Motor Boat.  Still need to draw the 27 ft motor whaler and the smaller cutter that sits on the stbd aft davit.  For the life of me I cannot remember what that was and the photos are not especially clear

 

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Thanks for watching

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  • 2 weeks later...

Work continues slowly.  Now got a couple of coats of white on all the major components though it it still looks somewhat patchy and thin so will need a couple more coats.  I think my paint mix was too thin. 

 

Also added the bulwarks to the fo'c'sle and 1 deck port and starboard and started to cut out the decks from 30 thou plasticard.  Some dry fit photos below.  As you can see from these, still more remedial work needed on the hull join.

 

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In the background have also drawn all (hopefully) of the other minor components - motor whaler, cutter, davits, vents, lockers, bollards, fairleads and so on.  They'll be going to the printer later today.

 

Thanks for watching

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Really great project. Will you be sharing your memories of the voyage, and (back to the model) will you do the Wasp?

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Thanks Charlie and Rob.

 

On 29/05/2022 at 21:02, Johnson said:

Really great project. Will you be sharing your memories of the voyage, and (back to the model) will you do the Wasp?

 

I suppose I could do if people would be interested.  Sadly I didn't keep a diary so the memory is a little vague on some of the details, but some, like the night I arrived on the bridge for the Middle Watch at about 2330 on 4th May and the first thing the off-going OOW said was "SHEFFIELD's been hit" is as clear today in my mind as it always has been, and still sends a shiver down my spine to think about it.  I can certainly pull something together if you think it wouldn't be too self-indulgent.

 

As for the Wasp, I have already done it in 1/48 with a section of flight deck to match. 

I'm certainly not drawing a whole Wasp in CAD to 3D print in 1/350  but my friend Roger at Dorsetprintman has just released a Wasp in 1/72 and 1/144 so I suppose I could persuade him to share the .stl file with me.  I have 3D printed the flight deck team and was planning on representing this ship at flying stations, nets down with the flight milling about waiting for Wilbur to return.

 

Latest update is that I am struggling somewhat with the airbrush.  I know it's my fault in that I primed everything using a Halfords grey rattle can; I should have not been a cheapskate and bought a white one because the white is struggling to cover the grey.  The hull has now had about 8 coats I think and it's still patchy.  It's not helped by the paint mix.  I'm getting it to what looks like a milk like consistency (about 2/3 : 1/3 paint to thinner) but it's either too thick to spray or one more drop of thinner and it goes so thin that it just runs off.  I'm using Tamiya acrylics with water as a thinner and a tiny drop of washer fluid to relax the surface tension.  Anyone else had similar problems of too thick or too thin with no middle ground?

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23 hours ago, Chewbacca said:

I can certainly pull something together if you think it wouldn't be too self-indulgent.

 

I don't think it would at all Chewbacca. Remembering what happened, and those who served 40 years ago, is really what the Falklands GB is all about. I'm not sure if Enzo @Enzo Matrix has replied to your question in the chat section about adding this to the GB, but I think your build, and your memories that you might like to share, would  enhance the GB a lot.

 

I'm not a fan of Tamiya acrylics for airbrushing, but I did use them recently and found that if I cleaned the airbrush nozzle and tip of the needle very regularly (before every spray) with isopropyl alcohol, applied with a stiffish paintbrush, the paint went on pretty well. Need to start the spraying fractionally before you paint the model aiming away so no alcohol etc splatters the model. That way you should be able to apply a slightly thicker paint. I was using Tamiya acrylic thinners.

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8 minutes ago, Johnson said:

 

I don't think it would at all Chewbacca. Remembering what happened, and those who served 40 years ago, is really what the Falklands GB is all about. I'm not sure if Enzo @Enzo Matrix has replied to your question in the chat section about adding this to the GB, but I think your build, and your memories that you might like to share, would  enhance the GB a lot.

 

 

I agree absolutely!   @Chewbacca  If you would like this thread transferred into the Falklands 40th GB, please let me know.  Your recollections of that time will be most welcome.

 

 

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@Enzo Matrix Thanks for moving this across

 

I was sat there the other day thinking I had loads of time to the Falklands commemorations in Portsmouth in June and thought that I might actually get this complete.  Then reality struck yesterday when I realised that it is 2 weeks today.  So not a chance.  But I think there is a chance that for the first time ever I might finish it within the GB period.

 

So while others were out celebrating the jubilee over the past couple of days, I managed to get some time at the bench.

 

Those who have seen my 1/350 PUMA build will know that I 3D printed about 270 figures for her to represent the visitors on her upperdeck during Navy Days and I vowed I would never do that again.  Painting that number of tint people was not at all relaxing.  But people put models into context and so I have printed a few for HECLA and started to get them painted.  At least most are all the same colours.

 

Now you might be questioning why am I doing that so early in the build?  Well I have opened up the bridge and so therefore need an OOW, 2OOW (me 😀), QM, and BM and I need to put them in before I secure the bridge because after that it will be near impossible to get them in.  How much of the bridge interior you will be able to see I do not know as I have left both bridge doors open and glazed the windows with PVA but it's still a little limited.  I'll know that they're there.

 

Having originally planned to use a generic wooden deck before I realised that all of the Artwox suppliers were based in China and were quoting months shipping times, and the Mk1 design deck from Hannants with shipping was eye wateringly expensive, I went with the traditional painted approach, this time trying Tamiya XF-55 Deck Tan which I'd not tried before.  I don't think it's a bad representation.  If anything I would say it is a little too dark and too brown.

 

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The other part that needs completing early is the quarterdeck as when the flight deck is attached, it will be impossible to add all of the bollards, fairleads and vents under there.  So work has started in the area.  I realised when I was doing that that I put the bulwarks almost all the way to the end and forgot the fact that there is a small gap on the port side where the jumping ladder is lowered and a slightly larger gap on the starboard side for the petrol stowage.  I had a spare 3D printed petrol stowage from Puma that I thought I could repurpose but when looking at the photos of HECLA returning up the Hamoaze, it was apparent that HECLA's stowage is much larger than PUMA's so had to draw a print a new one.

 

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Charlie asked for some recollections so I'll add a bit to each thread as I go.

 

The Falklands for me started  like so many matelots on Friday 2 December 1982.  I was a fresh-faced Midshipman, still at BRNC Dartmouth and preparing to pass out at Lord High Admiral's Divisions the following week.  we came off the parade ground on lunchtime that Friday to hear the news that the Argentinians had invaded the Falklands: our immediate response was to head to the College Library to find out where the Falklands were with some people querying what the Argentinians were doing off Scotland.  On Monday the Task Force sailed and on Tuesday, I led the senior platoon at our passing out parade, a privilege that was afforded to the student who had achieved the highest mark in the final exams.  I went home on leave and expected to fly to Gibraltar in 2 weeks to join HMS HECLA as an Officer Under Training to begin what in those days was known as Fleet Time.  General List Young Officers in the 1980s spent a year at sea post Dartmouth learning how the Navy worked and this was split between 3-4 months in a small ship (generally a Ton class minesweeper) followed by 8-9 months in a frigate or destroyer.  HECLA was my small ship because I had expressed an interest in specialising as a Hydrographer.

 

Anyways, I'd been at home for about 3-4  days watching the events unfold on the TV when i got a call from a Petty Officer at the Fleet Headquarters at Northwood.  "Get yourself to RAF Lyneham tonight, take warm clothes and think penguin" was all he would say.  And so I got to Lyneham at about midnight.  Spent 48 hours or so in transit accommodation waiting for a seat to become available and then spent a very uncomfortable 4 hours in the back of a Hercules with no heating as our main cargo was about 10 tons of frozen food.  We arrived in Gib and still didn't know what was happening but were transported to the dockyard whereupon I joined HECLA which was resplendent in a new paint job.  Gone were her buff funnels and mast and replaced with white all over with red crosses.  We were being transformed into a hospital ship.  Actually, SS UGANDA which was berthed astern of us was being transformed into a hospital ship, we were going to become one of her ambulances along with our sister ships HYDRA and HERALD which were already on their way south from Plymouth.

 

SS UGANDA was interesting.  Taken up from trade while on a schools educational cruise in Naples, she put her schoolchildren ashore to fly back to UK and  then the dockyard mateys in Gib spent 84 hours converting her into a fully fledged hospital ship with operating theatres, an intensive care unit and a flight deck.  I well remember coming back from my only brief run ashore (run ashore being the naval term for a night out) to see welders sitting over the edge of UGANDA's flight deck in 3s.  There were not enough fully qualified welders in Gib at the time so either side of each experienced welder were 2 apprentices, watching what he did and doing the same.  UGANDA sailed first, leaving Gib on 18 April and we followed 24 hours later.

 

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Now Officers Under Training traditionally spend their whole time split between bridge watchkeeping and completing their whole ship task books - the end of Fleet Time is an 8 hour oral grilling by senior Commanders and Captains about everything in the Navy with a penalty for those who fail of being dismissed.  In 1982, there were no options for retakes and so we (I was one of 3 Mids to join HECLA in Gib) were a little disconcerted I guess to meet the Captain and be told to hand in our task books as they would not be needed as we would be 1 in 3 watchkeeping on the bridge or, if the casualty numbers got up, on the wards (which were a couple of our mess decks repurposed).  As it turned out, we needn't have worried as there was actually plenty of time on passage south (and north) to complete the small ships sections of our task books.  And very quickly after setting course for the Falklands, the 3 Mids had our own watches on the bridge with charge of the ship as opposed to simply being the 2OOW.  But all the time we were wondering.  Why have we got a hospital ship and 3 ambulance ships.  Surely as soon as the Argentinians know that the Royal Navy is en-route, they will throw their hands up in the air and head back to the South American mainland?  And sadly that was the mentality on board.

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Great work and an interesting update. I agree that adding some figures will enhance the model tremendously, show the scale and as you say add context.

 

And thank you for your recollections which are fascinating. Getting one's head around the geography of the Falklands takes some doing. I wonder if those in charge realised just where, and how far away, the islands actually were? I was a young cartographer with the MOD and when the conflict broke naturally we had no maps of the area at all. Staff had to rob borrow the Bodleian Library maps in the middle of the night which then needed to be copied and quickly updated. Did get to to realise your hydrographic ambitions?

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On 04/06/2022 at 19:05, Johnson said:

Did get to to realise your hydrographic ambitions?

No.  The one thing that HECLA taught me was that hydrography, vitally important though it is,  was supremely boring!  We had a very charismatic Wasp Flight Commander on board (akin to Lord Flashheart if any of you remember Black Adder Goes Forth) and he persuaded me to specialise in naval aviation instead (and hence my avatar).  What the hydrographers also taught me though was astro-navigation from first principles and all 3 Midshipmen on board graduated with our Ocean Navigation Certificates at the end of the trip which in those days to get that qualification as a Mid was extremely rare.

 

Continued fitting out the quarterdeck and bridge areas so that they could be closed up.  I realised though just as I was about to finally fit the flight deck that it was a tadge too long.  The photos showed that even with the transom flight deck nets lowered. they did not extend over the sea despite the measurements taken from the photographs appearing correct.  So I took the decision that regardless of how the mistake had been made I would rust to Mk1 eyeball and get it to look right rather than worrying about the odd mm here or there.  Thus 3 mm was shaved off the back end of the flight deck before it was secured in place.

 

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Original

 

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Shortened

 

 

I fitted 3 figures to the bridge - OOW, 2OOW and QM and did a test fit of the bridge roof to make sure that they did not foul the fitting but that was fine.  But when I took the roof off, the OOW had disappeared.  He is no where to be found anywhere on the bench.  But I needn't worry for despite my best efforts with leaving the doors open and glazing the windows, you really cannot see anything inside! The photos below were taken after the OW went AWOL.  I experienced the same with the main chart room where I fitted the plotting table and printed a decal portraying the map of the South Atlantic that was always on there (another story about that but I will include that later).  Again, can't see a thing through the windows but I know that it is there!

 

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Macro photography is so unforgiving!

 

Next job is to sand the bridge screen smooth before repainting.

 

Thanks for watching

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The perils of scratchbuilding without actual plans continue.  So a fair bit of progress has been made including fitting the main superstucture block to the hull which meant that i could start adding things like ladders.  Unfortunately, the ladder that goes from 01 to 02 deck should sit inboard of the two large whip aerials.  And as you can see, there ain't no way that I could do that.  Sadly what I had done was cut the aft end of the wooden element of 02 deck too narrow and didn't notice that there is in fact an overhang.

 

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I figured that I had two choices:

  • Fit the whip aerials inboard of the ladder;
  • Modify the deck albeit accepting that I would never get an invisible join.

I would never have been happy with the former so I opted to cut away a section of 02 deck and replace it with a larger infill to provide the correct space to fit the whip bases.

 

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Not perfect, but at least now I can fit the whip bases in the right place.

 

I also noticed that I had forgotten to cut at the access through the deck from 2 deck up to 1 deck port side and from 1 deck up to 01 deck on both sides.  I haven't decided how to proceed on those yet - given that the risk of greater damage is significant I may end up using modeller's licence and omitting them.  But i do need to decide today because the more I progress, the more damage I risk if I do decide to fit them.  Annoyingly, this is almost identical to a problem I had with BULOLO but at least access to her decks was somewhat easier.

 

Anchors, cables and windlass have been added to the fo'c'sle and the rest of the forward fo'c'lse fitted out.  There has been significant; sanding to the front of the bridge screen to align the bulwark at the fwd end of 01 deck to the superstructure block below which is why I haven't yet fitted the survey crane and other fitments on the aft end of the fo'c'sle but I think I'm just about there now with the bridge screen so I can get those bits fitted.

 

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Deck supports have also been added between 1 and 01 decks and 01 and 02, though I do need to add more to the aft end of 01 deck..

 

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Not shown in these photos is the fact that the navigation lights have been built from sheet styrene and styrene rod but given that they stand proud of the bridge wings, there is a risk they will get broken off with handling until it is secured to its base...which I haven't yet made.  That's probably a task for today.

 

Thanks for watching

 

 

 

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I decided that i would never been totally happy if I left off the missing ladders and so I carefully drilled a hole through 01 deck on either side and armed with a brand new X-Acto No 10 blade carefully opened up the hole to the right shape/size.  I did however compromise on not fitting the ladder on the port side from 2 deck up to 1 deck as I couldn't even get the frill in the accurately open up the hole without serious risk of taking out the deck above.  I did dislodge 01 deck anyway cutting through but that was quickly reseated and there was just a small amount of damage to the paintwork on the superstructure above which was easily rectified.

 

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I also made the base yesterday.  This is the usual technique with plaster of Paris but my usual bag was nearly out to I tried a different type which was left over from some recent decorating.  It had one advantage and two disadvantages.  Firstly, it didn't set so fast as the usual material which gave me more time to work it, but because it took much longer to dry (2 hours + as opposed to the usual 10 minutes), I lost a fair bit of time waiting for it to set before I could take the model out of the base.  Also, because it was designed for decorating, I wanted to self level and so I am not sure how well the swell and Kelvin wake will look once it has finally dried.  I guess I will only find out when I put a coat of primer on it.

 

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I did consider going for the South Atlantic force 12 but in the end settled on a calmer sea.  I know all of the headlines were of awful weather - and for much of our time down south it was  - but there were times when it was calmer.   So this is representing us on the day that we went into Grantham Sound to secure alongside SS Uganda to embark casualties.

 

Some more recollections from the trip south.

 

HECLA had a big wake up call on the evening of 4th May.  Because we were operating under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross, we had no means, other than commercial VHF of communicating with the Task Force and so we found out what was happening from the BBC World Service.  I clearly remember going up to the bridge at 2340 that evening to take over the watch for the Middle and the first thing that the offgoing OOW said to me was "SHEFFIELD's been hit".  Just writing that now still sends shivers down my back.  This wasn't the game plan.  They're not supposed to fight back.  I think to a man we genuinely thought that we would rock up, they would throw up their hands in terror that "the Navy's here" and we would all be home in time for tea and medals.  But no, they were shooting back.  One of our newest destroyers was now about a few hundred miles south of us burning.  My first thought was "Who did I know in SHEFFIELD; were they okay?".  At this stage we didn't know anything about casualties so we had no idea that 20 sailors had already lost their lives.

 

The mood was somewhat subdued and sombre for the next 4 hours, I finished the watch, went to bed and got up for breakfast at 0730.  By the time I got into the wardroom, the place had been transformed.  Previously the mentality had been "we're not going to war, no need to secure for action" and so curtains and all the soft (burnable) furnishings remained in situ.  By 0730 on 5 May that had all changed and everything had been taken down and secured in the deep survey store.  where it's risk of catching fire was much reduced.  As officers, we also changed our rig.  Up to that point we had continued to wear our then usual sea going rig of No 12s (white cotton shirts, black polyester trousers) or their white equivalent (cotton short sleeved shirts and shorts with sandals).  After 5 May we all started to wear No 8 action working dress - dark blue trousers, light blue shirts.  However, as we were to later find out, this was probably worse because they were all man-made fibre and when you got into a fire they tended to melt as many of the burns casualties that we were to meet later experienced.

 

Thanks for watching

 

 

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Gidday Chewie, thanks for sharing. And I think you made the right call regarding your ladders. I think you would regret it later if you saw something incorrect and didn't at least try to correct it.

 

A number of years ago I read a book called "Iron Coffins" by Herbert Werner, a U-boat CO. It was about his personal experiences during WW2. What's the connection here you might think? It's this - When I was younger all I read about warfare was from 'official' accounts and history books. But your accounts here and others such as Werner's gives me other insights to war at sea. Again, thanks for sharing.

     Regards, Jeff.

PS - I also recall learning about how your No8s melted. I've personally taken heed of that. I am a volunteer bushfire fighter here in West Oz, and as a result I only ever wear 100% cotton clothing, never synthetic. Regards again, Jeff.

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Chewy and I are roughly the same age and we were both Seaman officers first before we went flying - though in my case the RN paid for my degree so the pattern of my sea training was slightly different.  I left university in June 1981 and joined HMS NORFOLK, but a few weeks later she was sold to Chile, so in October 1981 I transferred to FEARLESS as she came out of refit and went into work-up.  I was due to go for my Fleet Board (the exam Chewy talks about) in April 82 but Galtieri intervened.  
 

FS had 8 young officers under training at that point, but 2 were engineers so needed to move on for the next stage of their professional qualifications at Manadon.  1 was a Pusser who spoke fluent Spanish, so he was obviously staying; Jeremy Larken (the Captain) asked 3 of the remaining 5 to stay on board, acting as qualified watchkeepers (i.e. not training) - he even threw our task books over the side in mid-Atlantic (I guess he must have squared it with the training wonks at some point!).  The 2 guys we left behind went to our sister ship, INTREPID, as she was rapidly brought out of refit and reserve.

 

Funnily enough, I don’t really remember the Sheffield sinking as much as Ralph does; we were at Ascension at the time, and though it obviously registered, 40 years later it doesn’t stick out.  I do remember coming off watch to be told that “we’d got the cruiser” [Belgrano], but for me the real low point of the war was 25 May when Coventry was sunk - partly because I had a friend on board (he survived unscathed, though I didn’t know that at the time), but mostly because that made ARDENT, ANTELOPE & COVENTRY sunk inside 3 days, plus ANTRIM, ARGONAUT & BROADSWORD significantly damaged… I remember wondering whether we were going to lose because we’d run out of escorts, though actually the Argentine air force was running out of steam by then; it just didn’t feel like it as we refuelled aircraft after aircraft (my action station was working on FS flight deck) to dash off 25 miles North to pick up survivors.

 

Loving the model, Chewy!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Thanks @ArnoldAmbroseand @Ex-FAAWAFU for your kind words.

 

Sorry for the lack of recent updates.  As strongly suspected from the outset, I failed to get it ready for the Royal Naval Association Modelmakers' Special Interest Group event to tie in with the 40th anniversary commemorations last weekend in Portsmouth.  So the aim now is to get this model complete by the end of the Group Build which I think would be a first for me (at least on BM, i think I finished one on time over on ATF).

 

Some progress has been made since my last report although with being away last weekend that did slow things down a little.

 

The first thing I realised was that the 25 man liferaft containers that I printed for my PUMA build could be improved.  The ones I printed for PUMA had the black rubber seal that goes around the middle standing proud and whilst this may have made for easier CAD, I felt I could do it more accurately.  And so they were redrawn with a slight inset.  Of course that did then mean that they were more difficult to paint but for every up there' a down and vice versa.

 

The other thing I noticed looking at this photo blown up to maximum resolution

hec.jpg

was that I had completely got the position of the 27 ft motor whaler engine bay completely wrong - it was way too far aft whereas as this photo clearly shows it is nearly midships.  I'd also included  thwarts which I think the older motor whalers I'm pretty certain that by the late 1970s they had transitioned to seating around the sides of the boat.  So that gave me the opportunity to redesign and reprint the motor whaler.

 

On the starboard side of the foc's'le there is a very prominent structure that I think is the hydraulic power pack for the main survey crane.  You can see it in the photo above but even that photo didn;t give me any clear vision of hat it truly looked like.  Later on this whole structure was boxed in but in 1982 it appears to be open on all four sides with just a roof to provide shelter from the elements.  So let's just say there is a degree of artistic licence there.

 

I've also started the weathering because I'm not far from the point that I want to start thinking about securing HECLA to the base to make handling a lot easier.  Surprisingly the photo above and this one:

hecla_falklands_1982.jpg

show that in comparison to many others ships in the Task Force, including our sister ships HYDRA and HERALD, we had survived the ravages of repeated South Atlantic Force 12s very well with very little rust.  But then I seem to recall that we did a fair bit of painting on the way home so it may well be that we had removed the evidence by the time these two photos were taken.  The first photo I know very well - I am stood there on the starboard bridge wing as we return up the Hamoaze on 29 July 1982, IIRC, I am the 5th one in from the aft end of that line of officers.  I don't recall when the second photo was taken but we weren't doing photexes on the way south so I would hazard a guess that was taken sometime between Ascension Island and UK.  I do have another photo in my personal collection that I found online but for which I can no longer find the URL so I won't publish it for fear of breaching copyright rules, but it was taken in the Red Cross Box (or NOSH box as it became known) and clearly shows some corrosion on the port anchor and down the port side.

 

52173930471_d700aa3187_b.jpg

 

52173930446_2fdff4bebd_b.jpg

 

(I do hate macro photography so much!  With the naked eye the ship's side doesn't look anywhere near as bad as that photo makes it out to be!)

 

I've also started painting the seascape base.  This comprises a base coat of Vallejo Gunship Green and Royal Blue with several coats of Dark Blue-Grey misted over the top,   Once that had been given a few days to thoroughly dry, I then started to dry brush the crests of the waves with Tamiya XF-2 flat white.  Annoying, when the bae was originally created the hull sat perfectly in the cut out but once again the base has warped slightly as the plaster of Paris dried resulting in the hull sitting proud either forward or aft.  I will sort that with the gel coat.

 

Next job is to start on the decals as i need to get the main hull red crosses on before secure the hull to the base and the bottom section of at least the port side will be underwater so they need to go on first.

 

 

 

52173930426_f9d3c13d33_b.jpg

 

52174183154_70919d6d6f_b.jpg

 

To continue the thoughts from the South Atlantic, we arrived at the top end of the Total Exclusion Zone on 14th May and rendezvoused with SS Uganda for the first time since she had sailed from Gib just over 2 weeks previously.  She was already in use and had a number of SHEFIELD's casualties embarked.  A few days later, we were called into action for the first time when  HMS YARMOUTH appeared over the horizon and flashed a signal to us which basically said "follow me".  Because were were sailing under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross, we were not allowed to carry any crypto and so could not receive classified signals.  But we followed YARMOUTH for a couple of hours until our radar started to fill with lots of contacts as we rendezvoused with the main elements of the Task Group.  Very soon a helicopter appeared and transferred 24 Argentinians to use, the survivors from the fishing vessel Narwhal which had been following the Task Group and was subsequently sunk by Sea Harriers.  Most were walking wounded, suffering just from the exposure to the waters in the South Atlantic as they abandoned ship but there were 2 or 3 quite nasty injuries which our medics tended to.  We headed back west to the NOSH box, rendezvoused with Uganda once again and passed these survivors across.  But it would not be the last that we saw of them...

 

Now I mention the NOSH box.  Officially this was entitled the Red Cross Box, but it was quickly nicknamed the NOSH box in a parody of the TV series M.A.S.H.; in our case it stood for Naval Oceangoing Surgical Hospital!  If you look at this photo of an Argentine Puma sitting on Uganda's flight deck, you can see NOSH painted on the stbd aft quarter.

 

PUMA-on-Uganda.jpg

 

The NOSH box was located about 40 nm north of Falkland Sound and was a holding box for UGANDA, the 3 H class and the Argentinian hospital ship Bahia Paraiso (see below).  I seem to recall that they had a second hospital ship but we never saw her.

 

27288741288_658e2891ed_b.jpg

 

Thanks for watching

 

Edited by Chewbacca
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Gidday, as you mentioned, macro (close up) photos are never kind to models but she looks good when seen overall.

     Thanks again for sharing your memories. And for posting that first photo. Thanks to that we all know what you looked like forty years ago. 😁 Well, maybe not. 🙂

Regards, Jeff.

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Good morning! 

After looking at my merciless macro photos i always get the urge to improve on these points.

Maybe you should sand the hull again with light pressure. I've always had success with it!

spacer.png     spacer.png

 

Regards

Andreas

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Posted (edited)

Thanks both for your comments.  

 

I have already sanded the hull extensively both before painting and after and apart from a couple of bits that I have gone over again after seeing those photos above, I assure you that the vast majority of those blemishes that show in the macro photography can be barely seen with the naked eye!

 

No much progress this week unfortunately but I did notice another omission.  When I was looking for the original of the photo in my last post of us coming up the Hamoaze, I remembered that I had taken a copy of this photo taken by the ICRC as we were alongside in Montevideo on I think our second visit.

 

V-P-FK-D-00001-05_500.JPG

And it made me realise that a, the position where 02 deck cuts back in is too short and should in fact be about another 5mm further aft and b, I had completely missed off the small sponsons and very prominent ship's sirens from the funnel.  I decided that having already modified 02 deck once, I was going to leave well along on this occasion as I feared that I would cause too much collateral damage.  But I could do something about the funnel.  The sponsons would be easily added from sheet styrene but the sirens were another matter so back to the CAD and redraw.  The revised funnel is currently curing so I'll know how successful I've been in a pair of hours or so but in the meantime, here's a screenshot of the render:

 

52186319475_f6d45e639f.jpg

 

I also took the opportunity to draw a Gemini and outboard to go on the hangar roof (which is where I assume it was stored - it usually was in my other ships but I can find no photographic proof of where it was in the H class.

 

52186319470_ec92ee1d93_z.jpg

 

What is currently puzzling me though is this.  If you look at the pictures in my previous post, you will see there are two what look like inverted "L" shape gantries on the foc's'le adjacent to the survey crane.  I have no idea what they are or actually where they are located.  This image of HECATE shows them quite clearly but does not show whether they are in fact two gantries side by side or one gantry with two vertical supports in line astern nor where they attach to the deck. 

 

https://www.navy-net.co.uk/community/media/hms-hecate.477/

 

Are they part of the crane?  Or are they part of the hydraulics?  Or something else?  They are certainly not there in later photos of HECLA post about 1984.  I wonder if anyone else has any ideas?

 

Thanks for watching

Edited by Chewbacca
Typos corrected
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Little more progress though I am getting increasingly concerned it won't be complete by the end of the GB, especially since between now and then I have a week of leave when I will be away.

 

Main change has been the addition of decals so that I could get the model mounted to the seascape.  Previously I've always used Crafty Computer Paper decal sheet but my existing stocks were all part used and my new printer refused to play with half sheets.  Unfortunately Crafty appear to have gone out of business so I searched for an alternative and none of the ones I found had consistently good results.  In the end I went for a product from a company called Rolurious.  I was slightly concerned that the online instructions suggested baking the decals in the oven at 120 deg C for 15 mins to harden but that was very much aimed at the ceramic market where the products would have to ultimately be washed.  I figured I would probably be okay without.  Most of the negative reviews said that the ink washed off as soon as you put it in water but I assessed that was probably people not understanding the difference between a laser jet and ink jet and using water soluble ink and not sealing it.  Fortunately I have a colour laser printer and can report that the ink is indeed waterproof but it is definitely more fragile than Crafty as I had to be extremely careful when handling the decals in the tweezers as the ink had a tendency to scratch off.  They settled on extremely well with the use of Microsol but again the Microsol if used aggressively would break down the edge of the decals.  Fortunately I printed a number of spares 😀.

 

So with the hull decals fixed the ship was attached to the base with 2 pack epoxy and eft to set before I started to fill in the gaps (largely caused by the base warping as the plaster set) with acrylic gel.  Still some more of that to add especially around the wake area.

 

So that meant that I could start work on the guardrails (Atlantic Models generic railings set).  Still a fair few to do but I've reached the point that I need to work out how the guardrails fit around the boats.

 

I realised a while ago that and some I needed some 1/350 modern flight deck nets which don't appear in any of the generic sets that i am aware of so a very helpful exchange of emails followed with Peter from Atlantic Models which resulted in the procurement of a spare set of PE from a Batch 2 T22.  Not only has this provided the flight deck nets but an array of other useful PE which helped no end with finishing up the foremast including yardarms and aerials.

 

The revised funnel has printed quite well with the platforms and sirens as have the Geminis ... which is more than I can say for their photos which are all out of focus.  They will have to follow.

 

52198687033_ff99743d42_b.jpg

Thanks for watching

 

 

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That's looking really impressive Joe!

 

12 hours ago, Chewbacca said:

I am getting increasingly concerned it won't be complete by the end of the GB

 

Definitely not a build to hurry.

 

12 hours ago, Chewbacca said:

Unfortunately Crafty appear to have gone out of business so I searched for an alternative and none of the ones I found had consistently good results.  In the end I went for a product from a company called Rolurious.

 

Not heard of them, but I use Mr Decal Paper (a fellow Britmodeller recommendation) and found them fine. I use my Epson SX200 Inkjet printer which gives good results. I seal the ink with a few light coats of clear acrylic varnish.

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On 7/7/2022 at 9:27 AM, Johnson said:

 

Not heard of them, but I use Mr Decal Paper (a fellow Britmodeller recommendation) and found them fine. I use my Epson SX200 Inkjet printer which gives good results. I seal the ink with a few light coats of clear acrylic varnish.

Hi Charlie,

 

Just don't do what I did and accidentally buy some of their sheets for laser printers by mistake.:banghead: I find their inkjet paper works fine but as you say it needs sealing with varnish.

 

Pete

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