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       Gidday All, I've commenced my next model ship, the Australian Daring class destroyer HMAS Vampire II, sometimes known as 'the Bat'. The Darings were the largest and last of the all gun destroyers of the RN. They were almost considered de-facto light cruisers but were ultimately classified as destroyers. They were powerful ships armed with six 4.5-inch guns, six 40mm Bofor guns, ten 21-inch torpedo tubes and a triple A/S mortar.
       Australia commenced building four of these ships, all named after ships of the "Scrap-Iron Flotilla" but the last (HMAS Waterhen) was cancelled and was scrapped on the slipway. Of the three remaining ships HMAS Vampire was the last to be completed, commissioning on 23rd June 1959 and also the longest serving, decommissioning on 13th August 1986. The RAN ships differed slightly from their RN counterparts in that they only shipped five torpedo tubes, having more accommodation instead. She is now a museum ship moored in Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia.

       The kit depicts the class as built. As I said the Australian ships differed from their British counterparts a bit so I'll have to modify her some, particularly as I plan to model her after her mid-life refit. The kit is included with the HMS Tiger kit, with Tiger dominating the box art. So I'll just show the kit parts in the opening photo:

VAMP 2.10 parts

 

       This build is being done as a GB on the ATF (Airfix Tribute Forum) which started yesterday. I've done a very modest amount of construction as I've had a busy weekend. I've glued the two hull halves together and started reshaping the bow, which is incorrect as molded.

VAMP 2.30 hull joined

       To change the shape of the cutwater (extreme forward edge of the bow) I've inserted a thin 0.25mm piece of styrene, fashioned to the correct shape, between the two hull halves at the bow. When the bow alteration is done I'll post a photo showing the correct bow shape and the erroneous shape of the kit. I've also plugged the hole under the counter (stern) for the rudder post and I've started gluing strengthening pieces of styrene inside the hull, across the join. The kit comes with a single rudder but the ship had two.
       The RN Darings had a row of scuttles (portholes) under the quarterdeck and two rows of them under the foc'sle deck, and these are molded into the plastic. The Australian ships however had only a few, just under the foc'sle deck abreast the superstructure so most of those molded into the plastic have to be sanded and filled. You can see that I've started that, plus added the first bit of filler to the bow. I've also made replacement screws which are currently being painted. As you can see in the top photo the screws aren't bad by Airfix standards but the screw blades are the wrong shape as far as I can determine, and you only get screws of one configuration (left-turning in this case) as usual, not both.
       That's it for now. Stay safe, and regards to all, Jeff.

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1 hour ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

and you only get screws of one configuration (left-turning in this case) as usual, not both.

 I often wonder :hmmm:why this is so, such an easy thing to get right.
Anyway, garlic at the ready.

Jon

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On 11/7/2022 at 12:11 AM, Faraway said:

Anyway, garlic at the ready.

And perhaps a wooden stake, just to be sure. 😁

 

Gidday All, this conversion to HMAS Vampire is turning out to be a little more complex than I originally envisaged, as usual. But at least I have the hull done now. I've also plugged the holes in the deck. From experience I've learned that it's much easier to do that job while the deck is still unattached. I'll re-drill those holes I need later. I think I've got the bow right, more accurate than it was anyway. There's some good photos on the net that show Vampire's bow while she's 'playing porpoise' as seen from the carrier HMAS Melbourne in 1966. I've also glued in reinforcing pieces inside the hull, not all are visible in the photo. You can also see the screws I've made - a set with both left-turning and right-turning screws.

VAMP 2.40 hull done 1

The hull is about 4mm too long. The length oa (overall) should be 197.6mm but is 201.5mm, but I can live with that. I simply enlarged my diagrams by 102%. But as you can see the forward turrets and superstructure are all about 3mm too far aft. I think I'll just accept it. The aft (X turret) is about 9mm too far aft. That I can't accept and will have to fix when I do the aft superstructure. Oh well, if I can't take a joke I shouldn't have joined (or something like that. ) 😁
       Anyway, got to go, plastic won't butcher itself. Thank you for your interest. Stay safe and regards, Jeff.

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Jeff, you are model making monster, and I am so excited to see anything you post 😎 one of these days I'll be as brave as you are to cut into a kit and have a go at it. 

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       Gidday All, as I said in my initial post the RN Darings had two pentad (quintuple) sets of torpedo tubes. In between them was a  deck house upon which was mounted the second funnel. The RAN ships, Vampire included, only carried the forward set of tubes. The midships and aft deckhouses of the RN ships were combined into a single long superstructure on the RAN ships. The OOB kit obviously depicts the RN vessels so I'll have to do a bit of reconstruction aft and it's turning out a bit more complex than I first thought. But then, don't most of my conversions? 🙂
       The midships deck house is about the correct width and position but not the aft deck house. It's too wide and the wrong shape at the aft end, plus it stops too far forward. The sides of it should follow the curve of the hull but it doesn't. Plus 'X' turret is sited too far aft. I've trimmed the deck of that part (both of them, I've got two kits) but it's getting difficult and confusing to me to amalgamate both deck houses correctly. So I've decided to scratch build the aft superstructure entirely, which is pretty much what happened to the ship in her major mid-life refit.
       So I've razed the entire main deck aft. Plus as I said in an earlier post I've plugged all the holes in the deck and trimmed up the sides of the forward superstructure.

VAMP 2.60 main deck razed

       The remaining hole in the middle of the main deck is where the aft torpedo tubes would have been fitted. It'll be covered by the aft superstructure so it wasn't worth plugging. You can see that I made a valiant attempt to use kit 'X' turret deck but to no avail. I've included the stbd hull half of the other kit in the photo to show the difference between the correct bow shape and Airfix's version of it. Also I've included in the photo the combined main and foc'sle deck of the other kit to show what I've removed for this build. There are/were a number of protuberances on the sides of the forward superstructure. I can only assume they represent door hatches, and if so they're about two feet thick! I removed them.
       Anyway, this is as far as I've got. Thank you for your interest. Stay safe, and regards, Jeff.

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Gidday all, HMAS Vampire has had a bit of work on her aft superstructure. Here's a photo of the first level of it. It's just dry fitted at present and still needs work on it.

VAMP 2.70 aft superstructure 1

       As you can see she's also had her bottom painted with a version of Humbrol's Hu73. Behind the hull is one of the wood jigs I've made to assist with the construction of deck houses. It's simply two pieces of pine screwed together but done carefully to give angles of exactly 90 degrees. It's simple but quite effective in making the job easier.
       Well, that's it for now, hopefully another update soon. Thank you for your interest. Stay safe and regards to all, Jeff.

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Thanks Stuart.

Gidday All, here's another quick update on "The Bat". Below is a photo of the three levels of the aft superstructure constructed. They still need busying up a bit with scuttles, doors etc added. Plus of course the aft funnel, mast and such to go on top of them.

VAMP 2.80 aft superstructure 2

       Those four white pieces on the main deck are guides to position the first level after painting. They fit snug between internal struts I've added to the inside of it. This allows me to paint the bulkheads (walls) of a deck house and the deck it sits on their respective colours before gluing them together. This is pretty much my standard method of constructing superstructures now. It gives a nice sharp demarcation between colours. The same method is repeated on the next level but with a single positioning guide piece. The top level will be located with two pins. As you can see, the first level of the superstructure also has balustrading around the two gun positions for the two twin 40mm Bofor mounts.
       And behind the decks is the hull, now with it's first coat of paint on the upper hull. I'm using Humbrol Hu64. Hopefully the second coat can go on tomorrow. I like to leave a full day between coats if I can.
       Well that's it for now. I'd better start on the forward superstructure next. So until my next report, thank you for your interest, stay safe and regards to all, Jeff.

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Gidday All, here's another update on The Bat, aka HMAS Vampire II. I've been working of the forward superstructure. Unlike down aft I can use some of the kit superstructure but it needs a lot of work. The kit represents HMS Daring as built whereas I'm building Vampire as she was after her major midlife refit. Anyway, here's where I'm up to:-

VAMP 2.100 fwd supertructure 2

I think I've said earlier that I have two of these kits. So I've included the unmodified parts of the second kit (the darker grey plastic) for comparison so you can see more clearly what I've done.
       The RN Darings had two twin 40mm Bofors in STAAG mountings on 01 (?) deck, hence the recesses in the superstructure, creating that 'neck'. The RAN ships had single Bofors in those locations. You can see my alterations in white.
       As built the ships all had open bridges. During the major refit Vampire's bridge was enclosed, with another level added to the superstructure behind the bridge. That's the white structure, and you can see the deck-head (roof, lid, whatever) for the bridge on the mat too. 02 deck (the smaller of the two grey decks) had to be modified. I decided to cut off the 'neck' at the rear of that deck rather than fill in the recesses and extend it with some of the midships deckhouse. I'm not using that part where it was intended, and as luck would have it the piece was exactly the correct width, although I had to remove a lot of the stuff on it. You might be able to see the join. I've included the original piece of the second kit in the photo too. I have a lot to do on the forward superstructure still.

       Below is a photo showing all I've done to date:-

VAMP 2.110 progress 1

       The lowest level of the aft superstructure is inverted here, to show what I was talking about in earlier posts regarding extra internal supports. The guide pieces glued to the main deck fit snug in between them. I've glued the anchors on but I think they're a smidgeon too far forward. Too bad, they're staying where they are. The hull is painted now, I just need to touch up those places where the masking tape lifted the paint. The next job on the hull will be fitting the rudders and shafts. I'll probably leave the screws off though, until later.
       Well that's it for now, more to come later. Thank you for your interest. Stay safe and regards to all, Jeff.

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Thanks Stuart. Gidday All, I've attached the shafts to Vampire's hull, and re-inforced the joins with PVA glue.

VAMP 2.120 shafts added

       The shafts only come with a single strut (leg) each, although the ship had two each. I've confirmed this from photos. I had intended to add another strut to each shaft, hence the paint scratched from the hull, but ultimately decided against it. The molded struts are quite thick. To add others of equal thickness would crowd that area and to add thinner struts would look odd. If I were making my own they'd have been much thinner. Oh well, time is pressing (I've got another GB on the ATF in two weeks and one here in January) so I'll go with the kit struts only.
       The rudders are dry fitted at present. It's going to be a tight squeeze getting the screws in there. The kit only had a single rudder on the centerline, plus the screws had short rounded hubs, not the longer pointy hubs I've made, so I might have to trim mine a bit. Probably easier to do that job without the rudders in the way. I'll decide later. Since the photo was taken I've 'sharpened' the edges of the rudders a little.
       I've slapped on the first coat of paint on the decks, and started making the funnels. Not worth another photo just yet. So that's it for now. Thank you for your interest. Stay safe, and regards to all, Jeff.

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Gidday All, thank you all for your interest and responses. Here's my next update on "The Bat", aka HMAS Vampire II. I've been painting the decks and superstructures, plus I've been working on the funnels.

VAMP 2.140 superstructures painted

I've left the masking tape on as there might be touch-ups required. The decks are painted Hu27 and the superstructure bulkheads (sides) are Hu64.
       The aft funnel is oval shaped so I simply cut a piece from styrene tube then cut it vertical down the middle and added a styrene filler/spacer piece to it. The forward funnel is made up solid in this case. Because the front edge leans backward and the sides slope inward my usual method of wrapping thin styrene sheet around a drill bit wouldn't work here. I decided that by the time I made a suitable former I could just as easy make a solid funnel, so that's what I did. It still needs a second coat of paint. The kit fwd funnel is included in the photo because I plan to chop it up and use it for the vents on top of both funnels.
       I think the hull weather deck can be glued on soon, then she can be screwed to a building/handling block. Otherwise, that's it for now.
Again, thank you for your interest. Stay safe and regards to all, Jeff.

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Gidday All, just a quick update on the Bat. I've glued the hull weather decks to the hull, plus added the forward shelter deck (B turret deck). I've also completed the funnels. The rest of the parts are in that plastic jar behind the model, but you've already seen them all.

VAMP 2.150 hull decks attached

She's also screwed to a building/handling block now. I consider this point a major milestone of a model ship build. But still quite a bit to do.
       Again, thank you all for your interest. Regards, Jeff.

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Nice project and great progress Jeff. 

 

I remember trying to make an Australian Daring many years ago, from the Airfix kit, back sometime in the 60's! 

 

I've often wondered what the Ozmod's resin kit is like.

 

Terry

 

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On 11/26/2022 at 2:07 AM, Terry1954 said:

I remember trying to make an Australian Daring many years ago, from the Airfix kit, back sometime in the 60's! 

 

I've often wondered what the Ozmod's resin kit is like.

How did she turn out? That would have been before the major refit so she would still have had the open bridge and lower superstructures.

       I've seen Ozmod kits for sale here during our annual model show but I've never bought one. They seemed a bit expensive plus I know nothing about assembling resin kits. I think some modelers have trouble with paint adhering to them, or rather, NOT adhering.

 

Gidday All, here's another quick update on HMAS Vampire II. The aft superstructure is now assembled and fitted.

VAMP 2.180 aft superstructure added

      The radome that sits on the aft end of it is done, as is the aft funnel. Obviously that's them on the wood block in the foreground. I still have to make the main mast and associated radars.
       There was an elevated walkway between the casing under the forward funnel and 'X' turret gundeck (the lowest level of the aft superstructure). It was supported midway along it's length by a pole. That assembly is also on the wood block, and you can see the hole in the hull deck for the supporting pole to fit. The casing under the fore funnel had walkways added to the sides of it to allow crewmen to get past the funnel. I've done that too, you might be able to make them out.
       The first two levels of the forward superstructure are attached but the top level is only dry fitted at present. As built these ships had open bridges but they were enclosed during the major refit. The 'roof' of the bridge is glued to the top level of the superstructure. Between it and those two half-round wings will be some sort of open bridge. I'm not sure if it was a conning station or simply a lookout station. I still have to make that, and the structure supporting the other radome.
       Plus more detail to do - boats and davits, rafts, the Limbo A/S mortar, the Bofors 40mm guns etc. And bollards and fairleads. 
So that's it for now. Stay safe and thank you for your interest, regards, Jeff.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Making excellent progress with this Jeff.  I'm impressed with the way that you can get exact 90 deg cuts in sheet styrene that thick.  I usually use much thinner (~20 thou usually) because my cutting skills simply aren't up to cutting anything thicker with the accuracy required.

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       Thanks for your comments, guys. 20 thou, that's 0.5mm? I usually cut that with a razor (scraper) blade but for stuff that's thicker I often score then snap styrene, or use a fine razor saw. When gluing two or more together to get a thicker piece I often use small blocks of wood to line one up above the other. HTH.

 

       Gidday All, I thought it's about time to post another update on 'The Bat', aka HMAS Vampire II, although I don't have a lot of progress to report - I've been spending most of my time working on the whiff HMS Cochrane. 
I've added two of the three boats plus the emergency life raft canisters.

VAMP 2.190 liferafts added

      The remaining boat to do will be supported by davits on the port side of the aft superstructure. The two boats in the waist just sit on chocks I think, and above them is an elevated gangway connecting the aft superstructure to the foc'sle deck via the forward funnel casing. I had to fill holes in the top of the whaler and I added a rudder/keel to the motor boat. As usual, close up photos are somewhat unkind, showing my rough workmanship.
       The life raft canisters are simply 1.2mm styrene rod. Each row of canisters is a single item, 'ringed' with a fine razor saw every 2mm to separate individual canisters.
       I've enhanced the Limbo A/S mortar with mounting brackets (not noticeable in the photo) and replaced the locating rectangle with a bit of rod. The mortar was mounted on the main deck in that recess in the port aft corner of 'X' turret gun deck. Outboard of it was some sort of fixed screen, and that's my rendition of it on the deck too.
       Well that's it for now - I said there wasn't much progress. I'll need to do that other boat soon, and start thinking about what I'm going to do for the masts and radar. And the look-out station behind the bridge.       So thank you for your interest. Stay safe, and regards, Jeff.

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Gidday All, as I promised the GB Leader on the ATF yesterday (well sort of ) I've been doing a bit more on The Bat, albeit minor stuff. AFAIK the ship carried three boats in the time frame I'm building her. Two I think seem to be carried chocks in the waist where the torpedo tubes once were and these are already fitted to the model. The third boat was carried on davits mounted to the main deck adjacent to the port side of the aft superstructure. This boat I'm now doing.

VAMP 2.200 misc stuff 1

       The boat itself came from another kit, I'm not sure which, was already painted but I have since altered it slightly and it needs repainting. The two davits had some "dropping down bits" (a maritime technical term 🙂) removed from their ends and chocks added to support the boat itself.
       To the right of the boat is the upper level of the forward superstructure that has had added that sort of flying bridge/lookout position, which still needs some paint. That white frame thingy (another maritime technical term) hopefully will be the frame supporting the forward radome mounted at the rear of the structure above it. It needs some more work.
      And below all that, the turrets. The barbettes on the model are all different, just to be difficult. 'A' turret barbette is about 0.25mm deep, not enough IMHO, while "B" turret barbette at 1mm deep looks about right. And as I scratch built the entire aft superstructure 'X' turret barbette doesn't even exist. Well, it didn't. One of the turrets (the one on the right) has it's rotating pin off-centre so I made a barbette with the centre hole offset to compensate, as I think you can see. This will be 'X' turret. I'll make another circular disc 0.75mm deep for 'A' turret barbette. The turrets also have sink holes in the sides which will need filling, plus replacement gun barrels.
       So that's it for now. Still progressing, although somewhat slowly (blame my lack of focus due to my build of HMS Cochrane 🙂). Thank you for your interest. Stay safe, and regards to all, Jeff.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks guys, for your comments. Much appreciated.

       Gidday All, another update on 'The Bat', aka HMAS Vampire II is long overdue. The GB leader on the ATF will be losing faith in me. 🙂
A little earlier today I finished the turrets.

VAMP 2.210 turrets done

       As I said in the previous post there're sink holes in the sides (and crowns) that needed filling. And this morning I've done the guns. They're from stretched sprue and you can see that I've added mantlets to them. The mantlets are from 1.0x1.5mm styrene strip, cut 2mm long. The guns still need trimming to length which I think is 5.5mm from the turret face. I'll probably strengthen and thicken the turret end of the barrels slightly with PVA glue. On the wood block to the left are the kit guns, great monstrosities. The kit dates from 1963 I think so no doubt there's a bit of wear in the molds but they're still not very good. On the right is one of the 6-inch turrets from a Nelson kit. These guns and turrets were a delight by comparison. And the guns themselves attach to the sprue at the breech end which is hidden by the turret opening. Very considerate to us modelers. Belfast kit guns by comparison attach half way along the barrel, requiring sprue gates to be cleaned up off them. Very annoying.
       In the background is the Bat herself. I've fitted the davits to the model and the motor boat to them. The upper level of the forward superstructure is added too. And to the extreme right is the Limbo A/S mortar. It has been modified a little. The part originally looked more like the Squid A/S mortar I thought, but then that's understandable because that's what the RN ships were armed with, not Limbo.
       So that's it for now. Thank you for your interest, Stay safe, and regards to all, Jeff.

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Gidday All, here's another quick update on HMAS Vampire II, to show the build is still progressing. Today I've been working on the foremast assembly which is a bit complicated. To me, anyway.

VAMP 2.230 foremast 1

       The platform supporting the forward radome is pretty much done but the foremast behind it still needs a bit of tizzying up so it doesn't look so bare. The small hole in the top of the upper superstructure level is to mount a small circular platform. The platform above it, forward and beneath the radome will have a small radar scanner fitted there. Both it and the circular platform are done, I forgot to include them in the photo. I've left the funnels off at present in case they get in the way of painting.
       I still have to do the mast/radar assemblies on the aft superstructure. I must admit that the idea of making these masts and radar assemblies has balked me a bit, wondering how I'm going to do them. This is why the build has stagnated a bit. But I've bitten the bullet now and tomorrow I plan to tackle those on the aft superstructure. As usual close-up photos show the model in a poor light, warts and all.
       Well that's it for now. Hopefully I'll finish this by the weekend coming up. Thank you all for your interest. Stay safe, and regards, Jeff.

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