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Bismarck, Miles M.52 and Battle of Hoth


Adm Lord De Univers
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6 hours ago, PeterB said:

but his main criticism is the positioning of the protective deck very low down as in WWI designs, whereas more modern allied designs placed it much higher. This reduced the depth of the "armoured citadel/box" which is perhaps why the upper decks and superstructure suffered so badly in the final engagement, so that although the hull itself stood up rather well the ship was reduced to a blazing wreck incapable of fighting!

Gidday, I don't know where but I've read that too, a while ago. HMS Rodney's 16-inch shells did a huge amount of damage to the upper hull I believe but due to the shallow trajectory the couldn't penetrate the armoured deck which was about level with the waterline. I've read that HMS KGV stood off a way to lob her shells down onto Bismarck to penetrate the deck with 'plunging fire'. HMS Duke of York's plunging fire was to prove devastating to the Scharnhorst several years later.

 

6 hours ago, PeterB said:

the inherently weak structural design of the stern,

I believe this was a result of the shallow hull there to give clearance for the centerline screw. In 1942 Prinz Eugen's stern collapsed after a torpedo hit because of this I believe.

 

But despite all that she's still a great ship to model. 🙂       Regards, Jeff.

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6 hours ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

Gidday, I don't know where but I've read that too, a while ago. HMS Rodney's 16-inch shells did a huge amount of damage to the upper hull I believe but due to the shallow trajectory the couldn't penetrate the armoured deck which was about level with the waterline. I've read that HMS KGV stood off a way to lob her shells down onto Bismarck to penetrate the deck with 'plunging fire'. HMS Duke of York's plunging fire was to prove devastating to the Scharnhorst several years later.

 

I understand (but can’t remember where I read it) that there was a fusing issue with Rodney’s 16 inch shells and that they punched right through Bismarck without exploding, including through the citadel.  I don’t know how correct this is though.

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Some very good points @PeterB, @ArnoldAmbrose, and @Grey Beema . I don't rate the lower deck protection as of significant a detraction - as having the weight lower was good for the metacentric height and gun platform stability, although it would have negatively affected her buoyancy. I think the final battle shows the benefits of this arrangement - that damage to the vitals was lessened, although her fighting efficiency was negated by the severe damage above anyway. It would have been interesting to see how she would've faired if she had been able to maintain a course and shoot more accurately. KGV did stand off to lob in shells, I've read somewhere that when these hit they did a tremendous amount of damage internally, knocking out boilers and necessitating magazine flooding, and obv to the crew, etc.

 

I've read the same about Prinz Eugen too, I believe they then went about making corrections in the sterns of other ships after this (likely not knowing what had really happened to the Bismarck to do this earlier).

 

I've read that too about the 16in shells and their fuses, but cannot remember reading into it - whether the fuse was affected by armour thickness of the hull (I.e. where it did manage to penetrate the belt and upper barbette, it then didn't detonate) or didn't have time to arm when going through the thinner superstructure. I'm pretty sure I recall a survivor account saying that Rodney's shells would pass right through, but the Dorsetshire's often armed and caused more damage - but by then it was just moving around wreckage ("looked like swiss cheese" as I recall).

 

David

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4 hours ago, Grey Beema said:

there was a fusing issue with Rodney’s 16 inch shells and that they punched right through Bismarck without exploding,

Gidday, I must admit I hadn't heard that but it make sense in that AP shells are designed to explode after penetrating armour. If they hit un-armoured parts of the ship they could well go straight through. I believe the Graf Spee's first two salvos at HMS Exeter were AP that went straight through her too. Then she switched to HE.

 

1 hour ago, Adm Lord De Univers said:

It would have been interesting to see how she would've faired if she had been able to maintain a course and shoot more accurately.

Had her steering not been disabled she would have had a better chance, but then she wouldn't have been caught in the first case. I don't think there was a problem with her gun's accuracy. As you well know, the night before her sinking she was harassed by Capt Vian's destroyers. I've read that every time a destroyer attacked Bismarck straddled it with her first salvo - every time, and in darkness. That's incredible shooting. I think the only reason she didn't hit any of them was because the destroyers immediately hauled off after being straddled.

       IMHO I think that had the Bismarck's steering not been damaged but she was caught anyway I think she still would have been sunk simply because she was so outnumbered.

Regards, Jeff.

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4 hours ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

I don't think there was a problem with her gun's accuracy.

I tried this morning but couldn't find the link, but one of the surviving officers in the aft fire control position - if I recall correctly - noted that central fire control had massive issues with the constant (and unexpected) course changes in her final engagement. He seemed to believe accuracy improved when they switched to local control later on but shortly thereafter this was (or the remaining guns, or both were) disabled too.

 

I can only assume that the shorter range of the destroyer action permitted better accuracy, the sea state wasn't as poor or she was more maneuverable at that point. That being said, I've read the Piorun exchanged fire with Bismarck for quite a while before she came under attack with the main guns and was straddled on the third attempt. By that point she was well within point blank range for the 15in, and retreated thereafter. Equally, the destroyer action also degraded the crew, so performance would be expected to be worse by the morning anyway.

 

Agree with your closing point, a KGV or Rodney should be a good match for a Bismarck by themself (considering only armour and guns), but being outnumbered by both and other units meant she was doomed whatever.

 

David

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Ok, so a slower day today, what with normal life and whatnot. The forward upper superstructure got a full cleanse of oversize supports underneath the platforms and some corrections to bits and pieces (I think again to above these were present on the Tirpitz and this moulding is based on her):

 

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The main build had a few more passes with a file, including removing all detail from the funnel area (I kept the off-cuts to serve as a template for the replacements later):

 

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Now that I'm at it, those boat racks/support might as well go too. My handling so far seems to have bent the main mast and funnel cap/grill. I'm leaning towards a brass replacement mast so will also consider that platform by the mast as it might just be easier to redo the whole lot. Hopefully I can adjust the funnel back into shape later.

 

Next steps will be some work on the hull, but I need to await some putty drying first (the deck wasn't quite level with the hull).

 

David

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As I said in my introduction, the Bismarck is the originator of my current modelling malaise and deserves to be completed first. However, I also noted I’ve started a whole bunch more and there will be natural pauses in the Bissy, in fact we are sort of in one now with putty drying. First up was supposed to be a quick build to break my rut: the Miles M.52 prototype that was never to be. This was my first real (full) resin kit (from A+V Models, 1/72) and not merely a piece of am; which I hoped would be a quick glue, paint, decal affair...

 

As is my want, a short introduction to our subject matter: definitely not a waste of a plane and a shame that the project was cancelled, enabling the X-1 to achieve the sound barrier breaking record. I’ve read many reasons for this and there was definitely a sour taste for those involved, but essentially the UK was – to put it mildly – in dire financial constraints from the Second World War and this was axed in budget cuts. The Oracle has more detail, as does a book by famous test pilot Cpt Eric Brown (Miles M.52) on its design production and cancellation, but if you plan to build this then the book by Tony Buttler (Miles M.52) is a good bet. In either case, the M.52 was designed to break the sound barrier using a jet engine, not a rocket, and to take off and land like a normal plane.

 

Unfortunately kits of this flying ship contraption are quite rare and I soon ran into issues, namely that I was not happy with the cockpit layout (the pilot straddles the wheel well) or detail, nor the location of wheel bays and the wings.  I believe, please correct me if I'm wrong, that the RAF had a tendency to paint (or seal, or cover) their bare metal on aircraft in aluminium spray. So, on the plus side, no bare metal finish (foiling) is strictly necessary. But I do want some more detail. Well, earlier tonight I did a test on a spare bit of resin (there are different configurations of the aft fuselage present - two next to the scribers in one of the photos below).

 

Below we have the photos of these tests – scribing a panel line and rivets (not riveting I know but for me a major achievement):

 

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I’m happy for my first attempt at either technique – doesn’t look like much but good to proceed. And below we have the current state of affairs (the white putty (hardened with ca glue) gives an indication of changes made, however not of inside the cockpit and thinning the walls, where a lot of resin had to be removed):

 

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The photo etch is for a Fairey Gannet, although I will be looking at other bits going spare as I’m not happy with it (etch is good just not the size of the panels). The real thing seems quite spartan, but I just wanted something, anything, in there to give an impression of a real aircraft. I also need to source wheels from spares. Next steps will be sorting out those wheel wells; then tidying up the exhaust, cockpit and all surfaces; detailing surfaces, and painting and/or gluing together.

 

David

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Quick lunchtime update, the forward wheel well has been excavated (out of view below), but more importantly the cockpit is almost ready for painting.  The main fuselage has had all existing gaps filled, wheel wells excavated and existing bays closed up. The exhaust is also almost done.

 

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All that remains is to tidy up this puttied mess, before detailing can begin. But until then we will switch back to the Bismarck.

 

David

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So back to the task at hand. Here is where we've gotten to today:

 

20221125_014433.jpg?psid=1

 

Looks pretty similar to before I guess, but boat overhangs have now been removed, and lots of minor holes for kit bits and bobs have been sealed up. The vast amount of time was taken sorting some of that filler between superstructure and deck - trimming excess. That and filing back to a respectable base will take a while to do, and we have even more putty awaiting drying so a nice place to leave things for now.

 

David

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On 11/24/2022 at 1:52 AM, Adm Lord De Univers said:

I've read the Piorun exchanged fire with Bismarck

Gidday David, that vaguely rings a bell, now that you mention it. Thanks. And I've read of other occasions when zig-zagging, intentionally or otherwise was as much a hindrance to one's own gunnery as it was to one's adversary, so good point re the final engagement. And I agree with the effect on the crew. I believe that final night was both frightening and exhausting for the crew.

Looking forward to the next progress report on the model.       Regards, Jeff.

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1 hour ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

I believe that final night was both frightening and exhausting for the crew.

 

Unarguably - if they ever remake the Sink the Bismarck movie, this is really a part they need to include, the tension would have been unbearable and as you say quite terrifying. Probably not that nice to watch, let alone be there in person, mind.

 

I seem to recall Piorun signalling "I am a Pole" or words to that effect during her exchange. I've just ordered a mast for her, so that plastic part will soon be consigned to history, however - as is always the case - I saw some other tasty am details for her that could really help bring this old mold up to scratch, but i will progress around them as soon as that putty is bit harder (ruined a sponge yesterday by just digging in too early) and I do not have the funds with Christmas coming up to order all of them (I may just have to scratch some details instead as it's already a wee bit overbudget).

 

What to do in the meantime though?

 

David

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As I said earlier, I have started a whole bunch of kits and there will be natural pauses in the Bissy, in fact we are awaiting putty drying on that and the other stop-gap in the shape of the M.52. Step up the Battle of Hoth diorama to be given as a Christmas present to my Star Wars mad partner. So one I need to finish relatively soon. The AT-AT, AT-ST and Snowspeeder are all by Bandai, in 1/144:

 

20221125_225254.jpg?psid=1

Duuuuh Duuh’ da-da-da Duuuuh Duuh’ da-da-da Duuuuh Duuh’ dun-dun-dun-duuuun.

 

Fantastic, excellent kits that practically built themselves, amazing detail, click together (but glued here - apart from the legs and neck, they move); and halted originally only due to some missing paint.  I usually introduce my subjects, but instead I will make some broad, sweeping opinions masquerading as facts (so probably my usual then...).

 

The Battle of Hoth was a battle fought far, far away and a long-ish time ago on a remote ice planet called Hoth. For some reason the Rebels used snowspeeders against these heavily armoured behemoths when their guns were ineffective. Why they didn’t use the X-Wings parked behind the base is beyond me as they seemed to work ok when retreating shortly afterwards (I’ve heard it was because of the cold, but then surely space is colder, and they seemed to work quite well there?). Even more bafflingly, they did all their attack runs towards the front, where the cannons are, and not towards the undefended rears; or attack the AT-AT necks which seemed to work well once they had fallen over. But whatever, what we get, in total, is the best Star Wars film – of any trilogy, but importantly of the main and, by a wide margin, the best - great opening scenes and pioneering special effects.

 

Hopefully you can picture what’s coming next as I’m unsure about copyright on posting film stills, but this website, or the aptly named wookiepedia, should give a photographic hint or two. But how to go about that? Baking soda like the original? Well, arts and crafts time for yours truly, with the help of Precision Ice and Snow (this will be a first, I ordered it a while ago when on offer):

 

20221125_225449.jpg?psid=1

 

Painting, varnishing, weathering and then varnish again are up next for the models, but first a test run of making the base, which I hope to have done by tomorrow. Either will make a welcome change from applying putty or ripping parts off models. In either case, I think these kits will be more than enough for me to tackle. Combined, probably too much for one KUTA but this diorama is agonisingly close to being done anyway.

 

David

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First step, giving some random undulations and texture to a blank piece of styrofoam:

 

20221126_121220.jpg?psid=1

 

Now add lighter and an outdoor space:

 

20221126_121806.jpg?psid=1

 

Probably not the best angle, but the toxic part is complete. It's also the best way I've tried of making a seascape. Will continue after lunch and playtime.

 

David

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Right, so not much to update on this Bismarck, although I did concentrate on her today, but all my efforts at scratch-building the funnel searchlight platform (upper one) were not up to, er, scratch.

 

Instead I broke that up with sanding back the M.52 fuselage, it's almost there, wheel wells need some work still:

 

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And my first attempt (I skipped doing a test) of the snow effect went reasonably well. Please note that the base sides will be covered and there are more layers of snow to come:

 

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David

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Progress today, the two remaining Schallanlage have been excavated in the forward hull (port and starboard), just need more minor tidying:

 

20221128_160321.jpg?psid=1

 

Some more deck detail has been removed and/or filled in, but most importantly the funnel platforms have been made successfully:

 

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Now I just need to find my pe girders and beams so these are ready to reattach (pic above shows all the misfits and excess of my attempts on right).

 

David

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So, good news and bad news. Firstly, I'm just not happy with the Bismarck; whilst I've redone some platforms, there is no detail on these new 'decks'. Equally whilst the pe I have (and a pile of odd and ends I can use that I haven't catalogued here) is excellent there will be some key missing details, and by 'key' I mainly mean minor (or teeny tiny). However, it is the only 1/350 kit I plan to keep - excluding a Titanic. The good news? Well, I found some more pe; more bad news? The price...good news? I have another Bismarck I can use some bits for too, so excess parts won't go to waste.

 

In short, I will put the Bismarck on hold a bit, and just concentrate on getting her ready for the additional pe parts that are on their way.

 

Some more good news then, well the M.52 is now glued and looks good. I already planned to do the panel lines, and whilst those on the wing and tail were fine (although I think one or two were erroneous), I might as well do the whole lot and ensure they are all the same. That's right, more putty:

 

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Slightly different angle that shows some work I've done on those wheel wells:

 

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Next time I post on the M.52, this should be smooth and ready for supersonic flight. The plan after that is to apply a grey base coat, followed by black base coat, and then panel line and rivet prior to final aluminium coat and decals etc. I'm hoping that this ordering will cause the scribe to penetrate a bit further than what I managed on the resin alone.

 

David

Edited by Adm Lord De Univers
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12 minutes ago, Adm Lord De Univers said:

In short, I will put the Bismarck on hold a bit,

 Oh well, if you must. 😥:cry:   But ultimately it's you that has to be happy with her, not us, so if you feel you should wait until more parts arrive then so be it.

Don't think I won't be watching for your re-start however. 🙂       Regards, Jeff.

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27 minutes ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

 Oh well, if you must. 😥:cry:   But ultimately it's you that has to be happy with her, not us, so if you feel you should wait until more parts arrive then so be it.

Don't think I won't be watching for your re-start however. 🙂       Regards, Jeff.

Thanks Jeff, glad to have you aboard. Won't be too long hopefully and I still have to carve up the water inlets so not be a proper hold, but I just keep looking at that bare floor (and the part I mangled wih pe previously) and thinking I should do better.

 

Also need some time to consider what camouflage scheme to put her in...

 

David

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I found out a quicker way to do the base - thank you airbrush (the glue is water soluble and is designed to be airbrushed between snow layers) - as it says on the instructions... :dunce:

 

This should be thick enough to give me some good footprints and a crash site, but unfortunately doesn't photograph very well at all,  here goes nothing:

 

Under lights

20221129_153117.jpg?psid=1

 

Natural light (it's not really that dark in the kitchen...)

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With flash

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Yep, anyway there are two kinds of snow mixture in there, one of them has sparkly bits in it which really does help with the effect in real life, but is just not apparent here. That was applied third to last so the effect was muted a bit. In all I am happy.

 

Once the footprints and crash site are done, this will be sealed with lacquer and then a wraparound structure will go around the outside and bottom of this base. It will also have a glass top to go on (hence the trough around the edge). Before that the models need their last coats and to be varnished...

 

David

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Not much of an update really, what with work and all, but managed to sand this smooth earlier, almost ready for the primer, just a few bits remaining (including fixing those wheel wells - lord only knows how the wheels actually fit in around the engine or where the fuel goes):

 

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On other news, the Hoth pieces are ready for varnishing:

 

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Before you ask, no I cannot paint that well, those are stickers on the snowspeeder.  I know, I know, but I thought - why not try? They are going to get covered in snow anyway. And I actually quite like them now. I was going to try to get a window effect on here, but my partner likes it as is.

 

This build was also delayed as I awaited some orange paint for the snowspeeder. Turns out Luke's one did not have the orange stripes on it, and is grey as per the stickers. I checked with the recipient and she wants it authentic although the orange I have is rather fetching. Equally, I have to keep this build "fully playable" so the kits cannot be stuck down and all legs and bits need to remain movable.

 

Whilst I won't present evidence of my colour research (I watched the film again), I will instead post this account of an air crash investigation into this diorama, link here, which I found mildly amusing as an avid watcher of air crash investigations.

 

David

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Day off today! Alcad aqua gloss on the Hoth diorama this morning, says to wait 6hrs to cure (I'll be giving that longer):

 

20221202_102525.jpg?psid=1

 

Next up, last minute touches to the M.52 before primer (or so I thought). The pilot tube/sticky-out-thing-at-the-front (help me out airplane people) provided by the kit in white metal (bit in the middle of pic below) is going to be a bit of a nightmare to bring up to scratch. Well, not really, but the bonus of mainly building ships? Lots of masts and yard arms...

 

20221202_102614.jpg?psid=1

 

Now I know what you are thinking: "my good and most generous Lord, isn't such a thing dangerous with a Gerry Anderson puppet inspired toddler running amok?". Why yes, yes it is. As are most things in the house. But it's not the only dangerous thing about this build...

 

Those wings have been filed to such a sharp finish that they can cut (thin) paper. I tried. This model could only be held by a flat surface. That, well I knocked back a bit to spare my own blushes and finger tips (and small chips forming), but she will be safely housed in a sealed display cabinet, very, very high up. The wings, well, the real thing had to have safety bits put across leading edges as engineers cut themselves on it. There was a reason the testbed aircraft was called the Gillette Falcon. I was foolishly inspired to mimic this, it does add to the model, although it detracts from it's safety and likely longevity - it is now quite fragile.

 

Herein lies a bit of a problem, some of the kit parts need a bit of sanding to bring up to scratch, or what I determine to be scratch. I do still recommend this fun lil kit as much as I appear to be denigrating it, but I have had bad experiences with white metal masts before. Luckily, I have a spare parts box (I've started a few plane builds...):

 

20221202_121246-edit-20221202122911.jpg?

 

So, lots of potential replacement parts (I've marked out parts/sub-assemblies in blue) to choose from, but those wheels! The one I found the correct size (indicated by tweezers pointing at it) is a front wheel of some other build so I only have one of them. I even looked at other kits, but to no avail. I've now whittled down the selection and will need to build up the smaller wheels (more putty - below right)...

 

20221202_143041.jpg?psid=1

 

...but two more issues have arisen. Namely, the bay doors are too big (rather I filled in too much) and the wheels would never fit inside. So back to fixing those before primer, the wheel sizes I can live with.

 

The second issue? I have no way of amending the three wheel struts' length without double-checking (dry fitting) they allow the plane to sit level until joining the cone (sic "pilot cabin" - not 'cockpit' apparently) to the fuselage. So, a few adjustments will have to delay primer, again, and the struts will be finished and attached last. I also found two beams needed in the cockpit as well prior to primer (but I have mast offcuts for those now).

 

Also in the bottom of one of the above pics are some 1/700 ropes and ladders, below the assortment of masts. I was considering the water inlets on the Bissy: the plan will be to house her in resin and I can't really carve a hole in her and have resin seep in. I mean, I could, but it's a waste and doesn't help my fears of it melting the plastic when setting. So it's either that or carve out a bit of the plastic and judiciously wash to create a 3d effect. In either case, those 1/700 rope ladders will be forming part of this inlet and the 1/700 ladders will be part of the sonar/acoustic array (unless I can find those pe windows I had in mind and that should be a better fit).

 

Unfortunately for model-making, I picked up my daughter early, then went to the park, so what turned from a promising progress-galore day, turned out into a stop-start day that now stops here for the evening.

 

David

Edited by Adm Lord De Univers
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Oh Lord, what's this? More snow?

 

20221202_235847.jpg?psid=1

 

No, no, no. These are the shavings from the Hoth wraparound border. I do post the best photos. Chickening out from attacking the Bismarck hull with chisel and language blue, I decided to progress the Hoth base tonight.

 

At the top we have some rather lovely walnut veneer (liberally covered in high grade pure mineral oil, above), the middle are the shavings (that do appear like they could make decent snow or bubbles in a seascape come to think of it), and below? Well, I tried and failed at cutting off 3mm styrene strips perfectly straight, so I've glued together 1.5mm bits of evergreen and sanded that smooth to hide the join. Hence the layer of destruction everywhere. These bits will be used to cover up the inside (diorama side) of the rough wooden base and serve to hold the veneer in place on the outer face.

 

Why walnut? Simple. I like it. But I also needed something dark to offset a predominantly white setting, and although definitely not Star Wars vibes, I had it lying around (twas to be used to cover a cheap wooden ship base - I have more). This setup also means I can simply plop the base cover around the existing diorama with minimum fuss, instead of having to fill and sand back a purely styrene affair whilst somehow protecting the diorama after combining it all - hopefully later pics will show what I mean. So, there will be no grebblies or Star Wars esque design, but - as above - the recipient seems happy and walnut always looks nice.

 

Next steps, sealing that walnut with some polish - the old fashioned way - and fashioning the rest of the upper edge/lip and corner covers (to hide the veneer joins) of that base. I have been told that styrene degrades in sunlight so I shall also need to paint the styrene...🥁...white.

 

FYI, the M.52 is again going through some putty curing - I could have fashioned the whole thing out of putty at this rate...however, my earlier intention to use the mast offcut inside the cabin (the remains of the pitot) ran into the fact that it tapers, so all the bits are different thicknesses. Well, as I was rummaging through the Bismarck contents earlier I found some 1/350 20mm brass barrels going spare. Bingo. I also found some 1/350 37mm spare barrels that could be used to construct the cone attachments. Double bingo. (Instead of an ejector seat the cone came away from the fuselage and then the pilot bailed out of that at subsonic speeds). That is if I'm feeling brave enough for that, it's pretty hidden. More and pics hopefully to follow later.

 

David

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Some wonderful eclecticism in this thread. Sad news about the Bismarck, it's a definite improvement on my attempts with the Matchbox kit back in the 90s. I'm fairly promiscuous myself, when it comes to modelling genres I hasten to add, but the sight of all that PE would cause me to break out into a cold, cold sweat.

 

I'm intrigued to see how the Miles turns out, and who doesn't love a snow diorama?

 

I reckon next time I check in you'll have added at least an F1 car, fantasy bust and/or a railway wagon project to keep you occupied :D

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Hello David/Admiral,

 

I quite agree with Bobby, who predicts more tinkering to come on your post. :giggle:

This group build is a blessing to push us to finish our work. Nice idea to keep us on our toes while you wait for parts for the Bismarck. 

I didnot know this British prototype jet, and as you say it certainly inspired Jerry Anderson!

 

Regards,

Eric-Snafu35

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