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HMS Culloden WW1 battleship

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       Gidday All, a bit over a year ago a member here, @Rob S started a build thread of his conversion of two Airfix Iron Duke kits into a model of the battlecruiser HMS Tiger. To gain the extra length the two hulls were cut to give one long bow section and one long stern, then rejoined. I've used the method myself on occasion. He also did the same with the kits' weather-decks and a photo he posted on 9th November 2022 showed the midships Q turret repeated. This gave me an idea for a whiff, a six-turret twelve-gun version of the ship. Thanks Rob. 👍


       For those interested here is a link to his thread. I gained his permission via PM some time ago to mention this.



       The only problem for me making the whiff was that I didn't have a kit and didn't look like getting one, they're no longer in production AFAIK. However, my son managed to track one down second-hand and bought it for me for Father's Day. 🙂 I began the build last Monday for the annual What-if GB over on the ATF (Airfx Tribute Forum) and I'll be posting it here too. I've decided to name the ship HMS Culloden to commemorate the Third Rate 74-gun ship of the late 18th century that had quite a successful career.  Here goes:-



Firstly the traditional photo of box art and parts.

CULL10 box art and parts

       The box is a bit battered but the bag inside was still sealed. I removed the parts though for the photo because the bag reflected the camera flash. Some of the parts were off the sprue, including one main gun and all five turrets but they all seem to be there. That other bag contains left-overs from my previous two builds of the kit, including the extra turret I'll need.


      And building has commenced. The two hull halves have been joined and the join re-inforced with scrap styrene bits.

CULL20 hull joined 1

       The two white squares of styrene with the holes are where I'll screw the model to a building block at the appropriate time, the extra styrene there to give the screws more to bite on. The next task will be to cut the hull athwartships (across the hull), pin the halves to a wood block with the required gap (26mm) between them and then rejoin the fore and aft sections. This has to be done carefully and accurately because I won't be able to get another kit if I stuff this up. You might be able to see the pencil line where I'll do the cut.
       I've also noticed that most of the fairleads have been knocked off. I trimmed off the remainder. I could possibly replace them later during the build.


And so the butchering begins - I've begun cutting HMS Culloden's hull. I first drilled a series of holes down the centre-line, then took to the razor saw.

CULL30 hull cutting 1

Once the hull was cut I cleaned up the edges a bit then pinned both hull halves to a plank of wood, the required gap between them, a pencil line on the wood's surface marking the ship's centre-line to get the lengthened rejoined hull straight. Then it was a case of glueing joining 'girders'. These were simply lengths of heavy duty sprue of various sizes. I knew I'd kept them for a reason. I did one on either side of the centreline (the 'keel') first then one each side near the top of the hull. After that it was simply a case of adding more to get the hull shape ready for sheathing the gap.

CULL50 hull rejoining 1

       You can see the two joining girders on either side of the 'keel' already in place, the pegs are holding the girders just under the top edge of the hull. You can also see some of the pins holding the model to the wood plank, three pins for each half hull.


       The next photo shows all HMS Culloden's joining girders in place. The hull looks quite straight and rigid.

CULL80 hull extn girders 3


       I think this is enough for one post. I've done a bit more and will continue the thread soon.


So stay safe and keep on modeling. Regards to all, Jeff.



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       Gidday, thanks guys. @Bertie McBoatface my preferred method is to use two hulls, which would negate the issue of the different hull plastic thickness, but on this occasion I don't have a second hull. I'm very lucky to have this one.

       And @Knb.1451, haven't heard from you for a while either, how're you doing? I've been doing a conversion of an Airfix Belfast kit into HMS Sheffield of late but I've put it on hold while I do this model. I have a lot of trouble trying to concentrate on more than one build at a time, and this build on the ATF is time critical.

       Thanks for your interest, guys. Regards, Jeff.

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This should be interesting Jeff. I have one of these in my stash with photo-etch ready for a future build. I am looking forward to seeing how this one goes, it should look very different!


All the best,



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I've been well, handling some 1 to 1 scale planes that have been a bit of a pain, and went to see my dear battleship Texas in dry dock. How have things been on your end? 

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14 hours ago, Knb.1451 said:

went to see my dear battleship Texas in dry dock.

       Gidday, during my final year of High School (1974) I scratch built from balsa a large model of USS North Carolina. I think I might have mentioned it in your build thread of the ship. I'd love to visit the real ship but I think that will never happen. Oh well  .   .   .   I've been on board one of the Iowa class battleships, USS New Jersey I think, when it anchored in Gage Rds, off Fremantle in West Oz back in the 1980's I think. It was very impressive.       As for me at my end, not much has changed, still retired, still fighting bushfires, got called out to one just after midnight last night this morning. A possum decided to straddle two power-lines at the same time - it got cooked and the power short started a fire.


       Back to HMS Culloden, I've started sheathing the gap.

CULL90 hull extn cladding 1

       This first sheath layer are strips cut from a sheet of 0.4mm polystyrene. The first two were 8mm wide, the centre strip in 9mm wide. As you can see I've glued the strips across the ship's base first and when the glue has set I fold up (the hull is inverted for the photo) the sides and glue them too. What makes this method a little awkward is that the kit plastic thickness isn't consistent. I found that when I used this method to lengthen my model of the destroyer HMS Hardy also. The base plastic is much thicker than the sides, the stbd side particularly so. Oh well, I'll just pack in more styrene sheets and strips there.
       I've also been working on the turrets. The kit comes with various range-finders for some of the turrets, some external with slots in the back of the turrets to mount them. I probably won't use the additional turret fittings. I've added 4.8mm tube to the turret trunk and filled the slots at the rear of those turrets needing it with 1mm square section styrene. I've also drilled out and slotted the barbettes. I still have to fit keyways to front of the turret trunks, although one has the keyway already. This turret is the spare from the previous build and I actually used this to trial this idea in the first place, when I built my whiff version of HMS Benbow.


       The added turret (P turret) is a super-firing turret so the barbette I'll have to make is more than just a disc of polystyrene. It needs to be nearly 6.5mm high. To make it I've used a bit of 12.5mm (1/2 inch) dowel and wrapped some 0.5x4.8mm styrene strip around it.

CULL100 P-turret barbette 1

       At this point only about 8-10mm of the first 'overlap' is glued but I wrapped the strip around further to help with alignment. For a job like this I've found that wrapping a thin strip around the former a number of times is preferable to wrapping a thicker strip fewer times. The thin styrene strip wraps more easily without having to warm it up, and the 'step' at the point of commencing the second revolution is not as pronounced.

CULL110 P-turret barbette 2

       Further revolutions of the styrene strip were then glued. Before doing this I removed the dowel former, applied the glue and wrapped further. Then I pushed the barbette ring down onto the mat to make sure it would sit flat when complete and applied the small peg as shown. At the point you see above the barbette is the required diameter. If not then keep wrapping turns until it is. Another advantage of using thinner strip is that the increased diameter increments are smaller, easier to get the diameter correct.
       Once the glue had set I glued the whole thing down to a 1.5mm thick sheet of styrene, followed by trimming and sanding. The barbette is inverted in this photo. The centre hole is drilled but still needs slotting for the turret trunk key. The barbette can be used as it is now but I might glue in a short length of 9.5mm styrene tube inside it to help positioning and attaching to the hull deck later. I think I've filled the slots in the rear of three of the turrets OK. That's them standing on their faces with their bums   err  rears stuck in the air.  

CULL120 general progrees 1

       And still a bit more cladding added to the middle extension. This job would have been easier with two hulls, but I was lucky my son was able to get this one. I'll make it work. The next task I think will be lengthening the deck amidships, between the second funnel and Q turret.

So that's it for now. Thank you for your interest. Stay safe and keep on modeling. Regards to all, Jeff.

Edited by ArnoldAmbrose
omitted the last photo
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14 hours ago, Ray S said:

I have one of these in my stash with photo-etch ready for a future build. I am looking forward to seeing how this one goes, it should look very different!

       Gidday Ray, actually probably not a lot. My first build of this kit was the ship as at Jutland which required a few alterations, the second was a WW2 era whiff of the ship modified for convoy escort. Other than lengthening the ship to accommodate the extra turret I was intending to do this model as much OOB as I could to reduce the work I'll have to do. There will be a few alterations though, which I'll elaborate on when I get to them.

       Regards, Jeff.

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6 hours ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

and the 'step' at the point of commencing the second revolution is not as pronounced.

Nice work Jeff. I wished I'd thought of this slightly different method when it came to doing my Fushimi funnel. Carry on with your good work.



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Gidday All, Just a quick update - I've cut HMS Culloden's main deck athwartships.

CULL130 main deck cut

       To fill the gap in the main deck I'm planning on using those grey pieces in the foreground. They are in fact parts of the shelterdeck of the Airfix Bismarck kit. That was a kit I was extremely disappointed in - I never built it but instead cannibalized it for parts and spares.
And the hull has another (and hopefully final) layer of polystyrene sheathing over the hull extension. I'll have to sand it a bit and add two bilge keels and some filler but I think I'm nearly here with it.
       Well, that's it. I said it was a quick update. 🙂 Thank you for your interest. Stay safe, and regards to all, Jeff.

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12 hours ago, Modelholic said:

You could get a job in a car bodywork shop the amount of filler you must've used on your whifs!

Gidday, surprisingly little, I think I've just opened my third tube ever. I prefer to fill with plastic if I can, in case I need to glue something to that area.


12 hours ago, Steve D said:

now the deck won't fit....:rofl:

Yes it will, that's what hammers are for. 😁


11 hours ago, S-boat 55 said:

there'll be more than a hint of HMS Agincourt in this one

Yeah, she was one of a kind too. Seven centreline turrets was unique I think. I've read a long time ago that when she fired a broadside at Jutland it was thought that another battlecruiser had blown up.


8 hours ago, Courageous said:

Doesn't look like you need much.

A little bit though. Due to the glue's softening effect on polystyrene there are some dimples to fill that the camera hasn't shown. This is unusual I think, usually the camera shows EVERY little wart and hollow.


Again guys, thank you for your interest. Regards to all, Jeff.

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This is looking great Jeff. Always love your whiff builds and creative techniques to alter hull shapes. Like Sam, my thoughts ran straight to HMS Agincourt. I like the idea of this extended "destroyer dreadnaught leader" concept. Will be following this with interest. Where are you planning to plonk this.. erm.. P? turret?



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1 hour ago, Ngantek said:

Where are you planning to plonk this.. erm.. P? turret?

Gidday Andy, it will be 'plonked' (a nautical term obviously 😁) between the second funnel and the existing midships Q turret, facing aft also and superfiring over it. A very similar arrangement to the Japanese Ise/Hyuga class of battleship.

Regards, Jeff.

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