I have heard of the Albatros kits, but never owned one, so did not realize they had no decals. When I got back into the hobby way back in the late 1990s, PitRoad's Skywave kits were easiest to find on the market, so my Gearing kit is one of those, and they had some number decals at least. Also came with national ensigns for many of the nations we sold them to, but no signal flags, unfortunately. Glad to hear you are closing in on finding a set, but my offer is still there should you ever want it.
I also do not like PE. I have tried it, and I have some kits which came with it. Those kits sit on my shelf unbuilt until I am ready to deal with it. I found a cheap Optivisor magnifier at my local hobby shop years ago, and I put a high wattage bulb in the lamp on my work table. Along with a good prescription from my eye doctor, I get by enough to make myself happy. My builds will not win awards in the wider world, but that is not a concern to me.
I like things simple, and I just build out-of-the-box, with no "fancy extras" like water bases and the like. So, it sounds like you are at a more advanced level than me, with all your scratch building, and diorama work, etc. Impressive! And the best part is that you are enjoying it all (even when things go bad.) That's even more impressive still. Most folks get grumpy under those circumstances. I like it that you just enjoy the journey without worrying so much about the destination.
I hope you continue to have fun, and one day make it to your goal of 1/350 with PE.
Glad to hear you came to Boston once, and that you got to see the Constitution. I've been on her several times, as well as on other museum ships, and you're absolutely right about low overheads. Since Constitution was probably the first sailing ship I ever visited, I was surprised the other way...I thought they were all big like that until I visited the replica frigate Rose, which is pretty small. So, I was surprised at how small it was. I also do not do, nor plan to do, sailing vessel models. That is a "whole other ball game!"
Regards back, Phil.
it is great to meet everyone, understood about the photos, i will try and give posting photos a good shot, i am guessing there is a gallery where hobbyists have had success posting photos, other than the cone i stumbled upon while searching for signal flag info, most of the photos were in black and white,any color photo and the flags , if displayed , were obscured , however with the info you pointed me towards in the link that completely blows my idea out of the water, which was look at a signal flag nautical alphabet and choose C then O, N and E , which would spell cone i guess in a pirate ship sort of way, but the call sign designation is explained quite well at navsource , thank you for that, coast guard would have surrounded my diorama , i am surfing for 1/700 decals and numbers, i wouldnt accept a last sheet of decals and it looks like i may be closing in on some.. i have yet to have any fun with PE upgrades and certainly would never try with a 1/700 as my sight isnt what it used to be and just getting started modeling a 100$ or 200$ magnifying glass with light isnt in the budget for the near or far future , the model manufacturer of the two destroyer kits i have put together were the albatross kits, 1 rack sprue ,waterline, bottom flat, and top deck the only 2 large unattatched from sprue parts, so 3 items, bottom flat, sides and top deck make up a piece , i guess its called the hull, where the top part attatches to the bottom, anyway, the sprue had the 3 pieces of superstructure , very nondetailed, 3 5 inch double gun turrets, maybe ten AA double gun shoulder mounts mounted over the deck and super structure and approx ten single barrel shoulder mounted the same, 3 spot lights, 2 antenae posts which a used thread after applying cement glue to make it brittle enough to hold shape , one lifeboat held with mounts. 6 life rafts glued into any part of the ship i wanted ,torpedo tubes, depth charges made into the deck rear, lets see, back to the PE upgrade, i have watched a fletcher class 1/700 being built with PE upgrade and it really looked nice i was going to get into that when i upscale to 1/350 , oh yeah, one sheet instructions in box, but for a paperweight diorama i cant go wrong with the gifts im making for family christmas gifts is my theory, as small as the ship is (approx 8 inches length x 3 inches tall x 2 or 3 inches wide) so i made the mold 10x3.5x3.5, didnt have enough to fill up to top, the antenea and flag were still sticking up barely but it was quite thick and i figured the bubbles, which were horrendous , would dissipate , i didnt get that far to sand any crystal clearyness or buff any brilliance into such a poor attempt, i used clay to make my waves, which was wet clay, then painted blue, then encapsulated and the bubbles soared like alka seltzer , then i find out my ship floats, i didnt adhere the ship to the blue ocean epoxy resin with waves, made of wet clay.so my ship is floating upside down in a tub of epoxy resin that is getting hot as hell, i was able to seat the ship down and let the resin harden while holding ship down with a needle with something on top of said needle heavy enough but not in the mold as to keep ship submerged , another story about that ship, when i did create 766 for the hull number i was able to make the numbers small enough using windows paint app, not paint 3d but the original, where it used to be in accessories years ago, i digress, those numbers were of course printed on grey background, white numerals, i cut out several 766 numerals to fit it to the ship and applied glue only to watch my numbers shrivel up and dry, then the other glue i tried made the paper soak up the glue like a sponge and change color from grey background which didnt match the ships hull color anyway by this point to almost black with brown numerals, i sanded those off, redid a flag as well, it soaked up glue, but man i tell you, i have had fun, Ralph i visited the uss constitution while in boston years ago, beautiful ship, a lot of bending over walking, but if i remember right our families trips to the few other ship museums we have been too there was always bending over for head caution, it was a big ship too, i had no idea , i dont think i will be doing a sailing war vessel , i dont have enough thread and glue, my thread looks like it has droplets hanging down , i keep messing with it and im going to break a pole or pole arm, so very fragile , but let me go and pass along my hello's and i dont know if anybody else is following this thread, if so i hope you are all doing well,