Sydney Group Build: THE DEAL
Posted by Matty on September 20, 2008, 22:05:38, in reply to "Long Live HMAS SYDNEY!"
--Originally Posted 3/29/08-- |
This group build is open to anyone, building in any scale any kit, conversion and/or scratchbuild to depict HMAS Sydney-II, at any point in her career. I am going to depict her as-sunk and - as anyone who knows me could no doubt guess - to do so by converting/upgrading from the Airfix 1/600 Leander-class kit; HMS Ajax:
Click on Image to EnlargeVarious boxings of this kit have looked like either of the pics at left (the bottom a photo of the actual mold), or various combinations thereof. I am also going to call on Airfix' HMS Belfast (right), in the same scale, for substitution/upgrade parts to make a decent Sydney.
The first and most obvious example of which will be the funnels:
Click on Image to EnlargeTechnically an Amphion-class modification to the original Leanders, Sydney (and her RAN sister Perth and Hobart) did not have the single, large funnel of Ajax, but had instead two straight, more conventional funnels as shown in the background profile view of Sydney. I printed the latter at exactly the scale of the Ajax kit - actually measuring out to 1/605 (based on length overall); note how well one of the funnels from my Belfast kit compares.
Its teardrop cross-section (inset; upper left) is also a near-perfect match for the funnels Sydney carried:
Click on Image to EnlargeAt left is Sydney's forward funnel, after receiving shell damage in her shootout with the Italian navy off Calabria on July 9, 1940. The ship pictured at right is not Sydney - as proven by the glimpse of twin-4" gun barrels at right; Sydney had only single 4"45cals (see below) - but the after funnel is undoubtedly identical. So the above Belfast funnel, with only some minor changes (Minus, of course, the highly realistic dent in the side. ) , will make an excellent basis for the conversion parts.
The last pic, though again not exactly of Sydney herself, does show a Supermarine Walrus floatplane on the catapult - which is exactly what Sydney carried, too, at the time of her sinking - and this is another substitution required for the Ajax kit:
Click on Image to EnlargeAt bottom are the Walrus parts from the Belfast kit; the best Walrus, if I'm not mistaken, of any Airfix kit.
And a luck thing, too, as the Ajax floatplane (top) is clearly not a Walrus. At first - based on the wingtips and tail - I guestimated it was meant to represent a Blackburn Shark. However I then learned (for the first time) of another inter-war RN floatplane whose fuselage and odd, observer-only canopy is clearly what the mold is depicts: the Fairey SeaFox:
Be that as it may, I turned to the Belfast Walrus and (predictably) took it in hand for further improvement:
Click on Image to EnlargeWearing the now-typical Matty's Models' "purple sunglasses" - when you see an aircraft master getting tricked out like this, you know it's going to end up with killer window framing (brass; PE), with glass-smooth windows in between.
Meantime the engine part (bottom) is getting an actual, radial engine - laid up from some tiny PE gear-like disks. (I don't even have a clue what many of these parts were supposed to represent, in the first place! ) Anyway, the Sydney conversion will get one of these improved Walruses too.
But again, anyone who knows me could also predict that I wouldn't just pirate the above from my (otherwise pristene) Belfast kit, without also molding them for (unlimited) duplication in resin.
And I decided, while I'm at it, to also significantly improve on the Ajax' main battery guns:
Click on Image to EnlargeSomewhere in between the Ajax kit turret, at far left and the Belfast kit triple-mount turret (next to it; at center) is a twin turret looking more like the actual RN 6"50cal MkVs shown at bottom. Note their sides have significant slope to them, which the Ajax part lacks - as well as the rounding along the top front edge and other, more subtle features. All these will be put into a custom, replacement turret which I am developing in 1/550 scale, shown at top right.
This new Matt Stein Models RN Twin-6"50cal turret will look just fine on the 1/605 scale Airfix kit:
Click on Image to EnlargeAnd it already looks better than the OOB part (top) - even though its width has not yet been completely shaved down and front face not yet completed.
Not only look better, but the improvement will be comprehensive:
Click on Image to EnlargeA curious feature of the Airfix Ajax turrets: they had receptacles for moveable gun barrels - in the typical, Airfix "trapped-T" configuration - and yet for the barrels the kit provided only little sticks; to be fixed immoveably in place. The Matty's Models RN Twin-6"50cal is going to remedy that - with recreation of the Airfix moveable gun sockets (left, at bottom); suitable to accept the individually-moving gun barrels (center) of the Airfix Suffolk kit. Thus, the new turret will allow individually-elevating barrels and other features of the real thing, as shown by the picture of Sydney herself, at right.
Including details like the "shoelace"-looking sighting hatches between the guns, for which a foundation - to depict doors either closed or opened, as usual - is being laid in the attachment of PE snippets (center). Truly, these are going to be nice upgrade parts, when completed.
This build also requires replacement of the kit's twin-4" gun mounts with RN single open-mount 4"45cals:
Here I'm sprucing up the (already pretty decent) OOB part from the Airfix 1/600 Hood kit (left); adding the raised deck and enhanced PE detail (right) to better resemble the real thing (center). If this proves a feasible and sufficient improvement I will also consider mass-producing this as a Matty's Models upgrade product.
So these are all the specific conversion/upgrade parts I'm anticipating developing for this build:
- Straight funnels (x2)
- Supermarine Walrus
- RN Twin-6"50cal turrets (x4)
- RN Single Open-Mount 4"45cal guns (x4)
And this is the deal I will offer: A FULL SET of the above parts to anyone participating in this group build and submitting pics documenting their of conversion of the Airfix Ajax - or any kit or scratchbuild which will use these parts to depict HMAS Sydney-II.
Sound interesting? Just let me know.
Long Live HMAS Sydney!