Update 5/3/08: SUPERSTRUCTURE Modifications
Posted by Matty on September 21, 2008, 0:30:14, in reply to "Matty's HMAS SYDNEY build: Converting the Airfix Ajax kit"
Message modified by board administrator September 21, 2008, 9:00:43
-- Originally Posted 5/3/08 -- |
In the lead-off post I decided what the superstructure layout under Sydney's aft funnel and HA gun deck, must have looked like; analyzing light and shadows on our excellent profile reference pic to determine this superstructure was winged out to the deck edge and, must also have been scalloped inward going forward.
This weekend I began to implement it on the Airfix Ajax conversion:
Click on Image to EnlargeAt top, laying a scaled printout of the reference pic alongside the build reveals the winged portion of the superstructure in question ends just where the kit's aft superstructure begins (arrow). So what is needed on each side is a bulkhead shaped something like a question mark.
Now there are two approaches to kitbashing: one in which you truly scratchbuild everything from stock plastic (and other materials); and another where you find shapes and textures from your collection of spare parts and/or other boneyard models, saved for the purpose. Not only is the latter by far the less expensive - and, IMHO, more fun - way to go, but in my case also required to keep a truly gargantuan and growing pile of spare parts from getting (even further) out of control!
So I searched out the approximate shapes (bottom left); finding them in the borders of the display stand of the old Revell PT-213 (or whatever PT it was exactly). Some quick scribing and sawing easily freed them, after which I discovered they fit perfectly into niches on the sides of the catapult turntable part (bottom right), as attached in its new location. At the same time, note almost all of the hole which was opened by moving the catapult forward will now be covered by this superstructure.
A couple snippets of spare deck filled the slight gaps remaining, to finish the modification:
Click on Image to EnlargeThis must be very close if not exactly what Sydney actually had under her aft funnel/gun deck. The proof being that, with the right deck fitted overhead (see below), the build will reproduce almost exactly the appearance of light, shadow and open airspace, at exactly the right spots, as in the historical profile reference pic.
Here is that result, and the deck which produces it:
Click on Image to EnlargeAgain, the reference pic was used to determine exactly where Sydney's aft funnel/gun deck ended, and this point is marked (top left) on the underlying deck, and the kit superstructure cut down to half-height, as shown, from that point forward. This creates the proper seat for a thick tab plate (top right); glued under the kit deck piece to align/ support the required extensions. Note I have butted the plate to- but not extended it over or beyond the molded-in locator stubb, which was left in place. Thus, when the deck assembly is fitted (center), exactly the same little square of "daylight" shines through above the corner of the torpedo station; meanwhile the other patterns of light and shadow on the underlying superstructure begin to resemble reference pic (bottom) almost exactly.
These patterns also indicate clearly that the aft part of Sydney's aft funnel/gun deck had little, if any, of the tapering purported (for HMAS Hobart) by the Airfix conversion article plans. Note a pair of narrow X-braces, fully illuminated, bracket the torpedo tubes; proving the overlying platform is winged out fully flush with the hull sides over the torpedo station. Behind the after X-brace, there is a slanting dark line - a ladder - beyond which the background superstructure immediately emerges into full illumination, clear down to the main deck - indicating the overlying funnel/gun deck has terminated completely at the ladder (which also makes perfect sense). The room between X-brace and ladder is so short as to allow for little, if any, tapering of the aft end.
So Sydney's aft funnel/gun deck must have looked more like this:
Click on Image to EnlargeVery squared-off wing extensions (top); right out flush with the sides of the hull. Again, securely anchored to the kit piece (2nd from top) by a thick tab plate, secured to its underside. Fitting this deck assembly revealed the need to cut down the catapult turntable deckhouse aft (2nd from bottom and bottom).
(In retrospect, this mod could have been done a lot better, leaving fewer and cleaner joints, and with significantly less effort, by: 1) leaving the original OOB wings on the aft platform part and butting the extension directly to them; and 2) leaving intact the forward roof of the catapult deckhouse (with its clean insertion to the turntable) and butting to a straight line cut into only its aft portion. If I don't like the way this all cleans up, I may go back and pirate my other Ajax kit for parts to redo - and demonstrate it - the right way.)
With the aft platform well in hand, I turned to the forward funnel/searchlight platform:
Click on Image to EnlargeThis was the OOB funnel and searchlight (and gun) platform which I had needlessly removed earlier. I partially vindicated my mistake by discovering that removing its forward end as far as its first gun positions (top left) would shift forward both funnel and searchlight platform locators (twin stubbs and paired small holes, respectively) to exactly their correct locations for the forward funnel and identical searchlight platforms on Sydney.
As the OOB hull sides were cut down significantly forward, it became necessary to add some of the now-visible supporting superstructure under this forward funnel/searchlight deck. Again, the Sydney profile reference (bottom), showing shadow under this forward funnel/searchlight deck, proved its superstructure must have been recessed substantially from the hull sides; I guestimated about halfway (top right) and positioned the bulkheads (arrow) accordingly.
Also indicated in the Sydney reference profile, a slightly lower - perhaps 3/4-height - deckhouse extended out from under the aft end of this platform; just forward of the catapult turntable. For this I found the discarded main battery turrets to be of just the right height and, especially given their boxy, square form, sufficient to simply cut out the back half of one; scalloping the cut so as to butt against the aft bulkhead under the forward funnel deck.
Again, in retrospect this platform, just like the aft platform above, could have been more easily done, with less remaining need for cleanup, by just leaving the OOB forward deck piece intact, adding the turret back (or other deckhouse piece) to its aft end and repositioning/re-drilling all the locator guides for the forward funnel and searchlight platforms.
In any case, the desired structures are all achieved and the profile appearance (2nd from bottom) strongly matches the actual Sydney pic (bottom). With everything so far dry-fitted, this is the current appearance of the build:
Click on Image to Enlarge There are several hairy seams, though many will be largely if not completely hidden, particularly under all the boats, guns, etc..
In any case, this is the lion's share of superstructure modification; the rest will consist only of adding a small deckhouse and catwalks here and there, and some minor tweaking of the bridge and maybe also the aft conning position.
So, I'm anticipating moving forward with the major assembly and, after working out a few details, the deck- and hull painting.