Kevin McClure's LSM-64 (1/5/10)
Posted by Kevin McClure (via Matty) on January 9, 2010, 20:54:47, in reply to "Builds for VETERANS"
Mechanized (Infantry) Landing Ship
Iron ShipWrights 1:192
by Kevin McClure
for his vet friend "Russell's Gentleman"
"Here are some shots of a model I built for a local veteran who served on LSM-64 in the Pacific during WWII:
Click on Image for FULL-RES
"I was approached by "Russell" (This may, or may not be his name - to protect the guilty!), an employee of a local hobby shop who had special ordered a 1/192 scale LSM kit by Iron Shipwrights. "Russ" had agreed to build the kit on commission for the gentleman. "Russ" approached me while I was in the hobby shop and told me what he had agreed to do, that a bunch of time had passed (about three months), and that he was in WAY over his head on the build (he had primed the hull). Knowing that I build resin ships, he asked me if I would be willing to take over the project, handed me the kit in it's box, the contact information for the vet, and a nice hardcover history of the LSM. I reluctantly agreed to take over the build. Little did I know then how much fun this would turn out to be!
Click on Image for FULL-RES In total, there were 494 of these ships constructed, the first one was commissioned on April 14, 1944. Typically, an LSM had a crew of 54 enlisted men and five officers. The LSM's were utilized for wartime duty in the Pacific. They were first pressed into combat duty when General MacArthur made his promised return to the Philippines in October of 1944. They were then deployed during all subsequent island invasions in the Pacific. The LSM was used to shuttle supplies, ammunition and equipment ashore during and after an invasion. These ships were lightly armed, unarmored, and intended to land vehicles and supplies well after the initial landing wave. As I would learn later, these ships often came ashore under direct fire. Many LSMs were lost due to enemy artillery fire, mines, torpedoes, and "broaching" - when the ship would be forced sideways and grounded against the beach due to improper boat handling or high surf. The crews suffered many casualties in the process.
Click on Image for FULL-RES Iron Shipwrights' LSM kit is available in 1/350 and 1/192 scales. The kit handed over to me was the 1/192 scale version, and it is a nice size to work with at almost a foot long. I had never worked in this large scale before, and I found it both fun due to the larger size of the parts, and challenging due to the level of detail and tidy building demanded by this scale! The kit is well cast, with minimal over pour, some small pinholes and voids that are easily filled with Bondo and strip styrene. Smaller parts vary in molding quality, but they give you so many extras, and their parts replacement policy is second to none in the industry! The photo etch brass sheet is well detailed and includes all the railings and fittings not done in resin.
The kit builds like a typical resin kit, and there are not too many parts on this kit. I called the veteran, and set up a breakfast meeting to speak with him about details specific to his ship. My 10 year old son came along with me (he would NEVER turn down a pancake breakfast!!), and we were hosts to a wonderful morning of food, coffee (and) war-, work- and life stories by this incredibly thoughtful and intelligent man! What a life he has lead! We went over details for the build such as paint colors, type of anchors, armament, etc. With information in hand, the build could proceed in earnest. Besides the standard 20mm Oerlikon guns, LSM-64 had a single 40mm Bofors gun in a tub over the bow cargo doors - guess what - the kit didn't provide one! So, it was time to build one from scratch:
Click on Image to Enlarge I printed out some photos off the web, and proceeded to piece one together from plastic card and leftover brass bits. The recoil spring area was fashioned from a single piece of spaghetti pasta.
The wooden base was cut from a length of 1x4 poplar stock and a routed "ogee" edge on the perimeter. I stained it using a mahogany stain and sealed it with a couple coats of polyurethane. Brass pedestals were used to mount the ship on. To complete the base, I ordered a brass plate from my local engraver with the ship number on it, and purchased the correct campaign ribbons for LSM-64 from my local military surplus store. The custom acrylic case was done by Grandpa's Cabinets and fit like a glove! The build process was: prep and prime all resin parts, paint the hull and mount it on the base with the pedestals. Build up, paint and install the sub assemblies, scratch build the 40mm gun, attach the photo etch railings and fittings, rig and detail, purchase and install decorations, order and attach the acrylic case. The signal flags spell out the vet's initials! When the model was complete, I set up a meeting to present it to the vet.
The presentation meeting was an emotional one, as the vet was reduced to tears of remembrance and appreciation at the sight of the finished ship. There wasn't a dry eye in the house (including mine!) What a rewarding experience this was for everyone involved!
Click on Image for FULL-RES
If you ever have the opportunity to do something like this - go for it!"