First Update: 9/10/10
Posted by Mike kozlowski (via Matty) on September 12, 2010, 21:14:04, in reply to "Mike's Build of USS BARNEY "
USS Barney (DD-149) was one of the Wickes/Clemson class 4-stack destroyers that served as the backbone of the USN during the lean years between the wars. The venerable old ships shouldn't have been around for the Second World War, but they stepped proudly forward to do their jobs, almost all of them being drastically modified in one form or another.
Barney herself had a long, solid career in the Atlantic, earning one battle star for a vicious night action against raiding German aircraft on 11-12 April 1944. She had a reputation as a fast ship - "fastest in the Fleet", according to Melissa's grandfather, a proud member of her crew. I had some respectful doubts about that until I met a former crew member from Endicott (DD-495) and mentioned Granddad's statement. The gentleman looked at me and said, "Ya know, we raced her once - damned if she wasn't." After the German surrender, she narrowly missed what might have been a short, exciting second career: reclassified as AG-113, she was to have been fitted with modified 5" rocket launchers and been used as a picket ship against kamikaze strikes during the invasion of Japan. The war ended before she could be fitted with the RL's and she ended her career very peacefully in November of 1945.
Click on Image to EnlargeAs always, any build like this requires a fair amount of research, and as always www.navsource.org is my first go-to. Add to their pics Matt's article about enhancing images and you have got a resource that is the next best thing to seeing the real ship in person. One note, however, regarding the 4-stackers: as the war progressed, no two were quite alike, so be careful in assuming that one looks much like another. The base kit here is Airfix's old 1/600 warhorse. It's big enough that you can do a lot with it and not need an electron microscope to handle the detail work, and small enough that you can display it anywhere. Airfix has also repopped the very nice Mirage 1/400 kits from a few years ago, and Revellogram is turning the beautiful 1/242 kit loose again later this year, so there are a lot of potential kits to work from. The hull is very nice and requires only minor modification. Once you've glued it together (DON'T install the rudder or the propeller guards yet), fit the deck in to give it extra strength. The deck fit is a little uneven fore and aft - I recommend sanding it to fit then filling in the gaps. Once that's done, go ahead and sand the hull seams down. Sand off the 'ladders' midship and at the bow, and fill in ALL the portholes. (If you're building another ship, be sure to check your photo data - not all the portholes were plated over on every ship, and on a ship this small it's noticeable.)
Once everything's dry and set, get out your trusty #11 blade - you've got some shaving to do. Cut off then sand down all the gun and torpedo mounts and the depth charge racks. This is moderately tough on the depth charge racks, because you don't want to give the deck a downward curve here. You will also have to deal with the hole in the deck where the tower assembly aft would normally have gone. This distinctive feature - very rare in any of the WWII 4-stackers - was one of the first things to go when they were refitted. I put a piece of thin plastic card over it to represent plating.
Click on Image to EnlargeThe stacks are the next mod. Obviously, you won't be using one, but the other three need some modification. On Barney, she lost her number four stack - I dropped a little Squadron filler into the hole and sanded it smooth. This, by the way, gives you an extra stack in case the next part goes south. I will happily admit I eyeballed the heights of the remaining stacks - the #1 doesn't lose any height at all, but as you can see from the pics, it's definitely got a different shape to it. This was simply a matter of carefully sanding the stack cap to its new shape. There's a ring that goes around the stack that seemed a bit too large for me, I sanded that off as well and have added a new one from sprue that will be sanded down later.
The second and third stacks were handled a little bit differently. I went ahead and glued them into place, then brought them down to the right height with a sanding block. Then, very carefully, I sanded the stack caps into their new shape. What helps out here is that the plastic is thick enough that you can get the new tapered shape onto the stack caps and not lose the proper size of the stack opening. In addition, having them anchored securely to the deck made handling them a heck of a lot easier. Again, here your pics are invaluable: not every 4-stacker had exactly the same mods, and many had the area between the forward superstructure and the midships deckhouse plated over, which complicates things just a teeny bit.
Click on Image to EnlargeSuperstructure came next. I did the easy one first - the aft deckhouse. The part that provides the overhead is so thick that when you look at it from the side, it looks like one of those houses from 'The Flintstones' with the giant rock slab on top for a roof. Get out the sanding block again and bring down the thickness until you're comfortable with it.
The forward superstructure required quite a bit more work, but none of it is terribly difficult. After gluing it together, the first thing that has to go are the wedge-shaped structures that run across the beam of the superstructure just below the bridge. Depending on your preferences, you can shave 'em or sand them. Once that's done, take a strip of styrene and cut it to fit across the existing bridge windows. A fine drill bit or the tip of a #11 gets you very serviceable portholes. Finally, the last work needed on the forward superstructure is actually the heaviest bit of surgery you'll need to perform on the entire conversion. If you take a look at Pics 3, 4, and 6, you'll see where I've trimmed away part of the superstructure on either side of the bridge level. If I remember my nomenclature correctly, this would be part of the 02 level on either side of the bridge proper. (I would be very happy BTW if our USN vets would please correct me on this or any other goofs in terms of referring to various parts of the ship. I am but a Wing Wiper Of Very Little Brain, and want to make sure it's right. J ) I originally intended to use card to cover over the openings this will leave in the superstructure, but I decided to simply get some Squadron filler in there and sand it smooth. I should note at this point that I'm still a bit unclear as to the structure immediately above the bridge - the pic of Barney in the Measure 12 striped camo seems to show that as canvas covered rails, but the pics of her in the Measure 32 block camo looks to me as if it's been plated over.
So - at this point, you should end up with something that looks like this :
Click on Image to Enlarge
So - that's where we stand so far. More to come!