1/72 Akitsushima (秋津洲) IJN Seaplane Tender Scratchbuild Part VI

AkitsushimaBuild_051
Remember me saying to treat each subassembly as its own model? In the middle of the grind each subassembly complete equals a small victory, and visible progress towards completion helps keep morale up.  At least that’s how it works for me.  These three components are the collapsible deck structures located amidships.  They are shown completely erected, completely struck down, or with only the supports and stays in place in the various surviving photographs (see the earlier reference post).  The builder’s drawings show the forward structure was used to store spare propellers and control surfaces for the aircraft, but I could not determine the purposes of the remaining two.  I suspect they might have been engine maintenance and storage but that is speculation.
AkitsushimaBuild_047
The main mast assembly built as a separate project. The structure is made from Evergreen tube, reinforced wherever possible with music wire cores for strength.  The pulleys hanging from the yardarms are for the signal hoists.  I found the ladders to be rather unforgiving, a rung is needed every 5 mm and the pattern makes even a slight misalignment noticeable.
AkitsushimaBuild_046
The mast test-fit in place. Using the wooden construction base allowed me to handle the mast so I could easily work on it on the bench without damaging either it or the rest of the model.
AkitsushimaBuild_048
While working on the mast on the bench I began detailing the fo’c’sle, alternating between tasks if I needed a break. The mounts for the main gun positions have a raised platform surrounding the gun to aid the shell passers in supplying ammunition to the loaders, who were on platforms alongside each gun breach.  This is shown on the drawings and is visible in Akitsushima’s shakedown photograph, but is a detail missed by kit manufacturers.
AkitsushimaBuild_049
Detail on the fo’c’sle is beginning to shape up. Seams between the deckplates were reinforced with strips, and in the Imperial Japanese Navy flat stock was welded to the deck diagonally to prevent slippage.  I represented the reinforcing sprips with 0.010′ x 0.020″ Evergreen, and the non-skid bars with 0.010″ x 0.010″.  On the fo’c’sle alone there were almost 1,100 non-skid bars.  Anchor chain is a 3D printed item from Shapeways.
AkitsushimaBuild_052a
Moring lines in the IJN were typically stored on reels mounted to the decks. After the lines were stowed the reels were covered with battens and canvas and secured with line.  Using detail drawings I selected four sizes of reel designs to represent what I could see on Akitsushima’s drawings and photographs.  The large reels were made from wooden dowel, the smaller ones from plastic tube.  These were covered with masking tape to represent the canvas, which was then sealed with superglue and Mr. Surfacer 500.
AkitsushimaBuild_052b
Akitsushima carried six depth charges in roll-off racks on her main deck aft. These are 3D printed depth charges from diStefan’s Shapeways shop on Evergreen racks, secured with masking tape straps.
AkitsushimaBuild_052c
Various cowl vents, each made to represent a specific vent on the decks of Akitsushima. The vents were easier to construct than I anticipated.  The trick was to build them with square corners, then fill the inside of the joints with superglue.  This allows the corners to be filed off round without sanding through the material, and prevents the joints from working apart during sanding.
AkitsushimaBuild_052
Here is the parts farm, primed with Mr. Surfacer 1200 to reveal any flaws before assembly. Most of these fittings are 3D printed parts from diStefan Shapeways shop (Sasa Drobac), the mushroom patch visible in the box is from Model Monkey (Steve Larson).  Both gentlemen were very accommodating and easy to work with, but the printing technology utilized by Shapeways requires quite a bit of clean up.
diStefan 3Dprint Shapeways shop here: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/distefano_3dprint
Model Monkey direct shop here: https://www.model-monkey.com/
AkitsushimaBuild_050
An overall view with the major components posed in place. Ready to start detailing the main deck!
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