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

AkitsushimaBuild_071a
Here is a picture of the bow of one of the 13m utility boats which perfectly illustrates my love/hate relationship with 3D printed parts from Shapeways. I love the fact that there are many useful components available, often very complete assemblies which would otherwise take quite a bit of time to build up from scratch.  I hate the cost, and that the printing process leaves quite a bit of artifact which is very difficult to clean up.
AkitsushimaBuild_072
Here is one of the 13m boats secured in its cradles on the deck. The detail on the bow and the stern was added from scratch, much of it to replace detail removed while cleaning up the rough printing.  The boat came printed with the engine exposed, I could not resist detailing the engine with wires and setting the cover aside for maintenance.
AkitsushimaBuild_072a
The midships Type 89 twin 127mm gun was cut apart to change its elevation, which also allowed a more thorough removal of the printing artifact. On the actual mount the loaders’ platforms were articulated so that they remained level at any elevation, so they were separated and rebuilt as well.  Grab irons were printed on the surface of the mount, these were removed and holes drilled out for wire replacements.
AkitsushimaBuild_072b
Here is the gun, rebuilt and reassembled.
AkitsushimaBuild_072c
Grab irons are made from beading wire bent to shape around pliers.
AkitsushimaBuild_073
Here is the gun in place. The barrels rest on the mechanical stop designed to prevent the guns from being discharged into the stack.
AkitsushimaBuild_073a
This is the main battery director which sits atop the forward superstructure. Its core is a section of PVC pipe built up with wraps of Evergreen sheet to achieve the proper diameter.  After the core is built it is just a matter of adding details.
AkitsushimaBuild_075
More details are added to the superstructure on the workbench. The two lattice structures are supports for High Frequency Direction Finding (HF/DF) loops, which allow bearings of radio transmissions to be determined – an important tool for helping a lost aircraft find its way home.
Yukikazepostwarbridge[1]
There are no known photographs of Akitsushima’s bridge interior, so I used this picture of the destroyer Yukikazi’s bridge as a guide for filling in the details.
AkitsushimaBuild_076
There are many clocks, dials, and gauges on a ship’s bridge. I found several examples of Japanese gauges on the Internet, reduced them to the proper size, and printed them on photographic paper. 
AkitsushimaBuild_081
Here is a view of the bridge interior with several dials punched out and in place. The deck grating is another laser cut item.  The Imperial Navy relied heavily on large pedestal mounted binoculars and employed them in large numbers on their warships.
AkitsushimaBuild_082
An overhead view of the bridge detail and signal deck. The signal flags are nautical flags printed on the computer and folded up.
AkitsushimaBuild_083
The painted superstructure, ready to be mounted on the model. The canvas dodgers are made from masking tape, sealed with superglue and painted.
AkitsushimaBuild_084
Another view of the superstructure.