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

AkitsushimaBuild_101
The upper part of Akitsushima’s crane is topped with a mast. Here is the very top section under construction.  The eyelets, fourteen in this picture, were formed by wrapping beading wire around a drill bit.  Several hundred were needed for this project but I didn’t try to keep count.  The turnbuckles are model railroad parts from  Tichy Train Group, the rigging blocks are from Syren Ship Model Company, which was also the source for the scale rope used on this project.
AkitsushimaBuild_102
Here is the new crane mast test fit in place before painting. The main structure of the lattice support was built from bronze rod for strength.
AkitsushimaBuild_103
The crane is covered in camouflage spots of differing sizes, and the pattern was applied right up to the yardarms and top of the mast. The cables were rigged with EZ Line.  This is elastic and quite flexible, which helps prevent any rigging disasters when the model is being handled or transported.
AkitsushimaBuild_104
Another test-fit to check the crane for clearances with the aircraft in place. I delayed permanently attaching either the crane or the aircraft as long as possible to avoid breakage.
AkitsushimaBuild_105
Another thing I was delaying – and the last major sub-assembly to be completed – was the forward gun mount. I had purchased a nice 3D printed gun, but this mount had a rather complex splinter shield which I knew was going to be difficult to construct.  Procrastination is a poor strategy, it always fails eventually.
AkitsushimaBuild_106
I built a frame for the shield using the gun mount as a support, and then sheathed the frame in 0.010″ Evergreen sheet, one panel at a time to allow for the glue to set properly.
AkitsushimaBuild_107
Pictures showed the canvas blast bag was a very loose-fitting droopy fixture, apparently the IJN skipped dealing with the zipper/seam problem entirely. I modeled the bag using my old standard of masking tape, superglue, and Mr. Surfacer, using the picture as my guide.
AkitsushimaBuild_108
Here is the main gun shield complete and primed with the finer details being added. The shutters are shown closed, and were made from corrugated foil.
AkitsushimaBuild_109
The finished mount in place. I was mentally prepared to have to build the shield a few times to get it right, but was quite happy to be surprised that the first attempt came out okay!  Not the way to bet, but sometimes you get lucky.
AkitsushimaBuild_110
Akitsushima with the forward 127mm mount in place. With everything now mounted on the centerline, lifelines and davits can be added to the edges of the deck.