1/72 Scale Los Angeles Class Submarine Build, Part VIII

Part VIII?  Are you kidding me?  This build is soaking up the time, largely due to the distractions of the home remodel.  High time I got on with the painting!  The Los Angeles boats all have a non-skid coating applied along the centerline.  Being a cylinder, the hull curves more and more steeply the further you go abeam, so there is actually only a small area which can be safely walked on before footing becomes precarious.  Here I have stippled on Mr. Surfacer 1000 to simulate the rough non-skid finish.
The non-skid helps show off the added surface details.  These are made from raised panels or lines scribed into the hull or a combination of both.  I struggle with this as in 1/72 scale neither method is prototypical, actual indications of the details would be almost invisible.  The same can be said of panel lines on 1/72 scale aircraft, but the models just do not look quite right without them.
I primed the model with rattle can primer from the hardware store.  These primers are generally much less expensive than specialized modeling primers and work just as well, especially on large subjects such as this one.  This picture also shows the stands I’ll be using while painting, made from scrap plywood and bolted into the mounting holes under the hull.  They provide convenient handles for moving the model and can be turned to the sides when needed for painting.
The primer did its’ job and helped identify a slight dip in the hull contour here, which was filled with Bondo and smoothed out.  The other areas which show signs of sanding are corrections to flaws in my scribing, I’m still working to perfect that skill and have a long way to go.
With the corrections re-primed it was time to add color to the hull.  In service the red lead protective paint wears and takes on a distressed appearance which I wanted to duplicate.  I built up the red underside color with thin applications of Testors Insignia Red, altering the density to vary the color intensity.  Then the hull was stippled with Wood and Dark Tan to simulate wear.  These areas were then blended with thinner applied with a brush.
Next the hull was airbrushed with patches of Root Braun RAL 8012, and those areas were again blended.  It looks like a hot mess now but the finish coats will pull it all together.
The hull red areas were masked off using Saran Wrap stolen from the kitchen and the rest of the hull was given its’ first coat of “scale black”, which is just black toned down with grey.  Rarely should anything be painted truly black on a model, and this finish will receive some additional scale black paint layers with slightly varied tones to break up the finish.

Tamiya P-51D Mustang in 1/72 Scale

This is Tamiya’s P-51-D kit, neither the subject nor the kit require any introduction here.  The panel lines  are recessed and nicely engraved, although many of the panel lines on the wings should be filled.  The molding is sharp.  If you want dropped flaps with this kit they must be cut loose, but they are molded as one piece with the upper wing panels and can be filled out with a few lengths of half round.  The wheelwells are deep and have some really nice detail, but only go back to the well opening, not all the way back to the spar as they should.  In the end I replaced them, but I’m sure many modelers won’t see that as being worth the extra effort.

This kit surprised me with a couple of fit issues.  The fit of the main wing can be fixed with some careful trimming at the center of the rear edge, above the radiator scoop where it will be hidden.  Of more concern is the fit of the forward windscreen – it’s about a millimeter wider than the fuselage.  On any future builds I will try shimming  the upper cowl out enough to improve the fit.  The main canopy is in two pieces, and I think a vacuform piece would improve the appearance here as well.

“Honey Bee” was piloted by Capt. Barrie S. Davis, 317 FS, 325 FG.







Grumman TBM Avenger Mishaps

An Avenger in the water after a landing mishap.  The pilot has stepped out onto the wing but the other two crewmen are not visible.  The damage to the port wing is extensive.
This Avenger has spun into the island of the USS Hornet (CV-12), which is crowded with onlookers.  The areas where off duty personnel would congregate to observe flight operations was referred to a “vultures row” on most ships.
ENS Bye put his Avenger into the port catwalk aboard the USS Enterprise (CV-6).  Crewmen climb onto the starboard wing where their weight will help to right the aircraft while others standby to manhandle it back onto the deck.
Another of Enterprise’s Avengers, this one reportedly damaged by friendly fire from a Hellcat.  In addition to the missing port elevator, close examination of the photograph shows numerous holes in the fuselage and wings plus damage to the turret perspex.  Proper aircraft (and ship) identification is a problem, and more difficult than it might first appear.
A TBM-3 in the grass at Leyte has attracted a crowd after over shooting the runway.  Note the painted out number on the cowling.
This Avenger with an impressive mission tally has suffered a landing gear collapse and is being manhandled forward to clear the flight deck aboard the USS Hoggart Bay (CVE-75), a Casablanca class escort carrier.
A bad day aboard the USS Cabot (CVL-28).  This Avenger not only has missed the wires but has wandered wide of the flight deck and is headed towards the aircraft spotted forward.  Crewmen in the catwalk have already ducked and those among the planes on deck are seeking cover.
One of the USS Card’s (CVE-11) Avengers has come to rest atop a 40mm gun tub.  Her arresting hook has been secured to the deck pending recovery.  Card was very active in the Atlantic, successfully operating against German U-boats.  Reactivated for the Viet Nam War as an aircraft transport, Card was sunk pierside in Saigon Harbor by an explosive charge placed by a Viet Cong swimmer.  She was quickly repaired and returned to service.
Aircrew exit an Avenger which has gone over the side of the USS Bataan (CVL-29).  All three crewmen are visible in this view.  Among its’ other qualities, the TBM appears to have been quite buoyant, at least in the short term.
A bad day for this TBM aboard an unidentified CVE.  The fuselage has broken just aft of the turret gunner’s position.

Hasegawa GMC CCKW-353 Fuel Truck in 1/72 Scale

This is the old Hasegawa GMC CCKW-353 fuel truck.  I’ve replaced all the wheels with castings from the Deuce and a Half Academy trucks.  The winch was cut off the front and a standard bumper substituted.  The cab interior is completely rebuilt.  These kits show their age but the fuel truck is useful to provide a sense of size when displayed alongside aircraft models.






U-boat War Patrol: The Hidden Photographic Diary of U-564 Book Review


U-boat War Patrol: The Hidden Photographic Diary of U-564

by Lawrence Patterson

Paperback, 208 pages, illustrated

Published by Chatham Publishing May 2006

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1861762879

ISBN-13: 978-1861762870

Dimensions: 7.9 x 10.1 inches


This is a book that almost wasn’t.  A shoebox of unwanted photographs was presented to the Postmaster of the small English town of Staintondale in April 2000.  Fortunately the postmaster was interested in history, and recognized the photographs were of a German U-boat crew.  Further inquiries lead to more pictures, 361 in all.  They had been “liberated” from the wreckage of the U-boat pens at Brest by a British serviceman, and had survived the passage of time.

The pictures were taken by an official photographer sent along with the U-564 on an Atlantic war patrol from July through September 1942.  U-564 was commanded by Reinhard “Teddy” Suhren, already a U-boat ace.  During this patrol she was to sink five Allied merchant ships, and was almost lost herself due to fire and a broken depth gauge.

The photographs offer a unique glimpse into the life aboard a U-boat, a little less than half the total are reproduced here.  All crew members are seen at their duties and going about their daily routines.  U-564’s logs survived the war, as did her commander who wrote an autobiography entitled Nasses Eichenlaub (Wet Oakleaves).  Coupled with the photographs, this information provides a detailed insight into a war patrol aboard a German U-boat.

My one criticism of the book is that as the number and quality of photographs are what makes this book unique, the publishers should have reproduced them in larger format on better paper.  Having said that, this is an excellent book and a good read.  I found it as a close out at Ollie’s for $1.99, money well spent.