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Thread: Trumpeter 1:350 USS Essex Late WW2 Trim

  1. #31
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    Essex: Alliance Parts

    Well Gun, the Alliance Model Works 40mm Bofors quad guns with shields arrived today. Boy... such a tiny package, and the stuff inside is tinier still. Quality looks good.

    Name:  Essex Alliance 40mms.jpg
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    Didn't work today, but will probably go blind building the guns tomorrow if I'm up to it.

  2. #32
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    Essex: Building the AM-Works 40mms Mounts begins

    Well Gun... I attempted to start building the 40mms, but have very little to show for it. My worst fears are coming true and I'm having Missouri building flashbacks. Just because you can actually etch something, doesn't actually mean mortals can build it. AM has the same problem that Eduard, they etch the bend lines. This makes brass that's so thin as to break down before you can separate the parts from the fret. Here's an example:

    Name:  Essex AM-Works Fret Probs.jpg
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    Those tiny hair-like pieces still sticking to the fret were supposed to be part of the base plate with railings. These were supposed to fold back upon itself to...what?...reinforce the very fragile railing. But instead, they simply separated from the part while I was carefully making the separating cuts.

    Futhermore, those rear railings are supposed to engage with a very fragile square-shaped side rail. Only problem is the side rail is supposed to attach at the corner in a butt-joint to effectively a brass hair. There's simply no surface area to apply any kind of adhesive. Without a corner connection, both the side and rear rails deform at the slightest touch, bump, breadth, etc.

    Next there's the guns. Beautiful resin castings, but oh so fragile. I attempted to glue the gunner's seats on, and got one... sort of, and the other went into the PE ether. So the first one I built was an abomination. The real rail is a mess, there's one barrel missing, no gun sites or seats. Oh and the rail on the right side is missing entirely since I had to amputate since it got so out of whack.

    Name:  Essex AM-Works 1st Disaster.JPG
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    I am nothing if not persistant and tried again. This time I thought (wrongly) to add the gear sector on the gun's bottom as shown in the instructions. Unfortunately, with the sector glued on the gun no longer can go on the mount. So I attempted, carefully, to cut relief slices into the center of the mount so the sector would slide into position. This worked until it didn't when the resin base casting broke and had to be CA'd back together. So the sectors aren't going on either.

    I got the second mount done as far as the cartridge ramps and the rear platform. I was in the process of bending the front shield and ran out of time. I'll continue tomorrow. I'm not sure I'm going to get any satisfaction out of the this exercise and may just substitute those beautiful gun barrels on the GMM brass 40mm fittings. I'm assuming the GMM brass is a little more robust and hope they don't etch the folds.

    The barrels have beautifully rendered flash hiders and recoil springs. And they're very delicate.

    Name:  Essex AM-Works 40mm Guns.JPG
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    Here's that second mount. At least the full rear railings are intack (so far) and I got it on upside down since the out-of-scale diamond plate is now on the wrong side. Maybe folding it backwards kept it from falling apart so fast. You can see the slots I cut for the sectors that aren't being used.

    Name:  Essex AM-Work 2nd Try.JPG
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    So... Gun, did you actually build these things in 1:350? If so, how did you do it, because I'm not sure I'm going to get anything worth displaying on the boat when I finished.

    I have a full fret of the Eduard 40mm left over from the Missouri project. With the RSU to do some precision soldering, and these nice resin barrels from the AM kits, I might try that approach. As much as I like the resin mounts, I'm having breakage problems when I attempt to handle them... I'm getting to be a klutz in my dotage.
    Last edited by Builder 2010; 24 Jan 18, at 03:16.

  3. #33
    Contributor bbvet's Avatar
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    B2010,

    Yes, the PE can be totally insane!!!! My NEW JERSEY is 1:200 scale and I simply won't go back to another 1:350 scale model - way too small (1/700 - FAGET IT!!!) for my eyes & hands. Some of the Pontos PE parts for the 16" turrets was so small I simply passed it by and kept the "less detailed" plastic kit part intact. As you said no one will ever know the difference on some of this extremely small stuff.

    I have not purchased one of the PE bending tools but rather use one of the small 1/4" flat blade pliers for bending - and making sure I only bend it once! My main problem is cutting the parts from the sheet without messing them up.

    Hang in there!!!

    Hank

  4. #34
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    That makes me feel much better. I consider myself a pretty good modeler, but sometimes with the micro parts I'm at a loss. I had the same problem with AM's Missouri catapults and their ammo racks for the inside of 40mm gun tubs. I tried wrestling with two racks and scraped the whole fret. I'm going to experiment and mix and match to make the 40s. It took three manufacturers' PE to create two acceptable 1:350 catapults. I'm still thinking about buying the 1:144 Fletcher. That PE will be big enough to deal with... I hope.

  5. #35
    Contributor bbvet's Avatar
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    B2010,

    Well, at least now you may be able to find the 1:144 FLETCHER by Revell of Germany a lot easier since it's back in production. The PE (and I've bought quite a bit for my 4-gun 1960s version) is still small but manageable, I think.

    Hank

  6. #36
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    Essex: Making 40mm Guns

    Plan B is now in effect. Plan B is to use Eduards gun mounts, base and shield, AM-Works guns, and solder as much of this together as possible.

    While the Eduard bases have their own problems—seats, foot pedals and front railing-type-thingy—falling off before or during handling, the metal thickness is more capable of being handled and since it's all brass, the possibility of soldering it together.

    When I built the Missouri's 40s 6 years ago, I didn't have the Resistance Soldering Unit (RSU), so when I tried to attach the mounts to the base, when I would try to solder the second mount, the first one would de-solder. And then when I tried to solder on the shield the heat would de-solder both gun mounts. This occurred with such frequency it would drive me to distraction.

    Now, here's the process.

    First I scrap off the primer in the places that I want solder. I then put a small drop of TIX liquid flux with a small artist's brush to further promote solder adhesion. I using a very small diameter rosin-core solder. I changed the RSU's tweezer points to get nice sharp points. I put the two points down on the base right in the little cleaned brass area, hit the foot pedal and wiggle them slightly to get a connection, and add a tiny amoung of solder as fast as I can. Repeat this for the other pad area.

    Name:  Essex Eduard 40 solder pads.jpg
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    I do the same for the as-yet folded gun mounts. On the Missouri, I also soldered the folder mount since I went overboard and line-drilled the trunions, and the Tamiya gun barrels and put a pin through them to hold it all together since I was having CA troubles. In order to stand up to the drilling I had to solder all the mounts so they were stable.

    In this model I'm not doing that (yet) since I think it will work just with CA.

    Name:  Essex Eduard Gun Mount Solder Pads.JPG
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    After attempting to CA the gun shield to the gun base with very little success (very little surface area for glue to adhere) I decided to try and solder them. I then had to clean and tin the parts of the base that would be in the joint. This is on the reverse side of the base. First I tried to tin the parts when they were all flat, but the solder was interfering in the fold line and results were dubious, so I changed routine and soldered the big pad for the mount when flat, then fold, and finally tin the areas on the side rails which would be involved in the shield joint.

    To solder the mounts and base together—and this is where the RSU really earns its keep—I carefully place the mount over the solder pad, and then hold it down with the RSU tweezers. Since some of the area around this part is still painted, it took a bit of coaxing to get a connection. The RSU makes a very audible 60 hertz hum when the current is flowing through the joint. If you don't hear the hum, it's not conducting and you're not getting any heating. The Tweezers are putting pressure on the mount to both hold it in place and get a connection. Once the solder beneath the mount flows, I release the foot switch, but keep holding the tweezers in place until the joint cools. This all happens so fast that when I do the second mount, the first one doesn't de-solder at all.

    The joints are very secure. It's not as easy as it looks since holding the tweezers steady with the right amount of pressure throughout the entire until it cools is challenging. I spent a lot of time positioning and re-positioning the mounts before hitting the foot switch.

    Name:  Essex Eduard 40 mount 1.JPG
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    As I said, CA'ing the shields wasn't working well so I decided to solder that too. Again I had to clean off the primer and add some solder.

    Name:  Essex_Eduard_40_Shield_Solder_Pads.jpg
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    I had trouble keeping my folds on the correct side on the base. I actually folded two on the wrong side and had to scrap one of them since when trying to re-fold it properly I generally screwed it up. You don't get a lot of second chances with PE.

    Again, the most difficult part of soldering the shields to the mount was positioning and holding it steady enough with the tweezers so it could be soldered. Lots of time was spent doing this.

    I now have four mounts finished: one AM-Works mostly resin, and three Eduard-based units.

    All of the units are hybrids with Eduard mounts, and either AM-Works or Tamiya guns. I don't have enough good AM-Works guns to do all 12 mounts. I've broken four AM guns already and have some left over from the scrap Tamiya Missouri. The AM guns are nicer, but they are ridiculously fragile and break if you look at them the wrong way. I don't know why they use a resin that's so brittle for these micro-parts.

    Here are Eduard/AM-Works and an Eduard/Tamiya hybrids. Without magnification, you won't be able to tell the difference when in the case.

    Name:  Essex Hybrid 40.jpg
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    All of these mounts will be airbrushed Navy Blue and the guns picked out for some different colors, so all the heat discoloration will be no longer visible.

    So... only 8 more to go. I'm getting 2 to 3 done per work session, but getting faster so I'll have these finished by early next week. Meanwhile, the GMM materials from Total Navy should get here by then.

  7. #37
    Contributor bbvet's Avatar
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    B2010,

    I'd be interested in seeing a picture of this resistance soldering unit - and product details etc. I've always used cryo to glue the PE parts together - not always a sure thing!

    Thanks,

    Hank

  8. #38
    Military Professional JCT's Avatar
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    Wow, very impressive! Thank you for the write-up and pictures!

  9. #39
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    RSU Details

    I got mine directly from American Beauty. It's about $500. I got it with the Tweezers hand piece and a larger probe that has a ground wire with spring clip. I haven't found a use for the larger probe and would advise against getting it for small model work.

    The unit consist of three parts. The power supply, the hand piece and the foot switch. The power supply has an off-on switch and rheostat. For most brass soldering I use it between 5 and 7 on the dial. For this PE work I have it at 2. There's a circuit breaker that can trip if the current is on too long without the joint being made. The unit puts out 3 volts at 50 to 100 amps. It's like a small spot welder. With the low voltage, you have to work the tweezer tips sometimes to get a good connection. As I noted before, you know you're working when you hear an audible 60 hertz hum indicating that AC is flowing through the joint.

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    Name:  RSU 1.jpg
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    The power is directed through the two electrodes on the tweezer hand piece. The electrodes appear to be copper-jacketed carbon. They are somewhat fragile and you have to periodically dress them to remove oxides that percent that low voltage from passing. I have a couple of negative comments about this hand piece. It only opens so far and many times it's not far enough. It also takes some practice squeezing them together without the points bypassing each other. When that happens the parts you're holding are now all askew and you have to start over. I find that you can bend the electrodes a little and get them to align better. It does require practice.

    If the current is too high, on too long or if you're putting too much pressure on the tips, they can either deform (since they get bright red hot) or they can break, so you have to pay attention to what's going on. If the joint is too big for this unit, then you need to stop and figure something out. American Beauty makes a lot of different units with higher amperages. This is specifically a hobby unit which is why the picture of a Santa Fe is on the front. The largest jobs I tend to do with it are soldering leads onto model railroad track. I used to have heat the wire and the rail and when the tinned surfaces melted, quickly grab a small screwdriver to hold the wire still while the solder cooled. With the RSU, you heat and hold in one easy flow. I've tried using the two-piece electrode, but haven't mastered it yet.

    Name:  RSU 3.JPG
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    The real secret to this whole deal is the foot switch. It's what enables you to solder the parts and then continue to hold them together with the power off until the solder solidifies. It makes jobs that would have required three hands to be done with two. (I think I have to repaint that flow...yuck!).

    Name:  RSU 4.JPG
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    Would I buy one again. YES! It really makes nearly impossible, frustrating soldering jobs very doable. If you have the current level set right and have a good connection, the joint is heated so fast and so locally that any parts nearby do not unsolder. This is why if you're going to do any serious modeling in brass, you must have one of these. When I bought it I was a bit concerned that it wouldn't get enough use to justify the cost. I use it all the time. It's nice since you turn it on and it's ready to go. It doesn't have to heat up like a standard iron. There are still plenty of uses for standard irons and I have a Weller temperature controlled station next to the RSU. I have used both for electronic soldering.

  10. #40
    Contributor bbvet's Avatar
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    B2010,

    Thanks for posting the photo/info re. the soldering unit. May have to look into that. I agree with your product critque' - the hand held "tweezer" points etc. could have been designed better to ensure a steady and constant contact.

    Hank

  11. #41
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    Thanks Hank.

    Also, the locking screws need improving too. They're mild steel, need tightening regularly and the phillips slots are camming out. I'm going to change them to something else, possibly a harder, allen head cap screw. Clearly, this is a less-expensive version to enter the hobby industry. I'd like to see what their industrial lines look like. In fact, I'm going to write them about it and see what they'll do.

  12. #42
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    Since I wrote the post this morning, I wrote to American Beauty about the hand piece issues that I described and they're sending me new set screws and electrodes. They also said that crossing points is a problem with the small size tweezers including ones even smaller than mine. They make more robust tweezers, but they're not suited for the small model work we're doing. On their website they have videos showing the RSUs in action.

    https://americanbeautytools.com/Resi...weezer-Systems

  13. #43
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    Essex: Guns Tubs ongoing

    I'm still working on building 40mm mounts. I'm getting better at this, but it's still a challenge. Believe it or not, the most challenging aspect is not the PE. It's the AM-Works very brittle 40mm guns. They're breaking faster than I can replace them. I've written them this morning and they're sending me more guns. I hope it will be enough.

    Name:  Essex Broken Gun Problem.JPG
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    Sometimes I know when I break them. Then there are those, like this one, that broke and I didn't know when. You can't fix them. You have to break out the old gun and replace it. I find the old Tamiya styrene ones, while lacking the detail of the flash hider and recoil spring, are softer and will bend before breaking. I only have a few more old Tamiya barrels left. With the new ones from AM-Works, I may be able to finish the 12 sets needed for the Essex.

    I tried another approach to holding the shield still while I soldered it to the mount. I stuck the little brass tails into the surface of my soldering block. It worked... but...

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    It placeed the shield too low on the mount. I used this one, but had to cut the tails off so it would sit on the deck correctly. I then resorted to holding the piece in my hand as I clamped on the RSU. I was able to solder it so quickly that I didn't even burn my fingers. Perhaps a little more about my American Beauty Resistance Soldering System may be of some value.

    I've got five more 40mm guns sets to produce. I may put them aside when I run out of gun barrels and wait for the AM-Works replenishment to come. I'm still waiting for the GMM order.

    My friend in Albuquerque is producing a nice routed-edge oak display board for me and I made contact today with a local company that can cut the acrylic sheet for the showcase. I did my own cutting for the Missouri's case and it wasn't pretty. I used the score-a-line- about-half-the-thickness-and-snap method. Sometimes it snapped and sometimes it cracked. Like I said, not pretty. I want the pieces professionally cut and edge finished and I'll glue it all together.

  14. #44
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    B2010,

    I checked out the Amer. Beauty website - bookmarked it for future reference. Just as a matter of fact - my Pontos PE set for the 1:200 IOWA class models had BRASS BARRELS - and that included 40mm and 20mm. Of course, I didn't use that on NEW JERSEY but sold some to a friend of mine who was building a 1:192 scale scratchbuilt ALASKA - no one would ever know the slight size difference. Good luck with all this!!

    Hank

  15. #45
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    They supposedly make brass barrels for the 1:350 version too, but I really don't relish working with them either. You put the RSU on your wish list and I'll put an outside-vented spray booth on mine. I think I could handle parts 2X larger and would like the opportunity to try.

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