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Thread: Trumpeter 1:350 USS Essex Late WW2 Trim

  1. #91
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    23 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA
    So using your suggestion I scanned the fret, cropped the radar backing and imported into Corel Draw and blew it up 300%, printed and cut it out and then did a test fold. Here's about how it should go.

    Name:  Essex Raar Back Test.JPG
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    Not sure looking at this how the support mast connects, but I'll figure it out. I have two Tom's Model Works SK sets along with the GMM. Of course, the antenna front fell off the fret (by itself) and is now nowhere to be found so a TMW front may have to do. Disappearing PE is my nemesis.

  2. #92
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    23 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Essex: PE and more PE

    Nothing like a weekend to clear your head. Using Gun's idea of scanning the PE, enlarging it and experimenting with the folding worked. I was able to fold the SK backing frame reasonably well and will describe further down this post.

    The my genius #1 grandson, who always has great suggestions, solved my problem of the getting the rim on the Tri-mast platform. He suggested soldering the ring together first and then fitting it on the platform. He's a very clever kit, doing great in school and loved solving technical problems. He heading to engineering school and is in mid-11th grade.

    I soldered the ring using 60/40 solder so it was a higher melting point than the TIX lo-temp solder with which I will tie the ring to the platform. It took a bitt of fiddling to get the ring onto the platform, but once in place, getting it soldered went relatively uneventful. I later filled the little gap in the rear with some J-B Weld epoxy which I describe in more detail further down this post.

    Name:  Essex Tri-mast Rim Process.JPG
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    I did a few other odds and ends today. The GMM PE attachment points are very fine and fragile and some are breaking loose just handling the fret. I needed to fold and deal with some of these now. Two of the long-range radio towers fell off and stood the risk of deformation, so I folded them and then soldered the mating edge ensuring that they wouldn't unfold.

    Name:  Essex Soldered Radio Masts.JPG
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    Behind them you can see the lattice platform PE assembly. This not only came un-glued from its nesting place between the legs, but it also fell apart with the two side pieces separating from each other at the corner. Luckily, the inner platforms were still attached: the lower one to one side and the upper to the other side. This helped in getting them back together AND instead of CA, I epoxied these parts back together. I believe this will really stabilize the situation.

    On the top of the tri-mast platform rear is the YE radar and its tower. I made the tower out of 3/64 brass, turned and drilled an aluminum ring for a platform, and attempted to solder the GMM YE screen to the top of the brass column. Didn't work so well. The little tab on the screen just couldn't handlie any handling at all, and it broke off. I then drilled the top of the column for a piece of 0.021" brass wire and soldered this in. I then epoxied the screen to this pin. Tomorrow we'll see if it's secure enough. I believe it will be okay. Well... just checked it and the regular epoxy didn't do the job so I did a J-B Weld job on it.

    Name:  Essex YE Screen.JPG
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    I also had to attach the backing frame on the SK radar front. This backing is some really fine PE stuff and using my paper trial, folded it so the various contact pieces contacted the flat screen. Took some fiddling... lots of fiddling, and then I glued it in place with J-B Weld. For the uninitiated, J-B Weld is a 2-part dense epoxy that has steel powder infused in the mix. It dries dark gray and is very stable. I glued the antenna and guy wires on the Missouri with this and it's worked well. I just checked it also and the J-B Weld is working and should be secure tomorrow. I may go back and reinforce some joints once these initial ones cure.

    Name:  Esses SK Backing.JPG
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    In the background of the above you see a folded and somewhat mangled long-range antenna hinge cage that had separated from the fret and was loose in the GMM mailing envelope. The screening is so fragile that it got torn up when I was putting the other fret back in the envelop not realizing that this piece was floating around inside. I folded it and will use it, but I'm not happy about it.

    Lastly, I needed to install a railing on top of the tri-mast platform. GMM doesn't include a rail for this location. I first tried using the left over Eduard railing, but was having trouble forming it without deforming it. I went to my grandson's idea and measured the circumference, cut it to overlap at the end, and then soldered the rail. I made the rail to sit on top of the platform, not wrap around it. And again, I used J-B Weld to hold it on. And again, we'll see how it worked out tomorrow. J-B Weld is a slow cure and needs overnight to set up hard. It can be drilled and tapped and can fix stuff that might not appear to be fixable.

    Name:  Essex Tri-Mast Railing.JPG
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    This railing was early GMM which is a bit more crudely designed then their current variety, but I purposefully wanted something with a little more body so I could form it without wrecking it.

    There's a radar that goes on the front of this platform while the YE radar goes into the hole in the rear. This front radar is another very delicated assembly job, and again I will turn the brass base for it on the lathe and J-B Weld the screen onto the base and base onto platform.

  3. #93
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    23 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Essex: More Antenna Work (Part A)

    The J-B Weld worked perfectly and created strong, unobtrusive joints for both the railing and the top search radar screen. With this new found confidence I decided to build the next radar; the SP radar that would go on a mount at the front of the tri-mast platform.

    This is the instructions from GMM. I chose to do #1 (first...more about that later).

    Name:  GMM Radar Instructions.jpg
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    The spider in the back gets dish shaped. I turned a tool in brass to press in the shape. I have a spherical turning attachment on the TAIG lathe which is very handy. After cutting out all the tiny parts I pressed the tool into the surface of my soldering pad to make a corresponding dish impression, and then flormed the spider. I first tried to glue the spider to the frame using thick CA, but it wasn't working well so I switched to J-B Weld.

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    This is kind of what it looked liked. I looked better in person.

    Name:  Essex SM-1 Radar Build.JPG
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    I had it sitting on the bench above the belly board where I do most of the work in this location. I then needed to turn the conical base for this antenna. The instructions showed a full-size image of this scratch-build part. It was .150" o.d. and I turned it down from a piece of .250" brass rod using the compound slide on the lathe set to the cone angle. For the top machinery I just soldered some brass pieces to it to provide a mounting point for the delicate antenna.

    I measured the ladder distance so I could cut some off the the ladder stock included in the basic fret and then cut and formed the ladder ends to wrap around the mast. I used thick CA for this gluing. I glued the top mast and the antenna mount using J-B, and started another antenna project, making the mount for the SK antenna.

    This mount consist of a piece of 3/32 brass mounted onto a small triangular platform that has very fine (and fragile) triangle trusses underneath. I do not trust this flimsy truss to have any real structural strength to hold up the antenna, so I added a piece of 0.032" brass wire soldered on the bottom with a long pin sticking out that will go into a hole in the funnel. There's a similar bracket holding the aft mast on the Missouri and I know in my heart of hearts that this is the joint that will break loose if I move that model too much.

    I J-B'd (new verb) this mast to the platform after sticking the pin into the side of my soldering block. This needs to cure overnight. A railing needs to go around that platform. That's no something I'm looking forward to.

    Name:  Essex Sk Radar Tower Glue.JPG
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    I flattened one end of the brass wire using a vice grips so it had a nice broad contact area. As it turns out, the resistance soldering tweezer make contact with this very thin brass truss and vaporized a bit of it so it couldn't support anything anyway. I'm going to add brass pins to all of these cantilevered platforms since the SC-2 radar hangs on one of these on the other side of the funnel.

    I also build two more long-range radio towers and they continue to break out of the fret, and then built the SC-2 Radar lattice mast. Like the other lattice structures, I soldered these joints, not CA'd them. The round platform is CA'd since it has a lot of contact support. There is a railing that goes around this platform. That's going to be fun...

    Name:  Essex SC Radar Tower.JPG
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    Last edited by Builder 2010; 14 Feb 18, at 03:48.

  4. #94
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    23 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Essex: More Antenna Work (Part B)

    While I doing all this other stuff. That fraglile SP antenna somehow got picked up? bounced? or somehow moved so it was now on the t-shirt on the belly tray. And it was no longer structurally intact. So I reglued it and had it sitting on that piece of black plexi in front of me. I moved something else and then it was gone! I mean really gone! Not on the t-shirt, not stuck to my lab coat, and not on the floor anywhere in the vicinity I was working. Into the quantum rift.

    So I built the SM-1 antenna to mount. It's no longer chronologically correct since the SP was used late in the War which is when I'm modeling. The rivet counters will have to forgive. This antenna (#2 antenna on the drawing above) is a challenging build since it has a 8 piece spider behind and it's really, really, really tiny. I got the back frame together, and attached to the screen, and then got the three filigred dipoles on. I went to mount the antenna to the base now curing on the tri-mast platform, but found this to be "sub-optimal" to say the least. I removed the base since the J-B hadn't cured much at all, and then prepared to J-B the screen to the base. Of course, all those delicate dipole attachments came off. I'll attempt to get them back on when the J-B cures tomorrow. And if I don't it still looks infinitely better than the plastic ones it replaces.

    To hold the base to the backing I held the base in a hemostat and then let it rest on the screen. I got it positioned well so it should cure okay... famous last words. You can tell just how small this stuff is looking at the looming size of the hemostat.

    Name:  Essex SM Radar Gluing.JPG
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    I went downstairs tonight to check on the J-B curing. The top mast was solid, as was the SM-1 to the base. But... a little J-B got under the screen and glued it to the t-shirt so when I lifted the hemostat to check it out, the backing came up with the hemostat and the screen stayed glued to the t-shirt popping it apart. I quickly re-glued the screen to the backing frame with thick CA and it held. I'm going to try and re-attach the dipoles tomorrow.

    I'm going to fabricate a new main yard. I looked at some more photos and it looks like that yard was actually round. I have some very fine telescoping brass tubing that could work okay. Loren Perry is sending me a replacement of the brass yard for just a shipping charge so I'll be able to affix a good PE part to the stronger yard. I should be able to finish up the tri-mast tomorrow. I'm concerned that my leg spacing seems to have narrowed. I don't know if I can make it wider without wrecking everything I've done. Sometimes you have to know when to stop.

  5. #95
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    23 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Essex: More Antenna Work

    Short session, but made a couple of steps forward and a few backwards.

    I adhered the SM-1 antenna assembly onto the platform using thick CA. I opted for this since I wanted it to cure fast. It's holding nicely. Sorry about the soft focus. My iPhone isn't so hot with macro photography.

    Name:  Essex SM-1 Install.JPG
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    I added the ring plartform onto the SK mast using thick CA. I then needed to build a round railing using the GMM 2-rail style railing. I calculated the circumference measuring the ring platform and then multiplying by Pi (jr high math at work), cut the rail a little long to allow so overlap for soldering, and cut it from the long length on the fret. I soldered the ends with about a 1/32" overlap. It was the only way to ensure that the ring rail stayed closed.

    Name:  Essex Soldered Platform Rail.JPG
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    I decided to solder this rail to the platform too. And I'm glad I did as I will regale you with. I'm finding a problem with my work... I tend to get myopic... I focus so intently on the tiny little spot upon which I'm working that I don't realize that how I holding the assembly is deforming some other aspect. The angle supports under the platform weren't doing so well and started to break away. I needed to attach them again. Sodlering was the way to go. As I was handling the assembly I realized that I had pressed against the rail and it was getting a bit weird. Becuase it was soldered it didn't break loose, just changed shape. I was able to massage it back to a reasonable circle. Ain't great, but it will be okay.

    I cut the angle supports off of a platform style that I'm not using and used them to replace the original ones that were breaking away and badly deformed. It took a little playing around to get everything into position since the actual edge was only 0.005" wide and I had to try and hold it steady enough so the solder would solidify. I couldn't use the RSU since there was no way for the tweezers to get a purchase. And then the vertical posts J-B Weld broke loose when I bumped it. I re-glued that and will let it sit overnight. Having the brass pin was a god send since it allowed me to hold onto the assembly without depending on the thin PE platform. You can clearly see the pin in the jaws of the hemostat. That pin will go into a drilled hole in the funnel and will be epoxied for security. Those angle brackets will be for decorative only.

    Name:  Essex SK Platform Fix.JPG
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    There's two more things to go onto this very small assembly: a railing around the platform proper and the SK antenna. The last thing to go on will be the antenna, and the it will go somewhere for safe keeping until it goes on the island. I can't solder the railing since any heat of any kind at that edge will de-solder those angle brackets. I'll J-B it.

    Last thing I did was J-B Weld the lattice platforms back into the crotch of the tri-mast. This too needs to sit overnight. There's a long ladder which goes up the center leg that needs to be added too.

    Name:  Essex Re-glue Lattice.JPG
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    There will be some careful cleanup of the excess J-B. Paint will hide a lot of the funny looking surface you're seeing (I hope...). You can better see the SM-1 antenna in this picture. I attempted to get the dipoles on (again!) and lost them again due to the same myopic work habits as I noted above. I have to be more conscious of how I'm grasping these fragile assemblies to prevent damaging previously attached things. They're so fragile that you can't feel when you're applying too much pressure. The parts deform and then you see it.

    Slowly, but surely, I'm getting all this finicky stuff under control. It does tax one's patience that's for sure.

    My mast leg spacing does not conformd to the ship's holes. I'm going to shave off those bosses and then add my own doubles to add more meat for the mast legs to get good purchase.

  6. #96
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    23 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Essex: More Catastrophes and Fixed

    So... today was another day resolving catastropes. Some days I wonder why I punish myself like this. It's almost as bad as my attempts at playing golf. I did it for years and only got frustration. It was that kind of day.

    It all started nicely. Since yesterday's J-B work was now solid I added the railing around the SK platform first forming the curve around a piece of brass. I attempted to use thick CA to glue the railing to the platform since I was afraid of un-soldering the angle brackets, but this wasn't working so I bit the bullet and soldered the railing in place. It worked!

    I used J-B to glue the radar assembly onto the upper parts of the mast. I then set this in a vise on my secondary workbench and all was well with the world.

    Name:  Essex SK Assembly 1.JPG
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    I then went back to the SC antena tower. It too needed a radial railing on the work platform and GMM included a specific piece of rail at the right length. I soldered the ends of the rail together and then soldered the rail to the round platform. If you look closely you can see the SC antenna with it's backing glued on with J-B. I added a piece of 0.032" brass rod through the hole on the top of the lattice tower, and extended the rod through the bottom so it will serve as additional support to the final assembly.

    Name:  Essex SC Antenna Assembly.JPG
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    I also added the long ladder on the tri-masts vertical leg. First I tried to get it in place with J-B, but was having trouble so I soldered this also and didn't un-solder anything else. Then castastophe struck.

    I was in the process of making my own yardarm in preparation for the new PE to arrive from Loren Perry at GMM. He found a spare Essex yardarm detail and is sending it to me for the price of the postage. I assembled the new yard out of three peices of very fine telescoping tubing. As I noted yesterday, a close inspection of the real yard showed a circular cross-section. Again, I soldered the three pieces together and then chucked the rod into my Dremel and files the joints smooth.

    Name:  Essex Made Yard Arm.JPG
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    The smallest tube, which I believe is .5mm, has a hole in the middle that I wanted to fill with a piece of fine guitar string (to really stiffen the yard). So I attempted to find my piece of High E guitar string in a plastic container on the shelf over my work bench. There is a corollary of Murphy's Law called "the law of selective gravitation" that says that anything dropped will cause the most amount of damge". It came about from NASA when a wrench was dropped while making a space satellite and caused a million bucks worth of damage. As I moved the box, a bottle of MicroMark Pressure Sensitive Adhesive fell off the shelf. It landed on the plastic container that held some of the finished PE peices like the five long range radio towers.

    The box exploded its parts in every direction. I was able to recover all of it except for one radio tower. I simply can't find it anywhere. And believe me I've looked everywhere.

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    I'm hoping it will come back from the quantum rift tomorrow. Otherwise, I'm going to be building an Essex with only four of the five antenna towers. It might be a blessing in disquise since I have one wrecked base for them. But that wasn't the worst thing that happened!

    I pushed my roll-around auxiliary work bench out of the way to search under it for the missing tower. In the process of pushing it, I must have contacted the vise that was holding the SK antenna assembly with the curing J-B. I had pushed it backhand not looking at the bench when I did it. Big Mistake!

    When I next noticed the assembly, the SK antenna was no longer on the mast. I found a mangled back frame on the bench nearby and the antenna facing on the floor. This was J-B'd yesterday so it was cured, but now fractured. I spent a long time, re-forming the back frame, cleaning off all the J-B and getting it ready to reattach. I decided to solder the back frame to the facing, and it worked. Incidentally, I ordered and just received a solder paste and dispenser from Kester (Amazon) which will make it easier to precisely add solder to these micro-assemblies.

    I then attemped to solder the antenna to the mast after cleaning off the un-cured J-B. This was a solid brass rod and the heat needed to tin the piece melted the J-B that was holding the mast to the PE base and it fell apart. The soldered railings and brackets DID NOT LET GO. So at least that worked.

    I made a new mast, this time out of 1/16" tubing, not solid, so it wouldn't take so much heat to tin. I decided to solder the antenna to the mast first and then J-B the new mast back onto the platform. Meanwhile all this handling distorted the railings and brackets at least three times, and the round platform also broke loose (it was CA'd), and I put that back on after soldering the antenna. The antenna soldering worked also, I re-glued the new mast to the platform so it is again curing overnight, only this time it will be a complete assembly.

    Whew! I'd like to say this stuff never happened before, but I suffered similar trials when building the Missouri. I rolled over SK-2 radar assemblies with my desk chair wheels and had one of the main gun director radars darn near destroyed when a piece of white cardboard (which I was using as a clean photo background) fell forward, hit the radar and crushed it. It was the last one I had and I re-formed is as best as I could. Stuff happens!

    Name:  Essex SK Assembly 2.JPG
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    You can see some of the fine screen details have been filled with solder (more reason to use solder paste from a precision dispenser). And those railiings have taken a beating. I'm going to leave it alone... I've done enough damage already. Hopefully, tomorrow will be less eventful. This is a hobby and is supposed to be relaxing. Yeah! Right!

  7. #97
    Contributor bbvet's Avatar
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    19 Apr 14
    Mocksville, NC
    B2010 wrote:
    The box exploded its parts in every direction. I was able to recover all of it except for one radio tower. I simply can't find it anywhere. And believe me I've looked everywhere.
    Don't feel like the Lone Ranger - similar experience last Monday night while working on my P&W Wasp engine kit - one of the 9 exhaust pipe parts (2 pieces/pipe) dropped into my lap and ????? I spent well over 2 hours combing the area without finding it. Frustration is just the beginning to describe my state of agitation and so forth. Still haven't found the part....go figure, right?

    And THEN....last night a fellow modeler makes a comment over on SMF that my last photo I posted yesterday morning of the helo pad on NEW JERSEY - I had the text decal adhered 180 from the proper orientation. GEEZ!!!!!! So, now I've got to go back and try (for the 4th time!!) to get the help pad decals correct.

    You don't know what kind of oaths, rants, yelling, and self-loathing have taken place over model-building in the last 24 hours -'s only a hobby!


  8. #98
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    23 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA
    Into the quantum rift. It doesn't matter if you've followed it all the way down. It's Schroedinger's Cat... if you see it land, it's there, but if you don't, it goes into the rift. It's right out of the quantum mechanics playbook. You can find the part's position, or spin, but you can't find out both at the same time. That antenna tower isn't microscopic, it's almost an inch long and has some thickness too, but that doesn't matter, it's it molecule count that matters. If it's below a certain value, it can (and will) slip into the inner-dimensional space that surrounds us.

    There are string theories out there that describe other dimensions just millimeters off of ours that we can't perceive, but what if it's right and when small things get enough kinetic energy they can jump dimensions? I mean what else describes what we modelers know to be true. Or at least that's my humble take on it.

  9. #99
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    23 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Essex: Mark 37 Directors (Part A)

    Today was a mixed bag. I actually finished the two main radar systems, shot them with some primer and put them aside someplace safe. First I got the SC antenna assembled. That required a bit of fussind and annoyance. I needed to make the base for it. It needed a hole to capture the piece of brass wire that serves as a mount for the screen. Here's how I build that pin attachment that I noted the other day.

    I flatten the end of the brass wire in successive steps in the flat jaws of a vise grip. I've used this trick to make all kinds of flat/round brass transitions. I then drilled it with a 0.032" drill and soldered it to the un-bent PE platform. I left the bending of them until the soldering was done.

    I tried the Kester soldering paste for these kinds of jobs and it does have an advantage in that you can lay down a thin film of it, it alredy has flux and melts at a reasonable temperature. It really stiffens the little platform and the pin is terrific for both attachment and holding the assembly while working on it in a pin vise.

    Name:  Essex Platform Support Scheme.JPG
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    I made the mistake of fastening the screen and it's fragile backing frame onto the unit before I got it mounted on the pad. I also thought that the tiny PE ring that was part of the backing had the same diameter hole as that in the top of the lattice tower. IT WAS NOT!. It was smaller and when I tried to insert the support pin into it, the back frame popped off. I J-B'd it, and should have soldered it.

    I attempted to get it back on again, and then it got lost again. It's now not on it and good riddance. I left that pin long and soldered the screen directly to it. That screen ain't coming off.

    I put the lower pin through the hole that was continued through the platform and then soldered it from below. Oh... and the circular platfrom came loose when the heat got to it from the soldering of the screen. And the circular rail separated from the platform too. I got it all back together, resoldered the rail to the platform and CA'd the platform to the tower. So here are both major radar installations waiting for attachment to the island.

    Some of the fine detals got filled with solder, J-B and paint, but from two feet away it will work. I know... the Missouri has similar flaws. Can you imagine having that large brass radar array held onto a styrene funnel with just the surface area of a piece of 0.005" brass edge. The angle supports are worthless and can barely support themselves let alone and actual structure above them. With the pins I feel much better.

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    Next up was the Mark 37 gun directors. These things gave me fits when building the Missouri and based on how it went today, they're going to give me fits again. Part of the problem is my ham fisted handling and the other is the geometry of the modeling of this somewhat delicate full-size structure. The big radar on top was supported by a rather insubtantial tubular frame. The main frame juts out at an angle and is not simply supported directly underneath, and then you have the twin parabolic reflectors and other stuff attached to them.

    I went through a full set of Eduard PE and then Tom's modelworks PE before I assembled the four MK 37s on the Missouri. At least the Essex only has two.

    Before starting on the PE I built the plastic bases from the kit and then created a holder for them so I can add details without them moving all over the place. The base turned out to have a diameter of almost exactly 5/16". I drilled a piece of scrap and stuck the pieces into it. There were a bunch of other blind holes in this block since it's used as a drill press block so I taped them over so little PE bits down get lost in them. Then I had the idea to add some tape turned back on itself to act as "PE Flypaper" and catch dropping PE.

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    Here are all the GMM bits that make up the radars for the two directors.

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    First the pluses. The base PE is good because GMM didn't etch the bends and reduce its strength. Not only did I bend it, but it got unbent, re-bent, bent again, etc. and didn't break. That was a good thing.

    After bending I tried it on the top of the director and realized that the very small contact area didn't bode well for using CA to hold it down, but I couldn't solder to plastic. So I cut a thin piece of brass and shaped it to the same size as the director's roof and soldered it to that. It's strong! I will CA the brass plate to the director after all of the rest is built.

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    The PE flypaper was a non-starter and was more trouble than it was worth so I pulled it off.

  10. #100
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    23 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Essex: Mark 37 Directors (Part Deux)

    I folded the GMM upper mount and then attempted to solder the little tab onto the flat part of the lower mount, and couldn't hold or get an angle that let me solder it any way I tried. It was also very flimsy and kept bending and deforming no matter how careful I was. I then turned to two left over Eduard upper mounts. These are much more detailed and realistic than the GMM, however Eduard DOES etch their bends and this comes back to bite me. I got the lower mount soldered to the frame successfully and then got the upper soldered to the lower in this hybrid deal.

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    I also soldered the sides of the frame so the arms wouldn't keep spreading. So far so good.

    I'm not happy with the blotchy solder. That was the result of using the paste and having the plate not receptive evenly across its surface. I'll do better next time. Paint will hide some of this.

    Then it was time to make the parabolic double screen. This is a Eduard part also and therefore has those etched bends. The first one I bent fell into two pieces are that bend line so I worked it as separate pieces. Then suddenly... they were gone. Somehow they both got off the t-shirt and into... what?... the floor?... not this floor, at least not in a 25 square foot area. Quantum Rift again!

    So I bent the second and last set I have. This time it didn't separated into two. I decided to solder this also since it's an awful CA job. Got it all soldered, and then disaster strikes. That joint kept breaking when doing the Mo and it broke again.

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    This picture clearly shows the difference in sophistication between Eduard and GMM.

    Name:  Essex Mk 37 Eduard Vs. GMM.JPG
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    I've got some ideas about how to fix the broken support tab by reinforcing it with a piece of solid square brass stock that will be soldered into the crotch of the joint and it won't break again. I also have Tom's Modelworks PE MK 37s and will attempt those if I can't find those lost parabolic screens.

    I've taken thousands of pictures on models with my iPhone and never realized that the telephoto method of finger-pinching that's used to do telephoto normal pictures, also works at doing macro photograhy. I found it by accident today and went "Whoa! What was that? How did I do that?" I played with the phone and found that I could take dramatic ultra closeup pics like the above.

    I also found that my old Missouri still had it's horn and it will now be re-purposed to be the horn for the Essex.

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    I'm glad I found it since I didn't really want to scratch-build this. The GMM set has a PE whistle platform. Now it has a whistle to go on it. That old ship has done noble duty giving up its pieces for better projects.

  11. #101
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    23 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Essex: Mark 37 Directors Day 2

    Had a rare Saturday session. The weather was disgusting and it was a good day to do some more work. I also did one hour on the bike and elliptical so I don't feel too guilty. I spent almost 2 hours building ONE Mark 37 gun director! This time I decided to try the Tom's Modelworks bracket and screen since it is a bit more robust, doesn't have etched bend lines and I have 8 sets of them. Unfortunately I don't have any extra lower bases. They were all consumed in making these things for the Missouri build, and I went through a ton of them.

    I say unfortunately becasuse the front bent leg of the base finally fell off after about four resoldering sessions. So the base has three legs. You can't really see it, but it certainly has less structural integrity.

    Name:  Essex TMW Mk 37 Bracket.JPG
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    To reinforce that critical mounting lug, here you can see the piece of square cross-section brass rod that I soldered to the lug.

    Again, I wanted to solder everything. It's forgiving (to a point) and if something isn't quite right you can re-position it. That being said, it was the constant attempt to get everything right that caused most of my troubles today. I wanted to get the radar reflector properly captured in the tips of the bracket. I had to solder and re-solder probably 5 or 6 times before it was right. And that was not just doing the soldering. Other bad things started happening the more I screwed around with it, including, the lug separating from the block, the base de-soldering from the brass plate (twice). Then I wanted to add the side parabolic screen. The first time I soldered it, it was off-center. The second time, sticking out too far. Then the screen detached...and so on for two hours.

    I finally reached the point when I could CA the little IFF antenna that sticks out of the middle, and then the side antenna's lug broke when I attempted to file the brass plate to get it to conform to the plastic unit below it. I then soldered it on directly to its side with no reinforcing lug. And it was done. I may put a tiny bit of filler around the brass plate if I can do it without wrecking the whole deal. I've been known to do that... attempting to do just one more thing... and then it hits the fan.

    Name:  Essex MK 37 - 2.JPG
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    Name:  Essex Mk 37 1 almost finished.JPG
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    Don't tell anybody, but I think I attached the side antenna on the wrong side. Maybe I'll move it and maybe I won't. There are still some more details that go on the director including a couple of ladders and a WTD in the base to let people get into the housing. Next session (Monday), I build the second director. I would like to think the second one will go easier than the first and this is usually the case, but not when messing with PE.

  12. #102
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    23 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Essex: Sunday, Lovely Sunday

    Well guys... I had and even rarer Sunday work session, and what a good session it was.

    Instead of the two miserable hours building the first Mark 37 director, I got the second done in less than an hour without any hassle. Frankly, I should buy two sets of PE for every ship model I build; one for practice and one to actually make into a model. I added the ladders and WTDs to both and gave then a shot of Tamiya primer just to get an idea of how much of the yucky stuff was now hidden.

    And here are both directors ready to go onto the island.

    Name:  Essex Mark 37s.jpg
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    These are now set aside. I just looked a Trumpeter Essex on Pinterest built by a fellow from Singapore and he got all the extra bits onto those directors. I imagine he's a much younger person with much steadier hands. I've gone as far on these as I did on the Missouri and they look pretty good on that boat.

    Next up was completing the tri-mast with the replacement yard arm PE sent to me by Loren Perry. Again, having a practice piece where I found out what was going to be a problem paid off. I was able to nail this one without a hitch.

    The first thing I did differently was get the lenght of the made yard arm dead on. It's a telescoping assembly of Albion metals super-tiny thin-wall brass tubing. The inner is .4mm, then .6mm and finally .8mm. I didn't solder both ends, just one side to keep the tubes in place.

    The next thing I did was file a nice flat onto this assembly to give good solder surface.

    Name:  Essex New Main Yard Flat Side.JPG
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    Finally, and the most important thing, was to do all the soldering of the PE to the yard while the PE was still flat and attached to its fret. I first tinned the two parts with a very thin film of solder. For those of you who aren't familiar with how solder works and why it's so strong is this. Solder actually infuses into both substrates. It forms a metalurgical bond, not just a physical one. Glue creat a physical bond to non-porous surfaces so solder is much, much stronger. And since its the metalurgical bond that provides the true strength, the thickness of the solder actually weakens the joint. More is not better.

    I didn't want to fill any of the signal halyard eyes or other fine detail, so I was very judicious about the amount of solder I was applying. I used TIX liquid flux for all my metal soldering jobs even if I'm not using TIX lo-temp solder. This was done with the Weller soldering iron with a small chisel, not pointed, tip.

    I then used the RSU to hold the made yard over the extreme end while aligning the other end with my fingers. The RSU heats so quickly that you can hand hold parts an 1/8 away before it gets too hot (it depends on the mas of the metal you're heating of course). When that end joined I moved to the middle and then the other end. When it was settled in I went back and hit some intermediate locations.

    Name:  Essex New Main Yard Build.jpg
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    The end result was a solder, true yard with no distortion and none of the details screwed up. Here's a comparison of my test piece and the finished one. Really makes the case about having two sets of PE, doesn't it.

    Name:  Essex Main Yard Comparison.JPG
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    The next step was to get this onto the tri-mast without messing anything up. I placed the yard under the platform with the yard braces tucked under the platform between the brass brackets and marked this location on the rear two mast columns with a fine-tipped Sharpie. I then, using a small diameter diamond coated cylindrical burr, ground a couple of cicular divots so the yard would have a positive location into which it can settle. I then tinned these divots with TIX solder. I didn't want to use 60/40 becasue the melt temp is too high and I run the risk of de-soldering anything.

    I again used the RSU to clamp one side against that column and aligned the other side with my fingers and hit the foot switch. It heated quickly and melted the tinning and joined. Then I did the same to the other side and the job was done.

    After soldering the yard onto the mast, I rotated the two weather vanes to face into the wind, and set it on the island to admire how it looks. There are a couple of very small antennas that go on those straight stalks sticking up. They're pretty fragile and I'm going to wait until this is on the island before installing them.

    Name:  Essex Tri-Mast .JPG
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    There's the whistle platform to build, and a small mast and yard mounted to the aft of the funnel which I will replicate this yard making method and build that one. That yard is shorter and has less bulk so I'll build it out of the two smallest size of the tubing. Then I will start adding open WTDs (there are four in the GMM set) and all of the ladders I had scraped off the kit island. I need to add loads of little railings and a few inclined ladders, and then add in all the radar sets. I'm thinking about doing as much super-detailing of the island BEFORE I put in on the ship. Most of the rigging stays on the island. There are some guy wires that need to be installed on some of these non-lattice masts.

    Again... it was a good Sunday!

  13. #103
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    23 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Essex: Monday, Bloody Monday

    It was a great Sunday, but it could have been a disasterous Monday. Yesterday, when I took that last photo of the tri-mask posed on top of the island, I had an open bottle of Tamiya liquid cement behind that white cardboard backdrop. I had pushed the backdrop not realizing the cement was behind and tipped it over... forward.

    When I got down to the shop today, I found the island solidly glued to the Corian work surface on my auxiliary workbench. Other stuff was glued down also since there must have been dissolved styrene in the glue. It was all dry so I got a razor blade and pried the island off the bench. I scraped all the remaining glue off the Corian. The cement does not attack Corian. Had it, I wouldn't have been able to separate the island from the bench... small blessing.

    The glue melted and distorted the port side not quite up to the next deck level. It caused slight fissures and other distortions. I wasn't going to replace all the molded-on WTDs, but now I was forced to... another small blessing. I scraped all the doors off, and then filled the surface with Tamiya putty. Kind of poetic...Tamiya glue did the damage-Tamiya putty will fix it.

    Name:  Essex Island Disaster Recovery.JPG
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    I did other stuff while the putty set and then sanded it off down to a level surface. I'm sure that it's still damaged and will probably shoot some primer on it to highlight the surface and then re-fill.

    Name:  Essex Island Recovery WIP.JPG
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    How the filler appears sort of shows where the damage was. It's miracle that the whole thing wasn't wrecked which either would have scraped the entire model or left me another very challenging scratch-build project. I probably could do that, but sure didn't want to.

    While it was curing I built the lattice structure under the exterior elevator. Unlike the horror of the island disaster (and I'm not talking about Puerto Rico), the elevator went together perfectly. There are 6 PE trusses and that's covered with an elaborate lattice plate. The plate needs to be folded to conform to the trusses. I needed a template.

    The easiest way I could think of was to put the PE Fret on a piece of white paper and lightly shoot some rattle can primer at it leaving a silhouette on the paper. I spray glued the paper and put it on some card stock, and cut out one of the images with a razor knife. I used this to get the fold angles right which really helped in the getting it on the trusses.

    The trusses were CA'd to the styrene elevator. It was finicky, but went without any complications.

    Name:  Essex Elevator Framing WIP.JPG
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    like the rest of the PE on this model, I try and solder brass to brass whenever possible. In this case it was the perfect solution. I tinned the lattice frame on all the vertical members for their full length, not knowing how much melting I would do.

    I carefully put some TIX flux on all the truss edges and placed the lattice on top. Setting the RSU at about the lowest setting, I handheld the lattice on the low edge and got it aligned on the end truss and then, using the RSU tweezer handpiece, lightly (very lightly) held the two pieces together, hit the foot switch and released it as soon as I saw a puff of steam from the flux vaporizing. That took about a half second. It was almost instantaneous. Held any longer and it would have burned through both peices.

    I then went to opposite end's truss and did the same thing. To solder the narrow end, there wasn't clearance to get the tweezers in so I used the Weller iron and pressed the piecees together while I stabilzed the other end. With the ends done I went back with the RSU and did all the other trusses at their top ends and middles and used the iron for the bottoms. This whole activity was very quick and it's quite solid. I am relying on the CA to hold the trusses to the elevator, but there's a lot of pieces sharing the load.

    Name:  Essex Elevator Framing done.JPG
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    It looks really nice and complicated. I would have hated to try and get that lattice to work with CA. Solder doesn't screw around.

    I also did a small job; put the PE screens on the funnel outlets with CA. I need to make a couple more minor antenna sets and the small rear mast which I believe is also where the American Flag is displayed. These will be brass too.

    I was getting ready to finish up all the railings on the island and now I just have to do some more stuff. I may remove the molded on piping and add real materials.

  14. #104
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    12 Mar 05
    Panama City Fl
    It might be easier to sand the details off the damaged part of the island and cover it with a piece of 0.01 sheet styrene. That way no blemishes from the putty.
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  15. #105
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    23 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Essex: Disfigured Island Wall Fix

    It's not that you screw up. I do that plenty! It's how you recover. It's the same in restaurants, and in business of all kinds. Stuff happens! Good recoveries is where you shine. So I got to tell you, Gun, that was a great idea! And I did it and it was successful. Today's post discusses how that happened.

    I started by measuring the key dimensions and then creating a cardboard template and then transfer this to 0.010" styrene. It slipped nicely under the angle brackets under the gun tubs and fit flush under the 2nd level gun tubs. Before installing I scraped off all the details and would replace all of them with 3D pieces.

    Here are the two steps in fitting the template.

    Name:  Essex Island Fix Template design.JPG
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    The styrene was thin enough to wrap around the ends. I didn't like the seams on both ends anyway so covering them would be a plus. I would shape and fill the wrapped end on the other side. I used liquid cement to make the joint.

    Name:  Essex Island Fix Laminate.JPG
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    I used Tamiya putty around the corner to feather the new layer onto the old. It's really hard to see.

    Name:  Essex Island Fix Filler.JPG
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    With a nice clean surface, it was time to add all the details. I located the WTD locations prior to applying the laminate and then marked those locations on the new surface. I have a new way to apply PE details. It consists of using a white, Japan-made, special "pencil" (well... it looks just like a pencil) that gently holds PE for placement. A slight twist after the CA glue sets releases the part from the pencil. The other is using Gel CA. It sets much slower, can be applied in a tiny dot that stays put, and gives you time to move the part around to align it. I previously used thin CA. While it set fast, it was almost unmanageable for me. Brian Bunger, the owner of Scale Reproductions, told me to try thick CA. What a difference!

    Name:  Essex Island Details 4.JPG
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    I not completely happy with the hole I made for the open door. It's a bit ragged, but if I want it much smoother the hole would keep getting bigger and it's alrady about as big as it should be. I suppose it could be a little lower, but not any wider. I scribed lines for the portholes and doors so they would line up nicely.

    You will also notice that I actually put eyebrows over the new portholes. I decided to try this and it worked pretty well. I first formed a coil about the right diameter using a round parallel jawed pliers that I bought from MicroMark. After forming the coil, I cut them apart with the flush cutters and then used the placing pencil to put them over the portholes. I also started replacing eyebrows ground off when I was doing all the filling after making the Flag Bridge mod. When I put them over the two ports in the flag bridge front, it turned out that the right side was canted towards the right and the left towards the left and it looked like the face of Wall-E. Too cute! So I had to redo it. For some reason, that redo took as much time as putting on the seven on the flat surface.

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    This small gauge brass wire is the fancy birds nest of twisted wire on the top of some Spanish Rioja wines. Besides being a good red, the bottle provides some added value, first with the wire, and then the foil which is also great scratch-build material.

    So, all's well that ends well! While I've said this before, posting all this stuff is laborious, but the guidance I get from other expert model makers is worth all the effort. Gun, thanks again for the great tip.

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