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Building a Tamiya Missouri with Super-detailing

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  • Building a Tamiya Missouri with Super-detailing

    I'll been interacting with some of the folks on the Battleship Board and mentioned that I'm just starting my 2nd 1/350th, Tamiya Missouri. I built the first one, 26 years ago, before the age of Photoetched accessories. I painted it in the Measure 22 scheme that was used late in WWII and what was in effect at the time of the Japanese Surrender on her decks. I also built the Tamiya New Jersey (also out of the box), and a super-detailed Tamiya USS Enterprise with Gold Medal Models early Photoetched accessorries. Here's a picture of the first Missoui and the Enterprise. Please forgive the condition of the Missouri. It's been through a flood and has been well played with by two little boys. But you can see the color scheme.

    Now, I'm semi-retired, have two grandchildren who love model building, and decided to build another one, but this time really do it right. This thread will last for a number of weeks, but I will discribe and show every stage of the process and discuss every decision. I will even ask for help periodically.

    I've been doing lots of reseach on this boat. I've visited the Battleship New Jersey, BB62 three times, and the USS Alabama once. I've owned the Robert Sumarall book for years and have almost memorized it. And lately, I've found wonderful pictures and information on the Internet including the entire operation and maintenance manual for the 16" turret and those fabulous guns. I even got a picture of the properllor strut with one of our World Affairs Board folks standing on this massive structure.

    The model is going to have Eduard's advanced photoetched set which includes almost everything you'd want except for the tiny little ammo storage ring that surround the inside of the 40 MM gun tubs. So I received them from Alliance Models, and they are microscopic. I've obtained BVM turned brass 16" guns, and am going to use ScaleDecks' laser-cut, teak Iowa Class decks. This is a paper thin, real wood product.

    For this reason, I'm going to model the Mo as it appeared just after returning to Pearl Harbor after the Surrender. At that time the ship was still painted Navy blue on the hull below the sheer line and haze gray on all vertical surfaces above. It also had deck blue decks for the metal decks, but the teak decks had been holy-stoned on the way to Pearl so they would be natural teak. With the real teak decks I'm going to use, it will look very special. Since I've reached my five picture limit for this entry. I'll stop now and start a new post with some pictures of the new ship.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Now let's speak a little more about the new model. First of all, here's a picture of some of the photoetched details in the Eduard set.

    What I liked best was the double-etched walls for the superstructure cabins. They show the porthole covers, and even the inside of the water tight doors. Aso note the great inclined ladders. This picture is from Eduard's website and shows a completely unpainted model. I am going to paint the photoetched parts before bending and gluing. I don't have the decking material yet, and that will curtail progress if it's too delayed.

    The new Missouri is using the hull from Tamiya's New Jersey. The Big J was a model of the last refit and has bumpers (or something - does anyone know what they actually) flanking the hull sides. My 1986 version of this model didn't have these bumps. They didn't exist in 1945, so my first task was to remove them with a chisel, sand the remainder with 400 grit abrasive, and then fill any minor imperfections. The pictures show the steps up to the filler. Tomorrow's post will show that filler smoothed out. I'm going to prepare the hull for painting. I am also going to use real metal prop shafts which I now know were steel, but they look like they have a white-lead corrosion protection. Therefore, I might paint them white or leave them polished steel. The masking tape is protecting the very fine raised lines that define the water lines. I didn't want them sanded off since it would make the next steps more difficult. I could rescribe these lines, but prefer not to.

    Attached Files
    Last edited by Builder 2010; 25 May 11,, 02:58.


    • #3
      More Build Details: Tamiya Missouri

      As noted in yesterday's post, I finished sanding the filled spots on the hull. It was almost right, but still showed a slight indentation so I put another thin coat of and will wet sand it tomorrow.

      While that was drying, I started working with the photoetched parts. I really don't have that much experience with it so I wanted to explore it and develop more skill.

      Well... the ammo racks for the 40 MM tubs are almost unusable. They're so fragile that you simply can't even grab them with tweezers to position them. And the teeny, tiny cartridge packs that are supposed to fill the microscopic slots in the racks are some small they resemble...dirt. I am using the highest magnification on my head gear to see them. My finest tweezers seem huge compared to these things. The first attempt proved to be much, much less than satisfactory and I'm seriously considering not using them at all. I really don't think you'll be able to see them especially if the model is behind a glass case.

      Here's the rack next to my tweezers for scale comparison.

      Here's the 40 MM ammo clips. They are so small and so hard to handle that I just gave up...and I don't give up easily...ever!

      Here's the only tub that I finished. The ammo rack is a mess. It kept getting deformed as I was handling it. I have no idea what's going to happen when I airbrush. The paint will probably fill in all those tiny holes.

      One spit out of the tweezers and disappeared on the floor. Here it is. Then a few seconds later it went "boing" again, landed on the floor and disappeared forever.

      Another problem with the ammo racks is there are no guides to space them vertically. Gold Medal Models ammo racks are a little less fine, and they have fold-down tabs that act as spacers when you stack them. I tried using small pieces of plastic as stand-offs, but it too was difficult. I suspect that there is a scaled-sized photoetched part that even though you can etch it, it is simply too small to be effectively used. Now if only this was a 1/192 scale....hmmm...

      Here's a handy tool made by the Small Tool Shop. It's a plexiglass holding device that lets you apply pressure to the photoetched part you wish to cut from the fret, with a beveled edge so you see what you're cutting, but doesn't let the piece fly away once the cut is complete. It doesn't help losing the parts to the ether when you trying to position them with tweezers.

      Attached Files
      Last edited by Builder 2010; 26 May 11,, 14:37. Reason: Pictures


      • #4
        I am not able to view the images in post #3, I often use the insert inline feature - are they JPG files?
        Last edited by USSWisconsin; 26 May 11,, 07:37.
        sigpic"If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
        If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."


        • #5
          I had done that but for some reason the images didn't take. If you look now, they're in the right places. I also started working on the gun turret detailing. This was my first attempt at working with the microscopic ladders. First I used my special chisel to scrape off the molded ladders. This is a tool available from MicroMark. I sharpened it on a stone to reduce the amount of "push" that I had to use to remove the details. A touch up with the riffle file (a riffle file is a jewelers file with curved ends that let you get in between details without collateral damage.

          I'm not 100% pleased with my first ladder work. There are tiny little tails on them that get folded back on themselves to thicken the top and bottom so the ladders stand proud of the turret. It took me several tries to successully make this fold. Also, the more you handle them, the more deformed they become. The next attempts will go smoother and so on.

          It was also a chance to build my first PE float baskets. Here they are still attached to the fret.

          And here is rolled and folded.

          The plastic piece it replaces is next to it. I found a piece of brass rod (0.60") to roll the basket. This went smoothly. What didn't go so smoothly. The thin cyanoacrylic adhesive (CA from now on) held, but then the slightest tap, "pop", and they were disconnected. Took several tries with scraping the excess glue between tries to get it to stay put. I also tried using thinned Aleen's Tacky Glue (a white aliphatic glue), as recommended by some folks. This worked until it didn't. Feel appart easily since the glue doesn't like sticking to styrene. I tried this on the tiny foot railings surrounding the turret edge at top. Didn't work so hot there either. Tonight I'm going to use a different vicosity CA formulated for styrene, although the loss of adhesion is with the metal, not the plastic. For the railings, you're gluing them edge-on and the surface contact is...well...almost nothing so you have to form a little bead around it to give more support. I'm putting the PE on before airbrushing. I can't imagine trying to glue it on with paint on it.

          Incidentally, I just found out what "floater baskets" actually did. They contained nets with floats that would self-deploy in case of capsizing, providing humans something to hang onto as the ship was going down. I have no research to show how well they worked. On larger scales, modelers actually put floater nets in them, but at this scale it would appear as...lint.
          Attached Files


          • #6
            Awesome, it makes me want to get out my modeling stuff - I wish I had the time (I have a 1:400 KGV model waiting)- lately it has been painful unproductive 120 hr work weeks - with a few brief breaks to look at WAB, and play my new guitars - the time and focus for modeling are sadly out of reach for the moment...

            I really like that Plexiglas part holder tool. I have a big assortment of files and modeling tools as well, and would love to see them spread out on my desk again... Your thread is wonderful, it is a great pleasure to follow along while you build. I love model building, it is so soothing. I am so glad you joined us.

            Have you done the the members introduction thread yet? It is a a way to announce your presence to the to members, and permit everyone to welcome you. A few tips: Create your own intro thread, give a paragraph explanation about yourself.

            I have a dream project of building a complete scratch built model (in plastic, ~ 1:250 scale) of one of my fictional battleships, with all the internal detail - it will be sad to close it up, but I will try to invent some cutaways to expose the best of the detail, and the hidden detail will be photographed, before it is plated over - something to look forward to in a few years - If I make it that long...
            sigpic"If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
            If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."


            • #7
              Thanks for the enthusiastic reception. I am semi-retired. I thought I was all the way retired, but then I ended up getting a consulting gig that's absorbing about half my time. I intend to back off of this soon (Summer) so I can pursue my other things, which are: scale models, O'gauge trains, Music, travel with spouse and all of this with the grandsons around to help and teach. Time is the one thing we all have exactly the same amount, nothing more.

              I have a 1992 Fender Strat Delux Ultra with lase senors, Schaler Locking pegs, roller nut and a solid ash body. It's my favorite thing and when we had the tornado alert a couple of weeks ago, I took it to the basement with my wife. I just bought a VOX VT-30 sampling amp with the 5-button foot switch which is very cool and lots of fun to play with. I can finally reproduce almost all of the sounds of my favorite artists without going broke on lots of pedals. The only band I can't figure out is Boston.

              I will write my bio as you suggested.



              • #8
                Stick with it. The PE gets easier. What are you using to bend your PE with? For the ladders use smooth jaw pliers and a razor blade. Clamp the "meat" in the jaws and you shouldn't get as much deforming.

                Try med vis CA.


                • #9
                  I'm using one of the smaller hold-n-folds made by the SmallShop. I just used two razor blades to fold the edges of the ladders since the piece is so small. That seemed to work. What doesn't work is my neck. My work bench height is table height so I'm bending down very low using the magnification. I wish I had a real watch makers bench which is head height and reduces fatique. They also have a neat little tray that pulls out and rests on your belly. It catches all those #%)*# parts that want to disappear into another dimension.


                  • #10
                    More Work on the Gun Houses

                    Got the chance to do a little work late this afternoon and an hour tonight and made some nice progress on Turret #3. Finished putting the PE on this one and it started getting easier...note, not easy, easier. I'm still trying to develop a way to apply the super glue in tinier ammounts. My gluing does not meet my standards.

                    I'm including a picture of the Small Shop holding tool in use. The part I'm cutting is #225. You can just see the attachment lines that will be cut to free up the ladder underneath. You clamp the piece you want to cut underneath the beveled edge. I also learned that you apply pressure on the cutting blade straight down. You don't slide it back and forth in a sawing motion. It will always pull at the part and deform it. Straight down pressure keeps the part's shape. You then rotate the holding tool and cut the opposite edge. The black plexiglass plate under the parts is included in the tool. It gives you great contrast so you can see what you're doing, and the cut parts stand out nicely.

                    To make it easier to hold the turrets without damaging the fragile PE and to air brush them, I drilled appropriate holes in a plank. This worked well for the subesquent steps like drilling out the blast bags and fastening the rest of the PE railings and such.

                    I wanted to try mounting the brass gun barrels and decided that the old Missouri could take part in sacrificing itself for the cause. I removed its turret #2...forcibly... and sawed off the plastic barrels. I filed flat all three togehter and then used a prick punch to locate the centers. I'm usually pretty good at this. I had even drilled out the plastic barrels of the old Mo with a scale 1/350th sized 16" bore, so this was easy. I used a small pilot drill in a pin vise and then opened it up to the required 2.0mm. This is then followed up with a 1/8" drill to countersink the opening. The barrel fit perfectly and looks real good.

                    I then cleaned up the blast bags on the plastic guns and glued them to the new turret. It is easier to saw and drill all three guns at the same depth and angle when their fastened to the turret. I'm toying with different ideas for the slide area of the gun just as it enters the blast bag. I bought some 1/16" chrome tape that I may use or go back to my trusty aluminum foil with foil adhesive on the back. Using the matte side and then toning down the shine and color to make it look like well-greased steel may work better. I'm afraid the tape is too thick. Painting the brass with paint isn't my first or second choice. It'd be great if I could get someone to electroplate the barrel and then mask and paint the rest.

                    Here's the complete turret waiting for the guns to dry firmly. If you look cloasely at those life rafts you might be able to see the teeny, tiny oars glue in there on the PE mesh. When painted the oars will stand out. I'll amputate the plastic barrels when they're nice and solid. 1 down, 2 to go.

                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      More Turret Work

                      Worked a little on Sunday and bit the bullet by amputating those perfectly good plastic 16" gun barrels to make way for the spiffy brass ones. The plan was to glue them all in and cut them all off together with a razor saw in one swipe, thus keeping them all pointing the same general direction and facilitating the sanding of them evenly.

                      Here's the gruesome results:

                      As you can see, IT WORKED!

                      Next, following this little four photo vingnette (way to cheat the 5-pictures-per-post-rule...clever, eh?) you can see the steps taken to make nice, even, centered holes to receive the new barrels. From top left: you can just see the punch marks made with a scratch awl using hand pressure only. This is followed by a small pilot drill. Size isn't critical, just much smaller than the next 2.0 mm drill which is the size of the machined lug on the barrel's tail. Besides making the drilling of the 2 mm hole easier, a pilot drill makes it easier to keep it centered in the punch mark. Finally, you use a 1/8" twist drill as a countersink. Again, just twirl the drill in your fingers. One the countersink is even with the plastic edge of the blast bag.

                      The trickiest part is getting the initial center punch actually in the center. If it's a tiny bit off, you can do a little angular drilling to move the center position a tad, but you should get it close at the start.

                      Here's a couple of shots with the barrels trial-fitted. I will glue them in permanently when everything is painted. I want to get the slide area of the guns right and it makes it much easier to paint the blast bags without worrying about painting the guns too.

                      I finally found something to grab hold of those tiny PE parts. It's called pic-n-stic and they're actually manufactured for dentists and available from MicroMark. I've actually had them sitting around for years, but didn't have an application for them. NOW I DO. It a plastic stick with a wax pad on the tip. If you look closely, you can see one of those &%!!$**& oars sticking to it. The plexiglas holding thingy is great to contain the parts when you're cutting them off the fret, but moving them from the fret to the workpiece using a tweezer is an absolute horror. This sticky tool picks up the part without deforming it, and let's you deposit it where it's needed. It lets you hold it while using the tweezer tip with the other hand to move the part from the stick to the superglue waiting for it on the workpiece. I worked 3 hours. At least 1/2 hour was crawling around on the painted concrete floor looking for two tiny parts that decided to cross into the 4th dimension.

                      Watchmaker's benches, beside being almost eye level (so you don't have your neck in a weird position), have a pull-out tray that butts up against your belly that wraps around a bit. It is designed to catch parts before they leave this earth. I am going to build a pull-out, parts catcher under the work bench to cut down on the floor crawling.

                      Tomorrow I'll finish Turret #2. It's getting easier.
                      Attached Files
                      Last edited by Builder 2010; 01 Jun 11,, 03:17.


                      • #12
                        Wonderful workmanship! I love your tools. Great thread, I am feeling an urge to get out a model and start it.
                        sigpic"If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
                        If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."


                        • #13
                          Very nice.

                          PE can be daunting at times. I've used it in 1/48 aircraft, and using it for all the different control switches in the cockpit can be maddening.

                          Before I try it again, I'll probably buy something like one of these.

                          Hyperscale Review


                          • #14
                            Then my work here is through...


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Builder 2010 View Post
                              Then my work here is through...
                              I hope not, I am looking forward to following your build. :)
                              sigpic"If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
                              If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."