Water Vehicles
by Marc Flake

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HMAS Australia

Kit: Combrig (1:700)

Combrig's HMAS Australia is the second of my British Battlecruiser collection. Its design evolved out of the Invicible class, which were the first battlecruiers. This kit was the subject of an on-line build on the WW1 Modeling Page that ran from May to October 2012.


SMS Blucher

Kit: WSW Models (1:700)

Here is the WSW models 1/700 scale model of the SMS Blucher. If it hadn't been for the plethora of tiny little air bubble holes that covered the largest piece, this would have been a simple build. I covered the bubbles with two hand-brushed coats of ModelMaster Flat White. I added the brass railings and ladders with aftermarket phtoetched brass. The masts were scratched from brass rod and the rigging is fishing tippet line.


SMS Deutschland

This is the 1/700 scale HP Models SMS Deutchland built as she appeared in 1914 prior to hostilities breaking out in Europe. This is a relatively simple kit to assemble. What made it more difficult was the search for photo references. I replaced the tertiary guns with parts from the Seals Model pre-dreadnought accessories kit. The masts were scratched from brass rod. I used Toms Modelworks rails and ladders. The rigging was done with .003 fishing tippet line darkened with a black Magic Marker.

The ship is painted with Ceramcoat's Drizzle Gray, Rain Gray and Payne's Gray (standing in for black), Pollyscale's Deck Tan and ModelMaster's Engine Gray for the "jet black" turret tops. The yellow funnel bands are decals. The linoleum decks are painted with a mix of Ceramcoat's Brown Iron Oxide and Autumn Brown.

The Deutschland class was the last class of pre-dreadnoughts built by the German Navy. The class steamed with the High Seas Fleet at the Battle of Jutland, bringing up the rear in the approach to the engagement. A sister ship, the Pommern, blew up during the battle. Another sister, Schleswig-Holstein, fired the opening salvos of World War part 2.


HMS Dreadnought

These are pictures of the 1/700 scale HP Models HMS Dreadnought as built in 1907. This kit required a great deal of attention to reference material as the instructions are rather basic. Fortunately, I have a copy of the Anatomy of the Ship series devoted to Dreadnought, which provided all the information I needed to build the kit with the parts provided and to fill in the details that weren't. For example, the torpedo net had to be fashioned with a length of .030 styrene rod and some ladies hosiery. Torpedo net booms and three sets of coaling gantries had to be added. The masts are scratched from brass rod, and the rigging is .003 fishing tippet line.


SMS Gneisenau

This is the 1/700 scale SMS Gneisenau. The kit is from HP Models an amazingly prolific company located in Germany. I bought mine from Pacific Front Hobbies. The parts come off a rather thick wafer, requiring a good amount of sanding to get them right. The most difficult part was building the masts using brass rod. I added the photo-etched railings and replaced the warped resin 8" barrels with the appropriate sized steel tubing.


HMS Holland No. 3

Kit: Micro-Mir (1:144)

The Holland subs were pioneers for both the Royal and US Navies in World War I. They were substantially different in design, so this kit can only be built at a Royal Navy boat. This is a good little weekender kit for a change of pace and a way to avoid the temptation to super-detailing.


HMS Invincible

This model of HMS Invincible was built out of the HP Models' HMS Inflexible box. The parts inside cannot be used to build Inflexible and some changes were needed to build Invincible in 1914, just prior to the Battle of the Falklands. I had to reshape the 'midship turrets as they were made by a different manufacturer and were powered differently on the prototype.

The small guns atop the 'midhips turrets came from a Seals Models accessory pack for Early RN and IJN ships. Some of the ships' boats came from the pack as well. The colo(u)r was chosen after research indicated that in 1914, RN ships used a Medium Gray paint made of 20 parts white and one part black. I brewed up a sample using Ceramcoat paints, took a "colo(u)r chip" to the hobby shop, and selected Tamiya Medium Gray.

The model was photographed on a naval wargame mat -- hence the camouflaged hexes.


Royal Navy K-Class Submarine

Kit: Micro-Mir (1:350)

This is the Royal Navy's steam-powered submarine. The class was ill-starred, being more lethal to friend than to foe. The kit is pretty straight-forward in construction. Some sanding is needed where the hull halves join. There isn't much reference material out there, so some educated guessing is required in finishing the kit. The color scheme was chosen not only from the instructions and rare K-Class photos, but also photos of other Royal Navy submarines.


HMS Kent

Kit: Combrig (1:700)

This is the 1/700 Combrig kit of the HMS Kent. Fantastic little kit. The flying boat deck was a surprise, but posed few difficulties. I'm more enamoured of armoured cruisers than battlecruisers, so it was a real treat to add to this to my collection. Kent avenged her sister ship, Monmouth -- sunk at Coronel, by sinking the SMS Nurnberg at the Battle of the Falklands.


HMS King Edward VII

This is the Combrig 1/700 HMS King Edward VII. It was the last in a line of designs from William White -- my favorite naval architect -- and was the last battleship completed before the HMS Dreadnought was launched. The KE7 was lost in 1916 after striking a mine laid by the German raider Moewe.

This kit is fantastic and went together easily, for a resin kit. The first difficult bit was removing and sanding the parts on the resin wafers. Some of the larger pieces on the wafers were warped, but a gentle dousing in very warm water took the warp out. The only other challenges were in constructing the masts out of brass rod and stringing the rigging (with .003 fishing tippet line).

I chose to depict her in her World War I fit. She's painted in the "light gray" scheme, which was described as 20 parts white and one part black. The deck is painted using the long out-of-production Humbrol Deck Plank. For those who are wondering, the model is only about seven inches long.


Napoli

Kit: Delphis (1:700)

This is the Italian capital ship 'Napoli' a 1/700 scale ship model by Delphis. The 'Napoli' is the forerunner of the battlecruiser: fast, armed with capital ship guns, yet lightly armored. Using the same trade off of armor for speed that Admiral Fisher used for the 'Invincible.' She was designed by Vittorio Cuniberti, the naval warfare theorist who gave Fisher the idea for the 'Dreadnought.' So much for the prototype. The model was very easy to put together. The only adjustments I made were a little shim under the 'midships turrets as they weren't tall enough to clear the adjacent gun houses. I also left off the yardarms that the plans showed sticking out the sides of the forward funnel. I could find no pictures proving this arrangement. I couldn't figure out why they were there or how they could be attached to the protoptype without running the yard completely through the funnel. It just didn't make sense.

I used Tamiya Medium Gray for the verticle surfaces and Dark Sea Gray for the steel decks. Then, ModelMaster Deck Tan was used for the wood decks, Humbrol Concrete for the canvas bridge covering, Humbrol Wood for the bridge window frames and Ceramcoat Payne's Gray for the funnel tops. I rigged her with .003 inch tippet line. Back to the prototype: As far as I'm concerned, with her curvaceous lines and speedy reputation, she's the Ferrari of World War I capital ships.


Combrig 1/700 Rurik II

Kit: Combrig (1:72)

One of my favorite armored cruisers, Russia’s Rurik II was one of those pre-battlecruisers like the Germany’s Blucher and Italy’s Napoli that I have already posted on the website. Like Napoli, it combined battleship and cruiser armament with four 10 inch guns, eight 8-inch guns and 20 6-inch guns. Unlike other Russian ships, most of which were designed along French lines, Rurik II was designed and built in England – where it got its good looks. As a kit, it was a relatively easy build, but had a considerable number of really tiny parts that made up its deck fittings. At first I complained about the over-engineering, but I really prefer the way the fittings stand out so prominently on the deck, compared to those fittings that are molded on.


HMS Invincible

Here is one 'before' and four 'after' pictures of my latest project -- a 1914 version of the USS Texas. The before picture is the 1/700 scale 1944-45 USS Texas made by the now defunct company called Viking. Frankly, the kit was a real dog. A few years ago, I bought the Samek version of the 44-45 Texas and decided to backdate the Viking kit. I used the tall cage masts from two Tom's Modelworks PE sets and a variety of pieces from the spares box. Some sawing, sanding and carving was also necessary. The whole thing took a year of work.


1914 USS Texas - After

Here is one 'before' and four 'after' pictures of my latest project -- a 1914 version of the USS Texas. The before picture is the 1/700 scale 1944-45 USS Texas made by the now defunct company called Viking. Frankly, the kit was a real dog. A few years ago, I bought the Samek version of the 44-45 Texas and decided to backdate the Viking kit. I used the tall cage masts from two Tom's Modelworks PE sets and a variety of pieces from the spares box. Some sawing, sanding and carving was also necessary. The whole thing took a year of work.

In 1914, the USS Texas was dispatched to Vera Cruz to protect US interests during the Mexican Revolution. In 1918, she was part of the Grand Fleet's Sixth Battle Squadron and was based in Scapa Flow and the Firth of Forth for the duration of the war. She carried out many missions with Grand Fleet elements and reinforced the Second Battle Squadron when the German High Seas Fleet made a brief sortie in April. She and other USN ships were present at the High Seas Fleet's surrender.

After photos


1914 USS Texas - Before

Before photo


U-35

This is the 1/350 scale U-35. I cannot recommend this kit unless you have a chance to examine it before purchasing it. Mine has a serious molding problem. As you look at the stern, you can see that the bulges on the port and starboard sides are not symmetrically aligned. There is no way to fix it. Other than that the kit is very easy, requiring only the gluing of a few brass and resin pieces and one fore-to-aft rigging line.


HMS Warpsite 1915

Kit: Trumpeter (1:700)

I used Trumpeter's "HMS Queen Elizabeth 1918" kit to backdate it to HMS Warpsite at the time of the Battle of Jutland. I used The Anatomy of the Ship series book on Warpsite to make the appropriate changes. These changes were minor and mainly involved the placement of searchlights around the after stack and on the aft superstructure. I replaced all the top masts and all yardarms with brass rod. I also replaced the awfull kit barrels with brass ones. The blast bags were part of the kit. I built it as a waterline model, but set it atop the lower hull and display stand for those who are curious about how it would look that way.


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