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1700
USS Arizona

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MSW crew-mate David J. Salvin (djandj) sends us his second submission, a fine build story of DML's 1/700 scale USS Arizona, in this "Build Story" Feature!



The Kit
This build story is of Dragon's new premium edition of the USS Arizona. The kit is notable for having a full PE set, turned brass barrels and even anchor chain. (Though it didn't have PE for the aft catapult, only the turret catapult. I replaced the aft deck catapult with aftermarket PE from the Gold Model USN WWII battleship set.

The build itself was relatively easy. The only significant change on the kit is that I filled in the lower bridge section with plastic to reflect the state of the ship immediately before the attack.

My two biggest gripes about the kit are first the three part deck which requires substantial work to erase the seam lines while lending little to the kit or the authenticity. (see below for my handling of the seams)

Second gripe is the turned brass barrels. You are required to use plastic fittings to mount the barrels into the turret; however, the kit only has 6 pieces with holes to fit the pin of the brass barrels into. You must use the center piece (the one with the pegs to fit into the turret) on each turret, but that piece doesn't have a hole for you to fit the brass barrels into. So you are left to have to perform microsurgery to fit the center barrel to the exact same depth as the other two in each turret. (a real pain and unnecessary if the mfg. would provide a third piece for each turret with holes in them) After all, they provided the brass barrels, and so should expect you to use them.



The Build
Deck Seams:

The ridiculously unnecessary deck seams present the modeler with a tough choice. If you sand the seams you will lose the deck scribing. If you don't sand and fill the seam, you will have two big lines on your deck. My solution came from my woodworking pursuits.

When I can't sand stain grade wood for whatever reason, I use indoor/outdoor wood putty. Unlike all the model putties I have seen, wood putty is water based. What I did was to glue down the deck pieces and make sure there is no movement. Then take two pieces of masking tape and place one on either side of the seam running parallel to the seam.

Then I use my finger to smear the putty over the entire seam. Wait about 15-20 minutes. Remove the tape and take a wet q-tip or even your wet finger and slowly rub away the putty until just the smallest line over the seam is left. Wait about another hour or so (until the putty is nearly dry) and hit it again with your wet finger or q-tip. You can literally wet sand the seam without damaging the deck lines.

Final light sanding with 400 grit sandpaper after it dries is all you need. I specifically included a few pics of the ship in areas we don't normally see because of the lines on the deck. After painting and weathering, the deck seams are virtually invisible.

The Display

After reading much of the discourse about the coloring on the ship at the time of the attack, I elected to go with the latest current thinking and go with the 5-s blue and red turret tops. I did the deck with two different colors or teak and simulated the whiting and wear with the use of a very sharp white colored pencil run into the deck seams. (All the black wash weathering doesn't make sense to me for a ship scrubbed constantly with salt water and being bleached by the sun) While the Arizona was recently retrofitted and maybe painted before the attack, there are no records of a new wood deck being installed, so I presumed that we were dealing with deck wood which is likely many years only and thus bleached a bit by the sun and elements. The ship is depicted moored in the shallows near Ford Island.

The water is simulated by Liquitex (thick acrylic gel) sponged over plexi-glass sprayed ocean color on the underside. I took the Liquitex and slathered it over a wet household sponge and slowly patted out the wave patterns. I sanded down the hull of the placed the motor launch into the Motorboat wakes and details are brushed on afterward.
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About the Author

About David J. Salvin (djandj)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

I began building models at the age of 8. Stopped for college and law school and came back to the hobby after an 18 year intermission. Having built most everything from space ships to full-rigged sailing ships, I have returned to my first love - 1/700 military shipping. Modeling is just one of m...


Comments

Very nice build, David. I really like your idea of using wood putty. Standard model putty, squadron, Tamiya, etc., is way too strong smelling for me to use. I'm going to have to try the wood putty. Since it's water based it shouldn't smell nearly as bad. I'm still torn about the red turret tops. Some people I respect say they were red, other people I respect they weren't. When I next do the Arizona I'm going to have to do some soul searching before painting them red. I've also seen controversy over the color of the blast bags. I made the old Banner kit years ago for some campaign and was told I was wrong painting them white, that they should have been black. I've seen pictures of the Arizona with white bags, and with no bags at all so I'm not sure I was wrong. I see you did them white, which looks right to me.
FEB 18, 2010 - 05:18 AM
Great work all round! Can you imagine what David could do with the 1:144 and 1:200 Arizonas after they come out? --Karl
FEB 18, 2010 - 08:47 AM
Yeah - I too agonized over the coloring of the AZ, but after they changed the "official" model of the AZ at Pearl Harbor to this scheme, I figured someone else must know more than I. I actually read Adm. Kimmel's painting orders and it appears to call for AZ as I did her. The only question is the order came out very shortly before the attack. Did they have time to repaint her beforehand? RE: the wood putty, not only does it have no smell, IT IS WATER BASED. You can "wet sand" it. I.e. you can wipe away just the putty with a wet finger or q-tip and spare all the detailing on the deck. My green putty is virtually unused since I started using Elmers putty. You can glob it into corners and other tight spots where you need to fill cracks (like between superstructure levels) and then just wipe away everything you don't need. Trust me - it will become an invaluable asset in your arsenal. David
FEB 18, 2010 - 05:44 PM
Well - I'd have to build a bigger house b/c I'd have NOWHERE to keep them!. I don't work in 1/700 for my health (lol) David
FEB 18, 2010 - 05:45 PM