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General Ship Modeling: Super-detailing
Topics on photo-etch, metal-parts, and all types of additional detailing.
1/700 Z Class German WWII Destroyer
treadhead1952
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Nevada, United States
Joined: June 12, 2008
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Posted: Friday, January 08, 2010 - 05:27 AM UTC
Hi All,

After getting lost in Paper Modeling which led to Model Railroading for a while, things have more or less run full circle to where I feel the need to model another ship. My choice in this case is Tamiya's 1/700 scale Z Class Destroyer Mod. 36. Scott has a fine kit article that you can reference here that goes over the subject pretty well.

http://www.modelshipwrights.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=4683

I am going to be adding a few odds and ends from Photo Etch as well as a bit of scratch building and kit bashing to get where I want to go. Since this is a two ship kit, I have chosen to build up the early version first. Later in the war, as was the case in most destroyer classes of all countries, the AA fit was upgraded to attempt to fend off the highly effective air power that had proven to be a real problem for every navy.

This is what you get to start with from this kit. About the only drawbacks that I can see is the older molding technology that limits a few of the features and a couple of inaccuracies that are more or less related to this problem. One being the use of the old Aztec Temple type ladder ways, the other being the use of some rather funky looking main gun turrets that don't represent the real prototype very well. But these are easy to remedy and overall, it is a pretty good beginning.



Since I like my ship models to be a bit up detailed I have chosen Photo Etch sets from Lion's Roar, Tauro, Tom's Model Works, and White Ensign to help in this regard. The Lion's Roar Extra Ladders Set will replace those Aztec Temple Ladders and in the case of the ladder ways to the bridge deck will require some careful fitting. The White Ensign DKM Doors and Hatches set will add some detail to an area that the older molding technology limited., Tauro's set of Doors, Hatches and Cable Reels will add a few things. Lion's Roar WWII German Navy Set I will add some small boat details, ladders and the Radar Mattress as well as some anchor chains. White Ensign will also provide the AA Gun Mounts to replace the styrene versions which lack a lot of detail in that area. Tom's Model Works will be offering up rails and a couple of other parts here and there.



Naturally, throwing on all these Photo Etched details also increases the amount of paper work that you get to sift through as you work on any project. It also makes things a bit more complicated as you have to plan ahead on ways to put things in the proper order so that you don't shoot yourself in the foot so to speak. The trade off in amount of work required does finally go away as you finish things up and end with a highly detailed project.



Right off the bat the first thing to do is to eliminate the Aztec Temple Ladder Ways that come in the kit. This is fairly easy to do if not a little daunting in the fact that you have to start chopping away at your nice shiny new kit parts. I used a flat chisel blade to remove the kit parts from the deck. Then a little sanding stick work was required to smooth things up a bit.





Another thing that I will be doing will be to add Hatches, Doors and port holes to the model. This again goes back to the limitations of the molding technology of this older kit. The first row that I chose to add was along the hull. Using photos and the box art to establish where these are is easy enough, adding them is another thing. To help keep things lined up I used an old modelers trick. I used a strip of Dymo Label Maker tape cut in half to add a guide to the sides of the hull. This was cut in half lengthwise and added to either side. Doing it this way lets you get both sides lined up at one time so you don't have one side higher than the other.



Working as carefully as I could I drilled the holes using a pin vise and mini drill. The thick strip of Dymo Tape allows you to rest the tip of the drill on the edge of the tape and work away once you have established where you want the hole. Should you have an errant placement, all is not lost however. You can plug the hole with either stretched sprue or styrene rod to fix the problem and go back at it again.



The first part that I glued to the hull is the forward deck house where the first of many AA Gun Mounts will go. Looking at the pictures I have this had what appears to be a section of railing covered over by a weather cover around the top. Even if it was splinter shielding, the kit part offers a too thick dimension in this area. A sanding stick took care of it in short order so I can add a more scale sized addition. Here is a comparison of the original and my modified piece ready for additions.

skipper
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Posted: Friday, January 08, 2010 - 06:08 AM UTC
Jay at his best!

Keep up the good work, this is going to be another interesting sbs
Cheers,
Rui
Spiff
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Posted: Friday, January 08, 2010 - 09:11 AM UTC
Excellent Jay, you're off to a good start! I'll be watching with great interest!
treadhead1952
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Posted: Friday, January 08, 2010 - 01:55 PM UTC
Thanks Guys,

While spending a little time watching DVD action on the 'puter I cut and wadded up the first of the PE that will be going on my little project here, namely the two railed ladder ways that lead up to the bridge deck. These came from the Lion's Roar Extra Ladders set and like most Lion's Roar stuff is relatively trouble free to install. While I like to use my Etch Mate for things like this, a pair of flat nosed mini pliers will also work as well as a couple of straight edged razor blades if you are careful.

I have to cut the bridge deck free from the sprue so I can establish exactly where to mount these, I also want to consult my picture references a little more to see if I have some more drilling of port holes and door installation before I glue them down. But for the most part this is where they will go on the deck.

treadhead1952
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Posted: Friday, January 08, 2010 - 04:40 PM UTC
Hi Again,

After consulting the few reference photos I have on hand I came up with a couple more modifications to make the area under the bridge deck a little more interesting. The original bridge deck part that mounts atop the forward deck house has four uprights that were used to support the deck above, looking at the photos shows a bit more than that however. The box art even represents them better than the kit parts. There were also a pair of curved pipes that were at the rear of the deck house itself that went into the main deck on either side. I also found the other hatchways and port holes that I suspected were up under there. While there are a set of life rafts that go over all this area on the outside, I like adding these little details as they do peek out around the odd corner and you can catch sight of them looking at the model from various angles.

Using the Tauro Hatches set I came up with a pair of small square hatches for the furthest aft spot on either side of the deck house. White Ensign provided the main hatch and a smaller one that occupy the other two sites. The mini drill and pin vise got a little work adding the other needed port holes. Using some stretched sprue from the kit I made up the extra pair of upright posts and I added them to the upper section of the bridge deck. These also sported a pair of crossed braces which came from some more even thinner stretched sprue. The two small curved pipe pieces for each side of the deck house were made from some more, yep, you got it, stretched sprue. I did drill the holes in the bulkheads to mount these into to provide a sturdier fit rather than just mounting them to the bulkhead and deck with some glue. Parts that are mounted like so have a nasty habit of coming undone when getting painted. Comparing the differences to the original kit part to the modified parts came up looking like this.



When it comes time to mount my little ladder ways they will be glued to the upper deck piece, it just makes certain that they go where they should easier than attempting to mount them on the lower deck and hope they fit. Done properly they should go in front of the larger hatch way in the side between the last two port holes on the deck house bulkhead. Looking at the deck house with the bridge deck placed where it should be shows a much busier area than before.

treadhead1952
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Posted: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - 01:45 AM UTC
Hi All,

I had a chance to do some more work on this one last night. Working on adding a few bits of Photo Etch I glued the vertical ladder ways to the hatch openings in the upper deck after a bit of filing to open the sides so that the parts would fit down through the openings as I wanted. This allows the hand rails to come up through the top of the openings with the rest trailing below as they should. At the rear of the upper bridge deck are a pair of ladder ways that lead to the base of the main mast. I didn't bother with trying to cut the original parts there, too small of an area to get into. The Photo Etch parts from the Extra Ladders set has multiple sizes that allow the smallest set to fit just right. With the ladder ways from the gun deck up to the main deck in place I was ready to add a few doors and hatches to the sides of the bridge in locations that I had picked out from my references. I capped the bridge off with the last kit part and added the two hatch openings at the rear. So far with all the additions, here is where I am.







It looks considerably busier than what just the kit pieces offer. Even when covered with the four life rafts per side, a lot of this is visible from the front, top and sides. Now on to the radar and main mast. along with a bit of railing work. The kit instructions break the deck houses down into the primary steps to building the model. As I am building the first type without the extra AA fit this is a bit simpler. Adding each deck house section and building it up in layers allows me to add the extra pieces in a logical arrangement so that one step doesn't interfere with the next. I picked this method up from building Japanese cruisers and battleships with their complicated tiers of forward pagoda deck and bridge structures. Adding one layer at a time is about the only way you can get to each layer, trying to add anything to the individual layers once they are all built up is a no win situation.
goldenpony
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Zimbabwe
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Posted: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - 02:54 AM UTC
Jay,

Welcome back! Another great looking project.

JMartine
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Posted: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - 10:44 AM UTC
Great work so far Jay! Great mini-tutorial; will be bookmarking this one as I have a mini-stash of old waterline kits. your WIP is like a checklist of what to look for and improve

cheers
treadhead1952
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Posted: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - 03:32 PM UTC
Thanks Guys,

Not much work on it tonight, gotta be up early in the morning, the longest day of the year, the one just before vacation begins!

I have dug around in the library and came up with volume 2 of "Die Deutches Kreigsmarine" by Siegfried Breyer. It contained a couple of useful photos and one excellent two view diagram of these ships. It is a German language 4 volume set on the German Navy of WWII and contains a lot of excellent photos that were never released on this side of the pond as well as some great art work. Luckily the edition I have has English subtitles that helps a bit for the illustrations. There are a few differences that I have noted and will be adding to my project which should make it look considerably different from a box stock version. But none of it is out of the reach of normal modeling techniques with a little stretched sprue and mixed media tossed in.
treadhead1952
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Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 08:31 AM UTC
Hi All,

Now that I am no longer a wage slave for the next ten days (vacation) I have had a little time to tinker at this some more. Since I am going to rig this along with the other extra details I am adding, something a little stronger than the kit supplied styrene masts will be necessary. To that end I have selected some steel wire in the same size as the original parts to substitute. In order to measure them out, I used the kit parts and then added the distance from the top of their mounting locations to the bottom of the hull plate. I will drill the locations so that I can super glue them in place all the way to the bottom. This also increases their strength and resistance to bending under the forces that will applied when I add the rigging.



For the main mast, I will still be using the kit supplied rear mast support which at this point instead of being a support will be more for decoration. It will also be used to add a point at which I will add a slice of some styrene tube as a mount to attach the cross bars. Gluing it in place with super glue to its bottom and leaving the top surface clean, I can use liquid styrene cement to attach the cross bars.



With that in place I can estimate the location point for the searchlight platform. The base for it gets super glued and the search light gets liquid styrene cemented into place. Looking at the original mast you can see the fine ladders that are molded on, not a bad touch on Tamiya's part, but photo etch does it better.

The next thing to do is to add the radar mattress. The Lion's Roar WWII German Navy Set I contains three different mattresses to use, the smallest one actually being for the front of the range finder on heavy cruisers and battleships. In this case, it will work just fine for the smaller search radar mattress I need. Folding it up is a snap and then adding a post from some stretched sprue finishes it off. In comparison to the original, you can see the benefits of photo etched parts over the kit supplied ones.



With all of these in place, it is starting to look a bit better up front. Digital photography is a good way to see things that you might miss in this scale. It often points things out to me that the old Mark One Eyeball misses. I had cut and folded a section of three bar rail to add to the front AA mount platform and in pulling it this way and that to mount it, had deformed it terribly. Now that I can see it clearly in the photos, it is obvious that it needs replacement. I also knocked the port side ladder loose from the gun deck to the main deck. I did find it sitting on the bench top and replaced it but that is a good reason to take photos as you build, they often show you things that you may otherwise miss.



Next up I get to venture into the world of adding the forward AA mount. There is a bit of confusion there between the instruction sheet and the box art. The instruction sheet shows the early version as having a quad 20mm there. The bottom box art shows it as being a single 37mm. Looking at the illustration and photos from "Die Deutches Kreigsmarine" The box art bottom is incorrect and it should be a quad 20mm mount there and at the upper rear mount on the top of the aft deck house. The later version sports a pair of twin 37mm mounts on the front mounting and two quad mounts on the after top position. Even the box top art work misses the mark. But what are you going to do?

treadhead1952
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Nevada, United States
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Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010 - 11:56 AM UTC
Hi All,

Work continued on with this project by correcting a few issues like the location of the searchlight platform on the forward mast, it was too low and interfered with the radar mattress. I also had to change the ladders above and below the platform. I changed the railing around the forward AA Mount platform as well. It got a covering of Ca to represent the weather cover. Once the CA dried hard it allows the rails to show through the bits of CA so that when painted over with a lighter color of Gray than the vertical parts of the ship, it is a good representation of the canvas weather cover.

That all done it was time to turn my attention to the cable reels mounted just behind the anchor capstans on the forward deck. These are half molded shapes on the hull form as issued. Using a pair from Gold Medal Models 1/700 Assorted Cable Reels Set that contains cable reel styles from DKM, IJN, RN and US Navy was just the thing. Here is a shot of the originals on the as yet unused hull form to compare to the bobbed off ones on the current project. I used a chilsel Xacto Blade to remove the originals.



Here are the Gold Medal Models Cable Reel parts cut from their fret. These are some very nice parts made from thick enough Stainless Steel to get a nice relief etched surface to show some detail even under a coat of paint. If you are so inclined, you could use some thin stretched sprue for the axles and wrap them in thread, but as tiny as they are, I just used some styrene rod for my axles.



Once assembled and attached, they look much better than the half shapes. Next up was the quad mount 20mm AA guns from White Ensign Models WWII German AA Weapons Set. They have two versions in this set, the C 30 and C 38 types, I chose the earlier C 30 version for this ship. There is also a 20mm C 30 single mount and M 43 37mm twin mount included in this set, these last two mounts will get used on this project as well. To give you an idea of how tiny this thing is, here is a little comparison shot for you.



You do have to make a styrene block that goes in the center of the mount, I used some cut down .030 X .060 styrene stick to make this part. It fits nicely between the two bent up sides of the center mounting part. Trimming these little pieces to eliminate the sprue attachments is a real trip and one I used my lighted ring magnifier to perform. Folding these up as accomplished with a razor blade and #11 blade due to their size. But it does yield a better looking mount than the two part plastic lumps with round shapes sticking out that the kit offers. Oh yeah, I forgot to move the penny.



With these little modifications I think I need a break for now. But here is what it looks like at this point. It certainly "busy's" up nicely with the additional parts.



Next up comes the main funnel, forward torpedo tube mount, and mid deck house. These will all get the same treatment that the forward section is receiving so stay tuned.

skipper
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Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010 - 12:32 PM UTC
Nice job as usual Jay
It's taking shape

Keep up the good work!

Cheers,
Rui
#027
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Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010 - 12:35 PM UTC
Looking good Jay.
treadhead1952
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Posted: Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 01:42 PM UTC
Thanks Guys,

Working my way aft, I decided to modify the two quad mount torpedo tube sets next. According to the illustrated reference I have from "Die Deutsches Kreigsmarine", they missed the mark a little bit. The original parts have the four tubes all right, but on top of them there is an open three sided box shape. Going by the picture references I have it should be a solid box shape with a dome centered on top of it. Filling in the open box shape was easy enough, cut a piece of styrene stick in the appropriate size and glue it in place. For the dome shape on top, I used a bit of solid styrene rod and rounded the end off with a sanding stick. I also noticed that there were a lot more life rafts dotted about the ship than the eight that they give you in the box. A common stowage position for two of the longer rounded end ones were atop the forward end of each of the torpedo mounts. To make these I used a bit of styrene stick cut to the apparent size and rounded the ends with a sanding stick. Here are the two modified mounts compared to the originals from the other kit sprue still to go.



The next item on the list to work on are the 37mm twin mount AA guns. These came from the White Ensign Models WWI German AA Weapons Set. Like the quad mount 20mm guns, these are tiny multi-part builds that require a bit of patience to assemble. I wound up assembling the base of the mount first as the seats slide into a slot on the folded up main body then are trapped in place with a forward platform piece. This sits atop a round mounting plate and then the guns and their supporting pieces mount on top. For me assembling the base first was the way to go and required an Opti-visor with lots of light to get accomplished, not to mention two pairs of very fine pointed tweezers. But the end result is a much better representation of these mounts than what comes in the box. There are four of these mounts, two on either side of the after stack and two on each side of the bridge deck forward of the ladder ways. The kit only supplies you with two and leaves the forward ones off entirely for some reason.



There are also a pair of 20mm single mount guns just aft of these that go on either side of the after search light platform. These are also included in White Ensign Models set and I will get to use nine of them around the ship. According to my references there are supposed to be ten, but I have only managed to find nine pouring over the illustration. If anyone has an idea where the tenth one is, please enlighten me.
treadhead1952
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Posted: Saturday, January 23, 2010 - 11:33 AM UTC
Hi All,

Getting some more work done on my Z Class and getting to the fun part of squirting a little paint soon is pretty much the end of my 10 days of freedom from the salt mine this year.

Here is what it looks like with the torpedo mounts and other little additions done. I relied on the drawing and photos from the book I dug up and a couple of sites online. I did add the pipes that ran up the sides of the funnel from some copper wire as well as rearranging the radar mattress and forward searchlight platform.



Working on the single mount main turrets and the small boats was next on my agenda. The two boats that go on the main deck behind the bridge are going to get set on some wood beams rather than just get glued down to the deck. These will be some styrene sheet cut out pieces. The turrets are supposed to actually be open on the back. You could just use some black paint and fake it, but I just used a hobby knife and opened them up then painted the interiors black. They are also supposed to be closed on the top and the only opening besides the back is a slot in the front. To that end, I sanded the tops after filling the gaps around the guns.

From the pictures these single and forward double mount had rafts attached to either side. The kit doesn't provide you with the extra rafts, you could rob them from the second kit ship, but I just cut out some from sheet styrene and will rely on a little paint work to make them look appropriate. The two small boats that go on the forward deck area will also have weather covers. These are one of the easier modifications, just fill them up with white glue, Elmer's being the one of my choice. Once it dries it will be clear and a little paint will make it look like they are tarped over.



Moving on to the after deck house, I had to make up a set of rafts that were mounted ahead of the forward turret mount from more styrene sheet. I also made up another quad mount 20MM mount to go on the upper position. The aft mast is more steel rod with a stretched sprue cross bar super glued in place. Like the main mast, it actually goes all the way through to the bottom plate and that way I don't have to worry about any rigging work pulling the masts out of place when tightening them up. I also added several doors and hatches according to my references, Those are laid out along beside the aft deck house. These are from the Tauro and White Ensign sets.



With a few additions the little ship is starting to shape up quite nicely from this kit. It has the look of the Z Class ships and like most German destroyer designs certainly looks like it would fill the bill. Now to add some railings and several 20mm Single Mounts as well as a few ready ammo lockers and I will be ready to shoot some paint on there.




treadhead1952
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Posted: Friday, February 05, 2010 - 12:07 PM UTC
Hi All,

After a couple of weeks to work at it, I have most of the parts on there and got it to the point where I could add some paint. I chose Model Master Acrylics to do the deed and cheated a bit by shooting the Dunkelgrau on the deck first then shooting the lighter color from the sides with an air brush. A little brush painting over the tops of everything with the lighter gray got most of it. I chose some USN Light gray to paint the rafts and weather covered railing then picked the centers of the rafts out with some Leather.



I will be adding a couple more cross beams to the front mast and then rigging it all out with some fine stretched sprue. Then a bit of weathering and it will be done for the most part.
#027
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Posted: Friday, February 05, 2010 - 12:18 PM UTC
Wonderful work Jay.
treadhead1952
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Posted: Friday, February 05, 2010 - 02:07 PM UTC
Thanks Kenny,

All those railings are held on courtesy of your Gator Glue by the way, great stuff. Once sealed under a couple coats of paint and clear finish, they are pretty stoutly affixed.
treadhead1952
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Posted: Saturday, February 13, 2010 - 11:47 AM UTC
Hi All,

Well, I got busy with some stretched sprue and got to checking out the reference photos that I had and applied a basic rig set to the ship. I still have to do a bit of weathering and I am considering where to go with it from there. As it sits now here is what it looks like.







I have a few places that I need to clean out the railings as well as adding a few crew members to make it look less like a ghost ship. But it is coming right along.
#027
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Posted: Sunday, February 14, 2010 - 06:56 AM UTC
Looking great Jay.