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Argentinean Aviso Comandante General Zapiola

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Crew-mate Mike McCabe shares his build gallery of the ARA Comandante General Zapiola dio scene!

Base Kit - Battlefleet Models USS Cherokee BFM-708A

Photo-Etch - GMM Ultrafine railings, cable reels, doors / hatches / hose reels
White Ensign USN doors, Bofors details, (not shown) boat details (not shown), ladders, railing for life raft
supports, anchors from Starling fret.
Hasegawa IJN boat davits (ok I cheated but they look nice and a davit is pretty much a davit)

Scratchbuilt Items include Masts, derricks, jibs, steam pipes etc from brass rod,
hatches from brass sheet,
piping and similar, copper wire
plastic card for radars, stowage boxes.

"The model shows a scene in the early 1960's of a supply run to a remote Argentine research station on Tierra del Fuego, the crew are preparing supplies and unloading watched by the impatient researchers and some inquisitive sea lions, southern fulmars, cormorants and a passing black browed albatross."

"I like the fact that the BFM kit represents a generic Cherokee class tug, rather than any specific one, as they seem to be all different in small details... so I find it is easier to add the detail required, rather than remove what is not wanted. The only thing I did remove, is where two lockers in front of the main superstructure behind the main gun, which were not on the photos of Zapiola."

"A lot of fun indeed to build and a few new things to try out including the wildlife. Unfortunately it was very difficult to photograph this element of the model due to it's small size, I need a better camera!
I think this is a great kit as there are so many possibilities, as some of these ships had very long lives and I think a few are still operational."
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About the Author

About Mike McCabe (MikeM)


A really well deserved prize and a delight to watch such a small dio - and although aparently a peacefull and quit one, it really is full of action and nice details to discover! Congratulations Mike, on the model, and also on the Silver... Congratulations Harry on making a good kit... Mark, Thanks for sharing it with the community Skipper
NOV 18, 2007 - 11:52 AM
A very nice work of art!!! As I told JB the other day, some of the best work I have seen. Thanks Rui The Silver Metal Photo is now the box art for the kit.
NOV 18, 2007 - 12:36 PM
Awesome work Mike! Gator
NOV 18, 2007 - 02:40 PM
NOV 19, 2007 - 12:21 AM
Nice touch Harry Skipper
NOV 19, 2007 - 12:40 AM
Thanks everyone, it was a lot of fun to do. Mike
NOV 19, 2007 - 06:14 AM
I *love* it, there's such a sense of forlornness on this diorama... There was a time when i used to dismiss small scale boat dioramas on the ground that you can't show any real valuable ambiance in these, but this kind of dioramas really prove the contrary, there's only to see the rare snow, the orange buidlings , the deep contrats between the grey of the boat an dthe darkness of the sea.. really, i love that one and congratulations for the bit of round steel! JB
NOV 19, 2007 - 06:44 AM
Hi Jean-Bernard Thanks for the kind words, I think you have an understanding of what I am trying to achieve with these type of models, talking to Rui at Telford I think he also has a similar attitude to his modelling, we are possibly at the more 'artistic' end of the hobby - the feel, setting and impression of the model is what matters perhaps a little less than the purely technical and dedication to accuracy. Not to say hastily that I think accuracy is not important, it is, but it isn't the most important thing. In many ways I think the diorama possibilities of small scale ship models are only just being opened up, yes there are plenty of harbour dioramas out there but what about all the other possibilities? By the way, it must be my photography which makes it look a forlorn scene, I was trying to go for a cheery scene of some remote research station having some fresh supplies and mail delivered to them watched by the teeming wildlife of Tierra del Fuego, but it is all in the eye of the beholder! Cheers Mike
NOV 21, 2007 - 02:42 AM
Thanks Mike As yours and also Jean-Bernard André's Dios, I like to transmit some atmosphere and also a story (wish, btw, sometimes pass undetected), but I am only starting to make some dios... We can make a very accurate ship, put it on a nice seabase, but if no story passes to the viewer, no particular action or detail, than that would result on a "ship on a base" only - if you can get the viewer to have some emotion (preferably a positive one) out of your work, than I have made it!! Even if it doesn't win a prize Playing around with the model hull, setting the scenery and figuring out what would be the "punch" line or highlight of the dio is much more than half the fun (and work too). Skipper
NOV 21, 2007 - 06:04 AM