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1/180 SSR RASHER, part-1

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  • 1/180 SSR RASHER, part-1


    Ellie and I registered our business, D&E Miniatures, sometime in the late-70's. We became a proper business at that point and carried on with our work of manufacturing and selling small display and commemorative models to individuals and institutions. That move put us on the map and secured a tax exempt number.

    Other than that, becoming a sole proprietary business made little difference to our day to day activities: I was still in the Navy, Ellie was wrangling two Alpha teenagers and worked at Electric Boats 'canteen', and we built models for money on the side.

    Time had come to step up the business, so we chummed the waters. A brochure listing our services was prepared and hundreds of them were mailed out -- mostly to big industrial players, movie studios (though the studio system was crumbling then, I reasoned that there might still be some meat on those bones), schools of Engineering (those with tow tanks and/or wind tunnels), a few shipyards, NASCAR sponsors, airlines, and cruise lines. In those days, before the Internet, the connective tissue between businesses was the big, green Thomas Register books. Within those pages we found our target audience.

    And, damned if that didn't work!

    In no time we began to be wooed by members of the defense industry. Models to be displayed at the many trade shows such businesses attended domestically and abroad. We soon found that working for people who promoted and fostered, 'man's greatest outdoor activity' was good money. No big surprise to me, but a bit of a culture-shock for Ellie to learn that those who make, promote, and sell weapons of war, and their vendors, make a good living.

    One of my duty-stations was the dive-locker aboard the destroyer tender, USS VULCAN. I spent my entire four years working the ships tied up at the Naval Base, Norfolk. No underway time, no duty-section; a regular day-time job. And those four years I worked at the south end of the base, in a double-wide tailor with the other VULCAN divers. I pulling down base-pay, dive-pay, and sea-pay! During the day a ships husbandry diver; by night and weekends, back at home, Ellie and I were busy building models for The Lords of War. Life was good!

    We built a lot of 'interesting' models for the defense trade. On occasion a client would put the two of us up at the convention site to baby-sit the display pieces; to be on hand if the models needed moving or repair. Someone snapped this shot of us at one of the D.C. Navy League sponsored defense conventions as we took a breather in the clients 'hospitality suite'.

    Typically, the division of labor went like this: Ellie did the production work and screened inquiries. I did the research, layout, masters, tools, and detail stuff. That put the RASHER job firmly in my court.

    But, though we were kept busy with the defense clients, I did accept the occasion commission from private individuals. Which was the case with the subject presented here: a 1/180 scale, highly detailed model of the USS RASHER, SSR 269. The client sent me a stack of photos and his suggestion that I work up the display using the then available Revell LIONFISH plastic model kit.

    The RASHER and her sisters were WW-2 era GATO class diesel boats modified to serve as radar picket submarine -- advance scouts for fleet battle groups. Hence the new designation SSR. The Migraine-3 program defined and oversaw the modification. The Migraine-3 boats, of which the RASHER was a member, were extensively reworked. They were lengthened, their stern tubes removed to make room for the increased compliment, huge air-search radars installed atop their GUPPY like sails, and a dedicated air-control center installed to coordinate friendly air operations as well as presenting the tactical situation to the battle-group Commander. But, the days of the SSR's were brief as AWAC aircraft, satellites, and SSN's quickly took over the roll of battle-group point-man.


    This picture of RASHER shows her a short time after the Migraine-3 conversion, as the bulbous height-finding radar just abaft the sail and smaller 'homing beacon' radar near the turtle-back are still in place. These items were soon removed leaving only the big sail mounted BPS-2 radar antenna to tell the world that RASHER was a radar picket submarine.

    The projecting bridge 'wings' permitted the conning officer and lookouts to get a view aft without their line of sight being to badly blocked by the elongated sail.

    (My apologies for the grainy quality of the following in-work and beauty shots that chronicle creation of the RASHER display. I documented this work in the late 80's, before I embraced digital photography. The pictures that follow were recently copied digitally from the original, and slightly time diminished, color slide positive film and black & white negative film I've retained through the years).

    Three major tasks presented themselves as I converted the LIONFISH kit to the Migraine-3 RASHER: Lengthen the hull and capture the 'knuckle' where the forward end of the hull extension piece butted up ugly to the rest of the submarines bow; manufacture of an entirely new sail fairwater with its weird bridge wings; and creation of that big BPS-2 drag inducing parachute of a radar antenna mounted atop that sail.


    The Migraine-3 boats were lengthened to make room for the CIC space and additional equipment.

    To extend the kits hull 25-scale-feet I bought a second LIONFISH kit and grafted a portion of that to the display hull. The graft done at the hulls maximum breadth so as not to spoil the natural curve of the hull. Once the hull was lengthened I would later ugly up the hull at the point near the bow where the hull extension was performed on the actual boat.

    Automotive filler -- classified as a thermosetting type plastic -- is a mixture of polyester resin and finally ground, inert 'filler' to thicken the product. The catalyzed goo can be applied, in mass, to a surface in need of re-contouring without fear of sagging. Unlike air-dry putties (like my favorite, Nitro-Stan) that can't be put on too thickly, with a catalyzed filler the thicker you put it on, the hotter it gets, and the quicker it changes state from semi-liquid to hard mass.

    For this discussion I'll use the trade name of a familiar brand of filler: 'Bondo'.

    The after end of the extension segment attached at or near the operations compartment forward bulkhead -- a bit forward of the conning tower-fairwater leading edge. This constant diameter extension of the pressure hull, and saddle type ballast tanks that surrounded it, resulted in a nasty looking 'knuckle' at the forward end of the extension. This, of course, ruined the smooth lines of the hull so close to the sharply curving bow. Oh, well... function over beauty, as they say.

    I built an external radial frame from .065" thick polystyrene sheet. This external reference frame girdling the hull where the forward end of the hull extension piece was to be. That frame, at its outer edge, having the same geometry as the after end of the supposed extension.

    I screeded on catalyzed Bondo to the height of the external frame both fore and aft, feathering the filler to the surface of the hull. With just a few careful passes of a broad bladed putty knife, I had roughed out a credible looking 'knuckle' to the hull lines forward.

    Some filing and sanding, a bit more Bondo, more sanding, then Nitro-Stan air-dry touch-up putty to address file and sanding marks, yet more sanding, and the hull was ready for gray primer.

    Bondo was also used to fill the concave portions of the bow and stern torpedo tube shutter doors. Also, a bit of Bondo was used to fill the gap between the wooden sail and GRP bridge structure once they were glued together.

    A word to the wise: Bondo like fillers are for re-contouring and filling of significant gaps. The Nitro-Stan air-dry lacquer based touch-up putty, on the other hand, is for very shallow gaps and tool-marks.

    Don't use hobby-shop sold air-dry putties or paints... they're crap; formulated to be safe, not effective. Green-Stuff and the like, if applied too heavily, will take years to thoroughly harden. Nitro-Stan is much quicker to dry owing to that products extremely volatile solvents.

    Hint: If the product labeling does not warn of cancer, warts, lung damage, distemper, Ebola, or your **** falling off, the stuff is useless! The good stuff -- putties, primers, paint, and clear coat systems -- will be found at automotive supply houses and Ebay.


    fiberglass layup is the process of forming tough, light weight, thin walled structures by encapsulating strands of fiberglass with a hardened plastic resin. The resin, once it changes state from liquid to solid, provides the stiffness. The embedded glass strands endows the structure with great strength. Just the right material from which to fabricate the open bridge structure at the leading edge of the sail.

    Note the semi-circular clear spray-shield and compass repeater atop and within the open bridge cockpit.

    Keep in mind, as you examine this photo, that the entire sail structure is made from three substrates: wood, GRP, and vacuformed polystyrene. Looks like one large organic structure doesn't it? The wonders of filler, putty, sandpaper, plenty of elbow-grease, primer, and paint on display here.

    THIS is model building! Not something pooped out from the back-side of a Star Trek Replicator.

    First, I prepared a scale three-view shop sketch of the proposed sail structure. Study of that drawing informed me as to where to employ wood, vacuformed polystyrene, and GRP.

    Two slabs of pattern making wood (kiln dried and well seasoned Basswood -- these were the days before RenShape) were epoxied together, after first tinting the glue black. This produced a well defined centerline along the length of this sail blank, no matter how it was sawed, filed and sanded; the master would always present a dark centerline at all edges; that reference plane assuring symmetry between port and starboard halves as I worked the basic sail piece to shape.

    However, before joining the two halves of the sail blank I laid down a square of wax paper between the halves where the eventual bridge structure would be -- I would later remove that portion of the sail and then split it along the glue plane. The wax paper made that task an easy one.

    Once the glue had cured hard I razor sawed off the top of the sail -- later using that piece as a pattern for vacuforming. The forward lower corner of the wooden sail was cut away, and a tongue-and-groove indexing system provided to insure exact keying together of the two sub-assemblies.

    Working the split bridge master involved extending the bridge cockpit, port and starboard, with more Basswood, those pieces screwed (and later glued) in place to the sides of the bridge master. I periodically assembled the bridge to the sail to insure a smooth transition at their mating points.

    You see, to good advantage here, the dark centerline plane left by the darkened epoxy.

    The eventual GRP bridge structure would be laid up within a hard-shell GRP tool (mold). Here I've separated the bridge master into halves and mounted them on a mold board.

    The face of the mold board and masters were first waxed then given several coats of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). These agents producing a barrier -- a mold release -- between masters and GRP used to create the tool, keeping the laidup tool from permanently (and tragically) bonding to the master and mold board.

    Tool making started with brushing on a well thickened 'gel-coat' of epoxy laminating resin over the patterns and mold board. Once that layer had hardened to a tack-free state I laid on several plys of 10 ounce glass cloth, and saturated the cloth with laminating resin. After a two-day cure I popped the bridge structure tool off the masters and got to work laying up the GRP bridge structure halves.

    In background is the hard-shell bridge structure tool. Mid-ground is a raw test lay-up as it looked straight out of the tool. And foreground is a trimmed set of bridge structure GRP parts that will eventually be assembled and installed to the leading edge of the wooden sail.

    The completed GRP bridge structure about to be bonded to the wooden sail.

    Illustrating the use of Bondo filler, Nitro-Stan air-dry putty, CA, and primer -- all employed to attach and fair in the GRP bridge structure to the wooden sail structure. Looks like hell here, but a few squirts of gray primer and it all comes together, seamlessly!

    When all the smoke clears, this is the result.

    Damn!... I'm good.
    Last edited by He Who Shall Not Be Named; 11-17-2022, 08:09 AM.
    Who is John Galt?

  • #2

    At the time we took the RASHER commission it was assumed there would be more former boat sailors looking for models of submarines they had served on. That hope drove my methodology of part fabrication to employ techniques that would give us the ability to quickly produce museum quality display pieces based on the 1/180 scale Revell LIONFISH kit. That meant producing masters, mostly from brass, from which a spin-casting rubber tool would be made; that tool used to cast white-metal parts quickly, accurately, and in mass. The same logic drove me to embrace the vacuforming and GRP processes for the larger fittings that had to be of thin wall thickness.

    Most the metal masters are shown below: The propellers, anchor, small radar reflector and hatch were solder projects; the capstan, snorkel induction head-valve, small radar stem, hatch, gyro-compass repeater, and UHF antenna were turned on our watch-makers lathe.

    The closed chock, anchor foot and flukes, and three fixed cleats were drilled, ground, and filed by hand from thick brass sheet. The Revell LIONFISH propellers were terrible and had to be replaced.

    Soldering is to metal what adhesives are to non-metallic substrates. Look on solder as an adhesive like hot-glue. It's not a weld, or fusion process. Soldering is an adhesive. The trick is to abrade the work free of all grease, oil, and oxidation and to employ flux to insure a proper 'wetting' of the metal surfaces as the solder flows into the union gaps. The mechanism of 'stick' is atomic attraction, not fusion. Solder is glue!

    A few pieces of brass round and sheet stock, some solder, and clever use of assembly jigs and you have the big BPS-2 radar that sits atop the RASHER's sail. Later an acid-etched reflector screen would be glued to the concave side of the parabolic framework.

    A wooden jig was used to hold the eight vertical radar reflector ribs in correct alignment as a bent central horizontal stringer was soldered within a slot in the middle of each rib. The part was then pulled away from the jig and readied to receive a soldered stringer along the tips of the ribs.

    The still rather flimsy structure of the reflector framework was held in a lump of clay, and a bent brass wire solder to the tips of the ribs. The reflector framework was then removed from the clay, cleaned with brush and lacquer thinner, then turned upside-down, re-mounted in the clay, and another length of brass wire soldered to the tip of the rubs. Excess wire was snipped away and careful work with files removed excess solder from the work.

    Cleaned up and slathered with flux the radar reflector framework was soldered to a brass wave-guide horn assembly.

    An assembly jig was used to position the acid-etched propeller blades to a turned brass hub. Once all four blades were in position the joints were slathered with flux. The wooden jig was then soaked in water to keep it from catching fire. A very small shard of solder was placed atop each blade where it met the hub (the sticky flux holding each shard of solder where you wanted it). With all five brass parts in perfect alignment the flame of a small hand-torch was played over the work till the soldered melted and flowed to fill all joints.

    Ladder rungs that ran up the trailing edge of the sail were bent from .014" brass wire and inserted into holes. No need to glue them as they extended deep enough into the wood to insure a good and tight interference fit.

    (You just have to imagine some white-hat idiot climbing up to the BPS-2 radar as the boat bounced around in a state-3 sea... at night... without a safety-harness... in the middle of Winter!).

    Brass and white metal, if not prepared, will not permit putties, primers or paints to adhere with any meaningful strength. To make these substrates more attractive to adhesives and paints is to 'pickle' them in an acid like Ferric chloride or vinegar. The acid quickly oxidizes the metals surface produce zillions of microscope pits. This substantially increases the surface area of the metal part and also produces the 'tooth' needed to mechanically hold the adhesive/filler/putty/primer/paint firmly.

    The example below shows three white metal cleats. The bright shiny one in foreground is virgin.

    The dark gray cleat next to it has been pickled then rubbed down enough to remove the oxide layer, but not abraded enough to obliterate the pitted surface. It's ready for gluing and primer.

    The black cleat over the acid is being scrubbed with an 'acid-brush' to accelerate the acid attack. A quick dunking in fresh water, spiked with a bit of baking soda, is enough to kill the acid. The part is then dried with a soft cloth.


    I elected to render all of the small bits as white-metal castings -- I expected that I would be tasked with assembling other 1/180 scale GATO/BALAO/TENCH class display pieces so I wanted the ability to make these small, fiddly pieces quickly, and in mass. However, as it turned out, after over thirty-years, the RASHER is the only display we've been commissioned to build to that particular scale. Here you can see a fret fresh out of the spin-casting tool next to cast metal parts all cleaned up and ready for pickling.

    Creating the spin-casting, two-piece rubber tool starts with sinking the masters into a clay mask, its job to permit the first pour of the tool to only encapsulate approximately half of each master. Later, a second pour of rubber would be poured to create the other half of the tool.

    Centrifugal force is the agent that immediately pushes the molten metal from the central sprue, down into the cavities of the tool that give shape to each metal part. Note the many dimples pushed into the masking clay. They will become positive registration nipples in the first half of the rubber tool, which in turn will produce registration dimples as the second rubber tool half is poured over the first.

    The completed two-piece spin-casting rubber tool and a test shot below the tool halves.

    The actual casting process goes quickly: molten white-metal -- 95% Tin, 5% Antimony -- is poured into the central sprue of the upper tool half while the entire tool is sent spinning at a considerable speed. Centrifugal force immediately drives the liquid metal outward, completely filling all cavities within the tool.

    Who is John Galt?


    • #3

      In this discussion I'm talking about giving permanent shape to heated plastic sheet, forcing it to a specific shape, that shape retained once the plastic cools back to room temperature.

      For us, a thermoplastic is that category of plastic that can be heated to a pliable state and then forced, either over a plug/puck/master/pattern/form/whateveryouwanttocallit or into a mold through mechanical or creating a differential pressure between the two faces of the heated plastic sheet.

      A very useful technique for the modeler who is looking for a light-weight, thin walled structure that can be rendered in multiples very quickly.

      Examine the picture below. The white structure at the bow and the top of the sail are vacuformed items specifically made for this project. Note that the thin walled top-of-sail -- once opening for the retractable masts are punched out -- presents a scale like wall thickness to the edges of those penetrations.

      (Many different substrates comprised this model: The polystyrene kit hull; wooden sail, GRP bridge structure at the leading edge of the sail; the huge soldered brass BPS-2 air-search radar; Bondo filled torpedo troughs and hull extension 'knuckle'; and spin-cast white metal detail items.)

      The 1/180 scale LIONFISH kits original anchor well was not at all what the RASHER model had, so a vacuformed well was made and grafted into the correct position at the starboard bow. Note the cast white metal anchor just below the anchor well.

      Looking at the completed RASHER display one would never know what a Frankenstein Monster this pieced together model was before primer and paint. Seen to good advantage here are the two deck mounted sonar transducer-hydrophone 'windows' -- both of these items were vacuformed from .060" thick white polystyrene sheet.

      If you look to the extreme left of this picture you can make out a vacuformed 'dead-light' (optically clear window) that wrapped around the leading edge of the bridge. On the real boat that was a 'safe' place to hide when green-water came crashing down on you in a state-4 following sea! Aft of that atop the open bridge you can see the extendable bridge 'spray-shield'. Another vacuformed item pulled from clear plastic sheet.

      Vacuforming over a pattern simply involves placing the pattern over a plenum whose surface is suitably perforated to extract air from between the pattern and heated plastic sheet. A partial vacuum underneath the sheet, with normal pressure above it is the agent of force here; a differential pressure is created between the top of the work and its bottom. As air is extracted from underneath, normal air pressure atop pushes the pliable plastic down to conform to the shape of the master underneath.

      On this particular vacuforming job I used a common electric hot-plate to heat the frame supported plastic sheet. From that one sheet I'll get the top of the sail, and the two bow mounted sonar windows.

      Alternative heating sources include torches, as seen here; conviction oven; infrared heat-lamp; and hot-air gun. The vacuum source need not be anything more exotic than the household vacuum-cleaner. In these examples I'm using a discarded Barber's clipper-vacuum (On duty nights, off-watch, I could be found examining dumpster contents at the head of each pier... I was a frig'n raccoon!).

      It's imperative to secure the plastic sheet in some sort of holding-frame during the heating process, or the sheet will curl up on you. Here are varied examples of frames, patterns, and vacuformed parts.

      The problem with forming the plastic sheet over a pattern is the need to account for the thickness of the plastic sheet, otherwise the vacuformed part will be over sized. This requires under-sizing the pattern to account for this. For surfaces parallel to the plane of the frame its a direct correlation, but for those portions with any draft to them, the wall thickness of the vacuformed part will be a bit less than the original thickness of the sheet. This 'drawing out' is a consequence of the draft angle.

      A Vacuforming process that renders exacting surface detail and also captures pattern geometry, requires a temperature tolerant tool, within its cavity(s) is pulled the heated plastic sheet.

      Here, an IBM display we built which required four well detailed rocket motors, made use of a high-temperature mold into which would be pulled heated .080" thick polystyrene sheet. This type tool -- upper right hand corner -- required the drilling of many small vent channels to pull the air out from between the sheet and the cavities of the tool.

      Sometimes it is easier to 'plunge-form' heated plastic like the clear canopy you see here: the pattern is slightly undersized, to account for the wall thickness of the eventual part. After the clear plastic sheet is heated, the pattern is plunged into the sheet. The die, under the sheet, insures a complete wrap-around of the sheet over the pattern. Just another of the many ways one can heat-form a thermoplastic.

      Short of some very heroic-expensive-time consuming casting processes, it's all but impossible to render compound curved clear parts like this wrap-around 'green-house' type canopy plunge-formed for this rather large FIREBALL XL-5 model.


      Scribing is the process of cutting channels into the substrate. These channels of a depth, width, and outline so as to suggest hatch covers, access hand-holes, torpedo tube shutter doors, deck planking, and the like.

      Scribing is also employed as the first step in punching holes of complicated outline through thin walled structures, such as the retractable mast holes atop the sail, bow-buoyancy flood-drain openings, and superstructure limber holes.

      Scribing is a skill learned by practice. One must become proficient at engraving different types of substrates, be it plastic, wood, GRP, Bondo, or even soft metal.

      For example, the picture below: The majority of the sail aft of the bridge cockpit is wood, the bridge area is GRP, the top of the sail is vacuformed polystyrene, and the deck is a sheet of polystyrene. Yet all the engraved lines -- no matter the substrate within which they are cut, the engraved lines are of uniform depth and clean of line. If there is any 'art' to model-making, scribing is it!

      If a substrate is not receptive to scribing, then you dig out the area to be scribed, back-fill it with Bondo, and scribe that easier to engrave substrate... after putty, sanding, and primer, no one will know the cheat! The hand-holes on the sides of this wooden structure were done this way.

      Since we had purchased two of the Revell LIONFISH kits, I took the opportunity to show some before-and-after work. The RASHER hull is above, the raw LIONFISH kit hull is below. Note that the opened up limber holes of the RASHER have a pattern entirely different than the raised limber hole outlines molded onto the sides of the kits superstructure.

      Two forms of scribing on display here. The limber holes started out as deeply engraved lines. The shutter doors were engraved after Bondoing and filing flush the shutter door depressions. The RASHER anchor well has yet to be vacuformed and inserted in the correct location just aft of bow-buoyancy.

      To insure symmetry and proper spacing of the superstructure limber holes I carefully plotted and cut out a set of holes into a .014" thick piece of brass sheet -- this template used to engrave the limber hole outlines onto the soft polystyrene of the kits superstructure. The engraved outlines guided a #11 X-Acto blade as I carefully opened each hole. The work went surprisingly fast.

      To keep this limber hole engraving stencil from sliding over the work I glued a piece of sandpaper to the stencils inboard face. A little index finger pressure and the stencil stayed in place as I engraved a set of limber hole outlines onto the superstructure.

      I found that the LIONFISH kits deck in no way represented that of the RASHER. So, I was compelled to produce a scribed deck blank from .040" thick polystyrene sheet.

      Here I've used a custom made scribing tool to quickly engrave the many parallel lines that give the illusion of well spaced deck planking.

      Before gluing the planking down atop the hull I opened up areas that would later receive the two escape trunk escape bell seating surfaces, fixed cleats, muffler access plates, and forward escape trunk side hatch well. After gluing the decking atop the hull it was further scribed to represent the many line and access hatches.

      A to-scale shop sketch I developed from my files. Used to guide me during the deck, superstructure, hull, and sail scribing.

      Holy ****!!!!... is that 35 year old blood?

      Ellie and I did the Rasher a long time ago. In the years-between my scribing techniques and tools improved. Below I share with you the type of scribing tools I now employ, and how they're made.

      The model may be static, but the Craftsman must always be dynamic; on the hunt for better ways to practice his Craft. The true Master is, and always be, the attentive student.


      Acid etched brass sheet supplied us with the thin, strong, and highly detailed items needed to outfit the 1/180 RASHER display. Items created using this process included the BPS-2 radar reflector, SJ radar reflector, salvage plates, zincs, hatch hand-wheels, hull name and number and draft marking painting stencils, propeller blades, and human figures. Some of those items, in finished form presented below.

      For an in-depth look into the process, go here: Acid-Etching part 1 by David Merriman – CultTVman's Fantastic Modeling

      Attaching the small acid-etched hatch hand-wheels.

      Acid-etched propeller blades bent, and assembled around a turned brass hub before soldering the entire unit together.

      The artwork I prepared for the items I needed for the RASHER job. To achieve a high resolution set of positive films I made the artwork four times the required size, and had the lab guy shoot the film 1/4 the size of the artwork.

      Transparencies next to the acid-etched frets of parts.

      My home-brew acid-etching 'machine'.

      Air agitation keeps the hot acid in motion as it cuts away the unprotected portions of brass sheet. A fish-tank heater gets the acid to a working temperature of 120-degrees F.


      It's my practice to keep as many sub-assembles of a display off the main body and provide each with a keying or fastener arrangement that will insure easy and sure attachment to the display when the time comes to assembly the piece. Such was the case with the control surfaces, big BPS-2 antenna, deck hatches, antenna braces, anchor, cockpit deck, cockpit spray-screen, gyro-compass repeater, sonar windows, propeller shafts and propellers, and hull. Each sub-assemble receiving the same care and attention. All metal items were pickled. Then all sub-asseblies were hit with automotive gray primer, inspected, flaws identified and corrected, sanded, and primed again.

      Keeping the sub-assemblies separate like this greatly simplified the painting process. Particularly as the RASHER model was to be painted in the 'Pacific' scheme: gray vertical surfaces, black horizontal surfaces, and an anti-foul red from hull centerline down.

      Here I'm showing off the pencil loaded waterline marking tool to pencil the gray-red demarcation lines that run the length of the hull. First, the bottom of the hull was painted anti-foul red, and the demarcation line layed down. The red was masked off and black sprayed on.


      No longer commercially available (thank you, California... you tree-hugging twits!). I was using DuPont ChromaSystem color which are two-part polyurethane paints. Quick drying, tough as nails, and extremely opaque, even when excessively thinned or reduced. Great stuff... now I have to pay a premium for it as this stuff is available today only through back-door outlets like Evil-bay.

      The only air-brush you'll ever need is Paasche's nasty, old, banged up, reliable, ugly, single-action H-model. Period! The only variables with this gun is the size tip you screw into the business end of this thing, adjustment of air pressure (between 5-30PSI), and annular space between tip and needle.

      Easy to set up, easy to clean, and won't make you crazy like most double-action guns with all their useless do-dad's.

      Preparing to paint the sides of the superstructure gray by masking off the black tank-tops. Note all the painted sub-assemblies to the extreme right on this picture. As much painting of parts off-model is done to minimized time consuming masking.

      Though the tank-tops and deck were black, the sides of the superstructure were gray almost the entire length of the hull, except at the stern where the gray transitions into the black with a feather-edge. That achieved by placing the 1/4 circle mask a good .25" off the work, backing off the amount of paint shot, and shooting at a high pressure.

      Though I had made an acid-etched draft number painting stencil I instead went with some custom made dry transfers -- those 1/180 scale numbers ganged on to a sheet of markings I had made for another job. However, the white hull numbers were shot through acid-etched stencils.

      The sail, BPS-2 radar, sonar windows, capstans, antenna posts, and cleats and chocks got the black-gray treatment -- sides gray, tops black. The model was then assembled.

      Against my strong suggestion of a very mat clear coat, the client insisted on a semi-gloss finish. So be it. Ugh! The thing wound up looking like a ****ing toy!

      Who is John Galt?


      • #4

        Thank you for sharing some of your life's history with Ellie! Through all the wonderful years together you and Ellie built a great modeling business and you have established your mark in our wonderful hobby! For the short period of time that I have known you I have grown to respect your abilities as a real craftsman, but also as someone that has given so much of his time to help so many of us in this hobby! You have certainly been there when I have needed your help over the past three years that I have been in this hobby! But most of all your friendship! And for that I thank you!!

        "Firemen can stand the heat"


        • #5
          Nice photo of you and Ellie showing your undivided attention. She talks you listen.
          Last edited by redboat219; 11-17-2022, 03:45 AM.
          Make it simple, make strong, make it work!


          • #6
            Damn fine article.
            Of the 40,000 men who served on German submarines, 30,000 never returned.”


            • #7
              Originally posted by redboat219 View Post
              Nice photo of you and Ellie showing your undivided attention. She talks you listen.
              The key to any successful marriage.
              Who is John Galt?


              • #8
                Nice stuff, David! I recall enjoying the original article in Scale Ship Modeler! You were almost kinda cute way back when!!!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by wlambing View Post
                  Nice stuff, David! I recall enjoying the original article in Scale Ship Modeler! You were almost kinda cute way back when!!!
                  Well. That was disturbing!

                  Before we start picking out furniture together, Bill...

                  That was back in the day when Loren Perry Edited that magazine -- he was the only guy helming a Challenge Publications 'hobby' magazine who did not rip off the contributors. The porn side of that house made and spent all the big money.
                  Who is John Galt?


                  • #10
                    Simply great information. David, keep posting! One area I have been fearful of trying is etching brass. Nothing like a brass etched screen for a radar.
                    If you can cut, drill, saw, hit things and swear a lot, you're well on the way to building a working model sub.