After all that work on the forward superstructure deck I was anxious to cover it all up... so it was on to the bridge deck!
Even though Revellís 1959 model comes from the very dawn of plastic model ship kits, it really is quite good, something of a masterpiece of the early kit designerís art. The pattern makers did make some rather odd design choices on it, though. One of these was the pilothouse and bridge deck. Instead of taking the obvious approach of building the little pilothouse structure out of bulkheads and an overhead to be then placed on a solid bridge deck, Revell opted to mold the overhead deck and corner frames for the pilothouse directly to the bridge deck, forming what looks like a little table over a hole. The pilothouse sides, back, and front then fit around this framework. The approach works, but the pilothouse and bridge deck under it end up having no floor! Weird. (The main deck and superstructure sides were also designed this way, and also leave a large unnecessary hole in the main deck under the superstructure. Go figure.)
Anyway, fixing this wasnít a problem. A little piece of sheet plastic on the bottom of the bridge deck did the trick. The top had lovely raised planking detail, but other than that silly hole, the underside of the deck was featureless. So after patching the hole I added some strip plastic support girders on the underside to give it a little interest. You have to get down low to see them, but theyíll be visible up in there if you look.
Next came the pilothouse. The tiny structure (about the size of a U.S. dime) looks reasonable as is, but Revell didnít include any detail in there (and no deck to put it on anyway). The windows are molded open, though, so I added a piece of scribed plastic for the deck, replaced the window frames with more in-scale pieces, and built up interior door frames from plastic strip. A little chart table, binnacle and helm completed the pilothouse appointments. The shipís wheel is from the Gold Medal Models photoetch set with a plastic rod/sheet column, the table is made from sheet plastic. I made the binnacle from the modified head of a 1/35th scale German Panzerfaust anti tank weapon and .010 inch sheet plastic bits. The little balls (in real life solid iron spheres to help isolate the magnetic compass from the steel structure of the ship) were taken from ball point pens.
All that detail looks nice, but Iím afraid most of it will be quite hard to see once installed on the ship with the pilothouse overhead in place. Still, it will be visible through the windows if you get out the penlight and really look for it.
I guess anything worth doing is worth overdoing!