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Ships by Class/Type: Destroyers
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Discussion Build - Captain Class Frigate
jRatz
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North Carolina, United States
Joined: March 06, 2004
KitMaker: 1,171 posts
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Posted: Friday, November 17, 2006 - 06:34 AM UTC
Hi !!

I am going to build, more or less online, a Captain Class Frigate using the newly released Trumpeter 1/350 Buckley-Class DE and the White Ensign Models Photo-Etch Set for it.

This is a build for discussion purposes -- I expect people to give advice, point out mistakes, etc, and no one will be flamed for doing so.

I am, in no way, an expert on things nautical, or on building models -- I am describing what I know and what I did, but I am not presuming to tell you how to do anything.

To keep things in perspective, conversations should be focused on Destroyer Escorts and Captain Class Frigates to include technical and historical information, and ship modeling -- mostly this build, but in general is OK also.

Please do not "Reply with Quote" -- there will be a lot of pictures & text and no one needs to scroll though endless copies of same. If you do, then trim out all but the particular sentence or two you wish to address, or just copy that slice of text. See the FAQ for how to do things in BBcode.

I will be mixing some HTML and BB-Code. All pictures are shown in the messages as thumbnails -- if you click on them, you will get a full size picture in a separate window. Unfortunately I cannot figure out how to get more than one thumbnail in a row ...

If you insert pictures, try to do the same or just post the link -- I really hate large graphics in the middle of things.

I will, from time-to-time, put links in this top message to take you quickly to newer sections.

My intention is this be done early in 2007.

Have fun !!!! I look forward to the exchange of information.

John
jRatz
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North Carolina, United States
Joined: March 06, 2004
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Posted: Friday, November 17, 2006 - 06:36 AM UTC


Background
Destroyer Escorts should be familiar to anyone with even a passing fancy for the war at sea in WW2.
Designed to provide a quick solution to the need for long-range convoy escorts and anti-submarine capability, the DE's were mass-produced by US shipyard with 565 being completed. As more were deployed, they took on other duties such as patrol, picket, support, and found themselves converted to other uses. If there was an equipment shortfall, it had to be the shortage of 5"/38 and 40mm guns which forced the majority of the DE's to carry 3"/50 main guns and the quad 1.1" for AA defense.

Of the 6 classes of DE produced, the Buckley class was largest with 152 produced, most all in 1943. The 6 classes were produced to a common design, although the Evarts class had a shorter hull. Other than that, the differences were in basically in power plant and later in the armament.

The British received 78 DE's, 32 Evarts and 46 Buckleys, calling them Captain Class Frigates. There were some 90 modifications to a Buckley DE to meet RN standards. The most obvious were the removal of the torpedo tubes and the quad 1.1, the replacement of 4 of the 8 K-guns with larger on-deck storage racks, and of course electronics. They also removed the ice cream maker. Although the RN sailors referred to them as DE's, they could not be officially called that because they had no torpedo tubes. Along with convoy and anti-submarine duty, the DE's were also used in Coastal Forces in the battle against E-Boats in the Channel and the North Sea.

By war's end, the Buckley class DE's were the second highest killers of subs in the USN, and the Captain Class frigates lead the Royal Navy. 28 were sunk or deemed total losses. Specific numbers aside, the success of the DE as a class of ships can be shown by the number of destroyers freed up for other duties.
    References
  1. The Destroyer Escort England, Al Ross, Conway Maritime Press, 1985, ISBN:0851773257.
  2. The Captain Class Frigates in the 2nd World War, Donald Collingwood, Naval Institute Press, 1999, ISBN:1555701955.
  3. Destroyer Escorts In Action>, Al Adcock, Squadron Warships #11, 1997, ISBN:0897473787.
  4. The Buckley-Class Destroyer Escorts, Bruce Franklin, Naval Institute Press, 1999, ISBN:1557502803.
  5. Allied Escort Ships of World War II, Peter Elliott, Naval Institute Press, 1977, ISBN:0356084019.
  6. American Destroyer Escorts of World War 2, Peter Elliott, Almark Press, 1974, ISBN:0855241616.

John
jRatz
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North Carolina, United States
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Posted: Friday, November 17, 2006 - 06:42 AM UTC

The Trumpeter Kit
Trumpeter has just released (Sep 2006) their 1/350 kit of the USS England, DE-635, possibly the most famous Buckley DE of WW2 with 6 Japanese submarines killed in 12 days. A year later England survived a kamikaze hit off Okinawa, but her war was over.

The kit is typical Trumpeter. Packaging is outstanding with all parts bagged and the hull and deck parts in their own compartment with bubblewrap around. The 200-odd parts range from good to so-so. I think the 3"/50, the 1.1 quad, and the torpedo tubes are excellent. The 20mm are OK, but too big. Trumpeter made an effort to give us appropriately thin splinter shields and succeeded about half the time. Unlike their larger kits, the deck is one piece so no ugly seams.

There is a small PE sheet that allows you the option to enhance the plastic Hedgehog cover, SA radar, K-gun racks, and depth-charge rails. This is a nice option, but is still a bit too heavy. There is a color diagram and a good instruction booklet. One nice thing is that you get two "C" sprues, which yields a few pieces for the spare parts pile when done.

The hull length measures out within 2 feet and it all looks about right. In summary, the Trumpeter DE appears to be a very good kit.

John
jRatz
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North Carolina, United States
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Posted: Friday, November 17, 2006 - 06:50 AM UTC

The WEM PE Set
Well, WEM must have been looking ahead, because the PE set was out within a month of the kit, certainly not much longer.

You get a single sheet, cardboard backed, in a large white envelope and the usual WEM high quality instructions which give you names for everything and plenty of information about what you are doing.
As is to be expected, the photo-etch sheet is very thin and fine, as is the detail throughout. WEM PE is never a sheet of flat brass cut in shapes -- the relief detail within each part is always great and this is no exception. Related parts are laid out together so you don't have to search all over. As a general note, the PE is so thin and fine that you really need to study the instructions to be sure exactly where to cut/trim the attachment points.

[detail package image]

There are 2-bar and 3-bar railings, with and without safety net, floater baskets, ladders, doors, hatches, life preservers, cable reels, and the other usual general parts one finds in these sets.

Specific to the England are details for the 3"/50, replacements for the 20mm and the quad 1.1, depth charge racks and handling gear, hedgehogs, directors, sky lookouts, the SA Radar, mast details and a replacement yardarm with antennas, miscellaneous railings, gun depression rails and training stops, etc.

Of these, the 20mm PE replaces something too big with something too flat, at least in the pedestal -- the gun could be used but the pedestal should be fleshed out -- or just use L'Arsenal. The kit Hedgehogs are just lumps and the WEM replacements give you a better side profile, but are still 2-dimensional. Same with the quad 1.1 - I'd be tempted to merge the kit part and the WEM parts rather than go with just one.

Comments aside, the WEM detail set will definitely improve the kit. Remember the two "C"-sprues and the extra parts -- well, WEM gives you the PE for the extra parts! So you get PE for four 3"/50, not just the three used in the model, and for two boats, not just the one carried by DE's. May seem like a little thing, but it is a nice touch.

The WEM detail set also allows you to "convert" a Buckley DE to a Royal Navy Captain Class Frigate, which is why you got the short history lesson above.

Specific to the 'Captains' are shields (seldom actually fitted) for the 3"/50 guns, flare rocket rails to attach to the 'B' turret shields, depth charge storage racks to replace 2 K-guns on each side, an HF/DF to replace the SA radar, etc. If you want to build a Coastal Forces Control Frigate (CFCF), you get a single 2-pounder pom-pom and shield to put up in the bow. One thing not pointed out in the instructions is that the 20mm should not have an elevating wheel on the pedestal for the Captain Class.

So, what are the negatives - just a couple, for the Captain Class conversion, that I can see. Given the CFCF option, there should also have been a 'Headache' antenna to go along -- but that's easy enough to make from scrap, so it really doesn't matter. The biggest, and a not so pleasant surprise on the last page of the instructions is that the necessary RN style boats, a 27' Whaler and a 25' Fast Motor Boat, and the Carley rafts are available as yet another detail set, their Professional Line #3512. The odd part is that the PE to detail these two boats and to mount the Carley floats is part of the main PE set! I immediately put the boat/float set on order but got a back-order. I suppose I could roll my own from the references I have and the pictures in the WEM instructions, but it's just a bit disappointing.

Conclusion
I think both the Trumpeter kit and the WEM photo-etch set will make into a great model, be it USN Buckley Class DE or RN Captain Class Frigate.

John
jRatz
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North Carolina, United States
Joined: March 06, 2004
KitMaker: 1,171 posts
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Posted: Friday, November 17, 2006 - 07:17 AM UTC
The Build
I will be doing mine as a Captain Class Frigate, specifically a CFCF ship, HMS Ekins (K-552). I selected Ekins because of the documentation available to me.

Ekins was laid down by Bethlehem Hingham, Hingham MA on 5 July 1943 and launched 2 October 1943 - a 90-day build time that I cannot hope to rival!! Although intended to be DE-87, she was never commissioned in the USN, but rather handed over to the RN as lend lease on 29 November 1943. After workups, she did convoy work before being assigned to the Nore Command as a Coastal Forces Control Frigate (CFCF). These ships went out, with a half-dozen or so MTB's, to battle the E-boats -- essentially the MTB would try to herd E-boats under the larger guns of the CFCF. The fighting was heavy and the duty exhausting -- they went out night after night, usually on 16-20 hour long missions including transit time. HMS Ekins hit a mine, possibly 2, off Oostend Belgium, 16 April 1945, and although brought back to port (a testament to the DE design), was written off as a loss in June.

To be continued ...
Right now the hull and decks are together, primed, and being cleaned up. I have started on the major structures and will do my first model pix when I get a few up on deck ...

John
Gunny
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Pennsylvania, United States
Joined: July 13, 2004
KitMaker: 6,705 posts
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Posted: Friday, November 17, 2006 - 03:59 PM UTC
Hi John,
Well done thus far, mate!
This is just the ticket for us, and I do hope that all of our members will participate in this discussion and do a "virtual build" right along with you. . .it might be beneficial to make this into a "sticky note" type thread, and it will be available at the beginning of the forum post list, instead of having to search for it at a later date.
Thanks again, John, for doing this, I am looking forward to the experience!
Cheers!
~Gunny
jRatz
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North Carolina, United States
Joined: March 06, 2004
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Posted: Sunday, November 19, 2006 - 06:45 AM UTC
OK, I figure we need some plastic pix, so here we go ...

I built my usual workplatform -- a sheet of 3/8 balsa covered in wax paper. There are two blocks for the hull to sit on and a back brace to keep it rigid. I drilled two holes in the hull and epoxied in nuts and washers for the final display stand, whatever that will be. In the mean time, there are two small dowels in the workplatform that fit into the holes & hold it in place.

Ignoring the instruction sequence, I glued the deck to the upper hull -- this allowed me to fit the deck evenly in the upper hull and be sure it was well glued. Then I glued the lower hull on. The fit of all three parts is very good and I only needed a little filler. The hull got a red auto primer and sanded down in successive grits from 600 to 2000, so it is really smooth. The deck needed no extra work except a light bead of CA on the f'csle. Then I glued on the prop shafts and rudders, after which I cleaned up around them.

The hull is ready to be painted, but I don't have the right colors yet, and I'm going to work on the main deck structures.

I have the WEM RN ColourCoat Set on order. From my research, Ekins came in a US version of RN camo, was repainted into a two-tone green Western Approaches scheme, then into a gray Channel scheme. However, the picture of Ekins suggests that it is more likely an Admiralty Alternate scheme, perhaps partially applied over previous schemes. Anyway, from my references, it would appear the hull up to the up to the sheer line is G20 Medium Gray-Green, and G45 Light Gray above. Note the funnel and the X & Y gun platforms appear to be in White, perhaps leftover from the Western Approaches scheme. The horizontal surfaces should be B15 Dark Blue-Grey I believe, but have no photos thereof.

Any discussion of colors would be appreciated.

John
Hoovie
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California, United States
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Posted: Sunday, November 19, 2006 - 11:18 AM UTC
Thanks for sharing!
Waiting for the rest of the build!
Ron
jRatz
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North Carolina, United States
Joined: March 06, 2004
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Posted: Monday, November 20, 2006 - 06:41 AM UTC
Research question.

If you look at the picture of Ekins, way back on 1st post, you'll see a structure at the rear of the open bridge -- this was an anti-sub/observation shack fitted to some Cpt Class Frigates to improve the Captain's ability to communicate and manage the ASW battle.

I have dozens of pictures, but none individually or collectively really give me a good feel for the size, shape, exact location of this shack -- and it is getting time to think about constructing it ...

Any help would be appreciated ...

Oh, yes, the full WEM RN paint set showed today - just super speedy service !!! I'll post a picture of the tinlet tops to give you an idea of the colors I mentioned in my last post ...

John
Gunny
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Pennsylvania, United States
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Posted: Monday, November 20, 2006 - 05:28 PM UTC

Quoted Text



Any help would be appreciated ...




John, my friend, I really wish that I could help you out on this one, mate, that's a really good question. . .
I only have a minimal amount of info of the Ekins, and have been searching various outlets, but not coming up with much at all. (not giving up, though!)

OK, mates, how about it?
Can anyone lend a hand here??

~Gunny
#027
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Louisiana, United States
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Posted: Monday, November 20, 2006 - 07:06 PM UTC
Hey John, have you tried emailing John Snyder? I believe he is the resident RN guru.

Gator
jRatz
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North Carolina, United States
Joined: March 06, 2004
KitMaker: 1,171 posts
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Posted: Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 07:03 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Hey John, have you tried emailing John Snyder? I believe he is the resident RN guru.

Gator



Good idea & I will do that -- although WEM did not include that in their conversion set, maybe for a reason ?

John
Removed by original poster on 12/01/06 - 08:34:13 (GMT).
jRatz
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North Carolina, United States
Joined: March 06, 2004
KitMaker: 1,171 posts
AeroScale: 151 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 31, 2006 - 07:20 AM UTC
The Build: Dec 06

[review image]

Here we are at the end of December 06, progress has been made, but I held off posting until I got some tangible work done. You guys probably figured I punted or something ...

I spent a bunch of time with my references and the kit, then starting filling and modifying to match the RN configuration. I also filled holes and such where I would replace kit parts with photo-etch. Here you can see the aft 20mm tubs gone, half the DC launchers gone, the torpedo tubes gone, etc.

I put together, as components, all the main structures then spent a lot of time filling seams and gaps, etc. This is a Trumpeter "trademark" and is very frustrating. I took off all the ladders, doors, etc.

I also had to do a lot of research on the bridge modifications. I have some pictures, not really that good individually or collectively. I ultimately had to make a best guess as to the size and shape of the shack built in the rear of the bridge. The photos show a definite slope to the roof, but I also know it could be stood on, so I made it definite but gentle.


[review image]


[review image]


[review image]


OK, the hull is in the paint booth and the bottom done, next comes the boot stripe, the side colors and the deck. While I'm doing that, I'm putting on all the PE ladders, W/T doors, hatches, etc, onto the structures before I give them their base paint coat. All this will take a while as I'm studying ship plans and photos -- I'm also not that good with a spray brush, so there should be lots of high adventure in masking ....


[review image]

WEM Royal Navy ColourCoat Paints
I selected and purchased the WEM Royal Navy ColourCoat Set (enamels). See a previous post for colour discussion.

I have tested the paints and they'll take some getting used to.
They suggest 50:50 thinning, but I think that way too much and thin about 25%. They don't brush well at all so anythng other than point touch-up has to be done with an air-brush - not my strong suit.


[review image]

Gold Medal Models PE Set
As expected, GMM also came out with a PE set for the Buckley -- but it does not have much for the Captain Class. Nonetheless, it is a really nice PE set -- very complete, very good detail and relief. The GMM sets adds detail to the kit guns rather than replacing them with PE -- a better option, I think.

I will be using pieces from both the WEM and GMM sets. The GMM PE set gives you the option of building a couple hundred DC arbors, one-by-one -- I'll stick with the molded one kit ones.

If you are doing a US DE, then the GMM set may be all you need, and I do recommend it.

To be continued ...
And Happy New Year ...

John
#027
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Louisiana, United States
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KitMaker: 5,422 posts
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Posted: Sunday, December 31, 2006 - 08:18 AM UTC
Well done John. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the build.

Happy New Years to you too.

Kenny
jRatz
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North Carolina, United States
Joined: March 06, 2004
KitMaker: 1,171 posts
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Posted: Friday, January 26, 2007 - 07:45 AM UTC
Guys,
Short note & apology.
This project is on hold right now -- it's staring at me on the workbench, but I can't get any time what with some other modeling & life priorities ...
To quote Ah-nold, "I'll be back..."
John