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Trumpeter 1/350 USS Texas BB-35
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:49 pm    Post subject: WIP 11-16-15 Reply with quote

I spent time today on the remaining elements for the aft tripod mast with the focus centering on the large rectangular PE antenna that installs on a little platform atop the small mast support. Little did I know just how fiendishly complex of a task this was going to be when I sat down at the bench. Smile The assembly is covered under Step 34 in the instructions, but the diagrams provided aren't a whole lot of help. Add to this that the contact points are tiny and the mesh of the antenna itself is very fine and it combines to create a very delicate arrangement. While the back frame has bend lines etched into it, it's missing the most important one that involves bending the top part at a slight angle so that it will match up properly along with the rest. Once I figured that out, it was just a matter of carefully bending and adjusting everything until it finally matched up on both sides. Very small amounts of CA applied with the tip of a #11 blade secured the frame to the antenna mesh. Once I was happy with that, the styrene base was added with the help of some Gator's Grip Thin Blend to help ensure the whole thing sat level for when it is installed on the little platform.

Speaking of the platform, it was also cleaned up and received it's separate PE railing. This is another super delicate PE part and I used a tapered paintbrush handle to slowly work it into the desired round shape before it was attached with CA.



Since those parts are going to need airbrush attention, I decided to work on some other things to make it a worthwhile time in the spray booth. I opted to return to Step 29 and work on the boat cranes. The king posts weren't any problem to get together, but the PE portions of the crane arms were another matter entirely. They are heavy and have really small attachment points both at the base of the king post and to each other, so getting them all to line up straight is an exercise in patience. Ultimately I had to glue the top straight arm of the crane to the king post top first, then position the bottom angled part in the little hinge points and maneuver it to line up with the top arm, then glue the two parts together once the alignment was set. It sounds simple enough, but you almost need a third hand to pull it all off. Very Happy The only thing I didn't add was the curved PE railing that attaches to the half-moon platform midway up the king post, that will come after painting as it isn't in a great spot for handling purposes until after that's taken care of.

As you can see in the pic below, the weight of the crane arms is such that the whole thing wants to lean in when dry fit into the mount holes on the main deck. I'll have to contend with that when it's time to install them in place.



That should give me enough stuff to justify another round with the airbrush at least!
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2015 8:50 pm    Post subject: WIP 11-18-15 Reply with quote

Round 2 of the painting effort continued today from the previous effort. Yesterday I had airbrushed some Deck Blue on the cranes and the antenna platform and let them dry overnight so they could cure and be ready to take the masking needed before the Haze Gray was added today.



After the tape was removed, some small touchups with a detail brush cleaned things up and the cranes now match up to the Measure 22 scheme along with the rest of the ship. I still need to add the little PE railings and deal with a couple other small things, but the large paint work is now done on these.



Attention shifted to the radar antenna platform that was the last part of Step 34's assembly for the rear tripod mast structure. I had previously tested out the fit of all the various things that have to attach to the top PE platform so that there wouldn't be any surprises. Even so, it's a delicate balancing act with limited contact points to get it all together. Here's where leaving the vertical mast, part E38, movable really paid off so I could be sure everything lined up properly. I added the PE platform to E38 first and made sure it sat level. Once the Gator Grip glue had set for that, the rear skinny mast antenna (part E41) was added next and allowed to set. Once I was happy with their orientations, the bedframe radar antenna was added last. This is the heaviest part to go on the platform, so if the platform itself isn't solid, the whole thing will want to tip forward. Not a good thing, hence the order I chose to assemble it all. Looks good once it's all in place, but having some work time with the glue is essential. I only added CA to the posts on the underside of the platform after the Gator Grip had grabbed to avoid any accidental shifting later on.



The tripod is still only dry fit at this stage as I need to do a test first to see if I can work comfortably with the remaining AA guns with it in place. If yes, then it will get permanently attached next.



As you can see, that rear deck area is starting to get pretty crowded now. Smile
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:54 pm    Post subject: WIP 11-19-15 Reply with quote

The adventure in PE continued this time with some attention going to the fighting top for the foremast tripod. This is dealt with in Step 17 and is something I had deliberately avoided until now because of how delicate and fragile it all is. First order of business was adding the 6 interlocking pieces of PE that make up the truss supports on the underside of the top structure. The instructions give the impression that you should assemble these off first and then add them, but that's not really practical. The alignment has to be just right for all of them and some handy guidelines are molded into the bottom of the structure to help with this. I started with the inner ribs first and then the outer pair, checking after adding each one that the cross members would fit correctly and not interfere with the mount holes that the tripod legs go into.



Taking the prize for most intricate/delicate assembly though definitely goes to the small 'eggbeater' style cross-loop antenna for the DAK radio direction finder apparatus. This sits on a little small platform that extends out from the back of the fighting top and also gets its own separate little railing around the base of the platform.



While I was in the mood for delicate PE stuff, I also knocked out the D-shaped antenna that sits on top of the structure along with a short mast antenna of another type.



I'll get all this painted up tomorrow and added along with the yardarm to complete the fighting top assembly.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2015 5:27 pm    Post subject: WIP 11-20-15 Reply with quote

Got the fighting top fully assembled today which involved more fun with some very delicate PE, specifically the yardarm. This is provided as a single piece of PE with attached delicate support struts that have to be bent at different angles to match up with the underside of the cross-loop antenna platform, the sides of the top structure itself, and the underside of the top structure. As you can see, these are all very delicate struts with tiny contact points. Fortunately the backside of the top structure has a molded on support bracket that helps greatly in holding things in place. Strategic spots of CA glue were used to get it all lined up properly before committing some thin CA to the base of the support bracket to lock it in.



The yardarm was hand painted and then the rest of the antennas added to the roof of the top structure platform. I found it necessary to trim the little rectangular tab that the D-shaped antenna attaches to as it was slightly too large for the opening in the PE base part of the antenna, but otherwise it all went together without issue. It is, however, an extremely delicate combination now and during a test fit with the tripod mast legs to ensure everything was sitting right, it took a tumble onto the floor. Truly a heartstopping moment and the left side yard arm caught in the carpet on the way down and crumpled badly as a result. Fortunately, some careful attention with tweezers and needle nose pliers was able to straighten it back out, but there's now 0 chance I will be adding any rigging to it as it has lost a lot of its structural strength and will distort if you look at it funny now. I was already reluctant to do the rigging once I saw how fragile it was to start with and this just sealed the deal for sure.



Here's how things look now with the fighting top dry fit. I still need to seal it and apply a pin wash so it will match up with all of the rest of the superstructure. That's going to be a really fun exercise given the delicate state its in now but I'll manage.

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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:35 pm    Post subject: WIP 11-21-15 Reply with quote

Following on from yesterday's effort, I got the pin wash treatment on the fighting top and then sealed it all up with some Lusterless Flat.



The top was then carefully glued permanently in place on the foremast tripod legs. I want it to be rock solid from here on out so that there aren't any more chances for it to come to grief. Smile While that was setting up, I added the jackstaff and brace to the bow as called out in Step 19. It's going in now so that I can run a rigging line from it to the underside of the fighting top. I did some careful testing with the yardarm and I believe I can safely rig the signal flag lines from it but it will be something I will definitely take my time with.



I haven't yet secured the cranes or the mainmast tripod as I'm still trying to give myself maximum flexibility for working around the rear main deck area for as long as possible. That came in handy for attaching the rope cleats and the small raised deck guard that are called out in Step 23. The instructions would have you install 6 of the cleats per side but one of them interferes with the bulwark on the 3 gun 20mm AA tub, so I only installed five per side and skipped the problematic one.



Not as dramatic an update as in previous days but it all adds up towards getting the remaining details taken care of. The rear tripod structure got a dose of Future so I could pin wash the rest of it to match the structure and will be left to cure overnight before I tackle it. After that will be permanently placing it and adding the rigging...fingers crossed! Smile
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 5:54 pm    Post subject: WIP 11-22-15 Reply with quote

Not a huge amount of bench time available today but did manage to make some additional progress. First up was the application of a pin wash to the mainmast tripod structure followed by a Lusterless Flat treatment so it will tie in with the rest of the ship.



While that was drying, I decided to tackle the yardarm rigging for the foremast. For this task, I used some EZ Line Fine Black elastic thread that I had on hand from my last rigging endeavor on the HMS Dreadnought.



Due to the delicate nature of the yardarm, I wanted to avoid placing too much tension on it so that concern was paramount throughout the process. I cut long lengths of the EZ Line and attached the end first to the yardarm so that they would hang loosely. A dot of CA applied with the tip of a toothpick to the arm itself combined with dipping the end of the EZ Line into some CA accelerator did the trick nicely. I attached only the innermost line first and used tweezers to gauge how long it needed to be and where it should attach on the 03 deck level. Then a small dot of CA was applied via toothpick to the deck and some accelerator brushed onto the loose end of the thread. Using tweezers, the end was positioned in the CA and held for a couple of seconds until it grabbed. Rinse and repeat and before long I had the 10 lines rigged and virtually no stress placed on the yardarm in the process. After the glue had thoroughly dried, I used a 10/0 detail brush to blend the ends of the lines back into the deck and yardarm as needed.

I'm very happy that it worked out as this is a prominent detail that would've been missing otherwise.



I'm still debating as to when I should run the remaining rigging lines between the two tripod masts and to the bow and stern. I'm thinking it might be best to hold off on doing that until after I get the rest of the guns along with the railings installed. That way I can keep stuff removable and decrease the likelihood of an unfortunate accident in the remaining stages.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 6:12 pm    Post subject: WIP 11-24-15 Reply with quote

One of the more complicated parts of the PE suite on this build is the main deck railings, particularly for the bow areas. The kit provides standard straight lengths of railing for this on the C fret but they don't come with any bend lines, so all the shaping that is needed is up to the builder. Smile They are reinforced at several spots with thicker vertical bars so that helps prevent distortions in the shaping process thankfully and makes them less delicate on the whole.



The lengths aren't quite long enough to cover the whole section of deck from the bow up to the 02 deck bulkhead, so I started at the bow first where both sides need to meet and worked my way back from there. Most of the shaping involves curves vs. straight angles so there was a lot of careful tweaking in the various spots to get it right. Once the shape was done, the rails were hand painted with Haze Gray and then carefully glued down with CA a little bit at a time. I used the #11 blade knife tip trick to get glue into tight spots and then carefully pressed the railing down until the CA grabbed before moving on to the next spot.

After both sides were on, some careful touchups were done where needed. I clipped off some small sections of the railing that I had salvaged from the 02 deck area due to the catapult conflict issue and used those to fill the remaining little area that was missing railing due to the short length of the single run sections. The small supply cranes were painted and added as well. Last but not least, I ran the EZ line rigging from the base of the fighting top out to the jack staff to complete the day's effort.





It's worth noting that the railings don't provide any openings for the rope cleats. After shaping the railings, the places where openings would've been had vertical bars running through them, so I elected not to open up the railings as that would've caused some major structural issues with the railing itself if I had. Not a huge thing and something I had been aware of back when I originally fitted the cleats to the deck but had held out a little bit of hope that it might be possible. Wink
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Bill Plunk



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Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:29 pm    Post subject: WIP 11-25-15 Reply with quote

Doing my best to knock out the remaining details one at a time! Next up was adding some rigging to the rear tripod mainmast. The fact that the kit doesn't include a yardarm for this like it should complicates things a little but I did the best I could under the circumstances. The toughest part is rigging the extended mast antenna that sticks up above the bed frame radar antenna on the PE platform. It's not a very sturdy setup but adding the rigging helps keep it stable ironically...so if you can pull it off, it helps but getting there is a challenge in its own right. Smile I also ran the long diagonal line that connects up the fighting top with the main mast to complete the rigging.



That meant it was time to finally secure the boat cranes. To do that I added glue to their bases and then enlisted some trusty paint bottles to help brace the ends until the glue set so they would stay vertical. The #3 turret was temporarily removed to help facilitate this.



Once the glue had set solid, some touchups with the deck blended them in together and I added the 2nd pair of whaleboats into their racks along with the final set of floater net baskets.




Getting close to the final stretch in terms of the AA guns that need to populate the rear deck tubs and the railings for the stern half of the main deck. Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! Smile
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1772

PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:40 pm    Post subject: WIP 11-27-15 Reply with quote

Texas is armed to the teeth as you might expect for the end of WW2 type configuration and there are no less than 29 AA gun configurations that need to be installed onto the rear half of the main deck. These are called out in Step 25 for their installation while Step 4 has their individual assembly with the exception of the special swivel mount 3-inch gun that is dealt with in Step 24.

First up were the 3-inch guns that had their barrels replaced with the Master turned brass barrels. I clipped off the styrene barrels past the recoil cylinder with sprue cutters then trimmed back the remaining nub with a #11 blade tip. A #78 microdrill started the mount holes for the barrel pins and a #76 widened it once I had it centered as needed. Some CA and careful alignment and the barrel swap out was complete.



Then the 4 remaining quad-40mm guns were assembled. The bases were done first then the barrels added last to ensure a solid base to work from and get them all aligned at the right elevation.



Then the big batch of 20 guns was left, the individual 20mm guns that go into the tubs all along the outer edge. These were handpainted first and then the PE splinter shields added to complete their assembly.



I just need to do a little bit of airbrush work on the 3-inch and 40mm guns and then I can get all of these added.


Last edited by Bill Plunk on Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 8:26 pm    Post subject: WIP 11-28-15 Reply with quote

Coming down the home stretch now as there's not a whole lot left to do on Texas to get her finished up. First order of business in this session was getting the railings on the stern. This is more easily accomplished without all the guns installed as the instructions would have you do it simply because the lengths of railing provided on the C fret aren't long enough on their own to do it all. This means you have to splice some sections together towards the stern and having room to fiddle with that makes the whole process a lot smoother. I followed the same drill as with the bow railings, shaping them first and then hand painting prior to installing with CA. The #4 and #5 turrets were still movable at this stage as well to help with keeping them out of the way when necessary.



The AA guns that I worked on yesterday got their airbrush treatment with the 40mm guns getting a dose of Deck Blue and then hand painted for the rest of their details. I started with the forward tubs and installed the 40mm and 3-inch guns first so I could get them lined up the way I wanted with tweezers and gentle persuasion. Once they had set, the 20mm guns came next. I then added the small supply cranes and drain pipes that are called out in Step 23 to the hull sides and painted them to match the Measure 22 scheme on the hull as needed.

Now that everything was in place and setting up, I no longer needed the #4 and #5 turrets to be loose so they were glued down into their final positions. As a last added detail, I ran the final stern rigging line using the EZ line and CA combo.





All that's left now is to get the propellers done and installed along with the drive shafts.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:43 pm    Post subject: WIP 11-29-15 Reply with quote

While not a huge leap forward, it's still an essential element to cross off the list towards getting Texas finished. Going all the way back to Step 3, I permanently attached the rudder and then added the brass drive shafts for the propellers with some CA added to their bases. The shafts themselves were hand painted with Model Master non-buffing Metalizer Steel. For the propellers, I made sure to keep them separated right vs. left as they are handed and airbrushed them with Model Master non-buffing Metalizer Brass. The propellers were added to the hubs and drive shafts with some CA to complete the installation.



With that done, I airbrushed a coat of Future over the entire lower hull so that it could sit and cure overnight before I add the final weathering touches there. At the same time, I completed one of the most challenging decal markings schemes I've encountered in recent memory. Wink



If all goes to plan, tomorrow will see the final touches added!
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:17 pm    Post subject: WIP 11-30-15 and Completion Reply with quote

Today was a busy and productive day! The best part is always saved for last and this one's no exception. I wanted to add a little bit of weathering to the hull on Texas so I started by applying a dot filter using Model Master enamel Burnt Umber, Leather, and Rust. I worked in small sections, roughly two hull plate sections at a time, and wore a breather mask due to the heavy use of thinner in this type of effort.



After about 2 hours of effort, I had some nice streaking/variation in the hull red.



Next order of business was to apply a pin wash of Burnt Umber to pick out the portholes and other details on the hull exterior. Same drill as always, a 10/0 pointed brush to apply followed by clean thinner to tighten it up where needed.



The propellers were given an overall wash of Burnt Umber to tone down the bright brass look and get them closer to a bronze appearance.



The Kingfisher needed to be attached to the catapult and this is an exercise in patience due to the very small contact surfaces available on both the catapult surface and the bottom of the main float pontoon. I carefully sanded down the bottom of the pontoon a bit to increase the surface area a little and then applied some Gator Grip Thin Blend to the bottom. This wasn't to actually glue it down, but rather to give me a marker on the catapult surface so I knew where to apply the CA. The moment of truth arrived and the Kingfisher was finally home to roost!



Leaving the #3 turret off to avoid fogging up the Kingfisher, I sprayed some MM Lusterless Flat to knock down the remaining gloss from the Future and tie in all of the filter and pin wash treatment. I was careful to do quick light passes and let each one dry before making another to avoid any issues with the EZ line rigging.



The #3 turret was glued down in place permanently to complete the main battery.



All that was left to do was attach the display base supports. These are a pair of nice aged copper drawer knobs that I picked up at my local Lowe's for a song. They were screwed into the lower hull courtesy of the holes I'd drilled way back earlier in anticipation of this moment.



And with that, Texas is done! Hope you enjoyed the voyage with me! Smile













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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 6:49 pm    Post subject: Publication 09-10-16 Reply with quote

This build is also featured in the October 2016 issue of FineScale Modeler Magazine.



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