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Tamiya 1/350 USS FLETCHER: Update - 6-11-24: On Hold


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TAMIYA 1/350 USS FLETCHER DD445

and

INFINITY AND EDUARD DETAIL SETS

I just didn’t have it in me to sit at the bench any longer, working on what had been nearly a lifetime of aircraft models. At 76, I hit the wall and the mojo had simply vanished. I had no idea what I wanted to do, or if even modeling was still in the cards. I spent a good week thoroughly cleaning my studio, with half being my modeling cave and the other half my photography studio. The studio has never been cleaner and looking a bit sad without a build on the bench. What was underway, is now packed away, the box marked as started. I kept on pondering the future

Since covid, cancer, plus my wife and my medical issues, so much has changed. I was worn out. I’ve always wanted to build ship models and with nearly no knowledge of ships, even thinking about ship modeling made no sense at all.

I had followed Kev’s incredible Scharnhorst build from day one and it became the seed of re-kindling my desire to try ship modeling. No way would I even consider tackling such a project as Kev’s, as I would start out small, see what I could accomplish. The Tamiya 1/350 USS Fletcher seemed to fit the bill, a perfect kit to start with, small and manageable. I went a bit overboard with the two detail sets I purchased, as they added not only PE, but a fair amount of brass which hopefully would enhance the kit with corrected and new details.

I devoted a lot of time locating what I hoped I needed, purchasing the kit, detail sets and paints, from three vendors; just love those shipping costs. It seems ship modeling is identical to aircraft modeling, as I looked for what I needed, I constantly ran up against the famous roadblocks: Not in Stock and Backordered everywhere.

I know I’ll be making all the beginners mistakes along the way and that’s ok. I just want to enjoy the journey, learn new skills and have fun and look forward to time at the bench again.

And so, the adventure begins.

The kit arrived this morning and I'm still getting acquainted with it, cleaning up very faint molding seams and removing any imperfections on the hull. The two AM sets are scheduled to arrive by the end of the week

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Like your style Peter, I have always been interested in warships but the only one I have built apart from the build it in about 20 minutes type when I was at school was an Airfix KGV somewhere back in the eighties. I enjoyed it tremendously but have never repeated it. But every now and again I will look at a model ship or build thread and be tempted.

Cheers

Dennis

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Thanks Dennis and I had very similar experiences way back when.

Looking forward to digging in and I'm finally back at the bench. Lots to learn and Kev has already been a huge help in answering questions as my nautical knowledge is nearly non-existent.

 

 

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This certainly is a departure from the "norm" Peter! Branching out into a different area of modeling is usually a good mojo enhancer! I look forward to following your build. :)

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That's a far amount of brass Peter and don't feel compelled to use it all it it becomes to tedious otherwise a PIA forget that part.I have never ever used all the PE I get never the antenna is a definite if all brass I made the forward one on the Scharnhorst. We need to get Mike in here he uses Infini quite abit I am looking at the round gun mount out back I use a tool for that that works half way decent will take a pic and post later.;)

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Here is the tool I picked up at HobbyLobby their are probably much better versions out there but works decent for me.The glue is alot like Gator glue thick giving you time to work a complicated part and yet when dried gives an amount of flexibility and Tacky!!;)

scharnhorst 001.JPG

scharnhorst 002.JPG

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Thanks John

Been cleaning up the mold lines on the bottom of the hull, waiting for my detail sets to arrive over the next few days. Looking forward to a much-needed change of pace and venue.

 

 

 

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Thanks Kev for the advice and guidance - planning on going slow and I'm sure I'll be more then satisfied using even half of the PE and brass. 

Many decades ago, I was a model railroader and used Tacky Glue for almost all my craftsman Wooden Structure Kits - great stuff and will be picking some up at Michaels this week. The plyers seem close to what we also use to adjust the Kadee coupler bars and I know I have a pair somewhere - just need to look for them.

Any help from Mike would a huge plus for sure.

 

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Kudos to you Peter. I love ship modelling, but 1/350 is just too small for me. My go-to scale for ships is 1/200. But I still remember working on the capstan of a 1/600 Mauretania 🤪 !

Still, I’ll be watching with great interest :popcorn:

Hubert

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Thanks Hubert, so glad you're on board and I have to learn to walk and then more hopefully to come. Looking forward to the build and still waiting for the Eduard detail set to be delivered today as scheduled.  🤞 Itching to get going.

 

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Whoa! Quite the departure but glad to see you are looking forward to the build.  I don't have any ships in the stash, just the huge Revell Type IXC Submarine that is longer than my dining room table.

Looking forward to your work with the PE and Brass.  Those are amazing detail kits, for sure.

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Thanks Chris

Just reached the point of needing a change. Looking forward to the build and finally today the Eduard PE detail set showed up. Thursday the Infinity set arrives and then it's time to dig in. 

Glad you're onboard for the journey. 

 

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Fantastic choice Peter!!  I'm in for this one.  

I've done a 1/350 IJN destroyer (Shimakaze) using the Infini upgrade for it.  The Infini sets, at least the one I had, was wonderful and great to work with.  It definitely added considerable detail over the kit parts.  I actually thought about starting another 1/350 IJN destroyer (Yukikaze) that also has an Infini set to it. 

I'm happy to help answer any questions you might have as you proceed.  Next, we'll need to get you into 1/700 ships 🤔

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We´ve all been at this point Peter, no mojo left for finishing the actual project and no desire to start the next in the row. It even happens to me with nothing like a fixed path of subjects, only building aircraft. I need permanent change to keep me interested and I hate redundance.
You spoke about your situation and I like your approach to start a new adventure, no matter what is the outcome. To me modeling has become a very important hobby, not only for the results and the time spent, but also as a tranquilizing factor in times, when other things in live were not in sync and helped me through difficult phases in the past. Sometimes, when I´m in a modeling slump, it feels, like I owe something to the hobby and it will keep me sane with future problematic phases. It helps to fuel the spirit and start over again, even better, like you did with an empty desk - do something new approach.

I have only the experience of my 1/350 USS Arizona build under my build, considering plastic ship modelling and this was a challenging project due to the poor plastic quality, but it was a lot of fun also and I learned a lot of new skills and techniques. I have only two more 1/350 kits in my stash, but some vessels in larger scale, like the Revell 1/144 Flower Class Corvette along a nice Pontos set and I look forward to build this one. I also have my eye on the 1/200 IJN Mikasa, as I like the older shaped ships a lot and the early livery of Mikasa is quite colorful.

I wish you tons of fun with the destroyer and all that brass and maybe there is a sea base in the looming, a thing I never tried.

Cheers Rob

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Thanks Mike, so very much appreciated and I'm finally underway with the Eduard set - the Infinity detail set is scheduled to arrive tomorrow and then it's really anchor's away.

Have no fears, I'll be asking a lot of questions regarding the Infinity Detail set.

Yikes, 1/700, pretty sure at this stage of the game, handling such tiny arts would be beyond my abilities and even being able to just see them but you never know. 😁

 

 

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Peter, nice to see you working on something different. Really shaking things up can make it all interesting again. 

My oldest son likes ship models and has already amassed a bit of a stash of them.

For myself, I've only got the Type XXIII sub I did a couple years ago and the started but yet to finish Vosper MTB. 

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Thanks Rob so much, you know how I feel and where I have been with modeling, as you have been there yourself in the modeling universe. I do feel the desire and erg to work at the bench returning as ship modeling is so different and I can see myself alternating between aircraft and ships as an enjoyable way of keeping my modeling projects fresh and rewarding.

I do remember so very well your USS Arizonia and all the issues you had to overcome as the kit seemed to be full of obstacles and roadblocks, as if they were built into its design. 

When I finished chemo and saw major progress in my successful fight against cancer, I also discovered I lost a good portion of my hand - eye coordination and modeling proved to be a wonderful therapy - so happy to report, all is well. 

Eagerly and happy underway and enjoying bench time again. 😁

 

  

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Carl, so very much appreciated. So far, ship modeling is turning into an eye opener and a terrific way of keeping things fresh and interesting. I've always admired the diversity of work that crosses your bench and your ability to start and complete them, working on so many projects simultaneously. 😉

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LITERALLY DEAD IN THE WATER


The Fletcher has been nothing but frustration and my zeal to build a ship to rekindle my building mojo worked for less then a very short spell, plummeting as I struggled with the intricate PE. Following Tamiya’s instructions for the build sequence and trying to cross reference each step to the Infinity and Eduard instructions turned out to be a lot more difficult then I originally bargained for. At my stage of the game the delicate PE pieces are just too small and way too delicate to work with plus a fair share has already been fed to the carpet monster. 

My PE success rate with the PE has been dismal, even with the simple flat pieces – locating them accurately and squarely in place on the deck has been a challenge and frustration at best. I have finally realized that both my eyesight and hand-eye coordination, isn’t what it once was and unfortunately isn’t getting any better with time.

The Hull

The kit was first released in 1996 and now 28 years old, it’s not quite the precise engineering marvel we have grown to expect from Tamiya, as there are thin mold and seam lines, some visible injector pin marks, all needing to be removed.

Hull Red – what color is it actually? Tamiya calls out for XF9 Hull Red but unfortunately that is for the Japanese Imperial Navy and not the USN. After discussing it with Kevin and doing a lot of research, the correct color is: USN Navy Anti Fouling Norfolk 65. I settled on buying the correct color from Mission Models Paints as my main online vendor carries it in stock.  

The Infinity instructions showed the 22 ‘rope guides” needed to be removed and when done, then the deck was glued in place.

I decided to just leave the Tamiya molded anchor chains on as I would avoid a lot of damage to the deck removing them, a concession to my newbie status.

Dealing with the 1/350 delicate and tiny PE has proven to be something I just can’t handle and decided to bite the bullet and not use a good deal of the expensive PE I bought. I’ll concentrate on the railings and see how that goes at the appointed time.

Photos to follow a bit later. 

I ruined a number of molded parts trying to either substitute PE for them or removing all the details for PE details as well. Now I need to see if I can replace those parts through Tamiya Customer Service or will need to buy a donor kit. Until I resolve the replacement part issue, the Fletcher will sit on the sidelines.

:hsmack:

 

 

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  • Peterpools changed the title to Tamiya 1/350 USS FLETCHER: Update - 6-11-24: On Hold

Sorry to hear about your issues with the ship kit. 1/350 details are very small and the scale is not the best to start with ships. There is a learning curve with al that scraping, sanding cutting and replacing with PE, but I´m sure with a bit of training, your results will improve. I used quite a lot of tools for my ship build and chisels with 2mm or 3mm blade were extremely helpful, specially for removing plastic from flat surfaces, like mentioned molded anchor chains. Working with these at the right angle leaves a near perfect flat surface. 
PE folding tweezers were more helpful than the larger folding tools. I have two Tamiya tweezers, a long one and a short, pointed one. Folding up box like structures is easy with these, much less time consuming than with a large folding tool, which has other qualities. When it comes to rounded contours with PE, it helps to anneal the brass with a lighter flame. Heat up the metal until it turns bluish, no more.

Glad you seem to stay with the USS Fletcher, Peter, albeit with lesser detail. I used a lot of PE with my USS Arizona, but far from all and my plastic was worse than yours. Give yourself some time and patience, it´s a new genre, which calls for a different mindset and new skills, but it´s worth exploring. Take the Fletcher as a learning mule and maybe you are surprised with the outcome in the end. There are many sea faring options in larger scales, from 1/200 up to 1/35 and there is also WOOD modeling :icon_eek:.

Cheers Rob
 

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Hi Peter, sorry to read your last update.  The PE for ship building really is a lot more intense than that for planes, so you really have to enjoy (or be able to tolerate) folding and gluing PE minutia.  You could always just build the kit from the box, but then you would be sacrificing a lot of the detail that only PE can deliver.  I've built ships at 1/350 and 1/700, and I'm not sure that the PE work is any easier at larger scales.  Because things are larger, there are just more tiny details that can be represented by the PE as part of either additional folds or separate tiny PE parts.

And destroyers are not easy subjects to start with!  I entered 1/350 scale plastic ship modeling with the Shimakaze destroyer and the Infini set (in my signature).  I figured a destroyer was small and therefore it should be a simple build, but destroyers have a ton of complicated details that you don't find on the larger ships.  Took me a long time to finish that kit as I didn't really know what I was doing.  I build another destroyer at 1/700 (the Hatsuzakura, also in my signature), and I'm currently building a third IJN destroyer in 1/700 as part of a diorama of it being repaired by a repair ship after taking damage at Midway.  They have many times reminded me of how complicated destroyers are to build.

I'd echo what Rob said on tools for any scale ship builds.  For me, I'd be completely lost without my Optivisor (with the clip on LED lights).  Good tweezers are essential, and most tweezers for modeling are not adequate in the slightest.  I have very good tweezers (both regular and reverse action) from Dumont which are used in electronics and science applications.  I sometimes use wax pencils to apply tiny PE parts to avoid the dreaded tweezer ping.  Folding I use a hold and fold device or the Tamiya tweezers Rob mentioned.  It takes a bit of getting used to what tool works better in what application, and after you figure it out, the PE work gets much much easier.

In case you are looking for something to help steady your hands, I picked up the Dspiae hand stabilizer which might be something to consider.  I also picked up two of their vices which I think will help on building some of the assemblies like the bridges, etc.

image.jpeg.e0789ce27d6b6ddbec4164e56d04451a.jpeg

 

If you end up getting the urge to try ships again, I can share more of what works for me - tool wise, technique wise, etc.  I've tried a lot of things the last few years and have a pretty good system going now.   

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Thanks, Rob for the advice and all the how to's techniques. A big part of my problems is just plain old age and just not able to do what I use to do, plus thinking the PE work couldn't be that difficult and I was dead wrong. I'll also be buying both of the Tamiya PE Bending tools to supplement the folding tool I now have and see how that goes once I pick up the build again. I decided to buy another Fletcher as a donor kit and slowly get back to the Fletcher, building it mainly OOB with PE railings, some PE and brass - just going to take time and go slow. 

Deciding to start building HO scale model railroad structures and share my bench time with these builds has they have re-kindled my mojo. Some of what I plan on building will go on my brothers model railroad and the balance will be dioramas for the display case and could be in O scale, not sure yet. I do have one of the O scale kit now in the stash and as a general rule, they are a bit pricey but incredibly detailed and very heavily multimedia. 

Just see how it goes.

 

 

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