Don't anyone go into catatonic shock, but I've finally taken a vacation from drawing and am actually butchering paper again. The object of the build is a 1:250 scale version of the light cruiser USS Helena (CA-50). The kit started as the 1:400 JSC kit. I was intending including a few photos with this posting, but after finally getting the house to disgorge my digital camera, I found the batteries are doing a great mackeral imitation (as in "as dead as"). To kill time until I get a chance to get new batteries and find a clear flat spot large enough to place it on (not easy when you have two packrats sharing a two-bedroom shack, and no kids around to have to be a good example for), I will bore you with some chit-chat regarding how I got this far. I started with a 300 dpi scan of my JSC kit. The first step was to make a copy and reduce the image size to 80%. By then setting the resolution of my final parts pages to 150 dpm, the scale conversion is relatively painless. Why 1:250? I intend keeping the kit waterline (at least until I can get a set of superstructure parts that actually fit), and that scale will fit right into my collection of Wilhelmshaven ships (when they get built). As I pile up birthdays, I find working in 1:400 getting more trouble than it's worth, and 1:200 takes up just a bit too much shelf space. After manipulating size, I "cut apart" the JSC pages into individual parts image files. I used PSP Pro to rotate the parts to get the axes of the parts into true horizontal/vertical alignment, Image Forge to overdraw the parts outlines, Photoshop to erase everything but the outlines, then finally Image Forge again to repaint the parts. In the process, I modified many of the parts by making single large, multiple-fold parts into several smaller component pieces, and eliminating all tabs. I think joining strips are a more appropriate construction technique for larger scale models than tabs, and find it much harder to get a very large, multiple-fold part to "look right" than an assembly of smaller parts. Also, this allows aligning about all of the bulkheads on a true horizontal rather than a diagonal, giving much crisper looking hatches, equipment boxes, ladders, etc. etc. I also did away with the build-a-box JSC construction technique. Starting with the deck, I figured out the former locations for the original JSC formers, then used the former dimensions to create a base platform for the waterline hull. Because of the amount of enlargement, I doubled the number formers, then designed a keel to get into an egg-crate design for the hull framework. I'm keeping the JSC idea of using thick cardstock for the hull sides, to which the hull skin will eventually be glued to. To further stiffen up the structure, I am adding diagonal braces going from the keel out to the former ends. This is one hull that isn't going to assume banana aspect half-way through the build. I also figure that, since JSC kits are not renowned for fit accuracy, I had better make the hull as bullet-proof as I can, since it will undoubtedly go through a lot of handling as I go through the trial-and-error process of making a kit that actually fits together. As a building base, I used a 36"x3"x1/2" balsa plank. I've thumbtacked the hull base platform to the plank, with the tacks placed such that they don't interfere with any of the structural components. I intend leaving the hull thumbtacked to the balsa until the model is finished. I will then pry the model off the building base and shove the points of the thumbtacks up into hull. The thumbtacks will then rattle around inside the hull, but what the hey....if nothing else, I can always use the model as a mariachi. Seriously, I think this much caution is warranted. The hull is about 30 inches long, and less than 3" wide....a literal toothpick. This is definitely not a model to try to free-build unless you find cork-screws attractive. If all goes as I hope, I should have a few pictures to post of the hull framework in a day or two. There will then be a bit of a delay while I do the redraws of the hull sides. My Mk-10 calibrated eyeball told me it would be a minor miracle if the kit parts fit on the 1:400 scale version, much less after nearly doubling every fit problem in the original kit. Then things should go quicker, as I have all the superstructure redrawn, and hopefully will need only minor adjustments to correct fit errors. Don't expect a super-detailed build on this thread....my primary effort right now is to create a basic kit that actually fits together and has reasonable fidelity to scale....plus, I am no Scorpio when it comes to the building department. If this works out well, I then may revisit the design to convert it to full hull and refine the details....but suspect that I will be off on another tangent before that happens (if this one works, the JSC Tirpitz would be cool in 1:250, as would be the Admiral Scheer....and what about the Grossdeutschland? I've bored you enough....wish me Hals und Bien bruch, Scorpio.....I'm going to need it.