H.G. Watkins - BB43 USS Tennessee

Discussion in 'Ship & Watercraft Models' started by eibwarrior, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. Gregory Shoda

    Gregory Shoda Member

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    Retirement

    Eibwarrior:

    Yes, I am happily retired. Most importantly, my wife is understanding although she sometimes wants me to entertain her (take her places). Today, my college aged daughter wanted help on her paper, but I was able to have my wife help her instead of me because I was in the final stages of a model ship.

    From what I read above, we can look forward to a Texas and an Oklahoma in the future from you. Great! They would be somewhat complicated with their casemates, etc.

    I have the Wiswesser drawings of the Italia (sister of Vittorio Veneto) but it looks too hard for now. I'll just follow the progress on your other model.
  2. David T. Okamura

    David T. Okamura Member

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    USS Texas? Does that model depict her WWII appearance?

    I have a H. G. Watkins USS New York (sister ship) in 1938 fit, published in 1976. The pages have deteriorated, so I also scanned them in hopes of building one slightly upgraded "interpretation" of what H.G. Watkins MIGHT have originally envisioned if he had access to state-of-the-art drafting and printing resources thirty years ago. Thus, I'm not aiming for a total updating of H.G. Watkins' original artwork, just a "historically sensitive restoration/reconstruction", taking visual clues from Wilhelmshaven kits of the same vintage. (You can easily detect this influence on his work, besides the fact that H. G. Watkins modeled in 1:250 waterline scale.)

    I've already made a hasty "test build" to find any major "issues' with this model, and to my delight the flared bow, complicated hull casements and anti-torpedo bulges fit perfectly. Amazing paper engineering considering he hand-drafted these parts without the assistance of computer aided design. However, there's only seven bulkhead frames amidships with no central spine, so I'd like to add more internal supports. The superstructure deck also needs bracing, else the bridge will sag. I'll also have to check my resources since the forward tripod legs seem spread a bit too wide, but otherwise the basic design is VERY accurate.

    However, recoloring the deck has been a problem. Testing, I first digitally tinted the scan, but the closely-spaced inkwork representing the planking detail made it too dark and muddled. I then erased ALL plankwork and substituted another deck texture, but the results seem too "artificial" -- the precise computer-generated parallel lines artistically clash with the rest of the hand-drawn model. I need to experiment more on this. What did you do for your USS Tennesee?

    Great progress report, by the way. I hope this leads to a better appreciation for H. G. Watkin's warships. There are subjects he published three decades ago which have not been released by other designers since. I still recall an USS Colorado with cage masts (printed on manilla cardstock) at a long-gone model shop many, MANY years ago -- besides the color, it looked very convincing. And he also had an USS Utah, which has never been modeled except perhaps from independent 1:700 scale resin manufacturers. A pity that nobody bothered to continue publishing the line after Mr. Watkin's death in the 1980s. While at first glance the printed sheets may appear primitive compared to today's offerings from Poland (and even Wilhemshaven), with a little extra effort one can create a truly unique and eye-catching model.
  3. eibwarrior

    eibwarrior Member

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    Gregory,

    That sounds like you're describing my future. :wink: Yes, I can't wait to dive into the other two once I'm finished here. Although I probably take a bit of a break, since I'm combating some modelling fatigue right now. One of the reasons why I model in various mediums to keep it fresh...

    David,

    Thanks for the praise... I'd agree, for the time period Watkins did a very good job. The basic design seems fairly accurate, and the fit-up isn't much different that contemporary models. Some problems, but not much to overcome. The lack of deck support and formers is the same problem I encountered. I fixed that with an array of balsa struts to give the deck more support and the overall model more rigidity. Seems to have worked very well.

    As far as the configuration on Texas is concerned, it looks very much WWII.

    On the deck... It was completely stark on the original print. No deck lines at all. I scanned it to a tiff file and opened it in Microsoft paint for editing. I found a reasonable line size and electronically scribed the deck lines. I played with several different colors to get the right shade for the teak and it turned out very well. The time involved with this operation is not for the feint of heart though. I probably spent 8-10 hours coloring and editing this model electronically.
  4. eibwarrior

    eibwarrior Member

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    Back to work

    I've been able to get back at Tennessee and I have some progress to show.

    Instead of going with photoetched mast equipment, I decided to stay with the paper parts that came with the model. The brass parts I had were slightly larger scale and just would not have looked correct. Besides, the paper parts weren't half-bad to begin with. The forward mast is styrene round and the arrays are all paper.

    I've started the after superstructure and have a good start there. More to come in that area, as I'm going to drop down to the lower after deck and continue the aft superstructure construction.

    I've downloaded some good photos of Tennessee from navsource.org and it appears that this model is "fairly" accurate with regards to the superstructure but there are clearly a few things that have been simplified or made a little differently. Still a very good model in my opinion.

    Thanks for checkin' in.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  5. Gregory Shoda

    Gregory Shoda Member

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    Tennessee

    Eibwarrior:

    I look forward to your progress pictures on the Tennessee (as well as the Vittorio Veneto).

    The superstructure of the Tennessee looks different from what I imagined it would look like. I'm talking about the thinness of the tower bridge (that I mentioned before) and now the small structure behind it. All this is very interesting to me.

    Keep up the good work! And keep sending us your pictures.
  6. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

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    That's really looking great, eibwarrior!

    It's always a considered decision when you come across information about the actual subject and see how the model designer simplified some aspect of the build. You sit there trying to figure out what to do...sometimes replacing the parts with scratch build is one option, sometimes modification of the existing part...but I tend toward simple replacements to the extent my imagination and industry permits, which sometimes takes a few tries, but each attempt reveals perhaps a different way to try it next time, and luck plays a big part in it all.

    Whatever you decided, she is coming out brilliantly. I look forward to seeing more updates as you continue.

    Thanks for starting this thread and for updating as often as you have been...and your photos are great.

    Cheers!
    Jim
  7. eibwarrior

    eibwarrior Member

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    @Gregory...
    Thanks. Yes, I was a bit struck too that the superstructure was so narrow. I've got a couple of good closeup shots from navsource as reference. Go take a look at these:
    http://www.navsource.org/archives/01/014343.jpg

    http://www.navsource.org/archives/01/014344.jpg

    I think once the 5" guns and smaller gun galleries are added, it will be a fuller looking ship. Those all give the illusion of much more depth to the superstructure. What do you think?

    @Jim...
    You're absolutely correct. I guess it depends on how much historical accuracy one wants to achieve. I'm not too much of a stickler, but there are a few things I come across that merit some scratch building. As always thanks for your very kind comments. I'm enjoying sharing this build with you guys immensely.
  8. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

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    eibwarrior, thank YOU for the wonderful build threads!

    I often get the feeling when building up the ship before the numerous little details are added the hull looks bare...because it is! If you've seen photos (or the real thing) of hulls being built in the shipyards, you might notice how bare bones it looks until they start fitting her out...it's the same thing as you build a model, for the most part.

    On my merchant ships before I add the hatches the main deck looks odd, just one great expanse of uncluttered deck. Then, the hatches fill in a lot, the cargo houses add to the clutter and then when the cargo masts are added she just starts to look like a ship. However, until I add the cargo booms and the running rigging, it's still a bit bare...then, when all is in place, well, it then looks like the glorious mix of rigging and spars that make up a ship. Same with warships...until the guns and radar masts, and other gear are added in the later stages of construction, it still looks bare.

    Barry's builds are a good example, take a look at the earlier photos and compare to the almost finished model after he adds all of his wonderful details, railings, etc.

    I do love watching a ship develop in these build threads, it's a marvelous experience to see her take her final shape over several updates, a real treat!

    Keep at her, mate, she's really coming along nice.

    Cheers!
    Jim
  9. eibwarrior

    eibwarrior Member

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    Aft superstructure is well under way and coming back to add some side platforms to the midships superstructure. It's starting to look much better to me. Still, I find myself wishing I had printed this model to better card. The integrity of the print when I bend or roll becomes less. Getting a lot of chalking and fading of the colors (lines especially).

    Learning as I go.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  10. eibwarrior

    eibwarrior Member

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    Aft superstructure is well under way and coming back to add some side platforms to the midships superstructure. It's starting to look much better to me. Still, I find myself wishing I had printed this model to better card. The integrity of the print when I bend or roll becomes less. Getting a lot of chalking and fading of the colors (lines especially).

    Learning as I go.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  11. barry

    barry Active Member

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    BB43 superstructure

    Hi Elb

    Coming along well every time I look at this ship's superstructure I womder if the design team were thinking about turning it into a carrier looks like it would be more at home on the Lexington.
  12. barry

    barry Active Member

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    BB43 superstructure

    Hi Elb

    Coming along well every time I look at this ship's superstructure I womder if the design team were thinking about turning it into a carrier looks like it would be more at home on the Lexington.
  13. Gregory Shoda

    Gregory Shoda Member

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    Tennessee

    Ship's coming along well. Keep the photos coming. Lots of guns and turrets to make, I guess.

    By the way, I notice that you have a very handsome wood shelf display area and nice signage for your models.
  14. Gregory Shoda

    Gregory Shoda Member

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    Tennessee

    Ship's coming along well. Keep the photos coming. Lots of guns and turrets to make, I guess.

    By the way, I notice that you have a very handsome wood shelf display area and nice signage for your models.
  15. eibwarrior

    eibwarrior Member

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    Thanks guys,

    @Barry... Yeah the narrow superstructure is very reminescent of the Lexington. I'm not sure what the ship designers were thinking at the time, but when they refitted and moderenized here it exagerated the already thin superstructure with a "wide" wasteline. This build is really opening my eyes to the layout and design of this BB class.

    @Gregory... Thanks, yeah the guns are not too far off now. After the platforms, I've got some gun directors to make and a few other odds-n-ends then the gun construction starts. Can't wait, it's my favorite part of the build. As for the shelving, it's a wall mounted wood shelves 24" long and about 4" deep. I get them at Target for about $10 each. They set a nice pedestal for the ships. I've gone to the length of typing up short ship's specs and histories and the laminating them for display with the models. My guests find them informative and entertaining reads to go with each ship.

    By the way, Gregory I saw your HMS Tiger on Steel Navy the other day. Excellent job! I love the old British battlewagons. You did it grand justice. Was that model primarily card?
  16. eibwarrior

    eibwarrior Member

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    Thanks guys,

    @Barry... Yeah the narrow superstructure is very reminescent of the Lexington. I'm not sure what the ship designers were thinking at the time, but when they refitted and moderenized here it exagerated the already thin superstructure with a "wide" wasteline. This build is really opening my eyes to the layout and design of this BB class.

    @Gregory... Thanks, yeah the guns are not too far off now. After the platforms, I've got some gun directors to make and a few other odds-n-ends then the gun construction starts. Can't wait, it's my favorite part of the build. As for the shelving, it's a wall mounted wood shelves 24" long and about 4" deep. I get them at Target for about $10 each. They set a nice pedestal for the ships. I've gone to the length of typing up short ship's specs and histories and the laminating them for display with the models. My guests find them informative and entertaining reads to go with each ship.

    By the way, Gregory I saw your HMS Tiger on Steel Navy the other day. Excellent job! I love the old British battlewagons. You did it grand justice. Was that model primarily card?
  17. eibwarrior

    eibwarrior Member

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    Getting ready to start the guns

    Well,

    I've been busy with getting the shields on the platforms either side of the midships superstructure. Those are now complete as you can see, and I've started adding all the 40mm gun tubs on each side. I've got a couple more of these to go.

    Up next are the four secondary gun directors and some other small structures, then on to the big guns! Can't wait.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  18. eibwarrior

    eibwarrior Member

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    Getting ready to start the guns

    Well,

    I've been busy with getting the shields on the platforms either side of the midships superstructure. Those are now complete as you can see, and I've started adding all the 40mm gun tubs on each side. I've got a couple more of these to go.

    Up next are the four secondary gun directors and some other small structures, then on to the big guns! Can't wait.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  19. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

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    I'm really enjoying this duo, the Tennessee and the Vitorrio Veneto, two battleships, going up side by side! Seems you're at about the same stage in each, too!:grin:

    You are making this design very proud, eibwarrior, and bringing this and the VV to life in a grand way.

    Keep at it, mate!

    Cheers!
    Jim
  20. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

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    I'm really enjoying this duo, the Tennessee and the Vitorrio Veneto, two battleships, going up side by side! Seems you're at about the same stage in each, too!:grin:

    You are making this design very proud, eibwarrior, and bringing this and the VV to life in a grand way.

    Keep at it, mate!

    Cheers!
    Jim