JSC 1/400 Mikasa -- miscellaneous rambles

Discussion in 'Ship & Watercraft Models' started by ccoyle, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. ccoyle

    ccoyle New Member

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    Since no one has apparently posted about this particular model, I thought I would. Mostly so I can yak about it...and vent when necessary. This is my first paper ship model. I don't have a digital camera, so try to imagine a model built by a first-timer. You know -- poor fits, bent parts...that sort of thing. I bought this kit because I love pre-Dreadnoughts, and because it was cheap. In retrospect, I probably should have paid attention to the fact that it is 1/400 scale. Some of these new skills I'm learning probably would have been easier on a larger model. However, I purposely picked a cheap model because I didn't want to booger a nicer model while progressing along the learning curve.

    Anyways, here's what I've accomplished so far, along with a few thoughts on the build. I realize much of what I've done in the way of technique is merely reinventing the wheel, so pardon me if you heard some of this before. Or better, suggest an alternative.

    First, the hull skeleton is not a keel-and-bulkhead affair, but a set of built-up rectangles. Easy to build, but virtually impossible to get level, hence the deck looks a little wavy. The sponsons were a nightmare. I got the best result (on the last one of course!) by cutting all the tabs off. Amazingly, the instructions tell you to 'stick' the guns onto the hull sides before gluing the sides to the framework. I quickly learned better after breaking off a few guns. The superstructures look a little lumpy -- surfing around this site has given me some ideas on how to address that next time. I did the main guns by scanning them onto 20# bond and rolling them around dry spaghetti (matched the bore perfectly). I've been working hard at finding suitable materials to turn this into a 'multi-media' project -- the barrels on the quick-firing secondary guns are made from .7mm mechanical pencil leads. Forget trying to pierce the gun mounts for the barrels -- I ended up making the barrels in two pieces (barrel and breech separate). I'm currently working on the boats. The kit ones have been a headache and look terrible. I'm replacing them with carved basswood boats. It takes longer, but looks nicer.

    So, that's about it so far. I plan to forge ahead 'til I finish this baby, but after that I'll probably think long and hard about doing another subject from the JSC 1/400 line.

    Bye for now,
  2. ccoyle

    ccoyle New Member

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    Since no one has apparently posted about this particular model, I thought I would. Mostly so I can yak about it...and vent when necessary. This is my first paper ship model. I don't have a digital camera, so try to imagine a model built by a first-timer. You know -- poor fits, bent parts...that sort of thing. I bought this kit because I love pre-Dreadnoughts, and because it was cheap. In retrospect, I probably should have paid attention to the fact that it is 1/400 scale. Some of these new skills I'm learning probably would have been easier on a larger model. However, I purposely picked a cheap model because I didn't want to booger a nicer model while progressing along the learning curve.

    Anyways, here's what I've accomplished so far, along with a few thoughts on the build. I realize much of what I've done in the way of technique is merely reinventing the wheel, so pardon me if you heard some of this before. Or better, suggest an alternative.

    First, the hull skeleton is not a keel-and-bulkhead affair, but a set of built-up rectangles. Easy to build, but virtually impossible to get level, hence the deck looks a little wavy. The sponsons were a nightmare. I got the best result (on the last one of course!) by cutting all the tabs off. Amazingly, the instructions tell you to 'stick' the guns onto the hull sides before gluing the sides to the framework. I quickly learned better after breaking off a few guns. The superstructures look a little lumpy -- surfing around this site has given me some ideas on how to address that next time. I did the main guns by scanning them onto 20# bond and rolling them around dry spaghetti (matched the bore perfectly). I've been working hard at finding suitable materials to turn this into a 'multi-media' project -- the barrels on the quick-firing secondary guns are made from .7mm mechanical pencil leads. Forget trying to pierce the gun mounts for the barrels -- I ended up making the barrels in two pieces (barrel and breech separate). I'm currently working on the boats. The kit ones have been a headache and look terrible. I'm replacing them with carved basswood boats. It takes longer, but looks nicer.

    So, that's about it so far. I plan to forge ahead 'til I finish this baby, but after that I'll probably think long and hard about doing another subject from the JSC 1/400 line.

    Bye for now,
  3. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

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    Hi, Chris! :D

    Well, don't be disappointed by the results, as you mentioned things were getting better as you kept pushing ahead...there is a learning curve, and the construction method of the JSC line is sometimes difficult to manage. If you are working on a good, flat surface, sometimes it helps to put a bit of weight on the hull as the formers and first layer hull sides dry up. Pre-curving the sides helps a bit too, something I relearn almost all the time with my new builds. :roll: When I built my JSC Mexico Victory, it took two tries before the hull came out passable...I scanned the kit so it gave me some room for knucklehead moves, which was a good thing because it happened more than once.

    If you examine the illustrations you will often find the best sequence for the build, which is not necessarily the one they suggest...the guns in the hull sides is probably a good example. BTW, I've used florist wire with some success in substitution for the barrels, especially for the smaller diameters...otherwise I usually wrap regular paper for the larger barrels and breeches, and paint them when done as I have not had much success trying to use the kit supplied parts, when they are out of card...sometimes they call for tooth picks carved to shape, which is another good choice with some work.

    The lifeboats, I know what you are talking about, they never seem to look right using the templates they provide, but I usually make use of them with a little extra work and add-ons. It seems you have to play with them a bit to get the right shape, although I normally don't use the tabs because they throw off the shape a bit.

    Pasta for rolling the barrels...that's a great idea! I normally use brass rod or a pin, but, hey, whatever gets the job done!

    If this is your first JSC kit, don't dispair, you've got the first one under your belt, almost, and that's part of the learning curve with this publisher...the next one you will have the advantage of this experience and I can almost guarantee you will feel better about it and know the potential problems...like with the deck. Just keep at it, because they're a great way to learn some of the techniques that you will use in any other model line, even the bigger scales. Each model will be better than the last, and they're fun to build, at least I think so. :wink:

    Hope you get a digital camera at some point, or borrow one from a friend, so we can enjoy your builds too! Maybe you can take a picture of this one when done?

    Looking forward to more on this and your other builds!

    Cheers!

    Jim
  4. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

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    Hi, Chris! :D

    Well, don't be disappointed by the results, as you mentioned things were getting better as you kept pushing ahead...there is a learning curve, and the construction method of the JSC line is sometimes difficult to manage. If you are working on a good, flat surface, sometimes it helps to put a bit of weight on the hull as the formers and first layer hull sides dry up. Pre-curving the sides helps a bit too, something I relearn almost all the time with my new builds. :roll: When I built my JSC Mexico Victory, it took two tries before the hull came out passable...I scanned the kit so it gave me some room for knucklehead moves, which was a good thing because it happened more than once.

    If you examine the illustrations you will often find the best sequence for the build, which is not necessarily the one they suggest...the guns in the hull sides is probably a good example. BTW, I've used florist wire with some success in substitution for the barrels, especially for the smaller diameters...otherwise I usually wrap regular paper for the larger barrels and breeches, and paint them when done as I have not had much success trying to use the kit supplied parts, when they are out of card...sometimes they call for tooth picks carved to shape, which is another good choice with some work.

    The lifeboats, I know what you are talking about, they never seem to look right using the templates they provide, but I usually make use of them with a little extra work and add-ons. It seems you have to play with them a bit to get the right shape, although I normally don't use the tabs because they throw off the shape a bit.

    Pasta for rolling the barrels...that's a great idea! I normally use brass rod or a pin, but, hey, whatever gets the job done!

    If this is your first JSC kit, don't dispair, you've got the first one under your belt, almost, and that's part of the learning curve with this publisher...the next one you will have the advantage of this experience and I can almost guarantee you will feel better about it and know the potential problems...like with the deck. Just keep at it, because they're a great way to learn some of the techniques that you will use in any other model line, even the bigger scales. Each model will be better than the last, and they're fun to build, at least I think so. :wink:

    Hope you get a digital camera at some point, or borrow one from a friend, so we can enjoy your builds too! Maybe you can take a picture of this one when done?

    Looking forward to more on this and your other builds!

    Cheers!

    Jim
  5. Darwin

    Darwin Member

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    Chris, don't give up entirely on the JSC line....though I've got to admit the typical hull construction method totally sucks. They can be made into presentable models (as demonstrated by several of the recent build strings), but IMHO are much more difficult to get started than they should be. Getting short of sight (among several other things), the 1:400 scale is not for me, so I enlarge my JSC kits to 1:250 or 1:200 scale before building them, and do a fair amount of reengineering the hull framework (like creating a classic egg-crate framework) before cutting paper. I am working on a writeup of how I use simple 2D graphics programs to do that. If you don't have a scanner, I would recommend getting one before considering the digital camera acquisition.
  6. Darwin

    Darwin Member

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    Chris, don't give up entirely on the JSC line....though I've got to admit the typical hull construction method totally sucks. They can be made into presentable models (as demonstrated by several of the recent build strings), but IMHO are much more difficult to get started than they should be. Getting short of sight (among several other things), the 1:400 scale is not for me, so I enlarge my JSC kits to 1:250 or 1:200 scale before building them, and do a fair amount of reengineering the hull framework (like creating a classic egg-crate framework) before cutting paper. I am working on a writeup of how I use simple 2D graphics programs to do that. If you don't have a scanner, I would recommend getting one before considering the digital camera acquisition.
  7. JohnMGD

    JohnMGD Member

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    HELLO,

    Right now I'm building the Mikasa from JSC, I scaled the model up to 1:250 and even build the underwatership to it from SMC plan drawings.
    My question is does anyone has an English description of the model, I bought my model in Poland and it has only a Polish description.
    I build the model already up to the maindeck and like to start to build the casemates.
    Hope someone can help me

    Greetings

    JohnMGD.
  8. cdcoyle

    cdcoyle Member

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    I just finished re-registering, and lo and behold here's a response to my old thread. I don't have an English description of the model, but I can tell you this: the casemates were a bugger (at least for me, it being my first ship). I had much greater success attaching them to the hull after I cut all the tabs off. Good luck!
  9. Bluenoser

    Bluenoser Member

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    Don't give up the ship

    Hi there. I just signed up. I have also built this model and had casemate difficulties. Infact, I usually remove the tabs from many of the small parts because it just makes them to difficult to work with. I also recall that one of the cut-aways for the anchors was too short (think it was the space where the 2 anchors go).
    Anyway, I did manage to complete the model and was pleased with the final result.

    Ron

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  10. cdcoyle

    cdcoyle Member

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    Finally have a picture available. I deliberately cropped the foremast out of the picture because it is already broken. :( This is a natural consequence of using dry spaghetti for parts. :roll: This being my very first card ship, I wasn't terribly interested in producing a masterpiece -- just in getting it finished. I had lots of fun with it and am looking to do greater things in the future.

    Regards,
  11. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

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    Slightly off-topic: game recommendation

    In case any pre-dreadnought fans happen across this thread, I thought I'd point out that AT LAST someone has written a great pc game covering this era. "Distant Guns" by Storm Eagle is a "command sim" covering the Russo-Japanese naval war of 1905-06. It's an excellent game, the ships are modeled in very high detail and look terrific. And of course, it includes the Mikasa. :)

    If you like pre-dreadnoughts, you won't be disappointed!
  12. romfolmar

    romfolmar New Member

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  13. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

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