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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:55 am 
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Here's what I've done with all the stuff on my version of a late Essex. All the masts are soldered. I use J-B Weld to hold some stuff to the island (guy wires for example), and use a little CA as possible since it's such a pain (for me). There is GMM Essex Set, Eduard leftovers from the Missouri project and some Tom's model works too. It's almost finished and ready for paint. I hate Mark 37 gun directors. They too are soldered.


Attachments:
Essex Island Port Side Status shrunk.JPG
Essex Island Port Side Status shrunk.JPG [ 187.81 KiB | Viewed 1449 times ]


Last edited by Builder 2010 on Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:17 pm 
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Time for some update shots.
Island is done waiting for rigging. First batch of aircraft are built with tail decals I made to reference Late War Essex scheme. Hangar deck complete including very tiny LEDs in ceiling. Flight deck joined to hull. Work starting on completing lower hull with added prop struts. All weapons are ready for installation. I just received another 6 Hellcats and 6 Corsairs to finish out the air wing. All but 6 with folded wings are going on the flight deck.

https://s19.postimg.cc/4szrn779f/Essex_Island_Paint_Fin.jpg

https://s19.postimg.cc/8jvlrttab/Essex_5_Detail_Painting.jpg

https://s19.postimg.cc/5ccfsfq8j/Essex_More_Avengers_on_Hangar_Done.jpg

https://s19.postimg.cc/4fw782noz/Essex_SB_Prop_Struts_comp.jpg

I'm waiting for the display board to arrive from my friend in Albuquerque so I can add the mounting hardware inside and then glue on the lower hull. Lower hull painting will take place after joint is complete. The end is in sight...


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:57 pm 
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Hey Builder - at 118 pages (and that is with multiple serious prunings) the CASF Essex thread is too long to support a lot of WIP photos - we already have a lot of problems with people not wanting to read through this to see if questions have already been answered. There is a Work in Progress picture post section where you can start your own thread and the mods will work with you to keep at least a link to it here.

But, lest this come across as a negative post, let me say that you have a lot of good work into your build!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:49 am 
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That's a good suggestion. I will move it to that spot.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:17 am 
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I'll help move some of your existing posts for you. I'll contact a moderator for this top to ask him to complete merging of your posts here.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:57 am 
I was sporadically posting my work on the Essex Forum, but was advised that since it's at 118 pages, folks are paying much attention to it and it would be better to post my work here. I agree.

I am also writing detailed posts in three other forums: World Affairs Board http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/showth ... ost1033801, WW2 Aircraft (Have a ship forum) https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/1 ... st-1381467, and Fine Scale Modeler's Forum http://cs.finescale.com/fsm/modeling_su ... 77660.aspx. Instead of doing it all again here, I'll do a summary discussion and direct you all to the Post Image site where ALL the pictures lie.

Post Image has the most stable, easy to use, and ad-free photo site that I've been able to find so far. I've tried many.

Essex didn't have as many upgrades as later ships in the series, but it had a few including bumping out the flag bridge to coincide with the cabin below, changes to the radar suite and position, an added twin 40mm quad gallery on the sponson that used to support the port-side cross-hangar catapult. Other added 40s that were on cantilevered tubs on the starboard side under the island were not added to Essex, nor were two additional 40mm tubs hanging of the aft port flight deck. It's easy to get this confused since on Nav Source there's a drawing of the Essex with these add-ons, but the drawing was done by the Russians and it is not correct. Photo studies showed Essex never getting those.

The model is getting the GMM basic and added Essex PE sets. I'm also using left over Eduard and Tom's PE that I had from the Missouri. I've also purchased additional inclined ladder since I seem to have especially bad trouble getting these things installed without damaging them. Even if they're in perfect, I will inevitably touch the model in such a way as to deform them.

I built all the masting out of brass and it is all soldered. I have trouble with PE. I tend to get it positioned well the first try, but then something will happen and I'll have to reapply and then it starts getting less pristine. I am forever envious of builders who seem to be able to apply it with CA and not have the trouble I have. I've converted from using thin CA to hold PE to using thick stuff. A tiny dab of thick stuff stays put, gives you a few seconds of positioning time before it sets, and holds as well as the others once it does set. I push it with accelerator.

I've chosen to paint the ship the total Navy Blue scheme with deck blue horizontal surfaces. I'm not looking forward to doing the dazzle schemes. The air wing is also late war with all dark sea blue. I made custom decals for the tail insignia that identifies them as Essex.

The hangar deck is carefully painted, but not additionally detailed. I just don't think it's as visible as it needs to be to justify the added work. I have 6 aircraft positioned within with folded wings and have illuminated the interior with tiny surface mount LEDs that are soldered to adhesive copper tape onto a piece of thin ply glued to the flight deck underside. I just tested this wiring setup after joining the flight deck to the hull and found one out of four is not working. I had to pull the wires aggressively to get them down the brass tube I used as a conduit and think I over-stressed one wire and tore the conductor. It's still very bright inside.

Trumpeter didn't include the lateral prop shaft bearing support struts so I scratch-built these too.

This is my second up-scaled 1:350 kit. The first was a Missouri as it appeared in Sept 1945. It's even more evolved as a model than the Essex. I'm not taking the Essex as far simply because I don't want a 13 month project. I was still working during the Missouri build and now that I'm retired I can devote more hours to this build. I am also building two other projects: a 1:24 1966 Ford Fairlane GTA that is the car I owned in my last years of college, and a scratch-built cafe in 1:48 for my large O'gauge model railroad.

Here are few pictures showing where I am now. The build started in January. I expect to be done sometime in the Summer.

Attachment:
Essex Stern Details 800.jpg


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:00 pm 
Thanks…not realizing that you were moving it, I just started another post in the WIP. I only got one picture loaded. I shrunk a few to 800X600 so they'll be able to be seen directly. After loading the first pic, I didn't see the "add" box to add more. When it gets approved I'll edit it and put the rest.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:18 pm 
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So let's see if I can get the rest of the status pictures to show here.

The stern has some really old GMM (mid 80s) for the top rail and Eduard Rail left over from the Missouri. I built this section before the GMM new sets arrived. I had to build and paint all this first since once the flight deck goes on it's effectively out of reach.

Attachment:
Essex Stern Details 800.jpg
Essex Stern Details 800.jpg [ 91.55 KiB | Viewed 1078 times ]


The bow details are almost complete. There's real chain for the anchor, but alas, that too is kind of out of sight. All the portholes are drilled out.

Attachment:
Essex Bow Details 800.jpg
Essex Bow Details 800.jpg [ 58.93 KiB | Viewed 1078 times ]


I talked about the island a bit on the first post in this thread, but these pics show something added: I've included Blue Ridge Models 3D printed 20mm mounts. These are 3D printed out of resin and they quite brittle (break easy), but they're close to scale, and most importantly, one piece. I was going a bit nuts building the kit 20s with the GMM add ons. The shields aren't a big deal, but those shoulder rests and gun sights are ridiculous. I read somewhere that deck undersides were left white so I painted them thusly. That could be wrong. I'm sure someone will comment.

Attachment:
Essex Island White 800.jpg
Essex Island White 800.jpg [ 119.21 KiB | Viewed 1078 times ]


The limited air wing has all the 1944 planes: Hellcats, Helldivers, Corsairs and Avengers. They're painted monochrome Dark Sea Blue (Vallejo Steel Blue). The Trumpeter planes have ridiculously oversized panel lines. If I was doing them again, I'd probably fill them all. The Corsairs and additional Hellcats just arrived so you won't see them yet. The tail decals were a suggestion from a reader of my other forums. I did the decal drawings on CorelDraw based on measurements made with a digital caliper and superimposed over photos of the models' tails. My first attempt was to print them out on white decal film and cut each little segment out with a #11 and place them on the tail. This looked like an exercise in futility. The suggestion was to print the background as the paint color. It just meant having to match the computer output to the Vallejo color. I guessed at some shades of dark blue and printed it out, but it wasn't quite right. After studying the color in daylight I noticed that the paint has some green in it. I adjusted the color and printed out four more tests and nailed it. Now I was able to cut out the decals with a scissors and apply them to the whole tail at once. Piece of cake. There are also diamonds on the right wings, but I had already put the other star on so I'm not doing that. You can see how close the color match is because the plane sitting on the sheet has almost disappeared.

Attachment:
Essex Final Decal Sheet 800.jpg
Essex Final Decal Sheet 800.jpg [ 152.82 KiB | Viewed 1078 times ]


This view shows all the planes sitting on the hangar deck for the photo op, but only those with folded wings were permanently put below decks.

Attachment:
Essex More Avengers on Hangar Done 800.jpg
Essex More Avengers on Hangar Done 800.jpg [ 127.87 KiB | Viewed 1078 times ]


I pinned those planes to the hangar deck using 0.032" brass wire since I didn't want them coming loose…ever. As it was, I had to manhandle the hull when fitting on the flight deck and nothing came loose.

Attachment:
Essex Hangar view 800.jpg
Essex Hangar view 800.jpg [ 78.82 KiB | Viewed 1078 times ]


The last thing done last week was adding side struts to the propeller shafts. Photos show these, but Trumpeter chose to go simple and leave them out. The lower hull is ready to attach, but I can't since I'm waiting for the plank. I intend on drilling the plank and the hull at the same time for the brass pedestals that I bought.

Attachment:
Essex SB Prop Struts comp 800.jpg
Essex SB Prop Struts comp 800.jpg [ 85.63 KiB | Viewed 1078 times ]


The 5" twin Mark 37 mounts were upgraded with gun captain hoods, range finder doors, hatches and ladders from the Eduard Missouri build. I had such trouble with Eduard PE breaking at the bend lines that they sent me a complete full set to help out. Therefore; I ended up with lots of spare PE which has come to very good use. I used the GMM railings to spiff up the 5" single mounts which were drilled out with a scale 5" drill. (0.015"). Overkill! Definitely. The twin mounts have brass barrels that I made myself since the kit guns were out of scale and some broke on the sprue. The taper was created filing the brass wire while held in a Dremel flexi-shaft chuck.

Attachment:
Essex 5%22 Detail Painting 800.jpg
Essex 5%22 Detail Painting 800.jpg [ 136.78 KiB | Viewed 1078 times ]


That brings everyone up to date. I post more stuff as I go along.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:24 pm 
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It's been a bit of time since the last update. The ship is 96% complete. All that's left is rigging the long-range radio towers, adding many floater net baskets, adding a few minor railings, some very selective weathering, adding the air wing, and finally, putting some Eduard little aircraft carrier people on board. I've ordered plexiglass cut for the clear case and the model is permanently mounted on a finished oak plank (presently covered to protect it during construction). What started out as just a kit that was given to me has turned into another serious build rivaling the work I did on the Missouri 6 years ago.

Thanks to Loren Perry at GMM, I was able, on two occasions, to get some replacement PE to redo some things that got totally screwed up, or just lost. I suggested to him that every PE set should be doubled; one for practice, the other for the model. One area that needed much help were those 5 radio towers that are a noticeable feature of WW2 Essex-class carriers. I soldered these together which works very well to keep them stable. Even with that, I lost one in a crazy mishap on the workbench, and then deformed the remainder beyond help when attempting to press them down onto some brass pins I installed. In the new set, I also soldered them together and soldered on the ladder too. Then I filled the bottom with Bondic, a U-V curing glue that is wonderful to work with. I made the hole in the solid plug at the bottom with a drill a bit oversized from the brass pins so I wouldn't need excessive force to join the tower to the deck. This worked perfectly and the towers are now installed waiting for rigging.

Attachment:
Essex Radio Tower Install 1 compressed.JPG
Essex Radio Tower Install 1 compressed.JPG [ 232.49 KiB | Viewed 787 times ]


Attachment:
Essex Radio Tower Install CloseUp 2.JPG
Essex Radio Tower Install CloseUp 2.JPG [ 241.59 KiB | Viewed 787 times ]


The elevator was another part that needed some help from GMM. I originally soldered all the PE under framing and CA'd it to the plastic elevator. It was beautiful! But then terror struck. The elevator slides on the hull were slightly narrower than the elevator and the PE details stuck out a tiny bit from the elevator perimeter. The combination of the two distorted the heck out of the PE to the point where the more I tried to straighten it, the worse it got. So with the new PE in hand I did it over. This time, I adjusted the elevator's width to slide into the framing and then adjusted the PE a bit narrower in the back so the elevator would slip in without distorting any details. It really pays to have a do over.

Attachment:
Essex Elevator Installed 1 compressed.JPG
Essex Elevator Installed 1 compressed.JPG [ 201.7 KiB | Viewed 787 times ]


Before installing the island I completely rigged it with 8 signal halyards and 6 radio antenna. For the halyards, I actually was able to thread the E-Z Line fine gauge Lycra through the PE eyes hanging below the yardarm. If you recall, I made my own yardarm and soldered the GMM PE detail to it. To belay the radio antenna I inserted High E guitar string (0.010") into holes drilled the same. The carbide drill I use for this is so fragile that I usually break them just placing the pin vise onto the workbench improperly.

Attachment:
Essex Island Install 4 compressed.JPG
Essex Island Install 4 compressed.JPG [ 162.3 KiB | Viewed 787 times ]


Those cute little 20mm guns are 3D printed resin models from Blue Ridge Models. They saved me sooooo much aggravation attempting to glue microscopic PE onto the kit's oversized plastic guns. These models are very, very finely detail and even have the elevating hand wheel represented on the left side. They are brittle and you need to take great care when separating them from the base on which they're "grown". I probably had about 10% breakage. The shoulder rests and gun barrel are the two weakest areas. I originally ordered two-24 gun sets, but last week added one more to finish the ship. There are more than 50-20mms on this ship so two sets would have almost done it except for the breakage. At $20 per set (plus shipping) it's not inexpensive, but my sanity is worth something too. And these are a life savor. I know there are super-detail brass representations of these guns on the market, but I think that's an exercise in futility. For someone younger and steadier they may work, but not for my 72 year-old hands.

I added some Trumpeter 1:350 Corsairs and Helldivers to the air wing and got rid of the TBD Dauntlesses since I modeling the Essex as it was late in the war. Just to recap, the mods are: flag bridge pushed out to the extremis of the fore island, Adding later radar sets and changing their locations, removal of 40mm gun tub that was where the flag bridge is now moved, adding two 40mm quad mounts on the lower port fore sponson, adding floater net baskets, updating aircraft paint scheme, painting ship solid Navy Blue, not rigging the fore deck arresting gear and eliminating the cross-hangar deck catapults (which were never installed on the real ship).

Attachment:
Essex Air Wing Complete compressed.JPG
Essex Air Wing Complete compressed.JPG [ 241.66 KiB | Viewed 787 times ]


I'm using mostly gel CA to adhere PE. It gives more working time, stays put, let's you apply very small controlled quantities, and you then set it quickly with a tooth pick with a tiny amount of accelerator on it. I just learned this from Brian Bunger, the owner of a wonderful hobby shop here in Louisville, Scale Reproductions, Inc.

Here's a look of the entire ship as it is today. It all should be done sometime next week.

Attachment:
Essex Almost Finished compressed.JPG
Essex Almost Finished compressed.JPG [ 141.58 KiB | Viewed 787 times ]


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:55 pm 
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Finished completely yesterday and took the beauty shots. I used the Canon EOS and mulitple exposures for great depth of field followed by image editing with Corel PhotoPaint to remove seams in my background paper and get a better white balance.

Attachment:
Really Small Ships on Shelf.jpg
Really Small Ships on Shelf.jpg [ 193.36 KiB | Viewed 591 times ]


Attachment:
Really Small Essex Complete Cross-Deck.jpg
Really Small Essex Complete Cross-Deck.jpg [ 192.97 KiB | Viewed 591 times ]


Attachment:
Really Small Essex Complete Strbrd Stern 3.jpg
Really Small Essex Complete Strbrd Stern 3.jpg [ 84.84 KiB | Viewed 591 times ]


Attachment:
Really Small Essex Complete Strbrd Stern.jpg
Really Small Essex Complete Strbrd Stern.jpg [ 92.45 KiB | Viewed 591 times ]


Attachment:
Really Small Essex Complete Stern View.jpg
Really Small Essex Complete Stern View.jpg [ 124.2 KiB | Viewed 591 times ]


Here's Essex sitting with another great ship that served in the Pacific. Both ships are configured in Late WW2 dress. I'm still waiting for the Plexiglass to finish up the case. I don't like all that detail being exposed to dust and spiders.

Attachment:
Really Small Ships on Shelf.jpg
Really Small Ships on Shelf.jpg [ 193.36 KiB | Viewed 591 times ]


This was a heck of a build. It took about 6 months and thanks to all for following along with the highs and lows. To build Out of Box would have taken a couple of weeks. Once you add all the enhancements you're in for a much longer ride. The results are truly worth the effort.

[list=]So what new did I learn on this project.

First of all, I continued to advance my skills in soldering PE and developing more secure ways to fasten stuff onto the model.

I continued building skill in making my own decals.

I further developed fabricating techniques including cutting the island and repositioning the flag bridge without screwing anything up.

I discovered Bondic and found it very successful for things that I hadn't thought of.

I discovered 3D printed tiny guns that saved many hours of work (and frustration).

I also found that using a fine-line Sharpie made reasonable canopy frames for tiny canopies.

And lastly, I learned a ton about the Essex Class in doing the research to make an updated model.[/list]

After I cleaned up the shop a bit, I got back to work on the Ford Fairlane GTA which I blog on another thread here at WAB.com. So thank you all for following along and making terrific comments, offering great insights and generally helping me build a better model.

My next ship project I hope will be a modern LHD Essex with the usual bells, whistles and bells on the whistles. Before that I'll be doing more structures for the railroad and y'all can follow along on the train thread that I've been running for 6 years.


Attachments:
Really Small Essex Complete Port View.jpg
Really Small Essex Complete Port View.jpg [ 98.56 KiB | Viewed 591 times ]
Really Small Essex Complete Port Bow.jpg
Really Small Essex Complete Port Bow.jpg [ 99.75 KiB | Viewed 591 times ]
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