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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:16 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:25 pm
Posts: 1111
Location: England
I got my delivery of some 3D printed turrets the other day. I bought them from Micro-Master (https://www.shapeways.com/shops/micro-master) and I decided to get a selection for a number of projects I'm about to start or plan in the near future. All the turrets I got are in 1/700 but are available from the shop in other scales. The turrets I got were 15" MKII for HMS Hood in 1941, 15" MKI* for HMS Queen Elizabeth in WWII and 13.5" for HMS Queen Mary.

First of all, I want to say that the quality and detail is fantastic. The Royal Navy battleship turrets, and the 15" MKI in particular, seem to be cursed, with few if any kit manufacturers managing to get the distinctive tapered shape to look just right. I don't own the drawings myself, but I have no reason to doubt these turrets are drawing accurate to the last rivet, they just look spot on (and I've stared at pictures of the respective ships long enough).

The Hood turrets come with the unique features of each one (vents on B and X, cut down rear corners on B, platform for UP launcher).

The QE turrets have the correct gun tubs. Also the 15" MKI and MKI* turrets are available in several configurations to cover WWI and WWII fits of different ships, and I believe more are being added to the range. Given that Trumpeter has provided us kits for all of the QE class and their turrets are disappointing at best, I would not build one of those kits without a set of these 3D printed replacements (which makes it a shame I've already built 3 before discovering them, but that's another matter!).

The Queen Mary turrets have rangefinders on all 4 in the set (there is an alternate Princess Royal set with rangefinders on only two). I'm actually using mine for a mid-war HMS Lion, hence I needed the set with all the rangefinders. Combrig's own 13.5" turrets aren't terrible, but are still a but too tall at the turret face and these look much nicer overall.

One of the best features of the turrets are the finely molded blast bags. I realise having these pre-made isn't everyone's cup of tea but to me they look great and are more accurate and in-scale than anything I've seen on a kit, or that I would dare try to make myself.

Also, the designer is a very nice guy and accommodating to requests. All my turrets came custom with a 2 degree elevation on the barrels (because I think this really adds to the look of the finished ship while perfectly horizontal barrels look a bit odd) and I believe other elevations can be requested. Similarly, if one of the configurations of turret you're looking for hasn't been made available in your scale yet, just ask!

Overall, very happy customer!

Disclaimer: it's really hard to take good pictures of transparent, light coloured parts, and the light wasn't ideal! I hope they do the parts justice. I will try to get shots while building, hopefully they'll photograph better when painted, but not all these projects are imminent.

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Tired of waiting for a kit? Dare to modify, dare to kitbash! :thumbs_up_1:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:38 am
Posts: 162
Location: Czech Republic
I´d also like to share my experience with several sets of 3D printed details by Micro Master for my current build of Kombrig resin kit of HMAS Canberra in 1/700. The kit is not bad but indeed has some shortcomings. One of those are the main gun turrets, they are only very basic and would require quite a lot of work to make up into a realistic thing. So I was very happy when I discovered that Micro Master was offering neatly looking Royal Navy 8“ turrets marked suitable for the Kent-class. I contacted the shop owner Simon Percival to make sure that they will really fit my Kombrig kit and after exchanging a couple of emails he even added by himself the 20mm gun tubs in the correct oval-shape for Canberra´s turrets B and X and a wedge on the turret bottom that we noticed on her photos. So I placed my first order: the 8“ turrets together with 1/700 USS Arizona Mooring Quays (1941) by Model Monkey for one of my earlier builds. The shipment arrived within 8 days of placing my order, everything was neatly packed and arrived without any damage. After the first cheer I started closely inspecting all parts and I discovered that while the Arizona Quays were printed very finely, there were bulging longitudinal “stripes” or “waves” on the surface of the turrets turrets (note there are none on the quay).
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File comment: The "striping" effect can be clearly seen on the bottom turret topside
C_turret_batch1_striping.jpg
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I discussed this with Simon and then filed a claim with Shapeways which was very promptly accepted and I was offered either an immediate reprint or credit for the money. I choose the latter because I already started thinking about ordering some other items and wanted more time for my decision.
When I examined the defective turrets further I found they appeared slightly strange on my Canberra´s hull – while perfectly matching the diameter of the barbette they seemed to be too long. I discussed it all again with Simon and in the end he found out that while his turrets were designed according to the plan of HMS Exeter that carried Mark II* version of the turret, the Kent-class actually used an earlier high-angle version of the turret (Mark I) that was shorter and had the above mentioned venting wedge at the bottom. I was really amazed that within just a few days Simon sent me a link to the new and correct version of turrets for Canberra together with a link to a special custom set he created for his own build by meshing together parts from his larger sets that perfectly suited my needs. Simon also elevated the 8” guns on my request to 9 degrees as seen on Canberra´s 1942 photos.
Attachment:
File comment: Comparison of the original Kombrig turrets (left), Mark I (correct for the Kent-class) and Mark II* (Exeter)
C_turrets_comparison.jpg
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So I placed a new order and within just a few days I received a box containing:
1/700 RN 8 Inch MKVIII x4 Combrig HMAS Canberra 9º turrets
Simon´s custom HMAS Canberra Set 1 with parts from various separate sets:

The quality of the detail is fully comparable to the best contemporary molded kits on the market. Let´s the photo speak for itself:
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File comment: Detail set
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Reprinted version of the turrets:
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File comment: The technological stripes that can be seen here now do not appear on the surface relief anymore, the surface is smooth
C_turrets_reprint.jpg
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It should be noted that the downside of the ProJet 3D printing technology used by Shapeways is uneven surface on the bottom and on overhanging parts of the model caused by waxy supports during the print process. This is especially noticeable in case of the printed 8” gun barrels after cleaning. They look very nice from above but their bottom halves are not that perfect, so it is advisable to replace them with turned brass barrels (like those by NNT in case of RN 8” guns). I also recommend careful checking of Shapeway shipments for any problems (like the striping mentioned above) and requesting reprint if anything does not seem in order – they respond very quickly, even during weekends.

I can only recommend Simon / Micro Master products for the excellent quality of his models as well as for Simon´s responsiveness and friendly patience in sorting out troubles we encountered in the process.

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Current builds: 1/700 HMAS Canberra | 1/700 USS Quincy CA-39 | 1/700 IJN Tenryu


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