d363 Kanako and Ayase


Last year I built some Lego ships for the first time in many years. They were effectively direct replacements for older ships that I no longer found satisfactory (in much the same way I do paintings) and they were quite successful at that. Between then and now, trying to capitalize on this win streak, I once again tried to replace the venerable Kagurazaka, but I only almost made it.

The Kanako would have been the 10th of my big named ships (though now that they are getting smaller, I question whether they “deserve” names anymore). I planned, designed, and built it in much the same way I did the Maehara and Konoe, and I tried very hard to stick to the plan. The layout was intentionally unconventional (for me) such that the ship could do forward broadsides, in accordance to some scenarios J and I had discussed in the past. The styling is intentionally conventional (for me again) for development simplicity and parts conservation (and because I didn’t have enough of the “art deco piece”).

In the prototypical incarnation, I think the Kanako would have been something like 80 to 90 studs long and 30 to 40 studs wide. This is actually comparable in length to the 88-stud long Maehara, but the fact that the Kanako would have been entirely enclosed means that it would have been much bigger parts commitment. The fully enclosed Konoe comes in at just 48 studs. Given these numbers the 100+ stud Kagurazaka is simply massive – and I’m pretty sure at one point I said “100 studs isn’t that many”.

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d370 “Blue Devil Destroyer” Part 2


Previously I left off with abysmal performance, but let’s talk about the modeling aspect of this project before getting back. Last time I suggested that plastic modeling was about fitting parts and sticking parts, and J elaborated that it’s about compensating for deficiencies in the manufacturing process.

Of course, there are some deficiencies that you can’t really fix, such as the very clearly misaligned molds that made the above part. The offset is less than a millimeter, but when the part is only a couple millimeters in diameter, it’s pretty significant.

Painting was probably the biggest headache though. Due to the local unavailability of a consistent set of model paints, I used some generic brand grey spray primer, some really old black model spray paint, some Krylon all-purpose red spray paint, and Krylon enamel black and white regular paint. After a couple test parts (during which I found out it was probably better to assembly large assemblies before painting) I sprayed almost all of the parts with the primer first, and then applied the other colors where need be.

I made two masks on the hull to get the red bottom and the black line. It was kind of a pain to do curves, but all in all it didn’t bleed that much, and turned out pretty well. I think I may have made the line a little too low (when the boat is fully loaded the water rises just above the black line), but the instructions didn’t specify where I should put it, so it was all done by eye and ruler. I also think a “finer” masking tape would have further limited the bleed, but on the hull it’s nowhere near as bad as it is on the stacks

Here is the nearly completed Melvin next to the Titanic. I’m mostly happy with the end result especially since this is my first attempt at a plastic model in probably close to a decade. The quality is definitely enough to have fulfilled the childhood dream! The real-life size of the ship is nearly half that of the Titanic, but the scales are 1/125 and 1/360, respectively.

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d369 “Blue Devil Destroyer” Part 1


The name of the kit is “Blue Devil Destroyer”, but the prototypical ship is the USS Melvin, a Fletcher class destroyer of WW2 vintage. Wiki says that 175 Fletchers were built, and that the design was “generally regarded as highly successful”. Many also served with other countries after being retired from the US Navy.

I’m all about chasing my childhood dreams these days, and when I was a kid, I really wanted something like this. I was really into plastic modeling even though I sucked at it, and that really didn’t help me get a nice or RC model. Said hobby was of course the source of my Titanic hull, which became my latest “nice RC model” attempt during the Boats 2011 saga.

That satisfied my craving for a while, but while we were working on some Lego trains we went to a Pho place for dinner and stopped by a real hobby shop(!) on the way. I was telling J how I would love to have another ship to RC, and we looked at some small stuff, but that’s when I saw this kit. If I didn’t get it then, I would probably not think about it for a long time given the dwindling number of hobby shops in the world. So I told J I was going to get it, and the next day I did.

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