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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d340 111015 Makise Kurisu 2011


Well, this update was originally scheduled at least for sometime in September, but with J not making any posts, I’m falling back on a more or less monthly update schedule for now. Today’s update (ultimately completed sometime in September, as mentioned in the last update) is like the fourth for this year.

As with the Tales 2011 painting, the lineart for Makise 2011 is a “complete” drawing by itself. While some of the scratch lines have that did not get contrasted away have been erased digitally, basically nothing has actually been added (unlike some older paintings where the entire lineart was basically redrawn). Furthermore, all of the painting is done on a single layer.

When I first said that I wanted to try doing a “proper” painting this way, I envisioned something on the lines of the character sketches, but I don’t think the last two paintings have turned out anything like that. I think they’ve turned out well in their own way, but it’s definitely a hybrid rather than a straight up “full-painting” implementation of the former.

I actually spent more time post-processing this than I would have thought. There’s a beta version with black gears, which I apparently didn’t like as much a month ago – in retrospect I think both are fine (though it might have been a close call back then as well).

Since we’re kind of failing on the update side of things, I’ll try to add a couple more tidbits into this one to make up for it. I don’t know why this one never made it onto the site, but toward the end of summer, J and I (after our Gatling gun) also made a K’Nex clock, which, although kept time fairly well, only had a run time of a couple tens of minutes.

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d339 110919 Boats 2011 Part 4


Well, there’s a painting in the works (third one this year, and it’s almost done, actually), but J doesn’t look like he’s going to update anytime soon, so next update, and thus, said painting, may not go up for a while. This week, it’s Titanic redux.

We last left Titanic about a month ago after it lost its propeller thanks to my craptastic piloting. I didn’t intend to get it back out on the water again this season, but obviously, fate intervened. Through some sequence of events, I made a trip out to “local” J&M Hobby with some siblings and family friends, and I asked them if they had any propellers for model boats and the like.

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Boats 2011 – Death and Taxes

Now that I’m back from San Diego, I finally get to post about my boat.

This boat features a drive system known as the Voith Schneider propeller (VSP), which is those blades you see sticking out of the bottom of the ship. Wikipedia has a more detailed explanation of how the system works , but in short the system works by rotating the blades in a circle while changing their angle, in effect “scooping” water in a particular direction when the blades are not tangential to the circle they rotate in. The direction of thrust can be changed by moving a control rod that controls the center of tangency (?) of the blades (the blue dot in this diagram.)

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