d375 USS Melvin Part 3


I was only planning on having three posts for the USS Melvin saga, but at this point I really do need four to document all the crap that’s gone on with this thing. I last left off after the Melvin’s first real test run, which unfortunately took place in much less than ideal conditions. Nonetheless, I was able to determine that the performance was pretty good and that the boat was a little too heavy with four D batteries.

Thus, the first of many modifications were made.

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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.

Continue reading “d369 “Blue Devil Destroyer” Part 1″