Archive for July, 2015


USS Cole – pt.1

Every once in a while, I try myself with something out of my comfort zone in all aspects of my life. Modelling is no exception. While I have built a few modern submarines in the past few years, the last and only ship I’ve built was Italeri’s 1:700 HMS Hood and that was some 20 years ago.

A couple of years ago, I got a good deal on Cyberhobby 1:700 USS Cole/Typhoon SSBN combo and to complicate things even further, I’ve bought a photoetched set of Flyhawk models. Working with such tiny PE parts in 1:700 will certainly present a challenge.

USS Cole (DDG-67) is an Aegis equipped guided-missile destroyer named after a Marine sergeant who was killed during the battle of Iwo Jima. The ship was delivered to the US Navy in 1996 and became worldwide famous just 4 years later. On 12 October 2000, Al-Qaeda executed suicide attack on USS Cole in the Aden port, Yemen, killing 17 soldiers and injuring 29 more. After repairs, the ship was brought back into service in 2003.

000914-N-0000X-002 Eastern Atlantic (Sep. 14, 2000) -- The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) underway to the Mediterranean Sea, approximately one month before being attacked by a terrorist-suicide mission in the early morning hours of October 12th, 2000, while refueling in the port city of Aden, Yemen.  U.S. Navy  Photo (RELEASED)

000914-N-0000X-002
Eastern Atlantic (Sep. 14, 2000) — The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) underway to the Mediterranean Sea, approximately one month before being attacked by a terrorist-suicide mission in the early morning hours of October 12th, 2000, while refueling in the port city of Aden, Yemen. U.S. Navy Photo (RELEASED)

At first look, Cyberhobby kit looks like a nice representation of the real deal, especially considering the scale. I am no expert in ships so I cannot vouch for its accuracy though, but on first look, it looks the part. I will point out the things I notice, as we go along.

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First step was to make the damaged hull – sanding the inside of the hull to thin it as much as possible, then cutting out a piece and bending the remaining parts inward.

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A piece of plasticard was used to create inner wall.

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Thin copper and solder wire of different diameters was used to recreate the installations, seen on photos.

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Side view of the “damage”

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And the PE fun has begun!

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So… you remember the fit problem of engine exhaust tube from the previous post? Some modellers suggested I should leave it as it is, as the vertical fin will cover the gap (true, but the fuselage diameter would be too big for the exhaust shroud), while most suggested thinning down the fuselage sides and the tube itself. While I was leaning towards the later idea, I had a moment of enlightenment and decided to go for a totally different approach – scratchbuilding it!

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I have calculated the circumference of the inner tube diameter and cut the rectangular piece of 0.25mm sheet styrene. Placing it into boiling water it softened enough to be easily curved. Using the existing tube as a “mould”, sort of, I managed to get a respectable new narrower tube, that doesn’t interfere with the fuselage halves.

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As R-15 engines aren’t just bare inside, I Googled for photos of MiG-25 engines and soon found a photo that helped me the detailing. The afterburning chamber has what looks like a wavy sheet metal. I have used 2mm half round Evergreen rods to simulate that. I am aware they are not exactly the same shape and are a bit oversized, but still represent this area much better than the original kit part 🙂

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Using sheet styrene again, cut to rectangular pieces, the petals at the edge of the exhaust were recreated, according to reference photos. Dark wash was applied over the petals for better representation.

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The tube was first painted Alclad Jet Exhaust, followed by a slight misting of Alclad Pale Burnt Metal. Petals were painted in Flat Green. The tube was finished with a dark wash over petals and brown pigments on the inside, simulating grim and soot. Photo is a bit overexposed to show some of the interior detail.