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Sonntag, 1. März 2009, 05:31

answer Models/Kit #2 /PC-553 USS Malone/ 1/200

Ahoy Shipmates,

I have been enjoying reading through many of the threads on this site, posted a few replies, even started a question thread which was answered quite quickly with a very helpful response. While the reading requires the use of Yahoos' babelfish translation service in my case as I only speak American English and that with a Southern accent, it has been very informative for me and I am interested in starting a second card model even before I have finished my first, the IJN Akizuki, also an answer Models kit in 1/200 scale. It has shown me a number of things as well as taught me a few things about how these go together. Reading these threads as well as ones on other sites has only fueled my desires to try my hand at another, after all, one must have something to do while glue and paint dries. ;)



The subject of my interest is answer Models PC-553, although why they didn't just call it the USS Malone is beyond me. Perhaps somewhere in the instructions and such they have that information, but Polish is definitely not in my vernacular. The ship was a Subchaser built by Sullivan Drydock and Repair Company in Brooklyn New York laid down on 20 December 1941, commissioned on 12 October, 1942 with Ensign Benjamen T. Fairchild, USNR in command. As was the convention of the time, she had no name, just PC 553. After shakedown out of Boston she returned to New York and began duty with the Eastern Sea Frontier out of Staten Island providing patrol and escort duties into late December 1943.

On 23 December, 1943 she arrived at Norfolk, Virginia for assignment with an East bound convoy as escort and to be transferred to the 12th Fleet upon arrival. She arrived at her new duty station on 17 January, 1944 and spent the next year performing escort, patrol and supply operations from the ports of Dartmouth, Plymouth and Devon. At war's end she left Europe from Le Havre, France with a convoy arriving in Key West, Florida in late June.

She performed patrol duties with Service Force 2, Atlantic Fleet until 10 May, 1946 when she was transferred to Atlantic Fleet Reserve, 16th Fleet. She was decommissioned on 9 May, 1947 and spent the next 10 years at Green Cove Springs, Florida in the reserve fleet anchorage awaiting disposition. She finally recieved her official name of USS Malone on 1 February, 1956 while in reserve. On 5 Seotember, 1957 she was stricken from the Navy List and sold to Boston Metals Company for scrapping on 1 July, 1958.

The ship was part of the second group of the 173 foot, 461 Subchaser Class produced with an all steel hull with 85 sister ships. She was powered by 2 General Electric 2880 Horsepower Diesel Engines into a single Farrel-Birmingham reduction gear housing feeding two propellers for a maximum speed of 20.2 knots. Armed with a single 3 inch/50 caliber deck gun forward, a 40 MM Bofors mount aft with 3 20 MM Oerlikons one atop the bridge and two just aft of them as wing mounts. She carried two roll off depth charge racks on her fantail and 2 Hedgehog Rocket Projectors fore and aft with four K Gun Depth Charge units aft of her 40 MM mount, a rather well armed little ship to say the least. She carried a crew compliment of 65.

Now with that all out of the way, on to answer Models kit of this dandy little ship. The kit consists of 4 pages with covers, two carrying the major parts in color, two tone gray camouflage pattern to the hull sides with a dark gray deck and red lead bottom. The other two pages carry the pictograph directions, a section with the hull inner forms and bulkheads and another with the 1:1 part layout. It is listed as a Level 2 in construction difficulty and ship Kit Number 2 in their catalog with a production date of 2007. All of the parts are in perfect register and evenly colored.

After removing the single staple, I separated the pages and set to work copying them onto Wausau Bright White 65 pound cardstock, I like to save the originals to be able to produce more than one model from a kit. It also gives me ample copies should I have a problem or want to puzzle out how things should go together as a trial. I copied and clipped out the inner hull forms and bulkheads then laminated them onto two sheets of poster board to arrive at a cumulative thickness of .053 inches or 1.35 MM roughly. I like a heavy duty core and cutting to the outside edges of the cutout lines on the patterns allows for the extra .35mm so nothing gets out of shape on the exterior.
Jay Massey
treadhead1952
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Sonntag, 1. März 2009, 11:14

RE: answer Models/Kit #2 /PC-553 USS Malone/ 1/200

Hoi Jay,

That's some fine ta-ta to the interesting ho-ho [rather free quote from Oliver Stone's JFK], thanks,

groetjes,
Gert
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Sonntag, 1. März 2009, 14:30

Hi Gert,

I like to give as much information as I can dig up about the subjects that I model. It makes it more interesting for me as well as gives me an appreciation for just what was involved in making the original.

These little ships were also used for other purposes as their general classification became expanded over the course of time. Green Cove, Florida was where a large number of these ships wound up at the end of the hostilities, moldering away until finally disposed of as they had been allowed to just simply rust beyond any sort of use. The US Navy found it more expedient to dispose of them by selling them off to scrap metals dealers rather than attempt any sort of reconditioning as the designs were dated and more modern ships were in the inventory that fulfilled their roles.
Jay Massey
treadhead1952
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Sonntag, 1. März 2009, 21:23

Indeed. i think you will see much interest here. Good luck, and don't neglect Akitsuki, either... :D
best regards
mit herzlichen grussen

Fred

In Build:
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Montag, 2. März 2009, 01:01

Thanks Guys,

I like the small stuff, especially since I am just starting out in this field. I should have really started with this one, but since I have already started on the Akizuki, I will continue to soldier on with it as well as work my way through this one.

I also have the Kiji and am looking to see if I can find some of the John C Butler, Cannon or other classes of Destroyer Escorts. These were some more rather well armed little ships that were developed from a Royal Navy design request to the US Navy for escort vessels for convoys. The US Navy pretty much stole it right out from under the Royal Navy and ran with the ball as far as they could. There are also a number of small vessels from the RN, KMG, IJN and RM that I would like to seek out that served patrol, escort, and various other duties. Several of them are available in 1/700 scale as styrene kits, but 1/200 offers a much better shot at showing off interesting features that are missed in the diminutive scale.
Jay Massey
treadhead1952
Las Vegas, NV

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Montag, 2. März 2009, 04:14

Ahoy Shipmates,

I managed to get a little chopping and whittling done in between working on a neighbors ailing computer, supper and other homey type things. As I said before I like to make the inner hull form stout so that all the other bits have something sturdy to anchor on to. While the individual parts are 35% thicker than the 1MM the kit calls for, cutting the parts on the lines instead of to the inside allows for this. I have yet to glue things together, a bit more sanding to do so that everything is as uniform as I can make it for the parts to follow, but this is what I have arrived at so far, my second hull form in my card modeling career. ;)



It measures out to just under 10 and 1/2 inches or 266.5 mm overall length and 1 and 5/16 inches or 34.5mm at the widest part, pretty small ship model in 1/200 scale but much simpler to work with than the 26 inch or 66cm length of the Akizuki. I notice that the cover states that the model is supposed to be 26cm X 4cm, I suppose that is a give or take figure.

I have sanded the prow down to a wedge shape, they don't indicate to do this with dashed lines on the plates but I am sure that it will make for a smoother bow shape on the model when I go to add the bottom and sides of the hull outer panels. I am also going to try an experiment that Yu turned me onto in the Paper Modeler forum site to make things a bit smoother when it comes to installing the bottom plates, I shall have to see how this goes and report on my attempt next.
Jay Massey
treadhead1952
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Mittwoch, 4. März 2009, 21:04

Ahoy Shipmates,

Sorry about the delay in getting some fresh content happening, but life and work tends to interupt the more important things like modeling. I have a lovely 12 day work week happening at the moment so I will have to "enjoy" that overtime so I can afford more goodies to tinker on here.

I have been working at the little PC 553 in the odd moments that I manage to catch here and there. I glued the frames together using Aleenes' Tacky Glue, my current favorite for such tasks. It is a PVA type that seems to dry quickly, doesn't have nearly as much water in it as Elmers' White Glue so it doesn't warp paper and card out of shape and doesn't cause ink runs or problems of that nature.

While not shown as a dotted line on the prow, I did sand that area down to a pointed shape so that I could put the first section on with as little white showing as possible.



I used some colored card material that I had from another build to cut a series of strips to cover the bulkhead forms to offer more gluing surface for the hull sections as I went along. The little bow section got cut out and added in place, the first piece! It went rather well, my sanding paid off in a very small area of white showing at the point.





When I got to the other end of things, I noticed that the very last hull form was a bit short. To cure the problem I cut and glued some strips of card to bring it up to the level of the vertical keel part. I have a few other ones that will need similar treatment to bring them up to "true" so that I don't have any problems there.



A section of wider strip went down over that once the glue had dried and that is as far as I have managed to get to date. Having an afternoon off today, I hope to be able to turn to and get some serious modeling done.

Jay Massey
treadhead1952
Las Vegas, NV

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Donnerstag, 12. März 2009, 16:26

Ahoy Shipmates,

After a couple of rough weeks at the saltmines I have managed to devote a little time to the PC 553 kit. The hull forms got plated over first once I applied the strips to the bulkheads. It went pretty well, no problems there. The supplied parts fit without any gaps to speak of. I sanded it down smooth, applied some Pactra sanding sealer and sanded that down to smooth, primed it with a bit of Gunship Gray from a rattlecan. Next up came the rudders, side keels, props, shafts, housings, an odd little keel extension and a sonar dome on the bow. The prop shafts and rudder arrangement were a bit of a trip for someone used to a more conventional arrangement and adding the struts took a bit of study of the only two views provided by the pictograph style instruction sheets to get it all to come out. In the interests of uniformity, I overpainted the entire assembly at this point with some Testors' Hull Red, also from a rattlecan. Detail painting of the shafts and props was accomplished with some Model Master Enamel Silver and Model Master Metalizer Lacquer in Brass.





Satisfied with that much, I added the deck plate, a single piece that I laminated to a second sheet of the same Wausau Bright White Card Stock in 65 Pound thickness for stiffness and support to the hull side plates. These are two single pieces, another feature that I liked, no seams to deal with other than at the bow and stern. These pieces were printed out on legal sized paper and laminated to a sheet of 50 pound Strathmore Bristol Paper. Aligning the top of the pieces to the deck edge made for a quick and easy fit all around the sides and they even met up at the stern properly without any trimming.



Since I have all the parts attatched to the bottom of the hull, I built up the kit provided base to support the model as I work out the rest of the on deck fittings. The base parts were laminated to more of the Wausau Card Stock that they were printed out on. While the kit provides inner and outer sections for the end parts, I did have to print out an extra copy of the side panels otherwise they would just be white card on the inside. I edge glued the strips provided as a solid panel to all parts to give it a finished look. This did require coloring the edges of these with some reddish brown marker, but the look of thickness provieded makes the base look far more substantial than if I had just used single plys glued together.

Answer Models has done a pretty good job with the design of this one so far, I haven't found any misnumbered parts or such, yet. The parts fit together fairly well with little to no adjustments needed. The instructions provided show enough of the detail that even a novice such as myself can figure out how to put things together. Now on to the fun part, covering up all those unsightly white patches on the deck. :D
Jay Massey
treadhead1952
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Sonntag, 15. März 2009, 02:56

Ahoy Shipmates,

Working my way through various steps after figuring out that "Rys." stands for "step" in these things, I have managed to cobble together the bow parts of the ship so far. I used styrene rod to add the bollard posts rather than roll up the required 16 strips of paper, laziness on my part more than anything else and wanting to get on with it. Although I did trim the rod down to the width of the strips, they still looked too long to my eye for their intended purpose. I used the smokers' friend, a cigarette to heat the tops of them after installing them on the deck to shorten them and flatten the tops to what looked more realistic to me. I also made up the capstan assembly, all 11 parts of it plus the two bits of 42 link to the inch chain that I had on hand from Model Expo. I drilled the holes for the chain to go into and out of using a pin vise and three different sizes of minidrillls. To locate the holes and prevent the bits from wandering I used the sharp point of a compass to mark the spots. I also built up and added the breakwater, this takes me up to step 6.





While I was assembling small parts, I also built up the two life rafts, twice so far. The first set are the kit parts the way they are supposed to be. These are on the left and didn't not look very 3 dimensional to me so I made a second stab at it. I used one set of the tops and glued them to the bottom of the side strips then took a second set of the tops and cut the centers out before gluing them in place. Another strip of the edge material got shortened and added to the inside. While these do look a bit better to me, looking at the two view drawings of the ship and the cover art, I noticed that these rafts are actually supposed to be rounded and not square in profile. Another point that I am curious about, I was under the impression that the orange color was actually not used during wartime but rather an after the war thing. I thought that during hostilities, all of this sort of gear was actually gray to match the color of the ship. If any of you have any factual information on this I would like to hear about it. Also if you have any methods to turn these little square sided life rafts into the proper round shape that they are supposed to be, I would like to hear about that too as well before I get too far in my experimentation process.



Step 7 in the instructions call for cutting out and gluing together the depth charge racks that go on the fantail. I did cut them out, fold them and glue them together but not to add to the ship, rather I used them as guides to build up my own home brew replacements. I have several PE frets that I have saved over time and cutting them down to size I will build my racks up from this material and use styrene rod and sheet to make the actual depth charges. In this larger scale, I like this way of representing these parts than the flat box shapes with printed on drawings. I have to cut the triangular supports for the last ones outer sides yet, the inner leg being welded to the deck. Once I have that done I can add the side rails and other parts.

Jay Massey
treadhead1952
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Sonntag, 15. März 2009, 08:37

Hello Jay,


I love your thorough documentation of the steps you have taken. The hull turned out great

The depth charge racks usually constitute a mayor challenge, lots of tiny parts to cut out, very fragile result.

I´ll be following your progress closely.


Zaphod


P.S. Great sense of humor, "saltmines", my word !

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Sonntag, 15. März 2009, 13:01

Thanks Zaphod,

Working in this scale is much more fun than the tiny 1/700 braille scale that I am used to, you can actually see things that are just little lumps and bumps otherwise. It also offers challenges like these depth charge racks. I thought about soldering them together and adding them as a unit to the ship but then it would have been more difficult to keep things together even with the collection of heat sinks I have. This method offers the ability to keep them straight as I add the parts in place.
Jay Massey
treadhead1952
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Montag, 16. März 2009, 01:08

Thanks MP,

I like using brass as it is rather forgiving, to a point. I used a pair of regular scissors to cut the strips off of the frets that I have saved up from many moons of armor, aircraft and ship building of the styrene flavor. If you have difficulty in forming the brass to conform to complicated shapes you can always anneal it by holding it in a pair of pliers and heating it up with a lighter until it is red, letting it cool and wiping off the discoloration to make it bright again with a bit of steel wool or light weight sandpaper.

Once you have annealed it, the stuff is butter soft and can be bent quite easily. I have a couple of pair of flat nosed minipliers that I use to form it, making right angle bends. A hobby knife blade will clip it easily, I use a regular kitchen type cutting board to back it up and watch out for flying bits or hold your finger tip over the loose end to keep it from taking off into the Twilight Zone or heading for the carpet monster.

While a soldering pencil and clip on heat sinks can be used to form permanent joints for some things, CA or Super Glue works and doesn't require the heat to do the deed. A sewing needle is my favorite tool to use to apply the stuff, just use a pair of wire cutters to clip off the tip of the "eye" end leaving yourself a tiny "Y" shape to hold a drop of CA for application. Looking about in a sewing store will yield a wide selection of sizes of needles with correspondingly different sized eyes. The good part is that once you figure out just how much CA the eye holds you have a tool that will do the same thing over and over. Once the eye gets filled up with repeated uses, and it will, a soak in some acetone will clean it right out and you are back in business. The sharp end of the needle can be pushed into a section of wooden dowel for a handle with a pair of pliers, thereby creating a new tool for your collection. Show me a guy who doesn't love a new tool, especially one that he has created! =) ;)
Jay Massey
treadhead1952
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Donnerstag, 19. März 2009, 21:50

Ahoy Shipmates,

Another week has gone by and while the saltmines have taken away far too much of my attention and energy, I have managed to tinker at my project a little. Some of that time has been spent making the various parts required for the depth charge racks as well as researching how the real ones were made and utilized. And looking at the first attempt at updetailing the little life rafts caused me to reconsder and do a bit of brain storming. The bright International Orange color was one concern. While answer Models probably came up with that color choice based on something, checking a number of forum sites and other online sources convinced me that it was reallly a color that was after WWII and not used so much during the conflict.

Trying to work out how to adapt the 65 pound card stock to form the gently rounded shape of the real life rafts led to a third generation effort. I made a form from styrene rod and tried to press the card stock using finger pressure and even a mouse pad to make the stiff stock conform to my little form.



While this lead to a better shape, it was still not where I wanted to go. Brainstorming on the subject while at work, of course anything let loose in my brain is bound to be in a bit of a storm, convinced me to try printing out the parts for the rafts as a B&W copy and see if it would come out close to what I was looking for. Without having to make any adjustments, I lucked out and was able to produce just what I needed. The next thing that I needed to do was to be able to make the parts conform to my little styrene forms better. Knowing that thinner stock like some plain copy paper would make the task easier I printed out a set using that material.

I have preferred Aleenes' Tacky Glue over Elmers' White Glue, both PVA types, due to the fact that it doesn't have as much water content. Sometimes though, that extra water content can be a handy thing to have and I decided to give it a try to make the paper conform to the rounded shapes better. Applying the tops and sides using the copy paper parts worked out well, once the Elmers' White Glue went on, they had no problems conforming to the shapes. But I also wanted to add something to show that curved shape a bit more.

While the printed lines that represent ropes that were tied on to the rafts to provide handholds and a way to tie things off to them, like most printed things they are pretty one dimensional. Wanting to add a bit more depth to the details I decided that I would run a bit of thread around the outer sides. To do this without tearing through the paper parts would be doubtful so I used one of the B&W card stock parts that I had printed out as a bottom to offer a bit better material choice. The last pair of paper parts were glued onto the bottom of the card stock parts to cover the white so that they were uniform overall.

I threaded a needle with a length of black thread using the Elmers' White Glue to glue about an inch and a half of the length to itself once threaded so that I would have just a single line running around the outer shape. I followed the pattern printed on there to apply the thread and used some more glue as I went to lock it down to the paper. So this is where I got to with the fourth generation of these little parts.





I am much happier with them in this form and color as additions to my project. With a bit more detailing in the form of a water cask, rations box and some oars, I have a couple of photographs of the real ship showing these nestled in the stowed rafts on board, I figure I can live with them, so it is back to working on the depth charge racks and fiddling all the tiny parts onto the shapes that I have installed on deck at the moment.
Jay Massey
treadhead1952
Las Vegas, NV

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Dienstag, 31. März 2009, 00:32

Ahoy Shipmates,

I have been having too much fun at the saltmines, between losing a few people and taking up slack, my work load has been pretty full. I have managed to tinker at the depth charge racks some. For the most part the racks themselves are Photoetched Brass frets cut to shape and size. I did use some styrene parts for the tiny tabs with the holes drilled in them as well as the stretched sprue link and styrene stick for the lever handle and the depth charges themselves.



Comparing the home brewed solution to the original shows why I was anxious to replace these parts. In this large a scale it just didn't look like it should.



As a side note, working with lots of super glue over the years, I have tried all sorts of ways to apply the stuff. From toothpicks to bits of brass robbed from PE Frets, to sprue stubs but none of them worked as well as a tip I picked up a number of years ago from another modeling forum, sewing needles eyes. This is a shot of the basic set up that I use to work with super glue or CA. I used to buy the stuff in the little tubes for about a half a dollar apiece thinking that it was cheap enough. As I grew to use more and more of it for this and that it got to be ridiculous until I found a one ounce contailer of it at the local hobby shop for all of $3.50. If you translate the amount that you get in the tiny tubes to that, it is a pretty healthy savings. The secret is to keep the bottle capped up and just use a tiny bit by placing a drop on the soda bottle plastic cap. To transfer the product to the parts to be joined I use the clipped off eye of a sewing needle. These can be found in a wide variety of sizes. Of course, using them the tool will eventually get filled up. To clean it out a soak in some Acetone or acetone based nail polish remover will soon have them looking like brand new. If you try and just scrape the accumulated glue out, you will soon work harden the metal and it will break.



I started working on the main deckhouse next, figuring out what went where and how to add a little structural integrity by placing thicker material here and there where it wouldn't show. Once the general shape was there I started to detail things with the supports for the decking and such. Once the supports were in place, I could add my rebuilt life rafts and a few of the ammo and gear lockers to the structure. I also used some generic PE railings, not having gotten around to building or learning how to make them from thread as yet and wanting to get on with things.





Now I am working on the mast and its' related bits, the flag lines and the ships bell. So until next installment, keep on truckin'. ;)
Jay Massey
treadhead1952
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Donnerstag, 19. August 2010, 23:42

Ahoy Ship Mates,

I finally got close to done with my little Patrol Craft. I still have to add the anchors and rigging but for all intents and purposes, she is complete. I used GPM Railings and RB Models 20 mm Oerlikon gun mounts rather than try my patience with the card model alternatives.







Jay Massey
treadhead1952
Las Vegas, NV

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