Finished model 2012-I
Ulf thought I needed to build more ships, so donated me the Fujimi 1/700 waterline model of USS Saratoga. I’ve been struggling with it for quite a while, but now I decided to call it finished even though I’m not exactly happy with it. One of the difficulties I encountered was that I really don’t have a very good feeling for what’s what on a ship, so I couldn’t always tell if parts were misshapen or were actually supposed to be like that. But the absolutely worst obstacle was Fujumi’s building instructions. I have later been able to compare with their other ship models and they consistently suggest constructing the kit in exactly the opposite order of what would make best sense, i e they suggest first making the fiddly bits, then putting them together with all the superstructure and only in the final step adding them to the hull. This in fact makes it almost impossible to paint the ship with any success and almost guarantees that masts and the like will get broken in the process. (And no, it’s not that I can’t read Japanese instructions—I will at least for the moment assume that even the Japanese count from 1 and upwards.)
What I should have done is:
Paint all parts on the sprue.
Assemble the hull with flight deck, putty and paint as needed. (It’s a waterline model, i e, there’s a huge seam all along the bottom which is well-nigh impossible to get right.)
Assemble the superstructure, paint each level before adding the next.
Finally, add masts, aerials, guns and aircraft.
Anyway, the model is painted as Saratoga would have looked c 1943, in Measure 21. (The US Navy seems to have spent considerable time during the war repainting their ships in ever new camouflage systems.)
There is a small assortment of aircraft included, Wildcats, Dauntlesses and Avengers. They are moulded in clear plastic with the idea that with proper masking you will automatically get a clear canopy. Alas, I haven’t figured out how to effectively mask such a small nubbin. I tried with Maskol, but as usual found it to be useless. There were decals supplied for national insignia in pre- and post-1942 styles. They seemed to me to be too few, but eventually I realised there were exactly as many stars as would be carried on the wing topsides; underside and fuselage insignia had been skipped. In the event, these decals turned out to be the absolutely worst I’ve ever tried: they refused to leave the backing paper, and usually ended up shattering into little flakes, thus being available for even fewer aircraft.
So, in the end I was rather unhappy with the results, but I have now built an aircraft carrier and have a little better idea of how to attack a ship should I try to do another one.