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1:400 Type VIIb U-Boat

Static Submarine modelers unite!

Postby Mylo » Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:12 am

I am doing a 1:400 scale type VIIb U-Boat. This U-Boat and brass detail kit are both from Mirage. I thought I would do a step by step progress report of my project in the event others have interest in this topic or scale.

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This is the contents of the kit as well as the brass details.

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Step 1: Gluing the hull halves and conning tower halves together. I use just enough Testors model glue to allow for some to "squish" out when I press the two halves together. This excess is then sanded when the glue has completely dried. The result is a nice weld with the seam being completely concealed. I will use elastic bands to hold the two halves together if they don't want to stay by themselves. Care has to be taken not to make the bands too tight or they will separate the hull halves. Most of the time, pressing the two halves together for a minute or so with my fingers is enough to hold them. The glued hull and conning tower parts must be left to totally dry before sanding.

*NOTE* I do all my modelling work on a piece of glass mounted on a piece of white particle board. A grid was drawn on the particle board and then the glass glued on top. The glass makes for an excellent flat surface that is easy to clean. During or after any given project, I use a razor blade scraper and go over the glass. It removes paint, glue, or anything else that may have gotten on the surface with ease. Stuff just chips off.
"I don't have anything else planned for this afternoon." - Lt. Col J.O.E. Vandeleur

A Bridge Too Far (1977)
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Postby Gerwalk » Mon Sep 12, 2005 8:26 am

Excellent! Keep posting this kind of projects! I like the idea of the glass and white board.
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Postby Mylo » Mon Sep 12, 2005 10:41 am

Gerwalk,

I discovered the glass / white board thing completely by accident one day. I brought in a little piece of my type IX project into the house to fiddle with it on the kitchen table. We have a glass top on the kitchen table and I quickly realized how nice this surface was to work on as opposed to my pitted and scared modelling bench. I then slipped a piece of white paper underneath the glass on the kitchen table so that I could see the tiny parts better. That's when the idea came to me. I built my hobby work station using the glass door from an old stereo cabinet and the white particle board was left over from a kitchen cabinet. The thing is about 2 1/2 x 2', which I find just right. I carefully laid the grid out on the particle board as well as an HO scale ruler for my railroad projects. I then just glued the glass right on top with CA (That's what those round patches are in the photo). The thing works fantastic. Old dry glue and "stuff" chips off, as I mentioned, when I run a razor scraper over it.

It doesn't show it in the initial photo but, the kit came with the hull halves and conning tower halves separate. I glued these together before I realized that I would like a shot of the kit contents. Ooooops.

I hope you get a tip or two from this. It may take a bit. I'm not the most speedy model builder in the world.

Myles.
"I don't have anything else planned for this afternoon." - Lt. Col J.O.E. Vandeleur

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Postby Mylo » Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:38 am

STEP 2: Sanding the hull and conning tower seams. Once the "squished out" glue on the seams has dried, I first will back scrape the excess off with a hobby knife, followed by sanding with 400 grit, and finally, finish it with 1500 grit for a very smooth and seamless joint. If you didn't apply enough glue and it didn't squish out as much as thought (as in this project), fear not, simply continue with sanding, letting the material sanded off fill the crack as it shouldn't be overly big. This isn't as nice as having the excess glue, but it works on a project like this (where having a museum masterpiece isn't the goal). This can be avoided in the first place if enough glue is initially used (I should heed my own advice). The other option is to break the hull halves apart again, sand the edges flat, and re-do, hoping that you didn't damage the parts. You can quickly see why I chose the former. When complete, both the hull and conning tower should feel (no seam) as though they came as one piece. Slight visual flaws will be covered up by the paint job.

I use a very handly little tool called a spot sanding pen. It has tiny fibre glass bristles that can be retracted in or out to desired lenth. This pen really makes sanding those difficult spots very easy. I can't for the life of me remember where or when I got it. I think I just saw it in a hobby shop somewhere. Again, very handy inexpensive little tool.

Incidently, I use both hands when doing this work. The one handed approach you see in the photos is because, you guessed it, the other hand is taking the picture.

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"I don't have anything else planned for this afternoon." - Lt. Col J.O.E. Vandeleur

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Postby Gerwalk » Thu Sep 15, 2005 11:13 am

I like that sanding pen. It's a 3M thing so it should be widely availlable. I modified a round file by bendin it's tip into a hook. That's allows me to sand (or file!) very small spots.
Keep posting!
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Postby Mylo » Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:46 pm

STEP 3: Installation of the upper deck. I remove the brass parts from the kit by pressing my hobby knife into the sprue over top a self healing mat. That brass is so soft and the parts so small, this works better than my parts removing tool that I normally use.

* I highly reccommend the brass detail kit. It costs the same as the sub kit itself but it is worth the cost in my opinion. It allows you to make a very fine scale model in 1:400. *

Due to the fact that I plan on putting this sub in real water to photograph, I am inserting a piece of polystyrene insulation foam board into the hull. This will give the model bouyancy. (I discovered that this was needed the hard way when I built my 1:400 type IIA and placed it in water. It went "belly up" and sank to the bottom. I suppose I could have photographed a wreck scene....) Regardless of whether you plan to put your model in water or not (even just to play with in the bath tub.....not that I....uhhh....do that), I reccomend that you insert the foam anyway. The reason is, I have found that the fit between the hull and the brass deck parts on this kit, as well as the type IIa and type IXc Mirage 1:400 kits that I have built, is not the best. The deck is wider than the hull and creates an overlap of a fraction of a mm, but an overlap none the less. By inserting the foam, you can push it into the hull which forces the opening at the top to widen, making for a nicer fit between the brass deck and the hull. As well, the foam allows you to have something to glue the deck to. For the most part of this kit, I will use medium gap fill CA. However, DO NOT use CA to glue the deck to the hull. The CA will "eat" the foam. I like using "Tacky Glue", which is a glue that is used a lot in doing floral arrangements. I discovered "Tacky Glue" one day when my wife was putting together some sort of "thing" using this stuff. I noticed when she was using it that it bonded well to pretty much anything and dried quickly. What really peaked my interest in it was how well it worked with foam. Since CA doesn't work with foam, I use this stuff and have been happy with the results. The only drawback to using it is you have to swallow your manly pride, go into a place that stocks floral arrangement stuff (I bought it at Michael's), go into the floral dept, pick it up, then go to the till, and pay for it, while the girl at the till looks at you funny, rings it in, and tells you to have a nice day. Once you glue the deck to the hull, you may find that the fit still needs a little tweaking. I will use a small flat file to file the deck flush with the hull once the glue has had a chance to set up. I had to do this on the IXc kit as well, but I have found the VIIb is harder due to the trim tank bulges. It doesn't take much. It all depends how picky you are.

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STEP 4: Installation of the prop shafts. I discovered that the fit of the prop shafts on this kit is way off. I needed to trim about 6mm (1/4 ") off these shafts to make them fit. The reason I think this is, is because the sprue in this type VIIb kit looks dangerously close to the exact same sprue from the type IXc kit. Mirage may have decided to cast one sprue and include it in multiple kits. Since the IXc has longer prop shafts, those were molded instead of a shorter shaft for the VIIb. This is all speculation on my part. It's no big deal, I just trimmed off what I had to by clipping off the end with my sprue removal tool. Don't take my word that exactly 6mm (1/4") needs to be trimmed. Hold the shaft up to the hull and determine for yourself and trim accordingly. Make certain that the part you have is actually the prop shaft and NOT one of the periscopes, as they are very similar in size and shape (don't ask me why I'm warning you....a person should always take time and pay attention to detail). I like to put a little puddle of meduim gap CA on my glass work surface. I will then dip the tiny parts that need gluing into the CA and place them where needed using tweezers. I first glue the prop shaft onto the prop support bracket. I then glue this assembly onto the hull. This takes a little fiddling around. I found that I couldn't get the fit PERFECT between the prop shaft and the hull so I trimmed a little of the excess away with a hobby knife. I was willing to sacrifice a little bit of scale accuracy in order to have a flush fit in this area. The fit between the prop support bracket and the hull is less than desireable as well so I dabbed just a bit of the CA between the bracket and the hull to form a "weld". When this dries, I will be sanding it. The finished result will be a smooth transition between the prop support bracket and the hull. All in all, the fit for this entire prop area is poor and as I have mentioned, needs a little work. Nothing major, but be prepared to spend a little time getting it to look right. I've never done a scale model yet that hasn't needed a little work so don't let this turn you off of this kit. If I didn't enjoy these little 1:400 kits from Mirage, I wouldn't be working on my 3rd. Besides, it's all good practice for scratch building something.

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* As you can see from the photos, I have assembled the sub stand that comes with the kit. This should actually be the first step in this project so that you have something to put the hull on, even if you don't entend on using it in your display. *

* Another invaluable tool I have on my hobby bench is a hobby vice. The rubber jaws hold things well without marking. The quick suction mount works excellently on the glass surface, allowing you to move and remove the vice as you see fit. The one I have has a totally adjustable head allowing you to tilt the model as needed. I think I paid $20.00 for this one *

* Steps 1-4 took approx 3 hours to complete *
"I don't have anything else planned for this afternoon." - Lt. Col J.O.E. Vandeleur

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Postby Mylo » Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:10 pm

STEP 5: Dive plane and rudder assembly.

I spent a considerable amount of time just fiddling around with the stern dive planes to get them mounted right. As in the IXc kit I did in this scale, the stern dive plane and rudder assembly on this VIIb is the most finicky part of the entire project. Lots of little pieces in a cramped space. I did the stern dive planes first followed by the rudders. A brass rudder mounting bracket is included in the brass detail kit and is easy to glue into place. This bracket secures the twin rudders nicely. The whole rear assembly is very fragile. I will dab CA where the parts join to form, what I call, a weld between the parts. I will then hit this weld with a shot of CA accelerant. This instantly bonds the parts. Don't be afraid to get the accelerant all over your model as it sprays out of the bottle. It is alcohol based and evaporates quickly. There will be some staining from the remaining residue, but this is either sanded off or painted over. Once the rear was done, I mounted the bow dive planes. The bow planes were very easy with the control shafts acting as mounting pins. I did have to trim a little bit of the bow plane control arms off in order for them to mount flush to the hull. Even though this trimming makes the control arms a little out of scale, this did not concern me. If it would concern you, you may want to use some putty to fill the little gap in front of the bow plane control arms and sand to shape. I get a little lazy when it comes to the dive planes as they can't be seen in the photos I take afterwards. After all the dive planes and rudder assembly is mounted and "dabbed" with a little CA in the areas that look like they need a little filler, I will sand the CA joints with my sanding pen. Be very light with this. As I mentioned, the entire assembly is very fragile, or at least, should be. If it isn't, you've used too much glue. There have been instances where the CA welds are a little too big to be sanded efficiently and chipping the CA off with a hobby knife only results in the part breaking off. What I will do in these situations is use my 25 watt soldering iron to burn off the excess CA. You have to be as steady as a surgeon with this process or the obvious will happen...you will melt your model and do more damage than good. When the soldering iron gets hot, you only have to touch the CA and it instantly burns away with a nice little plume of smoke. (I got a good wiff of this smoke one time and it darn near floored me. I'm sure I'll pay the health price for that later). When you are done with the soldering iron, just a little finishing with the sanding pen is all that is required. I never spend too much time on this part of the model. I mean, you can spend a lifetime on any given modelling project if you want. There has to come a time where you say, "That's good enough." and move on. For me, the dive planes and rudder get the "That's good enough" voice sooner than areas that are seen in the photos. Like anything, you decide how picky you want to be. Once the dive planes and rudder assembly is complete to satisfaction, the hull assembly can be put aside while you move on to the conning tower. Everything should be completed with the rear assembly with the exception of the props. The brass detail kit includes two nice thin props. These props should be the very last thing you install on the model. They are brass, and you want to keep them looking that way. To put them on now would mean they get painted, and you don't want that....unless of course....you do want that....for whatever reason.

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"I don't have anything else planned for this afternoon." - Lt. Col J.O.E. Vandeleur

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Postby Mylo » Thu Sep 15, 2005 6:58 pm

STEP 6: Conning Tower

The first thing I will do to the conning tower is install the bridge floor. This kit provides a couple different floors, make sure you pick the right one. In all honesty, I don't know what the other floor is for. I think it goes back to that "Mulitple parts for different subs on the same sprue in the same kit". Incidently, on that note, I solved the prop shaft mystery. This kit DOES include the proper length prop shafts on one of the sprues. I used, what are obviously, prop shafts for the IXc because, as I had just completed the IXc kit, I went to the same part of the sprue to locate the shafts. My initial assumption was correct, these kits and sprues contain parts to build many different versions of the same type, as well as different types of U-Boats. This is not a bad thing, you get extra parts. Just don't do what I did and modify IXc prop shafts to fit.....Ooops. Once the bridge floor is in, the floor and railings for the wintergarten are installed. This is a piece in the brass detail kit and is probably the one piece that should make you buy the kit. A wintergarten without the hand rails isn't much of a wintergarten. This is a vital detail on any U-Boat as far as I'm concerned. The stock kit does not come with wintergarten hand rails. I figured the time alone that I saved in not having to scratch build wintergarten hand rails of this scale was worth the price of the detail kit alone. When separating the detail part from the sprue, do not separate the hand rails from the wintergarten floor. There will be one tiny join between the rails and the floor. When you separate this detail from the sprue, you simply bend this tiny joint to place the hand rails perpendicular to the floor. On the sprue, everything is lying flat. Once this bend is made, the hand rails have to be bent and adjusted into the proper shape. Once I have the basic shaping of the handrails, I will glue this detail piece onto the bridge floor. After this is mounted, I will continue to adjust it until I figure it is about as good as I'm going to get it. I find that I can not replicate exactly the actual shape of wintergarten handrails, namely in that the upper one is of a larger circumference than the lower one. The detail part doesn't seem to take that into consideration so the thing just had to be played with until it looks "pretty good". After the handrails I installed the 20mm AA gun. The brass kit includes recoil pads (a "stock" basically) for the 20mm AA gun. It is argueable that you are not likely to find a smaller piece in the entire scope of model building than this thing. Having said that, it does add a nice touch to the 20mm gun, bringing it much more scale looking. The stock part must be trimmed off for the detail part to replace it. Once the recoil pad is in place, I will mount the AA gun into it's position on the wintergarten. Next come the periscopes. I trimmed the front (observation) scope a little so that it would be shorter than the attack scope. It must be taken into account that these models aren't meant to be perfect scale representations. The scale is simply too small to allow for every tiny detail. You can see this in the periscope mounting. The bridge is lacking in fine detail. Again, this kind of thing doesn't bother me. If it would bother you, either choose a larger scale or scratch build very tiny parts as the brass detail kit does not even come with these fine details.

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On the tip of this hobby knife is the recoil pads I mentioned and on the self healing pad next to the tip of the knife is the 20mm AA gun. I'm not sure if they can be seen. Gives you an idea of the size.

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Sorry, my cam just isn't capable of capturing the fine detail of this model in general. It's not rocket science and you shouldn't need photos for this part. It's just very teeny parts that you have to fiddle with a bit to get looking right. The small scale of this model will eat up time installing and mounting very small parts. If this intimidates you, do not build this sub. If, like me, this challenges you to make a very small model have enough fine detail to make it look like a much bigger model, you will enjoy this kit combined with the brass details. If the end product turns out similar to the type IXc kit I built, I will be pleased with the results and the photo shoot of this type VIIb should be cool.

It took me 2 hours to do the work on this conning tower.
"I don't have anything else planned for this afternoon." - Lt. Col J.O.E. Vandeleur

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Postby Captain Nemo12 » Thu Sep 15, 2005 10:22 pm

Wow! Such a great thread for such a small boat! I can't believe how precise your work is Mylo, I remember doing the conning tower of my Type IXb U-107, the boat was from Mini Hobby Models (old Trumpeter brand) and the scale was 1/200. At 1/400th scale, the work must be twice as hard! Especially dealing with so tiny parts, I imagine tweezers and hobby knives are a must! :D Anyways, keep it up! I've always wanted to do a small Mirage Type II. Plus, those box arts gotta be some of the best looking ones in the world!
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Postby Mylo » Fri Sep 16, 2005 10:02 am

Nemo,

Thanks for the response. My intention here is to cast some light on what building one of these little babies is all about. I learned some lessons the hard way.

I said it the best I could when I said that if you like being challenged to make a small boat look more like a big boat, you will enjoy these 1:400 kits. If the thought of using tweezers to handle just about everything makes you cringe, stay clear of this scale, at least for U-Boats. I enjoy this scale.....I can put lots of boats on display on one shelf :). It's actually the photographing of them that I am starting to get "into."

I encourage you to try the type IIA kit. I always include the brass details for these subs. For the IIa, it is the guard rails included in the brass detail kit that really set the sub off. You can imagine how tiny they are. The actual guard rails being 2" in diameter and the kit being 1:400.....you do the math. I would send you photos of the IIa kit I did but, I don't have any. My IIa got "depth charged" while doing real water tests. (I forgot that I left it submerged in my test pool (bowl of water). Came back a couple days later and the finish on it was toast...about 15 hours and $15.00 (sub and detail kit) down the drain). I will very likely do another IIa for my collection.

As for the cover art, yes I agree. They are cool drawings. The boxes for these kits are about twice as big as they need to be, if not 3 times, especially for the IIa. Not sure why, you would think that the manufacturers would want to make boxes as small as possible for cost and shelving reasons. Which reminds me of another point.

I purchase these kits from 2000 Squadron and was very pleased with their service. Shipping here to Canada to a tiny little town in rural Saskatchewan took, what I thought, was a reasonable amount of time. From the time I placed the order it took, I think about 2 weeks. The kits came well packaged and everything was there. I purchased a IIa, VIIb, and IXc with all the brass detail kits all at the same time. Billing went without a hitch over the net with S&H costs being acceptable.

Glad you enjoyed the thread. .....I'm not done yet though.

Mylo
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Postby Mylo » Mon Sep 19, 2005 11:06 pm

STEP 7: Deck details.

Time to put the conning tower aside now and put your hull back in the vice. Place detail parts such as hatch covers, those rear wire support things, the net cutter, anchor, the mount where the deck gun goes, and the tie down cleats (there's a name for those too. One day, I'll figure out all the names of this stuff). These things are just small parts. There are really no secrets to installing them other than being real careful with your tweezers and using the CA glue sparingly. Other than that, it's just a matter of fiddling. I will try very hard to work over top of my glass surface so if....no...when, the piece falls, I will be able to find it. If these parts take off out of your tweezers.....say goodbye.

The tie downs have a "trick". You will see on the brass deck where these tie downs are supposed to be. I will take my pin vice drill and drill out two holes in each rectangular area where the tie downs go. The holes will be just big enough to accept .020 brass wire (I don't know what the # of the bit is. All my bits kind of got "shuffled" together one day and now I just pick the ones that look the right size). Once the holes are drilled, I cut off a generous piece of .020 brass wire (12mm 1/2") and insert the wire into each hole. I will push the wire down into the styrofoam that was inserted into the hull originally. I will use flat tweezers to do this. It is rare that I will actually need to glue these parts as the styrofoam will hold them. The excess is then trimmed with my wire cutters and finally, ground down even more until I get the height right. The grinding process also puts a bit of a flare on the end. It is the fine details like this that really shine on this model and are worth the time, in my opinion, to get in there.

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Postby Mylo » Wed Sep 21, 2005 11:50 pm

STEP 8: Mounting the conning tower.

You may wonder why I chose to do the hull, then the conning tower, back to the hull and now mount the conning tower. The reason, for me, is simple. I like to change what I'm doing from time to time. After spending a few hours on the hull, I like to move on to something a little different, and then come back again. It is one way I stay motivated.

I will shave off the locating tab with a hobby knife on the bottom of the conning tower as I find it does not allow for a nice flush fit against the brass deck. After that, I will sand the bottom flat with 400 grit. Caution not to take too much material off and make your tower out of scale.

CA glue is used to attach the conning tower to the deck. You have to use a little extra caution that you are mounting it in the right place due to the absence of the locating tab. Once the conning tower is mounted, I will dab in a little CA along the joint between the tower and the deck to seal the seam. Once the CA has dried, it will be sanded to form a nice fit between the tower and deck as opposed to the unsightly gap that can be there. Med gap fill CA + CA accelerant = your friend. Like any friend, do not abuse.

At this stage, the model is really starting to look like a type VIIb.

Time to complete phase 8 : 1 hour.

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** Tip of the Year ** I forgot to mention this in my phase that included the grinding with the motor tool. * WEAR SAFETY GLASSES * I'm not saying this as some sort of disclaimer. The reason I'm saying this is because...well...I USED to be one of those "Ya, ya...whatever" type of guys when it came to wearing saftety gear. That all changed the day I got a sliver of brass in my eye from grinding something. I couldn't get it out myself so down to emerg I go, wait in line all day, have the Dr. put drops to freeze my eye, then pluck the sliver out with some surgical tweezers, patch on my eye for the rest of the day, then go home. I lost an entire day that I could have spent doing something I enjoyed. I find that I put on a good pair of safety glasses and will forget that I'm actually wearing them. Learn from someones stupidity. They really are a good idea.
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Postby Mylo » Fri Sep 23, 2005 7:23 pm

STEP 9: Deck gun and side rails.

The deck gun is a very simple install. Scrape the flash off with a hobby knife, dip it in CA, and stick it on the mount. Done. Time 2 min.

The side rails are a completely different can of worms. I struggled with the side rails for about 1 1/2 hours. They were being "uncooperative" to say the least. It is imperative that you do not bend the side rails during the install. They are straight on the sprue and you want to keep them that way (I learn't that lesson on my type IIA). The technique isn't any different than with any of the other tiny pieces. Cut from sprue with a hobby knife, handle with tweezers, dip in CA, and place, having your accelerant in the other hand for a quick squirt to secure. For some reason, these rails did not want to stick to the deck. What I ended up doing is dabbing a little bit of CA on the deck and placed the rail in it. I try to stay away from doing this as it leaves a little bump of CA on the deck. Once I got the rail to stick, I dabbed a little bit of CA in a couple other spots and then sprayed it with accelerant at pretty much the same time. Once I was confident that the rail was secure, I got my soldering iron out and burned off the excess CA (the bumps) that got on the deck. This must be what performing open brain surgery is like. One slip and you will melt your boat. Once the excess CA was burned off, I gently bent the rails outward a little to match what the real ones look like. Once the rails were done (thank God), I cut a small length of .020 brass wire and attached it for the flag pole at the back of the wintergarten. It's a little out of scale but, I can live with it (.020 brass is all I had on hand).. The flag is going to conceal most of it anyway.

The type VIIb is now ready for paint.

Time to complete: 2 hours. (darn side rails).

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Dabbing CA. The fingers that aren't holding the toothpick with the CA on the end are resting on the vice to provide stability.

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Burning excess CA off with the soldering iron.

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The VIIb is ready for paint.
"I don't have anything else planned for this afternoon." - Lt. Col J.O.E. Vandeleur

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Postby Mylo » Thu Oct 13, 2005 5:53 pm

STEP 10: First paint colour.

Since I am painting this type VIIb with the upper hull colour being Hellgrau 50 (Light grey), I am using Model Flex Primer Grey for this. I like the Model Flex paints due to the fact that they are water based making for easy and odourless cleanup as well as being able to thin them with rubbing alcohol. I find that the Model Flex paints cover well, showing all the detail. According to the directions on the label, you don't have to thin these paints. However, I find that I will add about 10% rubbing alcohol to the mix to thin it out just a little bit. I always apply my airbrush paint in multiple, very thin, passes. The paint dries upon application almost immediately, at least dry enough to just keep applying coates. I use an alligator clip attached to the keel. Holding that in one hand and the airbrush in the other, I just keep making pass after pass, rotating the model as I go to make sure I get into every nook and cranny. THIN passes is the name of the game here. I will paint the entire sub with this colour. Once complete with this, I will let it dry completely. (I will always leave it overnight for this phase) before masking off the lower hull anti corrosion colour.

I use an Iwata Revolution double action airbrush. I am very pleased with this brush. It was inexpensive ($100 Canadian which includes all shipping costs), durable, well built brass construction, and best of all, it cleans easily. This brush suits my needs just fine as I don't consider any work that I do to demand anything fancy. I had a Testors Aztek before, which was a piece of junk that I eventually became so frustrated with I turfed it in the garbage.

My "paint booth" consists of a cardboard box with a hole cut in the back where I insert the hose from my shop vac. On top, I cut out another hole where I mount my trouble light. I will place two furnace filters at the back between the work area and the shop vac hose. I will then turn my work bench lamp to shine in there as well. My shop vac is then placed just outside the door which leads outside. It works very well at sucking all the fumes and overspray through the vac and out the door. When you're on a budget, you've got to do what you can. I stole my wife's fondu turn table, covered it up, and use it to place parts on stands that need rotating, eliminating the need to handle anything. It's all very makeshift but, it works until I "design" something better.

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"I don't have anything else planned for this afternoon." - Lt. Col J.O.E. Vandeleur

A Bridge Too Far (1977)
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Mylo
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Postby Mylo » Thu Oct 27, 2005 3:58 pm

STEP 11: Lower Hull colour.

Once the upper colour is completely dry, mask off the upper portion of the hull. I will use 1/4" masking tape that is the green stuff followed by 3" tape to complete the job. You want to make sure you burnish the tape down well, but not too much or it will lift your first paint colour.

Once masked, paint the lower hull colour. I used "Engine black" mixed with some "Primer Grey" with just a couple drops of med blue to come up with the Schiffsbodenfarbe (Lower boat colour) typically found. I don't know if it's bang on but, it seems right. I don't make any claims on this thread that everything is just perfect. It remains a hobby to me and not a living for a museum. I load this up into my airbrush and just as I did with the first colour, I will make light pass after light pass until I get everything covered. I only give it a minute to dry, then I peel the mask off. The main reason I do this so fast is.....I just have to see what it looks like. I had a little bit of the first paint lift in places where the masking tape stuck too much. At first, I was not very happy with this but after touching it up with the right colour and a brush, it actually added to the weathered effect of the model. I mean, I don't expect that paint jobs were perfect on the real boats either. The end result is that the boat looks right. The flaws were so small anyway that they were very easy to touch up with just a dab of paint from a brush. I left the model to dry overnight.

STEP 12: Finishing up.

Next I fill some colour into the limber and flood holes. I do this by using a fairly strong solution of india ink in rubbing alcohol. The ink is so dark and so fine, that it settles well into every little crevice while the alcohol dries quickly. About 50ml of ink to 500 ml alcohol is what I use for this. I will then just paint this solution right over the model, holes and all. Don't worry that the ink will stain the boat as this is the next step anyway.

Once I "flood" the holes with the ink / alcohol solution, I will get a much lighter concentration of the same ink and alcohol and apply it to the entire sub with a brush. This "weathering" does a couple things. The solution brings out the fine details by the ink settling into the small areas. As well, this step generally "dirties up" the sub, making it look used. You can experiment with different ratios mixtures as well as just brushing on straight alcohol on an area you feel you put too much. You some caution, too much playing around with this step and you will start to lift your paint job. Splash around with it until it looks right to you.

When this weathering process is completed, next comes the rust. I use Terracotta acrylic artist paint. The stuff you find in the, I think, about 3oz little squeeze bottle. I will put a little bit on my work bench and mix in various amounts of alcohol to get different consistancies. Dab this mixture where you are likely to find rust on a sub. Just look at photos and use your own common sense as to where this might be. Again, play around until it looks right to you. Careful when weathering subs, less is often more. You don't want the thing to look like it belongs in the bone yard.....unless....that's what you want, I suppose.

Now it's time to stick those nice brass props on.

Lastly, I carefully cut out and CA glued the flag on. I then applied some decal softening solution in order to not make it look so rigid and "fake" looking, like a plastic flag or something. I just kind of gave it a natural bend down. The decal started to damage so, I just left it alone after a little bit.

Voila, a 1:400 type VIIb.

I hope this thread was helpful and showed a little insight as to what building a U-Boat in this scale entails.

Happy hunting.

Myles.

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"I don't have anything else planned for this afternoon." - Lt. Col J.O.E. Vandeleur

A Bridge Too Far (1977)
User avatar
Mylo
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Posts: 731
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2005 8:10 pm
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada

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