Online Build, Deck 2
Improving Revell's Arizona Detail
With GMM Photo Etched Brass
You can really improve the look of a scale model with photo etch details. I used to wonder why spending twice the cost of the model for brass details is worth it despite the fact it triples your work and for most of us, means we really need that magna-visor.
It is amazing how many detail parts can be packed into a Gold Medal Models USS Arizona/Pennsylvania 4 ½ by 9 ¾-inch brass sheet.
When I built my first model of the USS Arizona (too many decades ago), I was really happy with the detail, the small plastic cranes, the rails, the ladders and the catapults…little did I know then.
A few years later I learned what scale was all about, what a crane or an incline ladder really looks like at 1:426.
This is an outstanding kit from someone who has over two decades of producing photo etch materials for modelers. I find vendors who have over 10 years in the business provide an amazing level of customer service. I wasn’t disappointed with the support Loren Perry provides for his GMM customers.
If you haven’t worked with photo etched material before, here are some tips I found that makes the process a lot easier.
Work from the inside out—This gives you a plan. I didn’t start working with PE until I had assembled and painted the super structure pieces Bridges and platforms assembly; stack assembly, mainmast and foremast assemblies along with the fore, aft and mid-deck pieces.
Start by cutting—Perhaps the most difficult part of adding photo etched parts to your model will be cutting away the item(s) they replace. The molded on railings, ladders, and gun tubs or splinter shields.
1. Before assembling the bridge and platform assembly slice the molded rails from each individual piece. The best tool is the #11 Exacto blade wielded in its metal handle. Use care. I made the initial cut with a pair of wire cutters and then worked the knife blade along the floor of the part cutting away the railing in pieces. Once the floor was “derailed” I sanded it smooth with a manicure stick.
2. I used a similar methodology to strip away the dozen gun tubs from the superstructure deck leaving the edges of the deck smooth with holes for the anti-aircraft guns.
3. The final cutting (at least on the Arizona) was eliminating the inclined ladders that are above deck. I started with the Exacto blade but soon found it easier to cut the molded ladders away with the wire cutters and then using the blade to clean up.
The GMM instructions show you which style railings are used for what assembly. The main bridges/platforms assembly requires a set style.
Here is a real secret, if you contact the kit manufacturer and tell them you are trying to produce a superior rendition of their model and you need some replacement parts (I got each of the bridge sub assemblies for no charge) they can save you a lot of work.
It is far simpler to fit railings around the clover leaf floor pattern of the range finder platform by bending the rails around the molded railings of a fresh cloverleaf piece.You can do this before cutting the plastic rail away and then attach the photo etched rail in its place.
This works for each individual deck of the super structure where rails are required. I was also able to obtain new left and right hulls to allow me to press-fit the brass rails in place to capture the Arizona’s unusual deck shape.
Keep the process organized and your workspace junk free.—Once you start cutting the pieces free from the fret (the brass panel holding the parts) you need a container to keep them corralled. I use a used Life Saver Fruit Tarts candy tin that has a quick coat of red paint on the bottom to contrast the brass pieces.
I apply the first coat of color to the parts before they are cut from the fret. This is a thin coat often with minimal pigment just to give the final coat something to “bite” to other than shiny brass.
Fresh Photo Etch Tips
To attach photo etched rails to the deck you can use one of three techniques:
1. Depending on your model, you may find the railings fit best flush to the hull edge. In most the hull will fit flush with the edge of the deck. Use super glue to attach these railing sections as it provides a quick bond which will help hold the railing section in place.
2. Sometimes you will have a model with rail stanchions slightly recessed below the edge of the deck. This will require a hole at each stanchion spot which can be made with a twist drill. Again superglue will give you the most solid joint, but you can use a clear plastics cement
3. Often you will need to attach the rail to the edge of the deck’s lip. I have found this is best accomplished by dribbling a couple drops of superglue on a piece of glass and drawing the base of the railing through it and picking up a fine line of it to attach the railing.
You will find it easiest if you work in sections at least 3 inches long handling them with one or two pairs of tweezers.