Saturday, March 17, 2012

DML Modern Sea Power Series

I've been needing to make space on my workbench, and not wanting to follow yet again the time honored tradition of modelers everywhere--taking half-built models off the workbench and putting them in a box on the shelf--I redoubled my efforts to finish some. I'm nearly finished with DML kit 7006 USS Benjamin Franklin vs Soviet Sierra Class.
It's comparable to DML's other five 1/700 scale kits of this sort that comprise a pair of subs, one Soviet and one allied, along with a couple ASW or anti-ship aircraft. I started building the series over twenty years ago. There are pictures at my other blog here. Here you get a Lafayette-class sub, according to the nameplate on the base, but decals for Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin-class subs started out with the same external appearance as Lafayette. I chose to follow the nameplate, but wanted the boat's number on the sail (although this is removed while on patrol). Therefore, I printed out decals on my Alps printer with the numeral 616, which I drew in AutoCAD so I could control the size and shape accurately.

In painting Lafayette, I followed US Ballistic Missile Subs by Al Adcock (Squadron/Signal publications), and my own civilian experience, which of course is limited to the part above the waterline. Adcock shows an illustration showing the red lead primer below the mid-line having turned a sickly green color, and explains that this occurs due to long exposure to seawater. This is represented here by Model Master Panzer Olivgrun enamel scrubbed over Rustoleum red primer to lend a mottled appearance. The part above the waterline is Tamiya flat black with various degrees of reflectance (achieved with Future and Polly Scale clear flat acrylic) but dead flat on the areas where sailors would walk. In between is Tamiya Hull Red acrylic. Weathering is mainly Polly Scale grimy black.A missile door is shown open and a Poseidon missile is included; none of my other subs has the missile displayed with it, but I have an idea how to do this and will get back to it in a bit.

A feature the model shows in part is the towed sonar array, a tube along the topside offset to starboard extending aft from the missile compartment. This tube should extend past the starboard tailplane, which you see here: a length of brass wire bent into shape forms the remainder of the sonar array. A feature I didn't bother to add was the mine deflecting cables that extend from the hull to the tailplanes.

It also comes with a Sierra. For all I know, it could be pretty inaccurate, but it looks nice. Less so the Tu-22M Backfire bomber and two Ka-27 Helix helicopters. The Backfire comes with a molded in AS-4 anti-shipping missile and separate wings that could be positioned swept back with a bit of surgery. It also has engraved panel lines easily wide and deep enough for a 1/700 scale man to stick his head inside them. The Helixes don't compare well to DML's other 1/700 aircraft either; they are a little better than shapeless lumps.

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