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Author Topic: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale  (Read 498 times)

NickelBelter

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RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« on: March 28, 2020, 11:09:28 AM »

(that's Regia Navale, not Royal Navy)

Haven't posted anything here in a long time, Photobucket going under certainly didn't help my predisposition towards never bothering to take pics and share them!  Always time to change that, tho. 

This is my latest build, the Italian destroyer 'Saetta' of the 'Freccia' class.  I went with 1/72 as I have a River-class frigate in the same scale well underway.  I really do like the Regia Marina ships with their vibrant dazzle schemes, unique green antifouling and candy-striped foc's'les, and this was the easiest one to find plans for. 


Four ships were built in this class around 1930 then a further four with slightly reduced beam as the 'Folgore' class.  Initially, they were fleet destroyers, but their lateral stability was so poor that they had to have 90 tons of ballast fitted, the foremast converted from tripod to pole style, larger bilge keels fitted and several other modifications in order to counter this.  The modifications were not entirely successful, and they reduced the speed to the point where they could not sail as escorts with the new 30-knot 'Littorio' class battleships entering service in the late 30s.  By the time Italy entered the Second World War, the newer Maestrale and Soldati classes were in service, able to do 32 knots with no serious stability issues and so the Freccia/Folgore ships were shifted to convoy escort duty.  They put many miles in on the dangerous routes from Italy to North Africa and all were war losses.  The 'Saetta' was lost in 1942 while going to the aid of the destroyer-escort 'Uragano', which had struck a mine and lost both her screws and shafts; there was a storm blowing and the destroyer was dropped on top of another mine and blown nearly in two. 170 crewmembers including the Captain died in the sinking or from exposure while waiting several days for rescue, leaving just 39 survivors.



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NickelBelter

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Re: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2020, 11:16:38 AM »

I started with the plans by Profile Morskie, which are excellent overall but with a few inaccuracies... the big problem is that there are very few reference images on the 'net, and good references are hard to find.  I ended up paying almost 300 dollars for M. Brescia's 'Mussonlini's Navy', which did provide excellent information on the class but had only one tiny picture from the 1930s of this particular destroyer.  I plan on buying a camoflage reference book with port and starboard views of the complex splinter pattern by the time I get around to painting.

Everything started out well enough with a normal upside-down hull on a building board... nothing that needs any detailed explanation.



I planked it with black ash wood.  Why?  Because it was free, in 5ft lengths, and given to me in plank form.   %)   I would say it's flexible for a hardwood, but nothing as nice as basswood to work with.  The upside is that this hull is borderline bulletproof. 


Of course, no planks would fit the curves at the extreme bow and stern, so I used vertical planks and carved basswood blocks fore and aft to give the hull its final shape
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Shipmate60

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Re: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2020, 11:53:54 AM »

That planking looks tidy.
You dont see many spokeshaves these days.


Bob
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NickelBelter

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Re: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2020, 08:14:47 PM »

They're still out there!  Veritas over here in Canada makes two very nice modern spokeshaves, and there's lots of old Stanleys like mine floating around.  I find they're the perfect tool to round over the edges of planks while fairing out the curve of the hull. 
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NickelBelter

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Re: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2020, 05:48:52 AM »

After planking and carving was complete, I used Timber-Lock wood filler to smooth the hull out.  It's a water-based filler that uses bentonite clay, so you have to put it on underneath all the waterproofing. It's about as hard as Bondo but with no foul fumes, sands to a feather edge and sticks like dog poop to a shoe, but it's very very dusty when sanding!  Because of that, I never got a pic of the sanding process, as my hands and clothes were black like a coal miner's after each session.  Once it was faired, I applied a coat of epoxy, sanded that, then for some reason I used half-ounce fibreglass cloth on the hull... so light and gossamer that it was hard to work with.  Thankfully its only there to create a matrix with the epoxy. 

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NickelBelter

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Re: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2020, 01:45:19 PM »

I don't have any pics of the next stage - fairing the hull- because things went very, very wrong and it was all I could do to keep from binning it.  I decided to try out some new epoxy filler, but like an oaf I didn't do it on a scrap piece first.  Two-thirds of one side of the hull ended up coated with something that cured to the consistency of semi-frozen cream cheese, and had to be scraped off laboriously with a chisel and knives.  After encapsulating the residue with G-Flex everything seemed hard and proper, but as I sanded it down smooth I broke through into pockets which had to be scooped out and filled in with more G-Flex... repeat this process for about two solid weeks.  Eventually it was all fixed, and I could put down some strips of aluminum duct tape to simulate the plating lines on these vessels.  Picked that trick up from Mariner02 over on RCGroups. 


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Akira

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Re: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2020, 01:54:36 PM »

Very nice clean build. I like your subject choice. We don't see many Italian subjects. Getting to the end of your thread, I thought your pictures looked familiar! Nicely done tape job. I am considering doing so on my big Fletcher. Which tape did you use?Jonathan
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NickelBelter

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Re: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2020, 02:47:10 PM »

I couldn't find the 3M product that Mariner specified, so I went with what the local hardware stores had.  Ended up with something made in Kentucky because it was the only kind with a backing on it, which you need in order to lay out and cut it. 

Couple of points:  Don't put the tape on until last.  I ended up doing it before the plastic decking and as a result I had to putty the join line, and while sanding it I did make a few tiny tears in the tape.  Easy enough to fix with glazing putty.  It sticks very well on its own, but I put some thin CA on the leading edges at the bow to keep them from peeling back.
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Akira

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Re: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2020, 04:29:18 PM »

I have a copy of "Mussilini's Navy and there are four pages of photos of the Freccia/Folgore class. Other than some small dimensional changes, the most obvious difference in the shape of the bridge. Some were round fronted while the others were angled. Interestingly is does not appear to be related to class. Check pg 116.Thanks for the tape tips. I will not have the deck issue that you ran into because my first tape strake is the second strake so the deck edge will be hull. I hope you tapes adhesive is as tenacious as Alan's . His plating is marvelous, especially up close.
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NickelBelter

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Re: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2020, 10:27:28 PM »

I have that book too, a golden resource if you ask me.  The rounded bridges were on the two built by the yard in Fiume, 'Fulmine' and 'Baleno'.  Also, 'Dardo' and 'Strale' had straight stems while the rest had the arched stem you see on my model. 

While we're talking details, I should bring up the major problem with the plans.  Now I love Profile Morskie both for their incredible draftsmanship and their affordability, but everyone makes a mistake at some point.  The plans show the anchor hawse holes on the bow, and that's how I built it.  However, in M. Brescia's book, he points out that all of the class had their anchors relocated to the edge of the foredeck in the late 1930s.  Several of the pictures show the progression, as more and more of the class were modified, but for sure by 1942 she did not have hawsepipes.  The final nail in the coffin is a screenshot I found from a book on RN camouflage in WW2 (that I will probably end up buying) that shows 'Saetta' riding at anchor with the chain clearly coming off the deck edge.  Oh darn.  Had I known this prior to finishing the hull, I would've tried something, but it's too late now and as they say, 'close enough for government work'. 
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Akira

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Re: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2020, 11:32:48 PM »

99.999% of those who look upon your work will not know the difference. Those who now do, like me now that you have enlightened me, won't care because we all make mistakes and/or use modeler's license quite liberally.
My DD-480 never carried dazzle camouflage, but I had never done it and liked the look, so....Build on, she will be great.
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NickelBelter

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Re: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2020, 09:15:08 AM »

Getting close to where things are at now, here's the propeller guards on the stern and the 40mm Type 162 props.  The rudder looks a little on the small side, but I intend to try out a new computerized radio with this one that will let me mix the two shafts to maneuver better. 



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NickelBelter

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Re: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2020, 10:25:22 AM »

Things will slow down a bit now as I've caught up to where I actually am in the build.  Once Old Man Winter is done throwing little snow-squall tantrums I need to get a test tank built out of something as the hull is too long to fit in my bathtub.  After I get a good idea of how much weight is needed and where, I can put on the last of the stern deck and fix the battery tray in place.  In the meantime, superstructure work progresses at a steady clip. 

The decking itself is a bit of a guess... the plans show two upper views, one with a herringbone tread pattern on the whole deck, and one without.  Now, it's a fact that the Regia Marina had such treadplate on certain vessels, such as the cruiser 'Bolzano' and the 'Spica' class torpedo boats, and there's a single picture of several of this class of destroyer moored together where, in the very extreme foreground, the foredeck of one has what appears to be the same herringbone plate.  However, that's not the 'Saetta' and extensive googling and trawling Italian pages on FB for marine modelling has failed to explain the options on the plans fully.  In the end I decided to skin the styrene subdeck with diamond plate styrene, just for looks. 





Both the square openings are the main hatches, which are reinforced and joined together by the 'spine' of the engine room casing.  Rare-earth magnets hold it in place and will keep it there even when turned upside down.  It's not watertight, but as I don't sail in scale hurricanes or monsoons, I don't expect any sort of dangerous water ingress. 


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NickelBelter

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Re: RN 'Saetta' in 1/72 scale
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2020, 07:59:14 PM »

I have finished the two double-gun cradles and almost finished the mounts.  Trying my best to cope with all the details present, especially since most of them will be hard to see when the shields go on!


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