Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Descendants

I've been terribly dilatory about posting something this month.  There's a few reasons, and some of them I think are fairly reasonable.  For openers, I've finally decided to really start taking care of myself like my doctor said to do almost a year ago.  Consequently, I'm walking for an hour a day either 5 or 6 days a week.  It's not the 7 days a week he wanted, but it's better than what I was doing.

I've also started a new hobby that takes up a bit of time.  About a year ago, I started taking fencing lessons.  I did it in college, and then didn't for 30+ years.  Well, much to my surprise the city here teaches it as an adult fitness course so I took it up again.   As I've taken more lessons, I've started fencing with a couple of different groups.  Along with this, my wife retired after 26+ years with the city and we've been enjoying doing things together.  All the above, combined with a bit of general laziness this New Year, has kept me from updating as much as I've wanted.  With this post though, we should get 2019 started off on the right foot.

The plan is to play the first Cod War game in March, so that is what I've been painting so far this year.  I've gotten another sidewinder trawler painted, along with a couple of Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) vessels painted.  I'll put pictures of those up later, but honestly, they're not very interesting as the ICG vessels are just shades of gray.  What has me really excited is the chance to paint up some Royal Navy vessels.

The first vessels here are a pair of Type 12M Rothesay class frigates.  Honestly, I bought them from Shapeways thinking they were Type 12I Leander class vessels but I was wrong.  To make things worse, I didn't realize this until I had shortened the mainmast to put the distinctive Leander class radar antenna on them.  After kicking myself for my mistake, I decided to go ahead and put the antennae on the ships, thereby turning them into a sort of generic Royal Navy frigate.  The Rothesay class ships also served during the Cod Wars, so I'm not really out of bounds by using them.

To me, these ships are direct descendants of my British sailing ships (hence the title of this post).  That's one reason I'm excited about painting them, but the other reason is that they carry a really snazzy paint job.  Light gray hull and superstructures, dark green decks and a dark gray helicopter landing area with white markings make for a very distinctive looking ship.  You can see for yourself in the photos below:
HMS Plymouth (F126) and HMS Falmouth (F113).

HMS Plymouth

HMS Falmouth
Clearly, one of these ships isn't quite finished yet.  Plymouth needs to have the base detailed, and some final little bits done to her.  I added the radar antenna (that large dark colored block on top of the mainmast) and the extension on top of the foremast for both ships.  The foremast extension was done with .20 wire, so as to keep people from brushing against it; the Smooth Fine Detail plastic used by Shapeways is good at capturing detail but a little bit fragile.  Hopefully this will keep players from using the foremast to move the ships.  There were several whip antennae along the deck of these ships, but I haven't decided whether or not to add those.  If I do, it should be easy to use some brush bristles cut to length.

Sharp-eyed observers may note that the hull of Falmouth looks a bit rougher than the one on Plymouth.  This is partially due to some paint problems I had on Falmouth and partially due to the way the hulls on these ships are printed.  All three of these ships have some heavy striations due to the various angles on the hull.  I'm not sure why there weren't as visible on Plymouth, but I am presuming that the way I prepped the second hull might have helped hide them.  Problem is, I'm not sure what I did!

These aren't the only Royal Navy ships for this period I've got, and I will post the others as I get them done.  In closing though, I would be seriously remiss if I didn't admit that part of the reason for this post are my two virtual shipmates: Stew and Vol.  By making some posts on their blogs this month, they kind of shamed me into doing the same. 😬  Thanks guys, and things should be back on track now!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Shapeways customer service

This wasn't a post I was planning on writing just before Christmas, but it seems like too good a story to pass up.

On 12/19, I received another Shapeways order that contained my two Leander class frigates to go with the Cod Wars project.  Much to my surprise, one of them was misprinted.  The first one out of the bag looked like this:


The second one though, looked like this:

What the...?
Now I'm not an expert on Leander class frigates, but I've never seen ANY pictures that show one with an extra deckhouse there.  So, I fired off an email to Shapeways telling them that there was a problem with my order.  Almost immediately, I got an automated email with the usual "sorry" and asking if I would send any pictures of the problem.  It took me a couple of hours to get the pictures made and sent; in fact, the above photos are the ones I used. 

About 5 hours later, I get an email back from Shapeways customer support, which is located in the EU.  The employee (I wasn't sure about the person's gender based on their name) told me they were sorry about this, and that they would replace it.  I tell them that's fine, and that I understand if it takes a few days to get done due to the holidays.  I figure that's it for now.  Keep in mind, this all happened on 12/19.

At 0845 on 12/20, I get an email from Shapeways that tells me the replacement order has been made, and should ship by January 7, 2019.  That's fine by me, as there's plenty of other stuff to paint while I'm waiting.  At 1328 on 12/20, I get another email telling me my new order is being printed.  OK, now I'm pretty impressed, as that's a good level of service.  This morning (12/21) at 1050, I get an email telling me the order is being shipped and giving me a tracking number.  Now I'm REALLY impressed with Shapeways customer service! 

Now, you could argue that something that obvious should never have been sent out, and I would agree with you.  However, the rapidity with which Shapeways has moved to make it right, especially during a busy holiday season, is certainly a big plus in their favor.  We all have stories of horrible customer service, so when we get really good customer service I think we should let people know.

This is probably the last post before the end of the year.  If it is, here's a Happy Holidays to everyone out there, whatever the holiday you're celebrating might be.  Be careful on New Year's Eve, and we will see each other again in 2019.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Quick Programming Note. . . .

I'm going out of town with the family for a few days and am not taking a computer with me.  If someone makes a comment, PLEASE rest assured that I'm not ignoring you.  Should anyone comment while I'm out of pocket, I promise to answer when I get back.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

So, about those clear ships....

This is going to be just a quick post before the craziness of the holiday season takes over and pretty much shuts everything down.  In my Cod Wars post, I put up some pictures of the Shapeways 3D printed ships that are going to make up the project.  Several people in the comments section on that post were curious as to what the models would look like when they were painted.  So, for one of the last posts of the year, here are some pictures of what I've done so far.

While the ships are finished, the bases are not.  There will be some waves, and wakes around the ships.  The ships are finished though, and that's what I'm showing off here.  I've tried to paint these based on ships that were involved in the Cod Wars, and not just generic examples.  For the side trawlers, that's been pretty easy and there are lots of photos of them.  For stern trawlers, it's been a little more difficult.  I haven't painted any stern trawlers yet, so for right now it's not really an issue.

First up is the trawler Westella.  Her registration number was H194, which I'm pretty sure means she was based in Hull.  Here's a picture of the original:


And here is my version of her:


The hardest thing has been matching the color of the cabin, and I still didn't get it completely right.  In real life, the cabins are steel but are painted to look like woodgrain.  I can't do that in this scale, so went with the darker yellow (which is clearly still not dark enough).  I also might still put some black dashes along the deck area to simulate the drain holes to let water flow away.  All these trawlers come with the mast, but you have to add the supports that run forward.  Those are made of brush bristles.

Next is the Arctic Corsair.  She is another Hull trawler (H320), and is preserved as a museum ship in Hull.  She definitely participated in the last Cod War, as she rammed the Icelandic Coast Guard vessel (ICGV) Odin after that ship tried three times to cut the Arctic Corsair's lines to her nets.  As with Westella above, here is the real thing:




And here is my version of her:




I know the rust looks a little overdone.  However, in looking at photos taken of the trawlers at sea, some ships look like the rust is what's holding them together!  I concentrated the rust amidships, since that is where the vessels took the worst beatings, due to hauling in nets.  Also, yes the red band on this funnel should have a white band inside it, but my hands aren't steady enough for that anymore.

One problem that I did run into painting these was that there weren't a lot of color photos at deck level taken of these ships.  Fortunately though, there are a lot of photos on the Trip Adviser.com site for Arctic Corsair, and that's what I used to choose things like deck colors and the like.

So there you have it.  In my opinion, they don't paint up too badly at all.  One piece of advice though; be sure you use a primer on the models after you wash them, and not just any dark colored paint for your basecoat.  Trust me when I tell you that it will make a HUGE difference; in fact, it may well be the difference between painting your models and making the same order again.  That, however, is a story for another post. 😀

EDIT AND QUICK UPDATE:  I want to take a moment and give a big "thank you" to user Grelber over on TMP, who got me to think differently about putting stripes on the funnel.  Instead of painting a red streak and trying to put a white stripe inside it, he suggested painting everything white and using some Sakura Micron pens to put on the red stripes.  It worked extremely well.  My Arctic Corsair model went from this:


To this:


Yes, still a little shaky, but that comes from cleaning up the white area.  I think she now looks a LOT better.