Building card-model ‘Diana’ by Dom Bumagi

I decided to get back into paper modelling at last and chose to start the ‘Diana’, which I bought while living in Ukraine in 2015. I have a number of (unmade!) models of the Pallada class In 1:200, the other ones are all of the Aurora depicted in different build years and by different companies, Polish, Russian and now this, Ukrainian, one.

Looks very impressive and I have not yet built one of their ‘super-detailed’ models, so here goes!

This is actually only my second warship in paper, my first having been the Ark Royal by ‘Maly Modelarz’ probably twelve years ago… a very satisfying build and an impressive display piece, despite its comparative simplicity. That one was stolen (!) during a break-in in 2010. I did have a go at another Russian ship of the line, Bogatyr, but that was damaged badly during the build and had to be scrapped last year 🙁 Up until now I had built quite a few aircraft, which made very pleasing models (but take up a lot of space ) and so I started a  sailing ship , the ‘Coureur’ – still work in progress and the SMS Götzen, which is undergoing a conversion to it’s present livery and build state as still used in Africa.

Regarding the Diana, I’ll skip the history etc and go straight to the model.

I decided to buy the laser-cut frames to save time. Nice is that it can be built either as a waterline model or complete with the hull below the waterline. I didn’t think to compare the laser-cut to those printed As templates in the sheets, I’ll definitely do it the next time, though. The reason I say that is, the width of the laser-cut profiles for the hull below the water-line was wider than the parts for the upper half. Not by a lot, but definitely so. A little less than 0.3mm all round, which is thicker than the card for the hull covering, which will leave an unsightly step? This also means probable trouble fitting the top half of the model? The frames fitted nicely together and were unproblematical, bottom and top halves being made separately, checking them regularly for squareness.

Each individual part of the frames is trimmed and sanded prior to assembly after cutting free, so there are no ‘nibs’ sticking out where they were cut from the card carrier-frame, which would possibly distort or ‘grow’ the assembly unwittingly.

Having glued them up and left them to dry, I filled the hollow frame of the hull with a new material I wanted to try out, but which it turned out is very messy (it leaves a fine dust which sticks to everythingand is too soft. Can’t even remember what it is called, but it was used at the wharf for coring out the reinforcements in the hulls. I shan’t be using it again. Below, you can see that the left hand side is finished and the right is not! It is also visible that it is subject to crushing and therefore difficult to glue.

After sanding the hull to shape, I then filled out the upper half above the waterline (NOT sanding it to shape yet), glued the upper and lower parts together put it all aside to dry and settle:

The next stage is the ‘copper’ hull: Not perfect, but doesn’t look bad either 🙂

I made the decision again to do the deck in real wood, planked as the original, like some of the other ships I have done – to me it really is worth the trouble. I still had some very thin veneer of the right sort and set about cutting strips about 0.7mm wide in preparation for the bow-deck. Here the deck is started, a sharp scalpel and ruler for cutting and placing the planks. A razor was used to cut the strips, the scalpel is used to cut them to length as I glue them to the reference base – a scan of the original checked for size (VERY important, as scanners and printers do the strangest things to proportions!) and printed out on very thin typewriter-copy-paper.

Cutting is a lengthy process and requires an extremely sharp and thin blade and a good straight-edge. As a straight-edge I prefer to use a scraper, as it is sharpened to cut on the edge. Very usefully, the mushroomed edge grips the paper or wood under it, which is ideal to stop creep while you are cutting. If you don’t have one or know how to sharpen it, any carpenter or furniture-maker will lend a hand, I’m sure. Any metal ruler will do, of course, too.

As a blade, use a safety-razor-blade, an old cut-throat razor (my favourite), a scalpel or a ‘Stanley’-knife, whichever is more comfortable. I actually use all of those, depending on the job, though for the decks, both the razors are more accurate for the strips, cutting a proper 90 degrees as the blade is so thin and doesn’t ‘cut and wedge’ like the thicker scalpel and Stanley tend to do, leaving the cut edges in a ‘v’ shape. Any tendency to wedge can be nasty when combined with a slightly angled grain, too, pulling the knife along it. A thin blade is paramount when ‘correcting’ the width of the planks, since realy minute amounts are shaved off to get them ‘just right’. What you cannot see, is that I actually sand the edges of some of the planks to get them at right angles and to be the right width 🙂

The forward deck is planked and there are some more planks ready for the aft portion of the deck, which comes next. Here are a few pics at the beginning of the planking process and the started work.

Here we see the finished aft deck planked in various woods placed over the original printed sheet from the model. A nice weathered look achieved with Schellack and elbow-grease. Hopefully not over the top when it’s finished. The individual planks are never cut from the same strip when they are laid, I always mix them up, otherwise I could take any piece of veneer and draw the plank lines on it. My rather more complicated method gives a little more of an ‘authentic’ look and feel to it, I hope.

And here the fore-deck in the same manner.

You may even spot the array of tools and useful bits and pieces in the background now and then. Here is a view of my workspace in the ‘living-room’, where Maryna does her art (mostly painting) and I do my various tinkering. Looks nice and tidy here, doesn’t it!

While the deck was drying, in between I finished most of the hull below the waterline, as shown earlier. Before I can even think of attaching the hull-section above the waterline, the below-decks 75mm Canet guns have to be made and installed in the hull and the deck has to be completely finished.

The finished deck now looks fine glued in place:

Some close -ups showing the laid up decking:

The foredeck fitted + the entrance to the deck below – just trying for size before fitting the main deck.


Work on the 75mm guns has begun, but I’m still not completely satisfied. The drawings from the instructions are not very conclusive, but I assume that they don’t expect any greater need for detail; but if they include parts, it should at least be clear where they go and how they look when finished: That goes for a lot of the drawings, which out of economy of space, the reverse side of many views is omitted, leaving the builder to fantasise where the parts go, even if they are different to the side shown in the (very good) drawings. Here a few pics of work in progress and one of the reference pictures I found:


Excellent diagrams from their kit – which, however, leave a few questions:

My first efforts at the 75mm at huge magnification:

Here a later pic of work in progress on the Canet 75mm guns intended for inside the ship behind the hatches in the side. I am getting a bit of practice in for the ‘proper’ ones which will be on full display for the upper deck. Note the change in shape of the cradle for the barrel in the bottom picture, being closer to the archive photo of the gun above … Here unmounted and the edges unpainted.

Lots of detail to refine before I will be satisfied for the guns that will be fully visible on deck! 🙂

So, the hull sides also have to have quite a bit of work done on them before fitting to the carcass: The gun recesses at the aft and the recess behind each anchor, for example. There are various other jobs in sight. I want to cut out the portholes and ‘glaze’ them. I was going to fit brass surrounds, but they are a bit garish, so I opted for gold paint instead 🙂

There are a pair of portholes for each anchor which have bars over them…

… Which I made from 0.1mm copper wire stripped out of some electrical leads and blackened with a permanent marker. Holes were pierced in the card with a sharpened needle and the wires threaded through, pulled taut and glued from the back, same as was done for the ‘risers’ for the hatches for the aft most gun, seen below on the right.


Another detail I decided to add is the Hawse pipe, as seen in the picture below: The Hawse hole on these ships is built up outside the hull and will be added later.


As work progresses, the bench tends gets more cluttered and has to be cleared again to move on to the next section of the work…


Here are the mid ships gun mounts positioned in their places in the port hull , prior to fitting the sides. I put them in now, as they wouldn’t fit through the hatches afterwards. I don’t want to fit the barrels yet, as they would make the fitting of the hull sides more difficult to do without damaging them. The black spots will end up behind where the portholes will be afterwards…

Ok, so the port side is now on, after a load of trimming and adjustment, but despite that, looks quite good, if not exactly perfect:

Here the whole side:

One of the storage bins (at huge magnification), which I decided to have a trial at building, despite there not being any help or diagrams from the instructions – I had to resort to the internet to have an idea how they really looked:

Having fitted the forward portion of the hull next to the forward deck, I also wanted to test the fit of the bulges which house the mounts of the Canet 152mm/45cal. Guns. It was not bad, but did need to be ‘modified’. However, I believe that was in part to my slightly oversize deck portion that stuck out. We will see, as all the others have now been trimmed to size! Amazing what half a millimetre can do! Difficult is the double curve aft, where the bulge ‘merges’ into the side. Next time, I’ll also bevel the inside edges to get a smoother transition 🙂 At a ‘normal’ distance, it still looks pretty good, though:

Here the inside of the starboard side showing the Hawse pipe, but before the glazing and the bars on the front portholes.

Those sides have now been glazed and the bars on the forward portholes near the anchor have been added, too. Tomorrow the wires on the hatches for the aft gun will be added, the rest of the gun mounts will be fitted below deck and maybe the starboard sides of the hull will be glued in place!

Now the same from the seen side!

And completed without cover on the Hawes but reinforcements for the Anchors and the Hawes built up

Still a bit of touching up to do on the hull where the waterline meets the sides.

Having done that, the 75mm gun platforms have to be done on the upper deck, which turned out to be a real pain. On all the other models and drawings I have, these outriggers are drawn and constructed as a plain buttress, without reverse curves at the sides. Take a look at the pics and you will see what I mean. Definitely a challenge to build – at least the aft ones only have one side with the reversed curves.

Here is a construction series of that rear one, to show the difference between the straight and the curved side:

And now with the ‘wing formed and stuck down from the inside and out.

And how it fits on the starboard side, prior to fitting the tubes through to the portholes and prior to touching up the white edges:

Now the other side is also done!

Slowly, slowly I move forwards. The baby is due in a few weeks, so I’d better get on with it!

 

Polikarpov I-16 (Halinski) 1:33 cardmodel

I have a special interest in these, as back in the 90s I spent some time in Russia with a team looking for and collecting bits of these aircraft to make replicas of for a New Zealand buyer. We collected eventually enough from 17 wrecks (with different teams spread out all over the place!) to have enough parts to replicate a complete aircraft.

I did some pattern-work, too and I believe they constructed five in total, three of them are still flying in New Zealand as far as I know. With vintage aircraft, it is enough to have a very small proportion of the actual construction to be really ‘original’ for it to be able to be registered as an original aircraft – as opposed to a ‘replica’. This saves a whole lot of paperwork and problems with certification permissions. Unfortunately I never had the possibility to actually sit in (let alone fly!) a completed one myself. One for the bucket list!

This is a nice paper and card model marketed in magazine form by the publisher ‘Halinski’. This model’s progress was halted when it was stolen – unfinished – with all the rest of my professional Restoration/Patternmaking workshop back in 2014. Here are the few pictures that I still have of it. I’ll definitely buy another one sometime and build it again! The first three pics show it before the skin went on the one side – about three weeks work alone in the instrument-panel and cockpit ‘knobs and levers’.

After putting the skin on. What you see here is about six inches long in total at this stage.

 

The instruments had their own lighting (which never was actually built to the end), the faces were made of positives of litho-film from my camera taken of drawings that I had done in Illustrator from the original instruments. For the true-scale effect, the dials and their markings had to be thickened up, or they would just have disappeared and would have ‘looked wrong’.