Building- The Neptun model (1149a) of the HMS Cairo shows her after modification to an AA cruiser in 1939. To convert the Cairo into her condition in 1942 and for the removal of some shortcomings, the model must be substantially reworked.
First, with the help of sawing sheet on my mini-drill, I stripped off all parts which were no longer needed or had to be changed. In this instance it was the complete armament, masts, boats and some other details. The trawler bow with its typical knuckle, which normally should run straight and parallel to the waterline, is clearly bent on the model's starboard side. I just cut a groove into the bow and glued a suitable piece of plasticcard generously with super glue. Then, with much care, file and sandpaper, the bow was sanded to give it the right shape. On this occasion one should also close the portholes with putty and drill new ones (0.3 mm), because during the war a lot of them were closed. A further deficiency is the sloping deck ledge hull behind the bridge, which was corrected with thin plasticcard, putty and superglue.
When the hull was finished, the work on the superstructure began. I fitted the splinter shields around the AA guns, made from thin plasticcard and fixed with superglue. A new tripod behind the bridge was made of copper wire and received a new platform and HA direction finder. The now naked funnels received new exhaust pipes and some other little detail. The four 4-inch guns and the quadruple 2pdr were reworked and fixed to their positions. Six new 2cm Oerlikons with their gun tubs and 2 single 2pdr, a second HA direction finder, radar sets, boats and other details were fitted. At last I finished the aft tripod, made of brass wire and stretched sprue. The outboard attached boats and the 279 type radar sets at the mast heads were added after painting.
Painting- The camouflage pattern was reconstructed after a photo that shows Cairo in the port of Malta probably in June 1942 (e.g. in Warship Illustrated "Malta convoys" by Paul Kemp) and a short sequence from the color video "Colour Camera at Sea" by Roland Smith. In a somewhat incomplete form this pattern is published also as a drawing in the Italian publication "Storia della Marina". Lacking better information, the paints, I used, were my own guess and consists of 507B (Humbrol145) and 507C (Humbrol147), metal decks where painted in 507A (Humbrol112) and wood decks in a mixture of Humbrol 72 (1 part) and white (2 parts).
First the model was primed with an air brush in Humbrol 147. For further painting I used a brush, painting from "inside" to the "outside" and starting at the worst accessible location. The weathering of the wooden decks was done with strongly thinned dark grey color, moving the brush in longitudinal direction to the give impression of spotted wood and deck lines. Then the whole superstructure got a washing of thinned black color to reinforce the depth effect and exposed parts were lightened by dry-brushing. The traces of water running down the hull were painted with more or less thinned color from different tones of grey and if necessary with a little rust (red-brown).
At last I added the areas, where the waves, anchors, tow cables etc. scrubbed away the hull's paint. But be careful, in this scale less is often more.