Recently I came into possession of a Neptun RAMILLIES (N 1103B). The model was slightly damaged, but since I already had one, it was surplus anyway. Since it was extra, I decided to try a modification. The ship is in late-war rig. I quickly determined to retrofit the ship to its 1939 rig. This would entail removing nearly all the AA and the funnel cap. The funnel cap seemed the most daunting task, since I wanted to preserve the clinker screen. Figure 1 shows the model in its original rig.
My first step was to remove the cap. This proved easier than anticipated. Using my Dremel tool, with a thin circular saw attachment, I sliced it off pretty neatly. Figure 2 shows the model with the severed cap sitting next to it. Having removed it, I then sanded it flat, and glued the now flat clinker screen back on top of the funnel.
I next proceeded to remove all of the AA, save for the two multiple pom-poms abreast the funnel, and the 4" guns. This proved to be a laborious task, which was made possible only by the use of the Dremel tool with various grinders and the circular saw. I had no idea that the job would be so complicated. Nevertheless, the removal was accomplished in a few hours time, the spots filed, sanded and scraped bare and B and X turret tops restored to their pre-war condition.
Once the model was cleaned up, a new main top mast was added, a some boats, rafts and few other details were placed aboard, and the ship was ready for a paint job. I airbrushed the model with Polly Scale Acrylic "British Sea Grey Medium", a color that is very near the color used by Neptun, then hand brushed the wood deck areas with Polly Scale Acrylic "Aged Concrete." Bridge decks were painted with a dark sea gray, and small details painted here and there. The final result was very satisfactory.
If you are contemplating doing this conversion, however, my advice is: Donít. Why? Well, this is a good example of a bad plan well executed. The reason is that there is a much simpler alternative: Neptunís ROYAL OAK. This model, is in pre-war rig, and would require much less work to convert to RAMILLIES, the primary changes being an added portion to the bridge, a different crane, and the removal of the catapult from X turret. All of this would entail significantly less work than what I had to do with this model. The bridgework and crane were already on this model, which is what impelled me to do the conversion; but the alternative would have made more sense.
So why am I publishing this review? There are good lessons to be learned from othersí mistakes. This conversion points up the importance of good planning and research BEFORE you start a model. Had I taken time to study the alternatives, I probably would have simply sold off this model, and obtained a ROYAL OAK if I still wanted to do the job. Having the surplus RAMILLIES, however, I ignored the alternative and plunged ahead, giving myself more work than I bargained for. Once started, there was no alternative but to finish. I donít regret my choice. I gained valuable experience, and got a good result. But you can profit from my error. Donít get a RAMILLIES to retrofit it.