When I set out building model ships a few years back, I was not sure what to do. Past projects included the Revell 1:426 Arizona, the Monogram 1:450(?) Missouri and even a 1:700 scale SeaQuest DSV. (If there are fans out there, I may submit pictures of this) Since I've gotten more experience with models, I have begun taking a liking to 1:700 scale second world war-era kits. These pictures are of my 3 latest projects - The Mighty Mo, KGV and "Battleship X".

Being only a student in high school, I do not have the money to spend on Photo-Etched brass sets and brass barrels/accessories, so most of my kits are straight out-of-the-box builds with the occasional spare Skywave part to replace the less satisfactory ones. Missouri is a good example of this, as I added the Skywave range finders in place of the Fujimi castings. I feel that there is no reason you can't do a nice finish on an average kit. This is what I try to do with my models without the photo-etch sets.

In terms of kit quality, I found the Tamiya King George to be by far the best in the three. Little cleaning of the pieces was required and it went together beautifully. Unfortunately, one learns the hazards of pet cats when assembling masts... (As a result, the main mast is slightly bent after the repair)

Tamiya King George V by James Ward
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Missouri, despite being the hardest to paint and assemble, is my favorite of the three.

Those of you who have bought the Fujimi Iowas know what I mean when I comment on the superstructure. The 3-level deck was molded to the hull and very hard to mask-off and paint. Eventually, I resorted to a fine brush and patience to finish the Measure 22 camouflage scheme.

One thing that constantly has me annoyed about most 1:700 battleships is the lack of "bloomers" around the base of the barrels. Missouri was no exception and I ended up experimenting with tissue and cyno glue to finish the job. The result was good, but I don't think I will use the method again.

Fujimi Missouri by James Ward
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South Dakota was the latest one to be placed in my downstairs cabinet. Assembly of the SoDak was straightforward and painless as the parts went together nicely and no "distortion" of the hull was evident. But as usual, the bloomers were missing. This time I tried a different method and used modeling putty. After 'lining' the turret breaches with putty, I pressed the Barrels through the putty and glued them into place. The putty had distorted to fit the shape of the base of the barrels. This method was pretty easy and didn't take long. But I've yet to get feedback on what it looks like. I chose SoDak's Ms 21 scheme of 1942 mainly because of my fascination about the events on Guadalcanal. I followed that with a very light highlight/drybrush of gray to high light the main details.

Hasegawa South Dakota by James Ward
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I finished off all the kits with stretched spure rigging and antennas. These are my best three kits yet. My next project will most likely be the USS Washington. If anyone has advice, comments or suggestions for a 16 year old modeler, please feel free to let me know. -James Ward jjward@bigpond.net.au

(Editorís Note: When I was 16, many moons ago, my completed ships did not look like yours. Mine still looked like bathtub toys.)