I wanted to portray the ship in a diorama in a New York Navy Yard  before leaving for Europe to join the home fleet at Scapa Flow after an extensive refit and trials in the East Coast. The battleship was painted in a Soft Edge MS-3X Camouflage utilizing USN Colours.

The Model: The ship came from Trumpeter . The hull was sawn off to make the kit  a waterline model.  Several corrections had to be made in the superstructure , especially the top bridge , the radar and range finder equipment and additional extensive detail added to achieve the required result  of the battleship. Motor boats were scratch-built,  bofors guns were correctly altered,  Anchor chains were added and all piping and trunking on the superstructure was scratch-built from telephone wire. All the detail in the lower superstructure was scratch-built from bits and pieces of evergreen plastic rods. L’Arsenal Upgrade Set was used and this was as well further detailed to enhance the model even further.  The rigging was not an easy task  and very fine straightened fuse wire was used. Additional boats were added on the forward deck. Figures came from a mixture of L’Arsenal and Fujimi offerings .

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The model was airbrushed in White Ensign Colourcoats enamels, which I always use and I will recommend them to any marine modeler. . Of course a lot of masking had to be done to get the many camouflage patterns throughout the whole ship.. Shadows  and highlights were laid on using acrylics and the intermediate colour was blended in using a combination of drybrushing and sponging the paint always in a downward motion. The model was finally weathered in oils and I tried to be as subtle as possible to achieve the correct medium ,the half way road, not too heavy ,not too insignificant. It is pertinent to note that although the ship had still just been painted it still had to be weathered as it spent a full month in the Atlantic Ocean for extensive trials. A final coat of matt varnish was sprayed on the ship.

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The Brooklynn ClassTugs came from Commander models ,one was left as a steam powered tug, the other was converted  to represent a fuel powered vessel. They were also detailed. They were still in use in US Harbours  in the late 1940’s. I wanted the diorama to look really busy representing the departure of the Richelieu for a long stretch of sailing to Scapa flow which obviously involves a lot of preparation  so there’s lot of action going on…cargo being loaded, personnel and top brass seeing the ship off etc etc. All the detail on the wharf was scratch-built. The wharf was made out of balsa wood covered with a fine layer of clay using a rolling pin to flatten it….railway, crane railines were then engraved . The jibs, the harbour lights, the crane and other embellishments were all  scratch-built from photo etch left-overs ,plastic card and rods.  Airgun pellets were used for  bollards. The front overlooking the sea was covered in engraved plastic card to represent a wooden support structure. Rubber washers were used to cushion the ship’s hull against the wharf.  The port cargo ship , barges and boats in the seascape were all scratch-built. The buildings were scratch-built using a combination of plastic card , tinlets of paint , soldering wire  and bits and pieces from photo-etch spares box. I had to be very careful to keep the scale accurate. The train engines as well as the rolling stock were all scratch-built. The trucks  and other vehicles all came from conversions from  one type of LArsenal 1/350 scale US truck. Again a mixture of Fujimi and L’Arsenal Figures were used.

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I must thank Messrs Sebastien Lausdat, Claudio Matteini who provided me with all the correct and accurate material required to make this project as faithful as possible to this beautiful ship and without whose help I wouldn’t have completed this project.  

Louis Carabott
Malta

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