By: Bob Pearson
one of my frequent box opening and subsequent fondling of kit contents, something
wondrous happened – I built one !!!!!!! Ever since receiving this cute little
ship a few months back I have played with the parts, cleaned them up and then
put it back in the pile. However this time I found myself affixing rails and
painting ... but I am getting ahead of myself.
The Freccia was lead ship of a class of Italian destroyers, none of which survived the Second World War. Sadly I know little more then the bare outline of their (or other Italian destroyers) history and would welcome an English language publication that would dwell on their service.
As mentioned in my review of this kit, the resin is very nice to work with and was nicely cast. Minor cleanup on all parts took place during the frequent fondling over the last two months. Later all my pending models were washed in dish detergent to remove the mold release agent and other oils etc. from the parts. With any kit this is an important step, but even more so with resin as it does seem to be temperamental in the application of paint otherwise.
Construction began by CAing on an 'L' shaped section of sprue to act as a hand hold and to eliminate the need to touch the hull itself unless absolutely necessary. In addition to this I have cut a 1/4" x 4" slot into a piece of 4x8 card and the hull is then placed on the card with the sprue extending below it, anchoring it to the card. The model can now be handled by holding the sprue or the edge of the card. I have also cut a slot into a box and the entire component may be placed there when not in use.
I decided this would be an almost strictly Out-Of-Box experience with the only non-kit supplied additions being PE rails and crew. The railings used were Eduard's German 3-bar set. Up to this point all of my PE rails have been done using Eduard rails, these feature separate stanchions rather than a continuous solid foot as in other brands. Since completing the Freccia I have tried the other style and found that whereas the Eduard rails took almost an hour per section, I could do a side in about 5 minutes with the solid foot. Both types have advantages, but for ease of use I would have to recommend solid bottoms. To remove the PE from the fret I work at my light table (made by routing a section from one of the dining room table leaves) and use my trusty No.10 blade (I think that is the one. . big, curved blade for carving..), a firm bit of pressure is followed by a satisfying
The PE rails are affixed to the hull using CA starting at the fo'c'sle break. I try putting a dab of CA on the first few stanchions and then place it in location on the hull. If this works, tweezers are then used to pull the rail straight and another section is affixed about an inch away. If it didn't work after a few tries, than a small amount of CA is placed on the hull and the rail is held in place while it dries. Eventually the rails were complete and it was time to paint.
Depending on your preferences, resin kits either take the fun away from building, or get you to the fun part sooner. Myself I enjoy the building most of all and it seems to me that the fun is done and just the painting and final assembly are left. I began by attaching all parts to sections of sprue to allow myself to hold even the smallest pieces while airbrushing them. The first colour used was Tamiya acrylic dark grey for the decks. This was alsosprayed on all other surfaces as a primer, and then set aside to dry for a day. According to an article on the Capitani Romani Class Light Cruisers in WARSHIP Vol.2, Italian ships carried light and dark grey camouflage separated by either curved or straight, angular shapes. Both greys were also supposed to be slightly blue tinged. The light grey was made by adding a few drops of Ceramcoat Artist's Acrylic Prussian blue to Quaker Grey and then thinning this with water. Ceramcoat also works wonders when used to tint other brands acrylic paints, the only drawback is it has a fairly heavy grain and it takes awhile to get a good balance of compressor pressure, tip and needle used etc. Unfortunately I still don't have it to a science. The first three ships I used it on went great, the next couple were so-so and then the Freccia worked . . . go figure. The darker grey was a dark grey with black and Prussian blue added. All vertical surfaces were sprayed from just below the level of the maindeck to allow the hull itself to mask the deck from overspray. A fine brush was then used for touchups right down to the deck.
One more day then went by before the camouflage pattern was begun. I was unable to find any photos of Freccia herself so I made up a spurious pattern roughly based on that of the Romani Class ship Attilio Regolo. Frosted scotch tape was tacked down to the light table and the pattern was drawn on it. Using a metal erasing shield and a new No.11 blade, each section was cut out and affixed to the hull. The dark grey was then mixed . . a deep breath taken and the compressor was turned on. Once again spraying from below yielded a nice edge to all parts. The tape was now removed and . .. DISASTER!!!!!!! some of the paint came up on the port bow (remember what I said about no oils . . .). After numerous touchups with the brush this is now barely noticeable, but it was a good lesson to myself to be more careful in the future.
The most noticeable feature of Italian warships while a member of the Axis powers was the red/white air recognition stripes carried on the bow. To paint these I once again used Ceramcoat paints and a fine brush. My first attempt was interrupted by a four-year old deciding to climb upon my back to watch what I was doing . . . later she was content to just stand beside me on a box while I fixed it. The Freccia also carried the letters 'FR' on the side of the hull in red, however I haven't found suitable decals to replicate this feature, hence they are still lacking.
One nice touch that Waveline provide is your choice of round-front or flat-angular front bridge. I chose the flat faceted one. All of the superstructure components were painted at the same time as the hull, so all that was left was to assemble them. This went straightforward as far as the superstructure goes until I reached the director platform at the rear of the bridge. This is a platform on top of six vertical pillars, however Waveline give you a solid structure with the structure in relief, so you must either paint the interior a dark colour, or remove the legs and build your own. I chose the latter and cut away the supports and used sprue instead.
All of the weapons come from one of the Skywave WW2 IJN weapons sets. This set is included in the kit and I made use of the various weapons as indicated in the kit directions. The davits also come from this source. To all intents and purposes the Freccia is now finished . . . all that is missing is how to display her. The Base Ship models look best when shown at sea, and the best way to depict this is using a wooden base with Acrylic Gel or some such medium to make the sea. I have been too cheap to acquire a decent wooden base and aren't quite sure of my wavemaking abilities yet, so for now I have an easier way to show ships in motion . .. cardboard and paint (Ceramcoat again).
I began by cutting a slot in a piece of corrugated cardboard to accept the sprue handhold on the hull bottom. The outline of the hull was now traced and the entire piece of card was painted Navy Blue, when this was dry other blues were then randomly painted on the card. After this the area around the hull was painted in a splotchy white. Blue was painted over this, followed by more white, more blue and so on until I decided enough was enough and it was done. Except something didn't look right – it was sitting on a piece of cardboard ... it needed to be on a plaque. Four pushpins were then affixed to each of the underside bottom corners of the base. This resulted in the model being about 3/4" off the surface now . .. but it still needed something more so I then glued pieces of file card around the edges and painted them dark brown. At about this point I realised I could have just turned a box over and painted the bottom and sides . . . ah well, next time. The piece of sprue on the bottom of the Freccia was now cut down so just 1/4" or so was sticking out and it was then fixed to the base using white glue. Later, if I make a 'proper' base, it can be removed easily enough.
With the ship now ready for sea, all that was needed was the crew, Tom's Modelworks' 1/700 PE set came to the rescue here, and 30 or so of them were painted with white jumpers, dark blue trousers and a flesh blob for the head and hands. These were then removed from the fret and then placed onboard after first having them step in a puddle of CA. I am amazed at how much they add to the appearance of the completed model and I will have to acquire many more sets to man my other ships.
For a first resin model the Waveline Freccia was an excellent choice, and I feel more confident in starting the USS San Francisco I mentioned a few months back - in fact I have already started on the PE details for it. The PE rails and crew make a world of difference as does a sea base. Thanks to Hobbylink Japan for the Waveline Freccia, Eduard for the PE rails and Tom's Modelworks for the PE crew.
Copyright © SMML 2004