I have started building model since ten years ago and the LHD2 is my second attempt for ship modeling. All this while, I’m more a AFV scale modeler and only recent year, I’m started to get some interest in Naval vessels. I’ve always envy those professional modelers who are able to create realistic water effect for their waterline display, not to mention the fine rigging and photo-etch part that make up the railings and ladders in the ship. I manage to grab a 1/700 scale LHD Essex by HobbyBoss at a local Hobby store. In fact, i was fascinated by the details and the kit include photo-etch for some of the fine parts. Best of all, Eduard came out with the additional photo-etch for the kit, which provide more detail for the finishing.
For this kit, I decided to do a waterline diorama display and seriously, I’ve no experience on how to go about doing it since this is the second time I’m doing a ship and also the first time doing a waterline diorama. After reading some of the posts and forums from the internet, I’ve concluded on the method of building he waterline base. That will be Wood putty, Acrylic paint and brush. I will discuss the steps at a later stage. For now, i will talk about the assembly of the kit.
I started the assembly of the vehicles and the airplane first as i was quite fasinated by the amount of details they have for a 1/700 scale not forgetting that each type of air vehicle consist of quite a number of parts. The AV-8 Harrier itself consist of 6 parts and the Osprey has 9 parts, which took me a while to get all the air vehicles assembled. All planes and Helis are molded in transparent sprues. Which allow you to do masking for the canopy if you decided to do it transparent.
The Assembly of the upper hull and the Island was done co-currently and the photo-etch was applied after I’ve done up the paint job. I did a black surface prime for most of the assembled part which is a technique that i usually use to pre-shade my military tank model. Which means to said, the planes, upper hull, and the Island are all primed with black surfacers.
Eduard really did a very nice Photo-etch railing for the upper hull. The detail is amazing and the part fits really well with the plastic fit. I used white glue as an adhesive as it is much easier to handle and neater. We would notice much markings after it dried up. Usually, i will use a wet brush to clean up the access white on the kit.
The Waterline Base
This is my first try on the water base. I used chipboard for the base as this is the only material that is cheap and easier to handle. I used wood putty to do up some of the wave for the water, once it is dried, i applied a layer of acrylic white paint onto the surface using a big brush, by tapping the big brush on the surface of the board In this way, you create water wave on the surface. You may want to repeat the tapping a few times after each layer is dried.
Once the water is established, I sprayed a coat of black lacquer paint onto the surface of the waterline base and that will be my base coat. After which i airbrush the base with a layer of dark blue. The Turquoise colour airbrush to some of the wave area especially near the hull. A layer of clear lacquer was applied to the surface to create a gloss reflection of the water surface. And lastly, I painted the water water wave with White Acrylic.
I sprayed the flight deck with a darker grey colour. The Decal was applied to the deck while i was waiting for the water based acrylic to dry. I added Tamiya decal softener which helps the decal to sunk in to the fine gaps on the surface of the deck. Overall the decal the the deck looks too clean, so i did some wash using oil paint with turpentine to darken the deck and the effect looks better. A light shades of grey and sail colour was airbrushed over the deck to highlight some of the weathered surface.