With the main plastic phase of construction wrapping up on Hood, it was time to add the various photo-etch and rigging to complete the ship’s profile. I’ve always been a fan of Gold Medal Models products, so I’d already picked up their WWII British Warship set; for good measure, I also secured the HMS Hood/E-Class destroyer set from Tom’s Modelworks for some of the Hoodspecific platforms and stairways. Most specifically, because the failed floatplane launch was to be a feature of this build I knew that I wanted to replace the kit’s plastic catapult and aircraft crane with the PE versions of the same. These went together remarkably well, though finding reference shots of the catapult shuttle took a bit of doing. Finally, though, that part wrapped up nicely.
The funnel caps, crane rigging, and all superstructure staircases were replaced with aftermarket improvements as well. The caps took a bit of work, actually. I started with the GMM versions, but they didn’t include an outer ring and quickly devolved into a tangled mess of frustration. The Tom’s caps, on the other hand, featured both an outer ring and a set of brackets to realistically lift the cap from the funnel proper. It took some doing, but I’m definitely happy with the end result:
Ever since I got back into the hobby, I’ve been a firm believer in EZ-Line as a rigging material. This stuff – ostensibly manufactured for the model railroading community – is elastic, more or less to scale, and takes to glue great. As always, rigging can be finicky (as it was with this build), but by dabbing the mating surface with medium-thickness CA, the EZ-Line with accelerator, and by not stretching the line more than about 10% of its native length, great things can be done with very little effort:
With the ship rigged and almost fully detailed, the end of the build is, at this point, in sight. That means railing, but railing, unfortunately, can mean tedium and frustration as mere inches at a time slowly take shape. I try to start with the complex areas – the bow and stern, compound curves, and the like – and then fill in the long straight runs in between. With the White Ensign Colourcoats I used on this build, I wanted to allow at least 24-36 hours between PE coats to avoid flaking, which meant that each railing component took…a…long…time.
I’ll be honest, this part of the build always nags at me, for time seems to drag and little outward change is visible. Its only in the final days that you take notice that “hey, I’m almost done with this thing!” This new invigoration breathes new life into the build, and the final hours seem to fly by. And fly by they do, because before I knew it, I had finally finished HMS Hood.
That, friends, is the set up for the final stage the build, one that is always exciting; with Hood complete, it is time to man the ship and bring her to life. Or rather, it will be next time.