Title: 1/96 USS Missouri BB-63

Superstructure Construction Part III

Most of the recent effort has focused on the forward fire control tower and 05-deck structure. For the unfamiliar, the forward tower comprises the tall structure amidships and forward stack. It will eventually include (among others) the forward mast and Mk38 main battery director, known as "Sky 1." This station had a wartime crew of six, and is approximately 150-feet (15-story building) above the bottom of the ship. The 05-deck is the top main "open-air" deck at the forward end of the superstructure. It contains the upper citadel deck along with a control station at the very forward end. Moving aft are two 40mm quad mount tubs integrated into the forward end of the tower.

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Current state of the Solidworks superstructure model. I try to keep this version very close to the state of the physical model. I use it to create patterns for almost each part of the model. Contrast to the "reference model" I created when starting this project.
Here's the physical model. It's important to note that at this point, the superstructure comprises numerous sub-assemblies which are set in position, so you may see a gap here or there as a result. I've tried to maintain sufficient build accuracy/quality such that the parts all fit together with no "persuasion." So far, so good. Recent work has been focused on the support structure for the 08-level steering station and the 05-level 40mm mounts. Both of these areas were changed substantially during the various refits, so I have to depend on third-party drawings/plans and photos (which from WW2 were usually not concerned with the documentation of uninteresting areas of the ship).
I've worked with a lot of aftermarket photo-etched detail sets, but have never fabricated brass parts from scratch, so this is an interesting learning experience. The large 1/96 scale means I can model prototype items which are on the order of 1-inch, but it also means that any errors are very easy to spot. Currently the 40mm shield is attached to the styrene deck via superglue (after pre-shaping). I'm not convinced this will be sturdy-enough, so I may cut a plate of 0.005" brass to form the tub deck, solder the shield to that, then attach the assembly to the deck.
I'm much more comfortable working with styrene than brass, but the fact is, brass can be made to hold a shape that is virtually impossible with styrene - such as the aft end of the bulwark on the 08-deck steering station. So I'm practicing and acquiring some of the tools needed to correctly work brass. This is a better view of the brass bulwarks. I've also decided I'm going to have to have some custom photo-etch parts made: for example, I have yet to find 40mm ammo racks which have the correct configuration (ie., top rack with single slots, lower racks with double). There is a company in the UK whick looks promising: I'll hopefully have time to generate some test artwork over the Christmas vacation.
Same thing, but from a forward-looking-aft perspective. Another view of the support structure for the tub and steering station. These components are built up from .005, .010, and .015" styrene.
View of the after section of the superstructure. Since this is still very much work in progress, the various bulkheads which will eventually be blended into other sections are "rough." The grey components are cast pieces that came with the kit. I've not yet begun the clean-up process for them. Here is a series of photos showing the current (12/20/15 - Happy Birthday Alex!) state of the superstructure.
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