JOHN EDWARDS and his model
My model was started just before Christmas 2008, my first intention being a very quick build in time for the 60th anniversary of the incident in April 2009. I had previously resolved to build all my smaller ships to a scale of 1:72, but since HMS Amethyst was 1:96, then HMS Consort would have to be the same. Instead of my usual scratch-build, I had intended to buy a hull and as many ready-made bits as I could to speed things up. However, having seen what was available on the market, I decided to build the hull myself. In truth, I have always enjoyed this work, so it would not be too much of a hardship, just take a bit more time.
One thing I particularly noticed from my visit to HMS Cavalier, was the prominence of the deck plating and the way the plates overlapped one another. I had never tried to represent this before and I decided to try to do this using masking tape, with primer to build up appropriate edges. John Lambert supplied me with a deck plan for another similar class of destroyer, upon which I based mine. This process takes time, especially if you carry it on to the superstructure platform decks as well, but I think it gives a good effect and I would certainly do it again on any future ship models.
It is worth mentioning that when building this, I used very thin ply laminated with styrene, but I got caught out a couple of times because I should have looked more carefully at my photographs instead of following the plans. Looking carefully at some of the aerial shots of HMS Consort, I could see that there were a number of differences which I had not noticed before, and I was therefore forced to scrap what had been built and start again.
It seems that some of the deckhouses on the after areas of the ships of the class had different sizes and shapes depending on the number of torpedo tubes mounted. HMS Consort had only one set of quadruple tubes, so without proper plans I had to carefully estimate from the photos the size and shape of these, which was really not too difficult.
Mark 6 Gun Director and radar
The other troublesome thing to make was the H/F and D/F Frame aerial at the top of the mast. The original is a mixture of odd shapes that somehow come together. I spent a lot of time making sketches of this item until it was clear in my mind exactly how it needed to look, then using very fine wire, it was soldered together in sections before finally being superglued all together. As I wrote earlier, superglue has its positive uses, but also some negative features.
While all this was taking place I had been thinking about the best way of using the interior for all the necessities for a working model. There was just enough space for a six volt sealed lead acid battery, which I placed exactly centrally and in the lowest point of the hull, hoping this might be all the ballast required. The receiver is located below the forward superstructure unit which lifts off its coaming complete, and I shortened the aerial, the missing section being incorporated within the lattice mast. The upper decks are in removable sections, held in place by very small screws, which are disguised by bollards and other small deck fittings. I changed the speed controller switch for a much smaller version which is let into the deck and covered by a small motor boat, and following a tip from another SWA member, cut off the Tamiya plugs and replaced them with gold connectors, which I understand are more efficient, and are certainly easier to separate when necessary. Deans Marine Condor motors were the electric motors chosen and the propellers and shafts are from the Prop Shop.
Although I had to do a good deal of scratch building of small items such as the Oerlikon guns (one each side of the bridge), two single Bofors mountings abaft the funnel and one single Bofors Hazemeyer mounting, I was able to purchase kits of many other items including ladders from James Lane and other fittings from John Haynes. James Lane advertises in this magazine and John Haynes has a website listing his fittings.
From John Haynes I needed four single 4.5 inch mountings and these made up into lovely little models in their own right, as did the whaler, motor boat and torpedo tubes. His sheets of brass etched items saved me a huge amount of work, especially the depth-charge racks which were a little tricky to assemble, but look a lot more realistic than my usual plastic strip jobs. It is worth noting that a good deal of the weapons of the type carried on this ship are on display at the Explosions Museum in Gosport. Paints were from White Ensign Models, who can supply an authentic RN grey as well as a very good deck green colour.
On the water
However everything came out well in the end and I have had several good sailings with her. The first, being on an overcast Monday morning on a deserted Portishead Lake. The model does look every inch the destroyer, has a terrific turn of speed, is highly manoeuverable and I get about an hour’s good sailing from her, all of which to my mind, more than justifies the time and effort taken.
The HMS Consort Association have a comprehensive website: www.hmsconsortassociation.com where more information may be found. The Surface Warship Association (SWA) have an excellent website for warship modellers: www.surface-warships.org.uk
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