May 3, 2016

IJN Mikasa

The glorious and victorious. 
As I've mentioned before, this is straight down the most detailed and complex model I've built, also the one I've spent the most of my time on. 

Each build begins with gathering reference material from the net. Some very interesting photos could be found, sadly not of the Mikasa. On the other hand, she still exists as an exhibition piece so high resolution photos are in abundance. 
Once I have a blueprint, I calculate the scale (e.g. how long and wide the hull should be in 1/600), then simply resize the blueprint so it has those dimensions when shown on screen, and work from there afterwards. (This is also why the models of the St Louis and the Jauréguiberry have some odd proportionts, because I could not find an accurate buleprint of them.)

The first step of the actual building is shaping the hull. This one is made from two 5mm balsa wood pieces. I sanded the lower piece first, then the upper one was glued on top and I began working on the two together. The secondary battery casemates are from 5mm balsa, but are actually only 4mm high. I added a coat of PVA to smooth out every wooden surface, even after hours of sanding with 600 or higher grit paper.
A slice of paper covered in a lot of PVA was then added along the seam where the two pieces joined to even it out, and then the same was done for the ram. Once the upper casemates were added, I've put paper on those too, then cut out the gunports when they were cured.

The details came next: the bridges are 1mm plasticard, the turrets are balsa wood on coin barbettes. I felt the base of the funnels empty so I added some wooden pieces, and the deck below the bridges was also not right, so I've added some details there, too. These are things that neither the blueprints nor the photos show properly.
The boats are made from balsa and pine (there are 14 or 16 of them, and they are actually very easy to complete), the two funnels from pipe filters (that is for smoking), 9mm in diameter, almost exactly to scale. The only cranes are the ones above the anchors at the bow, the rest I skipped, because, after all, it's a gaming model, and lots of small plastic cranes means lots of fixing after some brute (e.g. anybody else than I) handles it badly.

Once done, I coated the ship in a white primer, followed by a layer of dark grey and buff on the decks, then a black wash and a grey drybrush, and wet highlights on the decks and details. Based on the new timeline, by the time of the South American naval wars Mikasa would be very old, so a bit dirtier paintjob on the hull is there to show that.

Update: Texas Jack has solved the riddle about this model at the end of the Novara post, so here's one for the next ship: suffice to say that it's better to have more than two turrets. (But the French are overdoing it. And the builders of the ship don't like the French at all.)


  1. Sensational work, András. I've been trying a little scratch building myself (1:2400) and have run into similar problems with sourcing blueprints. There are some useful sources in this TMP thread: if you've not seen them already.

    1. Thanks and welcome to the blog! I'll check the link out.

  2. Fantastic work, Andras. You're doing great things with these scratch builds.

  3. Hi András, Christian Reber posted this link for you over on TMP:

  4. Excellent scratchbuild ship! Keep them coming András, you're a master in this kind of work!