by Eric Szczesniak
1/350 USS Laffey DD-459 (Dragon)
Finally after over 3 years of off-and-on work, I'm able to share my completed 1/350 USS Laffey DD-459. The naval battles of Guadalcanal have long held my interest in history and the Laffey's heroic charge at the Hei at the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal not only changed the course of the battle, but exemplified the "all in" battles of this theater early in the war.
This is the Dragon kit enhanced with the GMM Gleaves/Benson class etch and Shapeway's figures. The construction of the kit is fairly straight forward, but as many have found, the deck houses have very little tolerance. Even paint can keep them from fitting in to their deck cutouts. Fortunately my build pattern tends to assemble as much as possible before painting to allow for treatment of seams. She was posed to portray her at her final battle as she closed in on the Hei.
The finish was made with Lifecolor 5N and 20B. I painted in a "tin canning" effect by masking a grid and spraying a light blue-gray in the same corner of each square before misting a thin translucent layer of 5N over this to dull the effect. It's subtle, but I like the variation. A dot filter of gray and blue oils was applied over the ship to help fade and vary the base color. Various rust shades of oil paints were then used to complete the weathering effects.
The PE work was straight forward and the Shapeway's figures tediously painted. The rigging is from 0.001" Tungsten wire used for lighting filaments.
The sea base was made of a Celluclay base to shape the large swells and waves. The ship base was then cut out for later fitting and the base painted with a deep blue and a light teal blue for the subsurface churn. This was coated with artists gloss medium and the ship was attached. Thinned out portions of cotton balls were then blended in along the wake and sides of the ship with more gloss medium.
Hope you enjoy the ship! It's my 2nd non-modern nuclear sub, so I'm still learning things. But I am pleased with the results. Please don't hesitate to share criticisms, comments, or tips.