HMCS Saskatoon MM-709
by Timothy Choi

1/700 HMCS Saskatoon MM-709, 2015 (Dodo Models)

This vignette is a partial attempt at recreating this iconic photo taken by Cpl. Donna McDonald of HMCS Saskatoon during Operation Nanook, 2015. HMCS Saskatoon is one of 12 Kingston-class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs), which fulfill both the mine countermeasures and maritime security roles off Canada's coasts. With minor ice capability (rated for 40cm of young ice), agility thanks to azipods, and long endurance, these humble vessels are frequent visitors to Canada's Arctic during the summer. This vignette serves as a small tribute to the folks who bring us the amazing images we see of militaries around the world and upon whom we so frequently depend for modeling.

Dodo Models' 1/700 kit is the first resin or plastic kit of the class. Well-detailed and crisply-cast, it builds well out-of-the-box. The included photoetch is relief-etched, with a large number of highly-detailed small parts (e.g. individual navigational lights) that make it sufficiently challenging for experienced builders. Out of the box, the kit depicts the Kingston class as they appeared in the mid-2000s or so. Communication domes are the biggest changes since then, as well as the armament: the ships were originally equipped with a single 40mm Bofors on the bow mount, but that has since been removed, leaving them with just a pair of .50cal machine guns. HMCS Goose Bay is currently trialling a remotely-operated .50cal mount on the former Bofors position - success should see it added to the rest of the fleet.

Modifications made to the original Dodo Models kit:

Biggest challenge was probably figuring out how to make the ice. Ended up slicing off chunks of dried acrylic varnish! Water is repeated layers of acrylic medium and paint, finished of with a coat of Future. Sadly, the multiple layers did result in cracks that are visible if viewed from certain angles.

Things I would do if I had more time (got another two ships to finish before moving at the end of August): add second container box on the stern, weathering on vertical surfaces, more sailors, add pointy ends to the back ends of the RHIBs, and have the second RHIB hang from the crane (that was the original plan, hence its positioning).

Photos taken on my Lumia 950XL phone; high depth-of-field versions made by stacking multiple exposures using CZM image stacker.

Timothy Choi

Gallery updated 2017-07-06