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1350
Saving the Smith

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"MSW crew-mate Karl Zingheim (captsonghouse) shares a new, action packed diorama in 1/350 scale, I'm pleased to present, "Saving the Smith", at The Battle of Santa Cruz!"



The Scene...
The Battle of Santa Cruz on 26 October 1942 was the fourth carrier clash of the Pacific War. During a furious Japanese assault on the carrier Enterprise, a stricken torpedo bomber veered away from the carrier and flew into the bow of the escorting destroyer Smith.

Flaming wreckage and gasoline enveloped the forward gun mounts, forcing the abandonment of the ship's bridge. Minutes later the bomber's torpedo warhead detonated in the midst of the inferno, adding to the destruction.

With the forward portion of the ship in flames and a battle still in progress, the Smith's captain conned her from the after control station and opted to drive her bow into the turbulent wake of the battleship South Dakota.

The roiling waters shot up along the bows, helping to sweep the burning fuel away and permit the fire fighting crews to extinguish the rest of fire. In the meantime, the Smith continued the battle with her after gun battery. Some seventy casualties were suffered from crash.



The Models...
The battleship is based on Trumpeter's 1:350 Massachusetts with a Yankee Modelworks South Dakota superstructure and turrets. The detail for both plastic and resin kits sets were above average, although the YKM set more closely represents the SoDak's 1943 rig and much resin had to be trimmed to produce a 1942 appearance.

It should also be noted the YKM instruction booklet is in error on which automatic weapons were carried where in 1942. Another detail error was in the depiction of the ship's mainmast: it actually stood away from the funnel with an odd crow's foot base.

The destroyer is based on Dragon's superb Laffey kit. Although the model is a Benson class and the Smith was a Mahan, the Dragon kit lends itself admirably for kit-bashing into any the U. S. Navy's prewar single-mount destroyer designs for those who don't mind performing plastic surgery. The open gun mounts aft are Veteran products.



The Diorama...
This scene called for both fire and water. The wake effects were obtained by saturating polyfil fibre with white acrylic paint. The drastic bow spray came from Halloween decorative spider web material. The fire effect was created with crumpled and painted wax-paper shaped into a sphere. It was then draped with a loose veil of polyfil fibre painted orange and yellow to help diffuse the light coming from inside the sphere thanks to a compact battery-powered light from an automotive store.

The smoke is set on a rigid plastic armature attached to the model's bridge. The smoke material is from my treasured cache of black Halloween polyfibre which, sadly, is no longer in production. The crew figures are from the Fujimi sets.

A special note about photographing the smoke: in person under ordinary ambient lighting, the polyfibre looks like smoke, but when under brighter lighting for photography, individual strands of the the fibre on the outer edges of the smoke reflect the light. The camera catches this reflection and gives the smoke a harsh brillo-pad look. I've found that using the retouch tool in the computer's photo program smudges the harsh edges, lending a soft touch to the smoke's contours.
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About the Author

About Karl Zingheim (CaptSonghouse)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

I am the staff historian for the USS Midway Museum in San Diego. I've been modeling since age 5 and specialize in naval dioramas. Larger scales (for ships) is my preference as is naval warfare up to 1945. The more that comes out in 1:350, the better!


Comments

Love the action! Great job.
MAY 24, 2010 - 04:18 AM
Beautiful work Karl!
MAY 24, 2010 - 06:03 AM
Thanks, guys. I do wish to make a correction to the narrative, though: Santa Cruz was the FOURTH carrier clash in 1942. One should always proofread before hitting the 'send' button! --Karl
MAY 24, 2010 - 06:41 AM
Aha! You had me scratching my head a bit there, Mr. Zingheim, I thought it was the fourth, but I didn't want to second guess you on that (as a museum staffer, your references are most likely MUCH more diverse! )....thanks for the clarification, and I did make the correction on your feature, mate.
MAY 27, 2010 - 10:22 PM
fantastic work Karl! thanks for sharing
JUN 02, 2010 - 12:41 AM
Thanks everyone for your kind words and support. The internet is an amazing thing and it has transformed our hobby. --Karl
JUN 02, 2010 - 08:03 AM