Building the
USS North Carolina  BB 55

by  Ron Horabin, Cheshire England
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Part 4 Superstructure

The superstructure of the ship is concentrated in the centre of the hull. It contains the bridge, radar platforms, funnels or should I say smoke stacks, navigation masts and gun platforms also the two cranes, one either side of the smoke stacks.
With a sailing model the thing you have to remember is to keep the weight down and more so with the high superstructure, if to heavy this will make the model unstable, and will wallow from side to side even in slight winds. 
One of the lightest materials is balsa wood, so this is where I start, having sorted out the shape of the superstructure when I did the deck planking, I cut some 4mm thick balsa wood to the height of the under side of the deck, making it into box sections, also putting in diagonal braces to give it strength and also support to the deck in the middle.

The next stage is to cut out the deck from 1/8 “ plywood and glue down with water proof PVA glue, adding some weights and leaving over night, when dry I cut out 1/64” marine ply and glue this to the out side of the balsa wood to give me a good finish to the outside surface, you could use all ply but that’s a lot heaver. Attached to this section of the superstructure is the second mount for the 16” guns, built out of balsawood and covered in ply. In photos 1,2,4,5,6, you can now see the bilge keels on the round of the armour plate belting, also the deck have not been painted and lined corectly yet.

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The rear part of the superstructure was where I decided to start the next levels, this time I used blocks of balsa wood and cover them again in 1/64” ply, the different deck levels are done in 1/16” ply, some of the tight round sections are done by moistening the 1/64”ply and bending to shape, the director platforms are made out of block balsa shaped round, then covered with car body filer paste and sanded to shape. There are no hand rials on the model yet, I am waiting for some p/e rails from Floating Drydock, they are done by John Haines at 1/96 scale.
This part of the model is a little complicated, it took some working out all the different deck levels and shapes, again I used my balsa wood blocks and covered them with the 1/64” ply, but in some places I use litho plate, its what they use in the printing industry, quite nice to use, very easy to bend, and light weight, again the decks are done in 1/16”plywood, the main tower that carries the SK radar and the MK38 director again was built out of balsawood and covered with car body filer paste and sanded to shape. In the two photos opposite, you can see the four types of materials I use, Balsawood/litho plate/ car body paste/ and different thicknesses of plywood.
Under some of the decks you can see the outriggers or strengthening sections, these again are made out of thin ply and drilled with holes, there’s still a lot of work to do at this end of the model but I like to get the forward part of the superstructure to the same level. This part of the superstructure from the 16" gun platform to where the bell hangs comes off to gain access to the motors and radio equipment.
The next section of the superstructure carries the two MK37 directors and one smoke stack also two gun platforms, all this building was done as described as above, as the work progressed it was undercoated and part of the camouflage scheme was worked out in its different colours. 

At the moment there is no real detail on any part of the superstructure, these will be added in time, it is winter in the UK so building in my shed takes a back seat for awhile, its up to my computer room to work on the three 16” guns and mounts for the next article.

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on to part 5