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Old Feb 18, 2007, 07:09 AM
Veni, Vidi, Feci
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Build Log
Tian Jie 1:144 Yamato

Okay, I'm going with a suggestion from another board member, and will post some pix from an ongoing build to get everyone's input, and then hopefully fine tune the article I'm doing for print publication. But a warning ahead of time- this build is sucking up every free minute of my time just to meet the print deadlines, so I'll not promise a lot of review and response here!

The subject is Tian Jie's 1:144 Yamato, and I have the pleasure of working on the very first example here in the states, and that was made possible by the friendly folks at Loyalhanna Dockyard.

I was excited to see TJ's kits hit the market, as I always felt that "complete" warship kits had a place in the market. You can get hulls from a number of fine sources, but these semi-kits are so daunting to complete that they keep many modelers away. The price tag on a complete kit may have the same effect, but if you're willing to dive in, at least you have a chance of completing a model.

But the theme you'll see in this build is that this only appears to be a complete kit... but it ain't no snap-together! TJ is basically one busy guy in China running the show with some helpers, so product development and customer support are everything you might expect. Good intentions, a long way to go, but at least this isn't Ark Model!

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Old Feb 18, 2007, 07:24 AM
Veni, Vidi, Feci
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What's in the box?

This kit had a previous owner who returned it for unknown reasons. So some of the notes below on packing may have something to do with the kit's pit stop and subsequent re-shipping.

A 1:144 Yammie is about 6 feet long, and so is the box.
Open the box and find wadded paper packing, which wasn't enough to keep the stern protected- it took a hard hit, cracking and delaminating the preinstalled fiberglass deck around the poop. Hmmm.

Also in the box:
4 boxes of cast resin parts... many with very fragile details, all crammed into plastic bags, and many broken upon receipt. Further inspection would reveal many warped castings- pulled from the mold before their time. TJ was able to replace many of these for me, after much e-mail back and forth. Local distributors have no easy way to accomplish this yet, but they're working on it.
35 photoetch frets- wow!
Several sheets of CNC milled ABS plastic, for the "flat parts".
A fiberglass main superstucture tower.
A bundle of rod and wire.
3 rolled plan sheets... but NO INSTRUCTIONS.
No wood decking... no decals.

Hmmm.
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Old Feb 18, 2007, 07:32 AM
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First big issues:
- TJ thinks he's doing us a favor by prepainting everything. But the paint was not good (rough, peeling off brass parts preinstalled on hull, 2 layers thick), and it makes things harder when attaching other details with glue.
- The preinstalled stuffing tubes were not well aligned with the struts, and the 5mm shafts were binding something terrible. How does something like this get out the door?

So I used citrus stripper, took off the hull's paint no problem, gelcoat was happy.

Then I ripped out the struts and stuffing tubes, intent on rebuilding them.

And after pondering the broken poop, I decided that the small access openings in the hull weren't enough... so I performed a poop-ectomy. The Dremel tool with carbide burr got a real work out.

But note some good points on the hull:
- Beautiful finish once you get past the primer.
- Molded-on bilge keels.
- Molded-in guide marks for port holes, degauss cable, othe fittings.
- Preinstalled deck and struts (though both were actualy a problem for me).

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Old Feb 18, 2007, 07:47 AM
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More on the poop:

I'm getting ahead of things with this shot... But I didn't like the still-limited poop access. I saw that the huge PE after decks (2 pieces) were supposed to be glued to the f/g deck... but this would block all access. And again, there were NO INSTRUCTIONS, so I had to design the construction as I went.

So I elected to make the entire after deck (main deck behind turret 3, poop deck one level down, and hangar deck one more level down) as one big removable assembly. I did some careful layout and cut away more fiberglass.

I also noted that the stern shape was wrong... it was supposed to have a flat transom! More cutting and patching.
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Old Feb 18, 2007, 07:49 AM
Shanghai'd Expat
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Xiaoshan, China
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Pat,

I, for one, will be watching your build with greater than average interest since I have two TJ kits, 1/36 S-100 & 1/200 Takao. I am currently building Nichimo' Yamato & wish I had ordered TJ's version first after seeing the quality that goes into their kits. I just started working on my S-100 & look forward to seeing your progress.

I had the pleasure of visiting their workshop in Foshan & meeting the owner, Mr. Liang in early December. Attached are several photos of the 1/100 Maya that is the sister to Takao that clearly show the attention to detail one can expect with TianJie.

Mr. Liang's kits are indeed impressive as well as complete & he certainly can be considered as one of the top ship model suppliers in China, but I can relate on the instructions since I think they are made with the understanding that anyone who buys their has psychic powers to understand how this kit is put together. The full size plans & knowledge of the specific model help, I am devouring Janusz Skulski's book at the moment before I try tackling Takao.

Chuck










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Old Feb 18, 2007, 07:53 AM
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Herrmill-
My only complaint is that he has a big step from being a master modeler to being an excellent kit supplier- and he hasn't completed that step yet! Perhaps in the future- but today, a TJ kit builder also needs to be a master modeler to complete something that looks this good.

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Old Feb 18, 2007, 08:06 AM
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Back to the shafts.

I put a 5mm shaft into the stuffing tube, poked it out to the strut, and found a huge misalignment (almost a millimeter!) at each location, which explained the binding.

I also didn't like how the stuffing tube bearings were machined from plain brass and permanently soldered into the tubes. I like servicable bearings, and prefer Oilite (sintered bronze, impregnated with oil).

So I ripped it all out.

I cheated, and spanned the space between hull exit and strut with a new piece of brass tube, and machined my own fittings to accept this at stuffing tube and strut. Real shafts, where exposed, are painted anyway, so the deception is quite workable, and guarantees strut to tube alignment.

1/8" stainless shafting was substituted- it's fine for the small props, and has less friction. I silver soldered a nub onto the end to accept the 5mm bored props.

Put all back together, set in place with f/g and epoxy thickened with micro-balloons. Sintered bronze bearings in 3 places on each... turns effortlessly!

And I do like TJ's props, very nice... but would prefer threaded instead of straight bore with grub screw.

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Old Feb 18, 2007, 08:18 AM
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Pat,

Check out Voyage Models when you have the chance... their instructions are almost duplicates of TJ's so maybe it's something lost in translation! They, like TJ, are another great manufacturer that puts that other guy you mentioned at the top of the post to shame!

Enjoy the build!

Chuck
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Old Feb 18, 2007, 08:23 AM
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A couple more details:

One more shot of the after deck. The 10x13 inch main deck is the single biggest PE part I've ever dealt with!

Foredeck is also PE, with diamond tread and other details etched in. Shown with a few of the resin fittings in place.

And a side view of the bow, with port hole blanking covers in place (used a leather punch to make about 300 of these!), and the degaussing cable.

TJ wants us to use wire staples to secure the degauss cable... and strangely, provides ABS strips MILLED from sheet for the long runs... these strips are all wobbly, so I used styrene strip, and glued tiny styrene staples (about 500 of them) around the cable run every 3/8" or so.
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Old Feb 18, 2007, 08:26 AM
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Hermill- When I received the kit, the instructions hadn't even been completed. I have them now... but very incomplete, many parts in kit are not in the instructions... including hundreds of similar but different PE parts. Some are obvious, many are not. Like putting a jigsaw puzzle together in the dark.

Another point- I'd be lost without my reference works. Mainly Skulski's Anatomy of the Ship. I can identify more parts, and correct the parts layout, using Skulski than using TJ's documents!

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Old Feb 18, 2007, 08:47 AM
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Time to float this puppy. It's always better to take care of the machinery and ballast before doing too much detail work.

I built a float tank from 1x4 and plastic sheet. Filled the hull with lead to float at the waterline, weighed everything, and figgered out what was needed for ballast. Finished displacement is about 45 pounds, needed about 23 pounds of lead. Made some PVC pipes with removable caps so the load can be easily adjusted. Sweet.

See above stern shot, shows ballast pipes nestled between the stuffing tubes.

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Old Feb 18, 2007, 09:10 AM
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Electronics:

Got four 545 motors from VacuBoat, mounted them with Dumas dogbones to the shafts, and milled a chunk of wood to set each at the right height (inboard and outboard shafts are not at the same elevation).

The electronics board had to be removable, and the hull opening is tiny. So I went with two trays. Upper tray sits on stanchions set into lower tray, and it can just be wiggled in through the opening.

Lower tray has hinged wings to allow it to go in. It mounts the "heavy" stuff- twin ESCs, fuses, battery connections, bus. A jumper goes up to the upper tray, home to Rx, MCD Switch-16, voltage regulator, turret control relays.

Because the superstructure will be a pain to remove, I have leads going aft to the power switches and charging jack.

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Old Feb 18, 2007, 09:13 AM
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Another comment on the hull and deck: I'd rather install my own deck. Then strong beams can be installed, easier to do other work inside too. As it is, the wide hull bottom flexes, as does the wide deck. No camber is built into the deck, and even worse, it's slightly warped with a reverse camber!
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Old Feb 18, 2007, 09:44 AM
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Just a few samples of the 35 PE frets.

Hard to figure out where everything goes. In some cases, there appear to be extras of parts, other times not enough. But the parts are very nice- I just hate to stick them in the wrong place!



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