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River Tagus, Navy Ship Board, circa 1952

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"MSW plank-owner Rui Matos (skipper) shares a fabulous piece of work, his latest diorama, entitled River Tagus, Navy Ship Board, circa 1952, in this MSW feature!"

River Tagus, Navy Ship Board, circa 1952
NRP Diogo Gomes F331 (former HMS Awe K526) and NRP Comandante
Almeida Carvalho A527 (former HMCS Fort York, former HMS Mingan).


The builds...in detail!
Both ships are from Seals Models, the River frigate is injection plastic, the Bangor Class Minesweeper in resin. In these sets, there are two ships per item, which is a very good value for the expensive price, especially on the Bangor set.

Seals Models made the kits in WWII configuration, which would be nice if I pretended to make them under the Royal Navy Management... this is not the case! I wanted to portray them in Portuguese Navy use and for that I had to make "some" modifications.

NRP Diogo Gomes F331:
For these modifications I used as main reference an article published by Ricardo Matias in the Revista de Marinha Nº795 (September 1989), where he identifies all the modifications suffered by the two River Frigates under Portuguese service, with line drawings and very interesting photos and used two books, listed in the end. Also the usual trip to the Navy Archive was made, making the requisition of several period photos copies. The fact that the kit includes two ships, make it a nice treat and a latter version project possibility, and now I have all I need.

With all the points identified, I acquired two sets of the most valuable WEM PE set to date (at least for me): the V&W Class Destroyer set (Ref: PE 791), Niko Models Single Bofors guns (more on this later) and also cannibalized a Niko Models ORP Garland for the main armament.

Portholes positions were corrected in the hull, aft deck part was replaced with evergreen, since the kit part showed wooden deck and in PN version was steel, made all new superstructures: Bridge, CIC, Radar house and structure, new aft gun platform (round instead of angular), Hedgehog housing, Tripod mast and more little details, that turned the Seals Models River into a Portuguese River Frigate.

Painting was made using WEM Colourcoats Deck Gray and Portuguese Navy Light Gray real paint for vertical surfaces that was treated accordingly for a previous project, applied the usual home made decals, rigging made with Caenis line. Flags are paper flags from Tauro Model - with the exception or Portuguese Flag (homemade decal).

When I was finishing the model to enter ModelTroia contest, just missing gluing all the armament, I started with the Bofors guns (6 of them)... Suddenly I was two barrels short!!! I search for an hour, but the carpet monster had won another battle... I gave up, didn't had the spirit even to glue the main armament, so I took the model and placed it in the GIN (Grupo de Interesse Naval - Naval Interest Group SIG) as a work in progress! Darn...



NRP Almeida Carvalho A-527
If I had the work cut out for me with the River, with the Bangor was a completely different case. No articles, no books, very scarce photo records of this (also) two unit class of Survey ships in the Portuguese Navy. A curiosity on this particular ship is the fact that when the Colonial War started in African Portuguese Colonies (mainly Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique), the vessel was re-armed and transformed in the first Corvette of XX century Portuguese Navy, serving in the Cape Verde archipelago and also at Guinea-Bissau renamed NRP Cacheu F-470!

I bought the only available book that mentioned the Almeida Carvalho, from the Hydrographic Institute: "The Navy in the Sea Investigation 1800~1999" which has a chapter with a small file on each ship used as survey ship in these two centuries... small file for what I pretended, of course! So, with a different subject in mind, another trip to the Navy Archives, where the staff helped, as usual, to solve my request to check and see the photographic registry of these two ships. Another great surprise was that they were very distinct, in mast shape and the other vessel, NRP Almirante Lacerda A-525, retained its weapons even during Hydrographic service.

01 deck was modified with evergreen, some winches and structures were repositioned, and the weapon locations removed, new mast, radar and part of bridge were also scratch-built. Again V&W PE set from WEM provided railings and the search light structure.

The painting scheme here is of usual for survey and hydrographic ships: white hull and main superstructures, gray deck for metal areas, wooden decks (teak) and yellow ochre funnel and, in this particular case, the searchlight platform. For these I used Bianco Sporco Opaco (WEMCC RM07), IJN Deck Tan (WEMCC IJN09), Modern US Navy Flight Deck Gray (WEMCC M05) and Humbrol Trainer Yellow (24) which after a wash with artists oils turned out what I wanted.

One of the photos showed the Comandante Almeida Carvalho at the buoy at the Tagus River with the awning stanchions mounted, and with stretched sprue using Jim Baumann's technique I tried to replicate it in the best of my abilities... Not perfect, but I think I managed to make it convincing. Rigging, Decals and Flags as described for the Diogo Gomes and some PE sailors were spread in both ships.

Made the buoy from the head of one of those pins with a plastic head, added a brass shackle and an evergreen strip as reinforcement. It was time to attach the ships to the base... and for the Diogo Gomes I made some waves with modeling paste. The Tagus River bit was made using watercolor paper, painted with acrylics, with a coat of dabbed acrylic gel medium and finished with a coat of gloss varnish

wrapping up...
Overall I think I managed to make a well balanced diorama, with two smaller vessels, with different colors and different motion situations.

Kits:
- SealsModels River Class Kit plastic kit (first batch released, without decals)
- SealsModels Bangor Class Minesweeper resin kit

PE and Resin Sets, other materials:
- WEM V & W Class Destroyer Set (x2)
- Niko Models single Bofors set (x2)
- Niko Models ORP Garland (main armament)
- Eduard 1/700 sailors
- Paints as described above
- Plus evergreen and brass rod from Rui's Dockyard Warehouses ;)

References:
- Revista de Marinha Nº795
- 75 Anos no Mar, volume 6
- A Marinha na Investigação do Mar 1800-1999
- Marinha de Guerra Portuguesa 1962
- Photos from Arquivo Central da Marinha
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About the Author

About Rui Matos (skipper)
FROM: LISBOA, PORTUGAL

Hi all Crew Members!
Rui Matos, 39 years old (in 2006), married, former Portuguese Navy Fire Control Radar Operator , and "owned" by two cats - James, Stripes (Riscas in portuguese, now deceased) and Moon (Lua)!
I've been modeling since I was 6, but only have turned to Submarines in 1991 o...


Comments

Both vessels are up to your excellent standard, Rui, but I wish to call attention to your harbor (or river) water effect and publicly applaud the coloring for this scene. Salt water isn't always deep blue and your application of aqueous greens has taken what would have been a highly competent vignette and moved it into the realm of artistry. Could we press you for a brief description of your technique? --Karl
OCT 07, 2010 - 09:32 AM
Thanks Mark, Mike and Karl Answering Karl's question, is more a matter of observation than technique... After all is the river where I have lived nearby all my life, and I am perfectly aware of the colors that it may be... sometimes it can be deep blue (high tide, depending on the season!). The technique used is watercolor paper, acrylic paints while the paper is wet, and mixing it according to a color photo or a memory (this was the case). If you see my MOD's and Features, you'll notice that all my displays have different colors according to the place where it is supposed to be. This is a great compliment... Thank you gentleman! Cheers Rui
OCT 07, 2010 - 10:11 AM
Rui: That's outstanding work! Great job on both ships and the overall presentation!!
OCT 07, 2010 - 12:03 PM
Very nice display Rui.
OCT 07, 2010 - 03:37 PM
Nice to see that you are building again - quality high as allways, and put into an attractive context. Good work/Jan
OCT 07, 2010 - 06:51 PM
Rui, I'm very confused now, I don't know which of your builds I like best, other than all of them! I'm looking forward to Telford this year if not only to see some of these top winners. River class on the Tagus - even the concept is intelligent. Cheers, Peter F
OCT 07, 2010 - 08:21 PM
Very nice work, I wish I could manage a good back-drop like your one. Thank you for sharing.
OCT 08, 2010 - 02:45 AM
Thank you guys!!!! You're all very kind! Peter, none of the previously/recently published models will be at Telford... I'll explain why there! But there will be models from me at FWL and Contest Tables Back to the bench Rui
OCT 08, 2010 - 05:55 AM
Excellent job, Rui. Great job on both the base and ships. Interesting background story and conversion. Thanks for sharing
OCT 16, 2010 - 08:39 PM
Hi Rui, The boats compliment each other really well. I like the sky images Excellent work. Al
OCT 17, 2010 - 12:20 AM