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1/160 (N Scale) Robert E. Lee EXTENDED

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  • Member since
    February, 2019
  • From: Yes
1/160 (N Scale) Robert E. Lee EXTENDED
Posted by Hirnsausen on Sunday, February 10, 2019 4:24 PM



Hi folks,

I purchased the plastic model kit "Robert E. Lee" from Lindberg Models (USA). It comes in the 1/160 scale, also known as "N scale", common for model trains. If you look at the paintings, I recommend to listen to the soundtrack "The Big Country" or "McBain". Big Smile

Before starting the work updates, at first some words about this model kit. Lindberg has decided, to make the ship looking like it was made from steal or iron: you don't see any wooden texture on the hull or any walls. But that is wrong, the ship was actually made from lumber. The kit lacks details, and that quite a lot. The lower side (bottom) of all deck overhangs also misses the strong beams that carried the decks, and again, there are only smooth surfaces. And my impression is, that a number of windows and doors and stairways are missing, too - front and back of the wheel house and the walkway above the steam engine. In addition, it would have been very nice, if some interior (cabins) would exist because a number of windows allow to look inside. And we could also run discussions about how some of the parts are designed (some unnecessary cuts of parts), Revell did it better for their Robert E. Lee ship model.

And now let's start the work updates. The first thing I did when receiving this plastic model kit, was to test-assemble the major parts, using only tiniest amounts of pattex to ensure I easily can separate all parts again without any damage. This way, I could see if the parts would fit. The following photos show the test assembly. Remember, a click on any pf these photos will show it in full screen size. :-)
   

Having passed the test assembly, the next step is to paint all parts, before they get out of easy reach after the real assembling later on. And so ... there shall be color!
    
    

I had to add a texture to the painted areas, due to the fact that Lindberg Models forgot to add a wooden texture to many parts. If you look closely, you can see the vertical color separations, simulating the usage of lumber. This texture makes the entire model looking much more realistic. This is not yet the gentle weathering that I later on will apply in addition, to make the ship looking used. I actually had to mix all paints by myself, as in this country there is not even one single shop anywhere that sells plastic model paint, glue, or other much needed accessories. Got only the big ones to buy. But I got it right...

Even before any painting, I did a lot of online research about the correct colors to be used for this ship. Those differ a bit from the colors mentioned by Lindberg Models. I also decided, to use on some areas some colors not seen with the original ship but on similar, other ships of that time, for the reason to add some color details to my ship. The yellow luggage cabin and the wooden cabin walls at the ship's stern show that. Having used white paint alone, would make the model look less interesting, thus this decision.

The next photo shows the shaft that propulses the two paddle-wheels at the sides. But you will note, that I added something to its middle that will allow, later on, a small and slow-spinning motor to move the wheels. There will be one full rotation every 12 seconds - this will make the model even more realistic. A too fast spin would not look real.

Making this shaft extension was surprisingly easy: simply some common (and cheap) sealing silicon, and some ordinary, cheap food starch. Put the food starch (more  than silicon) on a table surface, add the silicon on top, touch your fingers with the starch powder, and then simply knead the starch into the silicon, until the result feels and behaves like putty for children and is therefore easy to handle and to bring into desired shapes. I then put it around the shaft, shaped it to a cylinder, and then rolled it between two wooded spoon shafts to get this rounded lowering in the middle. That lowering will hopefully prevent the band between motor and shaft to slip off that extension. The silicon rubber extension will give a good grip to the band to propulse the shaft with the two wheels later on.
Photo: ordinary sealing silicon and common food starch.

To make authentic but "used" flags that got their share on steam exhaust, I designed them as graphic files and then got them at a printer shop heat-transferred onto white cotton fabrics. The price for that was low. Instead of plainly colored flags, I decided for some changes here, too: the flags show now all nine federal state flags (from the 1860s) of the states the ship passed through on its journeys! And above the name flag of the ship will now be a huge US flag, also from the 1860s, like the flags of the federal states!

And there will be a huge water-slide decal for each of the two wheel houses. Many steamers of those days had some decoration or paintings there. Now my ship has, too!

The ship will also have white and black-dyed cotton balls as steam imitation, yellow fire LEDs inside the two main chimneys to simulate fire coming out (visible through the black smoke), fire-yellow light below the steam engine (I know I know, that is technically wrong), and a gentle, not bright illumination where all the cabins would be. There will also be curtains (wine-red and olive-green) behind most windows, as those heavy curtain colors were common of that era. There will be plenty of freight on the cargo deck, and a lot of life aboard the ship...

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by PFJN on Monday, February 11, 2019 11:11 AM

Hi,

Your pictures aren't showing up in your post, though if I click on the links it does take me to them.

The model looks very interesting and I can't wait to see more. Big Smile

PF

fox
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Monday, February 11, 2019 11:32 AM

Looks like you're planning to put a lot of work into her. Will be following your build closely as I have one in my stash and will need all the help that I can get to build it.

Good luck.

Jim  Captain

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    February, 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Monday, February 11, 2019 1:25 PM

In case you all need some info or help on that kit , Steve5 did a beautiful job on it a few years ago. He even got wood decks for it. I built it back in the mid 1950's when it first came out, but steve5's is the best of that kit ever.

  • Member since
    February, 2019
  • From: Yes
Posted by Hirnsausen on Monday, February 11, 2019 1:34 PM

Yes, I know. It was his thread why i decided to join here, too. :-)

Is there any way to edit my initial posting? I want to malke all photos visible. But i don't see any EDIT feature...

  • Member since
    February, 2019
  • From: Yes
Posted by Hirnsausen on Monday, February 11, 2019 6:39 PM



UPDATES

The side of the luggage cabin that is facing the steam engine, got now "dirty".
Dirty Luggage Cabin Dirty Beams

Yes yes, steam engines are very dirty and should be replaced with solar energy... Wink
Dirty Steam Engine Dirty Deck around the Steam Engine

The decks show now signs of heavy usage - the surface has been rubbed off by shoes...
Used Deck Passenger Cabin Area

Cotton Fabrics for the window curtains, tents, sun and rain protection for the cargo deck, and those half-round decorations in the colors of the US flag. Some work ahead...
Cotton Fabrics

In the case of this particular model kit, zip-ties are your friend. Your very close friend...
You'll need Zip-Ties Beams for the Main Deck Beams for the Luggage Cabin

By the way, this is my work table. I added a number of features to it, that allows me high-precision work: bright illumination, mount for rotary tools, and magnifier.
Work Table Work table

 

  • Member since
    March, 2009
  • From: brisbane australia
Posted by surfsup on Monday, February 11, 2019 6:51 PM

Very nice work so far. Watching with interest.....Cheers mark 

If i was your wife, i'd poison your tea! If Iwas your husband, I would drink it! WINSTON CHURCHILL
  • Member since
    February, 2019
  • From: Yes
Posted by Hirnsausen on Monday, February 11, 2019 9:25 PM



Thanks for all the nice postings! Well-appreciated! And here is a question: look to the painting above. here, the hull of the REL is painted all in black, and I think, it looks better that way. Should i paint the hull entirely in black, or should I keep the above-water area in white like on the other paintings? What would look better?

UPDATES

Okay, and it goes on! I finished now the underlaying beams that carry the over-hang of the ship's main deck. And I think, it looks quite nice! Gotta paint it tomorrow...
Beams Added to Main Deck Beams Added to Main Deck Beams Added to Main Deck

  • Member since
    February, 2019
  • From: Yes
Posted by Hirnsausen on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 9:30 AM

UPDATES

Just for a new test, I put the ship together again, this time not even drops of glue used. As the tar was darker, I will darken the gray decks soon. My airbrush has a problem, that is halting my painting and therefore my construction for now. Cannot buy any airbrush here in Jamaica, replacement by online shopping will take 1 or even 2 months until delivery, saving money not even included. Huh?





  • Member since
    May, 2006
  • From: Irmo, South Carolina
Posted by Shipwreck on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 10:55 AM
Hirnsausen, Sorry to hear about your airbrush problem. I have a possible solution. You are painting on plastic that is representing wood. Use a paint brush; it will probably look better than sprayed paint!

On the Bench:

Revell 1/96 USS Constitution

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 3:58 PM

Hey ;

   Whatsa matta fer you ? Dis is a nice job I see here !! I think you should keep goin with the hand brush , stead ob de air thingy .You can do it ! T.B.

  • Member since
    February, 2019
  • From: Yes
Posted by Hirnsausen on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 11:18 PM

Hi, the gray decks were actually not dark-painted wood, but covered by tar sheets. Brish wouldn't be the best solution here. Still, thanks for the nice advise.

  • Member since
    February, 2019
  • From: Yes
Posted by Hirnsausen on Thursday, February 14, 2019 11:20 PM



And here is a question: look to the painting above. here, the hull of the REL is painted all in black, and I think, it looks better that way. Could it be, that the REL was painted in different ways, over the years? Everyone: please tell me if I should paint the hull entirely in black, or should I keep the above-water area in white like on the other paintings? What would look better?

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by steve5 on Friday, February 15, 2019 12:45 AM

I'm enjoying your build hirnsausen , but I can't really answer your question it's such a personal thing . I did mine white and I'm happy with it . I looked for a good photo to post but the bottom is alway's in shadow . if you aren't going to display it up relatively high , you really won't notice it .

steve5

 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Friday, February 15, 2019 10:28 AM

Cool build. Subscribed and watching.

 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Philadelphia Pa
Posted by Nino on Friday, February 15, 2019 5:02 PM

Hirnsausen


... Everyone: please tell me if I should paint the hull entirely in black, or should I keep the above-water area in white like on the other paintings? What would look better?

 

Steve's right. It's a  personal choice. (What paint do you have more of?)

I lean toward the Black for both above and below waterline.  With White or "bright wood" for the Deck edge.

 

My 2nd suggestion: You could go with white above the black at the Bow where the hull shear is higher.

 

However...here is a Robert E. Lee in 1898:

What color is that? Could it be red?

I am sure we will like whatever you choose.  

You are doing some really great work. Thanks for Posting it.

   Nino

  • Member since
    February, 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Friday, February 15, 2019 7:12 PM

Riverboats have been a big facination to me for over 80 uears. I rode on the real wooden ones in St.Louis back in the 1930's. I have built a bunch of them & still have a big wood one I built 15 years ago. I have a sternwheeler that I have never finished. You might be right on the black hull. 

Here is my wood REL & I left the decks real wood natural. 

I will be back with some more that might help, after dinner.

  • Member since
    February, 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Saturday, February 16, 2019 9:13 AM

You are coming along very nice with your Robert E Lee & I am looking forward to seeing more . I never thought of a black hull, but it would make sense.

    I remember that there was more than one REL made, I think 3. They were made either at Jeffersonville Ind. or Marietta , Ohio. Both were big riverboat building towns. Jeffersonville is just above Louisville & has or had a great riverboat museum. I have been to both 3 or more times because I love riverboats. I have a picture of my grandparents on a wooden riverboat taken around the end of the 1800's or early 1900.

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