I had waited for 3 years to see if Hai would issue the World War I variant of the French Battleship Requin, but as none seems to be forthcoming, I decided to convert the 1896 version (Hai 422). The only plan I had of the reconstruction was one in Preston’s book on World War I Battleships. Although not in proper scale, it did have a deck plan showing general top view layout. However, a comparison with the two photographs I had in the proper time period showed several discrepancies that I could not reconcile. So I opted for the easiest conversion strategy: change as little as necessary. This turned out to be a relatively easy two evening project.
I obtained a second hand Hai 422 Requin. The first step was to carefully remove the upper deck boats so that they can be reused as repositioned. Then I removed the foremost pair of upper deck ventilators, again to be reused. Finally, I removed the abreast funnels and the deck house aft of them. The areas were first filed with a small needle file, then sanded smooth with a small sand block. One small gouge was filled with plastic filler and sanded flat. The final deconstruction step was to reduce the aft superstructure upper platform and file the ends flat. Although the Preston deck plan suggested that the larger upper deck after deck house should be shortened and raised one deck, that detail was not visible in either of the photographs I had, so I left it as is.
I constructed two funnel bases from plastic 1/8th inch plastic rod. They then had the sides sanded flat with my oscillating sander to get the proper shape. The funnel caps were made from .100 inch diameter plastic rod and glued together and then in place. The forward ventilators were glued before the fore funnel. The ships’ boats were repositioned further aft to make room for the third pair of 3.9 inch guns, mounted slightly before the new after funnel. These were constructed from two pieces of scrap plastic and .010 inch rod.
The final step was to repaint the funnel bases and gun bases and touch up the sides and any place showing a scuff a matching light grey. (I used Pactra IN57 light grey, lightened very slightly with a little Pactra tinting white.) Funnel caps where painted flat black, as were the 3.9 inch gun barrels. The deck color was matched using Pactra IN 60 deck tan, which was almost an exact match for the color used on the original deck. Finally, the entire model got a light coat of Testor’s dull coat. Then onto the shelf with the French Fleet.
New Parts Attached