login   |    register

HMS Westminster

  • move
Painting the Westminster

The AA missile caps were painted the same colour as the superstructure sides and I gave the Harpoon launchers another thinned down coat of paint as not everything had been covered first time round. These were then glued to the deck, as it would have been too fiddly once the bridge superstructure was fitted.

Moving onto the bridge, all the smaller details we're painted in the hull colour thus contrasting against the darker deck colour. I realized that I had glued the rear of the main mast incorrectly, and it was too low, so it was out with the debonder and off it came. This then allowed me to mask and spray Tamiya X-18 on the rear of the mast and then brush paint the small structure at the top the same colour.

The railings were so much fun to glue on and then hold the ship without pinging them off. All went swimmingly but my eyes hurt after adding the remaining railings and antennae that are provided in the WEM update. I have to say that the look of he ship is totally different with the railings, and makes it look far more realistic.

Moving on to the funnel superstructure my references showed that the top of the funnel was entirely black, which is not depicted in the instructions. This was duly masked off and sprayed. The small radome in front of the funnel was hand painted in Model Color white. The instructions showed two panels behind the funnel in a light grey colour, which I duly masked and sprayed, then too late, checked my references and found it to be the same colour as the deck!! Always check your references first!!!!!

Additional railings were added to this including some PE replacing the vertical supports either side of the RHIB wings. There still appears to be some more missing, but I have some spare railings, so may add them later. The 30mm cannons had their barrels painted along with the plethora of small box shapes dotted everywhere. The RHIBS were painted grey, masked and then painted black. Additional PE was added to the rear and they are now ready for a small amount of detail painting and a wash before being fitted at the end. Take note that the kit supplies two types of davits for launching the RHIB's. Check your references to ensure you fit the correct one. The whole structure was then glued on with superglue and I began the finishing details on the hangar.

I had already built the hangar, which is a structure within a structure. There was a lot of photo etch that needed adding from the WEM update and it took some time to get it all glued together and painted. Again detailed reference photos are invaluable in checking locations for some parts.

There is a plethora of good pictures on Google, and I would advise searching for the larger pictures as you can zoom in and look in detail at what you're trying to replicate.

There are 4 wings (2 big and 2 small) on the hangar, and all caused me some issue with the vertical rod supports. Most don't touch the deck and having glued mine early on, I think I would take a different approach next time. Rather than glue them all together I would attach the wings and a support at each end. These can be positioned correctly and then the remaining supports can be added so that they all line up correctly and reach the deck.

I changed how I built up the last set of wings on the hangar, compared to the bridge and funnel sections. This time I painted everything before adding it as I felt it would save time and make less mess. There were some problems gluing the emergency raft containers to the deck as both parts were painted, but nothing that a small drop of Tamiya extra thin couldn't resolve. I used the hangar door from the WEM set and cut a portion off it. Unfortunately it doesn't fit the kit part due to the make up of the internal hangar. A small chisel and half an hour later (as well as a few snapped pieces....) I had created a channel for the door. The kit also supplies what I would describe as almost a signpost which it says goes on the port side of the hangar doors. Again, check your references as some of the other ships carried Lynx helicopters and they have a different set up. The instructions are correct, but you will need to remove a small amount of plastic for it to fit correctly.

Moving onto the helicopter, the kit provides a Merlin that was correctly assigned to the Westminster. Having spoken to a naval officer who has been on the ship in question, he was not aware of any Lynx helicopters being assigned to her. The kit is made up of clear styrene in two main parts with additional parts making up the tail, rotors and wheels. Once glued together all the windows were masked and it was sprayed the same colour as the hull. In my haste I had glued both sets of rotors to it and instantly regretted it. Some very careful masking and I thought I'd got away with it, only to find Iíd hit the starboard side of the Merlin with some Tamiya Nato Black. With the naked eye itís not really noticeable, but under a camera it looks like I've gone to town with it!! This will need to be weathered in as part of the next process.

All that is left the glue is the second mast on the hangar roof and the ships railings, courtesy of WEM. The mast was glued and painted for the last update, but something was bugging me and didn't look right. I checked my references again and found that id glued it at too acute an angle. Out came the debonair and everything fell apart, so I have had to strip all the paint off the parts, give them a light sand and then will re-glue them tomorrow. They can then be repainted and attached. The railings Iíll leave until the end as otherwise I'll never be able to gain access to the main deck. Then it will just be the stand and nameplate to complete. The stand is rubbish and doesn't do anything to hold the ship upright. If you knock it slightly it goes for a spin. Iíve tried to re-position it further back with seems to give it more stability. Next time Iíll add ballast to the keel and make sure it has a proper stand. Photo for discussion purposes only

Photo for discussion purposes only

Photo for discussion purposes only

The last photo is just there because it shows not only how large the Merlin is and how tight the fit in the hangar must be, but I love the dramatic shot of the RHIB.

About the Author

About Toby Knight (toby2282)


very nice Toby!
SEP 27, 2015 - 04:56 PM
excellent work Toby
OCT 01, 2015 - 03:10 AM
Great build article. Very nice work on the finish.
OCT 01, 2015 - 03:33 AM
Thanks for posting this - i am about to embark down the same route and read your article with interest - especially the comment about not having a Lynx Helicopter. erm, it did, it had one embarked immediately after launch, i know because i was part of the flight as the Merlins still weren't ready and fully operational with the appropriate numbers This is the frustrating part i have only found with the model, it has a girly merlin helo ;-)
AUG 14, 2016 - 02:57 PM
Great work, I have the 1/350 HMS Monmouth and WEM Etch set, the Merlin looks sweet on her stern. Cheers.
SEP 30, 2017 - 01:29 PM