Tiger (old photo)
Tiger with scale items
Tiger_0
Tiger_01
Tiger_02
Tiger_03
Tiger_04
Tiger_05
Tiger_06
Tiger_07
Tiger_08
Tiger_09
Tiger_10
Tiger_11
Tiger_12
Tiger_13
Tiger_14
Tiger_15
Tiger_16
Tiger_17
Tiger_18
BM_Tiger & Eagle 2
BM_Tiger & Eagle 1
Tiger & Eagle_20
Tiger & Eagle_21
Tiger & Eagle_19
0. Port full sepia
0. Starboard full
1. Port fore
ocean base 2
ocean base 3
BM_Tiger port fore
BM_Tiger starb aft high
BM_Tiger port fore high
BM_Tiger port 2
BM_Tiger directly above
BM_Tiger & Eagle 3
BM_Starb midships
BM_Starb midships 2
BM_Starb aft
BM_Dusk
BM_Port midships
BM_Dawn
BM_Port aft abve
ocean base 1
ocean base 4
2. port full
3. Port above
4. Port above fore
5. Bridge detail
6. Port fore 2
7. Port rear
8. Starboard rear
9. Flight deck detail 2
10. Flight deck detail
11. Starboard detail
12. Above port
13. Above starboard
14. Flight deck detail 3
15. Midships detail
16. Port quarter view
17. Port fore 1
18. Port full 2

Click on a picture in the gallery above to see a full resolution image, or to navigate manually

HMS Tiger (C20)
North Atlantic, 1977

Why this ship?

I have always liked the helicopter cruisers deployed by several navies the 1960's and 70's. Even though these ultimately proved not a successful design, they represent a fascinating chapter in naval history, and provide an excellent subject for modelling. Eventually I hope to build a series of these ships.

 

The opportunity to start this series presented itself with a second-hand Revell kit of HMS Tiger (a rebox of a much older Matchbox kit). Tiger was converted from an all-gun cruiser into a helicopter cruiser between the late 60's and 1972. Following this conversion, which included the installation of a bulky, box-like hangar and flight deck, I think one would be hard pressed to call Tiger (and her sister ship Blake, C99) "beautiful ships" - the silhouette looks rather unbalanced. However, to my eyes this rough and utilitarian appearance adds character, giving them a no-nonsense "just get the job done" vibe. 

What was added

  • I added the Atlantic Models HMS Tiger Detail Set (ATEM 70002), without which this would have been a very short and boring build (see below for details)

  • Rigging was done with human hair and Caenis thread.

  • Radio antennas cut from tungsten wire.

Lessons learned and problems circumvented

This is a very old kit, originally from the 1970's. This means you get the level of detail expected from the vintage, particularly in 1/700 scale.

 

 

The hull base plate, showing the kit's vintage

 

Having said that, there were no major fit issues, and the few mould sinks could be silly fixed with putty and sanding (see "Construction photos"). It is a light on surface detail, but this was not a problem. All pictures I found of the Tiger suggested that it was a very well maintained ship, which allowed me to keep weathering very light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A very tidy ship.

Image credits: top: http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=1839774

bottom: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c5/80/52/c580524e07edfeee6a2878a0c27e728b.jpg 

  • One issue that demanded correction was the height of the hangar, which was too low as provided. Following recommendation from the Atlantic Models instruction sheet, I added 2 mm evergreen strips all around, as shown below in the Construction photos.

  • The quadruple Seacat launchers were rudimentary as provided in the kit, and unconvincing in the photoetch version. I opted for combining the core of the plastic part with the photoetch rails and missiles, to make something that is still not perfect, but a little bit better (to my eyes).

  • The kit provides a reasonable accurate Seaking helicopter, which becomes even better if you use the photoetch replacement parts. It does not come with decals, though, so I had to home print them. I have no idea if number 11 was a real helo, and if so whether it ever landed on Tiger, but it was the only number I cold conjure at this scale.

The completed Westland Seaking helicopter, 1/700

hull parts with date.jpeg
HMS tiger stab HD.jpg
colour starboard.jpg
Seaking 2_edited.jpg
 
 

Construction photos

1. Putting together the hull
2. Lifting the hangar
3. Lifting the hangar (rear view)
4. Building the Tye 965 radar (1)
5. Building the Type 965 radar(2)
6. Main mast detail
7. Deck green painting
8. Taking shape
9. Guns, FlyOps, railing started
10. Smokestacks
11. Bridge completed, directors
12. Modified seacat launcher (1)
13. Modified Seacat launcher (2)
14. Seacat missiles assembled
15. Seacat installed
16. Masts, railing and rigging added

Click on a picture in the gallery above to see a full resolution image, or to navigate manually

  1. The model is started by joining the to halves of the hull and the "waterline".

  2. At this stage I took the opportunity correct an inaccuracy in the model, by lifting the perimeter of the hangar using 2 mm Evergreen strips (red arrow). This will allow me later to use the photoetch hangar doors from the Atlantic Models set. Also noticeable here is a U-shaped mold sink that had to be fixed on the surface of the flight deck (green arrow).

  3. Another view of the raised hangar roof, from the stern.

  4. Here starts the metal origami. The next few days were spend bending tiny pieces of metal, like this piece of the Type 965 long-range air search radar

  5. The Type 965 radar array, completed.

  6. By far, the most intricate aspect of this build was the main mast, which is made up of many tiny metal pieces, and took me the best part of a weekend. After breathing a sigh of relief, I put it aside in a safe box to avoid bending anything until the very last stages of the build.

  7. The next few hours are dedicated to masking and painting the deck green, and ensuring sharp transitions to the grey. Here I used a mixture of airbrush and paintbrush.

  8. Starting to build up the fore superstructure.

  9. With the 6" and 3" gun mounts added, I started on the railing. The FlyOps bridge was added to the top of the hangar.

  10. Time to work on the funnels, adding the photoetch grating and yardarms from the photoetch.

  11. With the bridge completed, this is starting to look like a Tiger class cruiser.

  12. Building the seacat launchers. The top assembly, using only the photoetch, did not look "right". I opted for combining the centre of the launcher from the plastic kit, with the base platform and rails from Atlantic Models.

  13. The Seacat launchers in final form.

  14. The 8 tiny Seacat missiles, before being attached to the launchers.

  15. Seacat launchers in place. Sadly at this stage I had built the crane the wrong way around (this was fixed later).

  16. A near-finished product. Pending here are decals, weathering, safety nets, and anchors. and trying to fix the crane...