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pikohan

[WIP] 1:350 Scale IJN Kongo in LEGO

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So I'm building a LEGO model of the Kongo for a convention next year.... it'll probably eventually get turned into an ARP Kongo, but for now I'm modeling what's presumably a 1944 configuration.

 

I've seen a couple of people doing LEGO boats for creative contests in the past... can't guarantee how well this'll turn out, but would anyone be interested in seeing like a build log, or just the end product?

 

Here's the drawing, I'm using for scaling:

Spoiler

mwOKdsz.png

 

Pictures of someone's amazing model I'm referencing for detais work:

Spoiler

b9G2lqW.jpg

 

Mj2jZ5l.jpg

 

And the beginnings of the ship itself:

Spoiler

Early outline of the hull at the deck and waterline:

 

tCEWEpV.jpg

 

Rough sketch of the above-waterline hull:

 

6bt12Wa.png

 

Main superstructure:

 

kDkIFSb.png

 

And the superstructure on the hull:

 

ALiwn8g.png

 

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Excellent good luck with that I wouldn't mind seeing your build log or the final product:cap_like:

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Alright, let me backtrack a bit and describe how I got to here. This is the first boat model I'm doing in LEGO, though I've done a lot of ~1:48 trains. I'd been reluctant to try my hand at a ship because the complex curves of a hull appear to be very difficult to model well.

 

The Strategy:

 

Like this game itself, there is some strategy, and I believe how you decide to build the model can have a large influence on the result:

 

Here is a roughly 1:100 scale model of a Yukikaze, done by a member of the LEGO group I'm in:

Spoiler

Et6zVvR.jpg

You can see that the outline of his hull (green) is very jagged because of the way he's chosen to build it. Most likely for construction simplicity he's done everything studs-up without any complex offsets such that along the actual curve of the hull (red), the limiting feature size is one stud, and that produces that jagged edge.

 

On the flip side, here's a smaller scale model of a 155mm Mogami I found on Google:

Spoiler

EaZXEHt.jpg

This guy has done the complete opposite: he's built his ship out of many panels that are aligned at slight angles to each other and fixed together by god knows what complicated structure. The result is stunning, but to get the fit right most likely requires a ton of IRL trial and error, and that seems extremely tedious.

 

As a balance between complexity and fineness of feature size, I decided early on to build the hull studs-out. This would mean that along the lengthwise curve of the hull my minimum feature size would be one plate (2/5 of a stud) but it would not be insanely difficult to support structurally.

 

Where to Start:

 

The first thing is make a scaling drawing. This is basically LEGO scale modeling 101: If you know the size of the ship, the scale, and the size of LEGO, so you can see how big your ship and its features are relative to LEGO:

Spoiler

gnHL5ig.jpg

The grid is in 1x1 plates, and you can see that the ship will be about 80 studs long and 10 bricks high from the waterline. There's two important outlines here: one for the deck, and one for the hull at the water line. The deck will be built studs-up, which means that any curvature will need to be handled by wing plates, but that's okay because the edges of the deck are mostly angles.

 

I didn't use a top-down grid for the top-down view because of the way I'm going to build the hull: the outline I'm drawing in red exactly translates to what I'm building:

Spoiler

fH2Yrv3.jpg

 

Upper Hull:

 

So here's how your model starts simple and suddenly pukes complexity. Originally my intent was to build the whole upper hull studs-out. This would have made the upper hull below the top deck slightly too tall, and at first that seemed like a reasonable trade off for less construction complexity:

Spoiler

vtLfJIc.png

But some ways into it I realized that the section of hull with the casemates extending to the rear deck would be much too low or much too high, so I had to stick in a layer of studs-up tiles to offset that section (green). You can see the very front of the ship is still entirely studs-out to better model that complex curve at the front. The proportions are much improved to what they would have been, but now I will eventually have to add in structure to support that layer.

Spoiler

D2ehSs3.png

Do note that the mechanical structure of the large parts of the ship are largely unaccounted for at this time. Almost all the work in the hull is just to determine placement: I will backfill the structure once I'm happy with it all.

 

Superstructure:

 

Here is progression of the superstructure. For something like this there isn't any trick per se: it's just brute force placing bits and pieces where they appear to be in the scaling diagram and getting them to connect - in a small construct like the bridge, you can't quite skip the structural support at this time (though how sturdy it actually is will never be apparent 'til you do it IRL).

Spoiler

Gjsut2R.png

This is where the advent of digital tools has been really helpful. A lot of times I build something and want to iterate on it, but I want to remember what I just did. In LDD you can make a clone and modify the clone while retaining the original for reference!

 

Finally, because the smallest feature size of LEGO is a generally a 1x1 plate, there's a lot of stuff you can't explicitly model. If you look closely at the superstructure it doesn't really match the prototype: rather I've tried to explicitly model some key features and just sketch the rest:

Spoiler

6BXigck.jpg

Okay, til next time, probably once the decks are done.

Edited by pikohan

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Very nice! I use LDD too, although I haven't done anything in the area of ships. Just build up the structure and oversecure things and it'll turn out fine.

59ed69492ddbf_J1Gen2.thumb.png.05bd1c222d4de1ad5359a2857d72dcc3.png.

This is what I'm currently working on building IRL, I got the actual wheels that are being represented by the red ones in the picture and most of the tender completed. The thing will be over 4 ft long and something over two or three pounds. If you need any help, let me know, I love to help out fellow Fans of Lego!

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On 10/22/2017 at 9:11 PM, High_Admiral said:

snip

 

Very cool! That thing looks massive! Is it a freelance or actually based off something?

 

I'll keep you in mind if I need any help, but so far my limiting reagent has been lack of time (of course)... nonetheless, here is part two:

 

Rear deck

 

Probably the easiest part of the model: very straightforward construction and very easy to see what and where all the details are. One thing that needed some thought is again the curvature of the hull: since this section needs to be built studs-up, the shape basically has to be represented by wing plates, and there's a bit of choice.

Spoiler

jT5OwST.jpg

I actually combined two different "lines": one for the upper and one for the lower plates of the deck assembly. The "wood" part has an overall more wobbly line (red) but no sharp corners, whereas the "steel" part has a smoother overall line but a notch in the middle (green). The combination is intended to both smooth out the entire visual effect and provide structure: if both layers were identical, there would need to be a third layer to join them together, and I didn't think there would be room for that. You can also see that if the lower hull were built studs-up, it would have to be a stack of one or both of these layers which would look weird.

Spoiler

2Lfbt5y.jpg

Another thing to be cognizant of if you're doing this digitally is parts selection: LDD has a mode in which it kind of suggests what parts may or may not be available in a certain color, but it's wrong a lot, so it's generally good to be vigilant about checking on a site like BrickLink or wherever you might buy your parts. I try not to let parts selection influence the design too much - I would rather start with an ideal design and strip off/modify things later when parts selection becomes a problem - but in the case of the rear deck where I didn't feel like there were that many good alternatives, I did check that all four wing types existed in these colors.

 

More superstructure

 

This has actually been the most tedious part so far: there's just a lot of greebles around this area and even with fairly high-res reference pictures it's often hard to tell what something looks like. You can see that I iterated on it a lot more than the rear deck. The red and blue posts are indicators such that I can more easily see how high features are on the actual model compared to where they should be on the drawing. 

Spoiler

j6dinfP.jpg

 

ah2BvpH.jpg

Things I thought turned out well: the use of 1x1 bricks with studs on 4 sides to suggest truss structures (green: you can see through them!) and the large tripod thing over the rear funnel. The binoculars for the large AA armament I stole from other people's ideas. There's some things that still need adjustment or work like the crane and the placement/variety of the various small boats, but just like the game it helps to go do something else and come back to it.

 

Next Time The Boring Part:

 

Here's all the completed bits put together:

Spoiler

deMeaMx.jpg

The turrets are floating around, but all of the mounts need to be shifted slightly for clearance, and especially for the B turret that seems annoying. It looks close to being done, but as I mentioned before, there isn't any internal structure yet. This isn't necessarily important for building the static model but it is important for being able to pick up the model without having it fall apart.

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7 hours ago, pikohan said:

 

Very cool! That thing looks massive! Is it a freelance or actually based off something?

 

I'll keep you in mind if I need any help, but so far my limiting reagent has been lack of time (of course)... nonetheless, here is part two:

It's based off of a design study I did awhile back streamlining a Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy in the style of a Southern Pacific GS-4. I liked how it came out so I then went to add more power and speed. After that it kinda spiraled out into the loco you see today.

Edited by High_Admiral

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On 10/22/2017 at 11:11 PM, High_Admiral said:

Very nice! I use LDD too, although I haven't done anything in the area of ships. Just build up the structure and oversecure things and it'll turn out fine.

59ed69492ddbf_J1Gen2.thumb.png.05bd1c222d4de1ad5359a2857d72dcc3.png.

This is what I'm currently working on building IRL, I got the actual wheels that are being represented by the red ones in the picture and most of the tender completed. The thing will be over 4 ft long and something over two or three pounds. If you need any help, let me know, I love to help out fellow Fans of Lego!

I love this. We have one of the surviving Big Boys here in the St. Louis area and the thing is huge. It'd look great with Loewy's streamlining.

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Finally had some time to work on this a bit between other LEGO projects, so here's some progress...

 

Internal Structure, Upper Hull

 

So I finished a first pass on most of the external appearance in my last update, but if you turned the ship over, it was basically like this:

 

Spoiler

6yqJcOG.png

 

Now it's not always prudent to go and build something without any regard for how it will be supported as there's sometimes a good chance that you actually _cant_ support it, but I was fairly comfortable doing this on this model due to its size and the (relatively) low architectural complexity.

 

The thing I was most concerned about supporting properly was the row of tiles (green) between the two "layers" of the upper hull - these tiles are offset between each other by a plate, suggesting that they must be attached to the hull parts directly under them since that curve moves plate by plate.

 

Fundamentally connecting a complex structure like this in LEGO is all about counting: the main thing to know is that LEGO bricks can be measured in "LEGO Units" (LU) where a 1x1 brick is 5LU (blue) on a side and 6LU (green) tall. From there you can derive how far anything is from anything else and get an idea of what combination of bricks you'll need to fill the gap.

 

Spoiler

Akm0l8w.png

 

For example, most of the longitudinal support comes from a Technic frame, which is one stud (5LU - green) high. The distance between the top of the frame and the bottom of the top deck is one stud and one plate (7LU - teal): there's multiple ways to bridge this gap, but once you know the dimension, it's easy to figure out what combinations you can use.

 

Spoiler

aZaC9nw.png

 

In my case I used three plates (6LU - green) and a bracket (1LU - teal), which lets me connect the plates to the frame.

 

Spoiler

UKPi183.png

 

The rest of the structure is just done with variations of this technique (the pink things are optimistically where I think the bottom and top hulls can connect in the future, but I'm just getting ahead of myself now)

 

Spoiler

eyd5qUA.png

 

hXuFnae.png

 

So, now is the first time in the project that real bricks come into play! 

 

At this point it was time to test the actual structural integrity of what I'd so far only looked at virtually. For the most part, it works as expected: I'd even suggest it's overengineered and I might go with a simpler design for the final revision. As this is just a prototype, it doesn't matter that most of the colors aren't correct; most likely none of this construct will be used in the final model.

I did take the opportunity to build up the bow with more correct colors in order to see what the stepped tiles would actually look like.

 

Spoiler

wetLo2A.jpg

 

FJKQ74O.jpg

 

At this point, the first draft of the waterline model is complete, so here are some more virtual shots:

 

 

ZYcuJnA.png

 

Spoiler

Gr69lt5.png

 

ekcmal1.png

 

This could in theory stand alone as its own model if I can't figure out the lower hull... which I hopefully will have time to work on over the holidays.

 

Bonus

 

A not-a-supercontainer I built for a train project:

 

Spoiler

9EFNXeh.jpg

 

Edited by pikohan
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Lower Hull

 

Well, this is the part everyone's waiting for, myself included! Gonna say this was kind of a struggle: as it was my first itme modelling a form like this, I didn't really have a process and really just guessed and checked along the way:

 

The first thing I did was extend the shape of the waterline down three more studs, which would be the entire height of the lower hull:

 

Spoiler

gpV0xdy.png

 

And then comes the really fuzzy part: just chip away at the corners 'til it starts to look right! It really feels more like sculpting than anything else:

 

Spoiler

4eOdONM.png

 

The back part has been way more difficult than the front: the shape is more complex (due to the "fin" between the propellors), the space is more limited (therefore difficult to add support structure), and I need to attach the propellors and shafts there.

 

Spoiler

chC6aA3.png

 

zaj3zXj.png

 

Much like with the upper hull, once I figured out the line(s) that I wanted to use, I went back and supported everything on the inside. I usually start with everything blue and color the parts I can see on the outside - the remaining blue parts are the ones that can't be seen and therefore can be whatever color in the final model.

 

Spoiler

MhXJ9GR.png

 

a0hXRYo.png

 

One half of the lower hull: I used staggered 1x4 bricks for the majority of the bottom fill to simulate plating - it's not really accurate in size, but I wanted to give it some texture such that it would have the same feel.

 

Spoiler

L0yD6Mn.png

 

And the two halves together: You'll notice there's very little internal structure: with the large amount of 1x4 bricks in the base and a lot of plates in the side, I decided that further reinforcement was unecessary, and at least my initial testing has validated that. I'm also planning to simplify the structure in the upper hull, but I haven't tested that yet.

 

Spoiler

bB2NqAJ.jpg

 

OPvGb3h.png

 

eGJVQEQ.jpg

 

Finally, here's the top and bottom hulls together.

 

Spoiler

3U9B8tE.jpg

 

rTnsUK9.jpg

 

Dd44728.jpg

 

I think the lower hull could still use a little tweaking: I think the blue curve needs to be a little more S shaped and the green curve needs to be a little less S shaped, but despite all the models out there I can't find a good picture of the bottom such that I can get a really good assessment of what this area should look like, but I think it's close? Either way something that needs more investigating.

 

Spoiler

WVttmcx.jpg

 

Anyway, it's getting close now! Next update should be the final design.

Edited by pikohan
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Looks great! From everything I've looked at, your lower hull is a good match for Kongo's. 

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So I did some quick math:

A 'miniatures' game with this scale of ships would be played on a football field or soccer pitch.

The long range shots would go out to about 50 yards.

The picture below is a 1/1200 scale Kongo.

 

 

564bd71109c9165b996229c4145df900--kongo-battleship.jpg

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Hey @pikohan did you finish this?

Edited by Camo68

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On 2/21/2018 at 2:51 AM, Camo68 said:

Hey @pikohan did you finish this?

 

Sooo... it's getting worked on, just very slowly because it's a boring part at the moment :Smile_smile:

 

Basically, I built out the test of the entire hull and made sure that everything worked, and I did a mockup of the main pagoda mast too:

cVZSjv7.jpg

 

One of the things I wanted to mess with was weathering the ship... people in the LEGO community do this with buildings all the time, but it's rarely done on vehicles, large or small. I think with buildings, they are usually built of a fairly uniform pattern of bricks, so there is more granularity in the weathering patterns you can do. Anyways, I played with it for a bit, but I couldn't decide if I liked it better with or without the weathering, and just sat on it for a while:

RbgM2j6.png

 

Eventually I decided that I should just go with the "clean" version and I could add the weathering later if I could make a good pattern. So I started the tedious process of fishing parts out of my own collection and seeing what the delta is between what I have and what the model needs. I also spent time at my local LUG meetings fishing through vendor bulk brick trying to get many copies of various common parts such that I wouldn't have to order them online.

Here you can see the parts for roughly 85% of the ship:

DmKxSxM.jpg

 

So for the last 15% I need to get them through BrickLink, and it's a tedious process of entering the parts into the BL UI and trying to find a combination of sellers that isn't too expensive. There's a pretty handy tool for this, but even then sometimes a certain part is difficult to get, and I'll need to swap it out for an alternative, etc. So that's pretty much where it is... I'll probably try to hash that out sometime in the next month.

Finally for the actual display I also need to make some kind of stand, and I just don't yet have a strong opinion of what that should look like.

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It's, like, microscale Kongo. Would love to see your take on something a bit larger (Like 1/200 ish), as you have a good eye for proportions.

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Another small update on the Kongo... I ordered most of the remaining bits, but due to scarcity of some parts and me screwing up, it wasn't everything. That being said, I spent a good chunk of time this weekend assembling it as far as I could:

Spoiler

53i3IUX.jpg

 

mRDkf97.jpg

 

5nsogYT.jpg

 

kWMIKZT.jpg

 

Mostly it's the tan deck pieces that seem to be really rare and/or expensive. I tweaked some other parts of the ship based on parts availability, but I couldn't engineer out a need for tan 1x3 tiles or 1x2 jumpers. That being said, next time I get a round of orders out, it should be done. Still want to make a stand and a small display for the ship, but that should not be a lot of effort.

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Looks great! I still need to start ordering parts for my big loco before I decide to redesign her internals (for the fourth time). 

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... and done!

 

u0zHRzD.jpg

jrWjwM8.jpg

 

Spoiler

S7Alw4B.jpg

yKcaaT2.jpg

SWK5oQf.jpg

HqyvI8I.jpg

r7MBnJH.jpg

0hy2Fwy.jpg

 

And all the turrets can be turned/"posed":

Spoiler

ihwvDRx.jpg

 

And as shown before, the upper and lower hulls can separate such that the ship can be displayed as a waterline model

Spoiler

cMIDnv7.jpg

Lt3mI8D.jpg

 

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