Hobby Boss SSN-772 Greenville in 1/700
       Start: June / 2011
 Finished: August / 2011
 

I started this project during the final stages of my Hobby Boss SS-212. That was a mostly rewarding experience, and way easier than tackling a surface ship in the same scale. So I wondered I could gather a small collection of submarines in 1/700 if I would persist in building one of these from times to times.

The SSN-772 is one of the newest US Navy submarines. It is a Los Angeles class, so it is not as big as its ancestors. Commissioned in 1996, it became famous after the Ehime Maru incident in 2001 (I also found a short radio comm of the accident). It also ran aground in Saipan in 2001, and collided again in 2002 with USS Ogden. Not the luckiest ship in USN inventory. More interestingly, it was one of the ships to test ASDS (Advanced Seal Delivery System) devices, those parasite subs carried on its back to deploy Seals.  

Like the Gato, the SSN-772 is pretty simple, with maybe a dozen parts (I didn't count). The fit is very good, and you don't have to deal with propulsion inserts difficult to sand like the Gato and U-boats from the same manufacturer.



I started by cleaning the parts. The hull is split horizontally, and after glueing the halves I rescribed the lost recessed hull lines. I assembled the whole model at once, except for the propeller and the ASDS. After a coat of Tamiya shit highlighter (aka primer) from the spray can, I corrected a few bad spots and proceeded with a pre-shading using black paint along the prominent details. Next, I airbrushed a very thin coat of hull red, to allow the pre-shading to show, and right after that, I lightened the color with a coat of Ferrari red. Looking at photos I found on the internet, it became clear that the red used in these modern subs should be brighter than the hull red used in WWII vessels. Using automotive lacquers, these steps didn't take longer than half an hour:







The ASDS actually took more time than its mother ship. I rescribed a few lines and removed the poor kit's representation the propeller. I replaced that with the core of a wrist watch gear punched out with a Waldron tool, and glued it inside a thin section of aluminum tubing. I also had to re-assemble the submarines's propeller, since it came smashed in my sample.



The ASDS was painted according to a couple of photos I found elsewhere. These devices look pretty faded and dirty, so I used several shades of grey color and decals to replicate this:



I also added the shoes that support the ASDS on the back of Greenville, applied a good coat of flat varnish, drybrushed it, and it was done:



Back to the Greenville, I masked the red areas and airbrushed several shades of grey. I rarely use pure black. Starting with a dark grey mix, I progressivelly added white paint to the airbrush cup and applied successive streaks transversally to the hull to avoid a monochromatic aspect. Modern submarines are covered with rubber plates to minimize sonar reflection, and these are visible. I tried to replicate the effect wrapping a mesh around the hull and misting grey color. The plates should be quadrilateral, instead of my hexagonal interpretation, but that was the mesh I had in hand, so...


    
After removing the masks I applied the kit's decals, which are very good. I also painted the strange camouflage pattern applied to the tower masts. I don't know why they have used such a black & white tiger cammo, but it's there:



And so the basic painting was finished:




The last part installed was the brass colored propeller. I applied a semi-gloss varnish over it to avoid excessive glaring in such small scale. As a final touch, I mixed a 50%-50% semi-gloss and flat varnish and applied over the whole model. Then I came back with pure flat varnish and retouched the bow and a couple of other areas for some variation. Finally, the ASDS was glued in place.

Not happy with Hobby Boss display base, I used the same base made for my Gato, which is now the standard base for my submarines. And she was done:















Now I have two submarine models under my belt...
maybe three, if I'm allowed to count the ASDS.

Technical file
Kit: 
- Hobby Boss 87016
Additions: 
- Scratchbuilt ASDS propeller.
Basic colors: 
- Primer: Tamiya Grey primer spray can
-
Main color: Aerotech's Gloss Black automotive lacquer mixed with Flat White.

- Hull red: Aerotech's Hull Red and Ferrari Red automotive lacquers
- Brass (propellers): Model Master Brass Non-Buffing Metalizer (#1417)
- Flat clear coat: Testors Dullcote (#1160)
Notes: 



Rato Marczak 2011