Daniel Gallardo - 1/150 R/C Charles de Gaulle: Part 5 by Daniel Gallardo
Brand: Scratchbuilt
Scale: 1/150
Modeler: Daniel Gallardo


AircraftProfilePrints.com - Museum Quality Custom Airctaft Profile Prints

The Catwalks


For any model, but particularly for those in large scales, the degree of detailing determines not only how good the model will look to an observer, but also the degree of satisfaction achieved by the builder. Every modeler is different, so the same ship in the same scale will be provided with different degrees of detailing that reflect the personality of the builder. As you will see in this article, I put a great deal of detailing into this model.

The Catwalks:

In French these are the ‘boulevards’ and the closest English equivalent would be ‘sidewalks’. I imagine the term ‘catwalks’ was introduced because they were originally so narrow and crowded that only a cat could negotiate them easily. Picture 1 shows part of the starboard side catwalk near the bow: the platform seen here will hold radio antennae, but the equipment to be found along most parts of the catwalks are to be seen here – hose reels, electrical boxes, fire extinguishers, ladders, and various electrical panels. Pictures 2-10 show these features: note that they are all on the starboard side as I photographed this area for the catwalks and similar areas on the port side were photographed to concentrate on other features, such as the LSO platform seen later in this article.

Click on the images to enlarge!

Radio Antennas

For the antennas, 1.5mm copper wire was used (picture 11 below): it was filed and then sanded into shape (picture 12, above). I was careful not to get glue on the rotating mechanism as these antennas, like most antennas on a carrier at flight deck level can be rotated downward during flight operation (pictures 13, 14, and 15) and upwards when flight operations are not taking place (picture 16, 17, and 18). While the large antennae were in two pairs, there was a smaller antenna found between the two pairs and it is seen in picture 19 in the down position and raised up in picture 20.

Click on the images to enlarge!

Safety Netting

The best ‘fit’ for the safety netting found on models of warships in this scale is the type of mesh found wrapped around candied almonds given as gifts at weddings. This mesh is seen in picture 21 and then washed with a dark oak colour and cut into pieces in picture 22. Brass wire is used to support the mesh (picture 23) and the results can be seen in picture 24 (above) which shows the mesh at the bow of the flight deck. Picture 25 shows the wire ready to receive mesh at the stern of the flight deck, and picture 26 shows it in place. Picture 27 shows the mesh to the outside of one of the elevators and pictures 28 and 29 show the same safety netting as part of the handrails found at different parts of the ship. Some handrails, however, were found behind solid bulwarks and so needed no netting: these railings were of brass wire soldered in place. (pictures 30, 31, and 32)

Click on the images to enlarge!

LSO Platform

This platform was created using various types of plastic; first from a ‘blister pack’ that was reinforced with brass wire. (picture 33 above) This can be seen from different angles in pictures 34 to 36. In an emergency, men on this platform will have to throw themselves down violently to avoid a bad landing, so mattresses are found around this area: these were made using grooved plasticard and can be seen in pictures 37 to 39. How deep the men can drop is shown in picture 40.

Click on the images to enlarge!

Mobile Crane:

More than 80 pieces were necessary to create this structure (seen completed in picture 41, above) and it involved all sorts of plastic and even some plexiglass for the cabin. The wheels came from a child’s toy (picture 42) that had to have the old rims removed and replaced with new ones. Picture 43 shows the wheels, chassis, and crane, and picture 44 shows the support stabilizers. All these pieces come together in picture 45 which has an unpainted structure. Pulleys and other details were added and then the markings were done by hand. (pictures 46-49) Altogether, it took about two weeks to make this mobile crane.

Click on the images to enlarge!


I decided that the model needed 12 of these tractors and began by making a mold for the chassis (picture 50). These were then primed, (picture 51) and painted (picture 52) and then the wheels were added. (picture 53) These were made from a PCV pipe. Picture 54 shows the production of steering wheels from copper wire and picture 55 shows all the pieces coming together. Picture 56 shows completed tractors on the deck but one has been modified to be a fire truck (picture 57)

Click on the images to enlarge!

Hose Reels and Access Doors

All carriers have numerous hoses and the reels to house them and CDG is no exception. Pictures 58 to 62 show some of these, with the last picture showing some associated piping with the reel located next to the superstructure.

I needed four different types of access doors for this model and none existed in this scale so I had to make my own. I began by soldering a piece of electrical wire to a piece of brass and then shaping it and filing it. (picture 63) It was then presses into material called synotfer while it was still soft: when the synotfer hardened then I had a mould that I could press and pound thin copper sheet into. (picture 64) The next two pictures (65 and 66) show the moulds for the four types of doors, and the thin copper wire used to create the large wheels used to open and close the doors. The final pictures (67 to 69) show these doors in place around the carrier, the last picture showing the numerous doors to be found on the starboard side of the superstructure.

Click on the images to enlarge!

UNREP Equipment and Life Raft Canisters

Replenishment at sea or ‘underway replenishment’ (UNREP in English) is ‘ravitaillement à la mer or RAM in French. Here I used two different thicknesses of electrical wire with copper tubing acting as the links between the sections of hose. (picture 70, above). Pictures 71 and 72 show this quite well. Pictures 73 and 74 show the winch platform, located forward of the refueling hoses, that is also part of any RAM evolution. The plastic stem of the winch was machined on a mini-lathe.

Because of their shape, the canisters holding life rafts are called ‘bombards’ in French. I made the supports using wood, steel rods, and synotfer which when hardened, cut, and painted, provided the supports for the canisters (50 of them around the flight deck of the ship). The process is seen in pictures 75 to 78 below, with picture 79 showing the completed supports in place and picture 80 showing some of the canisters in place.

Click on the images to enlarge!

Ship's Boats

The Zodiac: this was made from the plastic found on the parts ‘tree’ of a model kit and filed into shape while the crane was a 2mm brass tube and the jib a piece of copper filed into shape then soldered. Picture 80 shows these pieces against a coin for size reference. Picture 81 shows the place where the zodiac is located on the CDG and picture 82 shows it in place. Picture 83 shows the relationship of this position to that of the RAM equipment, not yet placed on the model, but seen clearly in picture 70 which heads the previous chapter.

The Commando Boats: There are two of these on the CDG and picture 84 shows the building up of the hull to provide a mould form. This was sanded and waxed five or six times and then a gel coat was applied. The completed mould is shown in picture 85 and the beginning of the construction in picture 86. Picture 87 shows the completed boat but it is not yet painted and picture 88 has it completed, painted, and in place on the model.

The gigs found starboard aft on the CDG began with a mould (picture 89) that produced two hulls (picture 90). Picture 91 shows the craft ready for painting, and picture 92 (above, heading this chapter) shows them in place, one fully raised and the other partially lowered.

Next: Part 6 – the Air Wing

Click on the images to enlarge!


Bookmark and Share

  Photos and text © 2010 by Daniel Gallardo

July 15, 2010