Monday, May 23, 2011

Yuri the Whale Catcher

As a collector of (among other things) little waterline ship models, and being rather creative to boot, I'm always looking for ships I can convert. I had read that the German liner Hamburg, which had been built in the 1920s for the Hamburg-America Line, was sunk by a mine in 1945 and was subsequently raised by the Soviet Union in 1950 and rebuilt. During the rebuilding they decided to convert the ship to a new role as a whale factory ship. In this role she would serve as a mother ship to a small fleet of much smaller whale catchers and would process, can and freeze their catches. Renamed Yuri Dolgoruki, the ship operated in the Southern Hemisphere during the 1960s to early 1970s, killing some 7200 Humpback Whales. I like to build up my Soviet ship collection whenever possible but I didn't have much material on the Yuri Dolgoruki until finally I found a few pictures. In the accompanying photo the original Hamburg model is in the foreground with my version of the Yuri Dolgoruki behind. I used the after section from a Carnarvon Castle on the stern, replaced the twin stacks with one I had in the scrap box from a 1:1200 model and fitted her out with a number of cranes and kingposts. The Hamburg models are Seabattle miniatures. I'm thinking of scratch building a Greenpeace ship to go with her.

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