Japanese neff

Today I'm going to show you the first proper neff I ever built (three years ago now). This has already been on LAF but I've got a better write up of the construction here.

I had seen various VSF flying contrations for sale on the net but was never very happy with the size so I decided to go for something that was practical on the tabletop but not too large.

After deciding on a basic hull size of about 390mm by 120mm it was time to start construction.

One side of the hull profile was cut out from 1.5mm mounting card and this was used as a template for the other half so the hull would be even.  

The superstructure was also cut from mounting card. The engine house was cut from a material called chemiwood to some. It's basically a machinable resin compound that is quite easy to shape with the right machine tools.

The two discs were acyrlic leftovers from another project and they were the base for machineguns.

The main turret was a short section of tube, again with leftover discs for the top and bottom.

The funnel was a narrow peice of tube with a slight angle sanded on it and the small funnels and portholes were from my bits box (they are resin cast and I made them years ago). The mast is an old Victorian lampost that was made for a project at work.

The superstructure was edged with styrene strip to neaten the edges and were then riveted.

During the main construction I made some of the smaller details like a pesudo Maxim gun (there were two of these). I also made a small gatling gun to go on the rear. All three were made from various styrene parts and the odd little bit of acrylic leftover.

The gun deck has a styrene treadplate glued on and it has fancy supports underneath.

The main deck was planked with 5mm wide balsa strips that were about 120mm long to represent the actual breaks in planking that you get on ships.

The underhull was carved out of insulation foam (blue/pink foam) with a long knife to get the basic shape, it was then smoothed down with a disc sander and then finally sandpaper keeping an eye on the eveness.

Riveting was done throughout the build if I got bored with any of the main construction. The rivets themselves are either tiny discs of acrylic or cut down styrene rod. Both types were stuck on with a steady hand and a paintbrush loaded with a version of Plastic Weld.

The prop-house was made from chemiwood the same as the engine house and was stuck in the under hull slightly protruding.

As you can see from the photos, various hatches, stowage boxes and other details were added all the way through the construction.

The propellor is from Tamiya (I think) and I got the shops entire stock :-) It's supported by a styrene tube and is removable. Rivets and such were also added along with a rear mast (styrene again).

I only decided to rail the upper deck as it makes it easier for gaming. This rather dodgy photo shows the basic idea. It's brass rod, cut to size and drilled in place on the upper deck. A chain is then strung between the posts and held in place by dressmaking pins which conveniently 'slot' inside the brass rod. Clever huh?

The wheel shaft was from an old resin ship kit and the wheel itself is actually a medieval gun wheel (until I change it for a proper one!). The figure is an old Redoubt Boxer Japanese officer.

The next thing to do was the stearing aerofoils. Most of the other neffs on the market (and that people had scratchbuilt) always seemd to have the stearing coming out of the rear. I fancied something a bit different for my Japanese neff and so therefore had them coming out the sides.

The construction was from embossed styrene sheeting with a pretend hinge inbetween and then clad round the outside with halfround rod. A basic rod support was made for the other side and that just sticks into a small block on the hull.

This might not make it the most maneuverable ship out there but I don't care because it's VSF and as long as it's not too outlandish I'm happy.

The whole thing was given a coat of primer and painted in the same way as the defense platform in the post below (but I'll go through it again).

The colour scheme is taken from Japanese fleet ships from the very early 1900's, and was painted with Foundry paints (I use these as it's easy to remember which colours were used).

The decking was Palomino with various washes and drybrushes added to give it a worn sense. The lower hull was Foundry slate grey and the upper was arctic grey. these were given a wash of GW green/brown ink (can't be bothered to remember the stupid names) and subtly drybrushed with varying degrees of light grey.

Weathering was acheived with thinned down orange ink and applied to various areas. Silver was also lightly drybrushed in areas that would see a lot of use (paint being worn away etc).

The flags are accurate to the historical period of the paint scheme and were printed from the computer after having a look for the relevent ones. You can't see them on the photos as they were a later addition. Basically there is a Commanders flag on the main mast and a normal Japanese naval ensign on the rear mast.

I'll leave you with a few more photos of various parts but just so you know the bloody thing was shot down in the first turn of it's first game and I haven't lived it down yet :-(



  1. Thanks - that's a really useful level of detail! I'm going to dust off the box of bits I've acquired to build HMAS Bristol in the Autumn and will definitely use this post for guidance.

  2. Utterly fantastic. A brilliant piece of scratch-building. Very impressive and deeply inspirational! Great stuff Jim!

  3. Yeah, yeah, but what about the castle Gaylord?

  4. Thanks chaps apart from Steve ;-p

    Your castle is on it's way mate and of course will get full exposure here :-)



  5. I've seen the model on a number of occasions - a great Aeronef.

    I found the tutorial very interesting and informative.

    Thank you for posting it.


  6. Glad it was of help :-)