Lower/Underside of Ship Hulls Please help..

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by NYC Irish, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. NYC Irish

    NYC Irish Member

    Underside of Ship Hulls Please help..

    Hello all…I've run into a problem a few times which has forced me to give up on a few ship kits, but I really do not want to.
    After building the internal structure of the hull I start on putting the red below the water line “skin†onto the formers and no matter what I do, I am never happy with the result. Its either warped or doesn’t align after a few pieces along the line.
    Does anyone have any recommendations or options as I would like to do the full hull and props n rudders but I just cant get it…I've tried the Scorpio method of latex painting the hull after a good sanding and was ok with the result but…

    I suppose I am basically looking for other options to the mess I usually create

    Thanks all

    John John
  2. rickstef

    rickstef Guest

    John John,

    I am thinking Contruction/Craft paper, the solid all the way through color type

    that way if you boo-boo, it won't be as noticable.

    and over the parts, and then carefully trim the excess off, the way carpet or vinyl tile installers fit accents or edges together

    just thinking out loud

  3. Perhaps the best advice I can give is to go to the Kartonbau and Karton.net sites linked at the bottom of the page and do some research in the ship construction threads. Some are straight up builds and some are the foam filled variety. One thing I am looking forward to is trying the new Digital Navy Arizona. From the looks of the pictures I have seen Roman has really come up with some solutions to the the hull skinning problem. I've tried the foam filled method as a solution to the washboard effect that a traditional full hull can develop and while it is a royal PITA at times it does allow for a very smooth hull. The only problem is the hull can overwhelm the rest of the build. But one place where the foam filled hull could really shine is in a fully planked wooden ship or a riveted hull iron ship where the hull plates overlap. With the right adhesive one could skin the hull completely solid with out rergards to the actual framing underneath. Look in the build threads for the Arizona competion under the USS Metcalf and see what some of the solutions and pitfalls I ran into. And yes I know I have to finish it but lately I seem to have time to visit here and that's about it.

    Just remember there is no one solution
  4. NYC Irish

    NYC Irish Member


    Anyone recommend a European brand of foam to fill it in please?
    John John
  5. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    I'm not sure if this addresses your question, John John, but I recall either Christoph or Michael mentioned in one of the build threads that you don't glue the shell pieces to all the frames when you do the bottom...or the side plates, for that matter, as the glued points will interpose a warp or other anomoly to the paper at those points...you only apply glue to the outter edges. The edges are also lightly sanded to make provide a slight bevel to the underside so that when the two adjoining pieces are matched up with glue along the frame former the glue does not bunch up at the joint, but, rather, goes under the joint and into the beveled area of the edge...hope that is clear. :roll:

    Some ship modelers also incorporate same colored strips to the frame formers to give you a larger area for gluing and to avoid any "white" showing through at the joints...I have also seen folks use white glue mixed with water color pencil shavings to create a joint compound to fill in any noticeable cracks that might exist at the joints, but I think you've already seen or are aware of these tricks.

    Not sure any of this is new to you or even helpful, but I figured I would mention them nonetheless... :D

    Hope this helps.


  6. murban

    murban Member

    John John,

    Jim basically already said it all, but the most important tool for building an underwater hull is patience.

    First, make sure that your framework is aligned, completely dry and not warped. Then add strips of thin paper to the frames and color these strips in the same color as the underwater plating.

    When applying the plates, it is best to start and the fore and aft end and work towards the middle. The middle pieces most of the time are pretty much rectangular and are a lot easier to correct than the more complex shapes near the ends of the ship.

    Carefully glue each hull plate to its frame, trying to align it as good as possible. Trim it as necessary, do not force it in. Most of the time there are little marks for the center spine - make sure these are aligned and centered.

    When you are done and there are still little gaps, fill them with colored white glue. If you are still not happy with the result, slightly sand it and apply some coats of color ;)

    That's all there is to say about this - all different methods of filling the gaps between the frames with foam, styropor, etc. are good, but they don't help with the plating - they were invented to make the hull more resistant against damage when handling the model...

  7. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    I drafted this up at work...looks as if there have been a few postings since then. So, this will repeat some and contradict others, but there are some parts that haven't been mentioned yet, sooo....

    Here’s my two bits on care and feeding of the red parts. (1) The analogy to laying tile is a great one. And, as a Tiler I effectively apprenticed myself to one summer back in high school imparted to me, “If the baseline aint straight, doughn figger nuttin else will be eeder.†Spend as much, if not more, time and care building the framework than you do on any other part of the model. The more perfect it is, the easier the rest of the build will be. Firmly tack down the baseplate to a truly flat building surface before adding one more part to it. Leave as little slop in the joining slots as you can….you have it just right if you don’t have to force the parts together, but they will stay in place without glue when you let go of them. Take care to exactly place the edges of the bulkheads, keels, etc. on the location marks of the parts they are being glued to (dangle, little participle). And if the base platforms, keels, and longerns don’t have location marks that are the full width of the part being added, draw in your own before starting the build. Use a small drafting triangle (30-60-90) to ensure the parts you are adding (keel, bulkheads, etc.) are perpendicular to the base part. (And, in those few cases where the parts aren’t joined at a 90-degree angle, make yourself an alignment jig that has the correct angle.) Even better, for larger builds, make a bunch of gussets (little right triangles….don’t use the wrong triangles) and add them to brace every join between parts. (Not only keeps the build straight, but adds strength to the join as well.) And (very important) make sure the glue is completely cured before removing the framework from the building surface. (2) I have mixed opinion on using construction paper (colored throughout the paper). There is the advantage of no white edges, and (usually) does not watermark if a little bit of moisture gets on it…however, the texture of just about all construction paper I’ve encountered is Krapski compared to cardstock, and does not keep looking good nearly as long as does cardstock. My own druthers is to use colored joining strips and touch up raw edges with felt-tip or colored pencil. (3) Start at the center of the hull with the biggest and most rectangular red piece there is. If on no other parts, use a straight edge to guide the cuts on this piece. If the red piece doesn’t have alignment marks on it (small tic marks on the part edges at the centerline of the part), lightly add them with pencil. Some advocate starting at the ends and working to the middle....going back to tile laying, every “expert†source I've seen says start in the middle and work outward. Errors are cumulative....it only makes sense to minimize the length in which they accumulate. Combine that with it being much easier to get a rectangle properly aligned than an irregularly shaped (and usually compound curved) bow or stern piece, and I'll always opt for the middle as the starting point. (4) Glue the red part to the keel, and only to the keel, making sure the red part’s alignment marks are dead-center on the keel. When the glue is dry, then wrap the free end of the red part around the hull, and “stress-relieve†the paper by working in bends until the piece will remain fairly well snugged up against the formers without holding it in place. When you have that done, then glue the rest of the red part in place, working from the keel to the waterline platform. (5) When the center piece is dry and you are sated with appreciating how good it looks, add the remaining red parts, working from center of the hull to the end of the hull. My own preference is to do the bow end first, and the stern last. I find that the parts fit is less critical and the number of compound curves to contend with fewer on the pointy end of the ship rather than on the posterior end. By the time I get the easier half done, I have developed a rhythm (gotten onto a roll) that seems to carry into the more exacting part of the build and makes it go a bit smoother. This is just me….whatever works for you is what you should use. A couple of tips for this part of the build. When cutting out the parts, cut them a bit oversize. Work with the part by rolling in bends, etc. in order to get it close to it’s final shape before adding glue (i.e., work it until it lies more or less in place without glue or holding it down). If the part has “darts†in it (little cuts to remove triangular chunks of paper to form the compound curves), go ahead and glue them as needed to get the part to hold the required shape. Next, carefully trim off the excess paper from the edges until there is a neat fit to the adjacent red part. Finally, glue the part in place, preferably starting with the keel and working toward the baseplate. If you are working from an electronic file rather than a printed kit, it is a good idea to do a little modification to the parts pages using your favorite image processor to extend the keel color a bit beyond the parts outline so you have a little bit of fudge factor to work with should the part be a bit undersize (old carpenter’s gem of knowledge….it’s always easier to cut a little bit more off than it is to add it on).

    Hope this is of use.

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