Ship construction, how is the foam method done?

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by jyduchene, Sep 8, 2004.

  1. jyduchene

    jyduchene Member

    I have been followng, at least the photo's, of the ships that have been built and are under construction on the Polish and German sites.( and

    It appears that several of the master builders are filling the egg crate structure with foam and then shaping the hull and applying a gel coat rather then using the paper plating.

    I would be interested in knowing if one of our bilingal members could give us a tutorial or translation of how this construction is done. I am have a couple of ship kits and would like to try the technique but I can not quite grasp the subtleties of the build.

    Anyone else share the curiosity and have any insight?

  2. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    John, I intend to use that technique on the King George V build for the large ship contest. I'm not sure what technique the German/Polish builders are using, but what I intend doing is building the eggcrate, then cut blocks of styrofoam to fit the open bays in the frame (helps greatly if one has a mitre box handy). I'm going to use good old white glue to fix the foam blocks in place. I then am going to carve the hull roughly to shape, and then use sandpaper to get to the final hull shape. The hull formers should give a great visual clue to the proper hull shape, and be very easily distinguished, since I am using dark green florist's foam....the white cardboard formers should show up readily against that as a background. I may change things as I go, but I was figuring on "painting" the hull with a couple of layers of thinned white glue to seal up the foam, then paint the hull with water-based paint to the approximate color of the hull skins (that way I shouldn't have to worry about using colored joining strips). With all that done, I will apply the paper hull skin pieces, essentially laminating them to the outside hull surfaces. Once that is done, I figure on spraying the hull with matte fixative to give it some protection against stray moisture. (Living in a climate where anything over 30% humidity is oppressively damp, moisture protection of paper models is not a big problem.)

    I've used this technigue successfully with control-line airplanes, and had the finished products hold up well against fuel/caster oil residues (albeit they were skinned with 1/32 sheet balsa rather than cardstock), so expect it to work effectively on cardmodels as well.

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