ship hull question /needed tips

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by chickenhawk, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. chickenhawk

    chickenhawk New Member

    I've seen some pictures of hulls in various stages of completion recentlythat raised a question. It appeared that the paper had been sanded with the most noticeable parts showing color removal at the former area. Then the modeler spray paints or coats the bottom hull in the appropriate red coloring. Some with a gloss or satin sheen to them. They look great. My question, are the gaps in the individual pieces of plating paper being filled? With what? Is there a specific thread that shows this process? I would like to take my hulls to a new level. There are a great bunch of ships out there and finishing the bottom part some time kills the rest of the model. Especially when your a neurotic perfectionist.
  2. Toddlea

    Toddlea Member

    I use wall spackle. It is dry, it's designed for paper and sands really easy.

    Attached Files:

    • hull.jpg
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  3. chickenhawk

    chickenhawk New Member

    Thank you. That is a fine looking lower half. Impressive and inspirational. Have any other pictures of your work?
  4. Toddlea

    Toddlea Member

    Badsworth. Hope to get back to this soon. Too many contests to enter.
  5. jaffro

    jaffro Long term member

    I know what you mean, I saw the same type of posts before attempting a ship myself and tried a few ideas I saw in other builds.

    I fill all the gaps with wood filler, it's a small premix product called "timber mate", when it's dry I sand it then give it a few coats of gloss enamel spraypaint.

    I've done two hulls like this now and both turned out reasonably ok. Not up to the standards of the polish/german card masters, but I was more than happy with the results.

    I have some pictures of how my latest one turned out in my Daring Project build (see link below).
  6. chapuzas100

    chapuzas100 Member

  7. jagolden

    jagolden Guest

    You Iowa looks good!

    Here's another hull question. Should the open spaces between the formers be filled with something to keep the shins from buckling in over time?
    I've seen others use expandable foam, dried and sanded to shape.
    Wouldn't that foam keep out-gassing and the fumes affect the paper?
    I will be starting kooklits U-Boat Type VII this summer and am looking at options.
  8. chickenhawk

    chickenhawk New Member

    jaffro- thanks for the responce. You fill in the gaps. The gaps between the paper join lines where little errors are made while cutting with scissors? I try to cut as accurately as possible on the printed lines or wherever each model designer specifies and end up with some gaps. These inadvertently are my error and may be design however, I see them when my hulls are done. Being my own worst critic, and its not good enough, things don't get done. I will give your method a try as I believe I understand your process. I have seen some modelers fill in each cell/chamber between formers with foam. I'm not sure if the foam is hard then cut to a close shape then carved and sanded once in the hull or if its the expandable type from a can. Either way is the hull then paper plated, gaps filled then sanded and painted? I think the can foam is too messy and has huge air bubble that form when it dries.
    Thanks- sorry if I digressed a bit ....chickenhawk
  9. chickenhawk

    chickenhawk New Member

    Toddlea- great looking ship. Again, nice lower hull. I've bought several of GreMir models and I'm pleased with what results I got. Barring my own hang ups they're good builds. In reading some of the the replies to your thread on that ship it seems other modellers have some hesitancy to build ships because of the lower part/ hull. I think most of us, us being paper nuts, share a perfectionist hang up. Ship hulls are a challenge. I can build a square shape, cut circles and roll tubes but when its time to form a hull things can go to shelf and I add another framed ship hull to the boneyard.
    Your and other modeller ideas are welcome information and ways to improve are always needed.
  10. Toddlea

    Toddlea Member

    If I can offer some advice (I'm probably preaching to the choir here) of how I build hulls is first I start with a building board. I use a balsa one that Guillows sells and is about 48" long and I pin the base former down securely. Then I glue the formers perfectly perpendicular to the base, a triangle or a business card works great. This whole procedure insures that the model is built strait and true. Most models are designed with computers and do not figure in builder error. If the inside formers are perfectly alligned, the hull plating lays down without any seams (most of the time). I built Digital Navy's V108 and I didn't need to use any filler, just light sanding and paint. Extra time spent in the beginning avoids lots of headaches later. Hope this helps.
  11. jaffro

    jaffro Long term member

    Yes, those are the gaps I was talking about.

    As for filling the gaps between the formers with foam, I have seen this done also, but the idea of cutting and trimming all that foam has put me off actually trying it. To eliminate the sagging between formers, I use a thicker card than usual, which can be a little harder to form around some curves, but worth the effort for the extra strength and durability.

    The hull I made before the Daring was about the same length but from a thicker card and turned out a lot smoother between the bulkheads.
  12. David H

    David H Member

    I have built a few full hulls and I would consider it easier than bulging an aeroplane fuselage or rigging a sailing ship. Toddlea ad Jaffro cover most points.

    I have played with foam a lot so will add my experience.

    *Build the structure straight and true, use additional internal structure to achieve this; little triangular gussets, "beams" and even decks of card. The lip / edge of formers can be thickened up with card laminations, scan and print extra formers. But watch out in locations where the hull turns in towards the bow and stern. Sand these formers smooth.

    *Use the correct thickness of card as specified in the instructions this is particularly important with modern kits which are less forgiving / more precise. You can buy, scavenge or even make card the correct thickness by laminating it from thinner sheet. Sad to say sourcing card is one of my favourite bits!

    *Foam, Lots of different types available. I go to my local discount store and by cans of DIY gap filler and scavenge blue insulation foam from building sites (with the contractor's permission). White polystyrene foam is available in packaging. For my money spray foam and blue foam give the best results. Both are messy to use.

    Spray foam is good for filling gaps between formers. A hefty framework is advisable with 0.5mm - 1mm card formers. I leave the foamed-up hull a week or two to set and dry then set about it with a variety of tools, the kitchen bread knife is the best... see my HMS Alert build. Then sand then paint white then fill obvious low areas (I use polyfila for DIY repairs to walls etc.) then sand some more! I paint this smooth hull its base colour at this point prior to skinning with card. Thus you camouflage any gap in the outer skin.

    Blue foam is great to carve. With a sharp blade it's like cutting clay or cheddar cheese! I use if for areas with complex curves, e.g. bow and stern or on small hulls such as V108 to fill between the bilges where the hull turns. I have filled the lower hull "cells" of a large hull with blue foam pieces and this gives a very strong and great looking sub-frame, unfortunately it took ages to do and after carving and sanding still need filling!

    Some swear by hot-wire cutting white foam. I am going to try this soon on a certain infamous liner.

    I usually mix the spray foam and packaging / insulation foam in a hull. Solid foam is best in the prow and stern, spray foam for the run of the hull. Get a good quality permagrit sanding block you will love it!

    * Skinning: work in from prow and stern, where there are complex curves and inaccuracies can arise, to the middle of the hull where the skin usually has a simpler profile / section. Gaps here are easy to disguise with strips of card and paper and filler if bad.

    * Shape and form curved skins before applying them to the hull.

    * To save on damaging a work in progress construct a building / support cradle early on to hold your masterpiece.

  13. jagolden

    jagolden Guest

    Thanks you

    Jafro and David H,

    Just the help/advice/experience I am looking for!
  14. jaycee

    jaycee New Member

    I had the same problem when I started building ships and the best tip I can give is buy the thinnest cigarette papers you can get,cut the papers to fit and glue to the part you want covered when the hull is painted you will find it hard to see a joint.Jay.

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