Ship hulls

Discussion in 'Ship & Watercraft Models' started by barry, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. barry

    barry Active Member

    Hi All

    To shouts of 'Luddite', when I look at the beautiful hulls everyone is now producing using foam I remember doing this to make plugs for fibreglass hulls, but cardmodelling sorry it ain't ! :lol:

    Jim summed it up with his comment of "when I build wooden ships"

    May be this is because I do not think I could achieve their results :oops:

    maybe it's a good way to produce aircraft fuselages too

  2. Jim I have to admit I have reservations about using the foam method too. But all too often I see something posted that looks great from the waterline up but below the water line looks like a complete wreck. That I think is one reason we do see as many waterline models as we do. If the foam metheod gets more guys to do full hull models it is an acceptable trade-off to me. Just one more trick in the skill tools box. :D
  3. barry

    barry Active Member

    Hi All

    When Roman produced the Beta of his new Arizona my first thought was that at last there was some detail in the lower hull, up till then my feeling about lower hulls was a big red blob of the right shape no plating no nothing. To me the beauty of cardboard is the huge amount of simulated detail I could never hope to achieve in any other medium. Maybe I should do one that's clip on clip off :lol:

    Then maybe I am just stirring the pot !!

  4. rkelterer

    rkelterer Member

    barry, I fully agree with you. the only way to hold out against non-card-materials is to show how to make it with paper 8) so I have tried, strill trying and will try.

    long live paper :wink:
  5. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi all

    Here is my thoughts on this:-

    Whilst we try with our card models to give a detailed look and finish that can't be achieved in my opinion in other forms, we do resort to the use of some materials to form parts that would other wise be very hard to do in card/paper. Guns, rails ,masts and spares to name a few.

    I have also been watching the other sites with regard to the use of PU foam as a filler/hull former. One thing whilst building card models in most cases the kits can only be regarded as templates for those who require very fine results. Every one has to learn the art and skills required to achieve the end result, we all learn somthing new every day thats the beauty of this site and others to learn :!:

    Some of the models coming out of the builds at moment can't be regarded as card models. One model I have been watching with intrest started with the hull formers made of card, that was the only thing in the whole hull that was made of card the rest was foam and resin. Basicly the builder had produced a resin plug for a glass/resin hull.

    If the ribs show through when built there is a problem either the card used is to thin or the kit requiers more formers to hold the skin. An answer could be to use a second skin in between the formers :idea:

    The point of all this is that a fine line exists between what is a card model and what is not :!:

    I use paper or card where possible and only resort to other materials for rails, fine mast work and rigging.
    I think when ever possible we should encourage the use of card and paper as much as possible, after all thats why we are here

    Right Iam ready for the ear bashing :lol:


  6. barry

    barry Active Member



    It's a beautiful hull and I was not having a go at the model but you really looked as though you had cracked all the problems in card only.

    I was looking forward to seeing the last touch :lol:

    Looking forward to seeing it anyway !!!!

  7. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    An old book titled "How to Make Clipper Ship Models" by Edward W. Hobbs, P.A.I.N.A. first edition published in 1927 by Glasgow Brown, Son & Ferguson, Ltd., describes the construction of a clipper ship hull from card stock. The construction method is exactly the same as for precision wooden ship models only with card stock. Quoting from page 66 of this work;

    " This method makes a capital little hull (example is 18 inches long), and has the merits of economy of material cost and only needs a sharp pair of scissors, knife and adhesive, and pins for its construction, and when painted is indistinguishable from a wooden hull and quite as durable for a show model. To make the surface perfectly smooth and to eliminate the ridges when so desired, paste small pieces of thin paper across the planks until the whole hull is covered, then sandpaper them smooth and add a second covering as before, fixed with shellac varnish, which when dry and sandpapered smooth yields a beatiful surface."

    The upshot to this narrative is that nothing has really changed except that we have the distinct advantage of modern materials to aid in and accelerate the work process. The additional hull layer isn't required with modern fillers and like Jim's Cleopatra light fillers can be used. I do like the idea of "planking" the hull followed by filling with acrylic filler and sanding to shape. This will create a beautifully smooth hull true to contour and yet still be light and strong.

    Best, Gil
  8. philippe

    philippe Member

    if you have problems with hull building with card models, use mussel shell!!
    look at that, it's an old summer building, a fisher ship from my coast,

    all with wood, paper, and mussel shell, total length 15cm,, it's not a joke!!

  9. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    H i Philippe

    Cracker little boat, some work gone into the making for its size 8)


  10. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Sorry I'm late, but I must have missed the call to arms. :lol:

    Fascinating discussion, folks, and it's great to see everyone's view on this. I guess some have read my recent reply to Mark on his great scratch built stealth hull thread...or not. :lol:

    Rob, I hear what you say about using resin, etc., as removing it from a card model type construction. There are folk who try to use paper as much as possible, I being one of them, but perhaps a bit of mixed media is okay if the end result is to our liking, or if we haven't yet discovered a technique to replicate the item by using paper alone. Whether using such techniques calls to question whether it can be considered as a "paper" model, well, I don't know, why isn't it still essentially a paper model?

    Maybe it's a matter of how much other media are used other than paper to produce the model? If the modeler uses mostly paper but spins a few tricks using glue, wire and/or paint, like using PVA for instrument lenses or portholes...does that really deviate from the overall concept of building the model out of paper? In my opinion, no. If, on the other hand, the paper part is used only to form the plug, and the actual model itself is built out of resin and foam, like Rob described, well I would tend to agree you've crossed the line and the construction is too far beyond the concept of being a "paper" model. I do see the term "mixed media" used a bit to describe something that is not predominately made out of one type of material, so maybe that's the correct term to use to describe such models.

    Anyway, I do try to rely upon building in paper, simply because it's a challenge to do so. The challenge is trying to rely on paper and trying different methods to get the desired effect. Like Max's use of paper planking on the ship's boats on his Cleo, which gave it a rather realistic look, compared to the skin sections the kit suggested, which would detract, in my eye, from the appearance of the model, because it just didn't look right. Using card as planking is very effective, and pretty much replicates the planking of a wooden ship's hull, whereas the sections skins give, at least to my eye, a good approximation of the older steel hulls, with the welded seams.

    Anyway, I thought Mark was going to use the foam merely to give a smoother transition from one skin panel to another, but would still use paper for the exterior finish, or did I misunderstand his construction plan? :oops: It's tough getting old and losing one's memory. :lol:

    Well, just my two cents worth, for what it's worth, if anything. :wink:

    Nice Mussel shell boat, Philippe; it's HOW big? 15 cm??? Amazing!

  11. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi Jim

    Marks model if skined in card has only used the PU as a stiffening addition to the card aspect of the build.
    The model that I looked at on the other site, the only card in the hull from start to finish were the ribs only. It had been foam filled then covered in resin and then a top coat finish.
    Iam all for using what ever is required as long as the effort has been done on the card side!! A little filler here a little wire there no probs.

    I just don't see the point of building a card model when there is next to no card in it :!: :roll:

    Marks model was not the point in this, it was the amount of foam ect being used on other sites I think and it seems to be on the increase.

    I like the rest realy look forward to seeing Marks model finished in all its glory :D


  12. DN

    DN Member

    Personally, I play with paper as much as possible, like Jim, and use paint as little as possible. Although I’ve never tried the foam method, I think I wouldn’t like all this logistic hassle with foam, paint, sending, polishing, masking etc. No space, no time, no motivation. The problem for me would be also where and when to stop with my quest for perfection. Once you have a perfect hull, you need to continue putty and paint approach through the rest of the project, or it would look strange otherwise.
    But don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with this kind of modeling, as long as one gets his kicks out of this.
    In Poland during modeling competitions there are strict rules when a model can be judged as “standard†– paper only, or “openâ€- anything goes category. I’m not familiar with full statistics of those competitions, but “standard†category is still popular and going strong.
    BTW – for their latest offering, aircraft carrier Saratoga, GPM is supposedly offering a resin hull – interesting development in the industry. :roll:
  13. jrts

    jrts Active Member


    keep doing those full hull mate :roll:
    All the effort you guys put into them is weel worth it.


  14. To clear up some confusion here. The only reason I went with the foam is to use it as a gluing surface. In that manner it acts just like the subsurface described in the 1927(?) book. I am going to try skinning the hull for the most part in one piece (between farmes 9 and 26). In looking at some models done by others and some disastatrs I have done myself this was the one area where problems seem to come up. Maybe this does step over some invisible boundry but untill my skills in doing hulls reaches the level of Roman and others (I will keep trying) I will be willing to learn new tricks. Now please no one take this the wrong way and I do not mean to start a flame war on a site that is thankfully void of them. To me the whole arguement about what means or methods are acceptable for a card modeler are a lot like the hot rodders who argue that the only hot rod is a "32 Ford coupe or lowboy. Or the model railroader who is so caught up in operations scemes he forgot the fun of "just playing with his trains". The reason we get into a hobby is for the personal enjoyment of it. To please ourselves not others (although praise is always appreicated, we do have to feed our vanity occansionally). If the challenge of doing something in the purist or the mixed media mode is so be it. It is the modelers choice. And in one way it was kind of funny. At the Starship Modeler site some people were questioning just why a card modeling forum should be included. But that's another story.

    Sorry rant mode off.
  15. barry

    barry Active Member

    I wasn't having a go at Marks model but it just seemed that on the Polish and German sites every last build apart from Christophe and Raimund suddenly had a resin core. My first plastic model of a Battle class destroyer strangely enough had a plastic deck and a wooden hull with cardboard sides to cover the join, full circle I think.

    Do not get to uptight lads I just wondered what everyone else thought somebody pass me the matches.

  16. jyduchene

    jyduchene Member

    I find myself looking at the Polish site ship builders in awe. Not only do they use foam in the hull, but wire for deadbolts, and paint in their glue for details that I can only dream of.

    I am trying to figure out how to "foam a hull" that is the steps and products. I have started a model of the kiasers yatch and am unhappy with it to the extent that I have reorderd a copy. (didn't have a scanner then) So I guess I am foating my boat upsteam against the conventional wisdom

  17. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    The Mystery Ship

    Hi All,

    Good debate. I thought of "stuffing it" for another project the desire was to achieve the same effect. Sanity returned to me after thinking about it and was able to achieve the effect by using either cast paper or lacquered silk layers and a mold.

    The lament really doesn't begin until you actually execute a design. I did a lot of research and found that paper has been used by model shipbuilders for a long time. It was available, cheap and easily worked. The picture below is of the future "Mystery Boat" that needs further attention to finish the design. After planking it on the computer I decided to take a break, actually it's turned into a rather long break...., Only someone who's actually done this can appreciate the fact that their isn't any software (in my price range at least) that lays out plank shapes for you or for that fact facilitates the job of planning the spile of a plank (shipwrights term for planning the taper, bevel and lengths of planks to assigned positions on the hull. Plural is Spiling). The spiling was all hand done which probably took longer to do on the computer than to do it by cut an fit then scan method (CAD developers should be made to do a project like this). I would like to know if this type of model would be of interest to you. Planking paper is a lot easier than planking wood but does require that it be shellaced, lacquered or acrylically sealed to preserve it's shape long term. Use of modeling paste or spackle with sanding dictates that it must be painted but as we've already seen with Cleo this is well within the confines of the purist.

    What do you think? - Gil
  18. barry

    barry Active Member


    Certainly looks interesting

  19. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    I for one respect each and everyone else's opinion on this and any other topic on this site, and I have a fairly good hunch that this is true for everyone else who posted on this thread.

    I didn't take anything anyone said as a put down of anyone's work, actually. To the contrary, I think this is a great discussion on what everyone feels are the parameters of what is a paper model and when that line might be crossed.

    I do know what Rob is referring to, I've seen those resin hulls, and while they might look great after all is said and done, heck I could have built a fibre glass hull in the first place if I really intended to :D ; but the challenge of using paper to get a similar result is fun to me, as I suspect it is with most others.

    I've not had the pleasure :roll: of building the underwater part of ship in card yet, but I've benefited tremendously from the building threads of others to the extent I feel somewhat more confident to tackle that in my next build. :shock: I'm not sure I can even attempt what Mark is doing, and most likely my hull will look rather enemic with the ribs showing, but that's a challenge I will attempt, and hopefully with the little tricks I have seen, like using those little sheets under the skin to avoid the rib outlines, it might even look like a ship. :D

    I think Rob and I, and most others, are of the same thought on this. Using the foam to help smooth things over, like Mark is doing, is a new idea well worth considering at some later stage (once I have had the experience to know what I'm doing :? ) For now I will watch with pleasure his build and see how it all turns out; I think it's going to come out great and that might convince me, once I've trashed a few dozen hulls trying other methods, to give it a go too. :D

    Right now I'm just trying to figure out how to get more time to do paper modeling during the course of a busy week, catching a few enjoyable minutes watching the other builds that are going on. :D And trying to figure out if I am really that crazy to try and build all my blocks for the Constitution using paper...yep, I think I am. :lol: I'll be asking you for some guidance on that, Rob, if the offer is still good. So just how does one build a slew of 7 inch single and double blocks in 1:250 scale? That's about 0.7mm, isn't it? :lol: What am I getting myself into?? :lol:

    Oh, yeah, one other thing...what did you want the matches for, Barry? :lol: Just keep it away from that beautiful Fuso, will you? :D

  20. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Looks great, Gil.
    Is it a Baltimore clipper?

    Nice, swift underwater hull.

    I'd be interested to hear more on the construction method you were thinking about.


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