Smoothing out a hull...

Discussion in 'Ship & Watercraft Models' started by lgl007, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. lgl007

    lgl007 Member

    Hi all,

    I'm about to embark on my first large scale card board ship. I'm going to either build the HMV Bismarck, the Halinski Bismarck or the GPM Bismarck. I'm not sure which one yet. I have studied all of them and they all have pro's and con's. Any recommendations in this regard would be very welcome as well...

    That said I have a question. I have noticed that some card board ship modelers use some sort of putty once they complete the hull. It is smoothed out over the surface then sanded to a beautiful smooth finish before paint is applied. Anyone have any links to this process or what materials they use for this process?

    Thanks in advance guys and gals...

  2. rickstef

    rickstef Guest


    Have you taken a look at Scorpio's excellent thread on the HMV Bismarck?

    you also might want to check out our sister boards at

  3. lgl007

    lgl007 Member

    Yup... have already done that... still the more opinions the better ;-)


    PS: any thoughts on the hull smoothing?
  4. Alfred

    Alfred Member

    Hello Greg,

    Also look here for Scorpios HMV Bismark
    very Exelent Picture of the Bismark

  5. larrymax

    larrymax Member

    Captain Greggory,

    Welcome to the Paper Navy!

    I am about to get a lot of responses from mostly frustrated followers of the "To Build A Ship...HMS Cleopatra" thread, as I have been sooooo long absent from posting anything about her build! I ask everyones forgiveness and a tiny bit more patience....I really will be back to building very shortly now as my other commitments have been fulfilled and I can have some of my time back to myself!

    In reply to your question about smoothing out hulls.....! I seem to recall having a SPOT of trouble with that same issue a while back.

    Once the first layer of "planking" was added to the bulkhead frames, I had a lot of sagging between the bulkheads.

    As I was going down the hull with the Second Planking, I used small strips of card stock to fill in the most obvious sags and spaces

    Once the hull was completely planked, I used a VERY lightweight wall spackle (any hardware or "home" store will have it) used for filling nail holes and small gaps around the house. I used an artist putty knife to smooth it on. Once it's set (I gave it a good hour) it is very easily sanded with fine grit sandpaper. I did this about three times for each side of the hull, making it smoother and smoother, each time. It didn't affect the paper underneath at all, but I was cautious about putting too mucho on at one time. A final sanding, then a light wipe down with a slightly damp cloth to remove any dust, and the hull was ready for painting. The results speak for themselves. While not perfect, the finished hull is quite presentable.

    A word of prepared for some flak from the "purists" out there......putting spackle and paint on a paper model raises the dander of a few folks! (hehehe! just kidding! everyone here is great about "tips and tricks" to get the best looking finished product we can!)

    Again, Welcome to the Paper Navy! Looking forward to watching your Bismark come together!

    Captain, HMS Cleopatra
    Paper Navy of the Bear Flag Republic
  6. jrts

    jrts Active Member


    Hi Greg and welcome.

    If you want, build any of the kits they are as good as each other good points and bad. A good idea might be to build either Halinski or GPM then a comparison can be made with the HMV kit. Just a thought!!

    What ever you build we look forward to watching it come together.



  7. lgl007

    lgl007 Member

    Hey Max,

    Thanks for the hints... can't see your pictures though :-( I just get red X's... would love to see them.

    I'm still not sure if I'm going to need to smooth it out or not... if it all comes together like the Halinski P-51 I'm building now then I won't need to :)

    Anyhow... I have all the build pics of Scorpio's Bismarck... and I have read everything he has had to say about it in Polish. I just can't decide which one I want to work on...

    1) the color scheme is not the best for the Bismarck on the HMV, the deck planks are a pale yellow as opposed teak looking (like on the Halinski or GPM model both models in this regard are superb - print quality second to none). The side of the hull also does not have the jagged reverse wave camo that looks soo cool. The Halinski even has the tops of the gun turrets in yellow. This painting scheme was ordered by the captain in the logs but there is no photographic evidence to suggest it happened before she was sunk. Still it's a nice touch on both the GPM and Halinski, not to mention the swastika flga on both the GPM and Halinski which adds a huge spash of color to the model, not that this feature is important since it got painted over as soon as the ship entered enemy waters to help camoflage her against enemy planes...

    2) You can get an unbelievable photo etch kit (almost $200 CDN) for the HMV that makes the ship an incredibly detailed piece of art (over 7,000 pieces in total)... and the HMV instructions are so good that they actually include the photo etch kit application details so the build is relatively easy from that perspective - very little guess work.

    3) The GPM is very nice in terms of color and print but I have read one bad review about the fit of pieces (like ladder pieces not being long enough to touch the floor they are supposed to reach) and that the planes are out of scale and don't make sense relative to the scale of the ship. But you can get a very small photo etch set for the GPM along with pre fab'd gun barrels. This being a 1:200 model means that the same photo etch kit and gun barrels can be used on the Halinski model as well. Because the photo etch kit is only two sheets it doesn't come even remotely close to the detail level of the HMV. Well see for yourself by following the links below.

    4) The HMV instructions for the build are the best. The Halinski instructions leave alot to be desired and both the GPM and Halinski can never be as detailed as the HMV but they are more attractive from a color perspective but not from a finish perspective... :-(

    5) Also, there seems to be a better selection of 1:200 ships out there from WWII so I'd like to stay in one scale if at all possible if I decide to build another one... so this is another consideration. (The HMV is 1:250 and both the Halinski and GPM are 1:200.)

    I just can't decide... each one has pros and cons ... I actually have the Halinski Bismarck at home and I have been studying it intensely for some time now but hesitate to start because of the those point above that I keep mulling over in my mind... that's why I'm looking for some more opinions. The Halinski frightens me a bit because the instructions on Halinski models are not very detailed... they are more like a puzzle... where as the HMV instructions are more like plastic model kit instructions.

    Oh by the way if you are interested in seeing the Halinski work in progress:

    And here is the GPM model:


  8. lgl007

    lgl007 Member

    Nice pics... now I can see them... not sure what happened there... wow... good job...

  9. larrymax

    larrymax Member


    Sorry, that was my bad! I forgot a tiny bit of the address of the pic's location when I typed it in. (thanks Rick!) It's fixed now, and if you hit your "refresh" button (or F5) you should be able to see the pics now.

    Max, having a "Doh" moment!
  10. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    One thing I have been thinking of trying out is to fill in the eggcrate with blocks of styrofoam, then carving/sanding the styrofoam down to the "contours" provided by the hull formers. The hull sheathing would then essentially be decopaged to the solid way of developing the starved puppy look, but still retaining all the printed detail of the paper parts. Has anyone tried this method yet? (Someone must used to be a very popular method for making RC and UC model aircraft, so I can't be the only one to think of using it on paper models.)
  11. barry

    barry Active Member


    Bundy on Kartonwork is building a ship that way at the moment.

  12. jrts

    jrts Active Member


    Hi Darwin

    I did this about five years a go with a model of HMS Intrepid (wood formers and skined with balsa) it is a very good way of getting a perfect hull shape and makes skinning the model easy.

    Try it and let use know how you get on.


  13. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    There was a thread on the old site about using materials around the house in building models. One of the suggestions was the use of polystyrene foam as a filler to stop the "lean and hungry" look. Someone posted back then that they had done that on a ship model with very good results.

    I would make the observation that using blocks of polystyrene foam would help keep the card frame of a model true and square.



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