Wednesday, May 30, 2012

28mm Armored Cruiser; planks and plating

     One of the folks that commented over at TMP about my last post asked how I intended to cover the hull. Frankly, in my excitement while cutting the foam this hadn't occurred to me. Upon reflection I really wasn't prepared for that part of the process at all when I was feeding foam to the newly refurbished hot-wire. The more I thought about it the less I liked my ideas (one of which involved Bondo and a lot of sanding!).

      I looked in on some scale modelling sites and found one covering paper models. It was in German so I could get very little from the text but they had very clear pictures of the guy carefully cutting out and attaching paper hull-plates to his exactly framed model boat. I knew then that I had an appointment with some 3x5 file cards and some diluted wood glue. Miss Allen (my third grade art teacher) would be proud that those decoupage lessons were about to be put to good use!

     The first thing I did was to get my hands on some cheap 3"x5" file cards, you want the cheap ones (usually they can be found at a dollars store or in an office supply store) with a coarse open surface, not the fancy glossy kind that cost three times as much. Then a largish bottle of the yellow wood glue, I don't make a lot of recommendations in the supplies area but this time I will; I use Titebond. It dries fast, strong and hard, dilutes well in water and has a faint yellow cast so you can see where it is on white paper. A cheap paintbrush and some decent quality large scissors round out the materials list.

     The first step is to cut a lot of the cards into strips the same height as you hull sections are thick. Here I wimped out and traced the blue-board onto the card to get the correct height. After cutting about as many as you think you will need you can begin attaching them to the hull, I started at the bows, it just seemed natural.

Titebond, this is good stuff, you should have some

the first step is to mix some glue 50/50 with water,
I added a bit of color to be sure that I could see where I had painted the mixture onto the hull 

mix the two until you get a nice creamy consistency,
 you then paint it liberally over the area about to be plated

 as soon as you are done applying the glue stick a piece of card to it, the card will start to curl away from the hull as it absorbs the glue, this is expected and you will counteract this by painting the entire outer surface of the card with more glue mixture, it will them settle nicely into place,
the glue seals and hardens the card
I butted the "plates" end to end from the bow to the stern.

it is hard to see in this photo but I added an additional nose plate to strengthen a weak point

I added the plating to the sponsons before cutting the gunport....

.....this made using the hot-wire much easier,
 a discovery that I will have to explore further

I plated the superstructure the same way, leaving gaps for the gunports at the stern...

......and toward the bows

having planked a few scale model ships in the past I decided that I did not want to endure such travail again so I scored the surface of the blue board with a fine point marker, it remains to be seen if this will provide an effective simulation of planking

and here she is, with the rough plating and planking done

while waiting for that to dry I experimented with assorted glues on some scrap blue board, Liquid Nails glues well and it's solvents seem to have little impact, Testors plastic glue (liquid or tube) is a no-no, Titebond performs admirably and the assorted Super Glue types take forever to dry.
my measuring/cutting was less than perfect leaving the occasional edge sticking up here or there

but a quick trim with the shears took care of the offending overhang

there was some discussion on TMP about gluing blue board, I have always used Titebond wood glue, it has provided stellar performance over the years, here is how I use it; a heavy bead of glue around the edge of the item to be glued

then press the item into place, press hard for thirty seconds or so the separate the pieces and let stand for a minute or two (depending on the local humidity) then press back into place and clamp or weight for an hour or so, remember that the glue dries by evaporation so this may take longer,
I usually wait overnight

there was some sloppiness on the part of the dockyard crew
(that being me) and the bows missed lining-up by a bit
(BTW you can see the advantage of adding some color to the glue in this photo,
 I had just applied some before snapping the photo)

so I cut another piece of card and plated over the errors, here you
see me painting the glue mixture over the outer surface of the card

I then added a new stem peice

this is something that I have been meaning to try out, this gear is from the guts of a roller-type white-out dispenser, I collected it as it had a certain VSF feel to it and then it occurred to me that it could be used to emboss "rivets" into card, I am a fan of Colonel O'Truth's work but I do not have the saintly patience to apply 13,000 individual rivets to a model

pressing firmly into the card the gear made decent looking indentations

barely visible in this picture but each strip has a row of embossed rivets down its center

a better look, I will play around with this idea and get back with you later

     I now have to start adding the assorted hull details; doorways, ladders and such. If I come up with something new or different whilst doing them I will post about it, generally it is dull grunt work. Next big project is arming and detailing the turrets and sponsons and then scratchbuilding some deck guns. I am still not sure if I will go with railings (which would be a lot of work) or something less labor intensive.


  1. Fantastic! Cant wait to see how this ends up - what an inspiring blog post !!!

  2. Very impressive! I look forward to you next post on this.