Friday, 27 January 2012

Back from paradise ... and sat at my modelling table!

We finally finished emptying all the cupboards, draws, display cabinets and sundry other storage places in my father-in-law's bungalow this afternoon ... and what has not been kept as mementos has either gone to the recycling centre or to a local charity shop.

We finally got home just after dark, and after a bit of a rest (and a much needed Diet Coke) I began the process of building a couple of model ships using one of the two methods I usually use. I am photographing each stage of the process and intend to use them as the basis of a 'How to ...' blog entry.

The method I am using involves laminating Plasticard to create solid hulls, and I use this method when I want to make models where the freeboard (i.e. the distance above the waterline) is quite small. As the two models I am making are going to be a River/Coastal Gunboat and a River/Coastal Passenger Steamer, this method was the obvious choice.

The following photograph is a picture of a model River Gunboat I made using a laminated Plasticard hull. Whilst it is not the prettiest model in the world (and not one of my best efforts) it does show what can be achieved using bits and pieces from the spares box.

(Some time ago I needed a model River Gunboat for a game ... and did not have one ... so I made this one very quickly from what I had in my spares box. The laminated hull had been made for another project that came to nothing, the gun was left over from an Airfix StuG III conversion, the bridge was from a model tug whose hull had been converted into a 20mm-scale Flatiron Gunboat, and the funnel came from an Airfix 'Great Western'. It took me less than half an hour to put the pieces together, and it was painted an on the tabletop within an hour. Bearing in mind how quickly it was built, I think that we can forgive its somewhat odd and unique 'look'!)

The other method I use comes into its own when I want to build a model ship with a higher freeboard (e.g. like the models featured in my recent blog entry) and this second method is completely different from the first. In this case the hull of the model is basically a box with curved sides, and I use the inherent flexibility of the Plasticard to form the curves, although I sometimes resort to using simple formers and boiling water to help make them. This is possible because Plasticard is a thermoplastic that can be formed into a shape using heat, and if it is kept in that shape until the plastic cools, its does not revert to its original shape.


  1. Mosstrooper,

    I hope that you are as impressed when the models are finished!

    All the best,