AOH :: SHIPM-4.FAQ|
Ship Models FAQ part 4
Expires: Fri, 2 February 1996 00:00:00 GMT
Last-modified: 16 December 1995
This is the Frequently Asked Questions FAQ (part 4) on ship modeling.
Obligatory Disclaimer: The information contained in this message was
contributed by individuals, who, unless otherwise indicated, speak
only for themselves and not the institutions or businesses they are
associated with. The author(s) and editor(s) of this material make no
warranties as to the correctness of the information provided.
This material should be considered copyright by the author(s). This
material may be redistributed for non-commercial use without explicit
permission of the author(s) as long as the text is used exactly as is
(except for reformatting) and the author(s) is given full written credit
for the material. Commercial use requires explicit permission of the
The questions being addressed are listed in part I of the FAQ.
28. Why do <your choice> cost so much?
A: This is an interesting question, for it illustrates the trade
offs inherent when your modeling efforts become a business. I
have had some limited exposure with this (I have done some
pattern work for The Scale Shipyard in the past) - and the time
spent on a master is extrordinary. For the last 3 nights I
have been working on a 1/16" 5" twin gun mount. When it is
finished I will have about 9 hours into the pattern. Will it
be perfect? No, I am leaving off some detail that would be
tedious and even more time consuming to put on (rivets, etc)
simplifying other detail (hinges for doors) and only indicate
where other detail goes if the modeler cares to add it (grab
rails). Why? There is a couple of curves here. One is that
adding complexity to a part shortens mold life when dealing
with RTV rubber. Little pieces degrade over time, and it does
not take long for the mold to be useless. My time to build
masters is limited, and the law of diminishing returns applies
here. Lastly, economics plays a part - there is a finite
amount that most modelers will pay for a certain part.
(The really sad thing is when someone puts hours into making
a part, and a modeler buys one and copies it for his models,
or worse, for his friends. It is only through multiple unit
sales that companies can hope to realize a profit - thus keep
is business - thus produce new stuff. I have been told by
several small casting companies how frustrating it is when a
modeler orders, essentially, one of everything, and then is
never heard from again.)
I hope that the Enterprise kit does well. Chances are even
at that price level he is not planning to retire soon on the
profits. 8-) It remains to be seen what the demand for such
a kit will be. Ultimately modelers have control over the
quality of kits coming out. By supporting ambitious projects
such as this you assure more will follow. If they do not do
well then we must settle for less detailed, simpler kits at a
Aside from the fact that I believe it just about impossible
to 'rip off' someone in the course of a hobby - after all, it
is not a neccesity, just a pastime, and if prices go too high
you can choose another - you have a very simple alternative;
When making a pattern I start with a chunk of acrylic, shape
it with metal working machines, finish it with wood working
machines and hand tools to a 2000 grit finish, detail the part
using a combination of brass and plastic pieces, individually
made, and then ship it to the manufacuturer for production. If
you feel that the finished item is worth it, then purchase it.
If you think prices are too high, then make the items yourself
and then market them at a lesser price - that too is what the
free market is all about. <Kurt (SeaPhoto) >
****Not to mention the most overlooked fact of all: If a
modeler really wants to build a $1000 ship kit, rather than just
"acquire" it, the number of dollars per hour of entertainment
is probably cheaper than renting a movie on video. A kit of
this magnitude would likely take at least 500 hours to
complete to a reasonable standard, probably more. That seems
to be pretty cheap fun if you ask me. <Hawk137>
***The price of the kit is not an issue. Most of BWN's
products are out of my range, so my only experience is seeing
them at displays of BWN and other vendors at shows. If the
market will support the costs of BWN's products, then so be it.
Hopefully, the escalating costs of unique ships is not a
trend, but if it is, then all of us must be doing quite well.
I understand that R&D, as well as labor and production, are
expensive propositions in today's market, and a business has
the right to make a profit.
As to the assertion that "everyone wants something for
nothing", this is not true, IMHO. Modelers want high quality
kits at fair and reasonable prices. Some may consider $950 a
fair and reasonable price, and others may not, but this
determination is in the opinion of the modeler, and not the
producer. The criticism of the price should have been
expected, and a reasonable response should have been formed
long before all of this transpired. All of this is in the
past though, and hindsight is 20/20, so I agree with the main
point of RBartolacc in that we should all get back to the
***'Twould be great to have more kits available of ships,
boats, and other things that make their way upon the oceans!
Blue Water is OK (no offense intended) but maybe too expensive
for many of us. As I've posted before, I have reached the
point where I absolutely refuse to purchase Japanese (Tamiya,
Fujimi, Hasegawa, Aokii, SkyWave, etc., kits because of
comments I've read about 'charging as much as the market will
What *is* the cost of having injection mold masters made?
After all, for any model, someone along the way has to make a
master (or steal parts!). Perhaps. if we as ship modelers want
access to new kits, maybe this is the time to get together and
develop and market our own - at cost or close to it! We want
the models, and I'm sure we can generate a list of preferences
quickly. Let's get some sort of list generated, talk among
ourselves, make the masters, and do it!
things to consider:
Scales: 1:700. 1:350. 1:192 (or 1:200), etc.
Mixed media; resin + aftermarket details; injected moldings;
wood with plastic/pewter/Britannia details, etc.
Most of us tend to model warships. I would personally like to
have access to a *good* Liberty or Victory or T2 or even C1 in
1:350. Other 'wants' include vessels from the transition
(U.S.Navy) from sail to steam, particularly 1865-1905 period.
We're not a big market, face it! Possibly, if we cooperate,
we can do one heck of a lot more for each other than any *major*
kit manufacturer would ever attempt. Any Ideas? <RAIcorn824>
29. Where can I get 1/72 scale coast guard decals? I'm building an
A: Superscale #109 carries US Coast Guard markings for the HC-130,
HU-16 and HH-3F. You may be able to adapt these markings for
the HH-60 (if it's not the most recent paint scheme you're
looking for). <Abe Lynn>
***A generic set of Coast Guard markings are available on
Super Scale sheet No. 72-109. Hope this helps.
30. Am modeling a Fletcher (Revell 1/305) and was wondering if
anyone could offer some up to date colors, FS numbers, etc.?
A: Floquil has come out with a series of WWII marine paints that
match USN colors:
a. Navy Blue 5-N - (Floquil) 818598 \
b. Ocean Gray 5-O - 818596 |
c. Weather Deck Blue 20-B 818600 |
d. Haze Grey 5-H 818594 | - these are the Floquil
e. Deck House Blue 818704 | part nos.
f. Pale Blue 5-P 818590 |
g. Light Grey 5-L 818592 /
Tom Walkowiak runs The Floating Drydock, a model
shop/reference house (?). He has a vast library of photos of
USN vessels, and can provide 8" x 10" glossies for given hull
numbers and time periods. He also sells U.S. Navy Camouflage
& Markings for $7.99, which lists all the camouflage patterns
used by the USN during WWII. His address is:
The Floating Drydock
c/o General Delivery
Kresgeville, PA 18333
I have his U.S. Navy Camouflage & Markings book. The book is
a fair compendium of everything one would wish to know about
U.S. Navy Camouflage & Markings in WW II. However, if your
worried about ABSOLUTE ACCURACY, you need to determine which of
the hundreds of Fletchers you'll be doing - the camouflage
patterns vary. In fact, The Floating Drydock also sells (for
a few bucks, I think) a list of most USN WWII vessels with the
camouflage measures that each had during the war. The Floating
Drydock sells camouflage sheets for most measures and ship
classes. <Rob Robinson>
***I have both, along with their color chipset. The C&M book
is very useful for things you don't think about until you get
there like the horizontal colors, both decks and undersides of
whatever. Highly recommended, and I only wish there was
something like it for other navies.
BTW, the list of USN vessels/measures is only for those in
measures 31/32/33, not 21 or 22. And they don't mention the
time period. Since ships seemed to change colors like new
Per the aforementioned "USN Camouflage 1 of the WW2 Era" from
- "After [1946-47] almost all vessels adopted Measure 13,
solid haze gray (5-H) as peacetime paint", until the next set
of regulations came out.
- After March 1953, use either Measure 27 (same as 13, above)
or 17 (also known as 14) which uses Ocean Grey vice Haze Grey.
For both these measures, "all steel decks and all other
horizontal steel surfaces exposed to aerial observation shall
be painted either smooth dark gray deck type A or non-skid
dark gray deck type B. All overheads and the undersides of
all other external horizontal surfaces shall be painted glossy
or base white".
In other words, just like a modern ship, except for details of
the color shades and masting. <Allan "battleships!" Plumb>
***Try Alan Raven's "Fletcher-Class Destroyers", available from
the Naval Institute. There're four different camo schemes
sketched, which show Port and starboard views, deck views, and
sections showing mount & superstructure faces.
***BTW, new and very excellent reference volume on
Gearing/Sumner class DD's just publiched by USNI. Author is Bob
Sumrall, one of the curators at the USNA Museum. Expensive
book, but Nothing Else Even Comes Close!!! Lots of excellent
photos, drawings, including color renditions. My Dad (departed
now nearly 30 years) was Propulsion Systems Engineer for
members of the class built by consolidated - I have lots of
original white-lines on the ships. Sumrall's book is as good
as, if not better, than having *all* the original documentation,
because he goes into as-built, as-employed details. <RAIcorn824>
***Two good refs: Flush Decks & Four Pipes (a classic, now in
2nd edition, and probably available from USNI, Annapolis, MD)
and "The Destroyer Campbeltown", by Al Ross, one of the
"Anatomy of the Ship" series from Conway Maritime Press /
United States Naval Institute (depends on which continent you
call home). <RAIcorn824>
31. How do I make small, inexpensive cast plastic fittings?
A: How easy it is depends on what shape you want to cast. If the
object is flat on one side (e.g., water-tight doors), or can be
made as a set of components that are flat and assembled later,
it's fairly easy.
The MAJOR expense is the cost of a can of RTV (Room Temperature
Vulcanizing) rubber...get the smallest can you can find. Your
local hobby shop may have it, or can order it for you. Price
this out FIRST -- then decide if you want to continue!
There are a number of ways to do this; I'll describe one that
I've used. I needed to make up a set of 8 steam cargo winches
for a WWI vintage freighter. Each was essentially a rectangular
frame with various "bits" sticking out here and there.
I decided to break the pattern into 10 parts: base, 2 sides, 2
"cranks", 2 cams, 1 spool, 1 "head" and a gear; these would be
assembled using brass rod.
The base was a 1/2 x 5/8 rectangle of .015 styrene, this had
two 3/16 x 3/16 x 1/16 blocks of styrene for steam boxes glued
on, and some of the steam piping.
The two sides (mirror images of one another) were .015 styrene,
properly shaped. A round boss was added as well as a flange
around the top and side, and a steam cylinder (a turned spool
bedded into a carrier, both from lucite). Also, more steam
The cranks and cams were 3/16 slices off a lucite rod; the
cranks had a couple of notches filed into the edge to become
The spool was turned from 1/4 lucite; it had a slice of a 1/4
10-tooth plastic pinion gear salvaged from a slot car.
The head was turned from wood, 3/16 d x 3/16 long.
The gear was a slice of another, 8-tooth pinion.
NONE of these pieces had severe undercuts!
All necesary holes were located, and either drilled through
(on the thin stuff) or at least "dimpled" to locate for later
I next took a piece of scrap plate glass (about 3" x 4" -- I
had a lot of that left over after the last earthquake), and
CA'ed the back of all the parts to it in a reasonably close
I made a "fence" from cardboard -- just a box without top or
bottom; approximately 1 1/4 x 2 3/4 x 1/2 high. This was
temporarily taped to the glass surrounding the patterns.
I smeared the inside of the box, the glass, and the patterns
with vasoline thinned with a bit of lighter fluid as a release
Mix up a small amount of the RTV; try not to get any bubbles in
it. Vibration helps -- try one of the Dremel engravers, or a
jig saw -- anything that will vibrate and shake out the bubbles.
Paint a thin coat of the RTV over the patterns...the thinner
the better to avoid bubbles. Do it again. After a couple of
coats, pour the rest of the RTV into the box level with the
top, and let it set up.
Pry the now-solid rubber block off...that's your mould. The
"top" of the mould should be nice and flat (from the glass),
with the "prints" from the patterns as cavities in the surface.
I used 5-minute Epoxy for the castings.
Again paint the rubber with the vasoline mould release, mix up
a small batch of epoxy (post'em note pads make a wonderful
disposable palette for this) and fill all the cavities. Since
it is clear, you can see bubbles and poke them with a toothpick
or pin. Use an old razor blade to level the top of the epoxy
(that will be the back of the individual castings). Once the
epoxy on the palette is hard, you can remove the castings from
the mould. Being rubber, you can flex it to help get the parts
Warning...the epoxy does tend to stick slightly to the mould.
if there is a bubble in the rubber adjacent to this, the rubber
will tear there and leave the bubble exposed. The next casting
you make from the mould will have tiny "beads" at this sites,
as your casting cavity includes the bubbles which WILL fill
with epoxy. A few of these can be sliced off the parts, but
eventually the mould will become unusable.
How long that takes depends on how much care you took to avoid
having bubbles in the rubber. <John Kopf>
***There are two main mold materials that have very different
applications. RTV mold material is great, you can make undercut
molds. But, it is expensive and has limited shelf life. Other
is plaster of paris. Cheap, but parts must have relief angle,
absolutely NO undercuts or straight sides. Limited shelf life
also, but at price this is not a problem.
I tried to do a zero relief cast of a hubcap that had a short,
straight cylinder. Got the mold off the part okay. Then, put
LOTS of release agent in mold. Still, cannot get resin part
out of mold. Resin castings do NOT SHRINK!
For metal parts, you may be able to get away with straight side
sections in simple parts, as metal does shrink a bit.
But basically, we have the dilemma of an excellent material
(RTV) that is expensive, or a cheap material that limits the
type of parts you can cast. <Don Stauffer>
***Other methods of mold-making and casting include the quick
and expediant method of modeling clay (oil clay) and superglue.
If you need a duplicate of an existing part that isn't too
large or complicated, it can be made of cyanoacrylate(sp?). Get
some modeling clay (the greyish sometimes oily stuff that never
hardens), work it up untill its fairly plyable, then simply
press the part to be duplicated into it to make a simple
negative impression. You might need to try it a few times to
get a clean and clear impression. Then, drip in a bit of CA
glue over the whole surface and then a bit of filler
(microbeads, or for both filler and quick setting, baking soda,
which flash cures the CA). A few more layers of CA and filler
will build up the object to the desired thickness. However, it
works best if you don't rush the process with very thick
layers, as they will be very slow to cure, even with soda or
accellerator. Then, pull the clay away from the object, and
with a bit of paint thinner clean off any clay that is still
sticking to the object and there you go.
<Bev Clark/Steve Gallacci>
32. A friend of mine told me that CA glues (superglues, Zap-A-Gap,
etc.) will severely weaken their bonds over time and may
eventually turn to white powder. Can anyone out there confirm
or deny the above statement?
A. I remember a similar scare back in 1968 when I was getting back
into models after college - Krazy Glue hadn't appeared on the
market yet. A local hobby shop was importing the first CA we'd
seen from Japan (Pearl Chemical). The rumor started that it
would only last a year, so many of us went back to epoxies etc.
The rumor was finally discredited and we returned to CA. I used
it mostly on metal military miniatures and plastic armour all
of which were completely painted - and they are still in one
piece. I've known it to fail if you put it on too thick or on
an unprepared dirty surface as and put alot of stress on the
fix. I've also tried to open a tight joint with acetone solvent
with limited success. The stuff does seem to last. It would be
interesting to get a chemists opinion. <V.L. Kraut>
***Regarding CYA's. I am a coatings chemist that uses CYA's
frequently. Couple of points to remember about CYA's is that
they are soluble in many organic solvents (acetone, methanol)
and WATER. Also, if the glue is cured to quickly (by using too
much "accelerator") the heat generated will cause the glue to
foam and reduce its strength. I have had CYA joints exposed
to methanol glow fuels fail, but i have never seen the glues I
have used degrade over time. However, it is very possible that
years of high humidity, sunlight, or solvent exposure could
destroy CYA. <Dave Seuferling>
***I've got two ship models, wood, plank on bulkhead, that I
put together in the winter of 1982-83. I used regular Crazy
Glue on both and reinforced the joints between the bulkheads
and strakes with white glue. All the rest of the glue joints
were strictly Crazy Glue. No joints have separated so far, and
neither of the models are in a glass case, so they are exposed
to whatever the ambient room conditions are. I used the same
glue on a double planked hull, still far from finished, and on
outer layerstrake has separated at the bow (no big deal to fix
Two out of three of the above hulls have extreme compound
curves at both bow and stern, so the joints had to have been
under some stress, even though I hot bent them during
I have a fouth that I started in 84 and am still working on
that I used Crazy Glue - wood and leather on. The hull is
fully nailed (2000+ nails), so even if the glue lets go, I
don't think the planks are going anywhere. This version of
Crazy Glue turned out to be a lot better to work with than
the original. It's a bit thicker, so its more forgiving about
slight gaps or irregularities in the joints, takes a bit longer
to set up so tricky pieces can be coaxed into place a bit
easier than the "instant"bond of the original allowed.
Even if you don't want to use it as a construction glue, one
place this stuff really shines is in threading small blocks
when you're doing the rigging and setting the knots and
fastenings to belaying pins and cleats. A bit of glue on the
end of a piece of string firms it up so it becomes its own
needle. A long diagonal cut through the glued string creates a
very fine point, and passing the string through the tiny hole
in a block is no problem at all. Rat lines and other knotted
crossings of lines stay put if you dab a bit of glue on them,
and if you use the original formula for this purpose, it
disappears completely into the thread. The W&L formula
sometime stays visible if you use too much.
Be aware that some shops that sell models don't accept cryo
based glues though, so if you're building to market, check with
the shop before you spend a lot of time building a boat they
won't want. <Jack Silvia>
***One thing I have noticed is that alot of people are claiming
to have built models of various types using CA adhesives that
are 20 years old and aren't falling apart.
One thing that HAS become more prevalent in the use of CA
Adhesives is the use of "accelerators" and "ZIP Kickers" with
the slower curing varieties of CA. This can produce quite
different results than the traditional methods of using CA.
The availability of accelerators has also allowed people to use
CA as a filler as well as an adhesive.
Problems can occur when an accelerator is used on a thick
application of CA. The accelerator can instantly cure the
SURFACE of the application, but the center stays liquid, and
MAY not be able to cure properly if the surface hardening
completely seals the center off from air. This results in a
soft core that may never fully cure, and is not structurally
sound as an adhesive.
I ran into this when I used CA to fill all of the windows in a
Heller 1/72 Constellation in order to convert it to a C/EC-121.
Some of the windows fills retained a "bubble" of uncured CA.
It is better to do this type of operation in multiple thin
applications, than trying to do it in one thicker one and use
I wonder how many CA problems are related to the one I had!
Hopefully, we all learn from our mistakes. <Steve Kennedy>
***I've recently had a very strange experience with them that
has me baffled, and I'd like to learn how to not repeat it....
A couple of days ago, I was coating the interiors of cardboard
model rocket tubes with CA in order to strengthen them. I was
using a store brand (I can give you the manufacturer if you
need it) that was a couple of months old. At first I was using
medium, but then I ran out and switched to thick. My finger
was covered with the stuff, and a bit after I switched to the
thick, I started feeling a sharp pain in that finger. I thought
it would go away, but it just getting stronger and stronger --
it started feeling like my finger was on fire.
I put my finger under water, which seemed to help. But a few
minutes after I would take my finger out of the water, the heat
would start coming back. The glue was too thick to wash off,
and not set enough to peel off, so my husband tried cleaning it
off with paint thinner. That hurt too much, so he got some
debonder, and eventually we got it all off, put some burn
medicine on, and wrapped my finger in a bandage. Everything
was fine after that....
I know it wasn't an allergic reaction because my husband got
some on his finger while he was cleaning me up, and he started
burning too. I also know that CA generates heat when it cures
-- but my husband didn't have that much on his finger.... So,
I was curious if you might have any ideas on what caused it to
burn so much? Do you think it might have been mixing the
medium and thick (both from the same manufacturer)??? Could it
have been the age of the stuff??? Or could it just have been
something with the brand???? Or could it have been the fact
that I had so much on my finger????
As I said, I'd like to avoid this in the future (and warn
others about it too), but unless I know what exactly happened,
there's not much that I could do that makes sense.....
<Paul & Victoria Heisner>
***CA was developed as a way to "stitch" wounds together fast
in the field, that's why you shouldn't get it on your fingers,
and the chemical reaction involved probabely caused the burning
of your finger. In short, don't get it on your skin! <Olaf
***Bottom line -- Don't rely on a glue joint alone (ANY type
of glue)...PIN the pieces to gether as well (using screws,
nails, dowels, splines, etc., if at all possible.
Take care when using CA...it was originally developed as an
alternative to sutures in surgery.
However, it IS handy to have somethig set almost instantly...
I regularly use it in conjunction with other glues (white and
yellow) to tack pieces together until the "slow" glue can set
up -- instant clamps! <John Kopf>
The entire AOH site is optimized to look best in Firefox® 3 on a widescreen monitor (1440x900 or better).
Site design & layout copyright © 1986- AOH
We do not send spam. If you have received spam bearing an artofhacking.com email address, please forward it with full headers to email@example.com.