AOH :: SHIPM-5.FAQ|
Ship Models FAQ part 5
Expires: Fri, 2 February 1996 00:00:00 GMT
Last-modified: 29 December 1995
This is the Frequently Asked Questions FAQ (part 5) on ship modeling.
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The questions being addressed are listed in part I of the FAQ.
33. Does anyone have any experience and/or tips on how to use slide
cover glass to make windows? I have read about using microscope
slide covers to model windows. This sounded great until I tried
to figure out how to cut the pieces to the proper shape. Every
time I try, I just end up destroying the delicate little square
of glass. <Dan Sullivan>
A. I have not specifically tried to cut slide glass but I have a
stained glass company and at times we have been called on to
repair lead light windows 1mm thin.
Use a good quality glasscutter & make sure the wheel is well
lubricated (dip into thin oil or kerosene if it is not the type
with a reservoir in the handle). You will also need a pair of
grozing pliers obtainable from any specialised glass shop.
For such thin glass make sure it is well supported, like on a
thick wad of newspaper. Glass is a solid but has the properties
of a liquid and will break irrationally if there is uneven
Mark with a felt tip where you want to cut (can be straight or
curved). Make one even score preferably without stopping. Never
go over the score twice. Exert just enough pressure to hear a
faint scrunching sound. You are not trying to cut the glass,
just to break the surface tension.
With score facing up, hold the glass in one hand and snap off
the piece you have scored with the grozing pliers by placing the
squared off jaws parallel and close to the score. The pliers
have a right and wrong way up. Instructions are usually on the
back of the pack or ask the assistant to explain as wrong way up
will break the glass unpredictably. The movement is downward
away from the score.
hold V pliers
This is very hard to explain without a pen in my hand so if you
don't come right please send a fax number and I will sketch the
above. Or contact a local Tiffany or stained glass manufacturer.
You can also buy little glass saws like a miniature bandsaw but
they are pricey and we don't use them as the above method works
fine with practice. <Paul Wilson>
***Place the cover slip on a piece of glass, score lightly with
a diamond tipped pencil and break abruptly over the edge of the
glass. Usually works. Any little peninsulas can be ground off
with a small diamond or abrasive wheel in Dremel tool.
***Try cutting the glass underwater. I know that this sounds
strange, but it works. The reason that glass shatters is the
breaking of the glass sets up vibrations in the glass that are
transmitted throughout the glass. These vibrations cause the
glass to shatter. If the glass is underwater, the vibrations are
damped out and the glass will not shatter. Believe it or not, I
once cut a piece of glass with a pair of sissors! The cut was
not clean, but the glass did not shatter. <Tim Philp>
***The best and easiest technique that I have seen and used
successfully is contained in an article by N. Roger Cole,
"Seaway's Ships in Scale", Vol. VI, No.1, page 15. The pattern
is drawn on a piece of scrap wood, the roughly cut coverglass is
secured to that pattern with double sided sticky tape and then
the glass is finished to final shape with a disk sander. Wear
eye protection, avoid brerathing the glass dust.
***I just use 10 thousands plastic sheet for windows. Works
great. <Ben Lankford>
***Put the glass on a very hard surface (I've used a steel
plate) and scribe with a diamond or similar point...then finish
the edges smooth on a fine carborundum paper...you'll still get
a lot of "scrappers". You'll find that, when putting them in
place, a fleck of sawdust in the frame may be enough to crack
I now use mica instead; it's flexible, can be split to any
desired thickness, can be cut with scissors, and - being a
mineral that is already millions of years old - is unlikely to
decompose. Unfortunately, it's hard to find - check out your
local "rock-hound" shop. (Many of the admiralty models were
glazed with mica, and it's lasted hundreds of years.)
<John O. Kopf>
***Please be very careful when grinding the edges of glass with
an abrasive (diamond or carborundum) Eye protection is an
absolute must. <Peter Law>
***Thank you all for many excellent suggestions. After some
experimentation, I have found that the "scribe and break" method
works very well as long as the glass is well supported (I have
been using a steel rule as a base). I use the edge of a sharp
chisel pressed along the desired line to support the glass from
Lacking either a diamond scribe or a Dremel, I resorted to
using the tip of a needle file (the hardest tool I have) to do
the scribing. With care, this makes a nice sharp line, and the
glass breaks off very cleanly.
I would never have figured this out myself; thanks again for
all of your inputs. <Dan Sullivan>
34. I have a 24-inch wood scale model of a Baltimore clipper that
has accumulated a layer of dust, etc, over the past three
*NEW* years. Is there any way to clean this (full rigged) model.
One way I was told was to immerse the model in warm soapy
water, then in warm rinse water. However, I have used non-
waterproof glue in building this model. Any one out there have
alternative suggestions? Thanks <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
A: NO NO! Don't immerse it! There are three main regions you
need to clean, and each requires a different technique.
1) Hull. This is usually not the worst anyway, but a damp (not
wet, damp) rag with just a drop of soap is fine here.
2) Decks, Deckhouses. If you have an airbrush, use it with
just the jet of air. Simultaneously, sweep surfaces VERY
carefully with soft camel hair brush.
3) Rigging. Use airbrush as above. Only very reluctantly, use
a small brush for any really stubborn pieces of lint or dust.
But be even more careful than for deck areas.
If you do not have an airbrush, go to a photo store and buy
one of those cans of compressed air used to clean negatives
before printing. <Don Stauffer;
***I have been watching conservators working on ship models in
the museum I work at. They use one of the cheapest cleaning
fluids available - saliva. Basically, you use a cotton swab on
the end of a toothpick (Q-tip), roll it on your tongue and wipe
the model gently. It takes a while, but you will find it works
amazingly well. It also will prevent water from destroying
your wooden model that may (probably will) happen if you
immerse it in water. I would say that a few hours of
saliva/cotton swabs would be well worth the effort if the model
is valued by you and I bet it is.
These are my views and not the museums.
***I would be concerned that the enzymes in the saliva might
eventually do harm to organic materials...remember the 5th
grade science demonstration where we were each handed a cracker
and told to chew it up and then hold it in our mouth for 5
minutes? The enzymes started turning the starch into sugar.
Might not the same thing hold for cellulose (perhaps working
*NEW* ***The enzymes in the saliva break down relatively quickly.
When you use this technique, you only use a "very" thin layer
of saliva. (I'd hate to see a big old greener on the ship).
The saliva dries in a matter of seconds and leaves only minute
quantities of enzymes. The enzymes themselves only attack
starch molecules and convert the starch to simple sugars.
Saliva should not pose any harm to wood if used in application
I described earlier. As long as the paint is not water based,
(or used starch) there should be no damage.
Interesting comment though. I might see what our conservator
has to say about about a lot of expectorate on a wooden ship
*NEW* ***Just a reminder: Few if any animals have cellulose. Both
bovines and termites depend on microorganisms in their gut to
turn cellulose into simple sugars. The likely problem with
using saliva instead of water (deionized or distilled) is that
a dried mucous film may make the next layer of dust cling a bit
more tenaciously and tap water (like the hard water here in KY)
may leave a mineral haze. <mailto:email@example.com>
35. How do you paint and mask camouflage detail? *NEW*
Okay: How do you do it? I can see that once I assemble my
1/350 DD, BB, and CVE and add all the details, adding the
camouflage measures will be very difficult. How do you mask
fine photo-etched details without breaking them? Is it
necessary to cave in and use a brush (which will reach around
some of the obstructions)? I am a new air-brush user trying to
plan ahead, and I'm darned if I can see how it's done. I want
to add three- and four-colored 1944 camouflage measures to a
Fletcher DD and a Casablanca CVE but I cannot see how to do it
without marring the result, either by over-spray or by pre-
spraying sub-assemblies and then "touching up" after final
assembly. Please, a few hints for a newbie from some of the
more experienced hands?
<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Robinson,776-7237,WC-3)>
***I don't do modern warships myself, being more the sailing
man-of-war fan, but from what I have read in magazines etc on
the subject, I guess that the best thing to do is to complete
the basic structure of your model (hull, funnel, superstructure,
gun turrets and so on) and camouflage it *before* adding all
the fancy detail.
Of course, this leaves you with the problem of painting the
fancy details...:) <mailto:email@example.com (Staale Sannerud)>
***Pretty easy, you paint the "fancy details" with a fine brush
after you've airbrushed the rest.
<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org (Paolo Pizzi)>
Final notes: If you build a model for display or sale, always sign it
in a hidden or at least non-obvious location. Never sell yourself
short. Log your hours building. Never charge less than 3xCurrent
minimum wage per hour plus materials. If your work is quality, it will
sell at those prices, and usually at a premium. If your work doesn't
meet standards (retail, decorative or museum) you will never sell
regularly. Document sources and techniques on everything you build for
(possible) sale or "prestigeous" display. Good Luck
-- mailto:email@example.com (RAlcorn824)
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