Planking the Deck of a Model Ship

The first stage to planking the deck is to fit the false deck to the frame. The false deck is usually made from 1mm plywood and will need to be slightly adjusted for the various bulkhead notches if supplied with your kit. Mark the centre line on the deck from bow to stern ensuring that it is lined up squarely with the false keel and that the bulkheads fit through the notches on the false deck. This fit should be neither snug nor loose. The false deck will allow the deck planking to fit easier and lie flatter and more evenly.

The false deck is cambered from the midline to both the starboard and port sides. The amount of camber is usually shown on the waterline drawing that comes with the kit the dimensions of which should be marked by the builder on the bulkheads as a guide. If the plans do not indicate the camber, the general rule is ¼” rise to every foot. Thus in our 1:48 example from the last article where the breadth (beam) is 56 feet, the rise would be 13/32″ or 10mm from the centre line to the edge of either the port side or starboard side. Make sure that the sheer plan (length) matches the body plan (depth) and remember that deck curvatures do not always follow the same curvature of the hull sheer exactly. This is because the stern of the ship sits lower in the water than the bow. The level mid point between the stern and the bow is about ¾ of the length of the ship between the stern and the bow. If the plans do not match make adjustments or else fittings like cannons will not sit properly on the deck (cannons should be pointing slightly down). You should also measure the distance from the waterline to the top of the false deck to ensure accuracy with the hull. If need be you can soak the false deck in warm water or warm water with ammonia in order to get the rough curvature that you need. Remember when soaking wood, you should only use warm water and leave the piece in the water for no more than 15 minutes. This way the cells of the wood will be pliable but not broken down.

Once you are happy with the camber of the false deck, make sure that it fits snuggly up to the false keel adjacent to the sternpost or rudder post. Using wood glue and pins adhere the false deck to the bulkheads. Once the false deck is firmly in place, mark and cut out the openings previously marked for the masts, hatches, gratings and companion ways. It is better to do this after the false deck is in place because of the camber of the deck.

Now you are ready to apply planking to the false deck. The decks were usually light coloured. The width of the plank for our 18th Century model is between 8 …

Model Ship Building Makes a Great Hobby

Even though life can get hectic, it's important to take time for yourself to unwind and relax. If you're not one to sit in front of the TV every night after work, but would like something to actually DO with your free time that does not involve running to the mall, or to the nearest sports bar, may I suggest you look into model ship building? As a hobby, this is a craft that can be not only fun, but rewarding when you take pleasure in the end result. To view something beautiful that you have built with your own hands is a reward unlike any other.

All you need is the desire to learn, the patience to be creative and sometimes methodical, and the ability to follow detailed instructions. It may seem more involved than it really is, but if you can see past the learning curve with that patience and the desire to see the outcome, you will be handsomely rewarded. Anyone can learn to do it!

Within the realm of model ships, there are ample styles to choose from. There are the favorite sailing ships and pirate ships, military ships, modern day ocean liners and ancient viking ships. There are basic models for the beginner and those that are more involved and challenging. You can guess where you would want to start.

While there are many different types of models you can build, typically, models over the past decades have been made of wood. Wood captures the real feel of ancient boats and give off an extremely elegant and pleasing display. Plastic models just can't replicate the same feel as a wood model. Aside from wood and plastic, there are also models available that are made of metal, which may be the telltale sign of a military ship. Some models come already painted, while other kits provide the necessities for you to embark on your own paint job. With a little research, you can find pretty much anything you may be looking for to get started in and develop your new hobby.

If you are going in the way of a kit, which many people do, you will find there is a wide degree of skill levels catered to. This is especially great for those who have kids who would like to partake in the fun, or those who just feel they'd like to start out easy. Oftentimes the easiest kits to start with use plastic components and come already painted. Some kits snap together instead of requiring glue. As you develop your skills, you can move into the more challenging kits for wood or metal boats. These will contain detailed instructions, intricate plans and several pieces that must be painted as well as glued. If you start simple and work your way up, a kit like this is not as daunting as it may initially sound.

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Caring for Your Model Ship

After having spent many hours and in some cases years to create a work of art, you want to protect your ship model the best you can.

Protection starts at the build stage by avoiding chemical deterioration. All metals tend to oxidize to some degree. Typical metals found in a ship model built these days are Britannia (pewter type alloy), brass, copper, steel, stainless steel, tin alloy and aluminum. Prior to assembly, you should wash the metal parts with a mild soap and water, dry thoroughly, assemble then brush them with a lacquer clear coat. The lacquer clear coat can be found in your wife's medicine cabinet labeled clear nail polish.

To avoid biological deterioration, protect wooden parts with paint, clear varnish, oil or stain. Prepare the wood for staining or painting by sanding and then cleaning the wood. Sanding opens up the wood's grain so the wood stain or paint can better penetrate the wood's surface. When sanding is complete, remove all of the dust created by sanding. It's best to do this with something called a tack cloth-a pad made from treated loose weave fabric. Tack cloth catches almost every molecule of wood dust. When staining remove excess stain, wipe away stain which is sitting on the wood surface then rub the pigment into the wood with a soft cloth using a circular motion. Wipe one last time in the direction of the wood grain; This helps promote uniformity. To deepen the stain color, repeat the process until desired results are achieved. Lastly, choose a polyurethane topcoat with the desired sheen. Oil finishes such as Tung Oil harden when exposed to air. Tung oil soaks into the wood fibers before it begins to harden, thus forming a protective finish that moves with the wood.

Rigging lines can be preserved by coating them in bees wax. The bees wax not only will prevent fraying but act as a barrier to moisture so that the lines don't continually stretch and loosen depending on the amount of humidity in the room. If using the cake method, draw the line through the slots in the container, two to three times, giving the line a small turn with each pass. Now, you could now run the line across the surface of a 60 watt light bulb to melt the wax into the line.

To keep sail cloth material from deteriorating, visit your wife's medicine cabinet again and borrow her hair spray. A light spray will not only protect the sail but will hold the sail in a billowing form if that is how you would like it displayed. The biggest enemy of the sail cloth is the sun.

Where you display the model in your house is important. The model should not be displayed in direct sunlight or near a heat source. If you need to augment the lighting, use low voltage (low temperature) LED's.

The accumulation of dust, oil and dirt can be avoided by encasing your ship model. A solid case …

Rating of Wooden Model Ship Kit Manufacturers

There are about 20 wooden model ship kit manufacturers throughout the world. It can be challenging to determine who's kit will suit the model ship builder the best because of all the variables involved. The idea is to match up the kit manufacturer with the needs and wants of the builder so at the end of the day, the ship model builder has an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.

Cast Your Anchor has been in the model ship supply business for 7 years and been ship modelers for over 30 years. Over this time we have formed opinions on model ship kit manufacturers either through direct experience or from listening to our customers relate their experiences. We have summarized our findings below for 10 of the ship model manufacturers.

We provide the history and background of the manufacturer, location of their factory, the North American distributorship channel, their tendency when it comes to the kit skill level requirements and of course their rating.

The distributorship channel is most important when considering after sales service. Direct contact between the retailer and the manufacturer is usually best but not in all cases. The tendency for manufacturers to build kits aimed at a certain builder skill level is very important when it comes to the instructions that are provided in the kit. Entry level kit instructions generally assume that the model builder will require guidance with ship model building techniques in addition to specific instructions related to the vessel construction.

Definitions:

Rating 1 -10: 1-3 Poor, 3-7 Good, 8-10 Excellent. All categories are considered equally rated because there are alternative options the builder can exercise should there be an issue in any one of the categories.

Skill Level Tendency – Some manufacturers tend to lean towards a specific builder's skill level in their kits. Other manufacturers have a good variety of kits to suit all levels of skills. Skill Level Tendency: E – Entry Level, I – Intermediate Level, A – Ambitious Level.

Availability – Ranges from always in stock to fulfillment within a few weeks or months. Availability can be adversely affected by the distribution network of the manufacturer. If the manufacturer allows for direct buying the availability tends to be quite high.

Types of Vessels Available – The two areas looked at were era of the vessel and the vessel type. Some manufacturers have a limited range while others have offerings in almost all categories. One manufacturer has vessel types that are unique to what other manufacturers have to offer.

Historical Accuracy – The accuracy of a model ranges from barely recognizable to reasonably accurate. Detailed information of many vessels is not available which leaves for a fair bit of interpretation. When it comes to paint colors some manufacturers don't even try to recognize the true colors of the vessel.

Detailing – Some kits are highly detailed while others have minimum deck fittings. The accuracy of the detailing in terms of the era of the ship as well as the materials used …