How to build a small generic pre-dreadnought battleship: Part 1: The hullPosted: March 21, 2016
When I needed a number of model warships for a naval war game I planned to put on at 2016 Annual Conference of Wargamers (COW2016), I decided to build what I needed from what I had to hand or could buy quickly and easily. The models had to meet the following criteria:
- The finished models had to be no longer that 4-inches/10cm so that it would fit inside a Hexon II terrain hex
- The type of ship they represent should be reasonably obvious
- They should look somewhat akin to the old tin-plate toy warships built at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
- They should be robust enough to suffer many years of wargaming (mis)use
In the end a visit to my local branch of Hobbycraft provided the starting point; it was a small wooden model of the RMS Titanic that cost £2.50.
The model of the Titanic was made of pine, and its hull became the basis of my model generic pre-dreadnought battleship.
The rest of the bits and pieces used were made from basswood, bamboo skewers, cocktail sticks, and plywood.
The tools I used included:
- PVA Wood Glue
- A razor saw
- A craft knife/box opener
- A steel ruler
- An aluminium mitre block
- A number of modelling clamps
- An emery board
- Two pin vices (each holding a different sized drill bit)
- A pencil
- A small modelling power drill and a sanding block
- A number of cheap cotton buds (very useful for gently removing excess wood glue)
Whan making any models using my methods, there are some basic rules that need to be followed:
- Remember to use any tools carefully so that you do not risk injuring yourself.
- Always let the glue ‘cure’ before you attempt to move on to the next stage in the production process. (The PVA Wood Glue that I use usually takes about an hour to ‘cure’ but does not reach its maximum strength for twenty four hours.)
- Always clamp and/or support any glued joints until the glue has ‘cured’.
Straight from the pack, the hull looked like this:
The first thing that I did was to shorten it so that it was only 4-inches/10cm long.
I then filled in the cut-out section of the hull using spare pieces of basswood.
This was then set aside for the glue to cure before the excess wood was carefully sawn off …
… and the hull was sanded to smooth out any imperfections.
I then began shaping what would become the bows of the model by marking on the shape of the bows using a curve …
… and then sawing off the corners …
… before carefully using the craft knife/box opener to carve away the excess wood. The bows were then carefully sanded to smooth out any imperfections.