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Part VI: Building V108 - The Superstructure

Intro to Card Models v108 card model techniques

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Fabulous work. I have to keep reminding myself how small the scale is!

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Ian M.


Current build: HMS Unicorn  (1748) - Corel Kit


Advice from my Grandfather to me. The only people who don't make mistakes are those who stand back and watch. The trick is not to repeat the error. 




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No we'll add some aft superstructure parts.  As a rule of thumb, we'll work from forward aft, and we'll avoid adding tall, spindly structures, such as the galley stack (61), until later.


First we'll add the two galley skylights aft of the radio room, parts 35. 

1 parts 35 hatches.JPG


These consist of two frames and two skylights.  Score, cut, color, and fold the frames; CA is a good choice for tacking the frame edges where they close together.  Add the skylights and glue the finished assemblies down on the locator-numbered squares.  The skylights slope down towards their outboard edges.

2 hatches assembled.JPG

3 hatch locators.JPG

4 hatches installed.JPG


Next we come to the two stacks, the forward stack (27) and the aft stack (28). 

5 stack parts.JPG


The two stacks are almost identical, so I'll describe the construction of the forward stack, and the construction of the aft stack is basically a repeat.


Cut out the parts for the forward stack, parts 27a-27d.  There's a misnumbered part in the sequence -- the long, white strip should be 27e.  Color the edge of 27a, being careful not to color the portion alongside the white stripe.  Next, roll the stack.  Remember to lightly moisten the back of the part.  Part 27b is a joiner strip; use the 20# bond version of this part.  Apply glue to one-half of 27b and glue that half inside one or the other side of 27a.

6 stack rolled.JPG


Apply glue to the other half of 27b and close the stack cylinder.  Use tweezers to reach inside the cylinder and pinch the seam tightly shut.  The two edges of the seam really need to butt tightly together, or fit problems with 27d may result. 


Somewhere in your stash of leftover parts you should have parts 27c and 28c.  These are formers for inside the stack cylinders.  The diagrams say nothing about where inside the cylinder these should go, so I guessed at it.  You can't seat them too low, or the stacks won't fit over the hull profile formers, and you don't want them too high up, otherwise your stack will look like it has a flat cap.  I seated my formers about 1/4" down the stack cylinders.  Once you get 27c seated, you'll need to paint the inside of the stack black.


Part 27d is a flange that goes around the lower stack.  Cut, color, and roll the flange.  This is another conical part, and rolling it with a conical object against a soft surface works well.

7 rolling stack flange.JPG


On this particular tiny ring, using the glue tab is helpful, and the overlap at the tab won't be terribly conspicuous.  When the ring is glued closed, carefully work the ring over the lower stack until it is lined up on the dashed locator line, then apply a small amount of glue to the underside of the flange where it meets the stack.  Make sure to line the seam of the flange on the seam of the stack, because both the flange and stack have centerline marks to help line up the stacks on the superstructure.  When the flange is done, the forward stack gets a doubled stripe (27e).

8 finished stack.JPG


The stacks have locator marks for optional rungs.  Again, I used some from a photo-etch fret.  There are also locator marks for optional guy wires, which I will not be adding (partly because there are no locator marks for the wires on the deck).


The finished stacks fit snugly over the hull profile former.  Apply a small amount of glue to the edges of the profile former, then slide the stacks into place, using the centerline marks to get the front and rear edges lined up properly.  The ladder rungs should be just off to the starboard side of center.

9 stacks installed.JPG

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Chris Coyle
Greenville, South Carolina

When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
- Tuco




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One of the most difficult parts of a card model ship to build convincingly, if you can believe it, is ventilators.  Designers use different techniques for constructing them, and they are all equally a pain.  I still consider myself a novice at building ventilators.


Parts 44a-44c make up the boiler room ventilator.  This particular ventilator is made by gluing up a series of rings and then putting them together to make the curved tube.

10 ventilator parts.JPG


Part 44c should have been one of the parts laminated onto 1 mm card stock, but I somehow overlooked it.  No problem - I simply backed the part with two layers of plain card, and as I said much earlier, this type of built-up part is actually easier to cut out.


Parts 44a and 44b need to be cut out, colored, rolled into rings, and glued closed using the small glue tabs.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to cut these parts as precisely as possible - the fit between adjacent rings totally depends on how accurately the parts are cut, and even very small errors will result in unsightly gaps in the seams.  Same goes for gluing the rings shut - make sure the overlapping end of each ring hits the edge of the glue tab dead-on, or you'll wind up with rings of different diameters.

11 ventilator rings.JPG


44a wraps around the base, 44c.  An easy way to do this, once you have the 44a ring closed, is to lightly coat the inside of the ring with glue, set it flat on your cutting mat, and then press the base former down into the ring while holding the ring down with your fingers.  The flat mat will ensure that the ring and base match up flush.


Step one of getting the ring segments mated is to make sure they are as truly round as possible; lopsided rings are much harder to mate properly.  To join the rings, apply a thin bead of PVA to the edge of one ring, then seat the second ring on the first.  The seams and centerline marks of both rings should line up.  The rings also have printed rivets on one edge.  I'm not sure whether these should go up or down, but whichever you choose, make it the same for each segment.  After the two segments are joined, you can use your fingers to gently mold the seam as tightly sealed as you can , being careful not to smoosh the tube in the process (easily done if you get carried away!).


The inside of the ventilator needs to be colored.  I chose to paint the inside gray.  Don't wait until the entire ventilator is finished, or you'll have trouble getting your brush down inside the curved tube.  I built the ventilator up into two halves and painted the insides of the halves before joining them together.


The finished ventilator is mounted to the numbered circle between the stacks.  Use the centerline marks and seams to line it up properly.

12 ventilator installed.JPG

13 ventilator installed.JPG


It should be pointed out here that flash photography is particularly unflattering for card models.  For example, in the first photo of the finished ventilator, you can plainly see some glue buildup along one of the seams.  In reality, that interior part of the ventilator is deeply shadowed in normal light.  Same is true for many of the little errors such as differences in color shades, slight gaps in seams, or small glue smudges - all of these are things that tend to get highlighted in close-up flash photos and most are inconspicuous when viewed under ambient light at normal viewing distances.  So don't sweat the small stuff!


On to Part VII: Building V108 - Armament

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Chris Coyle
Greenville, South Carolina

When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
- Tuco

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