CaptainSteve

The Kit-Basher's Guide To The Galaxy

372 posts in this topic

Arr !!!

 

CaptainSteve 'ere. Recently promoted to Apprentice Wood-Hacker (3rdClass), aboard the USS Constitution (under Cap'n 'ull, 'is ownself, no less).

 

Most all of us as ship-modellers, I suspect, strive to create as much realism as we possibly can with our models. Whether you class yourself as a kit-builder, scratch-builder (seriously, you guys truly are the Jedi-Masters of the model-ship universe!!), or something in-between; surely we look to make our models correct - aesthetically, technically and historically.

 

Myself, I have discovered that I am a kit-basher ... a term I had never heard of prior to my discovering MSW.

I unashamedly accept the title.

 

As such, I often find myself looking at everyday objects through the eyes of a modeller.

 

Fortunately, my job often sees me waiting in stores and various businesses, giving me golden opportunities to browse through their display stocks, whilst considering how some items could be trimmed/chopped/painted to become the perfect capstan/smoke-stack/cannon-ball or whatever.

 

As such, I would like to start a new forum based upon everyday items which could be tailored into ship parts to enhance our models.

 

 

[Please note that, with the recent change of name for this forum, I am familiar with the works of Douglas Adams AND have read his entire, brilliant "HHGTTG: A Trilogy in Four Parts"]

mwb, shoule, ShevljaginP and 3 others like this

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                     HOUSE RULES

 

To help with following this forum, may I suggest that you:

 

             - CAPITALIZE the name of the object at the very start of your post.

             - Please indicate scale with your suggestion, as various items could be used for different purposes in another scale.

             - Separate posts for each item AND purpose will make it easier for people wishing to search this topic.

             - Photos are actively encouraged !!

 

To get things rolling, here are a few suggestions of my own:

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CHOPSTICKS - To create winches for my whale-boats (1/76 scale), I cut the tips from a pair of take-away chopsticks. Minor sanding and shaping produced the final result. Some holes were drilled through the tips (0.2mm bit). Paint inside of holes black.

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BEADS - There are thousands of different beads available. I strongly recommend spending a few hours browsing through the shelves of a good bead store, if you can find one. Otherwise, settle for a raid on the Admiral's sewing table. Try imagining each bead cut in half/sanded/sliced.

 

This pic shows a whale-boat (1/76th scale) I am currently working on. The central drum is a bead, with the wooden ends being former chopsticks.

 

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XMAS TREE LIGHTS - Recently, a string of about-to-be-installed Christmas lights caught my eye. These were only a cheap variety, but my immediate thought was: Cut the tips from each globe, drill holes of corresponding size in a strip of wood, insert former Xmas light, and you have a perfectly round porthole with a domed window pane.

 

(Observant viewers may have noticed the complete lack of snow in my part of Australia at Christmas time - it was 38 degrees Celsius today!!)

 

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WATCH PARTS - Search E-Bay for this phrase: "steam punk". A 30g packet containing hundreds of miniscule cogs, gear-wheels, coils and springs cost me less than A$20.00 (including shipping). Watch-spring coils will, I imagine, make excellent mast-bands!!

 

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BEADS - There are thousands of different beads available. I strongly recommend spending a few hours browsing through the shelves of a good bead store, if you can find one. Otherwise, settle for a raid on the Admiral's sewing table. Try imagining each bead cut in half/sanded/sliced.

 

This pic shows a whale-boat I am currently working on. The central drum is a bead, with the wooden ends being former chopsticks.

BEADS - another use for beads is as parrel beads for all those gaff rigged schooners out there - or other applications where there are single parrels in use.

 

Steve - great thread - may I suggest you change the title to something that might help people realize what you are trying to do with it?  It will help get more responses, I suspect.

 

Thanks,

Bob

 

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Sam Ladley, egkb, PeteB and 5 others like this

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OLD COMPUTER PARTS - I have found many of great things inside old computers before throwing them away at work.  Plastic cooling vents, fans, wiring, various thin metal pieces that can be molding into some great ships parts.

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ALUMINIUM CANS - Cut strips from a flattened-out can to the scale size of flags for your ship/boat. Using transfers or by painting, glue your flag design to both sides of the aluminium. Remember to reverse the design on one side.

 

Then crumple the aluminium piece slightly. Let the glue dry completely, and then very carefully peel your flag away from the aluminium piece.

 

Hopefully, you will be left with a flag that appears to be permanently flapping in the breeze !!

 

(This idea came to me from fellow USS Constitution builder here on MSW - the eminent modeler12)

John Allen, donrobinson and Per like this

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SANDPAPER STRIPS - Cut thin strips of very fine sandpaper to simulate leather strips, such as used for straps.

The texture of the sandpaper is guaranteed to produce a few extra "Ooohs" and "Aaahs" from people who view (and touch) your model.

 

(For these straps on my half-moon hatches, I have used black wet-n-dry sandpaper.)

 

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donrobinson, IgorSky and NMBROOK like this

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WOOD COFFEE STIR STICKS

 

These come in 5.5" and 7.5" and are 1/16" thick.  You can get some at your local coffee shop, or purchase a few thousand on eBay for less than $20.  

 

These are made of birch, very pliable and hold a corner very well.

 

When I build my 18th century long boat, I will replace the basswood planking with coffee stir sticks.  

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Crumple the aluminium piece slightly to produce a natural-looking flag that will appear to be flapping in the breeze. 

(This idea comes from a fellow USS Constitution builder here on MSW - the eminent modeller12)

Steve, you present several interesting ideas. Keep it up.

 

However, the 'crumbled aluminum can' idea was not mine to start with. It was an old one proposed by . . .

I don't remember.

What I suggested was to use very thin cloth and go from there per: http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/89-making-cloth-flags/?hl=%2Bmaking+%2Bflags

 

More importantly: I wish all of you people a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

If Christmas is not on your agenda, I hope that your God or believe will allow us to pursue more friendship and common enterprises through this great forum and other venues.

Perls, LFrankCPA, edmay and 3 others like this

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Great ideas and the computer parts I do already. 

The Nautical Research Journal had a one page article that showed pieces from frames of glasses.  I have used the hinges from the frames on doors for some of my RC models. Starbuck in my area used to have bamboo stirrers.  I use them for tree nails.

That's it for now.

Marc

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JEWELLERY - Cheap lengths of chain are ideal for numerous uses, depending on the size of the links and your model's scale.

Here, I have taken links from the chain on the left, cut them in half using nail-clippers, and used them as oar-locks on my

Captain's Gig (1/76 scale).

 

(Incidentally, be VERY careful not to cut up the Admiral's necklaces without checking with her first - note my eye-patch!!) 

 

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DemonBorger,

 

I actually used some pieces of fly-mesh, cut into long strips and then rolled-up to simulate the netting on my Apostol Felipe a few years back. Check it out, if you like, from the link in my tag-line. You'll see it hanging from the main flybridge.

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The aluminum can idea for flags was, I think, Harold Hahn's.   I and others open the can, flatten it, bend it into a nice shape and lay the cloth/paper flag on it.  Then starch or dilute PVA the life out of it.  When it dries, it's in the shape desired.

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Ulises,

I think your Vasa build is stunning !!

 

In particular, I was extremely impressed with the doors made from round toothpicks.

Could you please add those pics (with a quick explanation) here ??

That idea is brilliant !!

(And perfect for this thread !!)

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Here's mine ...

 

TOOTHPICKS - Round toothpicks were used as handles for the oars on my USS Constitution's boats (1/76 scale).

 

These have been sanded down to reduce their size from approx 2mm to 0.8mm. Some scrap stock was used for the oar-blades, cut to size and then grooved to take the handles.

 

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FOLDER MECHANISM - PART 1. - Plastic parts of folder mechanism can be thinned and cut to scale and used as white panels on bulwark

 

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I was looking for something with "hidden" shine reflection, at same time has to be 11x1 mm and very thin (cca 0,5mm) and very small with rounded edges. Testing with veneer was unsuccesful and I didnt like results.

 

Bulwarks are not finished jet, but you can imagine how it will look

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Ulises,

I think your Vasa build is stunning !!

 

In particular, I was extremely impressed with the doors made from round toothpicks.

Could you please add those pics (with a quick explanation) here ??

That idea is brilliant !!

(And perfect for this thread !!)

Sure thing! And thanks for your comment!

 

ROUND TOOTHPICKS AND OLD BUSINESS CARDS : To make wooden doors.

1- Spread glue on a business card or similar object

2-Cover it with round toothpicks and weight until dry

3-Paint with black or dark brown ink or paint, making sure the paint goes all the way down between toothpicks.

4- When paint dries, cut to shape and sand the toothpicks flat, or sand and cut to shape: your choice. The roundness of the toothpicks will allow you to make the line between planks wider or narrower the more or less you sand.

5- Add black cardboard hinges. Use nails to make doorknobs, add handles, etc...

 

Glad this tip has got many nice comments!

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ALUMINIUM CANS - Cut strips from a flattened-out can to the scale size of flags for your ship. Using transfers or by painting, add your flag design to both sides of the aluminium flags. Remember to reverse the design on one side.

 

Crumple the aluminium piece slightly to produce a natural-looking flag that will appear to be permanently flapping in the breeze.

 

(This idea comes from a fellow USS Constitution builder here on MSW - the eminent modeller12)

 

Aluminium cut straight from a can is very hard. Annealing the sheet, heating it until a piece of wood leaves a brown streak when drawn across it, leaves aluminium that is soft and pliable and can be easily formed.

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TWIST-TIES - These versatile strips of plastic-encased wire could have many uses. Here, I have sliced down the tie along the wire length to make the re-inforcing strips at the prows of two of my USS Constitution boats (1/76 scale).

To represent the bolt-heads, simply make a series of very small indentations (with drill or knife), then add a tiny drop of black paint using the sharpened end of a toothpick.

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After much searching I have found a source of the correct diamond pattern Hammock Netting for period model ships, I was looking in a store called Spotlight for those in Australia and NZ, not sure if they are in other countries but I'm sure there are similar haberdashery, craft type stores. The material is Mosquito Netting and found in the curtain department, it comes in a range of colors but most importantly cream and black it cost $4.99/Metre, enough for a flotilla. Hope this benefits others.

 

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After much searching I have found a source of the correct diamond pattern Hammock Netting for period model ships, I was looking in a store called Spotlight for those in Australia and NZ, not sure if they are in other countries but I'm sure there are similar haberdashery, craft type stores. The material is Mosquito Netting and found in the curtain department, it comes in a range of colors but most importantly cream and black it cost $4.99/Metre, enough for a flotilla. Hope this benefits others.

Can you post a picture of your product? Is it something like in post #19 above? I bought about a 1mt. of this material and have enough for a lifetime.

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Small Cleats

When building my first wooden model in thirty years, the Evergreen I needed to tie lines to the deck. I was winging it because the kit didn't have any detailed plans for any of the rigging and I knew nothing about rigging. I needed tiny cleats. Somehow I got an idea to use the tiny rail nails used by railroad hobbyist. In cross section a nail is the shape of a T, very similar to a cleat - a very short T.

 

I filed the edges of the nail head as shown in the diagram below. This gets you the basic shape. You can file the ends to a more pointed shape and add an upward bend to either side. Just drill a hole and insert to the depth required.

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What a cool thread.  Here's one of my regular items.

 

Bamboo Skewers.

 

Bamboo stays very strong at small scale and pulls through a draw plate pretty well.  At my 1:500 - 1:1250 scale it works great for masts and yards.  On a larger scale I think it would do well for oars or harpoons.  

 

Here's a couple of ships with bamboo masts and yards.  I've thrown in a couple other shots to help show scale.  It may be hard to see but that is an American dime next to the Santa Maria.    

 

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Match Sticks

 

They actually carve and sand well bend well with a quick soaking and are very inexpensive.  All of the channels, rails and external ribs on the Santa Maria above and was done with match sticks.  You can also plank a ship with match sticks.  

 

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