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V-108 Torpedo Boat by catopower - Digital Navy - 1/200 Scale - CARD - MSW Tutorial Build

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Hello, my name is Clare. 

I don't know how it happened. I suppose this is typical. Somehow, without knowing it was happening, I have become a card model junkie...


I began, innocently enough, experimenting with a kit from Shipyard, the 1/96-scale paper model of the cutter HMS Alert. I didn't plan on finishing it, I just wanted to start it to see what the build was like. But, it became very interesting and unexpectedly quite rewarding. I ended up completing it and a fellow modeler wanted to buy the completed model from me, so it found a home. But, building the model was such a rewarding experience, I ended up building a Shipyard lighthouse kit and starting another Shipyard paper ship model kit, HMS Mercury, which is now under construction.


HMS Mercury was intended as another kind of experiment and something I would just work on in between other projects. So, I haven't worked steadily on it. But, recently, I put in some work on the model and have had a difficult time breaking away from it. After my last build log post, I figured I'd step away from it, but I couldn't help myself. I did a little more work on it.


But, paper models cover a diverse range of subjects, and most paper model, or card model subjects (as some people prefer to call them), are not of sailing vessels, but of steel navy ships. My "Go To" shop for this stuff is usually the Polish seller GPM. They have all subject matter in kits from a wide range of manufacturers. One of the things I like to do is to check out some of the fascinating subjects, ships mostly, and look at the kits and available laser-cut and photo-etched accessory sets they sell for them.


I've been seriously temped to try out one of these, but then I took a good look at the card modeling tutorial that Chris Coyle did here on MSW, using the German V-108 torpedo boat kit from Digital Navy as the subject. Having finally replaced my malfunctioning color inkjet printer, it seemed like a good opportunity to test it out and to print the parts sheets for the V-108 model.



I hope Chris doesn't mind, but, above, I've posted a photo of his completed model from his tutorial, which is the subject of this build log.


The tutorial and the links to the download can be found here: V108 Paper Model Tutorial


Now, I'm not following the tutorial to the letter. Chris' model is a waterline model, and I really want some practice building the hull below the waterline too, so I'll be attempting the full-hull build.


This is a small model at 1/200 scale, and I don't anticipate this taking a great deal of time, especially in comparison with a sailing ship model. So, I'm planning on spending a bit more of my time on this build. 



I went ahead and downloaded the files from the links provided in the tutorial. There are four pages in all, but only two of those pages are parts. They fit on standard 8-1/2" x 11" paper. I didn't end up printing anything directly on cardstock, laminating Pieces onto cardboard as necessary. I then began cutting out the structural pieces as needed and building the basic framework.




Okay, so there we go with another one. I've glued up the upper and lower frames together, but don't have a photo yet. Next, I'm going to add some hardpoints to the keel so I can eventually mount the model securely on a display base.




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Hi Clare,


There is a real insurgence of card models on MSW lately which is great.  I also notice a lot more 'steel' ships appearing in both plastic and card which is also good to see.


I look forward to following another card build log of yours.




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Hi Stevinne, you may not want to follow me, I don't know where I'm going!


You should check out Chris Coyle's tutorial here on MSW. That's what I'm basically following. I'm probably going to mount this model in a similar fashion to yours, with brass posts. 



It felt a little weird that nobody had a build log based on your tutorial. Since I was considering a card model of a steel navy ship anyway, I figured I'd try out your tutorial on this neat little model. Hey, it's a free download, and your tutorial is free, so why aren't there a bunch of build logs here? I figured I could at least start one. It's not my first card model, but it's still my first model of this type, so we'll see how it goes.



Your builds and comments have helped to inspire me to try a model of this type. This will be something of a surprise when I bring it to the local ship model clubs, as I haven't built a steel navy ship since the 1970s!



I'm kind of hooked on them myself. The pre-printed kits are neat, but I think that also means that you have to be extra neat when working with them. On the shipyard models, since they represent wooden ships in larger scales, I've been able to get away with painting lightly over the printed detail. I don't think I can do that here. So, we'll see how it goes!







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My biggest build was the GPM Arizona in 1-200. Took Years to find the time to finish it among other projects. Learned to make railing from wire for it. Then made a dozen or so planes including a Stuka, Mig, F-86. and a B-17. Did some heat forming of clear plastic salvaged from bubble packs for the canopies anad nose bubble. Lots of fun. I've got a stash of paper kits too. The Missouri, a large Japanese ship, a Shipyard Bellona etc. Won't live to see them built probably but I might try. Lot easier to collect than build. I thought getting old took a lot longer than it has. :)

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Bill, I'm not sure what I want to do about railing. Chris's technique sure turned out well. However, I may just check out the PE stuff that GPM makes. The only thing is that the deck has the locations of stanchions pre-printed, so I'm guessing the PE stuff won't fit exactly. So, we'll see. I have been eyeing that HMS Bellona kit too. I figured if I can get through the frigate HMS Mercury, the Bellona would be an interesting subject. 


Jan, Ken, CDW, happy to have you aboard. CDW, please tell your wife "Cousin Clare" says "hi!" 


The V108 Build

As for the V108, since I'm building the lower hull, I'm already diverging from the tutorial and in uncharted waters for myself.


I went ahead and glued up the parts for the lower hull and added some reinforcing blocks for display stanchions.



I cut the parts for the main deck and glue them to the frames. All the parts sheets, by the way, I gave a couple coats of artist's fixative to protect the print. 





Also, added some reinforcements that I'm hoping will help keep the lower hull plates (or skins, as some people seem to like to call them) from puckering too much. It's all a big experiment for me, so we'll just have to see how things turn out.



One thing I discovered at this stage was that I managed to impart a bit of shear to the hull. From the drawings, it clearly is not supposed to. So, I cut some of the frames loose and re-glued the parts. I clamped the hull to a sheet of glass to help flatten it out. 



As you can see, it still has a little shear. Hopefully, it's not enough to be a problem. You can also see another view of the hull reinforcements I added. Not perfect, but we'll see how things fit. 


As you can see, I also drilled out the keel where the support blocks are and I made a little display stand. I just did that today, but the posts are a bit on the tall side, so I'll cut those down a bit at some point. Depending on how I'm feeling about it, I may or may not add some brass tubing sleeve over the rod to make the posts visually thicker. But, making them shorter may create the same overall effect.


Anyway, I have to focus on the lower hull next. We'll see then if this is worth keeping and continuing.



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When you check photo etch railing options, make sure to look at individual stanchions sets in your scale. (GPM makes a set) You use wire to complete the railings, but the individual stanchions will allow you to place them where you want/need each one rather than "wherever they fall".

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Happy 4th of July, all! I have a bit of time before a friend comes by and we do the whole burger thing and then watch fireworks, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to post a question.


CDW, thanks for the advice. If I go the P.E. route, I was figuring on ordering the completed railings as well as the 2 hole stanchions. The relatively small size of the ship means I should be able to get by with only one P.E. sheet of each. But, I may simply try out Chris's method from his tutorial. We'll see how I feel about it when I get to that point.


So, I have a question for the experience builders of paper models of steel hull ships regarding covering the hull and the order it is done.


Most builds seem to start covering the hull below the waterline before dealing with the upper hull. But wouldn't it be better to do it the other way around?


My thought is that the waterline is the most visible and important feature of the ship, followed by the seam between the upper hull "plates" and the deck. So, shouldn't the upper hull be dealt with first? Then, the plates for the lower hull should go on, focussing on getting the waterline perfect. Any imperfections then should be on the underside of the hull at the keel, where people really aren't looking, except perhaps a fellow modeler who wants to see how good a job you did.


For this model, the hull coverings have the lowest part numbers, so the designer, more or less, expects you to put them on first.


Any thoughts?



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8 hours ago, catopower said:

Happy 4th of July, all! 

I have seen a great meme for this...

Happy Treason Day, ungrateful colonists... lol

regarding the hull plating, the reason might be, that you have a stable point of reference. Upper hull plating consists of one plate for each side. It is easy to trim bottom plating to matching angle, when you only need to take a little sliver off. Its substantialy harder to achieve straight line with many sheets, isnt it. 

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Thanks for your input Pav and Chris. As it turns out, when I posted about the lower hull, my mind was still in the Shipyard kit mode. This kit, and maybe those of all steel-hulled ships, has a single piece that wraps from the waterline on one side of the ship to the waterline on the other side. So, it really does become necessary to do the bottom of the hull first.


Here's my attempt at adding the first four parts of the lower hull. There are five more to go.



A couple things I've noticed. First, I think it may be unnecessary to try to reinforce the hull like I did. This is a small model and the bulkheads are mostly just over an inch apart, except amidships, where they may be about 2 inches apart. If anything, the reinforcement just got in the way and needed to be trimmed down.


The second thing I noticed about this kit is that these lower-hull pieces overlap the waterline "deck," and will completely conceal the edge. My only concern is at the stern, where the bottom of the printed boot-top may extend down just a tad much. But, at this scale, it will probably be fine unless someone is taking a magnifying glass to it.


I did paint the edges of the lower-hull pieces with some darkened red acrylic, and also did a little touch-up on afterwards. You can see the seam pretty well, but I may just leave it that way, at least on this model.


I wanted to get at least this far for a get-together of ship modelers in Vallejo, California. One of the members, built the Trumpeter kit of the Iowa now on display at the USS Iowa Museum in San Pedro. He's now building the Bismark in the same scale of 1/200, which is the same as this kit, and I wanted to do a size comparison. Unfortunately, he just got home from a long drive the night before and couldn't make it. Now, I'll have to wait for the next gathering, which isn't for another 3 months. But, I imagine this should be done by then, as long as I have time to keep working on it.





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It didn't take long to finish the hull below the waterline. 


I didn't add the shafts, props or rudder. I thought I should at least wait until I have the rest of the hull done before I go back to do that. 


Since I had already finished the four sections aft, I figured it might be best to start at the bow and work my way back. That way, the bow was sure to come out correct and I think it looks good.




I used little pieces of Tamiya tape to hold pieces into place while the glue dried – I used Aleene's Tacky Glue for everything here. When it was dry enough, I pulled the tape, revealing the finished hull. 




Certainly, my work is not perfect, but I'm having fun, and, so far, it doesn't look terrible...


By the way, I took this model to three local ship model meetings, and people were VERY interested in the model. I love the fact that because these part are printed on my own printer, if I screw something up, I can just print another parts sheet.


There are an awful lot of teeny parts, though. I did a rough count and I think I got to around 250 pieces. So... 31 down, 219 to go!



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It looks like you use a rubber or vinyl cover on your scalpel handle. Where do you find those? I love my scalpel, but am not crazy about the all-metal handle and think something rubber to cover the metal is a great idea. I've just never seen them for sale.

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Yeah, the metal handles hurt my fingers after a short time.


Mine is a Swann Morton handle packaged and distributed by Modelcraft Tools - "PKN5002/11 Plastic Scalpel Handle and Swann Morton No.11 blades"


I know they have them, as I've seen them in the shop (It an Ages of Sail and Modelcraft Tools showroom) They're only $7 or $7.50 with some blades.




You can get it from Ages of Sail too, and shipping will probably be a little cheaper too, but it's not on their web page, so you'll have to call them to order - 510-889-6000. You can also email them, but I don't like posting email addresses on the Internet for fear of generating junk mail. But, you can get it off their contact page: http://www.agesofsail.com/contactus.html


Now that you mention it, I've never even thought about how uncomfortable it is to use a scalpel since I've had this one. Yes, definitely get one – you'll love it.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Here's a bit of an update. I've been working on the torpedo boat now and again and tonight I took a break from another project to get some things done on the hull.


I finished adding the main hull skins. Because my model curves up just slightly at the ends, it took a little extra work to get this part of the hull done. Overall, things went just fine. I used contact cement at this stage. 




The main issue I had was that even though I centered the stern piece as perfectly as I could, it came forward slightly on one side of the ship. As a result, the starboard side looks fine at the bow, but the port side comes up a little short.



I'll work on cleaning up the bow next, but it's not all that noticeable except under close scrutiny.




While I was at it, I also shortened the brass rods that hold the ship up on its stand. I think it looks much more natural now. I don't know if I mentioned it before, but the yellow tape is Tamiya masking tape. It peels off quite cleanly and doesn't mar the printed paper at all. 





The final thing I did was to add the connecting pieces to the forecastle. I think Chris mentioned that there is a minor flaw in the kit in that this toothed connecting strip has to be cut in order to fit on both sides of the forecastle's internal bulkhead. You'll also note that I added the aft bulkhead of the forecastle. That worked out quite nicely, though, like the toothed connecting pieces for the forecastle deck, the bottom connecting tabs on the bulkhead needed to be cut to allow the bulkhead to bend in the center and fit around the centerline bulkhead of the forecastle.




I  have also bent the forecastle deck edges down and I'll be looking over Chris's tutorial to see that I don't miss anything at this stage of construction.



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Pretty good job Clare :). Good to see that you're using Chris' Tutorial, he'll do all the "legwork" for you ;).


I guess you've been checking out my IJN Amatsukaze build, so you might get a few tips from my build log. Personally, I wouldn't use Tabs (as a part of the skin etc) for anything. Separate ones (as you're doing) work far better, as they don't tend to spring back. Most places I've needed to use a tab I glue a piece of 0.5mm card to the side of, say, a bulkhead to give more of a gluing surface. Allowances do of course have to be made for the thickness of the paper when aligning it in an inside corner. I also angle most corner by 45 degrees to leave a knife-edge join (with varying success, I'm slowly getting better at it :D).


I'm also using Testors Plastic Filler on the odd occasion where I do get a slight gap. It dries really quickly, so I thin it with Acetone as I'm using it. To finish it i first cut off any large excess with a scalpel, then use a Q-tip dipped in Acetone for the final finish. The putty finishes really well, and can also be easily sanded. I tried a tube of a similar putty made by Tamiya, but found it very difficult to work with. I'm using Watercolour paint for touch-ups.


Have a look at Amatsukaze in another day or so when I finish the handrails on the three Gun Turrets. I'd bought some PE railings for this, but none of the holes aligned with the printed locations (something I've found on both my card models so far) so I'm using 0.2mm brass rod for them. This works really well, as I can place the "stanchions" exactly where I need them.


:cheers:  Danny

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Hi Bob, thanks for the support. I suspect you'll be passing me up and I'll start following YOUR blog soon. Do yourself a favor and record the exact printer settings you used. Later, if you need to reprint a part, it will save a little frustration. I thought I knew what settings I used, but when I reprinted a sheet, the color hues came out differently. I'm sure it was user error and not some printer issue. 


Danny, thanks for your comments. I figured the PE railings might not match up with the printed spots for the stanchions. I'll definitely be looking at what you did there on the Amatsukaze. Yeah, I probably should have cut separate connector tabs for the aft forecastle bulkhead, but I don't mind learning a little bit the hard way! I think this section may be okay. I just need to drill, paint and mount a support stanchion under the aft end of that forecastle deck.


These models are pretty neat. I do like being able to print the parts, as you have a little more control over the print quality, plus an endless supply of replacement/repair parts.

Edited by catopower
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1 hour ago, amateur said:

silly question: what type/thickness of cardboard do you use for the outer skin?



It's not a silly question Jan, in fact I was going to suggest to Clare that he buys some decent modelling card from GPM if he hasn't done so already. Good card makes a world of difference. I'd say around 0.30mm or 0.35mm would be OK for hull skins. That's the thickness supplied for mine.


:cheers:  Danny

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Your detailed pictures will help me a lot in building the SMS Helgoland.  The instructions are rather terse and I have been wondering about exactly how things are supposed to go together and if I should add some wooden reinforcements. I see that you have done so.  Thanks for taking so many great pictures.

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Thanks ragove. I'm just following Chris's tutorial, so I imagine that you'd far more useful info on his build as well as Danny's Amatsukaze build. But, it's nice to know some builders find useful info here.


Danny, Jan, for this model, I've just been following Chris's blog, so I went and got some card stock from the local copy place, where I could buy it by the 8-1/2 x 11" sheet. I don't remember the weight of the paper, but I measured it and it's about 0.25mm thick. Seems fine for such a small model as the bulkheads are maybe an inch apart. I could see the advantage of heavier card stock on a larger model.


Danny, thanks for the advice on GPM. I've actually ordered some card stock from them about a year or so ago when I was working on my HMS Alert kit, and still have a healthy supply.


On this model, I've only needed a small amount for the decks and skeleton. 


That's the other thing that's nice about building a paper model of this small size – a little material goes a long way.



Edited by catopower
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  • 4 years later...

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