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Copper tape for a ships hull

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Is anyone familiar with this product sold by Amazon?

It's called "Copper Foil Tape with Double-Sided Conductive Adhesive".

It's 1/5 inch wide,32 yards per roll (about 5mm wide). Three rolls for $7.00.

The link is:



This along with COPPER SHEATHING A HULL USING SELF-ADHESIVE COPPER TAPE by Gene Bodnar  PDF would be ideal.





"Peace is not something you wish for; It's something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away" by Robert Fulghum

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I bought something similar from Amazon, though a different brand  (Kraftex).  I ended up not using it.  The copper is quite thin, like heavy duty foil, and I was concerned about the durability of the adhesive.  But I've seen a number of build logs here using it or something similar and no one that I have seen had issues with it falling off.


I ended up buying a roll of 36 gauge copper...it was thicker but still cutable with scissors.  I cut strips and did something similar to what was described in the article, along with some aging using liver of sulphur.  Here's the stuff I bought:  https://www.amazon.com/St-Louis-Crafts-Copper-Inches/dp/B00S3TYN1M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1534389581&sr=8-2&keywords=36+gauge+copper+roll


I used a household/craft glue with it, so who knows, maybe my copper will fall off sooner than if I had used the tape.


I was somewhat happy with the results....I'd give it about a 6.5 out of 10.  See my America build log for more details and pictures.  Note this was 1/48th scale.  If working in something like 1/96th, that might make this method more difficult and might make the thinner foil more appropriate.



- Gary


Current Build: Artesania Latina Sopwith Camel

Completed Builds: Blue Jacket America 1/48th  Annapolis Wherry


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I've agonized over coppering models for some time and have yet to see the point of trying to imitate the detail of copper sheathing on a model of scales normally seen. It seems that many modelers, perhaps led on by model kit manufacturers, are infatuated with applying copper foil to their models.  The problem is scale. Aside from color, a prototype properly coppered hull (now something of a rarity because antifouling coatings are more efficient and much less expensive) won't be all that apparent from any distance. It certainly won't be bright shiny copper-colored, either, unless it was very recently coppered.


Similarly, despite the obsession with "rivets," on model copper sheathing, no full-sized ship ever had its copper "riveted" to the hull. Copper sheathing is fastened with small copper tacks. So small, in fact, that they are virtually invisible at any distance.  They certainly aren't standing proud like rivet heads on a riveted iron hull, as most attempt to portray them, and grossly out of scale at that. The prototype copper tacks had flat heads that were perhaps a quarter inch in diameter and were driven with a flat-headed hammer to set them flush with the copper sheet to the greatest extent possible so as to produce as smooth a hull as possible.


Unless one is working to a scale in which a quarter-inch tack can be perceived from a distance which permits a view of the entire vessel at one time, I have, thus far at least, failed to see the point of attempting to accurately depict coppering with copper foil and "rivets" on models. I've found that a paint color approximating patinated copper (a dark "apple green") is much better suited and does not distract from the overall appearance of the model.


Even unpatinated new copper on ships doesn't look like what the great majority of coppered model hulls look like. Below is Cutty Sark's newly coppered hull.



This may have been addressed in this forum before, but I thought I'd offer my two cents' worth on the subject. To my eyes, despite the amount of tedious work many models with individual copper plates and "dimpled rivets" require, I'm led to conclude the modeler never actually had any hands-on familiarity with their subject. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Edited by Bob Cleek
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You convinced me, trying to simulate a rivet pattern on copper tape would be senseless. But if one could get the correct scale copper would be a nice added detail.

As far as the color, all ships were brand new at one time and after time will turn color after it is handled (like a copper penny). The trick would be achieving the proper scale.

I am still on the fence to copper or not.

This is a photo of the USS Constitution at the start of the last restoration that illustrates your point.

Thanks for your insight.



"Peace is not something you wish for; It's something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away" by Robert Fulghum

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9 hours ago, RussR said:

I am still on the fence to copper or not.



Just a personal choice. For myself I do not like shiny copper plating on models. It looks hokie. That being said I am in the minority and venture to say 90 to 95 percent of modelers on the site copper plate.

As I have said in the past whatever cranks your tractor do it.:)

John Allen


Current builds HMS Victory-Mamoli

On deck

USS Tecumseh, CSS Hunley scratch build, Double hull Polynesian canoe (Holakea) scratch build



Waka Taua Maori War Canoe, Armed Launch-Panart, Diligence English Revenue Cutter-Marine  Model Co. 


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