Jump to content

Recommended Posts

And now the part you've been waiting for:  What are we going to build??  Answer:  We will build the 1/200 scale V108 torpedo boat from Digital Navy.  Some reasons for this model: First, I have it printed already, and my printer has shown a recent propensity for not wanting to print on card stock, so finding a different model was problematic.  Second, I have never built it before, which means that I'll have more motivation to build it, plus you and I will encounter the inherent construction problems together at the same time (all card models, no matter how top-shelf they are, have some construction problems; overcoming these is part of the challenge of card models).  Third, it is a reasonably-sized model - not too big, not too small, and not overly difficult (based on parts count).  Fourth, it is a torpedo boat, and torpedo boats are cool - who wouldn't want one?


The first thing you will need to do is acquire the model.  Roman at Digital Navy has been kind enough to allow MSW to host the files here.  Be sure to visit his web site - perhaps send a note of thanks and maybe even spend a few dollars!  Each of the four pages comes in the form of a PDF.  Download the files to your computer.


Page one is a cover sheet.

V108 diag1.pdf




Page two is construction diagrams.  Construction diagrams are very important for card models, since most card models are printed in non-English-speaking countries; therefore, the translation of instructions (if there is any) can be a little tortured - just like those infamous Italian-to-English instructions in many wood kits.  So, diagrams are the chief construction guide for card models, and their number, completeness, and clarity can make or break a build.

V108 diag2.pdf




Pages three and four are parts sheets.  Two sheets is a small number for a card model.

V108 sheet1.pdf

V108 sheet2.pdf




Depending on your printer, you can try printing the model at normal resolution, or at 'best quality' for better color density.  You may also need to tell your printer that you are printing on card stock.  You can print the first two pages (cover sheet and diagrams) on 20 lb bond paper (regular printer paper).  The pages are formatted in 26 cm x 19 cm, so they should fit on both 8.5 x 11 and A4.  You'll want to print the parts pages on 20 lb bond as well - some parts will be easier to form on the thinner paper.  The parts sheets also need to be printed on card stock (after all, it's a "card model").  Finding card stock can be intimidating, because it comes in different thicknesses and is measured differently in the US than elsewhere.  The easiest way to get some is to go to your local stationery store and ask for "card stock" - chances are, whatever they direct you to will do the job.


Once you have the model printed, it will be time to prep the parts.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

V108 will be built on a skeleton consisting of a set of formers, much like any wood kit.  These formers will be made by laminating the printed former parts to a piece of 1 mm card; all the parts that need laminating are indicated by an asterisk on the parts sheets.  There are different types of thick card available.  The piece you see in the photo is the typical chipboard used for backing glued-up pads of paper.  It is also possible to laminate multiple sheets of regular card stock until the desired thickness is achieved; this sort of laminated card is easier on #11 blades than chipboard.



It doesn't hurt to check that the parts, as printed, are in fact supposed to be 1 mm thick.  In this photo, I've checked the locator lines on the hull base plate to verify that yes, the longitudinal profile former should be 1 mm thick.



And here I've checked the thickness of the parts sheet and chipboard together.  They come in at very slightly under 1 mm, which is good, because the spray adhesive will add a little to the thickness.



Next, give the parts sheets (four all together) a couple of light coats of matte clear spray varnish.  This will give the parts sheets a little bit of added stiffness and also protect the parts (somewhat) against accidental spills.



When the sheets have dried thoroughly, it will be time to laminate the parts that need to be 1 mm thick.  You'll have to separate the 1 mm parts from the other parts on the sheets.  Follow the directions on the can of 3M 77 spray adhesive and glue the parts to the chipboard or other card stock.  You may find that the glued-up sheets want to curl a bit.  You can offset this by stacking some heavy books on the flat sheets and letting them sit overnight.



At this point, you'll notice that the parts sheets include the necessary pieces for building the hull below the waterline.  I'll be building the model as a waterline model.  Card model hulls below the waterline are very difficult to get right, so since they may be a first model for you, I'm opting to eliminate the hassle.


Next, it will be time for cutting and gluing!


Back to Part IV: Tools & Other Supplies

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, kit builds all go in the kit build log section regardless of media.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


I've been following along as time permits and finally managed to get up to date.  I'm not building along but you're doing a great job with this tutorial.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, Don, good tip on Kinko's.  Normal card weights are anywhere from 80-110 lb, so your 90 lb Bristol should work. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

although I have started on another card model (San Salvador) I might join in on this one just for the fun of it :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your comments, guys!  It just so happens I have the next installment ready to go.


Once the laminated parts have had adequate time to dry, it is time to start cutting.  Here's the complete set of hull framing parts cut from their sheets.


Cutting leads right away to a serious question:  Do I cut on the line, outside the line, or inside the line?  This might seem like a silly question, especially considering that this kit has very fine line borders.  However, not all kits have such fine artwork, and (worse perhaps) there is no consensus among designers about whether the line is part of the part or not.  Moreover, if you use headband magnifiers while cutting, which I do because of my bad eyesight, you'll discover that even with very fine lines it is possible to cut on, outside, or inside.  So, how am I treating this particular kit, you ask?  Answer: I tend to cut along the inside edge of the line.  Be advised that if you use chipboard, the stuff is like rock compared to ordinary card.  My #11 blade tip broke on the second part, but have no fear - the remainder of the blade actually cuts chipboard better without the missing tip (the tip is essential for controlled cutting on plain card, though).  In fact, I only needed one blade to cut out all the 1 mm parts.


And now we can start gluing!  First thing to do is to glue the two halves of the hull base plate together.  I'm using Elmer's yellow wood glue -- it grabs pretty fast.  Glue the butt joint first, then use two pieces of scrap chipboard to reinforce the joint.



Once this is done, it's time to fix the hull base former to a temporary working base -- something rigid that will keep the hull from warping during construction.  I use a small piece of plate glass.  I used a spot of rubber cement at the bow, midships, and stern.  The rubber cement should allow the hull to be easily removed later (hopefully).



Next, start dry fitting the hull formers.  Remember -- fit twice, glue once!  It is important that the bulkhead formers sit flush with the longitudinal former.  Trim where necessary.



Some of the formers will need to be beveled where they meet curved portions of the hull.  The bow end of the longitudinal former will also need beveling.



Once all the formers are correctly trimmed, they can be glued to the hull base plate, starting with the longitudinal formers (two parts), then adding the eight bulkhead formers.  It is more important that the bulkhead formers are flush with the edges of the base plate than perfectly sitting on the locator lines, but they should be close.  Once all the formers are glued in, I add some extra weight to the hull so the finished model will have some 'heft' to it.  Here you can see where I've glued in some lead fishing weights.



Next comes the main deck.  Note that there are some red portions on these pieces -- these are to be cut or drilled out before assembly.  I don't worry too much about the drilling, because that is easily done on the assembled hull and isn't always necessary in any case.  The cut-out portions, however, should definitely be removed in advance.



At this point we may as well talk about edge coloring.  Cut paper has edges, obviously, and there are three schools of thought on how to treat these.  Some modelers don't color edges; to them, it's a badge of honor of sorts that indicates the model is made from card.  Personally, I find uncolored edges ghastly.  The second school are those that go to any length to find or mix watercolors, acrylics, or gouache that match the printed colors exactly.  These people will also fill and sand any gaps in the seams where necessary.  The Poles are masters at this technique, but it is a lot of work.  If that floats your boat, go for it.  I subscribe to the third school, the one that believes edges should be visually minimized.  The idea is to make the seams and exposed edges less obvious but not necessarily completely unnoticeable.  Thus, for this model, most any shade of gray felt-tip marker will suffice for edge coloring, since a gray edge on a gray model is far less obvious than a white edge on a gray model.  If you go this route, test your markers to make sure they don't bleed excessively into the paper fibers.


Once the deck edges are colored, the two halves are glued and reinforced in the same manner as the base plate.



Once that's dry, we can then glue the main deck down on the hull formers.  Apply glue to the tops of the formers, slip the deck over the two stack profiles that fit through the previously cut out slots, and make sure the tops of the formers are flush with the edges of the deck.




Finally, it helps to add some weight on top of the deck while the glue is drying.  Here I've added a couple of small but heavy books.  That's Ships of the Royal Navy on the right, a perfectly useless book in my opinion, and Retribution by Max Hastings on the left, a much more enjoyable volume chronicling the final year of the allied war against Japan.



Till next time!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Before we move on to the hull sides, we must first add the forecastle formers.  No big deal -- just remember to bevel the bow edge of the longitudinal former.



Next it is necessary to introduce another valuable card modeling tool.  You will frequently need to fold paper parts, and scoring the fold line makes this job infinitely easier -- the paper will naturally want to bend where the fibers have been weakened by scoring.  To do this, you'll want something with a fine but not too sharp tip (you don't want to actually cut the paper).  You can do the job with the back of a #11 blade, but I find that an awl or scribing tool works better.



Part 13a has two curved, dashed lines on either side that need to be scored.  The lines are fairly difficult to see.



Straight lines are much easier to score, because you can use a steel rule to guide your scoring tool.  Unless you have a set of drafting curves, curved lines will need to be done freehand, and this takes a bit of practice, because paper has a grain, and your tool will thus want to track off to one side or the other.  Here's the finished job:



Later, the edges of this part will need to formed into a slight curve, but for now you can set this part aside.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahoy Chris :D


Great build log. Thanks for taking the time to share. I will put one of these in my bucket.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Generally speaking, card model parts are numbered in the sequence in which the designer intended they be assembled, but it doesn't always make sense to follow this sequence.  For example, if we follow the part number sequence on this model, the forecastle deck (13) would be followed by the hull side skins (14) ('skin' is the card modeling term for any large outer part that covers the internal frame 'skeleton' -- get it?), and finally the stern skin (15).  This is a bad sequence for several reasons.  First, there are parts that go under the forecastle deck, and it makes more sense to install these before adding the deck.  Second, the stern should be skinned first, for reasons I'll explain later.  Stuff like this is why the diagrams and parts sequence should be studied and pondered before doing any assembly.


Now, look carefully at the parts sheet where the hull skins are printed (parts 14-16).  Parts 16a and 16b are optional rubbing strips; these features are already printed on parts 14 and 15, but by adding the optional strips, you give your model a little hint of depth.  This technique is called 'doubling', because you're doubling the thickness of the part.  You need to decide now whether to add parts 16, because adding them later will be a huge headache.



Either way you decide, there is something very important to take note of in the way the parts are laid out on the page.  Notice that if you cut out the parts in the numbered sequence, i.e. parts 14 first, parts 15 and 16 will be left on a narrow strip.  If you then continue to cut out part 15, parts 16 will be left on even narrower strips.  This, my friends, is very bad.  You see, if you then continue to cut out parts 16, the narrow strips will want to splay away from your blade as you cut, and this makes cutting long, thin parts from narrow strips of parts sheet unnecessarily difficult.  To do the job right, ignore the numbering sequence and cut out the parts from the outside edge of the sheet and work towards the center.  Thus, the cutting sequence should be 14L, 16b, 16a, 15, the other 16a, the other 16b, and finally 14R.  Work carefully and note that some of the edges are not entirely straight, but slightly curved.


I'm going to show you the assembly sequence with the rubbing strips included.  These need to be added to hull skins before the skins are attached to the model.  Start by coloring the edges of all the hull skin parts.  Part of the inside of 14L and 14R will need to be colored where the bulwark extends slightly aft of the forecastle -- this inside portion will be visible on the finished model.  I also color the top inside edge of each hull skin just in case it extends ever so slightly higher than the hull frames. 


We're going to start skinning with part 15 and work forward, and here's why: If you start with 14L and 14R and work aft, if any error creeps in, the resulting gap will be somewhere amidships.  If you start with part 15 at the stern and work forward, any error creep will be at the bow, and fixing that problem at the bow (if it occurs at all) is easier than fixing it amidships.


Here's part 15 and one of its two rubbing strips (16b):



Use a fine-tipped paint brush to apply a thin layer of glue to half  the length of the rubbing strip, and then carefully fix it to part 15; when that's completed to your satisfaction, repeat the process with the remaining half of the rubbing strip.  In the following picture, you can see part 15 with the rubbing strip added on the left, but no strip added yet on the right -- you can judge for yourself whether the extra effort is worth it or not.



Next we'll tackle applying a skin to the hull!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Time to start skinning the model!  As I stated in the previous post, we'll start at the stern with part 15.  Part 15 wraps around the stern and extends forward to bulkhead 3.  We'll need to pre-form the curve at the stern.  To do this, you'll need a form to help roll the paper.  Here, I'm using the body of my gray felt-tipped marker.



Moistening the paper at the point of the bend will decrease the likelihood of the paper crinkling instead of making a smooth curve.  Lightly moisten the inside of the part.  Licking actually works well, or you can lightly brush on some water.  Don't forget to dry fit!



And now for another must: contact cement.


We'll use contact cement for the skins because it's a non-water-based adhesive and will not warp the skins.  It takes some practice to get used to applying the stuff (I was obviously out of practice today! :huh: ).  Apply the cement to both parts to be joined (skin and frames in this case) and wait a few minutes until it's no longer tacky.  Notice that there are locator marks dead-center on both parts 12 (deck) and 15 (hull skin); line these marks up on the two parts and begin applying the skin, working from aft forward, one side at a time.  I use the flat side of my tweezers to press the skin to the model -- works much better than fingers.  CAUTION!  Contact cement is very unforgiving of mistakes!  Once it's stuck, it's stuck!  So be sure to get it right the first time!



And here's your reward for a job well done: a nice, tidy, properly fitted and hopefully not wrinkled or crinkled stern!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



This is a superb tutorial both as excellent guidance and as a good read. I am looking forward to the next installment.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Me too! A new experience for me and I'm really enjoying following this. Definitely going on my bucket list!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gonna finish up the hull skins now...


First thing to do is add the optional strips 16a to the two hull skins 14L and 14R if you have chosen this option.  Apply glue with a brush as described previously and work with about two to three centimeters of strip at a time.


Parts 13c are joiner strips, used for joining adjacent parts (parts 13 and 14 in this case).  The line along the base of the teeth needs to be scored so the teeth can be bent over.



Joiner strips can be problematic.  Problem number one in this instance is that the fourth tooth over from the aft end on the joiner strip falls right on the forecastle bulkhead.  This is going to add some unwanted thickness to that bulkhead.  Solution: remove the fourth tooth.  Actually, you'll want to cut the strip into two parts and remove the section that lies on the bulkhead entirely; I didn't, and this caused a semi-major problem later in the build sequence, as you'll soon see.  With this tutorial, you get the whole story, warts and all! :)


Mark the inside of the hull skin where the forecastle bulkhead hits it.



Then glue the two pieces of joiner strip on either side of the mark, leaving room for the bulkhead (this picture shows the joiner strip as one piece).



You are now ready to glue the two hull sides to the frame using the contact cement procedure described in the previous section.  Start at the joint with part 15 and work forward.  Here you can see that I let part 15 ride up a bit at the front end, resulting in a slight misalignment with part 14R.  That's life, kid!



You really, really have to be careful with the contact cement.  After I got part 14L added to the hull, I noticed that the deck sloped ever so slightly downward on the port side, meaning part of 14L showed above the edge of the deck.  Trying to peel the hull skin away and realign will only make the problem worse, so that's the way it's going to stay.  That's why I colored the inside edge of part 14L.



I also wound up with a slight misalignment at the bow.  Probably I will touch this up with a little paint, but I'm going to wait until the model comes off the glass plate.  This will be a pretty minor touch-up job.  I will also touch-up the tiny bits of exposed cardboard hull base plate at that point.



Next we'll do the forecastle, which is one of the more onerous parts of the build.





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The forecastle has its own diagram.  Study it carefully.



We'll start with part 17, the forecastle bulkhead.  Notice that the part has a number of joiner tabs and a fold line down the center.  Score the fold line and the bases of all the joiner tabs before cutting the part out.



Use PVA glue to install this part, because you may need to play around with the positioning before you get it properly placed.



Next comes part 18.  I have no idea what it is, but that's not unusual. :huh:   It has joiner tabs, too, but on a part this tiny the joiner tabs are actually more trouble than they're worth.  Go ahead and remove them.



Part 18 needs to be rolled into a half-pipe.  Moisten the back slightly and start the process by forming the tube around the handle of a small paintbrush or other narrow, cylindrical object.  You can finish the forming by gently rolling the part with your fingers.  Glue the part to the deck and forecastle bulkhead.



Now it's time to do the forecastle deck.  First, the edges of the deck need to curl down slightly, more at the aft end and less at the front.  The decreasing diameter of an awl tip works well for this sort of job.  Take your time with this part -- one of the beauties of paper is that if you over-form the part at first, you can always undo it some.  Here's the formed deck ready to install:



Gluing the deck in is tricky.  To make things easier, we'll glue it down one side at a time.  I started on the starboard side.  Brush some PVA glue (PVA in case we need to reposition) along the joiner strip teeth and hull edge.  Attach the deck and gently press the edges of parts 13 and 14 together with your fingers until the glue grabs.  Should look something like this:



Coming up next: A big boo-boo!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, so I cheerfully moved on to attaching the port side of the forecastle deck and came across this:



Yeah, that's a gap that didn't want to close, no matter how much I tried to force the two edges together.  The culprit in this case is the extra thickness added to the interior former by the joiner strips on either side of the hull.  You can avoid this problem by removing a bit of the joiner strip as I suggested in the previous post; I didn't have this option at this point, so I had to resort to Plan B, which was to slice away a tiny bit of the interior former in order to decrease the width.



Afterwards, I was able to finish the task.  I started by tacking down the forward end of the bow and letting that joint cure, then gluing the deck and hull edges together in the same manner as on the starboard side.



When I was working on the forecastle bulkhead, I wondered why the kit didn't include a part for doubling the hatch on the bulkhead.  Well, it does -- it just isn't next to part 17 on the parts sheet.  The necessary part is part 55 (note to self: it's indicated ON THE DIAGRAM -- always pay attention to the diagram! ;) ).



Note that this part has tiny rounded edges.  Don't try to cut these curves right away.  Instead, cut out the part rectangular, using a steel rule to keep the cuts straight.  Afterwards you can use the tip of your #11 blade to nibble away the remaining bit of white from the hatch.  Color the edges.



This part should be added to part 17 before the bulkhead is glued in, but in case you forget (as I did), the hatch location can fortunately still be easily reached at this point in the build.


There's also a support post to add at this point.  The diagram says to make the part from wire.  You can certainly use wire, but I chose to add an appropriate length of styrene rod.  I sprayed the rod with Krylon gray primer, which happens to be a shade of gray suited to the model.  Tack the bottom end of the post to the deck with a dab of CA glue (you want this to set quickly); when that dries, set the top end with PVA (you'll need to move the post around a bit until it looks perpendicular to the deck from all viewing angles).  The last part to add is part 13b, a sort of fascia.  I found that the barrel of a mechanical pencil was the right diameter for forming the curves in this part.  There's a locator mark on the part to indicate the center; tack this point to the center rear of the forecastle deck, then work your way bit-by-bit first to one side, then the other, alternating a dab of glue with pressing the fascia to the deck using a fine-tipped instrument (awl, tweezers, paintbrush handle, etc.).  Here's the completed post, fascia, and doubled hatch:



The basic hull is now done!  One thing to keep in mind is that many of the little goofs that pain you to look at during the build process will be far less visible when the model is viewed from a normal viewing distance.



See?  It's all a matter of perspective. :)


This concludes Part V.  Part VI will cover the building of deck structures.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, This is so interesting to follow, is ther any othe glue to use except contact cement or CA. What about white school glue both rhe CA and contact cement set to quickly for this intermediate builder. Thanks Don Farr

Hi, Don.  There's a discussion of glues in Part IV.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ack!  Almost forgot a few hull details.


Parts 21 are the propeller guards.  Small parts like these that have substantial cut-out areas are flimsy once removed from the sheet, so it helps to do some of the prep work while they're still on the sheet.  Start by coloring the reverse sides of the parts.  Then, cut out the inside white areas, but leave the outer edge attached.  You can then edge-color the interiors of the parts.  When the interiors are done, remove the parts from the sheet and color the outer edge.  Glue the guards to the hull with small amounts of PVA.  Note that the guards follow the curvature of the stern, so the left and right guards are not interchangeable.



The rudder (part 22) introduces a new kit feature, the two-sided part.



Score the fold line, then cut out the entire rectangle containing the part.  Apply glue to one-half of the back side of the part, then fold the rectangle in half.  You now have a rudder colored on both sides!  Remember, though, we're only using the part above the waterline, so go ahead and remove the red portion.  Color the trailing edge and then glue the rudder to the stern; there's a locator mark there to help you.  The rudder post will stick up above the deck just a little.


Here's the guards and rudder installed:



Okay, now we can move on to deck structures!


On to Part VI: Building V108 - The Superstructure

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting.....Going to have to get my printer up and going so I can get in on this...


will be downloading the post and saving them on my computer...


Thanks very much....very nice and detailed tutorial

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This really is a great tutorial Chris. The "warts and all" approach makes it seem that much more accessible to first timers.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



For this build, I'm using the same felt-tipped marker that I'm using for the edges.  For other builds, I have used acrylic paint matched to the color of the kit.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great presentation!  I wish I had access to it when I first started paper modeling.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
  • Create New...