Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I had to become creative in finding additional cannonballs for my USS Constitution (by Mamoli). The kit did not contain enough balls to fill the racks per the plan. The kit supplied balls were metal but varied in size from about 1.7 to 1.9ish mm. The only balls I could find were at Model Expo and they were 1/16th. These were too small and acrylic. Their other sizes were too large. Sounds like Goldie Locks!


I looked at getting bird shot pellets, but really did not want to order 10 pounds of it to get a dozen balls.


Instead, I ordered 2mm Diameter Chrome Steel Bearing Balls (G25 Ball Bearings VXB Brand) off of Amazon. I tried a number of different methods to blacken these. First I dropped them into a 100% solution of the blackening agent. This did not work, either due to the finish, or to a protective coating. Anyone want to sand very tiny cannonballs?


Next I used the micro torch to flash the balls (very briefly) to red hot. Once cooled I put these into the normal 50% blackening agent solution and it worked great.


So if anyone is looking for a cannonball solution, this is one.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used bird shoot for my cannon balls on PHILADELPHIA.  A guy in our model guild gave them to me.  It solves a short term problem, but I think I will have to replace them eventually.  Lead has a tenancy to deteriorate over time and your lead fixtures end up as piles of dust at the bottom of your case.  I think I will check out Amazon.


Bill, did you try soaking them in a pickling agent such as vinegar or some stronger (if available)?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Chuck,
Sorry, I didn't realize what you used the Pickling for. Normally, for brass wire, I sand it with steel wool or very fine sand paper. For my cannons, I first soaked them in acetone, then used a buffer on them. So I should try your solution next time. I found the Novacan on Amazon. However, if there is a stain glass studio near you can find it there. It is commonly used to blacken the copper and solder to black on the windows.

I am not sure if the ball bearings had a coating or it was just the chemistry of the balls. I am guessing that heating them to red hot oxidizes them slightly and make them work with the blackening solution. I used CA to glue the balls to the rack. I did notice that there is some shininess that I plan on coating with the same dull clear oat that I used on the hull. I tank I can touch up them with a brush.


Since it appears that a couple of the postings were lost during the transition last night, here they are again. One shows the before and after of the ball bearing when blackening it. The other shows two of the deck racks. One has the old cannonballs (except for 1) the other has all new balls. I will touch these all up with the matt clear coat once I am done putting all the deck cannon in place.



Edited by robnbill
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks and yes, according to what I read on the web you can get gunshot without lead and in the correct sizes. Unfortunately, when I contacted the gun ranges and shops in the area, I was unable to locate anything that would be small enough to work. BB's are around 4.5 mm so were over twice the sizer I needed. 


The pellets could have been ordered but the minimum order I could find was 5 to 10 pounds. WAY more than I would ever need. So the ball bearing route was the best choice for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the States,  all shotgun pellets are now steel and have been for quite a few years due to environmental and wildlife concerns.  What Shihawk said is probably the best way.   You might even go the local gun club and explain what you want and size.  I'm sure someone will help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

One of the best suppliers for steel balls regarding price and quantity is this shop in Germany:




You get virtually every size that you need :-)




Here you see 1000 pieces of round shot in 1mm, 1,2mm, 1,5mm und 2mm


Cheers, Daniel

Edited by dafi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Another idea for replacement cannon balls could be lead `split shot' used for weighing down floats in some forms of fishing (I am a keen angler) They come in `dial packs' of various sizes - based on the size of shotgun shot (I think) I know that they are `split' but could be gently squeezed back together then  filed or sanded smooth. Shotgun shot are NOT easy to obtain in some countries anymore  e.g. - Australia!! These are cheap and far easier to obtain. Just a thought :)


The link below shows an example of a dial pack of split shot - it's from an Aussie website but I'm sure they would be available all over - in one form or another.




Link to comment
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.
  • Create New...