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Ship Modelers,


I am considering a plate on solid hull scratch build of the steam salvage tug "Foundation Franklin" 1918. Has anyone had experience in using Bristol board to simulate lapped riveted iron/steel hull plating?


I have seen Bristol board used for plating on deckhouse structure and it was very effective. The material used was textured Bristol board ~.012" in thickness. I have used Bristol board on other models and it takes paint well.


"Foundation Franklin" was a steam salvage tug working the North Atlantic out of Maritime Canada in the 1930's and 1940's. She became well known to lovers of the battle between men and the sea through Farley Mowat's book "Grey Seas Under". If you have not read the book, it's a great read about tugs and their men.


Pete Jaquith



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On my model HMS Warrior in scale 1:100 i simulate iron plates with masking tape.




My models:

From kits

Vasa, HMS Victory, Le Solei Royale, Friesland

From scratch

HMS Warrior 1860

 Esplanade, Grosse Yacht

Norman’s ship, HMS Speedy, La Royale

Peter von Danzig

Polacca XVII cent.

Current project:

SS Savannah 1818

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I am currently in the early planning stages for the steam salvage tug "Foundation Franklin" 1918.  Along with an interesting history and early 1900 design features, I thought it would be interesting to layout and install the lapped hull and deck plating.  Brass or styrene are possibilities, but I am currently tinking of trying thin Bristol board.  Current plans includes:


>>> Lapped hull and deck plating

>>> No rivets on the hull and deck plating as flush rivets were used here

>>> Joggled plates with button head rivets for deckhouse bulkhead plating


When I am back in the shop, I will try a few test pieces.  I definitely have more planning and design work before starting this one.


Pete Jaquith


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Bristol board comes in various weights or plies and is an excellent material if handled appropriately. 

Generally it will bend better in one direction that the other at right angles. It cuts nicely with a sharp blade. It is probably better to surface glue using non-aqueous adhesives, as moisture will cause buckling. If you spray the finished model with grey automotive primer to seal it, you can then use acrylic or other water based paints on it with no risk of the card buckling.

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While Bristol board in principle is a nice material, I don't think that you would find thin enough sheets. My peference would be copper foil, which also allows you to impress rivets where needed and you can joggle plates. I have done this on a 1:60 scale tug model.



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If the real thing is of metal I use metal of some type to match the scale thickness as close as possible. I work with brass on scale RR models for customers. Could use aluminum or about any kin of metal if your going to paint it. You could epoxy on the plates. You can even emboss rivet detail if you need it.

Why do you want texture at scale? Are you weathering the model to look old?


Von Stetina

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  • 4 months later...

I've not seen that method.  There was a builder on MSW 1.0 and I think did a bit here on 2.0 who was building a destroyer or cruiser using printing plates, which are thin metal.  I'm not finding it... so I'm not sure he did carry it over.

Thanks for the idea. Serendipitously I have a 4' 8 1/2" Hog Islander 1:48 scale hull to plate AND some old (I think Offset) printing plates a mate gave me. Did you ever find the info?


Cheers from the Heart of the Continent


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Hi Pete

while these pictures are not of nautical subjects they clearly demonstrate that you can use paper and card to simulate rivet detail these models are to 1/24th scale.

All the rivet details were done with this simple press with different punches for different rivet sizes. the punch is silver steel and the dies are brass which are shaped by the punch




packaging card






watercolour paper and bristle board loco






file folder card




So yes i think that you can use the card over a wood hull, especially if you are going to paint it. If i were leaving it unfinished I would use metal.



Edited by michael mott
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