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Resin ship construction advice, please

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So, as a surprise and celebration of my Githyanki character finding a proto-spelljammer to work on in our D&D game, my husband gave me the slightly early birthday present* of this resin ship model:




I've not worked with resin before, and I haven't done much model building either. The instructions are surprisingly minimalist for a German product (Complete text: "We recommend water-soluble colors and glutens. You find colored examples under www.Gelaendestuecke.de")


Can I ask people who have experience with ship models, resin terrain, etc., what they would do? Please forgive my ignorance and inexperience.


Here are my thoughts:


The stern end, quarterdeck, whatever, has a few dings, chips and bubbles, so I guess I shall be getting some green stuff to fill in bits.


There is a hole in the deck piece (a flat piece separate from the hull) for the mast, but it is not as large as the dowels supplied. I plan to drill it out a bit, maybe extend it all the way through the deck (which is about 3/16" thick).


I am thinking that not gluing the mast in but making it removable will make for easier storage and less risk of breakage. But in that case I may wish to drill the hole a little into the hull itself for added stability. Or is this foolish and should I just glue the whole thing solidly together?


Rigging and sails are not included and it's not entirely clear how they are put together. Can anyone point me to a reasonable pattern? I have linen cloth suitable for the sails and linen bookbinding thread that should do well for miniature rope.


Despite what they say, I think I would like to use epoxy to hold this model together. Should I pin it in any way?


This looks like it will be fun, but I would like to do it right. Any advice from the seasoned and experienced would be deeply appreciated.





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I'd be sure the hole in the deck is meant to take in the mast and not a recessed cylinder on the mast that just didn't survive casting. Does that make sense? It may be that the mast was meant to sit on the deck and hole is for a bit that isn't there for one reason or another.


Next, resin dust/debris is bad for you. Not if, but when you sand parts, wear a mask and wet sand where possible.


Filling holes can be done with a variety of products, squardron green putty, tamiya white putty, bondo, the list goes on. For tiny 'pin' holes you'll need to 'waller' them out so they are a small crater. One method to fill them is to put super glue in the hole then sprink talcum powder on it. Tap it down with the back end of an exacto knife and it dries pretty quick. Then sand it flush.


I like JB Quik two part epoxy. The 'quik' version sets in about five minutes and is sandable when set. I'd pin anything you want to stay in place. I'd also pin the mast if you decide to keep it removable.


Oh, and wash it well. Resin is notorious for poor paint adhesion because it retains mold release so well. Soapy water, or if you feel festive, Simple Green works well to clean it.


I've done some resin stuff but I'm not a pro. These are just things I've picked up.

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The mast pieces are simply lengths of wooden dowel. It looks in the picture like the slightly thicker dowel goes in the hole in the deck and the others are somehow cut and lashed together. The operative word is somehow. I've never made a mast or rigged a ship. The closest I ever did was making God's Eyes in Girl Scouts.


I didn't notice little pin holes, which is not to say they aren't there. There is at least one sizeable bubble missing at the very back and a chunk out of the side wall, both on the back end piece, which will require something a little more structured than a simple hole filler.


Thanks for the heads-up about resin dust. I have heard about that, and I have safety equipment from dealing with lead paint and volatile solvents, including a NIOSH approved ventilator mask and some pretty serious gloves and coverup. If I have to sand, I will try to do it wet. My studio is separate from our living quarters with its own water supply and drain, which is a big help.

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You can treat resin just like metal or plastic for a lot of things, like cleaning or using Greenstuff, but as Inner Geek says the dust isn't healthy for you. It's very, very, very fine and stays in the air for quite some time so I either clean a piece in water (like a giant mixing bowel) or I wear my mask for 10-15 minutes after I'm done with it.

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1) I have this book and quite like it. (Note that there's a cheaper Kindle edition if that helps.) It's about building ship models, though, not resin ship models.


2) Rigging for a sailing ship is quite complex (lines to hold the masts up, lines to raise and lower the spars, lines to turn the spars and sails, lines to climb on, etc.) You can spend more time than any sane-ish person would want to rigging a ship. There are guides around; see them if you want to know.


3) If you're planning to unstep the masts for storage, you probably shouldn't rig the ship. Disconnecting the lines and reconnecting them would be a horror story.


4) On a real ship, the mast commonly goes through the deck down to the keel. I can't see why it would be a problem to do the same thing with the model and it would make things more secure.

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Rigging. Oy, rigging.


That's the reason why I've never quite found the nerve to do the 1/96 scale USS Constitution plastic kit. Even though it would look super excellent in a display case.


I'm just not a big fan of strings. I'm a no strings attached kind of builder, not ready to settle down for a long term commitment to just one ship no matter how pretty and famous she is. It's a big world out there, and there's plenty of craft in the sea. Like some of those thin and sexy hot-moving little Japanese destroyers. Ooh, aah, now that's what I'm talkin about. Show me those sexy funnels baby, and shake that rudder! I see you there with that dangerously low-cut freeboard, practically showin off all your bollards. Mmm-hmm. Wearin all that fine-lookin form fittin deck linoleum, all classy and stuff, dayum. I bet you got the turning circle of a torpedo boat!





I may need to get out more.

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One of my other web hang outs is a placed called terragenesis.co.uk (it is a site devoted to building terrain). Strangely enough, every now and then somebody will do a project where they scratch build model ships. The theory is if figures can move around on its decks.. ..it's terrain. I have picked up a tip or two from some of those projects.

...There is a hole in the deck piece (a flat piece separate from the hull) for the mast, but it is not as large as the dowels supplied. I plan to drill it out a bit, maybe extend it all the way through the deck (which is about 3/16" thick).

I am thinking that not gluing the mast in but making it removable will make for easier storage and less risk of breakage. But in that case I may wish to drill the hole a little into the hull itself for added stability. Or is this foolish and should I just glue the whole thing solidly together?

One of the best tricks I saw was using spent cartridge casings with the masts. The cartridge casing was glued to the deck permanently and the mast dropped into it. Mast was secure for gaming but removable.

If you already drilled the hole down to the keel you can still achieve the same thing. Fit a brass tube in the hole, permanently fix the brass tube into the model, and then sleeve the mast into the tube.


Here are a few threads from TG that might have some inspiration or useful techniques:




These are some finished project summaries of scratch builds:





You also wondered about sails. This tip is actually from an old EE publication: The General's Compendium. Plastic salvaged from empty gallon bottles is a pretty good basis for a sail. If you want a sail that looks like it is filled with wind. They sliced a piece of plastic out of a biggish bottle. The plastic had a slight curvature to it. They laminated cloth to both sides of the plastic with the end result being a cloth sail that appeared to be catching some wind. They painted designs on both sides after the glue dried.


Furled might be a simpler option. Or, If you just hang the sails from the spar the model will look becalmed.


If you want a really slick gaming model you could make all three types. Permanently attach the sails to the spars but make the spars so that they can be detached from the mast and swapped out.


Looking at the build thread the hull kinda says "medieval or renaissance cog" but the sail pattern in the photos says "single-masted revenue cutter". (First image: Cutter | Second image: Cog)






Choosing the medieval option would enormously simplify the rig. One mast; one spar (cross piece) and call it done. Crow's nest optional and your model is small enough that it would be unlikely to have one.


Are the dowels that came with the kit tapered or are they cylindrical? (Real masts and spars taper subtly.)


Interestingly, the reference photo from the Gelaendestuecke web page is a cog (kogge in deutsch).



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