Building The Armed Virginia Sloop Paper Model – Part 2

About two weeks ago, I began work on this small paper model kit from the relatively new publisher, Seahorseand I have to say that the build has been going quite well. I was going to say extremely well, but I don’t want to jinx myself and this build. This is the first Seahorse kit I’ve ever tried, though I completed the HMS Alert paper model kit from Shipyard, as well as one of their small lighthouse kits, and, most recently, the laser-cut Hanse Kogge von Bremen kit.

Last time I posted, I had completed the second hull layer, and added pieces to build up the thickness of the bulwarks. This model has three hull layers, and on my build, the second layer is made up of laser-cut pieces that were part of an add-on package of laser-cut parts. The basic kit requires the paper parts be laminated to a 0.5mm thick piece of cardboard, then cut out. Clearly, the laser-cut parts set is a big time saver. But, I think it also will end up making for a better looking model in the end.

The next step was to add the inner face of the bulwarks. This is a thin piece of printed paper that has a lot of small openings that have to be cut out for the gun ports, sweep ports, as well as the scuppers. The gun ports and the scuppers were easy enough, but cutting the complicated shape of the sweep ports was a challenge.

After a couple attempts at this, I found that the best way was to cut the slot portion of the sweep port, then afterwards cut the round part in the middle of the ports. A tapered dowel helped to make that opening more round.

The results weren’t perfect, as you can see in the photo above, but the ports themselves, with a little touch up paint that I applied from behind, seem okay. I tried to stiffen the openings up a bit by the application of thin CA glue, again from behind. However, the glue soaked in VERY quickly, and you can see how it kind of stained or darkened the area around the sweep ports. I will probably try to carefully give the bulwarks a wash of thinned paint in an attempt to even out the color of the bulwarks, though giving the whole bulwarks piece a dab of thinned CA might also do the trick, if it doesn’t end up ruining it. But, at this stage, I don’t want to chance it.

One of the things about the inner bulwarks pieces is they didn’t quite fit at the aft end where they meet the rise in the deck and the stern cabin. For my model, it was necessary to use the gun ports to determine the exact alignment of the bulwarks piece, then carefully trim the aft edges, little by little, until I had a proper fit. There’s one more lower strip that will need to be added to the bulwarks on each side. This piece has to be pierced for the scupper holes. I’ll be adding these strips soon.

Final Planking Layer

First, I’m going to make some progress on the final layer of hull planking. This third layer of hull covering is made of printed paper planks included in the basic kit, with each strip representing two planks. The instructions call for scoring the printed plank line with a dull pin, but I’ve been using the back side of my scalpel blade, which seems to work fine.

In order to follow the lines correctly, I’ve been using a small steel straightedge as a guide. The lines are curved, so I just do small lengths of the lines at a time, adjusting the straightedge as I go. This seems to be working quite well.

As I’m working my way from the keel, about half way to the bulwarks, I’m starting to notice that the planks are coming up a little short. This appears to be due to my planking ending up a little wider that I suppose they should. I’m trying to the planks right on the printed lines, but this seems to make the wide. Or, perhaps my method of scribing the lines down the middle of the planks is crushing the paper fibers slightly, and pushing them sideways, making the planks just a tad wide.

Luckily, the laser-cut second layer has a faint etched line that shows where this last planking strips are supposed to line up. So, I’m now trying to keep to those lines, which causes some of my planking to overlap just a little. I’m also trying to trim the remaining planking strips better, so they’re not overly wide.

With the most recently applied planking strip, I resolved the short plank issue by also cutting the  planking strip into three parts. I then applied the bow and the stern parts first, and then applied the middle piece. That way, there was just a little gap between these three pieces, but it’s not so noticeably in the middle like that. I’m thinking that I might end up painting the completed hull anyway, and these gaps will be pretty well hidden.

By my next post, I should have the hull planking completed, inside and out. We’ll see if that’s actually the case. This has been a really fun and interesting build so far. Together with the other paper and laser-cut card model hulls I’m working on, it’s giving me a pretty good look at the differences in these kits.

At this rate, I’m thinking that this won’t be my last Seahorse paper model kit. But, I have plenty of time to think about what might be next. And who knows? It’s still early in the build. Perhaps something will happen to change my mind, but I can’t think how.

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