Building The Armed Virginia Sloop Paper Model – Part 3

Construction of the 1/100 scale Armed Virginia Sloop paper model from the Polish model publisher Seahorse has been moving along surprisingly quickly. It’s been rather hard to stop and document the build, as things have been progressing so well. But, I finally reached a point where I feel comfortable taking a small progress break.

My last post was only few days ago, at which time, I was working on the final layer of the hull planking. Below, you can see the second planking layer in place, for which I used the laser-cut accessory set, but the keel and the lower hull are actually covered by the third and final layer of planks.

The last of the lower hull planks were cut from the basic paper kit’s printed sheets and glued into place. With about the last four planks on each side, I was able get them lined up with the laser-etched guides that are marked on the second plank layer.  This resulted in a little planking overlap in some places, but the planks are so thin that it’s hardly noticeable.

The upper hull planking is marked out on two color printed pieces that are then cut out and glued into place. Like the inner bulwarks pieces, these are marked for the gun ports, scuppers, and sweep ports, so it took some careful cutting here. But, the gun ports and scuppers make the process of properly aligning these parts pretty easy.

In some spots, there’s a little bit of a gap between these parts and the lower hull planking. But, the kit is well designed, and any gaps here will be covered by the black planks of the wales.

The next step was to add the black-painted wales, cap rails, fashion pieces, and other moldings to the model, and once I started that, it was hard to stop. I really wanted to see the model with all these in place, so I don’t have any intermediary pictures here.

Also, I don’t know if you can really see them in these photos, but there is a thick waterway piece along the line of the scuppers, as well as a red covering board along the edge of the deck now.

Up to this point, things were pretty straight forward. But then I ran into a bit of a snag. The main cap rail is supposed to run continuously from bow to stern, so a piece of black molding is supposed to be cut and glued into place aft of the cap rail. Just as importantly, there’s a very narrow strip of color that runs underneath the length of that cap rail, as well as the cap rail at the quarter deck.

Printed paper is provided for both the black molding and this color strip, but those parts are long strips, less than 1mm wide. I have NO IDEA how one cuts a long strip of paper so that it’s consistent thickness, and less than 1mm wide. I contemplated this for a while, and attempted to cut the parts with the aid of a straightedge, but only ended up with a terribly disfigured strip of paper.

Perhaps experience paper modelers have a technique for doing things like this. But, it was beyond my knowledge and experience. Fortunately, I happen to have a Silhouette Cameo 3 vinyl cutter, which I’ve used to do some rather intricate cuts in adhesive backed vinyl on past ship modeling projects. Some of those involve cutting very tiny strips of vinyl, so I thought I’d give it a try. Fortunately, I have some colored vinyl in a couple different shades of blue. Nothing quite matched the teal color of the printed paper parts I needed, but the light blue colored vinyl I had on hand looked like it might be good enough.

I’ve written about using the vinyl cutter before, so I won’t go into any detail here. I’ll just say that I drew up a couple very thin lines and the cutter worked like a charm. I was able to apply them with little fuss, and as you can see below, they turned out quite nicely.

Was it cheating to use the vinyl cutter for this? I don’t know. Do I care that it might be cheating? Not particularly. After all, I’m using laser-cut parts provided by the kit’s manufacturer. They even sell some resin figureheads and lanterns for some of their kits. So, I guess it doesn’t really matter that I used the vinyl cutter.

Those who don’t have a vinyl cutter and can’t find someone to cut these strips for them will just have to practice cutting long thin strips, but there’s only one set in the kit. It’s not the end of the world to not include the color strips. The plain hull looks quite good without them. But, it’s nice to be able to find a way to add this splash of color.

There’s one more piece I have to add yet, and that is the black strip that is the extension of the main cap rail. After that, I’m not sure what comes next. Possibly, it will be the adding of the rudder. I’m also considering adding a thin coat of paint to the lower hull, to reduce the contrast of the printed planking lines a bit. I may also do something similar to the inner bulwarks, to somewhat blend in the slightly darkened areas where CA glue soaked into the paper.

The model looks very nice to me and I’m really happy with the results so far. Of course, I could completely ruin the appearance if I’m not careful. That’s the danger of any model that actually looks good.

Onward!

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