HOW TO TIPS AND TRICKS
our attempt to teach the modeler a few tips and tricks to add
to their present degree of modeling skills for use both on the
Titanic or other models in general. These can be applied to
modifying existing material or scratchbuilding from parts and
other `household' items not normally associated with model making.
There are some sections of the tutorial in the tutorial where you may like to create your own decals. eg. the flag section. Here is how you can do this...
Buy a sheet of decal paper, suitable for your printer, either injet, colour laser or Alps printer. You can purchase decal paper from most good hobby shops or online from Bel Decal.com. There are generally three colours.
- Clear - for printers that can print solid white. eg the Alps 5000
- White - for printers that cannot produce solid white
- Blue - for printers like the Alps 5000 that can produce solid white it makes the decals easier to see.
Create your artwork.
This can be done using your word processing softwared or any number of graphics and CAD programs. eg. Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand, Deneba Canvas, or CorelDRAW. There are also a number of smaller drawing programs that are part of a windows or mac operating system.
Print your decals.
As mentioned you can use one of three types of printers, or take your artwork and a decal sheet to a local copy centre and have them copy it for you.
Apply your decals.
A few tips for working with decals:
- Always use a sharp hobby knife
- Ttrim these as close to the image as possible
- Apply setting solution BEFORE and AFTER the decals have been placed
- To place extremely small decals use the toothpick method listed above.
"The modeler will achieve the best results by first removing the model's original window mullions and then replace them with the decals." He states that the decals are of a high quality so acetate backing is -not- required (although still optional). It is recommended that the you fill in the larger windows with white glue or KK like product, this gives the decal a bit more backing and once applied no decal setting agent should be necessary.
The smaller windows should be fine with just the decal placed over the opening."
"The plastic Decks need to be pre-coated with a wood centre of the modeler's choice. If too dark of a centre is used the decals will not be seen. I feel that a lighter centre is more appropriate for realism as yellow pine is a light tan centre. For the prototype I used Pollyscale "TH&B cream" as a base coat then Testors' Model Masters "WOOD". I dry brushed the "WOOD" over the TH&B cream with a wide artists brush always going parallel with the direction of the planking. I then dry brushed "TH&B cream" over the "WOOD". This gives the effect of wood with grain.
The modeler has to follow all of the usual water slide decal application rules on this project because the decals are so big. I applied a clear coat over the wood centreed painted plastic. I then brushed Microscales "Micro Set" over the area where the decal would be placed. I applied the decal after cutting it on a cutting board to square it off and get it ready to be "butted" up with the next decal strip. After tapping it down with a Q-tip and applying a whole side, I applied Microscale "Micro Set" to the decals to ensure proper setting.
The modeler should apply the "Micro Sol" after the whole decal job is done for that one piece. Extra care should be taken in this step because air bubbles can easily occur with decals this big. I applied a flat clear coat over the dry decals when I was done."
- Note: Q-tip is a name brand for a cotton swab.
To use the decals the Deck planking and markings will have to be sanded off. There is an article on Deck Scribing at Titanic Reasearch and Modeling Association that can be used as a reference for Deck modifications to be made before application of the decals.
the course of this Tutorial is numerous references to `pulled
sprue'. What do we mean by that? Simple. As you well know, model
parts come on `racks' or `trees' in their unassembled state.
These trees are made of the same material as the parts therefore
lend themselves well for scratchbuilding projects.
sprue allows the modeler to create various diameter rods from
pencil thick down to spider web thickness, based on the amount
heated and the speed of the ends being pulled apart.
sprue requires at least two things, a heat source, and a length
of plastic tree (or other source plastic material).
a stubby broad based candle for the heat source. The candle
is placed inside a discarded Testors spray paint can lid more
maximum stability from tipping over.
the candle is lit and you have the section of sprue you wish
to modify there are several techniques for determining the thickness
of the finished product:
holding the sprue length on both ends with your fingers, place
it 10mm to 20mm above the flame in the heat plume. Do not place
it IN the flame! Now we roll it around in our finger tips like
a rotisserie so all sides are heated equally. Now for.....
Heat a narrow band of the sprue tree, say 5mm in length.
By holding the sprue above the heat you will feel the plastic
get soft and start to bend being unable to support its own weight.
When it becomes soft pull the two ends in your fingers away
from each other at a steady pace. If you go too fast, it breaks.
Practice on several scraps. Just pull quick enough to achieve
the diameter you are after and allow to cool.
To achieve thicker diameters for pipes, posts, etc., heat up
a section of sprue to a greater distance, say around 10-25mm
in length of a thicker plastic stock tree initially. The longer
zone being heated (10-25mm) allows the modeler to pull the opposing
ends away at a slower rate, controlling the thickness of the
sprue and keeping it from becoming too thin, too fast. Again
practice on scraps.
Small heated sections will produce ultra-thin threadlike sprue.
Longer heated sections will produce thicker sprue.
diameter of plastic stock sprue tree and speed of the `pull'
can effect the outcome.
to master this technique will allow you to construct poles,
pipes, conduits, rigging, rails and just about anything you
also pulled sprue to thicker diameters and then sanded them
down to square or rectangular shapes for ducts, motors, pulleys,
2. Sanding Block
highly recommended that you make a sanding block.
a small scrap of wood about 4"x4"x 1/2" and glue a piece of
sandpaper to it with white glue or carpenters glue and allow
tool then allows you to powersand parts by holding the block
and then scraping the parts along it, rather than holding the
part and moving the sandpaper. It gives the modeler great control.
3. Making the "glusquito".
Have you ever found
it difficult to glue small pieces together or small pieces in
and around other objects? Has retrofitting become more of a
chore because of the hard to reach angles? Well fear no more.
With the aid of the GluSquito all of these type of gluing projects
need not be difficult any longer. What is a GluSquito and where
can you buy one?
a GluSquito looks like its bug cousin and is an aid in gluing.
Where to buy one? You can't. You MAKE one instead!
make your own GluSquito you need four things:
stock from the "parts" tree.
- A heat
source like a candle .
- A common
the pliers and cut a 5cm section off the sprue tree.
Choose a 'T' piece with a short "arm" off
to one side approx. 3cm long. This will be the handle
to hold and control the GluSquito. Next grip the common
pin with the pliers in one hand and the sprue stock
in the other. Hold the end of the sprue tree over the
candle until the end becomes soft (almost to a melt
point). Push the pin into the soft plastic until it
cool. What you now have is a plastic stock with a pin
sticking out of the end. Once cooled you should be able
to bend the pin any way you need to be able to reach
in and around objects to apply glue or whatever. Being
metal the pin won't be bothered by the glue and you
can also use the point of the pin to "spear" a small
part for placing or dabbing glue or paint as needed.
We found 1001 uses
for the GluSquito, cleaning out holes, adding glue to railing
points, Kristal Klear to small windows, glitter dots to the
Grand Staircase's railing panels, etc. Having had to retrofit
parts on our models (as we were finding details AFTER certain
parts had already been constructed) made the placing of mats,
doors, and pipes in recessed areas all the easier. It only
takes a few minutes to construct one but believe us when we
say it is a worthwhile project to undertake.
model rigging thread is subject to humidity changes, fraying,
and otherwise undesirable effects, so we replaced it throughout
with monofilament fishing line (Trilene 4lb. test and 10lb.
Test). You will need to paint these lines to a color of your
choice. For us, the bulk was done in dark gray with others in
black, or brown.
5. Rigging Line Tightening
the model was complete we tightened up the monofilament lines
by applying quick passes with a hand held hair dryer device.
The hair dryer was held high enough to not melt plastic parts
(and yes this can happen as we experimented on scraps to see
how hot it can get!). Then make passes similar as to what you
use in spray painting.
from making a mess while gluing model parts together we ALWAYS
use the least amount of glue we can get away with. Small parts
had glue dabbed on with the end of scrap pulled sprue, or toothpicks.
For hard to reach areas we created and used the GluSquito. To
see how to manufacture one, check out the MISCELLANEOUS segment.
case of the brass photoetched parts, all parts were dipped into
a small pool of CA type glue and then joined together until
set a few seconds later.
using a -gluing block- of indispensable aid. These gluing blocks
were fashioned from fishing box tray dividers, or from discarded
sections of our model's B deck. They were about 50mm x 50mm
square. One for CA glue, the other for regular model glue.
7. Absorbing Excess Glue or Paint
were we might apply too much paint or glue we always kept a
highly absorbent paper towel handy with the corners in tight
twists so they could be applied to the problem as quickly as
possible. If you slop regular model glue, it is best to let
it dry, then sand or file it off. Trying to rub it off causes
the plastic surface to mark.
have ruined the finish, allow to dry, and sand, putty, and sand
to a desired surface texture then repaint as needed.
glue, do not overdo it. If you are puttying in a large area
or deep section, do it in stages rather than all at once. The
putty will bond better. Apply only what you need. Allow to dry
thoroughly before sanding and/or shaping.
9. Steel Wool
provides for a great back up after you have sanded. Once we
use the sandpaper we always follow up with steel wool to remove
as many scratches as possible. This worked great after we had
removed the ugly hull mold seam markings.
10. Spray Painting
in a well ventilated area. Protect from over spray. We found
holding the can 100mm away helps, using short bursts and quick
but uniform passes the best. Mask areas where sharp lines between
pigment changes are desired with masking tape.
11. Brush Painting
brush frequently during use, apply small amounts, paint with
tip of brush only and use a variety of brushes for different
projects. We used wide brushes for the funnels, narrow brushes
for detailing, and trimmed one brush down to 3-5 bristles for
ultra-fine painting. Purchase decent brushes. You do not want
the bristles shedding as you paint! We dislike model brush paint
in silver and gold so we spray pools of those colors with the
spray version into their can lids and then dip our brush into
that. Much brighter and uniform finish (in our opinion).
12. Mixing Paint
be scared to mix colors to achieve a tone or pigment you need
but if you do this make sure you make enough the first time
out to include the main project AND touchups. Try and write
the formula down if you need to make a second batch. Guessing
always leads to a mismatch in pigment.
13. Dry Brushing
all paint will need to go on opaque. We dry brushed the following
for example, rust on the hull seams, fairleads, doors, etc.,
and multi-toning the deck's wood planking. What is dry brushing?
name describes it accurately. What the modeler is doing is applying
pigment in a thin semidry method as opposed to the usual wet
and more solid application style.
we achieve it is by dipping the brush in the color we are using
and then dragging it across a paper towel to lift off the majority
of pigment. Rather than a solid streak of color, the brush will
start to just leave traces of pigment. You are now ready to
the paint now in this semidry condition we just touch the model
in the areas we wish to apply this technique to and deposit
translucent hints of the pigment color so the base color underneath
still shows through. For rust along seams we have also just
dabbed the tip of the dry brush color into a thinner and when
applied to the hull for example, the very thin color bleeds
into the cracks and crevasses carried along by the thinner.
The end effect is very realistic. As with other techniques mentioned
ALWAYS practice on scraps first until you feel confident enough
to try it on the actual model.
14. Using the Hobby Knife as a Third Hand
were times when gluing minute parts on the model was very difficult,
with parts being too small to hold with our fingers, small pliers
or tweezers. One method we found that worked was applying the
glue to the area we were working on, then with the extreme tip
of the hobby knife, `spearing' the tiny object to be placed.
Spearing means pressing the cutting edge of the tip into the
object with just enough pressure for it to pick it up. We then
carried the object to the glued surface and then applied it.
The glue's grabbing and bonding properties would be greater
than the holding power of the hobby knife's tip and would always
pull it free from the knife. The cut mark is so fine as to not
be seen in any instance and this allows you to also spin the
knife around and position it perfectly before applying it to
where the hobby knife would not fit, we used a toothpick with
a tiny bit of spittle on the end to hold the micropart and again
the glue would extract it off once lined up and pressed against
the glued surface. This makes the application of extremely small
parts now feasible and always results in a more pleasing and
15. Working with Decals
trim these as close as possible and apply setting solution BEFORE
and AFTER the decals have been placed. For extremely small decals
we found the toothpick/spittle method listed in item 13 above
16. Protecting the Painted Hull
we had prepared the hull with the new port holes, hawse holes,
and other items, we painted it the 4 primary colors it had.
However the hull still required handling after the superstructure
was added. To protect the finish from chips, scratches, fingerprints
or other damage we wrapped it up with a combination of masking
tape and white papers up to the yellow line. It is cheap insurance
and allows you to handle the hull as much as you like without
ruining the finish. We caution you depending on the climate
that you live in that masking tape may not be the best suited
for your area if the tape is to be left on for any length of
time. Use a tape suited for your climatic conditions as long
as it will not peel the paint off beneath it when removed.
have modified or scratchbuilt parts it is always best to dryfit
them on first. What is dry fitting? The placement of parts in
their final positions on the model without glue. It is a temporary
measure to see if you have achieved the results that you desire
before permanently attaching them via glue.
we recommend that you dry fit EVERYTHING first, for most models
`out-of-the-box' require some type of adjustment. Especially
with the deck levels, superstructure weather covers, funnels,
bridge bulkhead, you name it. It will pay off in the end if
you do this.
18. Building Procedure Logic
it is recommended to usually follow the instruction manual's
steps, we did find times when we abandoned its order. For instance,
we did not put ANY rigging on until after all decks were assembled.
We found dipping the monofilament line into the CA glue and
placing them in the holes later allowed a more accessible method
for deck work than trying to work around the threads or line
laying all about. The rigging and flags was the LAST THING we
working on the deck, or retrofitting as new details come to
light (and believe us this happened almost DAILY) we found it
always best to work from the inside out towards the edges. The
less you need to reach over and around things the better. How
many have lost the tips of the masts for example!
on things as a unit and then assemble the units later IF possible.
This is not always feasible, but when it is it is highly recommended
to do it that way. There is nothing worse than breaking two
things off for every one new thing added. We have been there
and done that so we know, being the result of new detail retrofits.
19. Gluing the Decks Together
Following on from item 18. Our
decks were shaped more like bananas when they came out of the
box. Getting them to lay flat during the gluing phase looked
to be a challenge until we pulled out the weights and "C" clamps.
This is the way we did it...
we had glued our segmented B deck (see HULL
for details) it was time to make the superstructure.
front edge of both decks to ensure that they fit nicely
into the grooves on J39.
bridge bulkhead (part J39) to the BOAT DECK NOT A-deck
as the manual recommends. This makes alignment to A-deck
much easier with virtually no gaps showing in the corner
A and B deck assemblies to the decks clamping them down
with 'C' clamps to ensure a tight fit. Glue parts J13
A & B to the bottom of the A deck piece NOT to B
deck as suggested.
When using the clamps make sure you place pieces of
scrap plastic or wooden shims under the jaws of the
clamps to prevent deck damage.
Glue A deck
and the Boat deck together and clamp.
glue has set and the clamps removed attach the side
weather/promenade bulkheads on port and starboard, Wrap
about 5 elastic bands around the assembly equidistant
along the section. Then place larger "C" clamps over
the deck assembly so the jaws pressed against the opposing
weather covers, again placing shims (wood or plastic)
between the jaw and model to protect the finish. These
were just snug up so the weather covers sat completely
flush along the superstructure assembly.
it's time to glue the superstructure to the hull. Having
removed the gluing tabs from the hull (see HULL segment) means that your superstructure is free to move
about for making micro-adjustments. Once lined up place
beads of glue on the underside of A-deck's overhang
. Again use elastic bands and large "C" clamps between
funnels 3 & 4 and on the bridge roof with the other
jaw on the ship's bottom keel (again with shims).
that there are no gaps showing at the bases of the A
or B deck forwards.
Sit a small
5 pound weight on the lounge roof (the #3 funnel deckhouse
had NOT been installed yet). The result when dry is
a perfectly joined series of decks with no unsightly
gaps or seams showing. We left each stage of deck gluing
in the clamps for 24 hours before proceeding to the
next one and the decks have held together perfectly
beads underneath the A-deck were later masked effectively
using the long pipes that ran under the superstructure.
If you plan ahead of time you can bypass the manual's
order of instruction and improvise when addressing
areas that present any problems.
If you use this
approach ensure that you only have the forward deckhouses
(i.e. bridge/officer's quarters, gym,etc.) installed prior
to gluing. Keep the remainder free except the raised roof
area. Snug the clamps but don't tighten them too much or you
can break parts or plastic.
Working with Acetate
model glue, white glue and adhesive tape to hold this material
in place. Do NOT use CA glue unless you are after a `frosted'
20. Part Substitution
purchase of the brass photoetched parts from Gold Medal Model's
and Tom's Modelworks allows the modeler to use the Academy/Minicraft
parts for other projects. For example, we used the A/M railings
to make skylights, rails, window frames, etc., while the supplied
thread rigging was replaced by fishing line, making the thread
available for the manufacture of deck ropes about the Titanic's
forecastle and poop deck. The model's Tank room covers were
used for trellises, skylights, etc. Most of what was replaced
by external support products were reused in other projects to
keep price costs down and waste material to an absolute minimum.
21. Sheet Plastic
was of a great benefit for deck replacement, bulkhead/bulwark
manufacture, hatch work, etc. A MUST have in our opinion.
for the Evergreen plastic strips used for signage backing, kickstrips
about the decks, etc.
22. Trimming Parts
use the hobby knife. If the parts are very fine, such as the
liferings, we first cut the holding tabs with the part off of
the sprue tree, then separated the tabs from the part afterward.
keeps the main part from cracking or breaking. It is worth the
23. Using the Computer
used his computer to aid in the design of the floor tile pattern
and then reduced it to the appropriate scale and made a hardcopy
print. This was then trimmed and fit to the decks in the interior
sections that required them. He also used it to make the Crown
and Glory wall ornament seen on the forward end of the Boat
Deck's and A-deck's Grand Staircase wall.
have used it for decal designing.
24. Keeping the White Areas Clean
not to handle the painted white areas of the ship too much with
your hands. The oils from your skin can help turn it yellow.
If you do find the odd fingerprint on it or dirt mark we found
using a gum eraser like that at the end of a pencil works great
for removing the mark on a least flat white. Do not rub too
25. Making Soot
soot for the funnel tops we mixed baby powder with flat black
paint and then applied it to the funnel tops. You can seal it
with dullcoat to keep it from rubbing off if you wish.
models have a tendency to make the flags look like they've
been starched. Even though the decals are fragile there
is an easy solution to make flags look more lifelike.
out a small section of tinfoil (the food covering kind
flag decals require you to fold the two halves together
around a pole or cable. Instead, once the decal is ready
to come off the backing, place one side of the decal
on the tinfoil so its folding line runs along the straight
edge of the tinfoil sheet. Now fold the other half of
the decal around to the opposite of the tinfoil making
sure it lines up correctly and is not offset. When the
decal dries carefully cut out the flag(s), making sure
to not leave any tinfoil flashing around the edges.
CA glue to mount the flag to a cable. When the glue
has set you can give the impression of movement by using
the tip of a paint brush handle, small straw or any
cylindrical object to create small furls in the flags.
will need to dab a bit of touch up paint the same color
as the flag along the edge between the two decals as tinfoil
will show like a knife edge, even with careful trimming.
tin foil allows the animation of flags while preventing
the decals from cracking and gives the model a more
Odds 'n Ends
around the house for materials to use. For example.....
Colored Beads became our running lights.
Light bulb filaments became our A-deck aft springs.
Common pins became our flagstaff, steam valves, crane pulleys.
Fishing line became our rigging, hull knuckles and hand
became our capstan covers.
Watch gears became our windlass tops.
became our crane boom securing brackets
Finishing nail became part of the bow's anchor crane.
Ball-point pen ink cartridge became or #4 funnel internal
Plastic food wrap became our canvas covers.