Building the Hull: Detailed Construction Steps      

I have drawn up some hull construction diagrams (like the one below).  These show what changes between each construction step.  Each diagram shows a mid-buttock-line cross section of the aft third of the ship.  

Sanding operations are diagramed showing what happens right at the stern.  Remember that the sanding operation actually affects the entire hull, all the way around. 

Here is a diagram of the finished hull: 

Here are the construction steps: 

v     Laminate and cut out the pieces for the lower hull section (M or L)

The lower hull section (M or L) is solid paper, made from laminating multiple layers of paper together and sanding to make smooth. 

(If you want a waterline model, you can skip the building of the lower section.)  

·         Layers 0 through 12 are 1mm thick (ie, three sheets thick). 

·         Layers 13-16 are 1/3 mm (one sheet thick).

v     Push a needle thru each M/L registration mark

Each layer for the lower hull has two marks for registration.  Use a needle (which is much sharper and more accurate than a sewing pin) to punch a pinhole through each registration mark.

v     Glue the M/L layers together

While gluing the layers together, use two sewing pins to register (align) the 17 Layers. 

Don’t impale yourself on the pins

Make sure the pins are perpendicular to the layers.  If they become slanted, the hull will be slanted. 

It is a good idea to clamp the M/L assembly between two pieces of wood while it dries (to prevent warpage). 

v     Sand the laminated lower-hull assembly.

The laminated layers give the M/L assembly jagged contours.  So sand M/L until the “jags” are smoothed away.  120 grit sandpaper works well.

Hint: Powered sanding disks and cylinders are real nice at this point

v     Seal with thin cyanoacrylate glue

After the rough sanding is done, I like to coat the surface of the M/L assembly with thin cyanoacrylate glue.  This seals any weak laminations and hardens the hull. 

v     Build assembly T1 (Framework for Middle section of the hull)

v     Build assembly D1 (Framework for Upper section of the hull)

v     TEMPORARILY, glue M/L to T1 to D1

Use rubber cement.

Hint: Use as little rubber cement as possible.  Just a couple of dabs down the centerline.  Use Rubber cement that is a little dried out. 

v     Finish-sand the three-part assembly

Finish-sand the three-part assembly so that:

§         The T1 and D1 decks/framing are properly beveled (to accept the hull skin pieces).

§         M/L, T1, and D1 mesh seamlessly as a single contour. 

§         The M/L piece is nice and smooth.

v     Separate M/L from T1 and D1

Hint: To separate the rubber-cemented hull sections:  Slip a 2 foot long length of thread between the sections and pull the thread through the length of the ship.  The thread will cut through the rubber cement.

v     Sand T1 1/3mm more

Sand the bottom edges of T1 a little bit more (1/3 mm), so that when the hull sides (T2) are added, it will match seamlessly with M or L (which will not have hull-sides added).

v     Paint M/L a rust-red color

I use Model Master’s British Crimson.

v     Glue D2/D3 to D1 

Glue the Upper-Hull Sides (D2/D3) to the Upper-Hull Framework (D1).  NOTE: D2/D3 is meant to extend beyond the bottom edge of D1.   

Important!    The D assembly is curved.  As you glue Upper-Hull Sides (D2/D3) to the Upper-Hull Framework (D1), you must maintain the proper curvature

Hint: Use T1 as a jig for getting the right curvature


NOTE:  The bottom of the D2/D3 "cutouts" should be right at deck-level (so that storm water can run back into the sea) 

v     Separate T1 from the D-assembly

v     Trim and sand D2/D3's bottom excess

Carefully trim D2/D3's bottom excess.  Just get it close.  Then, sand the remaining excess until it is flush with D1. 

Sanding works great here.  You can really get it perfect and it is easy. 


v     Glue T2 to T1 

Glue the middle hull sides (T2) to the middle hull framework (T1).  NOTE: T2 is meant to extend beyond the edges of T1 (top and bottom). 

v     Trim and sand T2's top and bottom excess

Carefully trimT2's top and bottom excess.  Just get it close.  Then sand the remaining excess until it is flush with T1. 

v     Paint the white edges where the seams will occur. 

Carefully paint the edges of the hull plating (especially where they will form seams) with water colors (or whatever else you normally use) so that no white can possibly show in the seams. 

v     Re-Glue (this time permanently) M/L to T1 to D1.

The hull is completed!