Saturday, December 18, 2010

Someone's rockin' my steamboat - 4

Work on the steamboat progressed steadily this week, but as I had other projects running concurrently I only had time to take one photo of the model as it took shape. The photo below shows the basic construction complete. The upper deck is in place, the paddle-box is finished. Mini-dowels make useful supports for decks and awnings, and strips of wood bought from Michael's hobby store give the right effect for the wooden-sided paddle-box.

More splints were used to build the pilot house. I diverged from the historical prototype here as I didn't want the pilot house to stand higher than the upper deck. The short length of tube on the pilot house roof is for interchangable flagpoles.

One thing this build has taught me - basswood is prone to warping when it gets wet, such as from any paint. The only recourse I found is to weigh it down with something until it gets over the nonsense.

The completed vessel is shown below. Her funnel is made from a mascara vial my wife was throwing out. I sanded the smooth plastic surface down to remove all the lettering and to prepare it to take paint, and used increasingly fine grades of paper before washing it. Once dry it took acrylic paint well. I fashioned a steam whistle from a length of wire and a bit of plastic tube, attaching it to the funnel with impact adhesive and adding the brass band for looks. It should have a cord leading from whistle to pilot house, but this is a gaming model, not a faithful replica.

The glazing in the pilot house is clear packaging material, and the detachable roof is of basswood. Just visible alongside the structure on the corner of the upper deck is a green starboard navigation lamp. A red port side lamp is fixed on the other side of the pilot house, and a clear spotlight attached to the roof just in front of the flag holder. The flag is that of the Force Publique, but can be swapped-out for one of any nationality.

The passengers gaze at the passing scenery as Captain Conrad guides his vessel.

The deck railings are made of thin string painted white and glued into place. A photo of the Roi des Belges shows a very thin strand of wire serving the purpose, 'elf & safety not being a particularly high priority back then.

Judging from photos taken of steamboats in this era the flat tops of the paddle-boxes were used as additional deck storage space. The deck cargo seen here is cast from the Hirst Arts dungeon accessories mold. This includes all kinds of useful crates, boxes, sacks and pots.

So there we have it, a late-Victorian paddlesteamer, suitable for navigating the waters of any of the world's great rivers.


Bluebear Jeff said...

Very nice, AJ. Much nicer than mine will be when I try to build one.

-- Jeff

ColCampbell50 said...

Great looking boat!


A J said...

Thanks, gentlemen! High praise indeed. =)


home page uniques