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SS Pearl by Peter Fulgoney
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pfpearl-01a.jpg

Small is beautiful SS Pearl from Battlefleet models.

Is a 700 scale resin ship, and as shown in the picture. I also ordered extra vents as spares BFM-7109 & 7110. Harry has come up with something really special with these.

Yes, I was very pleased to see kit released, and put in my order straight away with BattleFleet Models who are based in Aurora Colorado USA. It took less than a week to arrive, well packaged and nothing damaged.

I already had the book The Steam Colliers Fleet by MacRae and Waine and so the painting references were all there although the Pearl isnt mentioned in particular. Its easy to see that these were mainly the same in colour and appearance and so a steam ship with sails was definitely going to be my next project.

I have a good supply of spare parts, and in this build I have used the Gold Medal Models Merchant Ship photo etch fret., brass road, Gold Medal Models crew figures, and yes, Rizla blue cigarette paper.

My base is made in the usual way and there are many net references as to how this can be done. In short, I use an Ikea glass shelf from the Berty bookcase, and I cut artists water colour paper to fit. This paper has a slight ripple, and at 700 scale looks very much like the water effect I am trying to portray. The base I have used this time is half size for this smaller size ship but it does mean I can place two small ships side by side in the cabinet.

The hull is placed on the cut paper as desired, and I draw around it with a pencil. This outline is cut out so that the hull will sit in the void and so help with a more realistic look. I then glue the paper to the glass with pva, and hold it down flat until dry. I use another piece of glass for this with books on top. When dry, I spray paint the paper the desired water effect colour. To alleviate the one solid colour, I use diluted acrylic black paint as an overall wash. The highlights are brought out, and the finish is good until I come up with something else………

While the glue and paint were drying, I washed all the kit parts and photo etch in soapy water. This cleans it all up nicely to receive the paint finish, and gluing.

I usually paint first, and catch up with any missing bits later. Essentially I try to keep the process interesting for myself. I dont get into any long routines where the tendency is to rush to finish and end up with unsatisfactory work.

I have used brass rod for the masts, available from model shops but the thinner sections are rare to find. I source mine from White Ensign Models. If you live in the UK, you will soon find that this is the only outlet for your small scale modelling goods which includes all my pe frets.

 A word about glue, I use pva where I can, and not superglue which isnt all that super if you want to reposition parts such as railings. The pva is also very useful for glossing the seascape, and I have used it on this model as well for reinforcing the sails. Be careful about the amounts used, and use water to dilute it for smaller parts, and also the sails. Having said that, I used Johnsons floor finish for the sea glossing. Two or three coats should do.

The sails are, as I said, cut out of cigarette paper. I find this thin enough for the task, and they are stiffened with diluted pva dry them stretched so they dont crinkle. There is a picture on the instructions to use as a template which makes it easier to size up.

For that weathered look, and to blend in some of the colours some call it the scale effect, I used MIG powders. These can be diluted in medium if required but I used them straight from the pot with a very fine paint brush or modellers swab. I get a good feel for a realistic ship when I go through this routine but I am extra careful not to overdo it, especially the rust!

Well, almost done with the ship. I need to rig it, and position some crew figures but before that, I paint the whole work with Humbrol matt finish. This gives it a realistic effect, and covers all the glue, and glossy paint marks at the same time.

The rigging is Caenis fishing line glued in place with stationary glue. I was given both of these products by David Griffiths at Telford a couple of years ago but I do believe you may have to go on the net to source this method. Otherwise, stretched sprue is an alternative but very tricky you will have to train to use this method!.

Using the fishing line is forgiving if you touch it, and can be cut with very fine scissors. If your rig is too droopy then I have used incense sticks in the past to tighten it up. Make sure the room is draft free, and use the hot smoke above the lit part of the incense stick to tighten the rig. If you get too close however, it will break.

Finally, I usually take my work outside to do the photo shoot. This way, I have the benefit of good lighting, and a natural sky. Its better with dynamic clouds but you cant be a chooser if youre on a deadline. Make sure there are no buildings or trees in the background. I go down to the beach if possible. The sea in the background can be helpful, and a blue sky will reflect on the gloss used on your sea base.

I look at the finished result, and believe that I have had a good modelling experience with a value for money pastime. If I were to go into greater detail, I would use more rig and ropes, and you can always make bulwark bracing with 700 scale railings off the GMM fret but lets leave this kit doable for the easier modelling for now.

Peter F (October 2010).

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