Real Build
My first matter of work with the actual build was planning again. My plan was to provide a good solid stage for this scene which required thick material. I knew I need thick wood material for the floor and outside hull of the ship to offer the viewer a realistic sense of mass and strength to hold up canon and endure long voyages. In addition I knew the type of wood used would make a difference. For modeling in this scale there are two basic types of wood – balsa and bass. Balsa is very common and popular. It is easy to get and inexpensive. The downside to it is the grain is very open and ‘loose’. It is very soft and porous. Bass wood is not quite as common and is more expensive. Bass wood has a tighter stronger grain. My plan was to use household wood stain as a finish for most of the project. This too played into my decision on which wood to use. The more open grain of balsa soaks up stain in large quantities but disburses it deep within itself. Your stain work time is short and the result is a washed out look. Bass wood soaks less stain and has longer working time. This allows you to rub off excess or rub in more to get a richer color. The color that remains is a deeper richer color. It was all of this that made me choose bass wood.

all hands on deck The first matter of construction was the deck. Easy enough lay the pattern out on a piece of bass wood cut out and sand a bit to shape. Selection of thickness was the largest factor in my decision on which stock to use. I paid special attention to the thickness and scale of the poop deck vs. main deck. The trim rail vs. the main deck and even down to the rigging details. I wanted a fairly authentic look and feel to the piece and my research showed that all of these parts were made from different wood stock.
Note: take advantage of the tools you have. I have a multi-function tool that acts as a table saw. I used it to cut out the larger sections of my pieces. It is nice to use some electric tools for speed reasons. If you don’t need fine tuned close control the electric versions of tools are great. They give you fast function and don’t sacrifice control.

Once selected and cut I used a dental tool to scribe in plank lines and nail holes. It is always a good idea to scribe lines using a metal ruler as a guide. The ruler will keep the tool from drifting away from the pre-drawn line.

I created every piece before I assembled anything. This ensured that I did not leave anything out and if I did I would not have any problems creating it. Nothing is glued at this point so nothing is committed.

Construction was done with some white glue. I was very careful not to get any excess white glue on the pieces. White glue would have inhibited the stains ability to soak in and the finish would have been ruined where excess glue seeped out.
  • 10_1_basicshipparts
  • 10_2_decketch1
  • 10_3_decketch2
  • 10_4_decknail
  • 10_5_hobbysaw
  • 10_6_meassureandalign
  • 10_7_stairdetail

About the Author

About Scott Lodder (slodder)

I modeled when I was a teenager. College, family and work stopped me for a while. Then I picked it back up after about 12 years off. My main focus is dioramas. I like the complete artistic method of story telling. Dioramas involve so many aspects of modeling and I enjoy getting involved in the ...


Excellent article Scott.
OCT 07, 2006 - 08:09 PM
GREAT article Scott!! And great subject/model too! well, 14 pages is a lot for my english skills and i will have to start all over again but you prove that dioramas is the king of modelism genres because here you can really DARE, you are only limited by your imagination!
OCT 07, 2006 - 08:21 PM
Arrrrr!!! Nice work matey! It's got a great sense of action/motion. Excellent job documenting the build too! Cheers, Jim PS: About those links... try putting them back in. I need to see them in action to figure out why they are failing.
OCT 07, 2006 - 11:55 PM
Thanks for the complements It was a blast to build and I hope some people can learn a tip or trick. PS - the links are on page 14
OCT 08, 2006 - 12:46 AM
Hi scott, As somebody who has an interest in the subject of the time of the Pirates and often enjoy playing a variety of games, I have really enjoyed both the review and the pictures that accompany the text. I have often looked at the Pirates series by Verlinden and may well look again with an intention to buy as I feel a little inspired by the work that you have done. Many thanks, and this is my first visit to Model Geek, so I may now visit again. John
OCT 08, 2006 - 02:13 AM
Great article Scott, well written ,easy to follow with and great photography. I always wanted to do something with water and waves and I had read many others on how to achieve such, but your has a bit more since to it. You put in a ton of time and effort into this article feature, you deserve a round of applause. Joe
OCT 08, 2006 - 09:28 AM
Thanks Joe - the encouragement makes the work worth it Hopefully you jump in and try some water - just ask any questions, I'd be happy to help. John - pirates are Great, a bit of color, a bit of 'fantasy', total creativity, and you keep a bit of military base too. Hope to see you around MG more often - it's a fun place
OCT 08, 2006 - 04:12 PM
Great article and well executed dio. It's well worth reading and learning a few new tricks and also getting a reminder of a lot of features already showed on Modelgeek. Well done Scott Cheers Claude
OCT 08, 2006 - 06:03 PM