With a major component sized and ready I was now able to work on planning the ship section. Drawing out a project on paper helps me develop ideas of how I will build the end product. I try to draw the items in proportion to each other to give me a better idea of how things will fit together. This is the time to really experiment with position and spacing. Itís easier to erase a drawing than to unglue a poorly planned piece.
After the test sketches are worked out, my next phase is to draw at least an elevation (side) view and a top view drawing to scale. Sometime Iíll do a perspective drawing to help establish a point view for viewers.

TIP:Calculating scale drawing does not have to be vertical (1:1 to small scale). We all know how to convert 1:1 measurements to our particular need. Sometime you donít know the 1:1 size. One way to figure this out is to use secondary measurements. Compare a known 1:1 item that you do have measurements for. Then calculate the needed 1:1 item then downscale. Another way is to find another small scale item the same as what youíre looking for then scale it horizontally from the small scale to your desired scale. Example: if you have a 1/72 scale version, just rescale it directly to 54mm or vice versa. My example in this project was that I found a 1/10 scale canon kit and used it to calculate a 54mm canon.

Test build
If I scratch build a large item, such as the ship, I try to make a mock-up first. I typically use some type of paper, a heavy card stock or an old file folder. The mock-up serves as a tool to get a rough idea of angles, sizes, composition and fit. It is so much easier to adjust and fix things at this point. You donít use expensive wood and mold materials arenít wasted plus small details are accounted for and adjusted for early. It ultimately results in a better project and most of all less frustration.

In my project this mock-up really showed me that a squared off base was not going to work. The positioning of the figures with respect to the canon needed an oblong shape. Not to mention my ever preached rule of ďnothing parallelĒ. This holds true even with a small project like this. The square base was very boring vs. the asymmetrical shape I settled on. With the paper mock-up I was able to work out the shape and positioning of the steps with respect to the canon and poop deck.

The paper versions also double as templates for the final product.
note:When working with paper mock-ups be very aware of thickness. The paper is not as thick as any wood product you will ultimately use. So, in your measuring, take this into account. Wall thickness is the primary area of concern with this.
  • 9_1_mockuppositioning1
  • 9_2_DSCN1377
  • 9_3_DSCN1378

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