Building a model boat is a lengthy process and is a labour of love for many modellers. As anyone will attest, it is not without its setbacks.

No building project goes without its hitches and there will be times that you will have to correct the mistakes you made along the way. Building a boat involves a lot of trial and error so when you do encounter any issues it is important that you know how to resolve them. The introduction of water adds another dimension to the building process and can make any particular issue magnify.

The hull is one of, if not the, most important parts of the vessel and should it encounter any cracks or leaks they need to be fixed as soon as possible. Here is a short guide to fixing a hull whether it is made from fibreglass or wood. While this is a standard approach bear in mind that any repairs will depend on the thickness of the hull.

Fibreglass hull

If you have a sprung a leak in the hull, firstly, identify where the hole is then sand down the edges to make them smooth – this will help to minimise the air pockets during repair. Take some wax paper and tape it on the outside of the hull over the hole – this will act as a non-stick layer. To add strength and rigidity tape a section of plastic sheeting over the hole. Duct tape these down to make them as taut as possible.

On the inside of the hull, cut a piece of fibreglass that will fit the shape of the hole and push it down to press against the waxy paper and plastic sheet on the outside. Using a disposable paint brush, cover the fibreglass in a poly resin until it is completely filled. Remember to pay special attention to the corners as these can often be weak points.

Place another sheet of fibreglass over the resin and then apply more. Continue the process until the hole becomes level with the hull and once this is achieved allow the resin to set. Once set, remove the plastic sheeting from the outside, which should peel away easily thanks to the wax paper, then add a smooth coat of resin to give it a finished look.

Wooden hull

A break or hole in a wooden hull can be fixed by using two relatively simple methods. You can either slather the break with epoxy, pushing it back into place and sanding it flat or cut out the broken piece and simply fit a new one.

Epoxy can be a great tool for building a boat as it is a durable glue which provides a high level of bonding properties which is far superior to the majority of paste style glues. It is an ideal component for fixing a wooden hull as it has both bonding powers and a hard layer of protection. Through epichlorohydrin, polyepoxide and bisphenol-A gives epoxy to form a hard coating and make the adhesive choice for many modellers.