Model boats are impressive items and require a lot more skill than the conventional train, tractor or automobile models.
There are not many better sights than going down to the local park to see a host of model boats bobbing along the water, weaving in between ducks and adding a lot of value to the park. These remote controlled models can, of course, be purchased pre-assembled but, like with many other models, it does not beat the feeling of putting the model together yourself. It can be a labour of love but something that really is worth it.
However, don't be fooled as the process of putting a boat together can be challenging and it will take a lot of time and patience to bring the finished article to fruition. A starting point of any model boat is the hull and it is imperative that you get this right as it forms the basis and allows you to design your boat in any way you see fit.
Here is a simple guide to building the hull of the boat.
Choosing a material
First thing's first, you need to assess which material you want to build your boat from. Ask yourself what type of boat you want to create. A traditional sailing boat? A modern-day warship? Or even a replica of a famous steamboat chugging its way along the Mississippi? Modellers tend to opt for wood or aluminium but you can also use fiberglass.
A popular choice is the use of aluminium flashing as it is light, flexible, easy to work with and can also be painted easily. Another plus is that it is fairly inexpensive and boasts a desirable temper meaning that once it is bent it can easily hold the shape of the hull. Modellers opt for this form of material as it can be joined with either adhesive, rivets, bolts or nuts.
Once you have a chosen your material then you can get on with building your boat.
Make a plan
Like with any building project you need to devise a plan of how you are going to create the hull. Now you have your material chosen you should draw out a plan of how you want the hull to look. You want to make this process as simple as possible so you have an easier job when it comes to putting the hull together.
So you have chosen the right material and drawn up a plan, now it's time to get started. With wooden or fiberglass hulls they tend to arrive as a flatpack and you just need to follow the instructions to put it together. Once this is completed then you can concentrate on the internal components that will bring the boat to life.
Make a rigid stand which will provide support for the hull and fit the inwales to back up the gunwales, thin strips of wood glued to the inside the hull below deck level. They are designed to provide a solid base for the deck and will give sufficient support for whichever engine you decide to use to power the vessel. Many modellers like to use balsa wood as it is deemed as the most suitable material for the job.
Laying the deck
Once the hull takes shape you will then need to contemplate how you are going to fit the deck for your boat. The next step is to fit the deck beam and bulkheads. While they are not necessary for strengthening the model, they separate the hull into watertight compartments and will also play a role when it comes to balancing the boat later on. Any gaps in the boat can be touched up with polyester resin mixed with plastic filler paste.
Before fitting the deck crossbeams you should mark out where you want to fit the engine components. Remember to space components such as motors, radio gears and batteries apart in separate bulkheads and also tack them in place before securing them permanently.
Balancing the boat
This is a highly important point of the boat building process. The last thing any modeller wants is to see their hard work simply capsize as soon it is put on water. This can be trying phase of the project and will require a lot of patience. You need to be continuously float testing your hull to ensure that you avoid being forced to make any major adjustments at the last minute.
Through trial and error you will be able to determine whether you need to counterbalance certain parts of the boat to make sure it does not topple over. Adding sand or weights into the different bulkheads will help the balance the vessel and if you are completely sure that you have got the balance right, you can add in a small amount of cement.
So, the hull is complete and you have installed the deck to a standard that you are happy with, now you just need to add the final touches before the engine can be put in place. Bond the decking in place but not before checking that all the components are secured and also in working order.
You can make any last minute adjustments to the trim by simply moving the components you tacked in place earlier and making your changes. You can then screw them down and you're well on your way to having a completed boat.