This project log showcases aWild West Exodus themed harbor that I am building for Warcradle Studios– The board is a harbor featuring a large ship pulled into its berth. This week, I'll show you how I began tackling the construction of the massive vessel...
The ship's underlying construction is made of four layers of 2-inch thick insulation foam, two for the bottom deck and hull, and two for the top deck. That's a 35mm Wild West Exodus model on board, to give you a sense of scale. The total length of the ship is over three feet long!
I cut a few pieces of foam coar board for some of the layers on the hull, and more insulation foam for the paddle wheels.
With the basic shapes blocked out, I started making the details for the top deck, which consist of the bridge, engine, and smoke stacks. I took a trip to the hardware store to pick up some various pieces of PVC piping for the larger cylindrical components and curved pipes and stacks.
I built the bridge's walls out of foam core board, with a large pipe forming a turret on the top. Layers of styrene card were used to cap the top.
Next, I added detail with various plastic strips, sheets, rods and tubes.
I made some portholes by cutting two sizes of styrene tube, using the larger tube to form a ring around the outside of the center tube.
These doors were cut from thicker card, with riveted strips glued along the sides and a porthole in the center. The handles were made from styrene U-strips, cut into pieces and fit around a block.
I added a door frame with some thick square rod. The ladders were made using thicker styrene strips; two long vertical strips, and a bunch of smaller strips for the steps.
The smokestack was made from PVC pipe, and a toy flute disguised with some decorative card.
For the large engine stacks, I used 90-degree corner pieces of PVC. The openings were elongated by trimming the tube and gluing half of the off-cut below the opening. The shape was smoothed out with putty, and a rivet-punched strip of styrene was added around the lip. The vents are sheets basswood siding.
The last bit was to add some half-round rod to cover the seams and vent plate.
To make the oval vents, I drew them out on a piece of plastic card. I measured and marked the ends and drilled those points with a pin vise and a 1/8-inch bit.
After the holes vre drilled, I carefully cut out a strip between each hole. (I use a steel ruler to cut straight lines; this shot is without the ruler so you can see the cuts.)
Finally, I pop out the center strips and tidy up the edges with my knife and a file.
Then the sheet with the vents can be added to a flat surface or, in this case, wrapped around the cylindrical shape of the engine. The engine pod was made of plastic bottles that had the shape I was looking for.
The bottle was covered with all manner of strip and rod, with a large base on the back end and smaller PVC elbows for the pipes on the bottom.
Here are all of the components arranged on the top deck of the ship: