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"cardboard boats and ships" Topic

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Makhno191801 Mar 2023 7:16 a.m. PST

Hey all, since my last post I've been busy making cardboard vessels. Here's the full blog post: link

And a few pictures:




As always, I'd love to hear your advice and ideas.

wingnut01 Mar 2023 9:45 a.m. PST

Quite an elegant set of design!s!
Are they 28's or 15's?
If you had a corrugated tabletop for the sea it would be complete.
It would be neat to use paper strips for texture (decking & planking) on them. Any Chance of sails ? Please post when you get rigging!
Nice work.


Makhno191801 Mar 2023 11:28 a.m. PST

thanks so much Wingnut. The figures I'm working on are 20mm. Paper for planking is a great idea. I've already primed these brown, but I'll definitely add that to my next round of larger ships. I've thought about just painting plank lines, perhaps with a fan brush, but we'll see how it goes for these ones. I'm also going to try out your methods for dead eyes and belaying pins, at least on the Whydah. Have you ever scratch-built cannons?

Do you know where I could learn about corrugated table tops? We play on plywood on saw horses… not very high tech but it gives us space. I've got enough fake water for a harbor (as you can see in my recent SCW posts) but will have to make something before running a naval game.

I'm definitely going to add sails after painting and rigging. I've got some old pillow cases that are ready to be recycled, I'll try water-glue and hang-drying them.

Thanks for your compliments and input, much appreciated!

Andrew Walters01 Mar 2023 11:42 a.m. PST

Those are pretty great. I also look forward to seeing rigging!

But I will tell you my attempts in this direction have always warped badly when painted, or warped badly over time. Did you use special cardboard? I don't know of a way to seal them against the moisture that will ultimately reshape them. Maybe mod-podge all over?

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2023 11:50 a.m. PST

They look really good. It would be good to have something for a sense of scale in the pictures, though, like a ruler.

Depending on scale, ordinary thread or embroidery thread can be used for rope. Soaking it in black tea or something like that will make it look less shiny and uniform.

Makhno191801 Mar 2023 3:52 p.m. PST

Thanks for the warning, Andrew Walters, I'll take that into account. I use oil paints, I wonder how that will affect it. I also spray everything with a clear protective varnish. Anyone have remedies for this issue?

I'll include a rulers or figure in the photo next time I post. the smallest boat is 2" long, and the Snow is 13 and 1/4" from the end of the bowsprit mast.

I'll post again when I've painted and done some rigging. Thanks again

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2023 4:10 p.m. PST

Very nice work.

wingnut01 Mar 2023 4:21 p.m. PST

Makhno 1918,
Corrugated cardboard for your table top, the little waves would follow the paper material theme. It sounds like you have the water covered though.
Never done cannon's from scratch, not sure I could lathe out the barrels to look correct. I'll just keep buying those. Keep the project going, we'll be waiting for a follow up post.


Legionarius01 Mar 2023 6:07 p.m. PST

Excellent in every way! You have enough ships for all kinds of actions in the Caribbean!

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP02 Mar 2023 9:08 p.m. PST

Cardboard is a wood pulp product which absorbs water. Any water-based products will cause it to warp, badly: Mod-Podge, acrylic paint, PVA Glues, etc. Oil-/solvent-based products will not break down pulp fibers like water.

Fram oil filters for gasoline engines, are made of paper. They are bathed in hot engine oil for hundreds of hours without deformity or falling apart. Water will destroy them, but oil will not.

Experiment by spraying or brushing oil-/solvent-based paints onto Cardboard sheets, and let them dry completely. See how they fair.

Pillow case fabric might be too heavy for sails. Cotton handkerchiefs are much lighter, and more suitable, but try the pillow cases, first. Experimentation is king, Baby! Cheers!

Makhno191804 Mar 2023 6:57 a.m. PST

Thanks all. Wingnut, I only have a few water pieces made from canvas, glue, and paint, so I may try the corrugated tabletop idea, thanks for that. I have 2 huge sheets of cardboard I've been using to spray on top of. I cam peel one sheet off the corrugated part and spray it blue then add paint texture.
Where do you buy your cannons?

Thank you, Legionarius, I'm glad you like them!

Sgt Slag, thanks for the science lesson. This may be why my past cardboard creations haven't fallen apart yet? I always use oil, though I've only been in this hobby for 4 years, they may crumble yet. For some of these ships, I used a lot of linseed oil and thinner (I often paint with dry oils), so it'll be interesting to see how these hold up.

As for the pillow cases, they're definitely heavier then handkerchiefs, but they're so old and worn that they're very thin. I'll try it out, as it's on hand and cheaper than buying something new. All of my handkerchiefs are black, naturally.

I'll try to post an update in a week or two! Thanks again for all the kind words and suggestions.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2023 5:54 p.m. PST

All of my handkerchiefs are black, naturally.

Naturally. Every Goth pirate ninja who attends multiple funerals each week needs a supply of black handkerchiefs.

OSCS7408 Mar 2023 5:32 a.m. PST

Most excellent.

Makhno191821 Mar 2023 7:03 a.m. PST

hi all, updates on this project here: link

I've painted then brown, added rigging, and experimented with sails on 2 of the little ones. I'm excited to hear more thoughts and suggestions!

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2023 3:02 p.m. PST

Looking forward to seeing how the PVA Glue-soaked sails turn out. Cheers!

Arcane Steve30 Mar 2023 4:24 a.m. PST

I have building some scratch built medieval ships for a forth coming rules set 'Never Mind the Boat Hooks' – this will be given away as a free suplement in the June issue of Wargames Illustrated, I think. The link is to one of my blog articles showing how I used PVA soaked sails and also a tip as to how to make furled sails.


hope that you find it useful.


Makhno191830 Mar 2023 7:35 a.m. PST

Wow Arcane Steve, your work is amazing. Tje painting details, and especially on the sails, are really great. I love the baloon trick too.

I've just been hanging my sails on the yards and holding them in place while they glue with those little clamps for closing bags if snacks after you've opened them. It's working so far but doesn't give me the same full-sail shape your getting, so I'll have to give that a try.

I also liked your method for making furled sails. I've been making mine all unfurled, which will look silly when it comes to boarding action, but I can't help myself. How do you all decide how much open sail you give each ship? I've come considered skipping the pva-watery glue step so I can take them up and down but that might be too much.

Thanks Sgt Slag, I hope to have some images to post next week. Just got 2 more ships to add sails to, but they're the big ones.

Arcane Steve31 Mar 2023 4:38 a.m. PST

Hi Makno1918, I actually have two spars for each ship. One for the open sail and one with a furled sail. I used the rare earth magnets to hold the spars in place. It's an easy job to attach the magnets with super glue and if the spar is big enough, you can drill it, to sink the magnet in but they dont really show behind the spar. The magnets are about 3mm in diameter and strong enough for gaming. The bonus is that if you catch the spar, it just gets knocked off, not broken. Just remember to check polarity first! Here's a shot of a recent fleet action – we have aslo used 'paper sails' which just hang on the spars as well.


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