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Question about putty as sea material


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Many ship bottlers use glaziers putty, not plumbers putty, but most have abandoned it's use in favor of other choices. Some old SiBs made with glaziers putty have a sea that has deteriorated into dust and chunks while many others have not. Glaziers putty is white and requires the addition of coloring agents. Most often the sea winds up a baby blue which isn't very realistic. I chose to avoid the deterioration and coloring problems.

 

My first choice has been Fimo for almost 40 years of bottling ships. Fimo is one of the polymer based modelling compounds that can be baked at low temperature (read the instructions). Sculpey is probably the best known of the type. Fimo is firmer and a bit more difficult to work with than Sculpey but holds fine detail better. The only reason I use Fimo rather than one of the others of the type is because Fimo is available in a navy blue that comes closer to the color of deep ocean than the primary blue available in other brands. Colors can be mixed but is a lot of work. I've never baked my seas but know that others have which sometimes resulted in the baked clay detaching from the bottle and required gluing. I recently saw one of my pieces that is almost 40 years old (my second SiB) and it looks the same as when I bottled her.

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Thanks for the reply Dave,  I do have a bottle that was returned to me because the owner had broken it accidentally.  This particular ship has the oily film on the inside of the bottle.  He asked if I could do a repair job on it (put it in a new bottle).  I will post a picture of the bottle and the ship for reference later this evening. 

 

Is the Fimo that you use like the Plasticine that I have heard talked about?  If you do not bake the Fimo, does it harden over time or is it still somewhat playable?   I have seen Fimo at the local Michaels stores but have never had the opportunity to try it.  I will have to buy a brick and test it out.

 

 

 

Gwyl

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Just so you guys are aware there is a Greek Modeller that goes by the name of Capt. Nemo. He has a really cool technique whereby he mocks up the seas with shaved pink styrofoam. Then he lays down a coat of modelling clay. The clay looks similiar to FIMO but it's a bit different. Then he paints it up and man does it look realistic! He seals it with realistic water and dry brushes all of the froth etc.

Please keep in mind he doesn't do SIB's just static models. I believe however this technique would work for our genera. I am investigating this technique for my second build. I'll post the link here once I contact him. A fellow Greek modeller on MSW is trying to get a hold of him for me. I must admit Joop van Schouten is a master when it comes to plasticine/window putty. His work has always inspired me.

Jeff

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Here are a few photos of the damaged bottle with what looks like a residue on the inside of the bottle..  After looking at my notes from this build, it looks like I used glazing compound for the sea on this one. I'm not sure how long this bottle had been broken before it was returned to me so it might be dust in there as well.  

 

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post-1-0-42461000-1426734944_thumb.jpg

 

I will take photos of the removal process before I put the ship into her new bottle.

 

Gwyl

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Just so you guys are aware there is a Greek Modeller that goes by the name of Capt. Nemo. He has a really cool technique whereby he mocks up the seas with shaved pink styrofoam. Then he lays down a coat of modelling clay. The clay looks similiar to FIMO but it's a bit different. Then he paints it up and man does it look realistic! He seals it with realistic water and dry brushes all of the froth etc.

Please keep in mind he doesn't do SIB's just static models. I believe however this technique would work for our genera. I am investigating this technique for my second build. I'll post the link here once I contact him. A fellow Greek modeller on MSW is trying to get a hold of him for me. I must admit Joop van Schouten is a master when it comes to plasticine/window putty. His work has always inspired me.

Jeff

 

Hey Jeff,

 

I like the idea of foam with clay.  I'm looking forward to more information on this.

 

Thanks

 

Gwyl

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Is the Fimo that you use like the Plasticine that I have heard talked about?  If you do not bake the Fimo, does it harden over time or is it still somewhat playable?   I have seen Fimo at the local Michaels stores but have never had the opportunity to try it.  I will have to buy a brick and test it out.

 

 

 

Gwyl

Fimo and the other polymer modeling clays harden only with heat (230F / 105C). I still have a piece of the block of white Fimo I bought almost 40 years ago used to add detail to the blue and cannot tell the difference from a block I bought 2 years ago. Plasticine is similar in how it works but it has a petroleum jelly base and won't harden with heat. Jack Needham used and recommended it in his book. I could not find Plasticine and tried Fimo and have used it in every SiB I've made except Ogallala which doesn't have a sea.

 

I know from reading about builds using glazing compound that It needs to air dry, sometimes for months, depending on the amount used. Perhaps it hadn't dried enough in this case. 

Edited by Dave Fellingham
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Don Pearson of Minnesota used epoxy very effectively and gave a talk about this at a ship in bottle conference at St Michaels's Maryland around 1990.  The results looked great and I believe there were no issues about "out gassing" and certainly not about adhesion to the glass.  However, the epoxy mix gave such a limited working time Don would set up a kitchen timer at 45 minutes before starting.  Furthermore, the technique required putting the ship in the bottle BEFORE adding the sea and therefore working around the model (!). 

Don made wonderful models in hand blown bottles and he signed and numbered each on the inside of the cork.  An engineer, he was used to working at very fine tolerances.  I used to hear from him about once a year, usually by phone,  He wasn't much for writing. I haven't heard from him for quite a while and the number I have for him no longer works.  If anyone has any news of him, I'd like to hear it.

 

Thanks,

 

Alex

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Don Pearson of Minnesota used epoxy very effectively and gave a talk about this at a ship in bottle conference at St Michaels's Maryland around 1990.  The results looked great and I believe there were no issues about "out gassing" and certainly not about adhesion to the glass.  However, the epoxy mix gave such a limited working time Don would set up a kitchen timer at 45 minutes before starting.  Furthermore, the technique required putting the ship in the bottle BEFORE adding the sea and therefore working around the model (!). 

Don made wonderful models in hand blown bottles and he signed and numbered each on the inside of the cork.  An engineer, he was used to working at very fine tolerances.  I used to hear from him about once a year, usually by phone,  He wasn't much for writing. I haven't heard from him for quite a while and the number I have for him no longer works.  If anyone has any news of him, I'd like to hear it.

 

Thanks,

 

Alex

Hi Alex,

Many thanks for your answer!

I do separately the top and lower parts of the hull  therefore I can place the lower part of the hull in the sea during moving to an epoxy bottle and then to move the top part of the hull to the bottle. I am disturbed by that fact that there were cases of separation of epoxy from glass.

 

Best Regards!

Igor.

 

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Gwyl,

The Greek modeller who goes by the name of Capt. Nemo is none other than Stamatis Anthis. His build Kraken's Attack is on the Hellenic Modellers website www.helmo.gr

Look under the Diorama's section for water technique.

I also know there is another thread where he goes into a bit better detail on the technique. When I find it I'll post it here!

Jeff

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Gwyl,

The Greek modeller who goes by the name of Capt. Nemo is none other than Stamatis Anthis. His build Kraken's Attack is on the Hellenic Modellers website www.helmo.gr

Look under the Diorama's section for water technique.

I also know there is another thread where he goes into a bit better detail on the technique. When I find it I'll post it here!

Jeff

Hi Jeff,

 

Thanks for the information and link to Stamatis Anthis' work.  His diorama's are incredible.  I would like to know more about how he is doing his sea in Kraken's Attack.  So many talented modelers to learn so much from.

 

Gwyl

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Good morning Igor,

Sorry to hear about separation of epoxy from the glass.  I don't think my friend had any problems.

Please, what can you tell me about the kinds of epoxy you use, the mix and color?

Thanks,

 

Alex

Hi Alex,

I will surely tell about it after I try to make it soon.

 

Best Regards!

Igor.

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I started out with glazing putty but sometime in the 1980s the late George Pinter, from Halifax, MA, put me onto plumber's putty.  Unlike the glazing putty it took color very well, worked into the bottle more easily and as a bonus, developed a nice shine on the surface as it settled in and the oils rose.  Unfortunately, that oil also soaked into the ship's deck and sails.  Eventually the effect was nice, the sails a soft translucence and the overall model an "antique" look .  Unfortunately, this also yellowed the wake and whitecaps, an effect that was  less pleasant.  Plumber's putty is never supposed to harden and although I'd shipped models as far as Japan without any problem, in the early 90s this aspect of the putty led to a catastrophe.  I shipped a model to Houston in August and in the Texas heat large sections of the putty detached from the glass, causing the inevitable damage.  I'd insured the model but UPS refused claim because the bottle itself was not damaged.  I suppose they had a point but I never shipped with UPS again and, of course, stopped using plumber's putty.

Going back to glazing putty it seemed to take color better and did not harden quite as quickly as it used to back in the 70s.  Perhaps the formula improved.   This is large model of Flying Cloud completed last year with glazing putty.  I'm basically happy with the sea, although I know it will not develop that nice sheen on the surface.  But it's going to stay with the glass!

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Edited by Alex Bellinger
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Alex,

 

Those are good comments concerning plumbers putty and glazing compound.  The sheen is nice but in the end, if it turns yellow or looses its hold on the glass, it can be a negative.  Like what Jim Goodwin says,  "The true test of any craftsman is UPS!"

 

I like the seas in the photo above.  The rolling waves, the white spray that comes from the hull of the ship.  Very realistic.  Your rigging on the model is also very realistic.  Excellent!

 

Gwyl

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Thanks Jeff and Gwyl,

 

The planks are built up, starting from the center, working out to the hull side and sanded down when done.  One edge of each strip of wood is marked with a magic marker to show the plank seam.  I am indebted to Erik Ronnberg of Rockport who taught me this.  He used a black marker, for his larger models, but I modified this by using a brown one, which created a subtler line more appropriate for our scale.  It does not take as much time as you might imagine and has an added benefit of smoothing out any problems in the sheer and deck camber.  Below is the quarterdeck.  The sails are paper, colored with warm gray magic marker and scribed with a pin to represent the "clothes", or seams, in the sail.

Back to the subject of sea material, I read once some of the Japanese makes up an acrylic sea on wax paper outside the bottle, let it dry, remove it from the paper, roll it up (!) and slip it down the bottleneck whole.  Anybody ever try this?

 

Alex

 

post-23-0-41393300-1427633462_thumb.jpg

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I tried a similiar technique about a year ago during some experimentation. I took clear silicon and mixed in a blend of acrylic paint and then smeared it on some wax paper. Then before it dried an artist's pallet knife was used to form some waves. Also before it dried I put a hull blank into it to mark out where it should go. Then I quickly removed it and built up some waves next to where the hull indentation was.

It looked pretty realistic however it sucked because once you put it on a curved surface like the inside of a bottle it doesn't look correct to scale etc. Then I tried some modelling clay and that sucked as well. Once the clay dried it shrunk and cracked.

Right now I am working on a wooden seas technique whereby four pieces of carved Douuglas fir will go into the bottle held in place by magnets. The beauty of this technique is all of the painting and detail can be done outside of the bottle. Also to hide the seams I am thinking once the lower hull section is glued into place I'll use some realistic water to hide the seams etc.

To build on this I am also looking at a technique from a Greek guy AKA Capatain Nemo where he uses pink styrofoam to mock up the seas, then a coat of a type of FIMO clay to detail the waves etc. Then he paints it up. Then he gives it a liberal coat of varnish to get the sheen look of water. After discovering Nemo's technique I am debating the following:

Roughly gouge out the wood to some basic swells, add some of the pink styrofoam for waves, add the FIMO clay on top and detail accordingly, paint in the sea detail and use gesso for white caps, take a razor blade and separate the four pieces carefully, install the pieces into the bottle, add the lower hull assembly in and give it a slight list then glue, touch up any visible seams, add the realistic water through a tube to seal it up. That's the plan for now!

Working on carving the hull to get exact measurement then back to the seas. Work, wife's car, another fireplace installation, and Easter getting in the way however I have a few days set aside second week in April to have at it.

Jeff

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Jeff,

 

You have a truly adventurous spirit.  I'd be concerned the wood and glass might expand and contract at different rates with temperature changes, but it sounds as if you've already taken that into consideration.  In any case, I look forward to seeing how it works out. 

I am grateful you made that silicon experiment.  Now I don't have to.

I've made small Friendship sloops in glass ornaments that are too heavy to risk hanging on a Xmas tree because of the weight of the small amount of putty sea.  Perhaps the Styrofoam may lead to an answer to this.

 

Alex

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Jeff,

 

I am interested on your work on the carved wood sea.  I know Bob Wilson has a couple of CD's out, with his method of carving wood seas, and they look terrific. I am looking forward to your progress.

 

Alex,

 

On your ship above you mentioned that your use a pin to scribe the sails (clothes).  Is this scribing done on the Windward side or the Lee side of the sails?  BTW, your sails look very realistic.

 

Gwyl

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Gwyl,

I had a good email dialogue with Bob about a year ago and I was surprised to find out a lot of his seas are not carved from wood per say. His latest technique is he uses a thin plastic sheet and heats it with a butane torch and stretches it over a jig he has that forms the waves and swells. That's why it looks so smooth and realistic. You are right his seas are awesome and believe it or not his wife does most of the painting. She is a very talented gal to say the least. He told me that she got one of his seas paint job so realistic, that she has had problems trying to duplicate the process on another model ever since!

So that news burst my bubble as there is no way a person is going to get pieces of plastic lined up correctly in the bottle. That's why I went the wood route with the magnets for alignment.

Jeff

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Jeff,

 

I would have never thought of heating plastic, but it does make lots of sense now.  I agree with you, that magnets are a smart way to go to get the alignment just perfect.  

 

Is Bob still on MSW?  I haven't been able to find him for a few years now, or at least by his old user name.  I think the last contact I had with him was before the first version of MSW crashed.

 

Gwyl

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Gwyl,

For some bizarre reason they banned him from their site. I don't fully know why ... but he obviously got into someone's grill at MSW. It's really a shame as he has a ton of knowledge, experience, and is one excellent modeller. I tried to convince him to get into SIB's however he makes more cash building small scale models for some clients and possibly the patience factor isn't there.

Do you want his contact email?

Please advise .... Jeff

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Hi Jeff,

 

That is what I was thinking too.  Not sure what happened either, but I do know he always dealt with me in a very friendly manner.  It would be wonderful to get him involve in SIB's, but I agree with you, that he seems to do pretty well with the merchant ships that  he has mastered so well.

 

I had purchased two of his instructional CD's, and I communicated him a few times thru private messages at MSW but never through email so I do not have any contact info for him.  I would like to touch base with him again, so yes,  I would like to have his contact info.  If you would, please send it via PM.

 

Gwyl

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