An Illustrated Guide to Building Model Boats

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They can help or hinder you greatly. Review them before you start building to make yourself familiar with the way the construction sequence is laid out and how you should approach it. Familiarize yourself with where the parts on the plastic trees are located. I won't spend too much time on construction of the model other than to mention that with liquid glue you have to be careful as it tends to act like a liquid.

It flows everywhere including the places you don't want it and on to fingers. I usually discover this has happened after I find the finger print left on the side of the hull. A little fine sand paper will fix the mistake, but if you're careful you won't have to fix those kinds of mistakes. Follow the instructions and pay attention to orientation of parts on the instruction sheet. When you place a part incorrectly it may make a difference in another assembly that fits together with it.

Depending on the part count in the kit How many parts it takes to build the kit you may be able to finish your ship kit quickly or in the case of the Z spend a month building it. I replace any molded on anchor chain with model railroad chain. The first step is to scrape off the molded on chain and sand the deck until smooth. Cut the railroad chain to length and attach it to the model with super glue. I paint my kits after I have them built. Others choose to build sub-assemblies, paint them and then glue them together. I use a lot of weathering techniques on my models such as pre-shading.

Pre-shading is painting your model with a dark color such as gray or black and then misting the color you want over that base color. This gives highlights and shadows to what otherwise would be a mono-tone color scheme. I put the photo etch parts on ships after the construction is finished, unless it's going to be impossible to place a part after the ship is constructed. The picture below is well into the construction. I'm assembling the smaller anti-aircraft weapons. These consist of 40 mm, 37 mm and quad mm's.

"Model Ship Basics - A Building Guide" by Rick Herrington, Austin Scale Modeler's Society

The assemblies can be mini-kits in themselves so be sure your follow the instructions carefully. If you are using brushes to paint the Z it would be better to paint the sub-assemblies before gluing them on the ship. Paint can make or break your model. Most people can ignore a few construction errors if the model has a good finish. If you're a beginner and using brushes to paint try to buy good brushes and keep them clean. If you take care of your brushes they will serve you well for many years. I use acrylic paints when possible Tamiya or Testors as these are non-toxic and clean up with water.

I use a lot of weathering techniques such as pre-shading. The following sequence is how I paint my ships using a Badger airbrush. This is the model with the two base colors painted on XF and XF The weapons and mast will be painted separately and added later. The rest of the ship, including the superstructure, is painted XF Sea Blue. To do the highlight I switched to an enamel base paint made by White Ensign Models.

White Ensign puts out a line of paints designed for ships. The color I used for the light gray is Hellgrau 50 Light gray I lightly spray the Hellgrau 50 over the dark base colors allowing them to show through to create variation in an otherwise mono-tone color. After masking the upper hull to protect the highlighted upper hull, I used Xtracolor enamel red to paint the lower hull.

Xtracolor was not used because I prefer it.

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I used it because it was there and I didn't have to go out and buy another bottle of paint. Kreiegsmarine warhips had a black stripe painted where the top hull color met the hull red color. This was usually at the waterline of the ship. The water around the ship in harbor was usually fouled with oil and stained the light gray finish. The black stripe was painted to hide the stains. I used a Sharpie fine point pen to replicate the stripe, carefully drawing the line between the red hull and the gray upper hull.

I used Alclad to paint the torpedo tubes although it would be fine if you painted them gray like the rest of the hull. I painted them metallic to draw the eye to the ship. Almost all warships had some portion of the ship that was decked in wood. This was usually teak. The purpose of the decking was to give sure footing to the areas most travelled by the crew. The Z was no exception in that the bridge decking was teak. I masked off the surrounding areas with tape making sure the areas I wanted to paint teak remained unmasked and then airbrushed White Ensign Models deck teak color.

After letting this dry for several hours I sprayed the painted area with Testor's acrylic flat coat. After the acrylic flat coat has dried for several hours the next step is to use a mixture of turpentine, and black and raw sienna oil paints. The liquid should take on a chocolate color. Apply this to the teak deck. Applying this mixture gives variation to the teak color and brings out the planking detail. Photo etch is usually a product you buy in addition to the model to detail it even further. It is not necessary to add photo etch to your ship model. If you are a beginner at ship modeling it would be best to wait until you have a few kits built and your skills sharpened before tackling photo etch.


Larger Ships. All were full hull and very nicely done for their time. Scales were not listed and assembled size ranged from 14 to Pyro large scale ship kits - first issues and later box variations click any to enlarge. Savannah and Tuna Clipper ex-Gulf Star. Some of the last Pyro-molded large scale ships click to enlarge. Pyro hobby shop poster and Motor Unit click to enlarge.

Intermediate Size Ships. These kit were between the small and large scale models in size and detail.

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They did not appear in the catalog but there were 12 by These kits are a vast improvement in detail from the 50 Centers and lost the toy-like appearance. All are full hull and approximately 10 to 12 inches long. Scales were not listed. A variety of Pyro intermediate size ship kits click to enlarge. It was thought that the mold exchange with Eagle took place in the late s; however, Pyro lists the ex-Eagle kits in the catalog. These kits were nicely detailed for their size and could be built full hull or waterline.

They were commonly used for wargames. Some mold origins are unknown. The complete line includes.

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The full color box art issues are the earliest, dating back as far as click any to enlarge. Three of the four Pyro ship gift sets click any to enlarge. Automobiles and Cycles. Again, we are fortunate that Pyro chose subjects based on historical significance and foresight.

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Kits here fall into two rough categories. The first group are very basic and without engine detail; some early wheels are solid discs when they should have spokes. Tires are molded with the wheels and there are no chrome parts. Regardless, many are popular today because they are unique subjects or are built as slot cars.

Details quickly got better and engines, spoke wheels, chromed parts, rubber tires and more were included. These were excellent kits in their day and feature detailed engines, full interiors and parts molded in colored plastic, clear, brass plate and with real rubber tires. Kits issued under the Pyro label include.

Some very early Auburn issues had a peach colored plastic driver included. Pyro also made prints of the box art for Auburn, Cord and Lincoln available without the Pyro emblem and text so you could frame them. Detail was stepped up significantly as you would expect. This line is unique for the show rods, motorcycles, tricycles and scooters. It includes. Pyro claimed that over 25, different cars could be designed and built. Enough parts were included to have two assembled cars at one time.

Original magazine advertisement and Design-A-Car Kit click on any to enlarge. Pyro had a unique line of full—size pistol and rifle kits which are very popular among collectors today. Some molds were acquired from Revell; this may have been the inspiration for later kits. The kits in this series are.

Pyro cut a few molds for aircraft kits in the late s for three large scale famous air racers. The date quoted for the mold exchange is Perhaps the most popular Pyro aircraft kit is the Design-A-Plane. Removable stickers were included. The famous Pyro Design-A-Plane and an original magazine advertisement click on any to enlarge. The catalog lists only the birds and dinosaurs, with humans long discontinued. By only the dinosaurs are listed. Pyro Dinosaurs showing early and later box variations click on any to enlarge.

Factory Displays. Like most other manufacturers, Pyro would build and paint sample kits in the factory, mount them on colorful cardboard displays and ship them to hobby shops.


These displays, especially when found in complete, excellent condition are highly prized today. Fijian Outrigger Factory Display - built at Pyro and sent to hobby shops for promotion click to enlarge. Numerous house designs could be created with the kit. The main kit contains scale construction material for a large variety of homes including split levels and two story homes and a fully illustrated Home Builders Book.