In Progress » Fish Sub » Four-Story [Paddlewheel]

I can’t start on my Fantastical Fish-Shaped Submersible kit yet, but I can start on the scenery to accompany it. I decided a while back that I wanted to do something underwater… a shipwreck of some sort. Initially I was going to do the bow of a pirate ship, but thought that a submerged section of a paddlewheel would be more visually interesting and unique. A mast and other objects will serve as the support rod holding the sub up in a swimming position.

I started out by gathering paddlewheel images online. After studying them for a bit I worked up a basic paddlewheel plan. Since it’s a sci-fi piece and highly degraded under the sea it doesn’t need to be an exact paddlewheel. A close approximation will do as a lot of it will be rusted away and coated in sea-life accretions obscuring details.

What I thought would be the most difficult part of the build so far has turned out to be the easiest. I had no idea at first how I would create the large metal support rings. I envisioned all sorts of apparatus to help me create them, but in the end a strip of styrene, an old sheet of particle board, and 3 pushpins was all I needed. I usually use pins and circle templates anyway to create smaller discs so I really should have thought of this sooner. The pins are a great scriber.

Once the parts were cut and sanded I glued slices of hex-rod for bolt-heads where the wooden planks would be. I then sprayed the parts with a thin coat of matte black spray paint and dusted them with baking soda. I quickly blew off the excess and gave the parts two more paint coats to seal. This makes a great rough texture for extreme rust.

To paint I used some bizarre side-effects of the hairspray technique to get a nice rust. I sprayed the black parts with a random coat of rust-colored flat Tamiya Acrylic mix. Then I sprayed the parts in hairspray which reacts with the paint coat  adjusting tones and mottling the rust into a more believable rust look. Over the hairspray I sprayed a very thin coat of orange then removed much of it with a wet toothbrush to finish the rust look.

I cut the 48 paddlewheel planks from strips of 1/16″ x 3/16″ x 24″ basswood. Two lengths were needed to fit properly. I stained them in various dilutions of india ink and water to get different darknesses. Then I added a thin wash of brown to about 10 of the 48 planks. I also drybrushed a few of the planks with red acrylic to simulate the last of the paint that had yet to rot away. I need to weather these a bit more then start building the two large wheels. I need to get some wider planks at the LHS later to make the paddles.

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