August 23, 2011

Yawning awning

One of the things that gives the Union Monitor class ironclads their character is the distinctive tent awnings on top of the turrets. Since I can't sew, I had to come up with a different method to make the awning.  I used my laser to cut a satin like fabric. I hoped that the laser would melt the cut lines and thereby avoid having to sew a hem. It worked. The fabric was "cauterized" by the laser. 

But what about the sheen of the satin? I used flat white primer to paint the fabric. That killed the sheen, but reduced the fabric's flexibility. I then crumpled the fabric in my hand to break up the stiffness of the paint. That worked pretty well. I then laser cut small rings that I glued to the fabric with CAA. I also glued the long seam to create the teepee. I used a pencil to simulate seams between the panels.

Then it was a pretty simple matter of threading it on the davits. I made each segment longer than than the straight line distance between each davit so that fabric would drop slightly.  Once I had it threaded, I soaked the fabric with water to help shape it better. 

Once the fabric dries, I'll weather the awning with chalks to represent the coal soot from the engines.
The turret was the major challenge on this model, especially after deciding to detail the interior. With the awning on, you really can't see in the interior very well. But it was fun to make and the turret comes off if you really want to see the guns. There are still a few details left for the turret including  a flagpole and some ladders.

The rest of the hull should be pretty straight forward to finish except for the sheer. I had an idea on a method to simulate the sheer (i.e. the hull's upwards slope as it approaches the bow.) The sheer is only about a 1/4 inch over 50 inches, but it is noticeable.  I'll try that next.

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