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Am I insane for even thinking about this?


Notty

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I built this massive Trumpeter U-boat (1/48) and although I’d always planned putting it on a nice wooden plynth, I had this mad idea about putting it “in the sea”. 

 

I’ve never worked with any kind of diorama before, and especially resin, but I was wondering what your thoughts were. As the boat is clear and lit one side below the waterline I thought it’d be cool to “float” the whole ship in tinted resin, with sea texture on top, so top-down looks like she’s a normal solid ship, but a side view from starboard would show the illuminated interior.

 

Anyone ever seen anything like this before? I think I can make her watertight to keep the resin out, but fag packet calculation suggests I’d need about 40L of resin which might kill the project as I’d be looking at £00’s at hobby shop prices, but whether it’d be possible to texture the sea on top once she’s set in the resin without damaging the boat. I’d also have to find a way of minimising the appearance of the wires protruding from the keel as well, but that’s minor compared to the above.

 

Any thoughts appreciated.

 

 

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the biggest problem you may face with large amounts of resin is heat when curing. Probably best to do multiple thin layers and wait for each to cure before adding the next. Air bubbles are another problem with large resin moulds but can lessened by careful stirring and applying heat to the area to get rid of air bubbles.  My wife uses a lot of resin for art projects and the best we have found is made by Mouldd in UK.

 

As for the surface waves, I've never tried this but there are quite a few products around from the likes of AK and Vallejo for surface waves etc.

 

good luck and go for it! :)

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An interesting way to present an excellent model.

 

As an alternative to what sounds like a solid resin block, could you display the U-boat in a shadowbox like structure where the top of the display is a thin layer of resin over clear Perspex to represent the surface of the water and you mount the model through a cut-out in the "water" to provide and above and below the surface setting?

 

Hopefully that makes sense!

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I like the sound of this, I seem to recall seeing a sub model in a display box completely submerged in the blue depths so to speak, which looked very sinister and most effective! 

I reckon you could get larger quantities of resin at a sculpture wholesale supply type place or even a boat building type supplier etc, anything "model" related is going to be silly money, just coz they can. 

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3 hours ago, Matt P said:

the biggest problem you may face with large amounts of resin is heat when curing.

Thanks, I’ve been spending today trying to learn about this stuff, and I didn’t know about the heat this stuff emitted when curing. Yes it’s a worry!

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3 hours ago, Richard E said:

An interesting way to present an excellent model.

 

As an alternative to what sounds like a solid resin block, could you display the U-boat in a shadowbox like structure where the top of the display is a thin layer of resin over clear Perspex to represent the surface of the water

 

Hopefully that makes sense!

Thank you, yes It does make sense, but and I’ve been doing mental gymnastics trying to think about the mechanics and materials of achieving it.
 

As a as simultaneous project I’m looking at a sea diorama for a more manageable sized 1/350 frigate on the sea surface using 2 part epoxy over a foam base; I wonder if I could remove the foam on one side from beneath the epoxy to achieve the effect? 🤔

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1 hour ago, Pig of the Week said:

I like the sound of this, I seem to recall seeing a sub model in a display box completely submerged in the blue depths so to speak, which looked very sinister and most effective! 

I reckon you could get larger quantities of resin at a sculpture wholesale supply type place or even a boat building type supplier etc, anything "model" related is going to be silly money, just coz they can. 

Yep most I’ve seen are 1/144 or smaller completely submerged, in various states of illuminated destruction! 

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Heat will be a huge issue (and let's not talk ourselves into minimalising it mentally - if it doesn't burst into flames it'll burn the resin and discolour it internally, and the 1/48 plastic U-boat will almost certainly melt), and from personal experience if you cast it in layers to manage the heat those layers will be visible in the finished item. You won't see them looking down from above but they'll be quite apparent from the sides unfortunately.

 

On the plus side, applying acrylic medium and sculping waves on the surface after pouring and curing is fine.

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49 minutes ago, Circloy said:

Are there any cold cure clear resins available?

I’ve not seen any from my looking so far. Likely to be even more £££cough but thanks for the idea 👍🏻

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2 minutes ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

Heat will be a huge issue (and let's not talk ourselves into minimalising it mentally - if it doesn't burst into flames it'll burn the resin and discolour it internally, and the 1/48 plastic U-boat will almost certainly melt), and from personal experience if you cast it in layers to manage the heat those layers will be visible in the finished item. You won't see them looking down from above but they'll be quite apparent from the sides unfortunately.

Ok I think that has killed the idea.

 

This is why I love the internet. Thanks for the input - everybody too - looks like I need to think smaller for my first diorama!

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I think a better option to explore (as well as being a lot cheaper and lighter) would be to just mount it in an acrylic case. If you're not too ambitious with the sea state then cutting a U-Boat shape out of an acrylic sheet to fit around the boat supporting it vertically, you can then do all the acrylic medium stuff on top of it and hide any longitudinal joint quite effectively as well as fill in any imperfections where it meets the hull will all work quite well.

 

To avoid complete transparency, you can tint the acrylic sides of what's effectively a fish tank with translucent bluish green. The beauty of this is that you can build it up slowly and try your boat in to see what visual effect you get.

 

Just like an actual fish tank with water in it, you'll find that a solid resin casting isn't actually all that good for viewing the model inside - it's fine absolutely square on to the side of the piece but look at an angle and refraction does all sorts of weird things so you can't really admire your model as much as perhaps envisaged.

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1 hour ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

I think a better option to explore (as well as being a lot cheaper and lighter) would be to just mount it in an acrylic case. If you're not too ambitious with the sea state then cutting a U-Boat shape out of an acrylic sheet to fit around the boat supporting it vertically, you can then do all the acrylic medium stuff on top of it and hide any longitudinal joint quite effectively as well as fill in any imperfections where it meets the hull will all work quite well.

 

To avoid complete transparency, you can tint the acrylic sides of what's effectively a fish tank with translucent bluish green. The beauty of this is that you can build it up slowly and try your boat in to see what visual effect you get.

 

Just like an actual fish tank with water in it, you'll find that a solid resin casting isn't actually all that good for viewing the model inside - it's fine absolutely square on to the side of the piece but look at an angle and refraction does all sorts of weird things so you can't really admire your model as much as perhaps envisaged.

I really like this idea. Challenging to have one sheet of acrylic support the weight of this behemoth, but I suppose a couple of mm thick might take it, although what any glue strong enough to hold would do to the transparent plastic side is risky?

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1 hour ago, Dave Swindell said:

It is possible to do this, but I'd suggest it takes a lot of skill and will involve a steep learning curve, especially on the scale that you're talking about

 


Thanks, yes skill indeed. I saw this earlier today, it’s pretty special - and about 1/12 the size of what I’m (was) envisaging!

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