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Papier Mache Narrowboat

Papier Mache Narrowboat by Chris Shilling

Chris Shilling has successfully completed his papier mache narrowboat. Here you can follow the project from start to finish. [Updated 25/05/06]

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  • Date addedAdded: May 13, 2005
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The hull eventually took a top coat with a quality (although far from perfect) that I was satisfied with. I confess that I actually dropped the hull after what I thought was the final coat, and had to repair a dent and re-spray it.


Quality finish
Quality finish

Here's a diagram that I drew ages ago, to map out the colour scheme I would aim for. As you can see, I ended up not a million miles away from it.


Original drawing
Original drawing

I have to say that there is always something rather nice about fitting the propeller to a model boat for the first time. I had of course fitted the prop as a trial, to make sure that it didn't foul the rudder and so on, but this was the first time since the boat had been painted. The prop is brass, and looks very good, and somehow "fitting".


Fitting the propellor
Fitting the propellor

The rear of the boat required a bit of logical thinking. The servo (a type of mini robot arm that pushes the lever that works the rudder) is housed inside the boat. The rudder tiller is in the semicircular piece at the back. The deck at the back of the boat is therefore a false deck. Underneath it is the rudder tiller and the steel bar that links it to the servo. The bar, of course, runs through a small hole in the back of the boat (at the straight edge of the semicircle).


Inner workings
Inner workings

One thing that you will note about the exterior of the boat, is that it lacks a lot of detailed structures. The reason for this is that I don't like drawing things onto models (such as lines in marker pen, to represent doors). Also, I hate to see small "doll" figures and so on, stuck onto boats. It makes them look a little sinister in my opinion. I also vowed that I would not use anything for the boat structure other than paper (and paper products and glue of course). There is absolutely no wood of any kind in it. Nor is there any plastic. Therefore, the tiller at the stern, and the brass rails on the roof, would have been a little too much for me to attempt to make out of nothing but paper, so are, I'm afraid missing.

I've still not yet decided what to do about the windows. Waterproofed tracing paper seems to be a good and likely option, but they'll be fitted after the maiden voyage, I think.


Exterior of boat
Exterior of boat