Stern castle windows and lantirns : the transparency

Joined
May 7, 2021
Messages
34
Points
58

I wish to start a new thread concerning the transparent "stuffs" that we fix upon our ship-models. This is for me an important concern because I if am used to build (my personal experience) @ the 1/75th scale, I am (for the moment) a beginner @ the 1/48th scale and I am deeply thinking (even philosophically) to the different methods available to artefact the transparency stuff, mainly in the stern area of a shipmodel. If I start this thread, this is obviously for sharing something new with all of you and it happens (I read it some days ago in the French review "Bateau Modèle" N° 127 dated february 2016) that the very well known and clever French modelist Denis Désormières pointed out (from Boudriot monographies) that vessels rear lantirns were made (in XVIIth century) in glass or in animal's horn. And Denis Desormières "invented" a new "tour de main" for manufacturing the transparent part of his lantirns. Those lantirns have a well known shape as they are from the "Ambitieux".

I have recently purchased from India some plates made of cow horns, they are of a light honey color, they are quite transparent BUT their thickness cannot be under 3 millimeters and this is not suitable for a model.

In a first step, I wish your (if you permit me) contribution to indicate what are your preferences and for what reasons :

The main used technics being are roughly speaking polymetacrylate (PMMA) v/s glass.

A tricky use of PMMA could maybe be for the use of curved surfaces.

I HAVE NO EXPERIENCE for the PMMA use because I do use cleavable mica (a natural silicate) which permits me to have low thickness plates.

... but I cannot bend them !

As for glass, I also use rectangular microscopic "lamelles" which are 22 x 32 x 1 mm thick. You have to break a lot of them for filling a window frame !
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 7, 2021
Messages
34
Points
58

Sorry ; I pressed by mistake upon a wrong computer key and my initial message has been incidentally edited ... without having been read again ! Anyway, what are your preferred methods and uses for dealing with the "transparency" in a modelship @ the 1/48th scale ? And how do you solve the problem of curves you may find into stern lantirns ? This is my question !

Moreover, please excuse my approximative english wording which could not be as accurate as my native language !

;)
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
21
Points
58

Location
France
Hello,
I think plexiglass is a good solution. B. Frölich speaks in his book about a model maker who had dipped the frame of the lantern in varnish which he had allowed to harden. The result was impeccable for B. Frölich; Coming from him, there is no doubt!
 
Joined
May 7, 2021
Messages
34
Points
58

- Plexiglass is a first solution but how thin are the plates you can get from plexiglass ?

- Concerning B. Frölich, this process is exactly how I experimented when I was a teenager ; I used to make my own "varnish" by melting expanded polystyrene into trichloroethylene ... but recent laws and regulations have forbidden (in France) the use of trichloroethylene.

I used this mixture for waterproofing the hulls of the RC models I was building.

Denis Désormière has described (in the Bateau Modèle review) he was using layers of dried white wood glue.

My purpose (now) is to try again with the trichloroethylene solvent, upon different plastics and see how it looks like.

Maxi : could you please find out a little more precisely what B. Frölich indicated about this other model maker ?

Thumbsup
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
21
Points
58

Location
France
There is no precision. It was the lantern of the Salamandre at 1/24. (it's in The Art of Model Making)
 

Maarten

Staff member
Forum Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
2,419
Points
628

Location
The Netherlands
Depending on the size of the glass needed you can use different methodes. For small glass panes I use liquid glass called clear weld, it is a milky type of glue drying completely transparent.
20210408_200818.jpg20210408_201239.jpg20210409_184745.jpg

For larger windows microscopic glass if you don t need to bend or shape it.

And when shaping is required use Mica, this was also used on contemporary models.
 
Joined
May 7, 2021
Messages
34
Points
58

This is a really clever "tour de main" Maarten ; less dangerous than my trichloroethylene !

The fundamental problem (to resolve) is the surfactant capacities of the chemical product you are using. Clear weld is suitable for little surfaces ... but for more complicated surfaces, you would need to enhance and "help" the surfacting.

My basic idea (for making the glasses of the stern lantirns) would be to manufacture the metallic armature (could be welded or casted) of the lantirn and to insert into it a clay support on which I will skillfully deposit the droplets of the surfacting solution. Thereafter and when dried, you remove the clay support. Moreover, you could orientate horizontally the lantirn so that gravity helps in the making of the "bubble" form.

I have (very recently) purchased trichloroethylene and I will do it my way ... but I will also purchase the clear weld ... and see it it sticks (or not) upon the clay support ... so that we could somehow mould it !

Thank you Maarten ! Thumbsup
 
Joined
May 7, 2021
Messages
34
Points
58

In the French review "Bateau Modèle" N° 127 dated february 2016, Denis Désormières used ordinary vinylic glue (which becomes transparent once dried). I may suppose that "clear welde" is somehow chemically similar within vinylic chemistry ... or is it roughly different ? Is there someting special written about the chemical composition of this "clear welde" ?

A new idea (I will try right now) would be to add an active surfactant (like liquid soap) to vinylic glue ... and wait (lol) until it dries ? ... I have written "lol" because I will perhaps wait for months and months for this mixture to dry ... I will anyway try and let you informed !
 

Maarten

Staff member
Forum Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
2,419
Points
628

Location
The Netherlands
In the French review "Bateau Modèle" N° 127 dated february 2016, Denis Désormières used ordinary vinylic glue (which becomes transparent once dried). I may suppose that "clear welde" is somehow chemically similar within vinylic chemistry ... or is it roughly different ? Is there someting special written about the chemical composition of this "clear welde" ?

A new idea (I will try right now) would be to add an active surfactant (like liquid soap) to vinylic glue ... and wait (lol) until it dries ? ... I have written "lol" because I will perhaps wait for months and months for this mixture to dry ... I will anyway try and let you informed !
I think it is very similar to PVA like you mention. I will se if I can get a TDS or MSDS of the product.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
891
Points
403

Location
Woudrichem, Netherlands
For all the windows of my Robert E. Lee, I used transparant printing sheets. On the print side you can also draw ink lines.
Or the ticker transparant A4 covers for presantation maps. Easy to cut, bend, fold and curved.
Regards, Peter
 
Joined
May 7, 2021
Messages
34
Points
58

1 - I have started with my mixture of vinylic glue + 1 drop of liquid soap !
I have spread it out (with the needle) upon a PTFE flooring and I am using an horology spring arounding the mixture.

2 - Moreover, instead of trichloroethylène (supposed quite dangerous), I will use Methyl Ethyl Keton (I have received the bottle today) and I will use it to dissolve expanded polystyrene. I will first check if it dissolves it as well as trichloroethylene did (I was widely using when teenager) !

Essai_Vinyle.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 26, 2013
Messages
261
Points
128

I've used white glue for windows since I was a kid. One thing that really improves the look is to add a drop or a layer of clear gloss varnish on the outside after the glue has dried clear. This fills the meniscus and adds a shiny, glassy looking coat.
 
Joined
May 7, 2021
Messages
34
Points
58

Hello ! I have put a double layer of vinylic glue + a drop of liquid soap, let it dry (only 24 hours between each layer) and the result is fabulous, thanks to the liquid soap which really enhances the thixotropy of the vinylic glue. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thixotropy

The transparency is really interesting and the most important concern is that there is NOT any meniscus ; all the surface is absolutely flat. This proves that we can fill larger windows with this process. About the color, let's say that it really looks like old opaline lamps.

I send you hereunder a photo ; the dimension of the probe is 10 x 17 millimeters and you can even press firmly your nail upon it ; it's not fragile at all.

:)

Resultat_vinyle.jpg
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
121
Points
113

I found my solution to window creation some time ago. I cannot take credit for it. I believe someone right here on SoS suggested this solution, but for the life of me cannot find the post in order to give that shipwright full credit.

I use Mica, it's a mineral in the silicate family and sister or brother to the mineral to silica, which is commonly used for inspection windows on furnaces and woodstoves due to its immunity to heat.
20210522_121558.jpg20210522_121624.jpg


I found mine on eBay. I think it was about 30 USD for the package. Trust me a little goes a long way. I cut it using a single edge razor blade. You can also use the razor blade to insert between the layers to separate and create thinner pieces. The thinner, the more transparent, but as you can see from the photo, it is pretty transparent to begin with.
20210522_122106.jpg
20210522_122117.jpg
20210522_122244.jpg

It is very realistic in its appearance and even in larger scale applications, it appears like glass, with little imperfections. After all glass back in the 17th-19th centuries contained imperfections and would have a wavy appearance.
20210522_131245.jpg

20210522_132324.jpg

20210522_132420.jpg

20210522_132423.jpg

I decided to build a couple of small windows (1/100 scale) to provide an example.

Rethinking it now, I wish I demonstrated in a larger scale, but the Admiral has stated the next few hours on today's schedule requires I accompany her on yard sales. o_O Oh wait, I meant to say YAY!!! :p;)

Give it a go, you won't be sorry. I mean the Mica, not the yard sales.

Anyway, I hope this helps.
Cheers,
Ken
 

Maarten

Staff member
Forum Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
2,419
Points
628

Location
The Netherlands
I think the added value of using the pva glue type of solution you can really create a glass pane in the window frame and not behind it like in reality.
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
121
Points
113

I've tried PVA Maarten and do like its transparency. But, because of its viscosity it tends to hang/drip from the edges and corners and to me looks like PVA in a window that forms a puddle and not a window pane. Just my humble opinion.
 
Joined
May 7, 2021
Messages
34
Points
58

Hello Hoss 6262 ; I also use mica sheets for my models at the 1/75th scale because I always found it beautiful as for its transparency/reflectance ... but my problem now is to find something which has the optical mica properties (qualities) and which could be bent (for 1/48th scale lantirns). My probe filled with vinylic glue + 1 drop of liquid soap has no menisc, but its viscosity "fills" the hedges and corners => a possible good solution for getting curved glasses would be to prepare them (without the frame), and fix them to the curved frame afterwards. I send hereunder some examples of lantirns (and windows) I realized @ 1/75th scale : IMHO, the result is far better than using glass or PMMA ! Moreover, when you take a photo with the flash, you observe (depending the plane of incidence) a very "natural like" effect !


New-1.jpgNew-2.jpgNew-3.jpg
 
Joined
May 24, 2018
Messages
173
Points
103

Location
Auckland, New Zealand
This is an interesting challenge and the solution depends on the period of your ship. Older ships (pre early 17th century) usually had windows made of horn where were somewhat translucent, and even early glass had a lot of imperfections which made it less than crystal clear. That's why the white glue idea is good because it captures that look. I've used that technique but find that it is very difficult to get the texture just right and even. On my most recent built (Sergal Soleil Royale) I replaced the metal windows with laser cut ply and for window panes used a plastic office folder. The folders come in different colors and the yellow one seemed to make nice translucent windows and are very easy to work with--just cut to size with scissors and glue to the inside of the window. Here are some pics.

DSC03885.JPGDSC03901.JPGDSC03903.JPGDSC03997.JPGDSC04000.JPGDSC04012.JPG
 
Joined
May 7, 2021
Messages
34
Points
58

Hi Thomas, the plastic office folder is an interesting idea for its transparency and its ability to be bent. Moreover, you glue it behind the inside part of the windows and there are no more viscosity problems (with the frames of the windows). Maybe would it be interesting to enhance his aspect by layering some transparent varnish on the exterior face of the sheet ? Following your idea to have some irregularities (due to the imperfect XVII th century glasses manufacturing), maybe use a full transparent plastic office folder + 1 pale color stain layer + 1 layer of transparent varnish (it helps for a better reflectance) ?

:)

PS : the exact word in French is "lasure" for "stain" ( I hope my translation is correct).
 
Top