Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Irwin Allen Model Building, Peter Holton Style.

   Peter Holton is a self-taught model builder who knows his stuff.  He describes a very intuitive model building process. "I picked up on scratch building by altering out-of-the box kits, then by taking a lump of balsa wood and cutting the side profile of a craft into it .then I cut the shape as though looking down on it. After a lot of sanding, sealing, and spraying in gray primmer, you have the basic model."  But peter has a different approach for the construction of larger models like Spindrift seen below.

Read below how Peter gets to this pre-mold stage.

Wood skeleton-like model frame.

bluebul_reversed.gif - 362 Bytes  First off, Peter makes a basic skeleton of the craft he is going to build, starting with the side elevation--what the ship looks like from the side.  Then, working from available diagrams and blueprints, he creates the front view outline--what the craft looks like from the front at its widest point, cut out of plywood (rather than cardboard) for a larger model like Spindrift.  That is  affixed to the side-view piece at the appropriate location, in the case of Spindrift, well toward the rear of the craft. 

bluebul_rotated_up.gif - 206 Bytes  Successive cross-pieces are are created forward and backward from this largest piece, again using blueprints, photos, and a healthy dose of guess-work. This really sounds like the fun part, using one's eye and judgment to get the framework just right.  As Peter explains it, , " This is mostly guess work.  You know that the height and width are right of your formers ,but they may not be right in contour this is where you can cut the plywood down or add to until your happy with the shape of your formers.

Goopy-looking, huh?        Now comes the messy part.  Peter uses blocks of foam between the formers, which he cuts, sands and pleads, and when that doesn't work, badgers into the rough contour he wants.  There is light at the end of the tunnel, but also a lot more work to come.   Form in transition.

Form taking shape.

    When he's satisfied with this stage of the build, he starts troweling on car body filler.  He fills and sands, fills and sands, until he has a glass-like finish on the model.  Peter makes it all sound so simple.  I would love to to observe and see just how much creative swearing comes from all this work.    bluebul.gif - 266 Bytes   Gettin' there.

Smooth, huh?

bluebul_reversed.gif - 362 Bytes  Look's  like Peter is close to reaching that smooth glass-like stage required for molding.  At right--Spindrift minus one or two parts that need to be added for the complete model outline.  

Model is almost ready to be sent off to be Fiberglass molded.

    In Peter's own words: "Spindrift is nearly ready (see photo above) for molding.  The pen marks (below red arrow) are there for me start to recess the window areas and main door entrance ,the model is then ready for molding.  The mold is made from Fiberglass,  the casting of the model is also Fiberglass.  When it comes out of the mold, the model is almost complete.  
holton_tease_2.jpg - 11912 Bytes       

To find out just how nicely
Peter's Spindrift came out,
Click Here 

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