Airfix Maudslay's 1827 Paddle Steamer Engine
Subconsciously I had already had the idea of presenting the steam engine as a museum exhibit, and soon I realised I could present it together with the model of a ship model in its own display box, with explanatory placards and museum visitors.
The steam engine kit looks as if it is about 1:32 scale. So I figured out that a museum model of a ship that size would be between 1:48 and 1:24 scale, and found that if I built my steamer in 1:700 – ish, I would be fairly OK.
The steam engine was built and painted as per the kit intructions. Despite the age of the molds, things fit fairly well and built well. Apart from my usual acrylics, I used Alclad II for the metallic parts and was quite happy with it. It seemed better not to try to make the engine workable, as that would have been quite tricky and would probably have been too much for the plastic pretty soon. The engine with its large green paddle wheel has a lot of visual impact and looks good by itself already. But I wanted more:
To simulate a brick plinth for the engine to be mounted on, I used depafit, a fine-grained styrofoam board coated on both sides with cardboard. The material is easily cut and carved, and easily painted and weathered. The tile floor was made from the same material.
The ship model was based on one of the hulls in a Tamiya set of 1:700 IJN auxiliaries that had a good size and shape. It was slightly modified and detailed using styrene stock, scrap PE, wire and brass tubing. For the rigging, PE ratlines by Atlantic Models and UNI flyfishing thread were used. The display case is a box in which HO scale model cars are being sold, its base is a piece of carved and painted styrofoam.
The railings were assembled from styrene tubing, the placards designed and printed via my computer. The three figures of visitors are Preiser prepainted model railroad figures. I think they add an authentic 1960ies air to the scenery. The diorama was placed inside a custom made display case by German company Sudu.
All in all this was another fun project, beyond my normal scope, and one that needed solutions for problems beyond my normal modeling fare. For that alone, it was inspiring and fun.
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