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View Full Version : FIRST CASUALTY, WHAT TO DO WHEN THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENS



Cpt Kangaroo
02-16-2014, 21:45
I usually discourage players from wearing long sleeves, but it has been real cold lately so it can't be helped.

During handling, a sleeve caught a mast and 'snappo!', down it went.

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Unlike the metal ships, these don't bend. So now that the damage is done, I figured I may as well get the best from a bad situation and show how to repair a mast when this happens.

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To begin, we have to drill out the old mast bits and create a strong seat for the replacement. Always start with a very small drill bit and step up, making a pilot hole and using larger bits until you get to the size needed. Trying to do it all at once can only make it worse.

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The next step is to trim off the remaining mast on the assembly, using a scoring method. Take your time with this step, as it will make a lot better repair if the cutting is clean. MAKE SURE YOU RETAIN THIS PIECE FOR MEASUREMENTS LATER.

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Note the notch method of cutting in the top of the mast. By doing this, there is not as much stress on the tree. Plus the final is clean and perfect for the drilling portion of the mast tree. Use the same 'step' method as described above.

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Cpt Kangaroo
02-16-2014, 21:53
Just a quick suggestion, make yourself a little 'Feeler Gage' to measure the depth of the drilled holes. This is very important when trying to get the replacement the right length. To make the gage, simply insert a piece of wire through some plastic. Done!

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I chose some Brass tubing for my replacement material, though wire would work fine too. The main thing is to match the thickness. For this repair, I chose 1/16 as the best size.

Using my feeler gage, I measured the depth of the 'Step', hole on the deck and marked the brass rod with a lead pencil. Then, laying the rod beside the trimming from the original mast, mark the mast bands. Then using your gage, measure the depth of the seating hole and mark it on the rod. I now have the correct length for cutting, and marks where to wrap the straps. I used a hobby file make the cut, mainly to prove it is just a affective as a Dremel tool.

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A suggestion before making the cut, use either thin wire or thread to create the mast straps. Lock the rod or tape it to a box. Using super glue, pre damp the thread or wire with the glue, then wrap it around the rod at the marks. Once the glue is set, snip the ends so it will be smooth. Try to align the cuts in a row, so when you set the replacement in place, they can be hidden at the glue point.

Cpt Kangaroo
02-16-2014, 21:54
Having completed the replacement mast, I have glued it in place. Use a filler to hide the gap. Not having any on hand, I used some J B Weld, which worked fine. (Not as good as a filler though)

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I then masked the assembly and sprayed it with primer. Then I painted the mast yellow. (If you were planning to do mast enhancement, this would be a good starting point.) I chose to go with the original paint job for the purposes of this thread.

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I have now glued the mast back in place, it is stronger than the original. Good luck if you have to do this yourself.

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Coog
02-16-2014, 22:07
I noticed you had a tube of Testors model cement. Is the original mast made out of styrene or a similar plastic that melts when plastic cement is applied to it?

Andy Blozinski
02-16-2014, 22:09
That's some pretty good thinking for a sturdy repair method. If I were more of a modeler, I'd consider just removing every mast and completely replacing them ahead of time.

Nightmoss
02-16-2014, 22:17
Excellent thread and photos. Thanks for sharing! :hatsoff:

Gargantulance
02-16-2014, 22:29
Primo thoughts, grazie!
You certainly have a nice collection of tools… I'm thinking you've done something like this before!

fredmiracle
02-16-2014, 22:31
wow I wish I was that handy. Nothing I try like this ever works in the slightest. When the kids bring me a broken toy to fix I say "sure, but it will take a few days for the glue to set" and out it goes into the pile of misfit toys in the garage, never to be played with again. I've given up even trying.

Impressive!

Cpt Kangaroo
02-17-2014, 08:06
I noticed you had a tube of Testors model cement. Is the original mast made out of styrene or a similar plastic that melts when plastic cement is applied to it?

Bobby, this is a very good point and one of the reasons I included the glue in the pic.

Part of the damage was that the spar tip was broken. I decided to try this type of glue and see what the results would be.

Testors glue is designed as a Cohesive cement, which is supposed to soften the original material and 'fuse' the two together. Super glue types are 'Adhesives', which is where the glue itself bonds to the material.

When I tried the Testors glue, it did not have any real fusion. The ships are made of a more 'plasticy' material, so I am not sure the best glue to use.

I did use super glue on the mast repair and stepping, which held real well.

Maybe someone reading this could enlighten us all as to the type of plastic used for these models.

Cpt Kangaroo
02-17-2014, 21:11
Primo thoughts, grazie!
You certainly have a nice collection of tools… I'm thinking you've done something like this before!

One of the best investments I have made was buying a set of mini drill bits.

I found them in a flea market for about $5.

Over the years, I have had to repair a few, though metal is a bit harder to work with.

Berthier
02-18-2014, 03:30
Impressive thread Erin, I accept my fixing skills are not good and would just stick the bugger back on and if that didnt work turn it into a wreck and try and source a new one :happy: A man has to know his limitations....

Cpt Kangaroo
02-18-2014, 11:36
Impressive thread Erin, I accept my fixing skills are not good and would just stick the bugger back on and if that didnt work turn it into a wreck and try and source a new one :happy: A man has to know his limitations....

I like your thinking...

I believe that if there were an abundance of models out there, I would have been inclined to do the same. Remove the masts and 'hulk' the ship, and make 'downed mast' markers.

I will keep that in mind for future when I have to deal with other damages.:minis:

Bionic Wookie
02-19-2014, 11:38
I like your thinking...

I believe that if there were an abundance of models out there, I would have been inclined to do the same. Remove the masts and 'hulk' the ship, and make 'downed mast' markers.

I will keep that in mind for future when I have to deal with other damages.:minis:

I think one can get sets of masts from Landon designed to be markers for fallen masts. Another though would be extra sail sets from GHQ or Langdon. Heck, I think it would be possible to built some with sculpting putty that would look decent.:Arrrr:

Пилот
02-19-2014, 14:20
Bravo Erin! It was serious operation, and patient seems alive and sound:beer:

Naharaht
02-20-2014, 21:15
Well done, Erin, that was very impressive! :clap: All I would have thought of doing was trying to stick it with superglue.

mt1ss bob
02-20-2014, 23:22
awesome job hope that this gets saved because i am sure many more are going to be broken

Cpt Kangaroo
04-03-2014, 14:20
Just circling back on this one, did anyone know what type of plastic is used and have you found a good glue type for repairs?

:question:

Nightmoss
04-03-2014, 15:52
Just circling back on this one, did anyone know what type of plastic is used and have you found a good glue type for repairs?

:question:

Erin, I don't know what kind of plastic they use on the masts. I think it might be different than that what's used on the hull, but am not sure. I've had one break occur on the top part of the mizzen mast and was able to use super glue to hold the mast in place until it set. I don't think that would work if there's no way to hold or grip the parts together until the glue has done its job.

Cpt Kangaroo
05-29-2014, 20:46
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I have been looking over the wave 2 ships, and the comments given on Jim's thread.
He has presented an awesome repair technique, which will be strong and relatively quick to do.
After some mention of 'flex' in the masts, I may just go ahead and do the above process.

Nightmoss
05-29-2014, 21:58
Erin, did you drill out the hull deck hole and re-seat the masts? If so, it looks great and is probably much faster than the method I've used.

Cpt Kangaroo
05-30-2014, 06:26
Jim, your method would be quicker and you don't have to fabricate a new mast. The key is the drill bits and 'stepping' the size. Have you tried a mid mast break repair yet and what was the outcome?
Yes, I drilled out the hull and stepped the new mast for the strength factor, same as under the cross tree.
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Once I receive my W2 ships, I will assess them.
If I end up with any 'wobbly' masts, that is when I would do the full fabricated mast replacement so it would be solid.

Nightmoss
05-30-2014, 09:19
Ah, I see what you mean now.

I've been fortunate in that none of the ships I've received had broken mainmasts. The mainmasts are definitely wobbly on the 1st rates, but that goes away almost completely when you rig them. If I decide not to rig and any of the masts are still in the too wobbly category I'll probably try to remove the mast and use the pin method to increase stability.

The other option I'm waiting on are the custom brass ratlines from Keith/Anchorage Store. If the ratlines for Wave 1 work on any of the Wave 2 ships their application would most likely add rigid stability in a relatively easy application (and they'd enhance the look of the ship at the same time).

Cpt Kangaroo
05-30-2014, 12:19
I agree, ratlines are a great idea. A 'win win' solution!