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Scratchbuilding the NRP Alvares Cabral

  • NRP Alvares Cabral
Cut, glue, filler, filler, sand, sand, sand...
Motivated by all this info and goodies, and with the MSW members support, the project started to take shape, day by day at a rate that I wasn't really used to!

Perhaps I should start to tell the scratchbuilding experience, right?

Well, the hull top shape was cut in accordance to the plan top view and then layers of 1mm evergreen were glued with Tamiya Extra fine liquid cement, clamped and let dry for about an hour - just for sure!

After that, I removed the clamps and using negative cuts for the rib curves, I sanded and checked, sanded and checked until they match all the length of the hull. This was one of the most difficult parts of the project and the start of this adventure, mainly because it is the most noticeable feature of a ship and being able to capture it or not, could make this a "Titanic"...

After this, it was a question of analyzing the plans and dismantle the superstructures in a way that I could make them in a convincing way. A already known motto is applied here: measure twice, cut once!
This is really very important, especially at this small scale, half of millimeter more (or less) could turn a disaster. Another thing that I could advice anyone that is willing to try a project like this is to use for some more risky areas, brass! This tip was given by Harry Abbott from Battlefleet Models. You could use the edges of PE sets or any source of thin brass, but these are valuable for ships bow (as you can see in some photos, it lost some of it's sharpness and needed a surgical replacement that wasn't easy to preform!) and also curved guards.

The rest of the superstucture and smaller details were made one by one, checking the plans and since most of them are box shaped, it was a question of patiently making little boxes with evergreen.
Box by box, all was starting to get shape, and smaller details started to be added.... small squared/cubic shaped ventilators on the main deck (drilled the hull in place, inserted a rod of streched sprue and on top, a cubic section of evergreen square rod drilled on the bottom part for security - this looks easy, but if you think that the square portion had 1 mm and I had to preform this about 32 times, it can get a little bit tedious!). Another interesting and characteristic detail was the wind deflector on the forward edge and adjacent sides of the open bridge. These were accomplished again with small strips of evergreen. First, you have to place the "braces" (0.5 mm x 1 mm) around the bridge in 2 mm intervals - this revealed difficult, because the parts were so small that the contact with Tamiya Extra Thin Glue melted them! I managed to glue all the braces in place, and then fitted the long horizontal parts easily - it really gave another look to the bare bridge!
Other details were placed using the photos as reference, and it was time to get to the PE parts!
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral
  • NRP Alvares Cabral

About the Author

About Rui Matos (skipper)

Hi all Crew Members!
Rui Matos, 39 years old (in 2006), married, former Portuguese Navy Fire Control Radar Operator , and "owned" by two cats - James, Stripes (Riscas in portuguese, now deceased) and Moon (Lua)!
I've been modeling since I was 6, but only have turned to Submarines in 1991 o...


Hi Guys The writing is updated - THANK YOU SO MUCH FRANK Skipper
FEB 01, 2008 - 05:51 AM
Great read Rui. I look forward to your next build. Frank
FEB 01, 2008 - 03:27 PM
Hey Skipper, You and gunny just got me talked into doing a 1/700 build with water base and now you want us to try scratch building......I'll get brain fry for sure......LOL! P.S. Great build skipper and great article.
FEB 01, 2008 - 05:24 PM
Hi Frank (wildspear) I think that you should try it - not now, without stress - when you feel comfortable and confident, you will It's a different level of scale modeling, and it doesn't mean that you will stop buying/building "branded" plastic/resin models. It's just pushing to the next level what we usually make, when you have to build "corrected" parts To Frank Portela Glad you liked it - again, Thank you for reading it and pointing the missing text part (I haven't noticed it) Cheers, Skipper
FEB 02, 2008 - 08:29 AM
Rui, RE: NRP Alvares Cabral, wow! I mean WOW-WOW! It looks like a much larger scale, you have included so much fine detail, so well done, an awesome project. Excellent photo documenting too, really shows the progress form idea to gorgeous miniature ship! Top stuff.
FEB 02, 2008 - 11:46 AM
Superb job indeed and splendid and detailed article. What follows the Alvares Cabral???
FEB 04, 2008 - 07:39 PM
Ahhh - after our meeting today and the "discovered treasure" God only knows!!! Thanks Filipe Thanks also Wink - I guess my next one is going to be more perfect - after all this was my first one Cheers Rui (aka Skipper)
FEB 05, 2008 - 12:23 AM
Rui, having just started my first ever 1/700 ship build (HMS Liverpool) I am truly stunned a what you have created here. It really is a fantastic build! Please accept my apologies for my cheek but may I humbly, humbly make one small observation? I really hate to do this as I am a total newbie even in comparison to this but, the Davit the port boat is hanging from should be forward (towards the hull and lowered in line with the ships side) to launch the boat. At the moment it is in the stowed position and the lines and boat are at an angle to the hull. I really feel bad for mentioning this but I noticed it almost straight away. This is lovely, cracking build Skipper and one you should be very proud of!
FEB 05, 2008 - 04:26 AM
Hi Murdo Don't need to apologize That was a "repairing" situation because I didn't scratch the boat - and I had the davit already in the proper position. When I went to fix the boat in place (a spare part from the box) it didn't fit - that is why I have made it in that situation. You don't need to feel bad - it's something I am aware and only because of my "clever idea" of using a similar boat You were paying attention - never be afraid of telling your thoughts! I appreciate it Cheers mate Skipper
FEB 05, 2008 - 04:36 AM
"first one" - even MORE WOW, because that looks like it took about 25 practices. If you ever do a larger scale scratch, you'll have folks buying tickets for a ride! The documentation you did was also excellent, it really was a part of the project, too, becasue we readers get to learn about the model and the subject, and it really adds a lot. Best, Wink
FEB 05, 2008 - 03:44 PM