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Making Boot Stripes and waterlines .

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  • Member since
    June 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Making Boot Stripes and waterlines .
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, April 4, 2019 1:06 PM

Hi; Watchya doing?

     I am doing a Waterline/Bootstripe on the Charles De Gaulle . No, it isn't that difficult.Waterlines are tha bane of most builders because. The Tape when applied wants to squish aft and rise forward . Can't have that now can we ?

 Here's How many builders solve that problem and many have gone to their reward ,but, they did it too .All the way back to the days of wooden models for shipyards to sell their product to Navies .

    Get the model's DECK level with the surface it's on ! This can be done with LEGOS, stands or even scrap plastic turned into a cradle .Then make sure it is LEVEL fore and aft and port to starboard .This is a must !!.

 Now take a Brand new charcoal pencil or a number two shading pencil . Build a stand out of LEGO,scrap plastic and do this till your pencil touches the ship directly Midship, Level and straight .

     Gently start moving the pencil along the hull to the bow,go around to midships on the other side .You should have a very faint but straight line . Now proceed to the stern .Be careful here ! The line will fade out in spots on some types of ships Get to the rudder and center of the stern .Proceed to midships and pull away .

   Your line will be interupted because of the hull shape .Take a piece of square chalk and put it in the rig and connect the lines between where the pencil stopped and started . You have your line . Now take the number two soft pencil and go over the line Dust all the chalk off and wipe the hull with a soft cloth .

 Do Not press hard .Now using Tamiya tape, tape it and paint the line from the tape to the keel with low pressure or sweep your hand brush that way . let dry, Remove tape . Let dry 12 hours .Then come back and measure the height of your Boot Stripe . Re -Tape at that measurement over the stripe .

    Burnish the tape Only on the edge where the next color goes .Paint it .Remove tape and let dry 12 hours .Viola ! One Waterline /Bootstripe Done . T.B.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, April 4, 2019 1:15 PM

Thats a good description. I was afraid you were gonna say fill the bathtub with black paint.

Sometimes I'll make a whole series of little "tick" marks with the pencil and connect them when I apply the tape by holding it tight in both hands and placing it on a couple of ticks.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Friday, April 5, 2019 7:31 AM

For smaller craft...or in smaller scales...I've found that strips of black or dirty-bronze colored decal stock make boot-topping much less traumatic, much easier sometimes than trying to mask. A good light and a 'weather eye,' and it's pretty easy to get razor-straight sight lines down the hull sides, onvce you've marked your waterline.


George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, April 6, 2019 6:43 AM


Thats a good description. I was afraid you were gonna say fill the bathtub with black paint.



Anyone remember making microfilm by pouring lacquer on a tub of still water?  This was a covering material for indoor flying rubber models.  One put a frame bent from a metal coat hanger in the water before pouring the clear lacquer on the water.  After a short time you raised the frame up through the film, capturing it on the frame.  One then moved the wing or tail up through the frame, transferring the film to the model part.  The fuselage on those models was just a stick, so no need to cover that part.  The film was too light to even measure with any scale a modeler had.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January 2006
Posted by Paul Budzik on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 5:09 PM

I think you don't understand what boot topping is ... Boot topping is not an even stripe ... it is constant in depth as related to the waterline, as it wraps under the stern, it frequently becomes wider in absolute dimension.  In addition, marking the waterline and boot topping is best done with a surface gauge ... and there are inexpensive ones available.



  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, April 11, 2019 3:36 PM

I think that’s what tankerbuilder was getting at in his reference to “hull shape”.

The only way to get that right is to use short pieces of thin flexible tape. On my models, it’s a good thing that it’s difficult to see under the stern counter.

Now if you really want to go nuts, I have a picture of the stern of Borodino in drydock.

The draft marks are “Roman”, you know like XXI, and the sign painter followed the same rules. All of the numbers have the same true vertical height.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.



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