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How to fill gaps, finish wooden hull

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Martyn Huddlestone29/04/2020 08:13:43
1 forum posts

Hi, first time building a wooden rc boat from a kit, had some interesting challenges so far including pictured instructions with German text and english translations on a separate booklet, that doesn’t seem to match with the pictured instructions.

I’ve had some issues in assembling the hull, which has a mahogany? Too half and plain ply bottom. Assembling the top half was okay, but had real trouble holding the bottom half in place at the front of the keel whilst the glue dried. As a result, had some damage to the font lower keel on one side. Think I’ve managed to rectify this with some wood filler and copious sanding, just a number of other gaps to fill and prep now.

Looking for some advice in terms of how I finish/ waterproof the hull. Would like to keep the top half looking like mahogany, will be looking to paint the lower half and add a plimsoll line. Any advice would be gratefully received.

Dave Milbourn29/04/2020 08:18:39
4025 forum posts
282 photos

Have a look here for a few suggestions Finishing wooden hulls


Ray Wood 229/04/2020 08:31:51
2374 forum posts
831 photos

Hi Martyn,

On from Dave's glass cloth methods, I'd varnish all the mahogany parts before you risk getting resin & paint on them while your doing the ply bottom.

Regards Ray

Richard Hobson 228/06/2020 22:16:20
4 forum posts


I've also just started building this kit (first boat) The instructions seem to suggest just using sanding sealer - no tissue or glass cloth mentioned. Firstly can i substitute sanding sealer for a solvent based varnish? (Not sure where i can purchase sanding sealer from locally as never heard of it before) And Secondly, will there any detriment to the model not covering the hull in glass cloth/tissue? I'd be really interested to hear of the pros and cons. PS, for the finish i'd like to have a mix of the varnished veneer uppers and white painted hull.

Thanks Richard

(PS i'm also having issues with the English instructions not matching the German - all adds to the fun )

Ray Wood 229/06/2020 06:38:38
2374 forum posts
831 photos

Hi Richard,

Yes in my opinion varnish will be fine to seal birch ply and mahogany, sanding sealer is a cellulose based fast drying to raise the grain of balsa wood mainly for Aero modelling use, I still use it but it's relatively expensive.

Glass cloth & epoxy resin has come into favour for the softer types of construction of balsa & lite ply to strengthen and give harder surface for finishing,

Varnish will take longer to cure dependant on temprature, warmer the better, use cheap stuff & more expensive Ronseal, rub down between coats for a high gloss finish.

Regards Ray

Edited By Ray Wood 2 on 29/06/2020 06:39:34

Edited By Ray Wood 2 on 29/06/2020 06:42:08

Richard Hobson 229/06/2020 08:28:44
4 forum posts

Hi Ray,

Thanks for the info Thats great.

What i'm thinking is thinning Yacht varnish for a couple of coats (Using this inside and outside all over) Then painting the hull white (Although Not sure what type of paint to use???) and adding the other details like transfers then lots of coats of Varnish rubbed down between each until i get a good gloss finish.

I think that should give me a fairly durable good finish?

Could i use acryic paints for adding small details and varnish over it or will it react / disolve it?



Ray Wood 229/06/2020 08:44:00
2374 forum posts
831 photos

Hi Richard,

I'm old school using oil based Humbrol Enamels for most boats, my experience of acrylic paint is it need lots of coats to build up a solid colour ideal with an airbrush, many here are fans of wrattle spray cans for cars from say Halfords.

Having said all that I have just used some satin black water based paint from Wilkco's which covered well 😀 white is always a challenge !!

Keep us posted with your progress some photo's would be good and help others 😉

Regards Ray

Richard Hobson 229/06/2020 11:06:03
4 forum posts

Hi Ray,

Humbrol Enamels sound good. Think i've now got a reasonable plan of action. Really appreciated your input.

Yes, i'll post a few build and finish photos's as i go.

Many Thanks


Tim Cooper29/06/2020 11:51:03
411 forum posts
192 photos


I often use acrylic paint for some of the small details on models. My Italeri S100 boat conversion is completely painted using acrylics. I use Games Workshop and Vallejo paint. Once dry can be overvarnished without problems.


Colin Bishop29/06/2020 12:23:08
4890 forum posts
6087 photos
407 articles

It's probably best not to overpaint yacht varnish as it is intended as a top coat for above water only and is slightly flexible.

If money is no object then International Toplac Snow White is an excellent and hard wearing brush on paint.


On full size boats that spend most of their time in the water it is intended for topsides only but on a model it will be fine for the underwater hull.


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