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Steel hull

Aged look with rivets

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David Howe 624/01/2021 13:27:49
1 forum posts

Im about to start a steam drifter build, I would appreciate any advice on creating an authentic look of a riveted steel hull, it a table top model, won’t be going in the water.

Colin Bishop25/01/2021 10:19:22
4967 forum posts
6089 photos
410 articles

Hi David,

Welcome to the Forum. Methods or representing plating with riveting rather depend on what scale you are building to so give us a bit more info please.


Dave Cooper 625/01/2021 10:40:09
305 forum posts
32 photos

Hello David

As it's a display model will it be to 'shipyard' or, 'in-service' finish ?

If it's in-service, and to a fairly large scale, I would be inclined to put a dribble of rust from the rivets, and to fittings below the waterline and some deck fittings - winches etc. I think Humbrol and Revell do 'rust finish' paints....

Try a little here and there to begin with as these things can be over-done.

Have fun,

Dave C

Ray Wood 225/01/2021 10:53:22
2485 forum posts
862 photos

Hi David,

Plating could be paper stuck on & sealed, I have had success with PVA glue applied with a cocktail stick, try a trial section and see how you go, for best spacing measure & draw the centres of your rivets in a straight line .

As Colin says it will depend on the scale.

Regards Ray

Edited By Ray Wood 2 on 25/01/2021 10:54:27

ashley needham25/01/2021 10:55:08
7323 forum posts
156 photos

Various people (not me) have used I think cartridge paper or plastic card and punched (rivets) in this from the back then applied the plates to the hull.

In theory you could dob PVA on with a cocktail stick to represent rivets.

Have to bear in mind how big the rivets would actually be at scale of course.


Colin Bishop25/01/2021 11:03:27
4967 forum posts
6089 photos
410 articles

David tells me it is 1/48 scale so the suggestions above are all good.


James Hill 525/01/2021 11:33:57
126 forum posts
94 photos

There are model companies who do strips of rivet detail that can be used on steel bridges etc in the model railway world. I think they come on an adhesive backed strip. You might be able to adapt for your model. Try Google model rivet detail.


neil howard-pritchard25/01/2021 16:43:15
1921 forum posts
1747 photos

if you are going down the road of making your plating from heavy grade paper or thinner card......this tool is invaluable...i used it on my 1;48 scale trawlers and their plates and ran the tool on the inside of the paper plate which embosses a rivet head equally spaced and equal in size to the outside of the card.

used it many times when building trawlers and tugs.

the easiest way i ever found to put rivets onto card.


2Pcs Sewing Spacer Wheel Tools Tracing Wheel Leather Punching Hole Maker Paper | eBay

Edited By neil howard-pritchard on 25/01/2021 16:44:43

Bob Abell26/01/2021 09:25:41
9317 forum posts
2976 photos

Hello David Howe

A few years ago, I built a large model of the PS Great Eastern and I also fancied the "Riveted steel appearance"

The model was 7 feet in length and a plain painted black hull needed the touch of antiquity?

I used thickish card about 0.018" thick and in strips about 18mm wide and about 12" long. For the rivets,I used a blunt spring loaded centre punch, for rivet size consistency;

The card was glued to the hull using PVA

When dry, it was a shear pleasure to paint the hull with semi matt black paint

The effect was splendid

Photo`s to follow



Bob Abell26/01/2021 09:40:30
9317 forum posts
2976 photos

The GE rivet photo`s......

You may ask any questions if necessary


Rivets and hull plating

Weathering and rust

Rust effect

Paddlebox plating


Bob Abell

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