First, do your research. I found the plans for the Minotaur class cruisers in my copy of "Jane's AtWFS 1914". Since I build my models to a 1 /1200 "toy scale", the 520 foot long hull would need to be five inches long. The beam is an over-sized one and a half inches.
The materials for these ships would be 3/16" balsa sheet wood(I buy mine in 6"x36" planks), 1/16"x1/8" basswood strips (for gun barrels), 3/16" dowels (for stacks), 3/16"square basswood (for small turrets), 3/16"x1/4" basswood( for large turrets) 1/4"x3/8" balsa (for the bridge) and cocktail skewers (for the masts).
Next, the hulls cut from the 3/16' balsa plank. Two pieces, 1-1/2"x5" are glued and pressed for an hour under the weight of the flatiron. I have pressed up to five hulls under the iron at one time with fine results.
After the glue sets, it is time to draw the hull shape. I wanted a sleek look, so I marked the ends at the 1/4", 1/2", 3/4" 1" and 1-1/4" points. I went down the long sides and marked 1", 1-1/2" and 2". The end 3/4" mark was joined to the side 1" marks. The ends 1/2' and 1' marks were joined to their nearest side 1-1/2' marks, and the 1/4" and 1-1/4" end marks were joined to the side 2" marks. This was done at both bow and stern.
The razor saw was used to cut away scrap from the bow and stern.
The raised quarterdeck was built using the above method, then glued in place and weighted.
The rough hull and quarterdeck is sanded to a smoother shape.
Small parts are mass produced. These include turrets, guns, stacks, bridges and masts. Here a pin vise is used to drill the mounting hole for a mast in the main bridge.
Here is a finished Minotaur next to a hull and all the small parts.
Work goes quickly at this stage. Mounting the small guns is tedious, though and requires tweezers for my hands.
The last part goes on!
The HMS Minotaur and sister ship Defence. Later that evening I finished the Shannon, and the HMS Warrior(1905)
Building these ships produced enough scrap balsa to heat several 15mm scale cities.
Start time to finish for four ships was less than two evenings, even with the modified pace of picture taking. It is fun work, and most ships are launched at a cost of $1.00US or less. This week I will give the finished models a coat of white glue as a sealer, then paint them and apply ensigns printed by Spike.
"On the Mediterranean patrol"
NEXT SUNDAY: " An Enemy Then Flying" The Goeben vs the Royal Navy; What if...?