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Aircraft Carrier Deck Construction

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https://flic.kr/s/aHskGWzTAC.                       I started building these a few years ago. All of the supplies can be picked up at any home-improvement store. I can make them any size I need. I purchased the tie downs from Tom’s Model-works. I use Testors  Model Master enamels, and Tamiya acrylics to paint them. I normally use Hardwood Floor Sanding paper. I’ve  just recently started using regular sand paper from Lowes. The scale your displaying, will determining what grit of sandpaper you will use . If I want a tarmac display for a 1/144th scale jet, I use 220 grit.  If I want a carrier deck for a 1/32nd scale jet, I use 80 grit. 

           Once I’ve determined the size I need, I cut 3/4” plywood to that size. (Lowe’s sells 4’ sheets). After cutting the plywood,  I sand the top surface with an orbital sander.  This will help the sandpaper stick to the plywood better,  once you’ve applied contact  adhesive. Set the base aside. For Tarmac bases, it’s easy. Just cut your pieces of sandpaper to fit the base. I use a utility knife with heavy duty blades to cut the sandpaper.  When you cut the sandpaper, you need to cut it on the paper side. It’s much easier to cut, and your blades will last much longer.

           When you have your pieces cut, vacuum the top of the base that the sandpaper will be glued to. This will help adhesion.  Spray both the top of the base, and the back of the sandpaper with contact adhesive. I usually let mine sit for about 5 to 10 minutes to tack up. When the times up just take the sandpaper and press it down on the base firmally. Once completed, sit the base aside so that it can dry. Once dry, I airbrush the colors that I want. You can use blue painters tape to put lines on.  Once the painting is done, I put decorative trim on the edge of the plywood to give a finished look. I buy oak shoe stripped from Lowes to do this .

             The Aircraft carrier basis are basically the same construction.  The only difference is that you have to establish a grid system on the back of the sandpaper for the tie-downs. I use an architectural steel ruler to establish my grids on the back of the sandpaper. Where the two lines meet, is where a hole needs to be punched in the sandpaper. I use a drive pin punch set, a heavy hammer, and on old nylon cutting board to punch a hole in the sand paper.

               Once the holes have been punched in the sandpaper, attach it to the plywood just as you would for a tarmac base. Once the sandpaper has been attached and it’s completely dry, I take a center punch to make an indention in the middle of each circle that I punched out This gives the hole some depth.  The plywood is very soft. Then you take the tiedowns from Tom’s model works and glue them on top of each punched hole.  I used styrene sheeting to make the catapult for my F/A -18D Hornet. Any additional questions, feel free to ask.

              

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To cut sandpaper- crease it along the desired cut line.  Lay it face down on a flat surface.  Lay a length of straight metal, like a good heavy steel rule or framing square along the crease line, on the side you wish to keep.  While firmly holding the straight edge down, pull up on the waste side of the sandpaper starting at one end, and carefully tear it along the crease.  If the tear runs out into the waste (this is why the straight edge is laid on the keep side), just re-crease and pick up where it strayed.  I read this in one of the popularly mechanical scientific magazines a long time ago and it has always worked.  It saves the blades, but on the other hand, don't use your good precision rule for the straightedge.

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Excellent tips. I plan on using these someday. Thanks for posting these guys.

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Thanks for the idea Buck.  I’ll have to try that the next time I build a base.

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Terrific tutorial.

I like the dimple punching for the tie downs. A few weeks ago they had the building of the ... IIRC George Bush carrier on tv. There they showed the presse in action dimpling the real carrier deck. Talk about power...  😯

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