The top model used a 3mm thick MDF off cut for the outer layer of the paddle box backed by balsa wood sanded to the same shape. The model below shows the new method with carefully cut custom MDF pieces from Warbases.
Part of my Warbases order consisted of some laser cut pieces to be used to make the large paddle boxes seen on some side wheelers operating along the rivers during the ACW. I came up with idea - which is rather nifty in my opinion - so that I produce numerous copies of the same design. It has worked out very nicely although I managed to mess up the order and only obtained sufficient to build three ships whereas I wanted to build six!
Note the three parts at the top of the picture that form a single paddle box. For this particular model the superstructure is fashioned from a single Jenga style block sawn into shape and with a 3 1/2” by 1 1/4” hull shape 3mm thick
My original ACW models used an outer layer fashioned from the top of a craft stick backed up with balsa woos that was sanded to follow the shape of the harder wood. It worked well enough and so I tried similar for the larger sized models I am now building but it seemed to be a lot more work so clearly a speedier solution was needed.
I opted to use MDF simply because I had some off cuts from the hulls I had shortened that were coincidentally the correct shape and size. It was an obvious step from this to having the requisite pieces laser cut, thereby ensuring consistency of shape and size.
The above illustrates the paddle concept in action - all that is needed now is for them to be glued into place. For convenience I may well paint these before the final assembly so as to avoid any awkward interior corners!
Warbases only work with 2mm and 3mm MDF and the gap between the superstructure and the paddle box is 5mm so for each paddle box I needed three pieces - a larger outer piece of 3mm and two smaller inner pieces of 2mm and 3mm. These smaller pieces are also 3mm shorter than the outer piece to allow for the hull which is 3mm thick. The pictures of this in practice are probably rather clearer than my written explanation!
A mock up of a small river paddle steamer built using the paddle box method described. This is probably not the final configuration of this particular models as there are a few other bits and pieces that need to be added.
Due to having rather messed up my Warbases order - my own fault entirely - I will now only be able to build three paddle steamers rather than the six I planned although having said that I may look at stern wheelers as an alternative....