Author Topic: What is a Museum Quality Model?  (Read 4831 times)

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AlkemScaleModels

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What is a Museum Quality Model?
« on: June 07, 2010, 08:23:14 PM »
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This question comes up frequently. In doing some research for ship models on my layout I came across this US Navy document. It is interesting. Note the lack of styrene as an acceptable material.  Also gives you an idea why government contracts are so expensive, note the documentation section.



SPECIFICATIONS FOR CONSTRUCTION OF EXHIBITION MODELS OF U.S. NAVAL VESSELS (Published here with permission of the Curator of Models, U.S. Navy)

Model specifications are published here for general interest and are not to be referenced regarding official Navy contracts.

1. DURABILITY OF MATERIALS

As part of the permanent collection of the Department of the Navy, it is reasonable to expect a new ship model to last one hundred years before deterioration is visible. Therefore, resistance of models and parts to the actions of temperature, humidity, and light is essential. Extreme care must be given to select materials which are known to be compatible and will not, in time, interact chemically.
Although only a few materials are prohibited in "Specifications for Construction of Exhibition Models of U.S Naval Vessels," some recently developed model-building materials and techniques should be avoided until sufficient time has passed to properly evaluate their longevity. Though some of these recently introduced materials may ultimately test superior to more traditional techniques, substances of unproven longevity should not be employed in models built under these specifications. It is advised that fiberglass resins, styrene, expanding foams, casting resins, and cyanoacrylate glues be avoided when other materials can possibly be used.

Workmanship

Workmanship shall be in accordance, in every respect, with the best model-building practices. Hulls shall be smooth, fair, and symmetrical; without blemishes, sap pockets, or tool marks, and shall be scraped and sand-papered to smooth surface. Machined parts shall bear no tool marks. Castings shall bear no visible mold marks. In no case shall glue alone be deemed sufficient to hold deck houses, fittings, or other appurtenances in place. Mechanical fastenings such as screws and pins shall be used in addition to adhesives.

Range

Models shall be museum quality and shall consist of the whole exterior of the vessel from keel and appendages to the top of the highest antenna or fitting, and shall include interiors of such enclosures, conning stations, deck house topside stations, gun and missile stations, hangars and bays as are accessible to weather without opening watertight doors or ports. Generally, all items on the prototype twelve inches or larger for 1:96 scale (six inches or larger for 1:48 scale) will be reproduced.

Rigging.

Running and standing rigging and cable antennas shall be represented. Windlasses shall be wound with appropriate cable or line.

Ports and Windows

Large windows shall be indicated on the model by clear acrylic plastic. Ports shall be transparent, and shall have a hole bored behind them to give an appearance of depth.

Gun Turrets

Gun turrets shall have the openings in face plates required for elevation of the guns. Where required, gun shrouds shall be represented.

Aircraft and Vehicles

Where appropriate for the mission of the actual vessel, and visible on the model, scale aircraft or vehicles will be provided. Landing pads shall be provided with at least one representative scale aircraft.

Small Boats

Small boats shall be mounted on davits or otherwise as actually carried and shall show all details, motors, and equipment twelve inches or larger in actual size. If represented with weather covers, gripes and all fastenings visible are to be shown. Landing craft and whale boats shall be without covers and shall show all exposed details and equipment.

Special Features

Special functional features peculiar to the vessel (for example: stern doors, towing devices, special antennas, fire fighting gear, etc.) shall be shown.

2. MATERIALS

Rigging

Layed rope shall be represented with first-quality, twisted, linen line. Wire cable will be used to represent wire cable. Wire will be used to represent wire. Care shall be given to insure the proper color of all rigging. Knots and seizings may be secured with thinned white glue.

Flags

Flags shall be such material that a natural appearance as in a calm is achieved.

Deck Covering

Deck covering shall be represented as installed on the vessel, including safety treads and nonskid areas. Decks which are bright shall show planking, seams, scarfs, butts, and miters, and shall be rubbed to a dull finish. Paper shall not be used to represent deck coverings.

Hull

Hulls shall be built up in lifts of clear, first-grade mahogany or basswood; doweled and glued together with water-resistant glue. The wood shall be completely free of knots, checks, and sap pockets and shall be thoroughly seasoned. Models over 12 inches beam must be hollowed for reduction of weight The hull shall be composed of the least number of parts necessary to achieve the proper shape. An excessive number of glue joints shall be avoided. On models less than 12 inches beam, hull lifts shall be cut to the full body shape: lifts shall not be cut in halves, thereby creating a glue seam along the vertical centerline of the model. The lifts shall conform accurately to lines of the vessel as shown by the plans. A stable, durable, flexible body putty may be used in moderation to fill gaps.

Hull Inspection

Prior to applying any sealer or primer to the hull, the hull shall, at the builder's expense, be crated and sent to the Curator of Models, Code 301, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, West Bethesda, Maryland 20817-5700 for inspection and testing.

The Curator of Models will inspect the hull for wood-type, grain, seasoning, putty, glue-type, checks, excessive glue joints, and conformity to plans. Samples of wood, glue, and glued pieces may also be required for destructive tests. The Curator of Models shall return the hull, collect freight, as certification of compliance.

Hull Fittings

Propeller shafts, struts, bearings, bilge keels, etc. will be made from brass, aluminum, or stainless steel.

Propellers

Propellers should be cast in bronze. If another material is used it shall first be copper plated and then brass plated. Plastic propellers are not permitted.

Ship Fittings

Fittings and accessories shall be of metal or other suitable material which will permanently hold its shape and will not deteriorate from temperature, humidity, light or chemical reaction with other parts, paint, or the atmosphere. Lead or lead-bearing compounds are not suitable for any component. No ferrous materials shall be used.

Masts, Antenna Masts, Yardarms, etc.

All masts, antenna masts, shafts, yardarms, booms, etc. less than 3/16" diameter shall be metal.

Solder

All solder points shall be silver soldered wherever possible.

4. INSPECTION

Beyond the hull inspection required in section 2., the model may be inspected by the Curator of Models or his designate during construction and upon completion at the contractor's plant.

5. DELIVERY

Schedule of Materials

The contractor shall provide, at the time of delivery of the model, a schedule of materials and brand-name products employed in the construction of the model. The schedule of materials will be added to the historical file retained for each model.

Sample Schedule of Materials. The schedule of materials written in tabular form by the contractor should include, but is not limited to, the following data: A. Type of wood used for hull. B. Type of wood filler used. Include brand name. C. Type of primer used. Include brand name. D. All paints used. Include brand name and color designation. E. All glues used. Include brand and areas where employed. F. Any other significant materials. Include clear sprays, stains, waxes, and the types and application areas of any sheet, cast, foam, or resinous plastics (if any).

Transportation

The contractor shall be responsible for delivery of the model and exhibition case in good condition to the location designated in the contract.

Deviations

Desired deviations, if any, from these specifications will be enumerated on a case-by-case basis through the normal contract process.

Model specifications are published here for general interest and are not to be referenced regarding official Navy contracts.


Pomperaugrr

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2010, 11:18:38 AM »
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Well so much for sending in that Revell model I put together when I was 13.  ::)

Eric

Ian MacMillan

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2010, 01:46:24 PM »
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Nice find!

Damn, no RTR museum quality models!?
I WANNA SEE THE BOAT MOVIE!

Bob Bufkin

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2010, 04:16:33 PM »
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I used to work with individuals at the Model Basin in Md.  You should see some of the stuff in there junk section which they no longer use for testing.  We had a model of the Sea Shadow (I worked in the program office for this ship) which we shipped to San Francisco by Fedex.  Got there in one piece but when it got back to our office in Va, it was in several pieces.  Talk about people being pissed.  Far as I know the Model Basin people fixed it right up.  There are some outstanding model builders at that facility.

AlkemScaleModels

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2010, 07:43:38 PM »
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I used to work with individuals at the Model Basin in Md.  You should see some of the stuff in there junk section which they no longer use for testing.  We had a model of the Sea Shadow (I worked in the program office for this ship) which we shipped to San Francisco by Fedex.  Got there in one piece but when it got back to our office in Va, it was in several pieces.  Talk about people being pissed.  Far as I know the Model Basin people fixed it right up.  There are some outstanding model builders at that facility.

The Wash Post had an article about the Navy model builders at Carderock. Not the test tank models, but the fine scale models for each ship class. I wonder if google has it....Yup here it is http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2009/05/19/ST2009051901045.html

Packer

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2010, 07:04:02 PM »
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Nice find!

Damn, no RTR museum quality models!?

Wouldn't some brass be considered "museum quality"?
Vincent

If N scale had good SD40-2s, C30-7s, U30Cs, SD45s, SD40s, and SW10s; I'd be in N scale.

chessie system fan

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2010, 06:56:55 PM »
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Very interesting.  Really explains why all of the aircraft carrier models at the Pensacola Naval Air Museum look the way they do.
Aaron Bearden

Zox

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2010, 06:50:15 PM »
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Generally, all items on the prototype twelve inches or larger for 1:96 scale (six inches or larger for 1:48 scale) will be reproduced.

Note that the equivalent for N scale would be 20 inches. So by these "museum quality" standards, much of the detail people add to N-scale locomotives and cars (including the majority of grab bars, lift rings, sight glasses, etc.) is unnecessary. :)
Rob M., a.k.a. Zox
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Iain

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2010, 10:59:28 PM »
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But, look at it this way.  A professional modeler building a museum-quality model of a battleship would probably spend six months researching the vessel in question unless he gets very lucky early on.  By comparison, researching a locomotive is so amazingly easy, it isn't funny.

I just did a Google search for the Blue Goose, the BLW/Westinghouse gas turbine locomotive.  In about three minutes of research, I found enough photos and information do build a reasonably accurate model.

Now, for the model of the armored cruiser USS North Carolina that I'm building for the Maritime Museum.

This drawing took three months to do, and that's after waiting three months for copies of the originals from the National Archives.  Even then, this version of the drawing is not correct; it wasn't until a month later that I actually found out that the platform around the mizzen was larger originally.  I've since corrected that, added anchor cranes, more boat davits, and other changes.  I am finally satisfied with the result.


This is what I received from the National Archives.  A good starting point, but not actually usable as-is, because when the ship was refit in 1909, the stuff that was removed or replaced was erased from the drawing, and the new stuff was added.


Even now, I'm having a hard time finding drawings of all the ships boats.

Here's a model of SMS Emden in 1/144 by a gentleman named Peter (don't know his last name) that is museum quality:

You will notice that it even has the metal strips that hold the linoleum down.

This was a relatively quick build:


1:1250 scale model of the Austro-Hungarian cruiser SMS Saida; this was by far my fastest build over about two weeks.  Since it is a wargaming model, I did not include much detail.
Thanks much,
Mairi Dulaney, RHCE
Member, Free Software Foundation and Norfolk Southern Historical Society

http://jdulaney.com

AlkemScaleModels

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2010, 12:09:09 AM »
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Ian,

Perhaps you can help me find some plans in the Nat Archives. I am looking for plans for a steam powered, side paddle wheeler to use on my ACW layout. Kind of like this,


This is the scene I am trying to recreate, albeit, selectively compressed.


There are some side paddle wheelers available from Taubmans, but they are too big. Any advice?

Iain

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2010, 08:48:59 PM »
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What size are you thinking?  The Smithsonian is an excellent resource for such-like.  What area do you model?  If you can tell me, I can ask the right people for ideas.
Thanks much,
Mairi Dulaney, RHCE
Member, Free Software Foundation and Norfolk Southern Historical Society

http://jdulaney.com

Bob Bufkin

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2010, 09:26:19 PM »
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Give the U.S. Naval Museum on the D.C. Navy Yard a call.  They have mucho old models, drawings, etc.  Almost forgot about them.

AlkemScaleModels

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2010, 10:28:33 PM »
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Give the U.S. Naval Museum on the D.C. Navy Yard a call.  They have mucho old models, drawings, etc.  Almost forgot about them.


Thanks, I have a PoC at the Navy Yard, but we are still trying to arrange a meeting.

As to what I am looking for, any side wheeler from that era would do, but preferably one less that 130 feet long.

sirenwerks

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2010, 11:48:40 PM »
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Bernie,

If that PoC at the Naval Museum knows someone in the paintings and prints division, I need help finding some original paintings that are probably in its collection. My Dad appeared in some Navy recruiting posters during Korea and I'm trying to locate the original paintings. He's getting on in years and I want to find the images for him again.

When it comes to models for museums, a lot of the standards in collecting institutions fall on materials and construction. You can't tell an artist or past manufacturer to make something a certain way, but if you're recreating and object or making a diorama you can delegate standards. A lot of money is spent on saving older artifacts these days at museums, fumigating them for insects, mold, etc. An object can spend days in a fume tank to stabilize it ($$$) so materials and construction that don't invite insects, mold, etc. is a good thing. Bugs can be killer, especially the little larvae; they travel well, so museums can catch bugs easy; and they're destructive, especially when they jump from one object to an entire collection.

Dave, your shipping guys should have known better. If the model was worth anything it should have been archivally crated and shipped using a service like Artex, rather than being thrown to the box monkeys (though a well crated object can survive them, but that's where they catch the bugs, at the Fedex or UPS warehouse).
Now seeking Pacific NW N scalers to create a Modutrak-style modular club featuring NP's shared mainline between Seattle and Portland. PM me if interested.

Iain

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Re: What is a Museum Quality Model?
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2010, 10:18:18 AM »
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Give the U.S. Naval Museum on the D.C. Navy Yard a call.  They have mucho old models, drawings, etc.  Almost forgot about them.


Thanks, I have a PoC at the Navy Yard, but we are still trying to arrange a meeting.

As to what I am looking for, any side wheeler from that era would do, but preferably one less that 130 feet long.

I'm on it.

Bernie,

If that PoC at the Naval Museum knows someone in the paintings and prints division, I need help finding some original paintings that are probably in its collection. My Dad appeared in some Navy recruiting posters during Korea and I'm trying to locate the original paintings. He's getting on in years and I want to find the images for him again.


You may want to try the Navy Historical Command; they may be able to help.
Thanks much,
Mairi Dulaney, RHCE
Member, Free Software Foundation and Norfolk Southern Historical Society

http://jdulaney.com