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Scale Modeling Tips & Tools Monthly, Issue #056-Let It Rain
August 15, 2011
August 15, 2011

To Believe In Something
And Not Live It Is Dishonest

Mahatma Gandhi

Don't say You Weren't Warned

WARNING: If you don't believe in a Super Scale Modeler responsible for the design and function of us all, you may want to set this issue aside. On the other hand, maybe it was meant just for you.

I know this Super Scale Modeler and must acknowledge His handiwork in everything I do, that is why I chose Noah's Ark as my current scratch building project. After all, Noah was perhaps the greatest scratch builder of us all.

For many years, I was a closet evolutionist not wanting to admit I knew better. I had a hard time coming to grips with something for which I couldn't find a reasonable explanation.

I took pleasure in passing along the "which-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg conundrum without much thought to the fact God only created adults. They were responsible for their own offspring.

It doesn't have much to do with scale modeling, but I ran into a series of YouTube films that caught my interest:

We All Design Our Own Ark

I have found there is no real design information which will tell you what Noah's Ark actually looked like. God gave us it's length, breadth and height and based on that, over the years, many have tried to tell us what it looked like.

It is natural and even quit practical to give our ark the look of a canoe and at least provide it with a pointed bow. After all, Noah was left in charge, but did you notice, God left him no way to steer.

Much like our own lives we are left with our own will to set our direction, there are no reins and a bit to tell us where to turn.

This design issue for Noah's Ark is troubling. There are few structures ordered by God that He doesn't tell you how it was to look. Take the Ark of the Covenant in the book of Exodus for instance:

"They shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high. You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and you shall make a gold molding around it.

You shall cast four gold rings for it and fasten them on its four feet, and two rings shall be on one side of it and two rings on the other side of it. You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them."

This wasn't anything like a pitch-covered box-like Ark in Genesis. But then again, the Exodus Ark was meant as a revered and sacred means to worship God, not an escape vehicle..

The look of Noah's Ark was it's least important feature. It was not designed for a high-speed, controlled run into a riled up sea, it was designed to survive, simply put, to float.

God did not say anything about front (bow) or rear (stern) so I found it hard to accept a pointed bow assigned by many. Besides I have planked the hulls of model ships and I wasn't looking forward to another bow.

I translated God's cubits into today's feet and inches and was left with the box-like design above which is probably as it would have appeared after months at sea.

I preferred to capture it's look just before launch, as the animals were boarding and construction was ending.

Like many topics in the Bible, it is a matter of interpretation, what you and God can agree to.

For instance the location of the Ark's opening (door). Some place it at the base, others make it to encompass all three decks in height.

I like the look of an above-the-waterline look, one handy for God to reach down and close. After all He is in control.

Building N Scale Ark Framework
Almost As Hard as it was for Noah

Duplicate: A copy that conforms to the original exactly; to make a duplicate (copy) thereof.

Sounds simple enough when you look at the definition but my scale model of Noah's Ark requires 14 identical bulkhead frames. These will serve as the wall and roof supports as well as joists for the three decks (floors)' let alone supporting interior ramps, stairs and ladders and the cages for all of the animals God drove to the Ark's location.

To keep things somewhat lined up, these bulkheads need to be the spitting image of one another.

The book of Genesis in the Bible provides God's precise dimensions for the Ark. He commanded Noah to build the ark to suit it's need:

`And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.'

A cubit is roughly 1.5 feet so that translates to 450 feet in length; 75 feet across and 45 feet high has more than one expert shown that the ratios of these dimensions are comparable with those of modern ships. In striking contrast to the cubic ark of the Babylonian Flood legend, the Biblical dimensions describe a structure of exceptional stability in water.

Preliminary calculations regarding the stability of the Ark were performed by Dr Henry Morris (1971). Additional work by a naval architect, David Collins (1977), has built on these calculations by taking into account the adverse weather conditions which the Ark would have encountered.

The frame of Noah's Ark (left) compared
to one from the 1853 clipper "The Great Republic

To estimate the stability of the Ark, one must first determine its draft. The draft is the height that the water comes to along the side of the vessel, measured from its bottom. Dr Morris' calculations assumed a draft of 15 cubits (22.5 feet), which was the depth of the Flood waters over the highest mountains The Bible (Genesis chapter 7 verse 20). However, Collins calculated the draft by estimating the weight of the Ark - for which he gives a figure of 7240 long tons [1]. From this, he estimated that the centre of weight would have been approximately 18.5 feet above the bottom of the Ark, and he derived a draft of 7.5 feet. A smaller draft gives a less stable vessel, and Collins points out that in ship design it is standard practice to adopt the lower estimate.

Let's Get Back To My Duplication Problem For the decks to be level and for the outside skin planking to fit properly, all 16 of the frames must be duplicates.

It takes a lot more than cutting "timbers" the right lengths. In N scale, if you are off by a quarter inch, you're looking at a 4.5 foot error.

Cutting and gluing them together freehand wasn't very successful (none matched) so I knocked together a quick Jig which really helped.

Then I realized it, Noah didn't have a jig. Each one of the frames was assembled freehand.

Talk about a talented carpenter.

Tailor-made Isn't All That Easy

I never thought scale modeling, specially a N scale model of Noah's Ark would require learning tailoring skills; there is a lot to this modeling project that requires more than an Internet purchase.

You can find many train workers, fire fighters, seated figures, strolling figures, farm figures, even swimming figures but...

Just try to find an N Scale figure dressed in a tunic or a jerkin, even a robe. All I need is a half-dozen or so workers plus a reasonable Noah look-a-like (most often robed). The workers need the tunic-type apparel. That means bare legs. Lots of luck.

This is going to mean re-painting figures that appear to be dressed in pants (thankfully lacking much detail below the waist.

From here it's a question of tailoring tunics and robes in N Scale. I don't even know how to thread a needle, but then again, you'll never see the seams in N.

I read somewhere that cigarette papers make a pretty good N scale cloth.

First it's very thin, then it doesn't break so easily which are the 2 qualities you need if you want to drape it around a N Scale figure.

This should result in a small, shirt-like garment, probably pretty flat.

One trick I remember from my distant smoking days, yes I even tried rolling a few involved carefully rolling the paper (in this case the shirt between the fingers to break the paper's structure and give it the feeling of very thin cloth.

To begin, I plan on cutting out a sleeveless tunic-like piece of paper (both front and back) and lightly gluing them together with a paper glue with a couple of matches to help keep the proper shape for my "garment" . I'll cut it to just about knee length and slip it over the head of a figure.

I can paint on short sleeves and skin-colored legs.

This is my plan, I'll let you know how it turns out.

Getting The Animals On Board

It is one thing to find a few barnyard animals even in N Scale, but when you have to run down 50 or 60 wild animals to populate a model of Noah’s Ark, you’ve got a problem, even if it is only financial.

Where they are available, you will find N Scale animal figures are available as long as you don’t want anything unusual like a Zebra, or a penguin or an ostrich, alligator, turtle, a water buffalo or two, snakes, apes. Monkeys, birds, rabbits, even a dinosaur. They are all missing.

There are two or three main manufacturers of N Scale figures which include a line of animals. Now break out those animals we’d classify as wild and you begin to get the idea.

Animals aren’t all that complicated to design, they come in one basic look. There aren’t different colored Zebras, there is only one look to a pelican and turtles only come in one shape.

I’ve got to try my hand at molding some of my own starting with the penguins above Now where’s that Scullpey clay…


Fits Right In

Yes, there is a Noah's Ark App. Granted, it is a game not to be taken to seriously, but never-the-less, it is about getting the Animals On Board. A disaster of biblical proportions has been brewing all over the sea, and only you can help Noah save the animals of the earth. He has overslept, but the waters continue to rise, and with his ark adrift offshore, you must help him carefully load the animals one-by-one in Animals on Board by Meteor Creations Inc.

To get those animals on board the ark, you must help Noah skillfully fling every creature onto his ship.

Let The Buyer Beware

Like any other popular high tech function, there are Apps which are a waste of time and money and more than likely, no opportunity to get your money back or even complain to someone who can do something about it.

A couple of cases in point originate from the same software distribution company, the Both are aimed at the model railroading community and have been seriously panned by purchasers who wrote review information on the sales pages.


Pay Attention To Those Reviews

Poor app

by Sea Low

This app is all text and no graphics. A guide should contain diagrams, an index, and plenty of images.

It's also way overpriced. I want my $3.99 back!

------------------------ Guide to Building Model Railroads

by Shep61

This app was a total waste of money. So basic as to be useless. Sounds like they rewrote first chapter of some book. App is poorly constructed & no graphics!! Does not deserve 1 star. Worst app I have seen. I also want my money back!!!!!



by B90000008

This app/book contains the equivalent of spam. It's written in broken English and contains little to no actual information. AVOID!!!!

The reviews for both Apps were about the same, not surprising since they were produced by the same company. They were written when these Apps sold for $3,99 each. Today's price $9.99.


Your Help and Ideas Needed
To Expand SMH Idea Base

Making daily decisions involving for the past 45 months has led to the creation of over 425 pages of articles on the various facets of scale modeling, this monthly e-zine and a host of modeling questions answered.

As we get ready to embark on our third year, I am hoping to open the site up to input from other scale modelers. You may have noticed the Navigation Bar has been sub-divided into the major hobbies covered.

Each of these sections now has one or two pages that invite participation with questions, tips and pictures regarding your various modeling endeavors.

We want to hear from you as do the other 25,000 modelers who log onto this site monthly.

As I get ready to roll into my 71st year, I can’t believe how much I have learned about hobby activities In the past two years. I have heard from other modelers with similar experiences.

To help me develop and maintain my website your comments on its content are essential. You can send me your comments by visiting the “Voice Your Opinion” feature at the top of the Navigation stack in the left column on each page.

It was never my intention to make this website a one way street as my knowledge is no where deep enough for me to be termed an “Authority”. I hunger for your feedback, comments, ideas, tutorials, plans, pictures and even your negative comments if considered constructive.

The Internet and that includes work best when they are interactive and that is collaboration only you can provide. It has been a pleasure serving as your guide for these past two years and by no means am I throwing in the towel, for I honestly believe the building and maintaining of this website are instrumental in keeping my mind active.

I want to open up this site in the fast lane. That is your part of the two-way street.

Its In Your Best Interest

If you have been giving some thought to launching your own home business in 2010, it is worth your time to take a look at what I found:

Steps To Success

Until Next Month

Make It Your Best Effort!

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