The following are random tips on working with metal ship models sent in by our customers. If you have a tip you would like to share with other modelers, please send it in and we'll add it to the ones below.

  • If a turret stem breaks off or is too short, it can be lengthen with a bead of solder, With the stem upward and fused with the new solder, draw away to thin. File if needed, insert and check for smooth free turning. With new tinning solder, add bead, turn off gun and make small round motion until bead cools. John Hyde, Bozrah, CT

  • If you have a bent part (such as a gun barrel), it can be straightened out easily. The metal alloy from which it is made (Pewter, which has a high tin content) is relatively "soft." The key to success here is bending very sloooooooowly.

  • Whoops! The hull of your model has a bit of a "warp" to it, i.e., it does not rest flat completely on the surface on which it sits. To get rid of this, take the model in your hand and hit it a good shot on a flat surface, making sure that it is completely "flat' when it strikes. Make sure your fingers are not on any sharp parts such as AA mounts, etc. Still have a problem? Grab each end with your hands and push upward (or downward) with your thumbs. Then give is another "flat whack" as mentioned above. If you're not satisfied with the results, send the hull back to Alnavco and it will be replaced free of charge.

  • A number of years ago when I was building 1:1200 models for wargaming, I learned to solder up masts in fine brass wire. There are several tricks to this to make it easier than it looks. First, get a "third hand" which is basically three ball-jointed alligator clips to hold the wire segments. Second, use a good quality brass wire such as K&S, available in hardware stores. Third, use a good quality silver solder. Cut your wire segments oversize then trim later with wire cutters. Apply heat to the yard, not to the mast. If you like to solder and have a touch for it, this is the way to make masts. Final polishing with a fine rubber wheel in a Dremel is best, always wearing safety glasses. Griffen Murphey, Houston, TX