While the paint is drying on the pulpit handrail and safety rail it’s a good opportunity to continue making up the glazing and frames for the roof windows.
I started making these a while ago and as the cabin now nears completion they will need to be fitted soon.
The roof windows on the real harbour pilot boats are heavily tinted so that the crew, and the helmsman in particular, are able to look skywards when alongside a vessel that the pilots are about to board without being blinded by strong sunlight. I’m sure that this is not the case during a night time boarding but perhaps that’s where the two small searchlights come into play?
I did search around for some dark tinted Perspex or similar for these windows and although it is available in Perspex in thicknesses of over 6mm it’s not generally available it seems.
Tinting spays for car windows and lighting clusters would be an alternative but better than that is the tinting film that can be applied to car windows.
This stuff is readily available in a range of translucency from just 5% light transmission to about 85% translucency.
Normally it is bought by the linear metre but I found an eBay seller that could sell ‘sample sizes’ and very little cost and as I’m only covering a tiny area this was a very economical way to do it.
I started by making a template of all three roof window apertures and transferred these to my chosen window plastic which is 1.5mm clear Lexan. Each window was initially roughly cut from the sheet with a craft knife and then shaped very carefully by cutting and filing. I kept the protective film on both sides of the Lexan while doing this to preserve the faces of the plastic.
All three windows were made to be a friction fit in the apertures and will be eventually glued in place with canopy glue. All of the edges were bevelled very slightly so that the window film, when applied, would not be lifted by a ragged edge.
The tinting film I bought for these roof windows is described as ‘Limo’ grade with a 5% light transmission so they will in effect look black from the outside 😎.
A piece of this was roughly cut to size for the centre square window and the protective film peeled away from the outside face of the plastic. Following the supplied instructions for applying the film, which I won’t go into detail here, I was able to get the film on without any ripples or bubbles.
I repeated this for the two smaller roof windows and set them aside for the film to fully bond and cure before trimming away the surplus with a very sharp knife.
I decided to make the window frames for these roof windows from strips of 1mm Plasticard sheet rather than cut them out of a sheet in one piece which is quite wasteful and one slip of the knife could easily ruin the piece.
Another template was made of the window apertures and these were re-drawn with a 1.5mm internal and external overlap to give an overall 3mm wide frame and I cut some 1mm Plasticard into 3mm wide strips and tacked these down on the drawing paper to form the basic frames. The internal corner gussets were cut and glued in place on the paper too. Styrene cement was used to bond all of the frame pieces together and when fully set the three window frames were released from their paper backing.
It was then a case of laboriously cutting, trimming and filing the internal and external corners to make the final frame shapes 😮
The corner joints needed very little filling to conceal any blemishes and the frames were gently flatted on some mild abrasive paper.
A light coat of primer followed by two coats of silver spray paint and finished with clear gloss lacquer saw the frames nicely finished and ready for fitting.
These, like the roof window panels will be fixed in place with canopy glue.
The cabin front and side windows will be made in a similar way but with a much milder tint which I’ll describe in a separate blog update.