I love balsa wood: it’s cheap, lightweight, flexible, easy to cut, it scribes well, it can be sanded, wet it with tapwater and you can form it in simple jigs, it glues with PVA and looks fantastic with the simplest drybrush paint job.
Honestly what other material would let you build something like this?
I spent the morning detailing this balsa ship and have christened her ‘The Tilean Mistress’. I plan to sculpt a figurehead from green stuff over the 28mm armatures I bought recently. There’s still some work to do. The basket-work around the prow will hide the fact the bent balsa pieces don’t match the decking – which I foolishly cut first. This is obvious from the overhead photo. The stern also needs detailing including three windows and some kind of trim. The masts need to be finished too, I’ve epoxied some brass eyelets in place for the gaffs and it’s drying now.
I really enjoyed building up the detail, although I did catch a glimpse of the madness that lurks at the heart of every real wooden ship hobbyist. I must remember to stop myself if I start obsessing over the accuracy of the rigging. Hmm, I do have some 28mm scale wooden pulley blocks I bought years ago though!
All in all I think I can confidently say my crappy home-made balsa wood bending jig was a success!