Maritime Aesthetic Puzzle Box Plans

I like boats. Specifically, I love the look of old wooden sailing ships like the ones in Pirates of the Caribbean. I’ve been thinking of making a model ship since the beginning of this semester, and after some quick research found the name of the aesthetic that fits my idea: the maritime aesthetic.

The above image is a wall tapestry with an image fitting the maritime aesthetic that I found on Amazon. The aesthetic is characterized by having lots of boat-related items, as well as elements of blue (representing the water) and white (for the sails). A model ship fits the aesthetic perfectly in my opinion.

Even though I like the model ship idea, I wanted to expand upon it to make the project mine instead of a copy of something that has been done many times before. In previous posts, I have mentioned that I work at an escape room company. Since I work around puzzles so much, I had the idea to turn my model ship into an interactive puzzle box. This would also fit the dynamic requirement of the project, as I can use moving elements in the puzzles.

Something that I am still deciding on is whether or not to include water in the project. Obviously I wouldn’t try to place my model ship in real water, but I have seen dioramas such as the one below that I found on Smartyle Owl that use epoxy resin to create the look of water. However, this might be too difficult and time consuming for me to include in my project along with making the ship. Please let me know in the comments if you have any tips for or experience working with epoxy resin!

This second image is a diorama using resin for the water with a ship travelling through it that I found on the World of Warships website. It seems difficult to do at the scale I am imagining though.

I am also looking for advice on how to build the ship, as I haven’t made anything as organic or intricate as it before. I will probably end up making it slightly larger (~2ft long) to make the fine details easier to work with.

The plan is to make the ship from wood, as that is the look I am going for. For the puzzles, I will use a combination of physical pieces and electronics controlled with an Arduino to hopefully make an immersive and fun puzzle box.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Luke Towan is a youtuber who makes beautiful model-train dioramas. He has several videos where he makes impressively realistic water effects. He first pours in the resin and gets rid of bubbles, then adds features in a second step with modpodge clear.

    Lighthouse Diorama

    Waterfall Diorama

    For this Mech diorama, the user 3D modeled and cast a wave pattern, and painted the tips

    This diorama of the famous woodcut “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” they also moulded it, then carved it with a dremel , 3D printed the tips of the waves, and painted the patterns for a more surreal effect.

    And this one doesn’t have water in it, but this is the best diorama video of all time:

  • First of all, this sounds like a really cool project! I’m excited to see how it turns out! I haven’t ever made miniature boats, but as someone who does work small a lot, it all comes down to tools and fixturing for me. That is to say, you need tools that are small enough and accurate enough to make your small parts, and you need to be able to hold them down.

    If I were you, I’d look into how model boats are made. You could make it out of actual wood, but what might be easier is to 3D print it (perhaps in pieces) and paint it to look like wood.

    However you make it, I wish you the best of luck!


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