I have discovered that papier mâché warps! Or rather, that it doesn’t dry flat. I’m not quite sure why I assumed it would; I think I’m still regarding it as a form of clay that doesn’t need firing. So wrong. The base is soft cardboard, the solid form is constructed with layers of paper and, at various stages, everything is made both soggy and sticky by the wallpaper paste. And part of the finished charm is the unevenness. But none of this helped when I came to add the perfectly flat mast I’d made. I’d sanded one side of a piece of doweling flat so it would sit stably on the perfectly flat surface I imagined I had.
Superglue, little cuts in the mast to make it ‘bend’ and clamps eventually solved the problem. I was warned by a friend that superglue and rubber don’t work well together (the rubber deposits an unpleasant black gunge on the glued surface) so I improvised two protective pads with cardboard. Otherwise the clamps are so strong that they dent the masts.
Now all the boat needs is its flag, name and number.