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About Cathead

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    Missouri, USA
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    Ecology, history, science, cooking, baseball, soccer, travel

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  1. Just so you all know, there won't be any updates to this build for a while. Mrs. Cathead and I are about to leave on an overseas vacation (first time we've left the country in 14 years), and have been extra busy preparing for that. I thought I might get a bit more done beforehand, but that hasn't happened. I don't think I'll be returning to this build until close to the New Year given this trip and various other commitments. Sorry to leave you all hanging. I will have some stories and photos of nautical interest to share when I return. Thanks so much for reading and for being patient with the long upcoming delay.
  2. Yes, you should be able to bend them first. In fact, many folks recommend fully bending planks before doing any gluing; the idea is that the bent plank should hold its shape and need almost no clamping once you're ready to glue it on. That's how I do it. Be careful pre-painting, as the paint's moisture can change the curve if you use too much.
  3. Catching up on this log, you've certainly discovered some of the ways that Corel finds to drive modelers mad (like poor quality materials and instructions). As for your rigging line, the standing rigging certainly would have been tarred. I'd recommend replacing it with something higher quality than what Corel provides (such as line from Syren). As for bending tough planks, I've found that doing it in several stages can help. Soak the wood first, then bend it through part of the curve off the model by setting up a template or other bending station. Let it dry and take that gentler curve, then resoak and work it toward the tighter curve. I use a hair dryer once the wet wood is clamped in place, the extra heat dries it fast and seems to help set the fibres in their new position. This kit certainly looks like a challenge, between the small scale and the manufacturer. You're soldiering on admirably!
  4. Mark, you're thinking of the 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes (for what it's worth to other readers, pronounced by locals as MADrid with the first syllable rhyming with dad or glad). River channel movement is common in any system that has a relatively low gradient and isn't constrained by bedrock. It's dramatic in the history of the Mississippi River basin, but it's certainly not confined to that system, it's a completely normal geologic process. EDIT: I'd meant to mark the one-year anniversary of this build on October 22, and just realized that I completely missed it. Luckily I'm far better with real anniversaries. I'm not as far along as I thought I'd be, so who knows how long this will take to complete. There's a lot of intricate work yet to be done.
  5. The wheels are mostly done. Assembling the three rings into a coherent, well-aligned whole was extremely difficult. It was made worse by the fact that I wasn't as precise as I thought in keeping all three built to the same pattern; even very slight misalignments of the spokes led to difficult problems. First, I made spacers to hold the rings the proper distance apart, and spent lots of time spinning and testing the rings to find the best alignment. Some spokes needed filing or filling to get the buckets (the paddle planks) reasonably aligned. These changes looked terrible as I made them but they really fade into the background with painting and with the complexity of the wheel as a whole. Plus, I made a point of not modifying the outer ring, the only one that's really visible. As previously discussed, I built the port wheel at about 40% completion as everything above that will be invisible. Here are four pictures of the completed 1.4 wheels test-installed on the model. I think they look pretty good for scratchbuilt wheels, and am very, VERY glad to be past this portion of the project. I want to do some more weathering and I haven't yet decided how to install or simulate all the iron bolts that hold each bucket to each spoke. More on that later. Thanks for reading!
  6. Planking is definitely a major part of a build. Don't underestimate the sheer time slog and detail of rigging, but it's also more forgiving in that you're not fighting against the material, just carefully installing detail one step at a time.
  7. Chuck is correct, it's a navigational aid. The forward mast isn't for gauging obstacle height; by the time that encountered a bridge the boat wouldn't have time to stop or turn before knocking the stacks off. Once bridges became common, steamboats started being built with hinged stacks that could be lowered while passing underneath. In the meantime, the legal battles between railroad and steamboat interests over bridges were epic and bitter. The R.E.Lee was a Mississippi River boat that would have had no need for grasshopper spars as that river was deep enough to avoid the need; grasshoppers were a unique feature of the Missouri and other shallow Western (i.e., Plains) rivers. There were some differences in design between Mississippi and Missouri River boats, in that upper Missouri (i.e beyond Omaha) boats tended to be sternwheelers (better for shallow water and more protection for the wheel from copious river debris), have much narrower or non-existent guards (extensions of the deck beyond the hull), and/or have stripped-down superstructures to reduce their draft and exposure to high winds. Good initial question, and nice looking model!
  8. Cathead

    The "What did you do in your Garden today?" thread

    Roger, as an avid birder myself, I'm glad you had such a good day!
  9. I have no experience with decals, sorry. The one time I put a name on a ship's stern, I did it by printing out a full nameplate and affixing that to a thin sheet of wood. See the linked build log for the revenue cutter in my signature. Maybe not authentic but looked better than anything else I tried.
  10. Ozark, you're getting bombarded with advice here, hope it's not overwhelming. I think it's important to realize that it's very easy, once you start into model shipbuilding, to go down rabbit holes of upgrading. People will be suggesting that you buy ever more tools, ever more materials, etc. If you have the budget and interest that's fine, but you shouldn't feel obligated or pressured to go off the upgrade deep end. It's perfectly reasonable to build your model with the original yards/masts and the kit-supplied line. That being said, the reason that pressure can exist is because there really is a huge range of material quality out there. A lot of kits/manufacturers use substandard materials to keep the cost down to lure in beginners or just sell more kits. Others start with quality from the beginning. So you'll certainly notice the difference if you upgrade to Syren line (I agree, by far the best out there) but whether or not you do should be up to you and not because anyone else has different standards. I have a couple plastic Revell sailing ships on a shelf that I now think are hopelessly below my current standards, but that virtually every other viewer thinks look great (it helps to live in rural Missouri where no one knows anything about ships). They were built out of the box as a beginner and I have no regrets. If I ever build another plastic sailing model I'll likely discard just about everything but the hull and put in real wood decks, masts, and yards, upgrade the rigging, etc. but I'm not a beginner anymore and trying to do that the first time might well have driven me out of the hobby. Do what you think will make you happy in your current state, and have fun! That's the most important part. If it's stressful, you're missing out.
  11. Agreed on the fairing lines, I've seen them before too and they're great. Pros can disregard them if they like, but it doesn't hurt to have them on there. Steamboat hulls always look like some kind of snake vertebra model at this stage.
  12. You don't necessarily need a cutting mat as long as your work surface is one you're comfortable getting cut, scratched, painted, sanded, etc. One benefit to a proper mat is that it can help blades stay sharp longer, and sharp blades make a lot of work a lot easier. But they're not that expensive and awfully handy. Depending on your location, you don't have to mail order them as box hobby stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby stock them too (if visiting a store is easier than mail-order; for me it's not). As for the yards and masts, the point to consider isn't just the current warp but how they respond to tension from different directions as you start to rig the model. Plastic bends easily and you have to be extra careful to balance all your rigging tension. Nothing wrong with that and you shouldn't feel pressure to switch to wood, just something to think about as the wood will take more rigging tension before it begins to bend. Balancing the delicate plastic yards will teach you more about the complex nature of keeping a real rigged ship operational!
  13. Regarding the warped yards, if you struggle to get them straightened out, you might consider replacing them with wooden dowels that you sand to the proper taper. Could be something to consider for the masts, too. One problem with plastic masts/yards is that they bend pretty easily under tension, meaning it can be hard to get the rigging right without deformation, whereas wood is a lot less flexible. Looking forward to your progress on this.
  14. Mark, good idea, except that I intend to leave this side of the vessel open to interior view so I need a full wheel on this side (i.e. 1.5 wheels total).

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