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MEPering

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About MEPering

  • Birthday 11/27/1964

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    Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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  1. Well, I finished my deck, and immediately got thrown into another situation. And then another after another. So Constitution is still on hold. But I got impatient. Ship building, I find, is sort of addictive... Coming from railroading, it surprises me how satisfying it is. But I want my Connie to be as perfect as I can get her, so I have not touched it since my last update. That being said, I was frustrated at not being able to practice modelling, so I went to my local hobby shop and bought Model Expo's "Fair American". That was last March. I finally started it around a month and a half ago, just to try my hand at various tasks that would be required for Constitution. It really didn't occur to me to start a build log on it, but I notice now that there are not many on it. So Constitution is on hold for the moment. The build of "Fair American" is coming soon. Matt
  2. MEPering

    U.S.S. Constitution by Tom Schongar

    Hi Tom, I did the same on my Constitution build, and it truly makes for a much more stable frame, and I would not want to try and fair without the braces. It took me a couple of days to brace mine, using a pair of calipers to try and get it all exactly spot-on. Looking forward to your progress and will be following. Matt
  3. That turning looks 100% better than the brittania castings that come with the kit, Ken. Especially considering that these parts on the prototype are bright finished wood. The deck looks great too. Matt
  4. Actually, Geoff, the rivets go all the way through, but are flush with the back of the bulwark planks. CA or super glue will probably be applied from the back to hold them in position, relying on capillary action to suck the glue in. The problem with this is that it stiffens the plank quite a lot. So heating the plank will be necessary to make it fit after the studs are mounted, and after the fairing has occurred. This may be easier than it appears, since the copper wire conducts heat very quickly. Brass wire would do so almost as quickly. This being said, I think that the bulwarks should be done on the interior of the deck before the external planking should go on. This allows for mistakes to be removed more easily. Of course, this means exterior planking, at least for the bulwarks, needs to be perfect. Due to less curvature in the outer planking, I think this should be the better approach. I wish I could get to the ship to test some of these things, but it has been so busy this summer, I can't seem to do this at this time. Building this deck off the house is taking all of my time at the moment, and probably will through the first of July... Possibly longer. But this gives me time to think, so it is not all bad. As a first ship for me, I think I should be spending about 10 hours of thinking for 1 hour of building. The building I miss though, and I shall return to it as soon as I can get to it. Matt
  5. Thanks for the responses, CaptainSteve, EJ. and Jon. I don't think there is a wrong answer here. I do think that I am going to attempt the bolts/rivets after thinking about it more though. What made me wonder about it was that I wanted to fair the inner bulwarks, which if I had the bolts/rivets installed, would not be possible. So I had to come up with a solution. I think I have now. So I will be installing them. There were basically 4 ways to approach this problem. The first option was to forget about emulating the feature, but it is prominent on the ship, so I decided against it unless I can't make my method work. The second option was to just fit the planks with the fixtures, and not worry about fairing them. This is an unacceptable solution to me, since at this scale, with the variance in the planks I have, things would have looked too much out of scale. The third way to do this is to install the planks, fair them, and then install the fixtures. This is a viable approach, but it is labor intensive, and could lead to excessive variance in fixture height. Well, except for the third approach, these are not viable from a modelling perspective. However, the fourth solution seems to be the best. This is, to mount the planks with an easily dissolved adhesive, fair them, then dismount them one at a time, attach the fixtures, and remount them permanently. This seem like a lot of work, and I am sure it will be. But this seems to me to be the best way to handle this problem. If anyone can suggest a better way, I would love to hear it. The fixtures have to be very subtle, due to scale. Tiny dots of glue I have used on plastic models, but I have never been satisfied with the irregularity this method has given me. I will do a test on this method, and post it soon. Matt
  6. Thanks, David. I am noticing that the fairing is not to bad here as well, but having time to get a bit of it done is. Since we are both doing the MS version, I wouldn't expect it to be that different. However, for me, to find time to work on it is getting to be a challenge. I mentioned in and earlier post that I am busy with a deck on the rear of our home, and that is preventing me from shipyard work at the moment. But this too shall pass and I will get back to it. But that doesn't mean I don't have time to think about the ship. I have decided that if I am going to do the simulated rivets, I need a bit smaller wire. It is currently looking like .010 or perhaps even smaller. This gives rise to another question though... How am I going to make them seen. I feel this is an important detail, but it must be close to scale. To exaggerate a fine detail like this will detract from the model instead of making it more realistic. I know it is impossible to make an exact model, but I want to make this as close as I can to the prototype. With that being said, perhaps this detail should not appear on the model. I have seen others who have included it, and I applaud them for such a titanic effort, bit is it worth it? I know it is going to bother me if I don't include it, but I also know that most people won't notice if I do include it. So the quandary continues. I am still not sure. When we are considering a projection of 1/2" at most from the bulwark on the prototype, it becomes very hard to justify the inclusion of such a detail. So what do you all think? Is it important, or should it be ignored? I shall await responses. Matt
  7. Fairing is coming along slowly, as the deck off the back of our house is taking priority, but I almost have the starboard side done. I don't have pics of it, but it is pretty standard stuff, but the crappy luane plywood that the bulkheads are faced with are terrible when it comes to adhering to their substrate. I have been impressed by Model Shipways in their craftsmanship so far, but these bulkheads are crap as far as the faces. Why even face them, when they aren't even seen anyway? Maybe they got a deal on this cheap stuff. I don't mean to sound like I am bashing Model Shipways, but it is what it is. It is a quality kit. Perhaps my technique should be modified to reinforce the bulkheads with CA. But that makes it a bit tougher to fair also. I will not be using CA to attach the planking, as I prefer a PVA for this. I knew a man once who did use CA to attach a quarter to his front steps, just to see how many bent over to pick it up. This was right after CA came out, and he did have some stories to tell about it. A quarter was worth a lot more back then. Anyway... Fairing continues on the starboard side, and hopefully I will be planking in a couple of weeks. Matt
  8. Elijah, Mikiek is giving very good advice there. You should decide which side is going to be prominently displayed first, and use the other for experimentation/first build stuff. Since I am also doing a first build, I decided my port side would be the most prominent, since the place I intend to display it shows it off better like that. So I am doing most things on the starboard side first. But this advice also needs to be taken with a grain of salt, because planking should be done on both sides equally, from my understanding. This is probably less important with a solid hull like you have, but with a POB or POF planking, it is important, I think. Like Bill and EJ said, the first plank is most important to get right. Of course you can correct for it later, but that just makes for more work that really isn't necessary if you just get that first one right. After that, make sure your wood is dry after you bend it before mounting it to the ship. It is amazing how much wood can swell when thoroughly wetted. Or you can use strictly a heat bending method, which insures the wood is dry, but this is a more delicate process and you have to be careful not to scorch the wood. This is my preferred method, but wetting is also a good method, considering that the planks are very thin, and don't take much time in the water to saturate. Matt
  9. Sorry to hear of your loss, Pat. Back in the '70s I was building the 1/96 version, but never got it quite totally completed, due to an accident as well. So I feel your pain. I think you will be happier working with wood anyway... Loosing a piece of wood just means you need to remake it. Loosing a casting is the same, but much more complicated if you can't order a replacement from the supplier. Also, if you use the right adhesives in wood, some things are reversible. Plastic is not usually so forgiving. I will be looking forward to seeing your build log of the Lady Nelson. I have heard it is a great starter kit. And having the room is more important than you might think. I have one bench that I have to use for all of my work. I build 18th century firearm reproductions for a living, and when I want to work on my ship, all of that has to be set aside and it gets to be a real headache. Having a dedicated space is not just a convenience... It is more like a must if you want to work efficiently. My bench is only 3' x 7', so there is only space for a single project at a time. When I was a kid, I used the kitchen table for modelling, so I spent as much time cleaning up as modelling... lol. I will look for that new log of yours. Matt
  10. Looks like excellent work, Ken. Are you also going to be using 3/64th" planking instead of 1/16th" to adjust for the 1/64th" in the plywood carrier? As Jon pointed out, there would be 1/64th" difference if you were going with the original planking. If not, I don't see how waterways and gun ports would align properly either. Matt
  11. It has been a few days since my last update, but my Admiral sprung on me that she wants a deck built on the bacl of the house, 12' x 30", and she wants it by the 4th of July. Since I am a one-man-shop, this leaves little time for shipyard work. But I did get just a little time tonight to check some things as I was beginning fairing. I made a mistake. My gun deck gun ports are not in the correct position. The are very close, but they are still off. This is a mistake, but it is not major, since I intended on showing the ship with ports closed in most positions anyway. The way I positioned the ports was to use a 1/4" spacer to make them even with the top of the gun deck's bottom. This did not work, since there is variance in how the laser cut bulkheads are cut. Perhaps if I had faired the gun deck first, then this would have worked. But I didn't. In hindsight, I should not have assembled the gun port frames off of the ship. Or perhaps I should have done it differently. But if I were to do it again, I would assemble them on the ship, and then fit the laser cut backs to them. This would have been much more accurate. Had I done it in this manner, this mistake would have been totally avoided. You should be able to see the variance in the picture below. So how to solve the problem? Well, it is more simple than it might seem at first. Once the planking is on from the main rail down to those ports, then it is a matter of shimming and filing. As I said, the error is not that much, and since most of my gun ports are going to be closed, this is how I will solve the problem. Now I could also go to an extreme and chop out those ports and rebuild them, but it is really unnecessary. In most cases, this is only 1/32nd variance. If you look carefully at the picture, You should be able to see that. And it is just a few that are off. I just wanted to throw this out there to warn people about using my original method. When a ship sits in port, the ports are often opened to provide ventilation and drying. My ship is in port with sails off for repair, but I am only going to show a few open, so it is not a major fix. Just a warning to you who are starting this ship. Matt
  12. MEPering

    Reporting For Duty, Sir

    Welcome aboard, Rob. My advice is to start a build log ASAP. With pictures and text, people here can best help suggest courses of action if you are having questions. And asking questions is expected from new builders like yourself, and myself as well. Remember, there are no stupid questions (but stupid answers abound, though on this forum, I really think those are minimal). Will be looking forward to your log. Matt
  13. MEPering

    Howdy, Folks: Trying to Solve a Technical Problem

    Wow Scott... That must be some pricey stuff if you are worried about .020" saved. But Like Mtaylor said, a bandsaw might work, but I have my doubts you would be able to get a blade that thin at a good price. I would suggest possibly modifying a scroll saw to accept jeweler's saw blades. These can give you a very thin kerf indeed, but tend to be fragile, especially when not under proper tension. Scroll saws also tend to not have a slide, so something would have to be devised for that as well. Not being familiar with your material though, it is hard to give good advise. I have to assume it is pretty tough and flexible stuff though if it is used a guitar pick. That is probably how I would approach the problem, at least. Matt
  14. There are a couple of approaches to how glass is handled in modeling. Acetate is common, and can be curved to fit if necessary. But in real life, you rarely see curved glass for glazing. It is seen, but it is not only uncommon, it is rare. Most glazing is done with ordinary flat sheets of glass, cut to fit an arbitrary opening. I have used acetate in most of my models, but after the last couple, have been using microscope cover glass. It is a quartz glass, which is very tough for its intended purpose and is highly reflective, and it is excellent as far as light transmission goes. I have a couple HO model cars I have used it in, and I am very happy with it. On the downside, it is very fragile and difficult to work with. I use a piece of smooth marble tile when I am working it, and I use a stone to refine the edges. Now if that doesn't deter you from trying it, I think you will be quite impressed with the way it looks. Matt

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