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  1. Lou: Thank you for the compliment and your suggestions. 800 p😲rtholes at 1/350 - I'm humbled and will complain no more about my measly 300. I wondered if floating a number might trigger a porthole competition, and will scan the horizon for any contenders. Likers, you're on the spot! Steve
  2. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Steve Much time was spent sanding the bottoms of the bridge deck and top deck walls to make the long runs as tight as I could. I also painted the walls on both decks. Unfortunately it doesn’t make much of a photo change from the white styrene. I’m reaching the saturation point with portholes. After carefully drilling them (I think there will be upwards of 300 by the time I’m finished) they have to be glazed from the inside with 10 x 12 mm bits of hand cut acrylic. Not very difficult, but really boring. The good news is I’m within shooting distance of the end. The bad news is I will run short with the sheet from the kit and I had to buy an 18" x 24" piece of thick acetate at the local art supply store so I'd have it to work on over the weekend while the blizzard comes through the area. I'll have a lifetime supply for any other glazing-intense ships. To have a few port-holeless evenings I worked on various bits and pieces. The navigation light housings/rooms are almost finished (only one porthole each plus a door). There is a little cast light for each one and I’ve seen some pics, not of this ship, where the recess is painted to match the nav light color. Is it green starboard, red port, and should I even paint the recesses? The radio room is built, with trim to match the main deck forward A/C room. Still needs gluing in place and a railing along the walls. I think I need them for most other walls too if that’s appropriate. The bridge deck and top deck still need their gray paint. A view of the three doors under the bridge deck aft bridge. The main fore and aft decks were not quite tight to the hull, even after wrapping the whole shebang with tape while the glue dried. I’ve added a small edge trim (0.5 x 3.2 mm) to the fore deck and am working on the other end. After setting the first edge trim I experimented with the bulwarks which come as laser cut triangles, but need fettling, first because of the edge trim and second to align with the changing slope of the hull. The fore deck bulwarks are finished. It seems a bit odd that they are not evenly spaced. The lasered layout lines show some boxes in the gaps. Is this how a ship would actually be built?
  3. To all who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Carl, thanks for the bending tip. I was so concerned about whether I could bend the assembly without kinking it that I lost focus on the fact that the bending angle needs to be in a very specific plane, vertically as well as horizontally. From the boat deck up, the strengthening triangles are located at the roof/wall intersection. The bottom of each wall is anchored by the continuous curb running around the deck (here I am! here I am! watch me run! - okay - punchy time over; curb your curb). Apart from the forward bridge area, which has large triangles but is experiencing no placement gaps, the triangles are very small and come nowhere close to the curb. I looked at the aft cabin gap again tonight. I'm beginning to think it is a function of the sheer slope that is built into the top and bottom of every laser cut sidewall strip. While working upside down, and while attaching the wall top to the underside of the next deck above, the instructions call for placing a dowel (I use a piece of plastic pipe) at about mid-point under the inverted deck, to maintain the upside down sheer. This method is an approximation at best of the deck sheer and as you go aft the gradual increase in sheer slope may not match between the wall strips and the deck. Some judicious sanding all around the cabin wall bottom edges may be needed to help close the gap. I don't want to do too much since most of the walls maintain a tight joint. I thought the gap might go away when the bridge and top decks are glued together and weighted down to dry, but when I added some weight to the center of the top deck (no glue), the aft cabin gap didn't improve, but the forward bridge area started showing a gap where none existed before! Perhaps I have built a little see-saw into parts of the cabin sidewalls. The investigation continues.
  4. Almost forgot, a belated thank you to reigels for sharing some photos (sorry Scott). Steve
  5. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Carl, ignorance is bliss when it comes to my next problem, but I do see the construction of 16 vac-formed life boats with their attendant davits as a good bliss destroyer. I noticed that the aft bridge posts were a bit willowy in plastic when they were not locked in place by the bridge, so I changed over to brass rod. After drilling the boat deck to receive the posts, and installing the posts into their top plates, the assembly became quite rigid, even when standing free. Now if I could figure out what is keeping the aft cabin from setting fully on the boat deck. The posts have some clearance at the top so I know it is not them. I sanded tight spots along the base of the side cabin walls and trimmed the mounting curbs but I still can’t get the aft cabin to set. I’m thinking it might be the joint between the aft wall of the main cabins and the side walls of the aft cabin. Of course, once the upper section is removed and replaced a few times for sailing, the joining area between cabins and boat deck will probably get out of whack anyway. The doors have been whitewashed to soften the grungy highlights. After much trepidation I finished the assembly of the air conditioning room roof railings. It’s a hybrid, with CA for most connections and solder where the two sections join at the right hand stanchion in the foreground. The railings dead end at the forward wall of the boat deck. To make a clean joint that would maintain the spacing between railings I marked drill holes using a stanchion with the base cut off, and taped in place on the wall. I left the railings long and started the final installation by pushing them through the wall holes. I set the stanchions in medium CA’d drill holes (I gave up on the idea of heat setting) and trimmed the excess railings at the inside of the wall after dabbing the wall penetrations with some thin CA. Painting consisted of an apple cider vinegar bath (it was all we had), soap and rinse cleanup, followed by BIN primer and flat white topcoat, both from rattle cans sprayed very lightly. I learned a lot with the first railing assembly, among other things that the corners need much attention to ensure everything is plumb and square. Corner bends were made after a section of railing was assembled, using a nail driven into a piece of wood for the radius, but I’m inclined to allow one stanchion to act as the corner support rather than trying to set two stanchions in different planes so close together.
  6. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. For my long-timers, thanks for hanging in there. I truly appreciate your ongoing interest and support. Steve Part two of the aft bridge column story. For those arriving late, the issue is that photos show the aft bridge had columns down to the boat deck level, but there is no mention of them in the model instructions or model build photos. It appears they were left off because the bridge deck and everything above it must be removable to access the RC bits. The aft bridge looks odd with no visible means of support so I thought I would try to develop a way to have my column cake and eat it too. I started with constructing a fascia, or apron, around the underside of the aft bridge. I blocked off within the fascia to create a pocket at each end of the bridge. I placed the bridge deck on the ship and transferred the aft, port and starboard boat deck edges up to the bridge deck fascia. This established an alignment angle for cutting the column top plates that will fit into the pockets. I cut out the top plate for one of the fascia pockets and drilled three holes in it to receive columns. I will also use the top plate as a template for laying out the column holes that will be drilled into the boat deck. The idea is to anchor the columns solidly on the boat deck, but allow them to float within the bridge pocket. When the bridge deck is removed the columns and column top plates will stay behind. As the bridge deck is reinstalled the columns and top plates will slide into the bridge fascia pockets. The plastic columns (Evergreen) are 1/16” diameter (6” pipe columns) x 28 mm long. The actual dimension from the boat deck to the underside of the bridge fascia is 20 mm. 28 mm allows a small drilling distance to set and glue the columns into the boat deck, and allows the top plate to slide up and down a bit within the fascia pocket for final fitment, before gluing the plate to the column tops (but not to the fascia pocket). I test fit the column/top plate assembly into the fascia pocket. Then I reinstalled the bridge deck on the ship and wiggled the column/plate assembly into the pocket. Since the columns aren’t drilled into the boat deck yet they are holding the bridge deck (and boat deck cabins which are attached to it) slightly above the boat deck. Depending upon how deep I drill the boat deck holes I may need to trim the column tops a bit, but it looks promising as a way to have columns between the boat deck and bridge deck, but still allow the bridge deck to be removable.
  7. Carl, even with notes littering the parts I managed to install one aft wall upside down (downside up?). Fortunately I realized knee high portholes were inappropriate on a war bride ship, before the glue fully dried. The drill bit for the bridge portholes was 5/16". It works okay as long as the drill turns very slowly - I can watch each revolution.
  8. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Scott, thank you for your interest and your compliment. I wish you best of luck with your Liberty ship. Lou, you read the manufacturer’s mind. The photos below show all the structure under the top and bridge decks. I’ve also included a closeup of the aft bridge area to show where the column question was. Regarding the flat deck opening over the rudder arm, I will seal that with silicone. Thanks for the suggestion. Steve Sorry for the bad pic but the Vance is hanging out on the dining room table to make room in the shipyard for fabrication of the upper decks. The photo shows the aft bridge which is attached to the first removable (bridge) deck. The build photos show no columns below the bridge but I’m sort of settled on attaching the columns to the boat deck below and landing them with a top plate in a pocket under the bridge. We’ll see how it goes. Another low light pic showing the overview of progress. Pieces are set in place with no glue or paint. Work this period focused on internal structure for the bridge deck, finishing the boat deck cabin walls which are attached to the bridge deck, work on the underside of the top deck and fiddling with the starboard navigation light housing. Oh, and the never ending job of porthole drilling.... Bridge deck and top deck side by side. The assembly is as follows: Boat deck glued to hull. Boat deck cabins installed to underside of bridge deck. Bridge deck cabins installed to underside of top deck. The bridge and top decks will be glued together, then the assembled unit is placed loose on the boat deck - well not really loose since the boat deck cabin wall fits tight to a curb around the boat deck. I’m happy with the bridge portholes. Multiple big holes, small wall, lots of opportunity to mess up. I tested the new brad point drill bit on some scrap and found it had a propensity to gouge the surface with the two perimeter cutting points, so I taped everything except the awl-marked centerpoints and drilled very, very slowly. Worked well although there was a tendency for tape bits to get carried along by the cutting points, especially where there was more than one layer of tape. And the really good news is that the wall didn't split when it was glued to the curve. This high view shows the structure under the bridge and top decks. The top deck (shown above upside down) receives the bridge deck cabin walls after a locating strip is attached to the underside of the top deck. In addition to the strip the structure consists of stiffening triangles at the top of the walls, cross-deck full depth bulkheads and a continuous 10 mm strip along the inside wall base to ensure the wall line is straight. Remember this is all being built upside down. All in all a pretty rigid structure. The underside of the bridge deck gets the triangles and the bulkheads, and the wall base slides over a triple layer of continuous locating strips attached to the boat deck. The starboard navigation light housing with attached room is interesting. A few bits with a very sketchy drawing to show how they are assembled. It’s strange the wall tops don’t line up. The placement is under the forward bridge deck wing and I may need to “supplement” the wall tops to close the gap if it is not concealed by the dodger wall around the wing.
  9. To my fellow builders, I wish you and your families the Merriest Holiday and the Happiest New Year. Steve
  10. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Steve Lou, I was sure I had checked it, but in a panic after reading your access comment I hustled to the boatyard to confirm battery and other access. The aft access panel (I don’t know as I would call it a hatch since it has no coaming) in the main deck allows fiddling with the rudder arm. Take comfort knowing the panel will be painted gray to match the deck. The midship hatch in the boat deck allows good access to the motor, on-off switch, electronic bits and power battery. The forward hatch in the boat deck allows ample access for the spare battery used for ballast. BUT… Once the bridge deck is in place all bets are off. Bear in mind that the bridge deck also supports the progressively narrower bridge cabins, and a still narrower top deck, all of which are glued together, wedding cake style. If I cut the bridge deck I’d also have to cut everything above it which would give a much larger slice of cake than I could probably swallow One thought is whether the forward bridge wings and aft bridge could be stiffened enough to act as handles, but I’m guessing there would be too much load. Maybe I’m overthinking this. Bridge, not balcony. Duh, I guess that’s why they call it the bridge deck. My architectural background tried to trump my naval knowledge, but Carl, you are keeping me on the path to righteousness. I like your idea of using plastic. In scale the columns should be about a 1/16” in diameter (6 inch pipe) and the challenge would be how to align six less-than-needle sized posts with six tubes while maneuvering the bridge deck on and off. I’m thinking maybe I should drill and pin the columns (three at each end) to the deck, and to a top plate to hold them in alignment, and provide a fascia around the underside of the bridge to receive and hide the top plates. Or maybe a single long top plate attached to all the columns, that the bridge would rest on.
  11. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Carl, thanks once more for sharing your wealth of knowledge. I have received many good ideas from all the members and look forward to testing my skills. Steve Work started on the boat deck cabins after drilling more portholes and extracting parts from the carrier sheet. All pieces must be marked on the back. The boat deck cabins are installed upside down on the underside of the bridge deck. As noted before they will not be glued to the boat deck since everything above the boat deck must be removable for access to the RC innards. During thinking time, while pedaling the exercise bike, it occurred to me that there will be a big challenge to remove the upper decks after they are detailed with railings, ladders and other bits. Where do you grab it? How do you squeeze it up off the boat deck when the boat deck is surrounded with 16 life boats on davits? The cabin tops are anchored to continuous strips glued to the bridge deck and the walls are stiffened with triangles. After all walls are placed a series of cross braces will be installed too. An overview of progress. The boat deck is primed and has one finish coat. Needs another. A closer view of the forward area with temporary placements. A view of the stern. The aft balcony(?) area of the bridge deck is shown with no visible means of support at each end, but ship photos show there were three pipe columns at each end, extending from the boat deck to the underside of the balcony. This is what got me thinking about deck removal/replacement and all the bits and pieces. If I install the columns they must be attached to either the boat deck or the underside of the bridge deck, but how do you keep them stable while the decks are separated? That probably explains why the columns were ignored during model development. Decisions decisions.
  12. Thanks Carl. I would have thought that an elastic thread would topple the stanchions, which just goes to show how little I know.
  13. Beautiful job Carl. Happy Holidays to you and yours. Will you be gluing or soldering the stanchion rigging? In either case what's your choice of weapon? Thanks Steve
  14. Carl, you're a master at this stuff. Do you think a dilute whitewash would tone down the doors? Bear in mind I am not airbrush enabled. Thanks Steve
  15. Bill, a wonderful job expanding on a very nice ship. The extra detailing is terrific. Steve

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