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  1. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Carl and Kevin, thanks for your support and encouragement. Steve Each door lobby, and all outside corners elsewhere calls for rounding off. I fashioned a sanding block with a curved recess. Sandpaper was anchored with the round file clamped in place while the spray glue dried. Photos below show in action and a slightly blurry result. While pondering how best to mask the promenade openings for painting them white on the exterior I had second thoughts about the inside face above the line of the bulwark. Since the promenade openings were added during the transition from Liberty ship to hospital it seems reasonable to assume the upper promenade area would have started out white rather than gray. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it, so I masked to allow painting both the inside and outside promenade face. About 4 hours worth of taping and fiddling and another half hour to paper and tape the hull interior which doesn’t show in the pic. Can anyone fill me in on the two different door styles? The white door, which you have seen before is shown for cabin doors. The metal door is listed as watertight, and the molded yellow door just says door. The instructions and build photos are a little vague. If there is a rhyme or reason as to the use for each type (other than the white doors) please chime in. And by the way, do I have the doors right side up? I'm assuming the round covers are over portholes.
  2. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Steve Fall leaf cleanup, travel, the replication required for each step and a maddening do-over took their toll on visible progress the past few weeks. To keep the door lobby sides perpendicular while the glue takes an initial set I used some scrap wood as mini-clamps finger-pressed together. I took several breaks during the cabin wall installation to work on the doors. After painting and highlighting the door faces I removed them from the carrier sheet, secured them to tape strips and highlighted the edges with light gray, followed by a coat of Dullcote. The boat deck sits on top of the main deck cabin walls. Before painting the cabin walls and main deck i thought I should check the fit of the two boat deck sheets so I could sand the wall tops and the boat deck sides if needed. Then disaster struck. When I placed the aft boat deck sheet there was a 5 mm gap on both sides between the deck edge and the promenade walls, which extended several inches (sorry for mixing metric and Imperial) on each side. Was the gap due to a poorly lasered deck, a mismatch between the main and boat deck sheets, a construction problem or something else? In an effort to pull the hull sides closer to the boat deck I excised another bit out of the the rudder servo support beams, pulled the sides together and held them in place with tape while I sistered new wood strips alongside each beam. Unfortunately the closure was excessive and put strain on the hull, which in turn gradually stretched the tape and broke the bond between one servo support perimeter beam and the hull. I had to reduce the compression of the sides and reposition the sisters to allow the perimeter beam to be reattached to the hull. Compounding the misery I thought I should narrow the aft cross hull support beam so I trimmed 10 mm from one end, pulled the sides together and re-glued it. Unfortunately I removed the tape too soon and when I came into the shop the next day I discovered that the glue, which looked to be hardened, had stretched enough to return the cross beam to its original position. While it felt solid I decided to add a new cross beam adjacent to it. With the hull sides in the position that felt most comfortable for them I turned my attention back to the main and boat decks. The narrower hull necessitated sanding both sides of the main deck. When I did that I discovered that the boat deck gap was not only gone, but the boat deck slightly overlapped the promenade walls in a few spots. More sanding created a good fit. The lesson learned (again) is that a millimeter here and a fraction of an inch there can add up, and if you are not careful you may make adjustments to something that didn’t need adjusting in the first place. The boat deck is finally fitted. Now it can be removed so I can continue work on the main deck. An aft cabin will be constructed on the main deck under the boat deck overhang. The main deck forward wall is test fitted, thankfully without incident. The layout lines are for the air conditioning room.
  3. ESF

    overall1.jpg

    Terrific work. A great follow up would be a narrative to explain how you did it. Congratulations on a superior job.
  4. I was looking for some info related to my current build (Zebulon B. Vance) and when I typed the name and "photos" in Google search, I found a bunch of pictures of the ship, AND multiple pictures from my build log. Has anyone else seen this with their logs? Is there a setting in my MSW profile that would prevent my uploaded pics from being broadcast to the Google universe? Thank you
  5. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Carl, I hope I'll show something novel from time to time. Steve After much thinking and reading I started on the main deck starboard cabin walls. The instructions call for placing, but not gluing the main deck, and ensuring the sheer is maintained. Tape pulls the hull sides together and clothespins press the deck to the perimeter support beam. Each cabin strip is then fitted to the sheer. The pins and tape were removed for the photos. The bases of the wall strips are anchored with the flat support strips placed previously. Small triangles provide additional stiffness. The view forward shows one of the door lobbies. The laser layout line in the deck generally locates the lobbies, but is not entirely accurate, relative to the cabin wall strip length Each door lobby consists of two side return walls and one wall across the back with laser lines for door locations; and is backed up at each corner with two support strips. If you look closely you can see how I had to adjust the right lobby return wall placement since the layout line left the cabin wall strip a millimeter short. Fortunately the door lobby back walls are sufficiently wide to allow trimming to fit. In between thinking and fitting the cabin walls I painted a few doors to match the hull color, for later positioning over the location tabs within the hull sides port and starboard.
  6. Carl, thanks for your quick input. The superstructure on the Vance was white and the doors shown above had a prime and topcoat of flat before I started experimenting with highlighting the cut lines and hinges, with flat black mixed with thinner. I plan to Dullcote the lot after I'm finished with them. A couple of doors need to be painted dark gray since they are located within the body of the hull. Perhaps I'll try something lighter there for a highlight. Thanks again for your ongoing interest. I really appreciate it. Steve
  7. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Steve The main deck cabin walls are located with a layout line inscribed on the deck. The walls are stiffened at the base with a strip set 1 mm back from the layout line so step 1 is to add all the base lines. The base strip is installed while the deck is set in place to maintain the sheer, but the deck is not glued until later. A view aft of the layout lines. The instructions call for installing all main deck cabin walls permanently while the deck is set in place, then removing the deck and walls as a unit for painting, before gluing the deck in permanently. This seems to make rounding off all the wall corners a problem, and I’m concerned about getting a clean paint line between deck and walls. I would like to paint the walls off the ship, but they are not boxes, just strips of walls with sheer, and insets for door lobbies. If anyone has a suggestion about sequencing please chime in. In addition to the base plate the walls are stiffened with support triangles and corner stiffeners. Shown are squares of triangle pairs as cut from the carrier sheet, before final separation and sanding. The forward main deck has a support wall for the boat deck above, installed behind the primary forward wall which is two decks high. As laser cut the support wall width is a little short of the full deck width but I found that if I include the ends of the carrier sheet it makes the width perfect. Shown is the support wall with filler drying, and the two story primary wall resting against the sanding block. The primary wall will be installed against a curved base plate and the forward end of the boat deck. Since doors are installed with the wall strips I experimented with a black wash highlight. Test 1 is top left, and skill building goes to the right. I just touched a very small brush to the incised lines and the wash wicked its way around. Is that how highlighting works? I’m not sure if this is how they are supposed to look but it seems to give a reasonable impression of a door with wear and corrosion.
  8. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Kevin, I’m glad the waterline tip I learned about was helpful to you. Steve Time to start buttoning things up below the main deck. The electronics deck is complete except for placement of the power and control bits. The heavier crib on the left is for ballast (the spare battery). The deck was tarted up with a a bit of trim at either side and coat of wipe on poly. The white strips are Velcro to better secure the components. As shown in the earlier pics I sanded and fitted the main deck, then set the pieces aside until later. After installing the servo cross beams I reset the main deck, only to discover that a slight misalignment when installing the servo cross beams resulted in them pushing the hull sides out just enough that the deck wouldn’t sit on the perimeter beams. The photo shows where I Dremel-excised a piece from each beam, pushed them together a bit and added two scabs. The good news is when I temporarily connected the power components, the RC transmitter operated the rudder in fine fashion. The transmitter has two trim controls that allowed fine tuning of the rudder arc and center neutral point. The instructions suggest using two part clear epoxy to fill the hull portholes, after taping over the exterior of each one. Remember, this ship will be in the water. It worked, sort of. The epoxy seems to have taken a bit of texture from the sticky side of the tape, but it’s not altogether unpleasant so I’ll leave it. The lesson learned was to use much care when placing the epoxy into the porthole. On the first few I dabbed a blob in the hole then dragged across it with a craft stick that looks like a tongue depressor, thinking it would drive the epoxy into the hole. When I removed the tape each porthole had a nice broken air bubble at the exposed edge of the hole, which I had to fill with more epoxy and a toothpick. Doing some reading I found a comment about filling holes in fiberglass with epoxy, which said to never drag an epoxy filled putty knife over the hole since it would guarantee an air bubble trapped at the bottom. The recommendation was to pre-wet the sides of the hole with epoxy, then fill the hole from the bottom up with a syringe. Since the portholes are not very deep I decided to use a disposable paintbrush to introduce the epoxy into the hole, coating the sides and bottom and gradually working my way up. It worked quite well and resulted in a full face on the finished epoxy. By using the magnifier headset I was able to see any air bubbles lurking at the bottom, then prod at them with the brush tip to break them up and vent them to the surface before the epoxy set up. The main deck is 1.5 mm and needs some stiffeners around the large hatches. Since the deck has sheer it needs to be in place and held down temporarily while the first stiffener strips are glued around the inside edge of each hatch. Once the strips are installed they must be reinforced from the underside, and the inside corners receive reinforcing too, since there is not much glue surface on the edge of the deck or at the corners of the stiffeners. While the deck was upside down a piece of PVC plumbing pipe was placed at the midpoint cross beam to help maintain the sheer curve.
  9. Andrew, thanks so much for the shout-out on my Bowdoin. I thoroughly enjoyed it as my first wooden ship build and I'm sure you will enjoy yours. I ran into the same problem with the subdeck being slightly short at the bow but I thought it was due to poor positioning on my part. Later in the build I fit a small piece in the gap. Regarding planking, the instructions say to fit the first four planks (from the sheer down) on each side without spiling, but this created issues later with trying to fit the remaining planks, especially at the stern. Toward the bow I needed a couple of drop planks each side and even then it was tight. Maine Maritime Academy has photos online of the Bowdoin restoration from about 2014(?) that were useful to understand mast, deck and bulwark details. They also have a series of photo logs of student cruises which were good for understanding the deck layout and capstan details. Rubber bands were a godsend for me too, along with metal binder clips customized as I saw in other builds to hold planks in place. I also used wood spring clothes pins sawed off to give a square end for tighter work. The compound plank bending was helped by soaking planks in boiling water for an hour, using a length of plastic pipe capped at one end and standing vertical. The clothes pins also helped to keep the planks from rising out of the pipe while they soaked. Thanks again and best wishes on your build. I'm sure you'll beat the 550 hours it took me. Steve
  10. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Carl, perhaps the Vance is more interested in knowing where it has been than where it is going😄 Thanks again for your support. Steve Much hull priming and painting this week with infill work such as pattern placement for the base on a piece of oak, and drilling main deck cabin portholes. The new rudder arm arrived from England and was immediately test fit - what a difference in clamping power. The rudder and rudder support were temporarily placed. Once the upper hull was painted (except for the promenade exterior) the masking had to be reversed for painting the lower hull. A great tip to ensure a sharp waterline came from Mr. Bluejacket (Nic) in the company newsletter. The recommendation is to place and burnish the waterline tape and masking, then hit the waterline tape with Dullcote prior to spraying the finish color. The Dullcote blocks the color coat from bleeding under the tape. It worked perfectly all around the ship - about nine feet worth of very sharp waterline. Thanks Mr. Bluejacket! See below for the finish, prior to painting the promenade exterior, paint flattening with paper towels, and flat clear coating. The hull is just about ready for the main deck.
  11. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Steve After priming, painting and flat clear coating the bulwark/promenade interior, I experimented with the waterline placement which is described as 57 mm high with a slight turn up at the stern to accommodate the rudder. The tape is temporary and the line will need to be redrawn after priming and upper hull painting. And yes, I know the rudder is backwards in the photo. What I don’t know is what possessed me to set it like that. Fortunately it’s not the permanent install. The servo support is interesting. After determining the placement a cross beam is cut to fit. To get the cross beam width I used two shorter strips of wood, slid them to fit the width and locked them together with a bit of tape. The cross beam was cut to the length of the taped strips. After the ends of the cross beam, and one end of each side beam were drilled, pieces of brass wire were installed which allowed the side beams to swing as needed to engage the port and starboard hull. The side beams were taped in their final positions, tacked with medium CA, then permanently bonded to the hull with epoxy. Then the second cross beam was fit to the servo and bonded to the side beams. In the background at the blue tape is the packing which secures a shaped and drilled wood block that provides structural support for the rudder tube. The promenade exterior was masked where it will be painted white to match the Vance's post-hospital livery. It’s fiddly since the line is aligned with the bottom of the promenade openings giving nothing to mask to. Fortunately the inside edge of the promenade openings is the same color as the hull so overspray shouldn’t be a problem. I also masked the interior to further discourage errant spray. The PE brass trim rings were installed at each hawse port. I used a small basswood strip to push the ring off the tweezers. The hull got a primer coat which immediately revealed more work is needed where I shimmed for the rudder support. The camera seems to have a problem interpreting gray paint. The two pics above were taken in the same area, then fiddled with in Mac Photos, but neither one shows the exact color. It's a moot point since it will all be covered.
  12. To all those who gave likes, thank you, and a special thanks to those who are hanging in during my glacial progress. Kevin, this is only my second build and my first large plastic/fiberglass/RC kit so I'm not really qualified to judge whether it is good or not. Pluses so far are the hull fiberglass has reasonable thickness and level of detail. The gel coat is very well done and the portholes and other penetrations are located with raised tabs or molded indents to guide drilling and cutting. The kit comes with a large quantity of photos (on CD) of prototype builds; finished kits and a good set of annotated photos showing various stages of the hull and superstructure assemblies. There are two stapled sets of instructions with diagrams, text and some photos. One set is more step by step, and the other is more of a guide. The PE brass sheet appears well formed. I have only applied one PE piece so far. The RC bits were purchased after the fact, some through the manufacturer and some sourced locally. They were literally plug and play when I tested them. There is a full size drawing in color, with plan and elevation views. There are three trays of fittings with a legend sheet for each one. The superstructure and decks are laser cut plastic with different thicknesses depending upon use. Part numbers are incised into the plastic sheets for easy identification. There is a numbered list of the recommended glue/filler types (9), with the numbers keyed to the instructions. Challenges to date are that the instructions in one set don't always match the other, nor with the drawing. For instance, the waterline is described as 50 mm in one spot, but measures about 67 mm on the drawing. The description and photos in one spot show a wood built-up motor support and wood bulkheads, but the kit motor support is formed plastic and I was advised that the superstructure contains cross supports which eliminate the need for bulkheads. The starboard scupper placements near the stern were different than the port side. The only experience I have with the cast metal so far is the rudder support and the tiller arm. The rudder support seems okay. It requires sanding and drilling. The tiller arm is supplied with a small, self-tapping style screw and requires drilling out the tiller hole and the screw hole, but when I tried to turn the screw tight to clamp the tiller post the threads stripped out of the soft metal. I have ordered a new, and hopefully stronger tiller arm that comes with a set screw. Having never built a large RC ship I'm not sure what to expect in terms of a kit. This one seems quite complete but, as with any build, read all the instructions thoroughly before starting work, read them a few more times, then resolve any differences to your satisfaction before constructing carefully. Thank you Steve
  13. Carl, Just checking in for the first time. I'm sorry for your loss. I've had parents, relatives and friends pass fast and slow, and it's never easy, but I take comfort that their spirits are alive and well and with us always. Back to boats. The build looks great. I'm particularly interested in railings with separate stanchions since that will be a big part of the Vance build. Have you had any experience with a technique called heat sinking for the stanchion installation, in lieu of drilling and gluing? The kit manufacturer describes it as holding a soldering iron tip to the side of the PE stanchion, while gripping the stanchion with tweezers. Supposedly the stanchion gets hot enough to melt the plastic as you push it down. I have no idea whether it works, or if it would scorch a previously painted deck. Thank you Steve
  14. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Hal, thanks for checking in and thank you for your compliment. Steve After gluing the wood shim for the rudder support I globbed some plastic filler around it, but while waiting for it to dry I had second thoughts. Although it will be primed and painted the rudder support area will be underwater during sailing, so I sanded off the filler and replaced it with a two part cold weld reinforced epoxy. The second pic is just after placement and a full day prior to curing and sanding - I needed a bit more hardener. Given the size of the ship (54 inches) versus my Bowdoin build (23 inches) it seems like every step involves either endless repetition or long distances, rolling back and forth from one end to the other. I thought I’d give the bulwark interior a shot of primer. I want to paint it prior to placing the main deck to keep the joint clean between the two. After three laps of the ship, yards of masking and a wipe down with tacky cloth it was ready. The slight blotchiness is the bulwark filler showing through the light primer coat. I’ll prime again after filling a few defects. Hopefully it's not bleed-through. If it is I'll go back to Kilz or BIN. The paper towels are just to keep paint off the electronics/battery deck which was just sealed, and the prop tube/motor mount/rudder area. A question is what should be the finish color of the inside of the bulwark? In the National Archives photo above the promenade openings are white on the outside, probably leftover from the Vance’s hospital duty, but the hull and exterior of the bulwark forward and aft are darker, which I am assuming is a gray tone (Battleship Gray in Krylon speak) added to cover up the large crosses and green horizontal stripe that signified hospital use. If the forward and aft bulwark interior was white during hospital work is it reasonable to assume it would have been painted over when the exterior bulwark and hull were refinished? Or should I assume only the hull exterior would have received the new paint since the refit only lasted a month?

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