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Yacht America by TUEL - Mamoli - Scale 1:66

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This is my first kit build. I've dabbled with RC planes for a few years so maybe some of that experience will help me as I come up to speed building ships. I started in late December and kept my build log off-line. I meant to start the log here earlier, but just didn't take the time until now. The dates when I made my first entries are noted as follows.

 

12/27/2017

I purchased the Mamoli Yacht America as my first kit and received it on 12/18/2017. I selected this kit because I think it is a beautiful ship with great lines, and I also thought it would be a reasonable kit to start with as it did not appear to have extensive rigging. I considered selecting the Constructo America kit, but chose to go with Mamoli’s Amrerica kit because Constructo’s kit did not have a jib boom which to me is significant to the lines and the appearance of the ship. I realize that I could have added it, but this being my first kit build, I thought it was best to rely on the contents of the kit and follow the instructions.

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I also spent some time on the internet and found ModelShipWorld.com. After reading through the build logs posted by Hamilton, Mojofilter, and Flyer, and then reviewing the documentation provided with the kit, I’m thinking I may have selected the wrong kit maker. I’ll move forward with it and do the best I can. However, as I progress with reviewing the great information I’m finding in this forum and other places on line, and then using some of that information to assess this kit, I have to say I am not impressed with this Mamoli kit. I read about the fire some time back and realize the company is out of business, but I don’t see myself building any other Mamoli kits that are still avilable. Today I saw a new build log started by Greatgalleons that looks to be a good resource. The ModelShipWorld forum is outstanding, especially for us guys who are new to this.

 

12/28/2017

Separated keel and bulkheads. Began reviewing instructions and drawings. Labeled bulkheads.

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12/29/2017

I have found an excellent resource on Youtube. Gary Brinker has posted 40 videos of his Model Expo Bluenose build (titled “Bluenose 1” through “Bluenose 40”, averaging about 30 minutes each). These videos have some great discussion and a lot of good info and insights to consider. His ModelExpo kit appears to be far superior in quality and completeness to my Mamoli kit.

 

Completed first dry fit of keel and bulkheads. Forward bulkheads and deck fit was okay, but has some looseness. Rear deck and bulkheads were another matter. The 3 bulkheads closest to stern did not fit well and required trimming. I’m stopping to return to build logs and re-read and re-check photos.

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01/01/2018

ModelShipWorld.com appeared to have a server problem and was down for a couple of days. I have not been able to re-read the build logs, but remembered some of Hamilton’s comments. I disassembled the bulkheads and keel and checked each against the drawings. I’m under-whelmed. As I look at the laser cuts, many of them are of very poor precision. For example, the slot in the keel for the second bulkhead back from the bow is not straight on either side.

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With the cost of this kit, and the technology of CNC machines today, the quality of these cuts is unacceptable to me. These cuts should be perfectly straight and should be cut to the correct width so that there is no looseness with the bulkheads. Perhaps there needs to be some looseness to adjust the fit, but in reading Hamilton’s build log for this kit, he seems to have reached the same conclusion. Very poor quality in my opinion.

 

I also see the same issues as Hamilton did with the laser cut parts not matching the drawings, leaving one to ponder which is correct. I am assuming Mamoli used a CNC machine, and if so it’s obvious the CNC programming for the laser cuts did not match the drawings provided with the kit. Lining the tip of the bow up on the drawing, the following photos show the poor laser cuts.

 

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Hamilton mentioned in his log that he would shim the keel to fill in the gaps per the drawing. The dry fit with the keel, the bulkheads and the deck pieces line up relatively well, they just do not match the drawings. My concern is, where is the inaccuracy and how does this affect the build later on such as when I begin planking the hull? Did they use an entirely different drawing to program the laser cuts? Should I trust the drawings? This kit cost too much for this level of quality, or lack thereof. I’d fire these guys if they worked for me.

 

1/25/2018

This entry to my build log covers several weeks of work. I spent time laying each bulkhead and the keel piece on the drawings to check alignment of the cuts. I found that if I align the stern up exactly on the drawing then the slots for the bulkheads and the masts line up fairly well. However, it shifts the error to the bow as you can see below.

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After several dry fits with the deck pieces, it seems that the bulkheads line up very well with the slots in the forward and aft deck pieces. It doesn’t seem that the issue with the bulkhead slots in the keel piece not matching the drawing will have much impact to the overall alignment of the kit. Also, I could spend time shimming the keel piece to fill in the gaps in the picture above, but how much does that change the appearance of the model to the naked eye? I’ll give it some more thought, and might go ahead and shim it up to match the drawing.

 

There was more looseness with the bulkheads than I realized at first, and based on the other build logs I’ve read I decided that I should shim them up to fit better. The problem I realized was that I had no spare or scrap wood since this is my first kit. Also, there is only one hobby shop within 25 miles of where I live, and that shop did not have supplies for ship modeling. They are mainly a RC shop for cars and planes. At this point, I decided I would order a supply of wood and did so from Agesofsail.com (various widths in mm, 0.5 mm thick and 1 mm thick, 36” bundles of 10). It took 7-8 days to receive so I was somewhat dead in the water until then. I’ve now trimmed, sanded, shimmed, etc., all 15 bulkheads and the keel piece, where needed and have a pretty tight fit on all 15 bulkheads. Here is the dry fit with the shimming completed.

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Here are the pieces showing some of the shims.

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I noted from the other build logs that bulkhead 14 is not cut correctly.

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Hi TUEL - I recommend you follow Hamilton's log on truing and fairing the bulkheads.  He was much more conscientious than I (my first build) and I'm sure it led to a much easier hull planking.  The plans are crap!  The pot metal parts are crap!  The blocks are really crap!  The supplied rope was crap.  Syrian ship model company (syrenshipmodelcompany.com) has really good rope, blocks, and deadeyes.  And with the extra materials you procured you should feel free to bash.  You may want to look at the books I reference in my build - lots of drawings, paintings, and even some actual photographs.  

I can already tell by your observations that you will do a great job on this build.  It is possible with this kit as a starting point.  Hamilton's came out great, and he did sails (too scary for me).

Good luck, I'll be looking in if that's OK.

 

- Tim

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I have decided to order the plans from the Smithsonian, and give this a try. And no I am not going to the dark side just major bashing.

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Tim (Mojofilter) - Thanks for noticing my build log and I welcome any comments and guidance. Your America build log, and those of Hamilton, Flyer and Greatgalleons, are good and I'm reading and re-reading each of them. Hamilton's is real good because his kit is identical to mine and he progresses from beginning to complete with good comments and explanation. I saw the comments you mentioned: several books, discussions of the blocks and the use of Syren blocks and ropes, etc. I purchased American Sailing Ships and The Low Black Schooner: Yacht America so I have them for reference. I'll definitely be placing an order with Syren. Some 14-15 years ago my wife and I passed a fella set up on the side of the road, selling ship models. We stopped and looked, and I told my wife: "I can do that." She has wanted a model ever since for the great room. I've finally taken the plunge and thoroughly enjoying this, wishing I had started before now. She has in mind what she wants, as most wives do, and it doesn't include a copper plated hull. She prefers finished wood, so since historical accuracy is not going to be too big of a concern here, I'm not going to put the copper on it. I am going to include the sails. I'll post along at various frequencies based on how much time I have to work on it. Thanks 

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I mentioned in an earlier post that I found a series of YouTube's by Gary Brinker for his ModelExpo Bluenose build. There are 40 videos that are his build log. In his "Bluenose Part 7" video, he begins it with discussing some bracing he used for the masts. He cut a piece from the laser cut plywood piece that the keel pieces were cut from. He sandwiched that piece between two other pieces of thicker wood (I don't think he mentioned what kind of wood and don't think it matters) in a vise. He drilled a hole the diameter of the mast in the exact center of the "sandwich". He removed the center piece and discarded it, then glued the 2 outside pieces to the keel piece where the masts are mounted. Here's a screen print from the video showing what I'm talking about:

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I like that, so I'm going to do the same to my America, but have a dilemma. The mast has a diameter of 8mm. I soon discovered that Lowes, Home Depot, Harbor Freight, etc. don't stock metric drill bits, so I ordered one on line about 10 days ago and was supposed to have receive it this past Thursday. Still don't have it. This needs to be installed before I proceed with gluing the bulkheads and deck pieces. I'm traveling the whole week on business starting tomorrow so it will be next weekend at the earliest before I can continue working. Hopefully I have the 8mm drill bit by then. I'll post up pictures of this once I can work on it. - Regards everyone.

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Travel for work and other things have kept me from working on my build over the past 4-6 weeks. I spent some time attempting to cut some mortise pieces as noted in my earlier post to support the mast. I had difficulty with the precision with my shop tools, and decided that there wasn’t much to gain and have decided not to include the mortises. After trying to make some mortise pieces, I realize I do not have the equipment I need. My drill press is a small bench top model, and the 8 mm drill bit was I will need to invest in a larger drill press and am also considering investing in a 3-1/8" mini miter saw I found on line.

I see some of the same issues that Hamilton saw in his kit build. I have checked each bulkhead with the plans, but only found bulkhead 6 to have significant error as compared to the plans. I shimmed that bulkhead to correct it to the plans. As I mentioned in an earlier post, being a first-time kit builder I’m not sure how significant the issues are in regard to the planking. I see some very slight issues with other bulkheads but have decided these aren’t significant enough to require shimming. I see the same issue that Hamilton had with bulkhead 7 as you can see in this photo.

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The shims on bulkhead 6 are visible here. Bulkhead 6 is 10mm from the edge of the keel, bulkhead 7 is 13mm and bulkhead 8 is 11mm. It’s the same amount of error on both sides. I think bulkhead 7 is just poorly designed and cut. I will shim it on both the starboard and port sides to be 11mm from the keel edge, as that seems to line up appropriately. Hopefully this doesn’t impact me when I get to the planking. Below are the same bulkheads with bulkhead 7 shimmed.

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After another dry fit I felt it was time to glue the bulkheads onto the keel piece. Following Hamilton’s build log, I saw that he cut and installed cross pieces between each bulkhead. This has the benefit of squaring up each bulkhead and ensuring they are perpendicular to the keel, so I sis the same. I used balsa wood since they were used primarily for spacing and not support, and the softer wood was much easier to work with. The first I glued was bulkhead 8, so I made sure it was squared up, then the rest of them I based off of it.

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As I worked toward the bow, I decided that Bulkheads 1-4 did not need the bracing.

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After the glue set, I did a test fit of the the upper and lower decks and will need to make a few adjustments. That’s all for this entry.

 

 

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I’m finally having a little more time to work on my America kit. I glued the fore deck and the walnut strip at Bulkhead 8 as you can see below, and then glued the aft deck.

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Now that its glued, many mistakes are jumping out at me. I’m seeing things that I just did not notice while I was dry fitting it. An example is Bulkhead 12. It appears now that it was not uniform in shape on both sides and is slightly shifted toward the starboard side. Had I noticed it rotating it 180 degrees may have corrected it, or I could have spent some more time shimming it. Another point learned is that the dry fit is a loose fit, but once it was glued everything functions as gusset plates. It becomes completely stiff and I found myself sanding in various places to make it fit. This is great information for me on my future builds, but as for this one I’ll just try to adjust it as best I can. The fore deck was a little short at the bow so I cut a small piece from the sheet and glued it in place, then sanded it as you see below.

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I shaped the bow fillers and glued each in place on the starboard and port sides of the bow.

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The stern filler pieces required quite a bit of effort. As I’ve commented on several occasions, this is my first kit build and so I’m learning as I go. I’ve looked at several different build logs to see how this part of the kit was handled by others and then just took my best shot at it. Here is the sequence if how I assembled and glued it.

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In the picture above, you can see that I added two pieces of basswood to the inside next to the notch for the rudder. I decided to do this after test fitting and then reviewing the drawings, and then reviewing pictures in other build logs. The filler pieces helped the stern filler to align with the end of the aft deck. It also, seemed to me that it needed another layer to align properly with Bulkhead 15. In this picture I’ve added another piece of basswood that is about 35 mm x 12 mm.

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After the glue had time to set, I cut the notch for the rudder out on my band saw.

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Here is a test fit of the assembly of the transom assembly.

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I penciled lines for guides while sanding.

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I wasn’t comfortable using a Dremel tool or powered sander to shape the transom piece. My preference was to sanded by hand so that I could go slow. It’s better to me to do that then to take to0 much material off. Here is the transom piece completely sanded.

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I’m not sure that the shape is what the designers intended, but as I said this is my first shot at doing something like this. Here it is glued into place. As you can see it need some additional sanding to fit correctly.

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I noticed after I glued it into place that part of the transom piece extends into the cockpit as you can see here. I’ll trim this back. I wish I had noticed this before I glued it in. It would have been much easier to trim back, but no choice now but to trim it in place.

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I next glued the stern pieces to the aft deck and trimmed the stern filler pieces that were extended into the cockpit opening.IMG_1920.JPG.8ad01b0554076121f3feb888812a4299.JPGIMG_1922.JPG.f8e85d3b4ba583362460193825c11402.JPGIMG_1921.JPG.4a219873891809a995f66dd7e29a1f61.JPG

I’m close to starting the planking. That will be a new adventure as well. That’s all for this post.

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A heavy work schedule and many personal responsibilities have continued to impact the amount of time I have to work on my America kit. I worked on the planking during April and into mid-May as time permitted. Following the other build logs, I planked the stern piece first. Here is a sequence of photos of that work.

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The following covers many weeks of work as time permitted. After gluing the transom piece and the planking around it, I began planning the rest of the hull. After studying some of the other build logs and re-reading the instructions I decided to begin with the planking at the top at the deck level.

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The above picture is the completed planking and is un-sanded. The process has been a good learning experience for me. As the saying goes, you learn from your mistakes. Also, some of the descriptions and comments in the other build logs really hit home and will definitely affect the care I will take when I build my future models. I will explain some of what I am referring to. I failed to think about taking pictures from certain angles so I can only describe the problems.

Without the planking on the keel and bulkhead assembly, the lines of the hull appeared okay to me. I did dry fit some of the planking, but it just did not appear to me there were any issues. As I glued each strake, the lines of the hull looked peculiar to me. The biggest flaw was at bulkhead no. 6 on both sides. Beginning with bulkhead no. 5, across bulkhead 6 and onto bulkhead no. 7 the lines sink in to the hull to bulkhead no. 6 and back out to bulkhead no. 7. The effect was there appeared to be a section sunken in on both sides at bulkhead no. 6. The depression was about 3 to 4 mm deep, and 60 or 70 mm by 120 or 130 mm. In hindsight, bulkhead no. 6 needed significant shimming that I did not do. I tried to correct it later with wood filler as other pictures will show. There were other areas where lines of the hull were not good due to the shape of the bulkheads. This goes back to previous comments I’ve made about the poor quality of the kit and the cuts in many of the pieces, combined with my lack of experience.

The quality of the 1.5 x 5 mm planking in the kite was poor. I considered using other planking that I have previously purchased but decided that I would use what was in the kit. I chose to run the planking in single pieces the full length of the hull. This eventually worked out okay, however as I proceeded down the hull the angles became increasingly sharper. I soaked some in hot water to facilitate bending, but in my desire to move more quickly I stopped doing that. As the angles became sharper, I used drop planks and stealers to bring the lines of the planks into a straighter pattern so that as I approached the bottom of the keel the planks begin to line up with it. It was definitely a learning experience, and it taught that I have lot to learn. My goal was to have the planking as tight as I could make it. The bends of the planking tended to bow out the edges, but as you will see the sanding took it out nicely.

Another mistake was that I did not trim the bow reinforcement pieces back enough. I did not allow for the thickness so as the planking bent up to the bow it was too think in the bow area. It’s a good lesson in how the clearances need to allow for the ends of the planking.

Next, I proceeded with sanding the entire hull and trimming the planking around the transom area. I did not make any photos after the first sanding. Once the first sanding was finished I applied a thin coat of Elemer’s Probond Wood Filler.

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You’ll notice in the photos that this wood filler is somewhat grainy. As I sanded it down there were many small spots, and it took some time to get it smooth. I do not recommend this wood filler. The following is after sanding the first coat of wood filler.

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There were still numerous gaps in the planking and then there the areas such as the bulkhead no. 6 area that need to be built up. I chose not to use the Probond filler anymore and just used standard Elmer’s Wood Filler.

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I applied several thin coats, followed by a lot of sanding to build up the indentions in the hull.

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It appears in the pictures that there are uneven areas due to the wood filler. It is an optical illusion. As you run your hand down the hull it is smoother that it looks. Next, I will add the strakes above the deck planking. More posts to slowly follow as time permits.

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01/05/2019

With all of the summer activities and interests, gardening, work load, other hobbies, etc., I did no work on the kit between June 2018 and Sept. 2018. Once I refocused on it in Sept., I began with the strakes above the deck. I have realized numerous mistakes as I’ve progressed, which will help me on future kits for sure. One thing I noticed in looking at Greatgalleons’ build log is that when he began his planking, he began with the top strake and worked down to the bottom of the keel. I started with the strakes at the deck level, and I can see now that his approach was far superior. I added the strakes above the deck, wasn’t satisfied, removed them and did it a second time.

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Posted (edited)

The next step I took was to trim the top of the bulkheads so they are flush with the deck.

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Edited by TUEL

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After adding some filler and final sanding, I thin marked the waterline and taped it for painting the black on the upper portion of the hull.

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Referring to Greatgalleons’ build log, he used black india ink for the black portion of the hull. I like the appearance in his photos, so I purchased some and tested it on some planking along with some Hull Black from Model-Expo. I was more satisfied with the black india ink, so that is what I used.

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I mentioned in an earlier post that I was not going to use copper plates below the water line. I’m following the pattern that Greatgalleons used – black above the water line, red below. I realize this is not historically correct, but again, this is my first ship build and I’m trying to learn from the experience. I do not intend for it to be absolutely historically correct. I will use copper plates on future ship builds. After finishing with the black, I taped it in preparation for the lower hull painting.IMG_2391.JPG.6d0fd3264cae7c90b99c2c25259f836b.JPG

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I used a packing box for a make-shift paint booth on my workbench.

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I applied 7 coats with an air brush. Here is coat no. 1.

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Coat no. 2

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Coat no. 3

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Coat no. 4

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Coat no. 5. I used a heat gun between coats to speed the drying process. That worked very well - 7 coats applied in about 35-40 minutes.

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Coat no. 5 finished.

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Coat no. 6

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Coat no. 7

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Finished with the red paint.

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Here are a few shots after the tape was removed.

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I turned my attention to the deck planking and have added walnut strips around the inside edge of the deck.

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I will use cherry strips for the interior decking.

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That is my progress so far.

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by TUEL

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I have started and completed the aft decking. Here is a progression of that work

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Here is the aft deck installation completed. No sanding or finish yet.

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Hi TUEL:

 

I'm sorry I've only just found this log now! It seems you've gotten past the piggish first part of the build and are coming along beautifully. As you noted earlier, this kit is rife with structural imperfections - but despite this, she builds up into a very nice model. If you had asked me before I would not have recommended this as a first ship kit - but seeing how you're doing, I imagine when you get your hands on a higher quality product you will work wonders. 

hamilton

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Hamilton:

 

Thanks for posting! Yes, you are correct - it was probably not the best kit to pick as one's first kit. Besides the lack of precision, the poorly translated and very limited instructions are not what a first timer needs. Your Yacht America build log has been invaluable to me! I really appreciate the effort you made with the photos and the details. I can't tell you how many times I've been back to it, found certain pictures, zoomed in and noted details. Please keep an eye on my log and steer me in the right direction when needed!

 

Thanks, Tim

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Very nice work - look forward to following along !

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Thanks Gerty!

 

I continued with the planking on the fore deck. Here is a progression of that work.

 

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Ready for sanding and then tung oil.

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