KenW

Rattlesnake by KenW - Model Shipways - Scale 1:64 - American Privateer

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My first ship build was the single mast, "Armed Virginia Sloop"; my second was the two mast American Privateer, “Fair American”.  Now I feel I’m ready to move up to a three mast ship and I chose the Model Shipways, “Rattlesnake”.  It should offer me new challenges and keep me busy for a long while.

 

I plan to use the plans from the ME kit, as well as plans from the Mamoli kit.  I also acquired the plans from Howard Hann, which will be my ‘go to’ source whenever there are ‘disagreements’.  I don’t intend to use the Robert Hunt’s kitbashed version.

 

One challenge with the Rattlesnake is that it is a smaller scale than the two previous models.  I’ll have to get used to smaller blocks, lines and many other items found on a Revolutionary era ship.  To help in the transaction, I decided to make the ship’s boat first.  I purchased the Model Shipways 4.75 inch boat, which seemed to be about the right size based on the kit’s plans.   Rather than do a whole build log on the boat, I attach some photos of the boat’s build in progress and the finished product.  I have to thank the build log by JSGerson.  I followed his log and didn’t really have any problems.

 

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jwvolz, Robin Lous, Canute and 19 others like this

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Great to see you on another voyage, Ken.  I've always loved the look of Rattlesnake so I'll be following along.  I'm sure you'll do her proud.  You're off to a great start with the ship's boat!

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Nice job on the boat Ken.  Look forward to seeing your work on the Rattlesnake!

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Great looking boat! JSG did a great job with thAt log. I'll be using his build when my time comes on the boat.

Welcome to the snake club (or snake pit that sounds a bit scary though). I look forward to your build.

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Thanks Augie, Brian, Eric, and Slybolt and the 'likes'. 

I going to try my luck at carving with this build.  I'm not very optimistic, but I will post my efforts for all to see even if it's a disaster.

Cheers.

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I began my build of the Rattlesnake with the center keel and bulkheads and discovered my first minor problems.  The bulkheads, center keel former, keel, etc. were cut from 5/32 basswood boards, rather than the 3/16 inch board I expected.  Also, the laser burn didn’t go through the entire board on three bulkheads.  That meant that I had to get out my scroll saw (manual) and start making saw dust.  I have to decide if I want to leave the beams for the forecastle and poop decks, or remove them and cut my own beams once the planking and deck furniture are done.  I will have to decide before I glue the bulkheads to the keel former since I will need to first manually cut out the space on those three bulkheads.


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Testing the bulkheads on the fore half of the keel former:

 

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UpstateNY, rafine and augie like this

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I’ve finished the rabbet on the keel former.  Initially I added a 1/16 x 3/32 plank to the keel former as I’ve seen done in Chuck Passaro’s builds.  This left room for a 1/32 rabbet on each side. I felt that was all I could afford since the former was so thin.  But I found that the piece, while helping me sand and file the rabbet, had altered the shape of the keel former enough so it would have taken a lot of filing/sanding to get the stem, keel and stern post to fit.  So, I removed the plank.  Once I attached the stem and keel pieces, using two dowels for each piece, I think the rabbet will be fine.  I will just have to insure that the hull planks, especially the Garboard plank, are sufficiently beveled. 

 

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The Rattlesnake bulkheads (unglued) taken next to the Fair American.

 

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Just discovered your log today. Thank you for the kudos on the ship's boat. Everything you see on my log I'm experiencing for the first time so beware and read ahead, I make mistakes...lots of them. Hopefully, you won't fall into the same pitfalls I did. Good luck on your build, I look forward to follow it.

 

Jonathan

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Thanks Jonathan and Gerty. 

Jonathan:  I have been following your Rattlesnake build with interest.  You are way ahead of me so when I read your early postings I don't leave comments since I realize you are way past where I am.  But keep up the good work.

Cheers.

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Just because I'm ahead of you doesn't mean you can't ask questions. Ask away.

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Thanks Jonathan.  While I probably won't leave comments, I will definitely ask questions.

Right now I'm gluing the bulkheads and getting ready for fairing.  How did you determine the location of the port sills?

Cheers.

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I assume you are referring to the gun ports,  I copied the elevation (side) view of Harold Hahn's plans and cut and trimmed it so I could lay it on framing to locate each gun port position. The gun ports follow the curved deck line and each are the same height off the deck. I made a mock up of a cannon and placed it on the deck to verify each port height. Don't forget to add the height of the deck planking! You can see how I did it on my log:

 

Starting at Comment 25

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WOW!  Thanks.  I was wondering about using the "water line" from the plans.  This is a much better idea.

Cheers.

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The bulkheads have been glued and I’m in the process of fairing the hull.  I’m taking extra time with the fairing since it creates the foundation of the entire build.  I added braces between each bulkhead for added strength.  However, even with the braces, I’m having problems with breakages in the stern and bow area.  Also, I have to decide how I want the stern transom to be built.  The kit supplied one, with the windows pre-cut, is not the same shape as on the Hahn plans.   Decisions, decisions, decisions.

 

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Canute, cristikc, msberkman and 7 others like this

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Thanks Scott. 

I've been following jsgerson's log and have pretty much decided to go with the Hahn plans.  Hahn seems to be the 'go to' source.

Thanks again.

Cheers.

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I thought I had finished fairing the hull.  I began framing the gun ports; but looking at them, I thought they didn’t look right.  After some questions to Chuck Passaro on his Cheerful log, I learn that the shape of the gun ports is critical.  The sides must be parallel to the bulkheads, while the top and bottom must be parallel to the deck.  Thus, they are not a perfect square.  So I measured the distance from the deck at each bulkhead ad added a batten running the entire length of the hull.  I was surprised at the result.  Not only did the ‘run’ of the battens look ‘off’, but I saw peaks and valleys in my fairing.  So I ripped out the gun port frames I had already completed and started the fairing process again.  I now think that I have the hull faired properly and when I re-attached the battens, the run of the gun port sills looks good.  I’m a bit nervous since how the ‘run of the gun ports‘ look is subjective.  I can only hope my ‘eye’ is up to snuff.  But it looks right to me and I will have to go with that.  It seems that it is more important to look right than to measure right.

Also, this model is intended for my youngest son.  He doesn’t want anything painted.  I told him that at least the wales would be painted black, but I would see what I could do about the rest.  I obtained some redheart wood from Jason at Crowntimber, a new company trying to pick up the slack from HobbyMill’s going out of business.  The wood strips are excellent and I recommend his wood.  I also received boxwood, swiss pear and holly.  I believe it is the same high quality as HobbyMill used to be.

I don’t know that the photos show the difference in the fairing, but I hope that the ‘run of the port sills’ can be seen.

 

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Canute, tasmanian, Gmummey and 9 others like this

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Looks great. I too struggled with the gun ports. I look at mine and see some irregularities. Its a tough hull to get right.

 

You might want to put in a complete filler block at the bow to give you planks something to hold onto as the approach the bow. You might even want to put a filler block in between bulkhead A and B. As your planks approach the keel their is little material for them to attach to without a filler block. Not a must, but may make planking the hull a little easier and sturdy.

KenW likes this

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very nice looking lines on your hull Ken,

 

its going to look beautifull

 

Nils

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Thanks Nils and Eric.  I'm considering filler blocks, and I'm worried about the area above the batten between bulkhead A and the stem.  Not much to grab onto there.  I will have to wait and see how the fairing of the gun port frames goes and act accordingly.

Cheers.

augie and Mirabell61 like this

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I completed the horizontal framing of the gun ports.  And I think the line of the lower sills looks good.  The top of the upper sills aren’t sanded yet and the insides are not faired.  And, I may still make some modifications once the vertical frames are added.  The wood I used is redheart since my son doesn’t want me to use any paint on the model.  The color isn’t bad; although my working space is getting a red hue to it.  Again the wood from Crown Timberyard is excellent.

 

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Thanks Scott; and augie, russ and rafine for the 'likes'.

It will all look better once it's planked.

Cheers.

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How does your son feel about varnish?  Without some kind of clear finish, the raw wood will become a dust magnet.  I think that redheart would really be great with a deep gloss finish.  A rubbed oil finish might nice too but I can't see how you could get all of the surfaces rubbed.

 

That is a nice looking hull you are building.  I love hull shapes and it easy to spot something out of order. It looks like you have got it right.  can't do better than that.

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Thanks for your reply. I don't know too much about varnish; most modelers seem to use "Wipe on Poly" as their finish. I used that on my last build and am planning to use it on the Rattlesnake. There might be an issue of using oil products on acrylic products. Note that I will be painting the wales and other parts black.

Cheers.

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Looking great so far.

 

Quick note. Model Expo currently, through April 19, has a 50% off sale on most everything it seems so might be worth checking out. I am considering getting the Rattlesnake myself as that is a very interesting design and beautiful ship.

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The gun ports have been framed with Redheart wood form Crown Timberyard.  Their wood is excellent.   I also pinned two strakes for the wales.  I want to make sure that I have their precise location correct.  And, since Tuesday’s meeting at my ship model club is, “Bring a Model Night”, I will bring the model so I can get feedback from the guys in the club.  I’m worried that the final positioning of the wales, as well as other parts of the hull, are based on whether they ‘look right’.  I don’t know if I have that much confidence in ‘my eye’.  In the meantime, I’ve started making deck furniture.  You can see the red hue from the Redheart wood.

 

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May as well take advantage of extra pairs of eyes to set your mind at ease.  I'm sure you'll give her a secure berth on her trip to the meeting.  I know one fellow here on MSW had to make a quick stop on a similar adventure and the results were unfortunate.

 

I'm no expert but the run of the planks looks very good.

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