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    Lexington, MA
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    Model ships, steam powered model ships

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  1. Hi all, I totally forgot to update this blog with work in progress. So here it is: modest progress, but hull has been painted and the deck finished. I am splitting my building time between this model and "Wide a Wake", a model of a lapstrake steam launch.
  2. Hi Jason, I am following your build with interest. I built the Alexandra about 10 years ago with a Cheddar steam plant. It still give me great pleasure to sail her from time to time. I am actually considering building a new steam chaloupe, from a plan. I will be very likely using the same team plant as you are using, but the horizontal version, which will give more overall stability. Cheers, Stephan
  3. I finished the hull planking and started sanding. Not as neat as I wanted, but it will be Ok. I will use Gesso to finish the hull before painting, and it does a good job at preparing a smooth finish. That stuff dries very hard, so I learned the hard way to apply in thin coats with sanding in between. I will not copper the hull, instead I am thinking a black and red finish, but we're not there yet. Here are a few pics of the planking. The dents were caused by me using these clips. Clearly, some filling will be in order. Starboard side sanded..
  4. I started the hull planking. I laid first a 1/8th wide strake flush with the top of the rear deck and flush with the bottom of the foredeck, followed by two more 1/8th wide strakes on each side. The use of smaller strakes from the top down was to better follow the sharp bulkheads 14 and 15 round shape at the stern. The top strake has been shaped in a quarter round for the transition from 1/16 thickness to the thinner bulwarks. I am now using the kit supplied 1.5mm x 5mm (roughly 1/16 x 3/16) planks to continue the planking. Here are a few pics (sorry I realize they’re not best quality)
  5. Hi Matrim, yes I used Lego blocks quite a lot while building my Benjamin Latham. See here. The advantage is that it minimizes the use of pins which leave holes. As I mentioned, I did some minor adjustments on the bulkheads before gluing them in place. As I am preparing for the planking, it is clear some of them are clearly out of whack, in particular frames 2 and 5 which, if left as is, will give a weird looking pinch to the bow, which was clearly not on the original model. From what I concluded, the foredeck and quarter decks are the reference to use, and the frames have to be adjusted accordingly so that the planking follows a fair line. Some bulkheads will need some wood to be added, but most will require a good filing and tapering. Again, much easier to do with all the bulkheads firmly in place. Pictures of work in progress to be posted soon.
  6. After soaking the keel in ammonia, followed by a lot of steaming, I was able to reduce the warp to something acceptable. Once held in by my square aluminum support, there is no warp noticeable. Because there is no mention of cutting a rabbet in the instructions, and to facilitate the planking later on, I added a 1/16 thick band along the bow and the bottom of the keel, sanded so that the keel is now about 1/4. This will also allow to tapper the bow as per the original model. I will do the same on the sternpost later on. After some adjustments, I glued all bulkheads in sequence, starting from the stern. I added 3/16 spacers between each bulkheads. Their purpose is twofold, first to improve integrity of the hull over time, and second to provide a solid bulkheads foundation so that I can file and tapper the bulkheads “in situ”. I prefer that method by far as it is much easier to tapper them to a fair line that way. I started from the stern, and I use a small right angle metal bracket along the way to ensure the bulkheads are perpendicular to the keel. Both decks were then glued per the instructions. Note that the idea of using Lego blocks while the glue is drying should be credited entirely to Elia, a member of this group! Here are some pics of work in progress. Next, I’ll work on the stern part.
  7. I received the kit today. It seems I have another version from the version built by Hamilton in 2015, as I have only 3 plans supplied with the kit. And, oh, the keel and bulkheads don’t match the plan anyway, so I don’t know which is at 1:66 scale, the parts or the plans?? The wood is so-so, but the biggest issue is the plywood is seriously warped. It will require some serious TLC, otherwise my America will look like a Venice Gondola. The supplied blocks are ugly and not to scale (but then again, they always are in all the kits I have built). The laser cut parts are ok. As previously reported, the English instructions are somewhat funny, but rest assured, the French translation sucks as well 😊 All right, so let’s go with it…
  8. So, after finishing my Benjamin W. Latham, and after a busy summer, I have been thinking about my next build. I had several options: resuming my Hesper build now that the hull is completed, build another fishing schooner like Elsie, build the Emma C. Berry which has been collecting dust on my shelves, and also having visited Rochefort in France this summer, I saw the Hermione -again- and building the kit from A.L. tempted me. Not to bore anyone, but here was my line of thinking. As tempting as the Hermione is, and after seeing several build logs, I finally decided to stay away from this kit, as I thought a kit at that scale does a poor rendering of the real vessel. I then went back to the schooner list. My ideal choice would be a POB, scale 1/4 . Unfortunately, there are not many such kits on the market. An option would be of course to scratchbuild. After seeing the beautiful Elsie model from Erik Ronnberg at the Cape Ann Essex museum, I got the plans and looked into building it POB on that 1/4 scale. But Elsie looks a lot like the Benjamin W. Latham, so I decided to abandon this idea. Which brings me to America. A legendary schooner, well (?) documented, many models existing. Here again, no POB is available at 1/4 scale. There is the bluejacket POF, the Mamoli POB at 1/66 scale, and I think there was a Constructo available at some point. I got the 1/48 plans of the BlueJacket America and studied them carefully. As Chapelle said in his book The History of American Sailing Ships, “a great many plans of the America have been published in the past, unfortunately , however, not two agree.” However from my research, the B.J. version seems to be the closest one to the original America, especially as she competed in 1851. Because I am interested in building models as close as the real one, a scratchbuild POB option based on the B.J. plan seemed a good approach. However, I tabled that idea for now, and decided to start the Mamoli kit instead to get a general idea of the model. I expect there will be a lot of kitbashing involved, based on the building logs I have seen here. I ordered the kit and will post the progress here. Stay tuned….
  9. So, I finished my Benjamin W. Latham back last December, and resumed working on Hesper. I realized I did not make pictures of the planking in progress, so I have a couple pictures of the planking completed. After planking and sanding, I applied several layers of Gesso, sanding between layers, to provide a good basis for painting and also coppering. Starting this fall, I'll work on planking the deck, bullwarks, stanchions, railing etc..
  10. Hi, the blocks look really realistic. Did they come that way with the kit, or did you make them yourself?
  11. I have not posted an update in a while on this project, but as I said, I resumed working on Hesper after I finished my Benjamin Latham. I finished the planking, and will be posting pics soon.
  12. Hi I’m a new member and saw your Marie Jeanne. Very nice. I am building one also, an Artisania Latina model. I am a little confused with some of the rigging. Do you have any other sources for more detailed rigging plans. Thanks

  13. Hello Tasmanian, I used the fabric that came with the kit. it was Ok, but I still have to find a thinner fabric for sails in general, especially furled sails. Stephan
  14. Pictures of my -finally- completed Benjamin W. Latham from Model Shipways. If someone asks where are the jib, jumbo or balloon jibs, the answer is that they were taken off the boat for repair 🙂.
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