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  1. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Lou, thank you for your kind comment and suggestions. We’ll see if the Rosie’s are attracted by the awning frame. I decided to bite the awning bullet so I picked up some brass rod at the LHS. Bill, thanks for your feedback. I’ve decided to stay with the PE boat falls. I plan to add a cross rope between davits, with hand ropes as shown in several pics of the ship. Hopefully the clutter will draw attention away from the skinny falls. Kevin, thanks for your kind comment and your suggestion. We appreciate your concern. My ankle and foot were last year. They have healed well and I’m back to walking for exercise. Carl, I never had experience with lunchboxes, but lots with a plastic sandwich ziplock in a paper bag, including to this day. My typical lunch has been referred to as a slam sandwich (two pieces of bread with a piece of meat slammed between them). Steve The davit workshop. This is the davit workshop. With 32 davits to assemble I thought it would be easier to gather all the parts together, figure a standardized filing and sanding sequence for each part and then prep all parts of same type together. These are the tools for the 64 davit shoes. A pair of davit shoes, before and after prep. The narwhal spike was only on a few shoes. The good news is that all 64 shoes have been run through the prep line. Next will be the 32 rear davit supports.
  2. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Lou, it is unfortunate you and I and our spouses seem to be sailing in the same boat. I had foot and ankle surgery last year due to an accumulation of injuries that started in high school, exacerbated by a foot with a very high arch. But I’m walking well today and I’m sure you will too. Our thoughts are with you and your wife and our prayers are for continued good news. Mark, thank you for your kind comment and expression of concern. We really appreciate it. Carl, thank you for your words of comfort. You’ve been with me since the beginning of the build and I’m sorry to be dragging you through our stormy seas. Hopefully there will be sunshine ahead. I should have made the lunchbox roofs removable for easier storage of snacks before the voyage. I think I’ll leave the extra row in the stanchion template uncovered to force me to think a bit. Steve Davit plus. Since the lifeboat adventure is on the horizon I thought I would experiment with the davit construction. Five pieces per davit, flash to remove on every piece plus filing and sanding, plus butt joint gluing, times 32 davits was daunting, a word I’ve unfortunately used quite a few times on this build, not so much for the complexity but more for the quantity of each operation. But no more whinging. It wasn’t so bad once I realized that medium CA is better than thin if the metal surfaces aren’t perfectly flat after filing, and one tiny drop is much better than more on metal to metal if you want it to set up. Here’s the davit in its approximate location. With the feet glued to the davit sides it is reasonably stable which bodes well for final fitment, although the castings are a bit cockeyed relative to plumb and require some careful twisting and bending to achieve a reasonable alignment. If all the rest go as well as the first one it will only be about 50 hours of effort, not including paint and rigging the boats. Which brings up another thing. The PE sheet includes faux rigging for the davits. The instructions say to tie the looped end of the rigging set (on the left in the left hand group of the photo) to the davit arm, and to heat set the other end into the lifeboat interior. Has anyone seen PE rigging before? I’m almost inclined to get some blocks (pulleys?) and rope to make up my own, but that will be 64 blocks and blah, blah, blah. And another forward looking consideration…. The photo, kindly furnished by Dean’s Marine from their archive when I purchased the kit shows a pipe frame with fabric roof over the aft bridge deck. It could be fun to solder up (he said) but I’m wondering if the fabric would hold up during the pond voyage. Alternatively I could just leave the fabric off which is what they may have done at sea. More decisions.
  3. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Carl, thank you for your kind comment. My wife had two lung cancer surgeries six years ago, and had five stable scans since, but unfortunately the latest scan indicated a new nodule in a new location. We’ll know for certain after a biopsy but it looks like another surgery may be needed. Steve A moment’s inattention. All the ship’s ladders are painted and all but two are installed. I have also sanded and washed all the lifeboats so they are ready for fit out, and set some in position to feel good. When I need a break I drill more stanchion holes. With the template it’s mindless work - well not quite mindless as a moment’s inattention resulted in a few holes using the wrong template row.
  4. And boy, did I hate to cut those railings after all that work.
  5. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Steve Ladder redux. I re-drilled the mounting hole for the forward ladder base pin to make the ladder more vertical, reset the right hand railing to better align with the left and added grab bars to pick up where the railings leave off. Now it looks like you could actually get up and down the ladder without falling off. The aft ladder leading to the top deck. That's where I'll be short a rail. They'll just have to be careful. The white triangle is my home made 30-60-90 triangle to help with ladder alignment, although I'm the last one to say any of them are a perfect match. At the starboard ladders I trimmed the wall railings to provide more clearance when ascending the ladders, and added a grab bar to close the gap between the ladder and the bridge deck wing wall. The jury is still out on that piece. Maybe it needs the mounting points pushed in almost flush with the wing wall. Anyway, this finishes up the fabrication of starboard ladders, plus a few to port, so now they can go into paint. I plan to do as much as I can on the starboard and top sides before rotating the ship to work port side. The more stuff that goes on the harder it is to make the swing so I only want to do it once more. Probably wishful thinking...
  6. Thanks to all who gave likes. Lou, thanks for stopping in and for your ongoing interest. Carl, I set the ladder too flat. I propped up another one in the same location, but more vertically oriented and it should look much better. I'm working on a little 60 degree template to see how that compares to the new alignment. My tendency is to want the ladders to look flatter since stairs in buildings have a much shallower aspect, more like 7 vertical to 11 horizontal, but online drawings of ship's ladders have them at 60 degrees which is much steeper. Soooo, patch the deck divots and hole and move the ladder in. The handrails are another issue. The supplied ones are PE flat which makes them a challenge to blend into the round deck rails. The good news is that a photo of the ship shows the ladder rails independent of the deck rails, closely aligned at the ends but not touching, so the current plan is to fab the deck rails in a similar manner to avoid trying to blend round to flat. Jack, thanks for the suggestion. I liked the hold and fold type of tools but I have very limited PE to fold up so I'm going the cheap way out. At this scale the tweezernose gives an acceptable sharpness to the inside corner, at least at the ladders. I figured I would use utility knife blades if I need anything sharper. Steve
  7. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Patrick, thank you for your kind words. I feel like I’m working with jumbo parts when I see the work of the members doing 1/350 and 1/700 ships. Steve Stair-steppers rise to the occasion. Not a lot of work this week, between a milestone birthday celebration and simultaneously word of a bad scan for my nearest and dearest, after five years of good ones. Shipbuilding may be limited for a while but it is therapeutic when there’s time for it. I’ve been folding up the ship’s ladders. I fold the stringers by squeezing the stringer between tweezer nose pliers and folding the treads up with my fingers. The pliers only go to about the halfway point of the stringer so I bend a bit on one end, reverse the pliers and bend up the other. After a few rounds the stringers are in place. Once the treads are bent up I touch the underside of each tread on with thin CA on both ends to strengthen the stringer to tread joint. On a few ladders I found that the bottom tread on one side was connected to the stringer at both corners of the tread, which required another snip of the PE scissors to free up one corner. The PE sheet is short of double railings, allowing only one railing per ladder, but there are a couple of extra ladders so I could scavenge enough to allow two railings for each forward freestanding position. The other ladders go up against walls so a single rail, while not entirely accurate is at least less noticeable. The starboard ladders are fabricated and the wall railings are trimmed to allow a tight fit to the wall. I also notched the quarter round trim at the top to accommodate the stringer. The railings have no length adjustment to speak of so the slopes are slightly different to match the different deck-to-deck heights. I added a bit of plastic at the head of the lower ladder to give it a bearing surface but it looks like I need to trim it a bit to blend with the adjacent curved wall. At the forward ladders there is no sidewall for fastening so I added an L-shaped pin under the bottom tread to help secure the stair in place, after realizing that the small deck divots I added under the bottom of each stringer were contributing almost nothing to stabilization. I filed the top of the L flat to get a good bond with the tread. I thought the photo below looked good until I realized the right hand railing is glued lower on the stringer than the left so a repair may be in order. Too bad because the railings are very fragile and don’t take kindly to fiddling.
  8. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Carl, after only a nano-second of consideration I agree that inside out is a better way to proceed. I’ve already knocked a few pieces adrift trying to reach over the ship. Carl, Jack, Rob and Kevin, I appreciate your suggestions on decals and lettering. Rob, I don’t have your skill at overpainting but I love your HMS Cottesmore badge. Kevin, thanks for the link to adhesive decals and for your compliments. I have adhesive red crosses but I’m not using them since I expect they were painted over along with the crosses on the sides when the ship came off hospital duty. I didn't realize they still made Letraset. I used a lot of it back in the day until architectural drawing went digital and our stack of sheets dried out in the drawer. It was a challenge to install Letraset on Mylar drawing film on a flat drawing board and I’m not sure I would want to try rubbing it onto a vertical curving surface. To make a long story just a little bit shorter I have abandoned white letters. I even tried light gray thinking they would look white against the dark background but they just faded into insignificance. So I wetted up a test bit of decal that had the wrong font and applied it to the wood that I had used to experiment with hull paint. The black gives a legible and reasonable appearance. Steve Every journey begins with a stanchion. While eating lunch at work I mulled over an earlier suggestion to use a jig for railing placement. After a quick sketch and visit to the hobby shop I made up a 1/4 x 1/4 inch plastic angle strip with some half round strips along one inside edge. The half rounds offset the half round deck edging to allow the angle to sit straight when taped to the deck edge. The inside view is below. The jig was the nuts. In short order I had all the holes drilled along the starboard side of the bridge deck. I had to set up a second line of jig holes for the aft bridge to push the railing inboard so the stanchion points would be hidden inside the fascia strip. I placed a ceremonial stanchion to signify the start of the 400 stanchion journey, but the trip won’t actually commence until everything within the railings is installed. A single railing the full length of the deck would be unwieldy at best, and most likely a folded disaster, when trying to fit, remove for painting and reinstall (no in-situ airbrushing here). I’ve also been thinking that a pieced railing needs additional support at the ends of each section but I’m reluctant to clutter the walkway with angle braces. A little knife work in a stanchion hole gives it just enough room to install a double stanchion, so the tentative plan is to build the railing in sections, then solder or glue the stanchion at each end of a section to the adjacent stanchion. Since the stanchion sections are flat the doubled up ones are barely distinguishable from a single one, but the doubling should(?) strengthen and simplify the connection between adjacent sections. The photo shows a test double (untrimmed) to ensure it would fit the hole. If anyone has tried this and found it not to work please raise a flag.
  9. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Mark, thanks for the suggestion. I got some inkjet compatible decal paper through Amazon. A test piece went through the printer fine and I sprayed it with matte clear but not lacquer because I’m concerned the lacquer might dissolve the ink. The computer will make white letters but I’m trying to figure out how to find them after I print since the backing paper on the decal sheet is also white. I was thinking about putting a black line box or some black corner marks around the entire word or the whole column of depth marks so I would at least know where to look when I'm cutting up the decal sheet. Carl, thanks for offering to look into the mast and for your decal suggestions too. I have seen a bunch of photos that show multiple wires or ropes coming off the masts. It would be nice to know what they are for so I don’t mistake standing rigging or flag halyards for communication wires - I’d never live it down. I’ll keep looking too. Steve A blank canvas, sort of. The marriage between bridge and top decks was a success and the top deck cabins, compass platform and funnel are now firmly bonded to the parents. Below are a few pics of what now feels like a blank canvas, waiting not so patiently for MORE DETAIL. Starboard near midship Yes, I know it looks like a plastic imitation of an explosion over the radio room. Radio room looking forward The circles for the "painted over" red crosses seem forlorn and in need of a new task. One photo I saw had a railing around the circle, presumably to keep people from trying to store things on top of the red cross. But I don't know if they would have retained the railing after the red crosses were deactivated since it takes up valuable storage space. Bridge deck detail I sure hope a tipsy sailor doesn't try to navigate the aft bridge during docking. The gap between boat deck and cabin walls is where the superstructure separates for access to the motor room. Tried to show both aft ship's ladders Railings or boats, which will be next?
  10. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Carl, thank you for your kind comments. If I build to a bigger scale I’d be relegated to the garage, which is packed full of snowblower, mower, firewood, old concrete patio pavers and other detritus. But the pavers had so much fun during the hull construction I decided to bring them back indoors for another visit. Steve A big day. All the wall railings are fabricated, painted and in place. I also strengthened the bracket connections from inside the walls (thanks again Carl) with dabs of medium CA. The short bits of railing that had snapped at the solder joints installed so tightly and in such good alignment that a bit of thin CA at the butt joints was all that was needed to stabilize the joints. So it was a big moment to finally marry the bridge deck to the top deck. The Bondo can appreciated being able to participate in a bit of clean finish work rather than its usual schmoozy supporting role. For you eagle-eyed, there are some holes for uninstalled railings in the small aft bridge deck cabin that I mistakenly drilled after forgetting that ladders run up the walls on both sides. After looking at the Vance name for awhile I'm getting more convinced it should be white text rather than black. The question is, how do you find white text on a white decal backing sheet? Guess? Put a black outline around the words? Next up are the top deck cabins, 10 stairs and perimeter railings, unless someone thinks I should hold off on the railings until all the deck furniture and fittings are in place. Or if I get in the mood I might redirect to the lifeboats and davits. If anyone knows of a guide on what is typically attached to the two masts on a ship like this please point me in the right direction. The instruction photo below only includes the forward mast, and only shows a pretty basic arrangement. It would be good to know what should be there for rigging (rope or wire?) and what I'm guessing are communication wires(?). The kit includes a few dowels, some ladder material and a crow’s nest. It also includes some heavier brass wire but I am guessing it is not intended for any of the mast work. Then again, if it is not I don’t know what it is for. Maybe RC'ers keep it simple since the masts are part of the upper deck areas that get removed and reinstalled to get the motor running.
  11. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Steve Short visit. All the boat deck railings are fabricated and awaiting cleaning and painting. I learned that an end-to-end soldered 0.020 railing is not particularly sturdy. The solder grips the railing very well but the actual butt between pieces is still weak and snaps off very easily. For one railing I ended up re-soldering it a third time, but in place rather than in the jig. The problem is I still needed to remove all the railings for paint and it ended up breaking again. So I gave up on it tonight and will revisit next session. Anyway, the pic shows the forward end where the railing wraps the curved wall. Seems decent for a first time effort and the paint should help it blend in. I’m not showing the other railings since they all look the same, but you’ll see them when the bridge and boat decks get glued together.
  12. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Lou and Carl, I appreciate your spirited insight. I took a walk around the pond to enjoy the warmish (50 F) weather and to reconnoiter possible launch areas. Turns out there is barely any area with a gradual slope, and mostly stones or weeds near the shore. More thinking needed. I also realized early spring is not a peaceful time on the water. The ducks and geese have arrived and the ducks in particular are having intense battles to win favor, including beak grabbing, wing flapping and mad rushes across the surface. Certainly no consideration for the odd ship that may stray into their path - the nerve of them. Steve Moving downstairs After finishing the bridge deck wall railings (yay) I moved downstairs to tackle the even longer boat deck railings. The wings at the forward end made it awkward to set the deck on its side so I blocked up some rigid foam. The boat deck has a more pronounced sheer than the bridge deck so there was some extra layout time to ensure the railings follow the curve. The wall is curved at the forward end of the boat deck. Some model photos I have seen don’t carry the railing around the curve but it seemed a logical thing to do, and a little extra detail, so I decided to give it a shot. One challenge was how to work at the narrow end of a 40 inch long piece. The drafting board depth and the drafting work lights really come in handy. The next question was how to maintain a space between wall and railing around the curve. I’m not sure if this is a standard way of doing it but it seems to be working for me. There are several spots on the boat deck where the wall is longer than the length of the railing pieces. The clothes pin/vice soldering jig is crude but the wood is soft enough to bend a bit for horizontal alignment and the clamping surfaces allow vertical. Between the two it’s possible to get perfect alignment for 0.020 wire. I snipped off one of the legs on each pin. The longer leg goes into the vice and the shorter leg still operates.
  13. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Steve Door swing redux. Here’s the railing fix so the door can swing open and not stay bolted all the time. The painters are off for the weekend and will patch up the old railing hole next week. I know, it's probably still a little tight but I needed room to return the railing to the wall, and they can tie the door off to the railing if they need to. I knew part of the railing would conflict with the ship’s ladder between the bridge and top decks so I folded up the ladder, test fit it and trimmed where needed. While getting out the ladder pieces I noticed the three steps to the compass platform which were folded up and painted awhile ago. I hadn’t put them in place since the glue surface to the platform side is minuscule and I hadn’t figured out the railing. I decided I better do it before I lost the steps. This is the second try at the railing - after installing the first try something seemed odd and then I realized the railings were so high they would be in someone’s armpits, or hitting them in the side of the head if they were vertically challenged. Since the railings are anchored into the side of the platform they provide some support to the lower part of step stringers. Next time I'll leave the tails of the top platform railings long to make a nicer transition into the stair rails. Learning, learning, learning.
  14. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Carl, that's why I glued it shut😀. But thanks for pointing it out. You'd think I'd be more sensitive to door issues, particularly since I had to straighten out a problem in a very large project many years ago where the designers had specified doors so thick that the way they were detailed didn't meet code requirements for clearance between the door and jamb. And the problem wasn't discovered until after the heavy limestone surrounds had been installed at all the door openings in 10 buildings. Bit of a bugger, that one. Hopefully I can trim and reset the railing end without mucking up the lot. Thanks also for the CA suggestion. Steve
  15. To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by. Steve Wall railing success! A few shots of the finished bridge deck starboard wall railings. The overall length of the wall is about 800 mm (33 inches). The installation went easier than expected. For each railing section I worked gradually from one end to the other. To start a section I used a pinhead to put a drop of medium CA into three or four bracket holes, then a drop of thin CA on the rail end, which gave time to set that group before moving on to the next. The railing has enough flexibility to push aside without bending it, while putting CA into the next group of holes. There’s always room for improvement but I’m happy with the result. On this wall I stuck to a 15 mm spacing between brackets, starting at one end. This gave a short space at the other end in a few locations. On the port side railings, which are fabricated and in the paint shop, I adjusted spacing between the last few brackets on a run to avoid the shorts (full pants leg please). I think it may look better. The close up also shows how the laser etched porthole locator “x” was a bit oversized relative to the porthole diameter. I thought the wall paint might fill it better than it did. For some reason the “x” was bigger in some locations than others. Next up will be the boat deck wall railing but now that I have the hang of it, and with the brackets all cut ahead of time, the progress should be quicker. Maybe on the next ship I'll graduate to soldered intermediate supports to avoid the bracket heads cluttering the railing line but aligning all those little bits of wire was too much for me on this ship.

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