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    Decatur, AL
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    golf, gardening, and now... model ship building

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  1. GrandpaPhil, very good advise to use a dowel rod. That did not occur to me. I'll file that away for future reference. Thanks!
  2. I have made previous comments about the poor quality of the Mamoli kit. That includes poor quality of the wood and poor workmanship of the white metal pieces, but probably more frustrating is that the kit did not include enough of several of the different pieces. It seems to me it would behoove a company to add a few dollars to the cost of the kit, and then supply a few extra pieces. It would be better to have customers that appreciates extra pieces versus a customer being disgusted with the kit, like me, but it’s a moot point given that Mamoli is now out of business. I have learned a good lesson here – do a good thorough inventory of the kit components to begin with so that you know what needs to be acquired or made… before you need that particular piece. The kit required 20 deadeyes, and no, I did not count how many I had until I needed them here for the rigging. The kit only included 19. I considered a month or two ago buying other deadeyes from Syren because of quality, and now in hindsight I wish that I had. Looking at those supplied with the kit, my original thinking was that I could live with the quality of them, but I failed to count how many I needed versus how many I had. I only need one more which would cost very little, but also cost $10-15 to ship. That’s not acceptable. Therefore, I found some scrap walnut pieces and laminated them to get the right thickness, then cut and sanded that to the shape needed for the deadeye. It’s somewhat darker in color, but at this point I think I’m willing to live with it. Here is the result compared to one of the original deadeyes. In reading many references and other build logs, I decided I would rig the shrouds using wire bent to the proper length to insert into the deadeyes. As I attempted to do that, I found it difficult to maintain the correct length while tying the ends. I decided to abandon that method and use stiff cardboard as a back plane to the shrouds. I cut two pieces as you can see in this photo. I marked the position of the 3 deadeyes on each side closer to the aft end of the ship, then used those markings to make alignment marks up to the upper part of the mast as you see in this photo. In the process of doing all of this work, the bracket that holds the middle deadeye that you see in this picture fit adequately into the chainplate, however the end of the chainplate forming the hook for the bracket was shorter than the others. As I worked through this, it fell off many times. Each time I would reinsert it, and several times I tried to bend the end further so that it would stop falling off. I repeated this until the metal became fatigued, and it eventually broke. I did not have any material to refashion a replacement piece, and I did not want to wait to order a replacement which in turn would likely not match the original chainplates in appearance. I began searching in my shop supplies and eventually found a small bracket that was the same thickness as the original chainplate, but also somewhat pliable. From that I fashioned a replacement piece as you can see in this photo (I did not make any other photos of the piece as I was working on it). The middle chainplate is the replacement. I drilled holes at the positions where the simulated bolts are located. I mis-measured the position of the top most hole, so its slightly off in comparison to the other chainplates. But it was actually a good exercise and I learned a little bit from it. I used the white metal chainplate that was broken to fashion some pegs for the holes, then used epoxy to glue them. It gave the new chainplate a very similar appearance to the others. Bottom line is its good enough to live with and to learn from. I have turned my attention back to the rigging and have begun tying the deadeyes. Here are a couple of photos of the first one. Next post I’ll continue from this point with shrouds on the ship.
  3. I had to taper back my build time during the past month or so due to some other demands, but have now refocused and made a little progress. After painting the masts and boom pieces, and gluing some of them together, I tied the required blocks to each piece. I thought it would be easier than tying them once the masts were mounted and glued. Here are the booms and masts ready for mounting. I really appreciate Bob’s comment on 02/09 regarding the rigging being a slow process. This is my first kit and I’m struggling with the rigging, and going very slow. I’ve found a lot of helpful information including several good YouTube videos. I think rigging is just a matter of practice and repetition, of which I need a lot. Hopefully I can train my fingers to be better coordinated as time goes on. I think it’s just a matter of working through some kit builds and continuing to research. Also, I’ve found some great information here on MSW. Once I finished this step I glued and mounted the masts as you can see here. Next up, I’ll continue rigging with the shrouds.
  4. Thanks Bob! This being my first build I can only really comment about the Mamoli kit. There were a couple of other Mamoli kits I had on my punch list to build later, but after this one I will not purchase another Mamoli kit. I've made numerous comments about quality, none of which have been positive. It's not just the metal parts I've commented on recently, the whole kit is that way. Some of the wood is of adequate quality, some was not. Another example is the poor workmanship on the bulkheads even though they are laser cut (don't match the drawings). Maybe a more experienced builder may have noticed some things and made corrections, but I didn't have that experience to fall back on. Also, the English translation on the drawings is poor and not thorough enough. The documentation is limited to the limited information on the drawings. I have to believe the Constructo kit is a higher quality kit. I actually was going to buy it or the Mamoli kit, and chose the Mamoi kit because it include a jib boom and sail, which I thought really added to the look of the model. The America had a jib boom originally, but it was lost in heavy seas when they crossed the Atlantic with it, so actually both kits are historically accurate. I suppose I could have added the jib boom and sail to the Constructo kit, but was more concerned with having a kit that included everything and had limited scratch build additions. I wouldn't recommend the Mamoli kit. Tim
  5. Thanks Richard! Yes, I realize I should be making my own metal pieces and will on future builds. With this first build, I thought I should stick with using what came in the kit rather than going through a learning curve on that too. There are several Mamoli Yacht America build logs that I have been to often, one of which was built be Greatgalleons about 2 years ago. He made most of his metal pieces, all of which were very well done. I've blamed this problem more on poor quality by Mamoli. I sure hope other kit manufacturers are better. Tim
  6. I have cut the masts to size and have now sanded all of the round stop per the drawings. Using 4x4 mm walnut strips, I cut and glued the extensions on each of the gaffs. The deck holes where each mast will be mounted were 0.5 to 1 mm too small. I filed each out to fit the appropriate mast. Here is a dry fit. I sanded each gaff, then used wood filler to form a more rounded end at the base of each one. I began test fitting the collars and other hardware, sanding each to get the fit that was needed. I’ve stated numerous times that I am very disappointed in the quality of the parts and pieces included in the kit. The metal pieces are no exception to that. Each one required some filing and some touch up, but some of them were almost unacceptable. The pieces for the cap assembly (part 510) used to mount the top part (part 502) to the main part of the aft mast (part 501) did not fit well at all. The side pieces did not line up flush with the edges of the cap piece once they were mounted to the mast. I tried trimming the mast to achieve a better fit, but was not able to get a satisfactory fit. I tried using epoxy to try to fill in the gaps but wasn’t satisfied with that and removed it. After some additional filing and sanding I decided I had spent enough time on it and accepted as is. My point of this discussion is that it is a matter of poor quality from Mamoli (once again). They have the dimensions and molded the pieces, and their quality to pathetic in my opinion. Next, I painted the round pieces as seen below. The main masts were finished with several coats of tung oil in the area left natural. The next step is to rig some of the blocks to these pieces. It seems it would be easier to do that as single piece rather than installing the masts and doing it once it’s on the ship.
  7. With the bowsprit and jig boom installed, I focused on the rigging around the bow of the ship. I spent some time looking at the other Yacht America build logs. I noticed rope color selection for each one and considered what approach I would use. I decided I would use dark brown for the rigging anchored to the boat, and light tan for the running rigging. I think I remember reading that somewhere. I may not be using the correct terminology here, but it will be obvious what colors I used in the subsequent pictures. I’m using rope from Syren. I agree with some of the other guys who have posted that the rope included in the Mamoli kit is just so poor. I mentioned several times that this is my first ship build, so this is my first pass at rigging of course. I’m finding myself staring at the boat trying to decide what to do. I looked at the hardware that I would need around this area, and there are 4 closed hearts indicated on the plans that are used near the bow, 2 on each side. When I inventoried these parts, I found that my kit only had 3 of them, not 4. Here are the closed hearts I’m referring to: I spent some time at various websites to see if I could find suitable replacements. I also went back to the other build logs by Hamilton, Mojofilter, Greatgalleons, and Flyer and looked closely at their pictures to try to determine what I would do. Finally, it occurred to look at the front picture on the kit box to see what they looked like there. Here is a picture of it (zoomed in): The closed hearts in this picture are very different from what was supplied in the kit, and it occurred to me that I should be able to make these. After looking at all of my supply of wire, I decided a common paper clip would work well because the wire has some stiffness but yet is also pliable. I proceeded to fashion 4 of these closed hearts from paper clips. After fashioning the hearts, I soldered the ends closed. Once installed, I painted these black. Having found a solution to that issue, I began rigging around the bowsprit and jig boom and have completed that work. Here are several pictures of the completed work: One thing that can be noticed in these pictures is that I have a slight bow in the jig boom. I didn't notice this until after much of it was installed and didn't want to re-do it. I suppose that when I applied tension through the blocks and tied them down is caused the bow. It's something I've filed away for future boat builds, and I think I'll just live with it. I noticed one or two other boats that had a similar bow, so it's easy to do if you haven't dealt with it before. I need to install one cleat on top of the jig boom near the winch, and then I’m ready to begin work on the masts and the upper rigging. I'm slow, but I'm getting there.
  8. As I’ve worked on tying the blocks, I’ve improved somewhat. I realize now that this just takes practice so I’m moving forward rather than trying to perfect it. I have prepared all of the blocks that will be mounted to the deck and railing. Here are several pictures of the blocks after I’ve installed and glued them. After installing the blocks, I began work on the bowsprit. I trimmed the tapered portion of the bowsprit with an Xacto knife, then sanded it to round form from a length of 70 mm out to the end of it. I tapped it and painted the outside portion black. Next, I re-taped it and painted the inside portion white. Here is the completed bowsprit. Here is the bowsprit installed. Next, I installed the jig boom. Here are several pictures of the result.
  9. I mentioned in a previous post that the rigging seems to be the most difficult part of the build for me. I suppose that is due to my lack of expertise and experience. I’ve made my first attempts at tying rope to the blocks and eyelets, and just realize this will take some time to gain the expertise. I have read many MSP posts could regarding blocks and hooks. In one of the posts, the writer listed links to a couple of YouTube videos, one of which I thought was very instructive. The title is “Seizing a rope or line on model ships”, by J Brent. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzDl5MYOgmQ Mr. Brent’s method seemed to me to be the best approach and I tried it on 2 blocks. My first effort was very sloppy and loose, but I improved on the second one so I realize this is just going to take practice. On the second block I used some thinned PVA glue (read that in one of the posts) to try to better secure it. I read numerous comments (pro and con) about using CA glue, and thought the PVA glue would be better. I still felt the rope was not tight enough, likely due to the knots I tied. Here are the two attempts. The first one is at the top (untrimmed) and the second at the bottom. The second one looks okay, but it is actually too loose. In another post, I found a link to another YouTube video by Mr. Brent titled “Rigging a block to a mast or spar for model ship builders.” Here is the link for that video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUrRb66VSSE&t=2s This video is much more applicable to the certain rigging I’ve started with. In this video he refers to a post by an MSP member named Bender. I was able to find the post in MSP and here is the link to it. https://modelshipworld.com/topic/1056-tying-blocks-to-yards-or-masts/?tab=comments#comment-133709 Bender’s work is exceptional in my opinion and this will be very useful. I used it on the 3rd block and think this is a much better method. Bender’s post is titled “Tying blocks to yards or masts.” The method here worked well for me because I am tying to an eyelet with a loop at one end of the block, and the method worked just as well as if I were tying to a larger diameter mast. Also, in this application, you prepare both ends of the rope before actually placing them on the block, then the rope slips tightly on the block. Once I applied some CA glue, I felt like it was the result I needed. Using a hemostat to secure it, I started with the rope in an S-shaped pattern, with one loop of the “S” threaded through the eyelet as you see here. Next, I seized it with a smaller diameter brown thread use Mr. Brent’s method with the sizing. I removed it from the hemostat and here is the result. I placed the block in the loop opposite to the eyelet, tightened it down and added a drop of CS glue. I believe I used too much CA glue and will adjust that as I practice more. Here is the result. I’m still not very satisfied with the quality, but improving. Hopefully in my next post I’ll be done with these blocks. This is a slow go for me as I’m just not sure of what I’m doing, and I’m having to learn how to hold and manage the rope and thread as I go. Until next time...
  10. Due to a lot of time constraints over the summer and into the fall I have not worked much on my ship build. I've done a few things that I will document here. Now that I have my attention on the rigging, I find that I’ve kind of stalled in that this seems to me to be the more difficult part of the build. I’ve spent some time through the summer months doing a few things, but also trying to read as much as I could about rigging. This picture show some of the cleats that I’ve installed on the deck. Per the kit instructions, I cut the channel pieces from 5mm x 5mm walnut. I continued to shape them and then cut the slots for the dead-eye chain plates. Here are the finished channels ready to be glued to the hull. I glued both channels and painted each. Next, I painted and assembled the chain plates and dead eyes. I wasn’t very happy with the quality of the dead-eyes included in the kit, but decided I would use them anyway. Here are the assembled chain plates ready to be installed. Here are the installed chain plates and dead-eyes. My next thought was to begin installing some of the blocks. I believe I should install the blocks attached to the deck before working on the masts. I have ordered and received Syren blocks which was my first choice, however, I noticed that the block looked different from those portrayed in the plans. I ordered additional blocks from Modelers Central since those seem to be more like the design and intention for the model. Once received, I was not satisfied with the quality, so it’s back to plan A and the Syren blocks. The quality of these blocks is certainly impressive, and it will not take away from the appearance of the kit. I was just simply trying to stay true to the model as depicted in the plans The block I’m focused on will be tied to eyelets. The eyelets supplied with the model are high gloss, brass colored. That seems to me to be out of place. I would think that much of the metal exposed to sea water would not appear as polished as these are. It occurred to me that a good source for eyelets are fish hooks, so I made a trip over to our local Walmart and purchased some Eagle Claw Cricket fish hooks, size 8. I clipped the hook end off of one as you can see in this picture. I think the color and finish seems much more applicable and appropriate to the kit. I’ve applied one coat of tung oil to the blocks. I considered purchasing a fly tying vise to use during the process of tying the rope to the blocks, but I have another idea that I think will work well. I picked one of the blocks with tweezers then mounted that in my vise as you see in this picture. Now I’m out of excuses and have to start tying the rigging rope. Hopefully my next post shows some progress.
  11. With warm weather here in the south, a lot of activities have taken away from my build time. I have worked on the forward companion way the past couple of days and finished it. Here is a sequence of photos showing the build and some views of it mounted on the deck. I'm now ready to begin focusing on the masts, rigging and sails. As with everything so far, this is new territory for me. It will likely slow my progress some more as I will have to read reference material and study the other build logs I'm constantly going to - Hamilton, Greatgalleons, Flyer and Mojofilter.
  12. I clamped the plastic fore skylight in my vise to get it to a good working height, and proceeded to paint it. This is the skylight after several coats of paint, and tung oil applied to the base. The quality of the molded plastic skylight is just so poor, and its even more apparent with paint applied. The seals between the panes are very uneven which made it very difficult to paint. Here is the fore skylight glued to the deck.
  13. My progress has been slow over the past couple of weeks. Other things have encroached upon my build time, but I have been able to do a little work on it the past few days. I began building the grating for the main hatch assembly. I failed to look at the drawings to notice the dimension of the grating, and assembled all pieces provided with the kit. I then went to the other build logs to review photos and noticed that a couple of the other hatches were not the same dimensions as mine. I then went back to the plans and measured the grating, which per the drawings is 21mm x 31mm. I cut the grating to be as close to these dimensions as I could (20mm x 30mm). Next, I mitered 2mm x 3mm walnut strips and used those to trim out the grating. From a 0.5mm walnut sheet, I cut a piece that was 1mm wider and 1mm longer than the grating assembly, then glued the grating to it. I applied a coat of tung oil to it. I set this aside until I could complete the toe boards on the deck around the capstan (I’m not exactly sure that toe board is the correct term, but I didn’t want to take the time to research it). Per the kit drawings there are 6 of these strips, which would mean they are 60 deg apart from one another. I will glue 2 to the deck along the center on the deck. My approach was to make a template out of cardboard, starting with a section cut to 60 deg. I trimmed the piece and slotted each side so that I could lay each strip exactly where it needed to be. I used this template to set the other 4 strips. Here is a sequence of photos. Next, I glued the main hatch assembly My next task is to paint the fore skylight.
  14. I was not very satisfied with the first skylight assembly. I used the 1mm x 2mm walnut strips provided in the kit to trim around the skylights. The quality of these strips was extremely poor. There was a lot of splintering on one or both edges of each strip, and it appeared to not be uniform in width. I tried to be particular as to which strip I used, but did find ant that were completely satisfactory. It seemed to also very in thickness along the length of the strips. I have some 1mm x 2mm cherry strips that I used on the side railing that is excellent quality. I wanted to use the walnut strips because of the darker color, but decided I would rebuild it with the cherry strips. The last picture is the one built out of walnut; the picture below is the new one built with the cherry strips. It is lighter in color, but much tighter in the fitting of the strips. Here it is installed on the deck. I followed this with building the capstan. I’m not sure what type of wood was used for the capstan, but it’s very light colored. Maybe it was box wood or poplar. The vertical pieces that are glued into it are walnut I believe, so I was somewhat concerned as to how it would take the stain. I decided to glue those pieces in first, then stain it. I used a MinWax stain named Honey. It looked to be a somewhat medium brown in the charts I looked at. When I applied the stain, I was not very please with how it turned out. It is definitely much darker than I thought it would be. But, there is no correcting it now. Here is how it looks: Now its on to building the grating assembly.
  15. Thanks SandyBay! I built the skylight assembly per the details in the plan using 1mmx2mm walnut strips for the framing. I am not pleased with the alignment but here is the assembly. In hindsight, I should have used a larger 1mm sheet and cut holes for the skylights. That would have a much better appearance. The glue needs to cure over night and then I will sand and trim to try to improve the appearance. Here it is sitting on the deck (not glued). I will post additional pictures after I've had some time to trim and adjust the assembly.

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