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Tom in NC

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About Tom in NC

  • Birthday 03/02/1943

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    Weaverville, North Carolina
  • Interests
    Family (14 grandchildren), Reading, NASCAR, NFL football, custom furniture design & construction, and finally model ship building

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  1. Yves ... thanks for your comments. No, I don't plan to add any people even though the Statute of Limitations has probably run its course.
  2. 2nd & Final Build Log Entry – Chaperon aka Jezebel My apologies for taking so long to provide some closure on my Jezebel project. I had two surgeries to remove a large kidney stone in November, and then had gastric bypass surgery in late December. I’m just now starting to eat soft foods again and I feel fine. Have lost 30 lbs so far and hope to lose another 100 lbs by year’s end. But enough of that. I finished Jezebel back in November but failed to do a very good job photographing my last steps. I’ll share as much as I can using pictures of the finished model. If you’ve read this build log so far you’ll know that my “imagined” history for Jezebel (AKA Chaperon) has seen some changes as various folks made really good suggestions and comments. So let me get the story back on track in order to eliminate any confusion (or at least try to). The enterprising young Kentuckian who conceived of making the old Chaperon a “party” boat during Prohibition finally settled on removing her engines and permanently docking her in Newport, KY, right across the river from Cincinnati. I don’t think they had very good aerial or satellite photography in those days, but if they had, here’s what the overhead scene would have looked like. The boat shown here is moored facing upstream. Jezebel was tied up with her port side toward the dock. Having settled on this arrangement, I set about completing Jezebel with several modifications. As you’ve already seen, I created a saloon and casino area on the lower deck where the engines used to be. I also figured out a way to expose one of the enlarged bedrooms on the upper deck. All these spaces were also lighted so that folks could look inside. Pictures and details coming up. Also, since people were now boarding from the port side, I eliminated the large front gangplank altogether. Here’s the final layout of the saloon & casino. The 1/48 scale furniture came from an English company that produces a wide array of dollhouse furniture in several different scales. The name of that company is Seaside Miniatures and they can be found on Etsy. You’ll see as we go long that I used a goodly number of their furniture bits, and a few I built myself, to add to Jezebel’s “party” boat theme. As I prepared to install the boiler deck (mis-named because the boiler is located on the main deck) it was crucial to dry fit everything carefully. When laying the individual deck pieces in place I realized that the holes for the 3/32” stationaries were not going to line up. I did something wrong when completing the main deck that made it a bit wider than it should have been. To cure this problem, I had to widen the boiler deck by inserting a scrap wood spacer down the centerline before gluing it together. I also installed deck planks like I did on the main deck and applied mahogany stain to them before attempting to install the boiler deck. Note the 3/32” stationaries were all dry-fitted to aid with the final alignment of the deck before gluing it in place. I also used some blue painter’s tape to line things up. After applying a liberal amount of wood glue along the top of the lower deck walls I held the boiler deck in place with two paint cans and let it all dry overnight. I was greatly relieved to find that it all lined up when it was done. As I installed the boiler deck walls, I devoted a space at the stern end for a large bedroom. Initially I planned for viewers to be able to see inside by removing a section of the port wall. Later on, I decided to remove part of the “roof” too. Once again, I used appropriate book cloth to represent wall-to-wall carpeting. It was about this time I decided that the saloon, casino and bedroom all had to be lighted. No way anyone was going to be able to see inside otherwise. A visit to my local hobby shop revealed that there any number of LED lighting accessories for use in model train layouts. I selected a battery-powered set with an off-on switch and brought it home to puzzle out how to make it work with Jezebel. There’s a connector for 4 LED lights, an on/off switch and a battery pack. This is a little hard to explain, but I located all the light gear just forward of the bedroom. As you’ll see later it will be accessible for battery maintenance via a lift-off panel on the next deck up. With three of the LED lights in place above the saloon and casino I was happy with the lighting effects. The Hurricane deck house contains the on/off switch for the lights. As mentioned earlier, since Jezebel was to be located with the starboard side against the dock I eliminated the large gang plank on the bow. Here’s the new boarding gate on the starboard side where visitors will now arrive. Imagine a set of boarding stairs on the dock. Also note the “lid” on the Hurricane Deck which hides all the lighting equipment. Here’s a shot with the “lid” removed. Note that the on/off switch is located on the Hurricane deck where the wheelhouse will be attached. Here’s the side of Jezebel that river travelers see. Impressive signage and smokestacks standing tall & proud. Probably some honky-tonk music too. Here’s what the bedroom lighting looked like when finished. Cutting away part of the “roof” as well as the side wall allows people to get a better view of the furniture arrangement. It also allowed me to include a lot more detail. Once again, the 1/48th furniture bits all come from Seaside Miniatures (find them on Etsy). Good stuff, nice people. Here’s the casino. Craps and blackjack tables added later. Ready to install Hurricane deck details and wheelhouse. Note that the main deck railing has been cut down to people-size … horses will no longer be coming aboard … and the uprights and detail grille work has been added to the boiler/bedroom deck. In this picture the completed wheelhouse has been installed, and the wheelhouse ladder & railing assembly is just about done. The square “patch” on the deck below the ladder is merely a cover hiding the Unfortunate seams where the decking comes together. I was not looking forward to fabricating the paddle wheel, but it turned out to be much easier than the double paddlewheels I had to fabricate on my model of the Portland a year or so ago. Note the use of a small square to keep the wheel segments aligned while the glue dried. And now for detail shots of the finished boat … Thanks for following along … and for the many comments and good ideas. This is a fun model to build, and the quality is very good. If anything doesn’t look right, it’s my fault. I have no idea what my next project will be, but I’ve had some pretty strange ideas. How about a 4 ft tall, highly detailed pagoda with instructions all written in Japanese? Or maybe a $1,250 model of the Bon Homme Richard? 44” long and complete with all Chinese language instructions. Hmmm. Or maybe something else. See y’all later. Tom Hoxie Weaverville, NC
  3. Thanks Brian. I hope you have as much fun building this model as I have. Cathead has advised that Kurt Van Dahm sells an excellent extended tutorial on building this kit . I looked at it, but given how far I've already gotten I passed up the opportunity to buy it. I'm kinda stubborn and most of the fun I get out of ship building is running into unsolvable problems and solving them myself. In my last avocation following formal retirement I got into woodworking, then designing and building Asian-inspired furniture. No formal education, just Googling for answers and a pretty good imagination. Did it for 16 years and paid for about $15,000 worth of tools two or three times over. Best of luck... TOM
  4. Bob: You and Eric (and probably many more in this forum) are so knowledgeable on these arcane topics that a knothead like me hasn't got a prayer of sneaking anything by. As I hinted to Eric, my revised story line will likely see Jezebel living out her last days as a wharf queen. With her big steam engine removed to provide room for a saloon and casino she will have to stay lashed to the shore, attracting visitors with flashing lights and hints of pleasures not fully described. I plan to moor her on the banks of the Ohio River in Newport, KY. Bringing in some facts from Wikipedia, and adding some anecdotal memories of my own, here's why that's the best place for her to be ... Prohibition under the Volstead Act of 1919 resulted in a widespread illegal sale of alcohol. Many gangsters began to smuggle alcohol into the city to supply citizens and businesses. Speakeasies, bribery and corruption became the norm in Newport. Upscale gambling casinos on Monmouth street added to its "sin city" reputation. Eventually, investigations for racketeering pushed out the casinos, which were replaced by peep shows and adult strip clubs. Many of the old businesses disappeared when parking became difficult on Monmouth Street and the commercial district opened on the hill of south Newport. Newport retained it's shady reputation up until the early 1980's when she seriously started cleaning up her act. That cleanup has been mostly successful. I doubt Jezebel could get away with converting her boiler to being a still -- too many tell-tale smells to tip off any "honest" cops that might come around. I hope despite my simplifying the story, and making it a bit more factual in the process, that you and Eric will help to keep me on the straight and narrow if I stray again. All best, Tom Hoxie
  5. Sheer genius. I'll build that idea into the story. I'm still working on the engine problem. While trying to ascertain what type of engine and HP the Chaperon boasted I ran across your exceptional thread about steamboats. I'm pretty sure that my off-the-cuff idea about four Model T engines would provide way too little power. Four of them could only reach about 80-100 HP @ 1600 RPM, and if you multiply their torque (83 ft-lbs @ 900 RPM) by 4 you're still not getting a lot of ooomph. Knowing you're watching me, and what your level of expertise is, I'll need to be careful not to too carried away with my fantasies. The steam engine is irrevocably gone on this boat, so maybe Jezebel will wind up being a wharf queen after all. By the way, I'm a cat lover too so go easy on me.
  6. druxey: I'm glad you're enjoying it. Writing a book would probably be fun -- I did a lot of writing during my career -- but boat building has captured my interest right now, and at the age of 76 I'd really hate trying to start a new career that involved deadlines. With guys like Cathead watching me make mistakes and forcing me to invent some sort of excuse is about as fun as this gets. Loving it all...
  7. Eric: I thought I answered your post this afternoon, but I don't see my reply here so I guess I still haven't figured out all the puzzles re build log posting, etc. This whole site can be rather opaque, or maybe I'm just sliding into dementia faster than I realize. I'll look at what Kurt Van Dahm has to offer. As far as the engine room being given over to the casino on Jezebel you have a great point. I'll try to come up with a plausible explanation. Plausibility ain't truth, but what the heck. Here's a stab at this quandary ... Some of the most inventive people in the world are hotrodders. They've managed to devise some very unusual methods of locomotion far beyond what's standard. For instance, in 1960 Mickey Thompson showed up at the Bonneville Salt Flats intending to break the Land Speed Record with his Challenger l streamliner -- which was powered by powered by four supercharged Pontiac V8 engines, . He almost succeeded. How about if our young Kentucky lad came up with a plan to power Jezebel with four Ford Model T engines? I can imagine getting rid of the huge steam engine, and hollowing out some hull space below the casino floor for that purpose. It would occupy a lot less space, and save a lot of weight. If he could pull that kind of modification off he could eliminate the need for the huge boiler, perhaps disguising it and packing it with elicit whisky storage. It would also allow space previously devoted to coal or lumber fuels to be used for something else. The Jezebel didn't have to be "just" a pleasure boat. Smuggling was a pretty profitable enterprise in those days. That explanation strains credulity, but my story about Jezebel was already doing that. Thanks for making me think things through. This is fun. TOM Now let's see if clicking "submit reply" works this time.
  8. Bob: That's a wonderful bit of history. I had never heard of the Delta King before. When I was a lad in the late 40's the Delta Queen had arrived on the Ohio River and I believe she was actually based in Cincinnati. She may have been the largest sternwheeler on the rivers at that time and every visit to Cincinnati was widely covered in Cincinnati papers. Eventually she became involved in an annual race with the Belle of Louisville, (from Louisville to Cincinnati, I think) which had people crowding the shores to watch. Very popular event and obviously great PR. More info on each boat can be found on Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_King https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Queen Now, did you have any opinions re the crazy way I'm building the Chaperon/Jezebel? Tom Hoxie
  9. KIT OVERVIEW Manufacturer: Model Shipways, U.S. Model: MS2190 Chaperon, Sternwheel Steam Packet, 1884 Dimensions: Length 34-1/2”, Beam 7-1/2”, Height 12” Scale: 1:48 Purchased: 2019 Price: $269.99 Design, plans, instructions & prototype model by Bob Crane The model you’ll build from Model Shipways' kit will be a historically accurate (if you want it to be) and perfectly scaled replica almost three feet long. An amazing number of laser-cut basswood and limewood parts make up the hull, superstructure, paddlewheel, gangplank and railings. A photo-etched brass sheet provides incredible ornamental detail. Other brass parts include bell, eyebolts, cleats and nails. Ready-to-use Britannia metal lifeboat, lanterns, capstan and whistle, hardwood blocks and three diameters of rigging line add life-like authenticity. Six sheets of plans and clear assembly instructions pave the way to a magnificent model. Comments from Tom in NC re the kit: Laser cut parts (and all others) seem to be top of the line as noted above. Very nice. The instruction booklet is also pretty good, but leaves several things hanging out there for you to puzzle out yourself. No biggie. As noted in the title, I’ve reimagined the Chaperon’s history and my revision will affect my build in several ways. I hope the designer and original builder of this kit, Bob Crane, will forgive the liberties I'm about to take. The real Chaperon burned and sank in 1922. It was near the end of its useful life and it was hauling freight up and down the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi. I thought that was a rather sad ending for a memorable boat, so I made up a story that said the boat was still afloat after 1922, and that it was given a new and unusual second life. The 1920’s were a significant and unique era in U.S. history, and I just made things up accordingly. Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages. It started in 1920 and lasted until 1933. Many people thought prohibition was a grand idea – but many more did not. As a result, criminal gangs were able to gain control of the beer and liquor supply in many cities. The inland waterways in this country provided a handy way to smuggle whiskey and beer to our major cities in the Eastern U.S. – Chicago in particular, where Al Capone and other criminals ruled the roost. There was a general lowering of inhibitions during that time and some pretty rampant lawlessness ensued. Coincidentally, this period was also known as “The Roaring Twenties.” Ahhh, yes. Several small cities well south of Chicago, like Hot Springs, AK and Newport, KY, became mob controlled “playgrounds”. Municipal corruption, open flouting of liquor laws and other pursuits like gambling and prostitution thrived. My imagined story has a young Kentucky lad (with questionable ethics and some bad habits) inheriting significant funds from his father, then eyeing this societal situation and coming up with what he thought could be a real money-maker. He bought a clapped-out old sternwheeler (Chaperon) and spent a good bit of money converting it into a “pleasure” boat. As you’ll see, it features a nice saloon and casino area, and on the upper deck refurbished and expanded bedrooms. Did I mention that in addition to plenty of illegal beverages the boat also had a small contingent of rather desirable ladies on board? Its new name – JEZEBEL – seems appropriate to me. Other luxurious touches, like mahogany decks, would be added, and as we go along with the build I’ll try to point out more of them. KEEL & HULL CONSTRUCTION The Chaperon’s single planked hull is rather straightforward. Its laser-cut components are excellent, and I didn’t encounter any problems getting a well-formed hull structure assembled. The single planking of the hull was also pretty easy (compared to the double-planked hull of the Cutty Sark, my last project). The instructions suggested that each plank be “clamped” as the glue dried, but I didn’t understand what sort of clamp would do that easily, so I used the same technique I’d learned from the Cutty Sark build (small nails) to hold the planks in place as I worked. Made the whole process a lot speedier – and the nail holes are easy to fill and hide when you finish the hull. I had some nice African Sapele wood left over from my furniture building days and with it I’ll be able to make several nice bases for the models that I hope to build. In this case there’s a slot for the keel to rest in, and the final attachment is made with drywall screws that come up from the bottom and go directly into the keel. Per the instructions, I attached the base to the finished hull and then taped it all up so it wouldn’t get marred by anything during the assembly process. Poker table, blackjack table and craps table. Note the obligatory nude painting that will go on the back bar. You can find ANYTHING on the Internet. Once I got the main deck in place it was time to consider how to lay out the saloon and casino area I’d imagined. I also had to figure out how to successfully change the boat’s name. The wall pieces that were provided had the Chaperon name already stamped in. What you see above is PowerPoint creations that will wind up as casino table tops, and new name banners for the exterior. I made some changes later on, and will let you know when we come to them. Even though the deck pieces were pre-scribed to indicate individual deck boards, I decide to re-plank them (partly because I like the look better, but also because I wanted them to look like mahogany decks when I was done). Can’t have old oak deck boards on a “pleasure” boat can you? I applied mahogany stain to the deck boards, and covered the floor in the future saloon/casino area with a book cloth that simulates plush wall-to-wall carpeting. Note that the back bar element is in place here. The white decking is just to jazz up the area around the boiler and the boarding ramp. Here’s my tentative placement of the bar and casino elements. Better chairs are on their way from a supplier in England. I ultimately solved my renaming problems by flipping all of the exterior walls and then covering them with matte-finish photo paper. This wall had the “Jezebel” name and suggestive artwork on it. On the opposite walls I cut out “viewing windows” so that people looking at the model after it's finished will be able to get a peek at the interior modifications. The front boarding stairs were a little tricky, mainly because there are quite a few small parts and a too-tight squeeze here or there during assembly can easily break them. Don’t ask me how I know that. Note the completed boiler on the deck just behind the stairs – and the inexpensive turntable that is quite helpful during ship construction. While waiting for the furniture I ordered, I started preparing the second deck – which is referred to as the “boiler” deck even though the boiler is on the deck below. In the picture above you can see the four sections glued together and the beginnings of my deck planking like I did on the lower deck. An added benefit is that my planking covers up that egregious joint between the four sections. The walls for the bedroom area on the “boiler” deck proved to be something I couldn’t do well. Perhaps it was the material, or just that I’m not as skilled as the guy who built this thing originally. The side and back walls all have curved ends, and according to the directions you are to bend the material using the forms that are at the upper part of this picture. Theoretically, you can simply slide the ends of the wall into the form and then gently bend them to shape. You might want to apply some heat, but wetting them is a no-no. If they still don’t bend readily, you’re encouraged to use an Exacto knife to cut the pre-scribed lines a bit deeper. Uh-huh. You can see how well that all worked out for me. Plan B. I applied carpet tape to the place where the bends were to start, then cut clean boards the same size as the boards I ruined, and stuck them to the tape one at a time. Not particularly elegant, but it worked. Here’s some fun. It seems that the outer boards on the bedroom walls were all installed vertically, and this resulted in the need to install vertical battens to keep them all joined. I didn’t count how many of these danged things had to be glued on, but it was more than several. Despite the tedium, when I painted the panels and put on the doors & windows, the batten effect looked pretty darn nice to me. And it got me to thinking about the plain walls I’d created on the lower deck. Sooo… Today I loaded a pretty good supply of “hootch” where the bartender could get at it without too much trouble. Whiskey barrels also make nice bar stools. That’s it for now. I’ll move briskly ahead when my 1/48 scale furniture arrives. I’m not sure how I’m going to provide viewing opportunities for the expanded and more luxurious bedrooms, but hopefully I’ll think of something besides a “lift-off” top panel. By the way, I grew up just 30 miles from Cincinnati and the Ohio River, so riverboats have always been an interesting subject for me. If there’s a God Of Boat Models, maybe someday someone will come up with a great model of the Delta Queen – arguably the most famous sternwheeler our great inland waterways ever saw. Believe it or not, after serving many years as a floating hotel in Chattanooga, TN the old girl is being refurbished to go back into service. Hot damn. In my younger days Newport, KY was still a pretty corrupt place, but I think it has since seen a much-needed renaissance and is a fine city to live in now. I imagine the same can be said about Hot Springs, AK. Not sure how the rich Kentucky kid’s Jezebel story will end, but I hope you are enjoying the concept.
  10. I just started the Chaperon kit (same as yours) and going in I decided to make up my own back story. It has a high-rolling Kentuckian buying the boat and reconfiguring it to take advantage of the rather lawless attitudes of folks during Prohibition and the Roaring Twenties. In my story the boat becomes a floating saloon, casino and, er, brothel. It will not be a "floater" or an RC boat. I don't plan to populate the Jezebel (my new name for the Chaperon) with little people, but the furniture you found is fantastic. I didn't have much problem building a craps table, a blackjack table, a poker table or a well-stocked bar. But toilets, wash basins and chairs are really hard to find. You answered the questions earlier about the little people, but the source of your terrific furniture is still a mystery. Can you please re-address that question? Actually, your rendition of this model is beautiful and I find myself so intimidated that maybe I should just scrap what I've done so far. I won't do that, but please know that you've raised the bar for me by a ton. Thanks, Tom in NC
  11. Thanks Hof. When I was still woodworking I built a library in one room of our house, and it has plenty of shelf space for model ships. I'm going to put it in there next week since several young grandchildren are coming for a visit. Then I'll put it back where it is because it's easier for people to see and appreciate. don't plan to store any models in display cases. All best, TOM
  12. All Followers... I sent a question to Dan Vada (I thought) asking how I should go about adding a third and final phase to this build log. Didn't get an answer, and it was probably because I did something wrong in attempting to contact him. I don't always find this website's tools to be as transparent as an old man would like. But that's neither here nor there. Here's my third and final report, as well as several pictures of the final result. The project took me nine months. The finish was a tad less difficult than giving birth, but not by much. I’m quite proud of the result. Along the way I was stunned by a report from Bone Doctor who sent pictures of his Cutty project. He has essentially finished the hull and deck details (beautifully) but it's taken him nine years. Yikes !!! Along the way I had a number of kind comments and encouragements from several of you, and I really appreciated them. I started the project Sept 1st last year, and by January I had the deck and crew quarters pretty much done … the task of rigging lay ahead. I started out with great anticipation and enthusiasm, but I’ll have to admit that by mid-month I was seriously wondering if I could ever catch on to the enormous challenge of making lines go where intended (and when). Tying even the simplest of knots was an epic struggle for me – perhaps I’m dyslexic in that way. But enough of that, I DID get through it and I DID learn to enjoy it. You may be sure that the next fully-rigged ship I build will be MUCH better. PHASE 3 As I looked at the detail of this particular bit of rigging, my heart sank. How does a guy with fat fingers do that I wondered? Step one – prepare upper & lower segments Step two – attach them with a simple connection; and Step three, weave the lines through the double blocks in the way shown in the plan drawing. Simple. Life Boat Rigging The rigging on the Cutty Sark is awesome to behold, but that don’t make it easy. How the crew handled the complexities is a mystery to me. This phase of the project was a dizzying array of line after line, and knot after knot. You have to be very careful to think through each move or you’ll find you’ve installed one line that gets in the way of another line later. The instructions aren’t much help at this point, so you have to think 3-4 moves ahead and study the drawings really well before committing. No mention at all of how you should rig the lifeboats, for instance. What you see above is my best guess. Details around the rear deck make it pretty clear that you should not attempt to install the brass handrails around the deck until you’ve finished rigging. Straightening those rascals out every time you attach another line gets pretty tiresome. Note the fine lettering on the side of the helm box, and the little rope coils that are all over the deck to lend some authenticity. Almost done here, just adding a few lines that reach out to the bowsprit. As mentioned earlier, the rigging of the lifeboats was never well-explained in the directions, so I jury-rigged them in a way that I thought they might actually work. That’s about it. The Cutty Sark now occupies a place in the middle of our Great Room where no one can miss it. The table is a fond leftover from my furniture making days and I think it and the ship are quite compatible. My next project will be Model Shipways fine presentation of the paddle wheel steamer, Chaperon. It has excellent packaging, excellent drawings and excellent instructions. New back story: When I get done with her she will no longer be the Chaperon that burned and sank in 1922. In my story she will have been saved from such an ignoble end by a young Kentucky entrepreneur who recognized that Hot Springs, AR and Newport, KY were just two of several cities along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers that had become playgrounds for the major gangs out of Chicago during the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition eras. It seemed to him that a properly equipped river boat, with all of the accouterments that gang members and others of loose morals could want (booze, gambling and girls) was a hot and potentially profitable idea. Thus was Jezebel born. I’m sure there is no truth to the rumor that Al Capone may have caught the syphilis that finally killed him while he was aboard. Check it all out in my next build log. It oughta be fun. Tom from NC tomhoxie@aol.com
  13. Danny: I started my second ever build log back in late 2018. It's the Mantua version of Cutty Sark. On April 1st I added "second phase" comments, and several of the folks following my build saw them, but it seems to me that I did something wrong. Isn't there some way of notifying viewers of the build logs that an update has been added? I don't know how to do that. I'm about to enter a 3rd stage, and then a finish stage, and want to get it right. Fantastic ship, and I hope I'll be able to build many more. Thank you, Tom Hoxie aka Tom in NC
  14. Hi Tom,


    I have just acquired a Cutty Sark model kit by Mantua but alas, I have no manual or instructions, are you able to help me out with anything you might have? Thankyou In advance! 



    1. bonedoctor51


      I have nearly finished this model.  After working on it for 9 years, I have about 2 to 3 years left!  I can send you the plans for parts that I have completed.  Just send me your mailing address and I'll send them out to you.  As for masting and rigging, I suggest Longridge's book and Underhill.  Contact by private email.  bonedoctor51@hotmail.com.  Lou

  15. Stickyfinger: I just became a member last fall and it has been wonderful getting such good advice and encouragement from people all over the world on the subject of model boat building. I'm in the middle of my second build, and hope I can do many more during my lifetime. Best of luck to you. Finished build: Portland Paddle Wheel Steamer by Bluejacket Build in Progress: Cutty-Sark-by-Mantua-Sergal

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