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  1. Wow! It's been a really long time since my last post. I've been working on the Dragone, but not keeping up with my postings. Sanding and shaping the hull and keel weight are underway. I'd say I'm about half done. The real work has been spent on the deck planking. The King Plank is Tangankia 1mm x 6mm and the deck planks are Walnut 1mm x 3mm. I saw several photos of real Dragon's that had very intricate caulking and thought that would be a nice touch. Also, several other modelers have created beautiful decks with contrasting caulking. I chose a heavy card stock paper that was deep black all the way through. Cutting a 1mm wide strip was a bit tricky. Ultimately, I settled on gluing several deck plank strips down onto the card stock using Elmer's wood glue. The key here was not to squeeze the planks together too tightly so that my Xacto blade could pass between them to cut the strip. The result is a single deck plank with a strip of black along one edge. At scale, the black card stock strip is approximately 1/4" wide. The step was gluing the decking planks down on the deck base. Again, Elmer's wood glue worked well and the rubber bands held everything in place. PS: Don't worry about that little crack in the King Plank. That will be covered up by the cabin. I left each deck plank long so it ran over the edges. This was much easier than trying to trim each one at the time of gluing. After all the planking was on, I simply turned the boat over and trimmed all the overhang with the Xacto knife. Next, the waterway needed to be placed. This too was Tanganika 1mm x 6mm for the contrast. The instructions called for cutting the curve into 4 pieces on the planking. These are the 4 strips laying on the cutting mat to the right of the hull in the photo above. By far, the hardest thing so far on the kit. I tried to cut these 4 times until I ran out of wood. None of them came out right. Scratch this idea! New idea. Buy more Tanganika that is long enough to run the full length from stem to stern. I found the wood with Cornwall Models in England. Very affordable, but took 4 weeks to get shipped to my home. The new full length 1mm x 5mm strips needed to be curved to fit the edge profile. I simply soaked the strips in hot water for 5 minutes or so and bent them similar to how the hull planking was bent. Sorry, no photos for this step. Before gluing the waterways down on the deck, the deck planking needed to be trimmed back from the edge by about 3 mm. This allowed the waterway to be flush with the deck planking. The black "caulk" came out just as I had hoped. This next photo is a close-up of the bow section. I sanded it a bit to clean up the glue and then wiped it down with a damp cloth. I'm thinking this will look very good once it's sanded completely and covered with a few coats of wipe-on poly. Now, it's back to the hull and deck sanding. Also, I'll need to add that little cabin. Happy modeling everyone and please stay safe through this bizarre time. Jim
  2. It is so hard to keep the perspective in mind. All your work is so realistic that without a scale reference, it all looks full size. Amazing. Jim
  3. Hi Gary, the thought of a polished walnut hull has been rattling around in my head. A few of my model club members have also suggested it. We'll see how it sands up. Definitely going natural on the deck planking along with black caulking between the deck planks. Many thanks, Jim
  4. Happy New Year to all! I hope everyone had a pleasant holiday season. Six weeks since my last post. It was certainly a challenge finding the 1 weekend to finish the outer hull planking, but I finally did it. The outer layer hull planking is now complete. The unplanked lower keel area is intended to simulate the iron ballast keel. Next up, sanding. Couple of areas are needed. First, the overall hull needs to be smoothed out. The little peaks and valleys must be leveled. Second, the keel edges need to be shaped. Right now, all the edges are 90 degree angles. The leading edge needs to be sharpened to match the keel angle going forward. The bottom edge needs the corners rounded and the trailing edges needs to be knocked down to 3mm to match the rudder width. Thank you everyone for the likes and comments. Jim
  5. Hi Tobias, This was my first build as well. Fun kit and definitely a good teach aid. Have fun! Jim
  6. Thanks Jeff! Back in the shipyard this weekend to continue the hull planking. Managed to get 5 more rows completed on both the starboard and port sides. Basically, it's halfway completed. 7 rows on and 7 more to go. The walnut strips are a bit tricky and can crack. One must must be careful not to bend them too much. Before trying to glue any of the planks, I heat bend them across the width. This allows for a better fit when bending along the length while gluing. The fore keel edge has a few issues. I'm trying a slight herringbone technique primarily for strength. Since this hull will be painting, all the "imperfections" will be puttied and sanded. The stern end is coming together nicely. The center line strip provides a good end point for the strakes. I got so excited about how this was going that I laid down one more row on each side and trimmed the transom overhang. One more weekend will probably do it and the hull planking will be completed. After that, it's on to the deck planking. Cheers all, Jim
  7. I managed to get a bit of the outer layer planking completed. The transom is done and the first 3 rows down from the sheer. On the next photo, you can see the bevel on the lower edge of the first strake. This is by design and is on both sides. It does make it look like the 1st and 2nd strakes are not tight, but they are. The strakes are going on pretty easily. I'm still using CA glue. Mostly because the Elmer's Wood glue takes too long to dry and clamping at the stem is very difficult. Too sharp of an angle and none of my clamps or rubber bands will stay in place. While I don't have a photo to post just yet, the remaining unplanked hull area has been lined off for the next set of strakes. I'm trying to decide how much width trimming to do on each subsequent strake. As was seen in the under-layer planking, the stem and stern ends of each plank get really thin, approx. 1mm. While this makes it easy to bend, it also makes it very brittle. This outer layer planking is walnut and is brittle to begin with. I'm thinking I may keep the strakes closer to their original 4mm width. This should make for some tricky cuts along the keel. Again, this will all be painted so any sins will be "swept under the rug." Either way, it shouldn't take too long to get the planking completed. Jim
  8. Thank you again for the Likes! The hull is ready for the outer layer of planking. It only took just a little putty and some patient sanding. Jim
  9. Thank you Chuck. This is a new skill for me and not every plank came out "perfect", but since this is the under-layer, the practice is good and I'll have a 2nd chance to improve on my technique. Thank you to everyone for your likes as well. Well, continuing my typical snails pace, I've finally completed the under-layer planking. Given this is my first planking attempt, I'm overall fairly pleased. After planking, the strakes overhanging the transom were trimmed and sanded flush. The next steps is a sanding, putty, sanding, rinse and repeat. I'll want to get a nice smooth base for the out-layer planking. The out-layer planking strips are walnut. I've been told, walnut can be a bit brittle on some of the tighter bends. I'll need to be careful and patient. Hopefully, I can make some more progress before the holiday madness takes over. Cheers everyone, Jim

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