Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Despite some challenges for a novice like me, this boat has come together very quickly! Today I finished building the boat itself; all that remains is to do the rigging and to put the handles on the "fish boxes" (we called them lugs on my grandpa's tomato farm, but "fish boxes" is the description in the instructions). To finish off step 9, I added the strengtheners to the middle bench. This took a little more work than expected, since I had to sand them down to be flush with both the frame ribs and the bench; nothing bad, just a lot of going back and forth between sanding and checking the fit. Next, I popped the three belaying pins into their respective hole on the middle bench. Then, I constructed the oar locks. These were made by cutting 13mm pieces of a walnut strake, rounding the top ends, drilling a hole, and inserting short pieces of 1.5mm brass wire. Photos are an overhead shot of the whole boat at this stage and a detail of the middle, showing the different types of pieces added in this step. Then it was on to step 10! This began with applynig finish to all of the parts added in the previous step. Once that was done, I glued the four cleats into place. Since these were metal and the finish was on, I discovered that PVA glue was useless here and, for the first time, successfully made use of CA glue. The two attached to the sides of the gunwale cover were particularly tricky, since the cover was rounded in an earlier step and there was less surface area to attach them to. Then I turned to the rudder. On my previous kit, I got the job done with the rudder, but can't say did it well. This time, I sought out more advice on fitting the rudder hinges; I couldn't find quite what I needed on MSW, but found some very practical advice here. The measurements from the instructions made no sense when I translated them onto the wood in front of me, so instead I just went with what looked right and fit best. Still not perfect, but I did the job more neatly and much more efficiently this time! Finally, the last part of step 10—and the last part of the boat itself—was the mast. Without a lathe, I'm still working on how to make these conical, so the tapering at the top feels a bit dramatic to me. While the main shaft is from a basswood dowel, the top is cut from a smaller walnut dowel. I had a terrible time getting them to stay aligned when I was glueing them, so ended up wiping it all off and starting over. I drilled 1mm holes in each of them, a few millimeters deep (I couldn't go more then 2mm into the main shaft because I also needed to drill a hole through the main shaft for the rigging). Then I glued a pin in to strengthen the joint. Once that was installed, the boat was finished except for the rigging. While waiting for glue and coats of finish to dry, I also finished up the extraneous bits of the kit: 4 oars and 2 fish boxes (which still need rope handles added). They're shown here with the two pre-made baskets that come in the kit. Next steps: Since I've already assembled the yard, I just need to attach the lateen sail to the yard and run the rigging for both sails.
  2. Steps 7 and 8 proved more interesting and problematic than they should have. Picking up where I left off on step 7, I first fit and shaped the gunwale covers and bilge keelson, then glued them into place. Because of the boat's vertical curve, these were trickier to shape than I would have hoped (though could probably be easier if your tool set is more plentiful than mine). I used 17 clothespins per gunwale cover; for the bilge keelson, I placed three 1oz bottles of paint on it, then set a wrench on them (the heaviest tool I had that fit the length; the rubber grip on the handles conveniently got thicker right where I needed it to in order to get the necessary curve). When I got to glueing the gunwale covers, I ran into my first problem: while clipping one of them into place, I managed to snap it into two pieces. I filled the break with glue and sanded a bit to get some sawdust mixed in. The next morning, once everything was set, the break was almost invisible (almost!). I then finished off step 7 by adding two battens to the inner frame; these are the bases for the benches. The measurements from the top of the battens to the top of the gunwale covers are clearly indicated, seemingly making placement very easy. (Yup, foreshadowing. I'll get back to that.) I then dove into step 8, adding the front and rear stanchions to the gunwale covers. I also rounded the edges of the gunwale covers and stanchions . I needed a bit of wood filler around the stempost and front stanchion...these photos were taken while that was drying, so things look a bit raggedy there. The last part of step 8 is to attach the mast hole cover to the bilge keelson. This needs to line up with a hole above it, in the middle bench. So, I slid the mast through the bench and the cover. After applying glue to the cover, I aligned the bench in its spot and slid the cover down. Once it was in place and the glue was drying, I needed to insert three eyebolts into the smaller holes on the cover. Here was problem #2—the kit didn't include any eyebolts! I found some tips here on MSW and so made my own out of brass wire (actually, out of the pin shafts that had been scrapped when I made the rivets for the Bon Retour—glad I hung onto those!). Using pliers, I wrapped the wire around a 1mm drill bit to make the eye. I can't say that I made perfectly shaped eyebolts, but they are at least functional. While fitting the mast cover, I had gotten my first hint of problem #3. While the glue was drying on the eyebolts, I looked ahead at step 9, which begins with the installation of five benches. They are all preformed, so I sanded off the laser char and then set them on their bases, just to see how they would look. That's when I discovered that the battens were several millimeters too high, despite following the measurements in the instructions! Working as carefully as I could, I used my Exacto knife to remove the battens. After scraping and sanding the dried glue off, I set about reinstalling them. This time, I began with the benches. Working one bench at a time, I taped a mini spirit level to it (see the photo below), found the correct height for the four benches that attached to the ribs of the frame, and then made a mark underneath, where the batten needed to be at that point. I dabbed glue onto my marks and the middle bench, then aligned those (using the mast again to ensure that it would fit later on). I worked outward from the middle bench, attaching the four benches and battens to the ribs. Then, I dabbed used a toothpick to apply glue between the battens and the remaining ribs, holding them in place with clothespins once everything was adjusted. Finally, I added the fifth bench, which is positioned between ribs and so is only attached to the battens. Next steps: finishing step 9 by adding strenghteners to the middle bench, belaying pins, and oar locks, then applying finish to everything added in this update.
  3. After removing the boat from the frame base at the end of step 5, step 6 focused on sanding and adding the stiffeners to the stempost and sternpost. The stempost is sanded to a rounded top, and the frame ribs are also rounded (though they'll soon be hidden by the gunwales). As I mentioned before the keel is a few millimeters short...I did an okay job with the bits I added to lengthen it all the way to the stempost and sternpost. Wish those looked a bit better, but they were a real pain to get them shaped as closely as I did and to glue them on. The first part of step 7 involves applying finish to the hull, inside and out. So, in the photos, there's a little bit of a sheen from that. The finish really brought out the gorgeous color of the sapelli! While waiting for things to dry, I've looked ahead to see if there were any bits that I could prepare ahead of time. Because this kit doesn't make it easy to account for your resources, I'm waiting on most of those things. However, I did get the oars assembled. (They look better in person...one of them is tipped toward one side, making it look worse in the photo than in real life!). The oars consist of sapelli dowels cut to size for the oar shafts, precut pieces for the blades, and belaying pins with the bottoms cut off for the grip. The sapelli dowels are a great example of why it's essential to look ahead in this kit. The four dowels here—each 90mm long—are cut from the two dowels that come in the kit, each of which is 200mm long. If you follow the instructions strictly in order, then before you come to the oars, you come to the mast top and the tips of the yard, which require one 15mm and two 20mm pieces of the same dowels. So, there will only be 5mm of scrap, and if you don't cut the mast top and the yard tips from different dowels, then you won't have the lengths necessary for the oars. Unfortunately, the parts list in the instruction book does not list the lengths of the pieces that need to be cut, making it necessary to carefully study the instructions in order to use your resources wisely. Next steps: adding the gunwales and the bilge keelson.
  4. I've worked on steps 3, 4, and 5 over the last few days. Step 3 involved sanding down the frame in preparation for planking the hull, which is step 4. After smoothing things out, I laid the first hull strake on each side. The hull is planked in sapelli wood on both the sides and the bottom The instructions provide clear measurements at the stempost, midpoint, and stern—10mm, 5mm, and 10mm from the bottom, respectively. After measuring, soaking, shaping, and glueing the strakes in place, I sanded off all of the excess that went beyond the bottom piece. You'll note in the previous pictures that I've marked out the placement for the next strakes (well, at this point I had forgotten to measure the marks for the midpoint in the first photo!). Throughout this step, the measurements in the instructions are very clear and easy to follow. This is a clinker hull, so these measurements allowed me to have a very precise amount of overlap from one strake to the next. Since the scale is so large and the real boat so small, there are only five strakes per side. The sanding comes later, so the stempost looks pretty raggedy. I trimmed the strakes at both the stempost and the stern, then did enough sanding to make the job easier later. Step 5 involves planking the bottom and adding the keel. In the photos above, you might be able to make out the lines I pencilled in as guides for the seven strakes on the bottom. The curve is so gentle and slight that I didn't worry about soaking the strakes, I just went straight to glueing them into position, then used rubber bands to pin them down. Once those were set, I trimmed the strakes and did a lot of sanding. After sanding the strakes down to the shape of the bottom piece, I sanded the sides and bottom of the hull, as well as cleaning up the stempost and sternpost. Continuing step 5, I added the keel. The keel piece is actually about 4mm too short, so I centered it as best I could and am planning to add some 2x3x2 pieces from the strake used for the stempost and sternpost stiffeners. The rubber bands in these photos are holding the keel in place while the glue dries. The last part of step 5 will be removing the boat from the frame base!
  5. Okay, well, two days ago I declared that I was putting the Bon Retour on hiatus. Then I watched two YouTube videos on gaff rigs (from "How to Sail Oceans" and from "Living with the Tide") and, on the advice of Wefalck and Roger Pellet, read the relevant chapters of Tom Cunliffe's Hand, Reef, and Steer. Suddenly, everything clicked—the terminology made sense, I understood the logic of rigging, and I could picture in my head how the Bon Retour's rigging worked. So, after a marathon session last night and a few more hours this morning, the ship is finished! A keen eye will spot the faults that come from my inexperience. The luff of the jib is the part that bothers me the most; I just couldn't get enough tension on it. Some of the blocks and seizing are sloppy (I replaced two while rigging everything up). My coils are not as tidy as I would have liked. But I'm very pleased with how I did on the gaffsail. All of the rigging for that worked correctly, so once everything was on the mast, I raised the boom topping lift, then hoisted the gaff using the throat and peak halyards until I got a little bit of a crease running from the peak to the tack. Here's a photo from the end of last night's marathon, which was spent working on the shrouds and the gaff. This morning, I did okay with the foresail, though had to replace the forestay, since it was just too slack. The jib was the real challenge and I'll have to keep learning more about that—though I think the angle of the bowsprit may be the culprit there. But now some celebratory photos after finishing the rigging and placing the registration decals. First up, the view from the port side and the starboard side: Next a detail of the rigging at the top. And a few different angles looking onto the deck: Thanks for following along!
  6. Steps 1 and 2: building the frame and fitting the hull. The Provençale is built using a frame base. After sanding the frames down, I dry fit them to the frame base. There are nine ribs, numbers 3 through 10, along with the stem and stern posts. After carefully aligning them using a square and dry fitting the hull, I attached the hull on top. With my previous kit, the Bon Retour, all of the parts were cut generously and needed some careful sanding to ensure a good fit. With this kit, however, the hull fit perfectly with no additional work. One more sign for me, along with the great instructions, that this is a better kit for the raw novice. The hull does need to curve a little bit, so to play it safe, I soaked it and pinned it in place overnight with rubber bands. The wood is still wet in the photos. It really seems to me like the numbers in the hull ought to sand out at some point, but they are etched pretty deeply by the laser. The bottom of the hull will be planked, so I made sure to put the numbers on that side, knowing they would be covered soon.
  7. My first build was the Bon Retour. Everything on it is currently done except the rigging, but I'm waiting on replacement deadeyes, since I shattered one that had been poorly drilled. In the meantime, I read through the instruction book for La Provençale, which I had planned to be my second build. Discovering that the kit is much easier than the Bon Retour and that the instructions for La Provençale are much, much better, I decided (perhaps foolishly) to dive into the new kit that had been on deck. In particular, the rigging instructions are very detailed with clear diagrams. So, I've decided to set the Bon Retour off to the side for a few weeks while I work on La Provençale and learn more about rigging. Being a francophile and a novice model ship builder, I'm particular drawn right now to these French fishing boats as I improve my skills. (I also have Artesania Latina's Saint-Malo kit waiting for me after I finish these two.) This one is tied to some particularly fond memories for me. A few years ago, I was doing research on the Côte d'Azur and was staying in a little fishing village called Beaulieu-sur-mer, right at the top end of the Saint-Jacques-Cap-Ferrat peninsula. By chance, I saw posters up for a Fête de Saint-Pierre and decided to attend. The celebration is organized annually by the local Catholic church to celebrate the feast day of Saint Peter, the patron saint of fishermen and sailors. After mass was celebrated (outdoors, on a plaza overlooking the harbor), the priest blessed the fishing boat that had been built for this Fête. Then several men from the congregation—those who had been chosen to build the boat that year—hoisted it onto their shoulders and we marched en masse to the harbor. While the men rigged the little fishing boat, the rest of us boarded a ferry and sailed out to the bay. The priest gave a prayer the local fire chief tossed a wreath into the sea, commemorating all of the local fishermen and sailors who had died in the previous year. When we returned to shore, everybody cheered on the group of men with the small fishing boat as they launched the craft for a three-day vigil. The boat, they told me, was designed on the model of the boats in Galilee...but upon seeing La Provençale, I immediately recognized in it that little craft from Beaulieu! Unfortunately, I apparently thought it was rude to take a photo during the mass, since I have no photos of that boat, otherwise I'd share. And so, diving in. On Day 1, I opened up the box and inventoried the parts (sorry for the glare in the photo!), then read through the instructions a few times.
  8. The new deadeyes that I ordered won't be in until next week and I got a little impatient. So I (perhaps foolishly) started on the next kit on deck, Artesania Latina's La Provençale. Yes, another French fishing boat. I was only going to read through the instructions and look over the parts...but then I realized that it was a much easier kit with much, much better instructions! In particular, the rigging instructions for La Provençale are detailed and clear. (Admittedly, it's much simpler rigging.) So, I've decided to set the Bon Retour off to the side for a little bit while I work on La Provençale and learn more about rigging. Not off to the side for good, but for a few weeks, at least.
  9. Thanks, Roger! I see the John Leather book you recommend is also in Wefalck's bibliography, as are several other books by Cuncliffe. I'll definitely start with those these as soon as I can. Since my original post, I also stumbled across this video on YouTube (by Kevin...something?), which shows several details of a gaff rig in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9_L-VGSbwc.
  10. Thanks, Wefalck! I look forward to digging into the bibliography, which looks like a real wealth of information!
  11. Exactly right, Wefalck. The kit is based on the Dizro Mad (Breton for "Bon Retour"); the société restoring is has a helpful Facebook page with quite a few photos that I've found helpful throughout the process. Everything on their is public, so one shouldn't need a Facebook account to take a look. French is no obstacle for me, so I'd appreciate any tips on French ship-building forums or book titles. Thanks in advance!
  12. Hi all, I'm a newbie who's building his first kit, the Bon Retour from Artesania Latina. The ship itself is constructed and I'm now at the point of working on the rigging. Unfortunately, there are three factors working against me here: 1) my knowledge of rigging is minimal, 2) the instructions are no help (basically just saying, "Follow the diagram"), and 3) the diagrams are not as helpful as they could be (and not all "ropes" are labeled). I suppose I could add a fourth: the rigging in the photo on the kit's box is not identical to the rigging diagrams! I'm wondering if there is any sort of "Rigging for Dummies" resource out there? In particular, I'm having a hard time figuring out where and how the running rigging ties down. (The standing rigging is straightforward, as are the places that the running rigging attaches to the spars and mast.) I just learned today, for example, that halyards often connect to eyebolts on the deck, as appears to be the case here, since there are two halyards and two eyebolts on the deck. But beyond that...things get confusing quickly, so this is kind of information I'm looking for. The boat has three sails (gaffsail/throat, foresail, and jib), with one mast, boom, gaff, and bowsprit. The various "ropes" are labeled as travelers, stays, downhaulers, halyards, lifts, sheets, and a head luft. I think I'm good on the halyards, downhaulers, and jackstay, but I'd find it immensely helpful if somebody could explain (or point me to a resource that explains) the general function of the other types of "rope," along with a general sense of where and how they might be connected on simpler boats. I recognize, of course, that the ways these connect vary from ship to ship. If it helps, there are two belaying pins on the mastrack, 8 cleats (2 forward, 4 mid, 2 aft), two eyebolts on the deck for the halyards, two eyebolts on the stempost (one of which is for the standing rigging), and an eyebolt and a block on the stern (the block attaches to a block on the end of the boom). I've found the third chapter of Frank Mastini's Ship Modeling Simplified very helpful so far, but his examples for rigging are on ships considerably more complex than the Bon Retour, a single-masted fishing boat. I'm struggling to translate his explanations to what I'm looking at in my hands. I've checked the "Articles Database" on this site, and the articles that are currently there are all beyond the basics that I'm looking for. I've also searched the forums here, but haven't (yet) found quite what I'm looking for. Philthy (on MSW) and Invictaag (on BrexitModeller) have done build logs of this kit, but when it comes to the running rigging, they aren't quite detailed enough for my needs. Thanks in advance for pointing me in the right direction!
  13. I've been reading up on rigging and so felt ready to take the first two steps. In Ship Modeling Simplified, Mastini describes a 13 step process for rigging a boat. Steps 1 and 2–5 are: 1) Fit masts with blocks; 2–5) Rig the futtock, lower, topmost, and topgallant shrouds. Since the Bon Retour is a fairly simple fishing boat, there are only 3 shrouds, so it was easy to think of these as a single step. I had already cut all the "ropes" and sorted them by diameter and length. Next, I seized the lines to the blocks and attached those—3 to the mast, 1 to the stern, 1 to the boom, and 2 to the gaff. Last (for now), I seized the shrouds to the mast. A note to others who might build this kit, the shrouds are labeled #111 Stay and #118 Double Rigging. Each piece of double rigging goes up from a deadeye, loops around the mast at a cleat, then comes down to another deadeye. The stay loops at one end around the mast at a cleat, then comes down to an eyebolt on the stempost. I seized each of the three loops around the mast with some sewing thread and a little dab of PVA glue. One of the deadeyes that came with the kit had holes drilled at an angle. When I tried to clean up the holes in the deadeyes, I shattered that one, so have ordered some replacements. Once those come in, I'll attach the shrouds at the bottom; for now, I'm using clothes pins as weights for the picture. Since installing the chain plate and lower deadeye, I've learned that the angle should have lined up with where the shrouds were eventually going to go. Another lesson learned. Photos are: side view of the blocks and shrouds on the mast, front view of the blocks and shrouds on the mast, and a shot of the whole boat from off the port bow. I've cranked up the contrast and brilliance, so the rigging is more visible.
  14. After a week of adding the various metal pieces and touching things up, I've just mounted the ship on its base! I still need to go over the hull with finish, but overall, I'm pretty pleased with how this first project is looking now. Certainly some imperfections, but I've learned a lot and I think I'm figuring out how to do the next project better. (Note: the mast and the mast brace haven't been glued in yet, so their angles are a little funky.) The rubbing strakes ended up being a real disaster for me. They are supposed to be made of 1.5x3 walnut. When I soaked them, the wood got kind of...fuzzy. Even after sanding, I couldn't get them to stay glued onto the hull and the paint didn't look very good. In the end, I cut off the original rubbing strakes and replaced the walnut strips with .6x5 basswood hull planking, since I had a few of those leftover. The three-dimensionality isn't there, but at least the distinctive blue stripe is! One of the issues I've faced is that I don't seem to have any tools that will allow me to punch a 1mm hole in a brass strip. There were a few spots were I should have done that, the most problematic of which was the support on the stempost. I ended up bending and trimming the two eyebolts so that I could glue them onto the side of the stempost, just above the pulley. Definitely not the prettiest solution, but I think it's probably reasonable given my limitations. Not a great photo and with some ugly looking glare on the bowsprit, but you can see the makeshift solution, at least. I've also been taking time this week to read up on rigging. For a beginner like me, Chapter 3 of Frank Mastini's Ship Modeling Simplified has been the best resource that I've found. The diagrams are very helpful and the explanations clearer than I've seen elsewhere (so far at least). I'm still really intimidated by the rigging, but have managed to attach the first block to the mast. Only six more of those to go! (Three on the mast, two connecting the boom to the stempost, and one that goes...somewhere. It's on the parts list, but I can't for the life of me find it in the rigging diagrams!)
  15. Some dramatic improvements since my last post! After the wood filler finally arrived, I cleaned up the hull, sanded like crazy, and am now almost done painting it. There's still some blue painter's tape on the hull, but once that's removed it'll just be red on the bottom, then black, then a blue gunwale. (Note: The mast is in the boat in this picture only because I was using it and a rubber band to help hold the mastrack in place while the glue dried. That has not yet been installed.) While waiting to apply the last coat of black paint, I decided to attach all of the bits on the deck. This includes (from front to back): the knightbridge, the forward hatch cover, the mastrack, the midships hatch cover, the main deck hatch cover, and the helmsman's bench. There are still a few pieces to finish painting—the rubbing strakes, 8 cleats, and the trim on both the prow and stern—but the end of this stage is in sight! In between everything, I've also finished up the mast, boom, gaff, and bowsprit (though this last one still needs a metal ring and a metal band on it). The main sail is attached to the gaff out of necessity, since the loop in the corner of the sail is too small to go over the cleats and the claw. Finally, after reading about the effects of the thread being wound so tightly around the spool, I cut the various pieces of rigging and taped them to the wall, in hopes that I could get them to straighten out a bit more. They are sorted here by type of thread (.15 or .5mm) and length. Not sure how much effect it's having yet (though there is definitely some!), but maybe if I steam them a little?

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
  • Create New...