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Posts posted by schooner

  1. Sternpost, Stem & Keel


    The sternpost is pretty easy to cut out of stock using a template copied from the plans. It’s important to ensure there is a tight fit to the rabbet and then pinned after glueing for added strength.




    The stem is also cut out of 1/8” sheet wood using a template. Attention needs to be paid to the direction of the grain in the wood so the piece can be as strong as possible. The scarp joint for it’s mating with the keel has been cut, as has the gammon hole. Next steps for the stem are drill out the holes fore the pins, taper it’s forward edge and then round it, glue it in place and use the holes to drill into the hull itself for the pins and then add some small stuff at the top.



  2. Final hull shaping


    Progress has been pretty slow for the last couple of weeks, mainly because it has been so hot around here that the only time I can go outside to do some sanding is right after sunrise - the same time I need to take care of outside chores. So over the last month I’ve only been able to put in maybe 3-4 hours of sanding time but that has been enough to get the hull in rough shape. This photo illustrates a problem I have been having with this type of hull. Up until now all of my solid hull builds have been steel-hull ships whose shapes are pretty simple - a little flair near the bow and some rounding around the stern. On a 18th century ship like this one they had a fair amount of tumblehome along the upper hull - something I’ve not had to think about before so it took me a while to figure out that the half-hull templates may not fit perfectly until after I sand some tumblehome along the bulwarks which I’m not ready to do at this point so I just have to trust it will work out a little further down the road:




    One problem I had is that the shape of the transom is a little short of what it should be:




    I added some planking material to lengthen it a bit and also to sharpen the demarcation line between the transom and the counter:




    Once I trimmed up the new wood it is a better fit.




    How the surface of the new wood looks doesn’t really matter since almost all of it will be removed shortly (the area between the pencil marks), leaving the aft end of the hull looking like the bed of a pickup truck with the gate removed:


    Next steps will be to remove the big plus of wood from the transom area and then add the sternpost, stem and keel.

  3. Gary, no personal connection. Based on the photo in BlueJacket's catalog I assumed the kit only had the type of air search radar used on about half of the FRAMS so that narrowed my search down a bit (I found out they supply both types of radars). I remember a sailor on my first ship had served on the Basilone and thought she was a great ship, and her namesake was a great hero so I went with her. An added plus was that her former shipmate's website had a ton of photos which helped with the detailing.

  4. The initial shaping of the hull is coming along pretty well, a small hull like this one is much easier to shape than a 2 or 3-footer.


    The are my go-to tools for this stage of the work. The mouse sander works well on most of the hull surface, the flap sanding wheel works well around the stern post, and the half-round  file is needed to handle the stern knuckle and transom area.



    For those places where I get carried away this stuff works wonders as a filler. It comes from auto parts stores. It does not need to be mixed with a hardener, it dries quickly adheres well to the wood and sands easily. The only thing to keep in mind is that if you need to make it more than about 1/16" thick it is better to put on multiple layers -letting the previous ones dry. It needs air to dry and harden well.



    The bow and stern are at their final shapes:



    The overall length is in accordance with the plans:



    And the shaping of the hull is coming along at the individual stations (more work to though).


  5. David - Glad to have you following along. I may need your advice when it comes to planking. That is an impressive list of completed models, I'm sure a solid hull build would be easy for you.


    Kevin - that is an incredible build of your St Nectan trawler! If I were crazy enough to try something at that scale I would have to go for something 8-10 ft long so I could sleep in it after my wife threw it, and me, out of house.


    I finished up the preliminary stuff that has to be done prior to making sawdust. The half hull lines have been cut out and pasted to cardboard, as have templates to shape the bow and stern and an overall template from the side view on the plans. There are some discrepancies between the bow/stern templates and the overall template, enough that to get them to fit at their specified station lines I would have to remove a lot of wood in some areas and add it in others. I decided to go with the overall plan and just use the bow & stern templates to guide shaping but not length on the model.



    The station lines, waterline,  and caprail locations have been marked on the hull, as has the centerline (always more guesswork than technique for me but It looks OK).






    I'm going to have to build up the stern area with Bondo in order to get the proper shape and then it will be time to break out the electric sander and get to work.

  6. Kit Contents


    Upon opening the box the first thing that jumps out is the hull. It looks to be about 90-95% pre-carved which is great because hull-shaping is my least fun part of a build. The hull is carved down to the gun deck which leaves the option of leaving some planking off on the main deck to give a view of the gunlock - not sure yet if I will take that option. The hull can be planked or just painted - I'll try to plank it although it has been at least 10 years since I've planked a model - at least this one is small.




    There is a ton of strip wood, dowel and scribed decking. When I inventoried the kit I took the time to bundle together the various sizes of strip wood and label them - worth your while since some of them are very close is size and are very difficult to tell apart by eye.


    There is a nice PE fret which, thank God, includes a stern piece with all of the cabin window included - trying to build square windows that line up properly is beyond my talents.


    There is a lot of britannia metal fittings to include guns, deck furniture, blocks, deadeyes, cleats and lots of other stuff.


    A package of cordage and netting is included.


    The 57 page instruction book is full of photos and diagrams, and it includes tips on HOW to do things, including a good discussion on how to shape the hull. This is something not always found in advanced kits.  Bluejacket rates this kit as "Advanced", 9 of 9 on their skill level rating, requiring "prior experience with more complex kits." This kit would not be a good first model for anyone, but if you have several kits under your belt, particularly involving planking and complex rigging then you could probably handle this one even if you have not tried a solid hull kit before but it would be best to call Bluejacket and talk to them about it.


    There are 2 sheets of plans including a rigging plan.


    Last but not least there is a set of flags and the quarterdeck cloths.





  7. 300px-NH_85212-KN.jpg.a41c05a4c184243c7a602ee2bc17737f.jpg


    I'm going to be building a model of the Continental Navy Frigate ALFRED using Bluejacket's solid hull kit.



    The ALFRED was one of the first ships commissioned into the Continental Navy in 1775. Converted from a new merchant ship she was John Paul Jones first ship.


    I picked this kit because I've never done a 3-masted ship model before, and as much as I would love to build a clipper ship I simply don't have room for it, or to be more precise, as far as my wife is concerned there is not enough room in our house for both me and a large cased sailing ship model. Bluejacket's ALFRED meets my needs perfectly because the completed model is only about 18 inches long and 13 inches high but is fully detailed and it will fit on one of my bookcase shelves.


    My next post will show the kit's contents.


  8. Jim, I drilled holes in the keel before glueing it in place, put the rod thru the keel so about 1/4 inch was projecting thru the top of the keel, put some pencil lead on the end of the rod pieces and pressed the keel into position, drilled into the hull at the pencil marks (more than 1/4") and then glued the keel in place -pressing the rod pieces into their holes. I could have drilled the holes thru the keel, glued it in place, drilled into the hull and then pressed the rods thru the keel and hull but I wanted to put as little pressure on the keel as possible.  Holes/rod were about 1/16". 

  9. Mike,


    An interesting fact about the ship SS Robert E. Peary is that of the more than 2700 Liberty Ships built she held the record for the shortest building time - 4 days, 15 hours from keel laying to launching! Of course it was a publicity stunt with a lot of prefabrication work and unlimited manpower but still that is an amazing accomplishment. I suspect that record has never been broken for any large ship built since.  


    Below is a link to a 1-hour wartime movie about the shipyard where the Peary was built. If you advance it to the 9 minute 20 sec mark it will show the construction and launching of the Peary. Pretty impressive.

    Here's the link:


    (Link doesn't work - see next posting below - that one does)




  10. Lobster Pots and Done!


    The kit provides a mini-kit for 3 lobster pots, with strip wood, nylon mesh and line included.

    I stained the strip wood before assembly the glue wouldn’t prevent  the stain from penetrating. I had some black florist’s mesh on hand so I used that in lieu of the kit’s white mesh and I substituted some larger line I had on hand. The pots went together without a  problem - the floats are scratched from plastic.



    The name letters are stick-on vinyl lettering for my granddaughter’s name. The home port lettering are dry transfers from the kit


    So with the addition of the pots this build is done.


    The “Pros” for this kit as I see them are:


    • As advertised, this is a good kit for a first time solid hull build, there is enough shaping to learn how to do it but it is not too complicated
    • Size - This kit will easily fit on a bookshelf
    • Details - just enough and the ones provided are not too delicate to stand up to dusting so this model really does not need to be cased. This build is 99.9% out of the box, the only scratch details I added were the lobster pot floats and the protective stripping on the hull under the pot davit (a lot of boats have them and I thought it would make it look a little more “lobster-boaty”)


    No “Cons” as far as I am concerned. Altogether an easy and enjoyable build.







  11. Detailing


    Now that the painting is done things are moving along pretty quickly.


    Some of the interior details include the engine cover, instrument panel, engine controls etc.  The instructions call for mounting the compass and engine controls on the dash after the windows are installed but it is pretty cramped up there under the roof so I put them in earlier so I could reach thru the window openings to position them. The gages are just a photo from the internet downsized and covered with acetate.


    When I inventoried the kit upon receiving it I noted that there was sheet plastic for the window - I just assumed it was acetate but it is actually 1/16 inch plexiglass which looks a lot more realistic. It is cut to shape using the window cutouts saved for that purpose. The plexiglass can be cut with a saw to rough shape and then sanding to its final dimensions. They do not have to fit perfectly because the joints will be covered with mahogany strips.



  12. Nice work Keith, it's a pleasure to see this come along.

    WRT one of your earlier posts regarding the cannon, I'm pretty sure that was a boat howitzer, small enough that it could be hoisted into a boat and carried ashore with a landing party and then moved around on land by hand. If you have every watched a Navy football game on television, they have one that they fire after every touchdown. They are solid brass and look good - as does your model. Keep up the good work.

  13. Painting


    It’s been a while since my last post but it is not because I have not been doing much - it is just that painting this thing is a slooooow process.


    The kit provides most of the needed colors (the primer supplied is white, not gray, so the cockpit deck was painted with my own primer). The brand provided for all of the colors is True North Precision Enamels, a brand I was not familiar with. For anyone who builds this kit my best advice for painting is if you are good with a airbrush (I’m not) use it. If you brush on the paint as I did make sure to thin it and be patient. It takes about 5 coats to cover white primer and the first 3 look really bad with lots of bleed thru and brush marks. Coats 4 and 5 look a lot better. The paint is also relatively slow to dry so doing 5 coats of each color explains why this took me so long.


    The white boot topping is kit-supplied pin striping tape.


    I followed the painting sequence in the instructions and they seemed the most logical way to go about the painting. I did deviate from the kit instructions in the following areas:


    1. There are 2 colors of green supplied, both are supposed to be mixed with white or each other to match the colors on the real-world RED BARON. Since I am not building the RED BARON but a generic lobster boat I did not bother mixing the paints - if you do your greens will look different from mine.
    2. I used gloss Krylon red enamel spray paint on the hull because I wanted some gloss as some relief from all the rest of the flat paint. That may not be “realistic” but I like the look and since the model will not be cased it will be easier to dust.
    3. The instructions recommended using the pin stripe tape to mark the waterline for painting. I did not use it for that, preferring some Tamiya masking tape I had on hand.





    Next up will be the lettering and then the addition of the details which should go pretty quickly.

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