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Captain's Log, star date 06 February 2017. So, we are off. The 101st build of the cutter, "Lady Nelson". The kit has now arrived from those wonderful people down in Camelford, along with the tools I thought I would need. I am now happy in the knowledge that I have done my bit to keep the Italian economy afloat. I should say at the outset that this will be a "basic" build, with little variation from the kit, unless you guys advise me otherwise. Reading through the logs of other first time builders, many of them seem very modest about their skills and experience, and all credit to them for that. I have to state that I am an absolute beginner. At present I don't even know which saw to use for which job (No cutting comments please). I will not be revealing reconditioned tools that I have rescued from a decommissioned nuclear submarine. So, my apologies in advance for what I am sure will seem like very naïve questions. However, I am very much reassured by the quality of the Amati kit, now I have it. It looks amazing. This is my work area a.k.a. "The broom cupboard". The admiral has commandeered the rest of the house. One tool I did buy was a set of Model Shipways "Hull Planking Clamps". Does anyone here use these? http://www.cornwallmodelboats.co.uk/acatalog/model-shipways-planking-clamps-MX104.html These come flat packed, just like a ship kit. They are advertised as working with bulkheads of 3/16" or thicker. Inevitably, when Lady Nelson arrived, her bulkheads were only 3mm thick, which is nearly 2mm too slim. So, I immediately had to modify these clamps by adding some cuttings from the sprue that surrounds the wooden clamp parts to the inside of the clamp jaws, in order to narrow the gap. I also found that, on trying to tighten a clamp with its wing nut, the bolt just rotated. A spot of superglue inside the bolt head of each clamp helps to keep it in place. Incidentally, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the various adhesives were to work with. There is hope for me yet.
Greetings Friends; It has been over a year since I have posted on this forum. For any who are interested in the travels of fellow captains I share briefly......Following my completion of my USS Constellation Model of which I was quite proud, I was looking forward to my next project. This was delayed by the birth of my first child; a daughter Clara. Apparently it is much easier to sneak away to the Shipyard when the Admiral is sleeping off her third Trimester than it is during the first 4 months of newborn-hood. So suffice to say, sharp objects and bits of wood flying about were not in the plan for me. Then, in mid-summer I suffered a serious accident. I don't care to get into the details but long story short I lost the use of my right eye. It was traumatic for me and there was quite a recovery before I was able to resume my regular routine. I found adjusting to the loss of biopic vision to be quite difficult and still find depth perception to pay tricks on me at close range. By the fall I had recovered enough that I began testing my hand at some of the many activities I enjoy so dearly which require the use of my sight. I began painting miniatures again and found it quite difficult, but not impossible to manage a brush on a 28mm figure once again. I practiced a lot and am almost, but perceptively not quite, back to where I was. Then a few weeks ago this kit fell into my lap. A friend of a friend found it in a garage sort of thing and to my surprise it was 100% in tact with even the receipt (2002?) in the box. My questions as to if I could still manage model ship building with only one eye is about to be answered. All without spending any money up front on the experiment. So without further ado......my build log for Mamoli's Blue Shadow US Brig.
Started this build a while ago now and made slow progress while in class, finally have time to make a log and make more progress. I am building this kit as a gift to my gf, the John Alden Sloop was what I was originally going build, but it is far too big for where she wants to put it. That build has been sidelined for now and will be continued once I get to rigging this model. The Sakonnet daysailer is based off a John Alden design and I have found archived plans that very closely mirror the hull in the kit. This kit is exceptionally small with simple lines and detail. Here the frames and keel are laid out on an 8.5”x11” piece of paper Frames and keel prepped by Batson Photography, on Flickr The frames and keel glued in place Frame and keel assembly by Batson Photography, on Flickr If you look at the framed hull at the top of the picture, you can see I added the chine rail before the deck. I had read the directions so many times I had a false confidence and proceeded with gluing them in place without referencing the directions. By doing so the pre-cut deck did not line up because I had created a slight twist in the hull with the chines. After removing the chine, the keel straightened out, I glued the deck and replaced the chine. This worked out to my benefit as the included deck was not a uniform color so I cut the deck from a sheet of bass wood with a more uniform color and nicer grain pattern. new deck by Batson Photography, on Flickr The Daysailer with its big brother on the building board framed hull and deck 2 by Batson Photography, on Flickr framed hull and deck by Batson Photography, on Flickr Port side planked and trimmed, I found the planking slightly difficult as the sheets are fairly think for being bent in such a small area even after steaming. Port side planked and trimmed by Batson Photography, on Flickr Starboard side plank by Batson Photography, on Flickr Hull fully planked, sanded and filled, and making the keel thicker. The keel had developed a slight curve after planking the bottom of the hull from steaming the balsa sheet. To correct this I glued a piece of 1/32" basswood on each side of the keel. the keel look much more proportionate being thicker. Hull by Batson Photography, on Flickr In order to keep the seem between the keel and rudder smooth I also made the rudder thicker below the waterline. rudder as supplied by Batson Photography, on Flickr rudder as supplied 2 by Batson Photography, on Flickr thicker rudder 2 by Batson Photography, on Flickr Thicker rudder by Batson Photography, on Flickr Now I have put a coat of primer on the hull and rudder and sanded it. It needs one more pass of filler and I will finally get to painting.
In 1988, at the age of 35, I bought the cross-section model kit of the Constitution from Mamoli, (which is still available). During a long illness at that time, I built the bulkhead, easily planked the 70mm length surface and carved the multi-deck furniture. I put it away at that stage, having returned to health and work. Admittedly, I was also intimidated by the rigging and mast/spar construction ahead. Over the years, I made sure to preserve the model, though not very delicately. I must have used good glue as I lost no parts or furniture. Now I'm 61 and returned to this Constitution about 8 months ago. I thoroughly enjoyed finishing up all the fittings and furniture. I then tackled the rigging. Other than some basic work, I left it without finishing the mast, spars, shrouds or sails. I am pleased and proud of it anyway as this was my first build. My second build was just finished - the Gretel by Mamoli. It is an 18th Dutch pleasure yacht, which was the early era of such vessels. The whole construction took me about 8 weeks. I now realize how rushed that time frame was. The planking was difficult but I pushed ahead without reading up on this skill. The finished product was flawed, with gaps and razor thin splines. But the decking, mast, spars, gaffs and wood fittings went very well. And this time I completed the rigging! Mamoli makes challenging models in my opinion, with skimpy supplies and inaccurate plans. I had to make a lot of emergency alterations because of some misleading illustrations and quality issues. I do have to say the wood was top quality (except one warped delaminated plywood deck). Now, on to my third build, which I share here. I'll need support and advice on this project! Pilar made by Constructo. I ordered the Pilar because it will require a lot of planking. I didn't do even a good job on the Gretel, so I now have an eighteen inch long model to be completely planked, top to bottom. Great practice! The romance of the Pilar being Ernest Hemingway's yacht also makes it even more interesting to build. The original boat still resides in a Hemingway museum in Cuba. I received the kit via UPS from Florida to Boston today in great condition. I opened the box and saw that all the plastic bags of parts had shifted out of their compartments. The attached pictures depict the contents that I had to reorganized by part number / step. Mamoli had a hard, transparent lid that sealed each compartment, so that parts were less likely to get lost. The first problem I am encountering was evident when I removed the timber. Other than the thicker lime for the first planking, the wood is a mystery. There is one bundle of a single species, which is encouraging if I can figure out what species it is and where it will go. The other two bundles contain a variety of unmarked wood in different shapes, thicknesses and species. These woods are exotic, not the standard walnut or mahogany. Very confusing and irritating. Signing off for now from this first post. Thanks for reading. I promise to be less wordy in the future as the build progresses. First thing is for me to read the instruction booklet and plans, then read it again, and then it read for the third time. No rushing!