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Found 5 results

  1. I am resuming a build of the Mantua Albatros "Goleta tipica di Baltimora" - a Baltimore clipper, fitted out as a revenue cutter. I started the kit back in the mid 1980s and finished planking the hull. Then other things came along (buying a house, getting married, etc.) that left little time for ship modeling. The partially completed hull has resided on my bookshelf for about 30 years. I really like the lines of these ships so I decided to resume the build, but I am not sure what it will end up being. I am building it to get experience with a few new techniques. This is the 1980s kit, and it is different from the latest Mantua Albatros kit description on line. The new kit has a false deck, apparently of thin plywood, and the 1980s kit does not. The newer kit seems to have mahogany hull planking, and the older kit used tiglio or lime wood. The older kit came with two drawing sheets, hull construction and sail plan, plus brief instructions. The Mantua web site says the new kit has three drawings, and at least one appears to be the same as the 1980s kit. The 1980s "instructions" are a joke - one page saying to assemble the hull frames, plank the hull, assemble the base, build the masts and finish the rigging - just about that brief! For me this isn't a problem. I have been researching and scratch building plank on bulkhead models since I was a kid. I have searched and found no record of a Baltimore clipper named "Albatros." The kit name suggests Mantua's "famous" ship is just "typical" of a Baltimore clipper. Looking at the plans for the model and plans for actual Baltimore clippers I can see quite a few differences. This raises several questions, and I would appreciate any help you can offer. 1. Scale. The 1980s kit plans and instructions give no scale. Comparing with other ships I guessed it was about 1:64 scale. Some sites say the Mantua model is 1:55 scale, and the latest Mantua web site says it is 1:40 scale. The model is about 27" long (tip of bowsprit to end of the spanker boom), and this is what Mantua says is the length of their latest Albatros model. The waterline (length between perpendiculars) is about 17 inches. This would give a full scale hull length between perpendiculars of: 1:40 - 56' 4" and about 70 tons 1:55 - 78' and about 100 tons 1:64 - 90' 8" and about 180 tons Baltimore clippers were constructed in approximately all of these sizes between 1800 and 1820. Since the model has only six cannons plus one larger gun on the centerline, I assume the 1:40 scale is close. There were several 60 foot ships built. Any thoughts? 2. Mast angles. The Mantua plans show the rake of the fore mast to be 2-3 degrees and the main mast to be 5 degrees relative to the water line. I examined plans and drawings for 17 Baltimore clippers and found the mast rakes to be: Fore mast - 11.5 degrees average, with a range of 7-16 degrees Main mast - 13.75 degree average, with a range of 8-22 degrees The rake of the masts is one of the outstanding characteristics of these ships, and none were as boring as 3-5 degrees! I plan to build it with 11.5 and 14 degree rakes. 3. Deck fittings. The Mantua kit has four hatches with gratings and one flat solid hatch on the deck. Looking through Chapelle's books I see that almost all of the revenue cutters had some form of low deck house and companionway, even the small 30 ton ships. I think I will build deck fittings similar to an actual 70-80 ton revenue cutter. 4. Stern. Most Baltimore clippers had either round tuck or square tuck transoms. A few appear to have had curved transoms. The kit plans seem to show an odd flat stepped square tuck like nothing I see in any of the Baltimore clipper plans. In any case, when I started the kit in the '80s I constructed a curved transom faired into the hull lines, more like some of the later schooners I have seen. It may not be accurate for an 1815 revenue cutter, but I am not going to deconstruct the hull and start over again! 5. Colors. The hull was painted with white lead below the waterline. Chapelle says American schooners after the Revolution were painted yellow topside with black trim. In the early 1800s they were painted yellow topside with a broad black stripe along the gun ports. Deck houses were white or light gray, and bulwarks could be red, brown, green, blue, white or varnished. The kit box cover shows a broad yellow stripe along the gun ports with brown/black trim, and yellow bulwarks with brown/black trim. I am inclined to use the broad black stripe along the gun ports (between the main deck and cap rail) with yellow trim above and white below the waterline. The bulwarks will be white or yellow, and the deck furniture white. 6. Deck planking. I am familiar with nibbing, but this didn't come into practice until the mid 1800s. Before that planking was tapered and hooked. I have thought about this, and read the few tutorials on hooked deck planking, and I just don't understand the procedure. If you start planking at the center line and work outwards, you apparently have to curve the outermost plank while laying it and then cut into the previously laid plank to create the hook. Nibbing is a lot simpler! By the 1850s planking on revenue cutters was nibbed, so I guess I could build the ship as a mid 1800s revenue cutter. But I need the practice with the hooking technique for the next build I am planning to make (Rattlesnake). I guess I will create a CAD plan of the deck and practice making the hooked deck planking. I'll post some pictures of the 1980s hull and current modifications later. Phil
  2. First build. I'm hoping that this log can be useful to people in the future as well, so I'm going to approach it as a beginner, speaking to beginners. Went with Constructo's Albatros for a few reasons: 1. I have ambitions to do larger POB builds, but wanted to try the hobby out to make sure it was for me. I thought this kit was a good way to get planking experience on a small build. 2. Schooners have a special place in my heart, being from New England, and I like the sail plan and rigging options the kit allows. 3. Cost. First build! 4. Kit includes some tools, including smallish needle-nose pliers, knife blades and a handle, a sanding block, and a file. Note, only the pliers and knife blades have been useful; the collet on the knife comes loose too easily, the file is rubbish, and the block hasn't been a good size for anything yet. First thing I noticed was that the plywood sheet from which the keel-frame is cut had a bend the long way. About 2.5-3mm. All the advice I read here said to request a replacement, but I thought I would try to fix it so I trudged along. Cutting out, numbering, and sanding the bulkhead pieces took about an hour. I built a jig for attaching them to the keel-frame flush and square, and used binder clips for the ends: In the picture above on the right you can see the slight bend. My solution was to tighten the jig I'd built to hold it and simply warp it back straight using a screw, which acted as an adjustment knob. It worked pretty well: After fairing the bulkheads to accept the deck, I attached it using wood glue (TB II) and the included nails, which, quoting a previous builder of this kit, bend just by looking at them. I found using the included needle-nose pliers like this, with steady, gentle pressure, worked the best (if you don't want to get one of the nail pushers): After drying, I took it off the jig and the keel had stayed nice and straight, so I'm calling it a success. Planking next.
  3. My current project is the Skipjack Albatross as she was originally built in 1899. Based off of drawings found in "Notes On Chesapeake Bay Skipjacks" by Howard Chapelle. This go around I am working at a smaller scale (3/8" = 1') and using forms to ensure the correct shape and no gaffs. Length bet. perps....44'-2" Beam .....................15'-10" Draft........................2'-9" What made me choose the Albatross was that there are two versions. The As she was built (1899) and then after being modified for gas powered winders and push boat (1911~). I was looking forward to building the gas powered winders and the push boat, but she looks so much cleaner as she was built. I also like the more historical aspect of the as built plan. I have chosen to build the As Built version of the albatross. I ordered the plans for Albatross from the Smithsonian Institute. Two-sail bateau Albatross This fine bateau has been drawn up to show her as built and as raised upon. When originally built at Cambridge in 1899, she was intended both for oystering and crabbing10. Because of her very low sides, however, she had very little room below. Hence, she was raised upon the unusual amount of 12 inches. When first built, the Albatross was considered a very fast sailer, but since being raised upon, her speed has decreased. She requires some ballast to overcome the effects of the increased windage of her sides and great flare. Generally speaking, counter-stern bateaux are are not usually as fast as those with outboard rudders, but there have been some notable exceptions. "Notes on Chesapeake Bay Skipjacks" by Howard I. Chapelle 10. Albatross was built by George E. Leach in Lloyds, Maryland, near Cambridge, according to the carpenter's certificate. CBMM 1998. Gluing the forms down. The forms in place withe thee keelson laid. I used my router table to cut the taper for the crossplanks. I did the starboard side first and it worked fairly well. The Port side did not go as well. I may have to use some putty. The Bow Stem tapered. The Rudder Housing/Sleeve Centerboard Slot The rudder housing glued to the keelson. Transom glued to the keelson. Well that is all for now. I hope to have more soon. Later, Kevin
  4. Ok I am posting my First Build Log on my 2nd 1st build. its the Constructo Albatros. So for the instructions are so much better than my first kit.I will (hopefully) post pictures of the kit and Frames on false Keel. I am looking for input and much encouragement on this first build. BRIAN DELLIS
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