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  1. First some background... I started this build in 2004 using Bob Hunt's practicum so my build will continue to use the practicum. About 6 months into the build Bob was looking for someone to mill wood for his new kit business and that was the start of HobbyMill. So the kit has laid idle for 17 years while I did HobbyMill and eventually relocated to Phoenix from Cincinnati. This is also my first build so I'm making all of the typical mistakes of a newbie. Over the years I've had the privilege to observe so many great builds and learn from the commentary on this site so I was a little intimidated to post a log. However, after spending some time lurking here recently and the wealth of information that I have received, I decided to try to give something back...even if its just all of the mistakes that I'm making. Lessons Learned: Modeling is a lot harder than milling wood Don't wait 17 years between steps in a build Once I figure out how to upload some pics, I'll start my build. Unfortunately I must have deleted some of my early pics from 2004 so we'll start from where we are today. Jeff
  2. As far as I know this is the first log on this site for Model Shipways’ cross section of the USS Constitution. I bought the kit last summer, when I think it was pretty newly released, and when I was about midway through my Spray build. I have never done a cross section, and I was attracted to the novelty (for me), the detail, and the fact that I wouldn’t be spending many months simply building a hull. So far I am not in the least disappointed. Upon opening the relatively small densely packed box I soon realized this was not going to be a simple, quick build. There are five sheets of plans (although only two are really plans; the smaller three show the location of the hundreds of laser cut parts as laid out on their sheets of wood as well as some photo-etched brass fittings). The two plan sheets are three feet by almost four feet (that’s a two foot ruler in the photo of them laid out on my floor). I found a couple poster hangers on Amazon and hung them on the wall to better view them. The fittings are extensive, as is the number of laser cut wood parts. The only thing that seems underwhelming in volume is the number of wood strips and dowels, but that kind of makes sense for a cross section. The really amazing thing for me are the instructions. Almost 100 pages, with an average of 3 or more color photos per page! As with most Model Shipways kits, the instructions can be downloaded as a pdf from their website, which makes choosing an appropriate build a lot easier. With instructions this voluminous, it is helpful to have them on a computer and able to be searched, if there is a specific issue you want to look ahead about (as I mention below). First step is to cut out the three frames, or what I might have called ribs, which are the skeleton of this part of the hull. The laser cut pieces are securely attached with a minimum of tabs, and the laser cutting is sharp, precise and complete -- well done. All three parts are attached to a building stand, that will be cut off later in the build. Two lengthwise pieces connect those stand parts, and the slots all need to be sanded so they fit. I made those connections quite tight, as they will not be disassembled for quite some time. Eight additional crosswise laser cut pieces (identified as spacers) are provided to connect the frames and to keep them a precise distance apart at the level of each deck. These will be moved around a bit from time to time during the build, and I sanded their slots so they are a little looser. The instructions assign six of them to what seems like a random distribution among the orlop, gun and spar decks (there is also a berthing deck, which for some reason gets none of these spacers). Interestingly, I haven’t found anywhere in the instructions or the plans where the deck names are expressly identified, but it is pretty easy to figure out by looking ahead at the pictures in the instructions (orlop, berthing, gun and spar, from bilge to sunshine). Assembling and gluing the keel (which needs a rabbet cut in it), the keelson pieces, and the keelson cap is all quite straightforward. The instructions suggest, and the pictures show, writing “B” on the bow end of the keel to assure that it is properly installed. That struck me as a bit odd, until I realized that the three frames vary fairly significantly in shape and that things are not symmetrical for and aft. No big deal as to the keel, but a good habit to get into when dealing with other pieces later in the build. The slot in the frames for the keel is a loose fit, and I used a couple of rubber bands to press the keel up against the frame when gluing it in place (careful to glue it to the frame and not to the building stand). A mast step is then made out of a 1½” length piece of the remaining ¼” x ½” strip. To avoid chewing up the soft basswood with a large bit, I drilled the ¼” hole for the mast by starting with a ⅛” bit and working my way up to ¼” with the three or four intermediate bits I own. I then chamfered the hole with a Dremel tool. Note that I did not cut the mast step off of the ¼” x ½” strip until I had finished all of this -- it’s nice to have something to hang on to when working on a piece like this. Limbers (I had to look up the nautical definition) on either side of the keelson cap are shaped from ¼” square strips. Here the change in shape of the hull fore and aft makes shaping them a little like shaping a propeller. The instructions complicate that quite a bit by having the limbers slope up to the base of the mast foot where the two intersect, but the plans show the mast foot simply continuing straight down on each side to intersect with the limbers. In one of the photos below I tried to draw in red what the instructions direct. I chose to follow the plans instead, and added a 1/16” strip to the bottom of each side of the mast step to fill the gap between it and the limber below.
  3. Introduction This is the Model Shipways Kit No. 2040, 5/32” scale. Kit purchased new about 2005. Notably, after starting (15 years later!), noticed Plan Sheet 5 missing, contacted Model Shipways and they immediately sent a replacement at no charge. Building out of the box - meaning using kit supplied plans and materials, and adding additional hardwood wood if necessary. Update 7/18/20: See this post (currently pending) for upgraded parts and sources. This kit is not for the novice. You should come to this game with at least 1 ship model under your belt, preferably several. And you need an understanding of the nature of wood and how to shape it using chisels, files, and a hand plane. These tools need not be expensive, however they must be sharp. I recommend a 1/4” fish tale chisel from Lie-Nielson located in Maine. Power tools are used, they save time, essential to me for this project as there are hundreds of cuts. Not necessary though. I’ve built many kits and expect this to be some old hat but also I’m stretching into new areas like building stern galleries. So welcome aboard, I’m glad you are here. USS Constitution References: my own photographs of the ship Anatomy of the Ship: USS Constitution College of Model Shipbuilding: USS Constitution Practicum General References: David Antscherl’s: HMS Swan Class Sloops - for construction techniques Mastini: Ship Modeling Simplified George F. Campbell, M.R.I.N.A.: The Neophyte Ship Modelers Jackstay (Inexpensive and Essential) Table of Contents Part 1: Hull Doweling the Stem, Sternpost, and Keel to Centerboard Bulkhead Marking and Glueup Prep Shaping the Counter Block Bulkhead Glueup Completing the Counterblock Transom Frame Prep Bow and Stern Block Prep Shaping the Bow Filler Block and Fairing the Bulkheads Shaping the Filler Blocks (continued) Shaping the Filler Blocks (continued), Starting Bow Framing Bow Framing (continued) Bow Framing Completion Transom Frame Installation Making and Installing the Waterway Tools Inner Planksheer/Bulwarks and Bowsprit Prep Framing and Cutting Out the Gunports Cutting Out the Gunports (continued) Gunport Cleanup and Bulwark Prep Bulwark Completion Leveling the Bulwarks Lower Gunport Upper Sills Lower Gunport Framing and Planking Smoothing the Planking Gunports and Upper Hull Planking Completion Mast Partners/Tenons and Deck Framing Coamings and Hatch Framing Planking the Wales - Planking Without Pins or Clamps Tapering a Plank Planking Starboard Wale Belt A Installation - Starboard Side Forming the Forward Planks Belt B Installation - Starboard Side Belt C Installation - Starboard Side Belt D Installation - Starboard Side Belt B - Port Side, Marking the Belt Width Dealing with Butt Joint Gaps Using Proportional Dividers Plank Glue Up Completion of Port Side Planking USS Constitution Pictures - June 2020 Part 2: Fitting Out Installing Eyebolts for Carronade Tackle Installing Large Inboard Bulkhead Cleats
  4. Hello everyone. This is my first build log and it is for the Donald McKay designed extreme clipper Flying FIsh. The ship has been described well in other logs, but the summary is here: (wikipedia and http://www.bruzelius.info/Nautica/News/BDA/BDA(1851-11-04).html) Built: 1851, East Boston Shipyard Length Overall: 220 ft Length between perpendiculars: 210 ft Length at keel: 202 ft Maximum beam: 40 ft Tons (OM): 1566 tons Originally owned by the firm of Sampson and Tappan of Boston. She was wrecked in Fuzhou in 1858, sold to a company in the Phillipines, and renamed El Bueno Suceso. She eventually sunk in the South China sea. Flying Fish was "coppered" with Muntz metal rather than copper (similar to the Cutty Sark). You can't get Muntz metal tape, alas, but I may try to do something to make the plating more consistent with muntz. I had not originally intended to do this ship. Having recently completed the US Brig Niagara, my plan was to make a scratch model of the RRS Discovery, but COVID-19 put the kibbosh on that for now, as the only plans available are at the Royal Museum Greenwich and they went back on lockdown while processing my order. I can't imagine going through the winter cooped up in the house without some kind of project. If and/or when the plans for Discovery arrive, I will likely have two projects going. But, I've decided that this is a feature, not a bug. While I'm in the doldrums of say ratline tying with one, I'll be in the doldrums of planking with the other. So, while it means that both projects will take longer, I'll be able to at least alternate some of the tasks. And, there will likely be a couple of months of work converting the builders plans into a usable POB design for the Discovery, so, who knows, depending on COVID vaccine timelines, it may be enough to make serious progress on this ship. That's what I've told myself anyway. So, I believe tradition for the first post of a kit build log is a picture of the kit ready to go, so here are mine. Let the construction begin:
  5. I've decided to dig into my stash and take out the oldest resident there: Model Shipways USF Confederacy. This is going to be a slow build, because I only have a couple of hours a day to devote to it; too many other kinds of projects going on. Since there are a very large number of both old and new build logs of the Confederacy, I'm not going to post a blow by blow description. Plan on periodic updates and asking advice for problems encountered since many have built this model. I was relieved to find the kit had the good plywood, and there was no warping despite its period of neglect. I dusted off the snazzy build board I bought primarily for this build once I determined that this big mother would fit. The building "board" is amazingly flexible once you figure out how to arrange all the bits depending on what you want to do. I just moved the model up from the base clamp once I finished placing the bulkheads, filler blocks, stern and bow fillers, and fitted balsa blocks at the bow. So, ready for faring. The board apparatus allows for rotation of the model, and some clamps (visible in the photo below) holds it rock steady together with the fore and aft clamps. I've got it turned to work on the starboard faring, and will start that soon. It looks like I will have plenty of clearance for constructing the stern pieces, and other than rotating from side to side I should be able to do all of the upper planking at least with the current positioning of the attachment points. Pretty neat. Planning pretty much an out of the box build, perhaps except replacing the cannon with Chuck's. I wish he still had replacement figurehead though. That's all for now.
  6. This will be my first build and I welcome any comments, suggestions and questions. Living in a duplex that’s built on a slab we don’t have a basement and the garage isn’t heated, so I’m using a desk the spare bedroom. I’ve done what I can to protect the desktop and the carpet below the desk. Since we will be spending the next week enjoying our last camping trip of the season I won’t be able to start my build until the weekend of October 20th. But I do have my work area set up and spent 1 ½ hours doing the kit inventory. My plan is to explain my next step as I go along and then wait for feedback from more experienced model shipwrights before actually doing the work. When I return next week I will be cutting loose the 3 sections of the false keel, marking the reference line and bulkhead stations on both sides and assembling the false keel. Any suggestions on cutting loose the false keel sections without breaking / damaging anything? Any suggestions on the best way to transfer the reference line and bulkhead stations from the plan to the wood? Looking forward to starting my first build, Dave
  7. I hope there is room for yet another Syren build log. I don't own any power tools apart from a dremel and a drill, so I'm curious to see how I progress on this build. I also hope I can keep up with the great builds I have seen on this forum. This is my second kit and first build log. First was an Artesania Latina's Virginia 1819 which I completed a few months ago. I'm sure everyone here has seen it but here are some photos of the Syren kit (please let me know if have not selected the right resolution, I took these on my phone and uploaded them here without any size modifications): I started organizing the parts by checking the parts list and labeling everything: I already have a few questions before starting the build 😅: 1) I got wood belaying pins instead of brass due to shipment issues from China. What's the general consensus on which is the better material? 2) Are the number of parts in the part list more than what is required in the build? The reason I ask is because I am missing a few 3/32” Single Blocks out of the 310 total which is mentioned on the list.
  8. I decide to build the Syren after reading Chuck Passaro's instructions and Gahm, dubz and augie's build logs. The work done on these build is truly amazing and I'll be using them to guide me with my build. It has taken me a year to get up the nerve to enter a build log, so here goes please bear with me. 😁 on June 28th I received the kit so as seems to be a convention here's a photo of the box.
  9. Let me know if I am blogging in the correct place, after which, I will continue here or move to the correct place. Working so small, 1:144, is newly challenging to me. I am putting my 1st clumsy attempts in this log as doing this task in public will keep me on the straight and narrow certain trying doing my best work (inaccuracy will make an “attractive model” but will be just that). I welcome all comments and advice even though I can see the shortcomings in my work. I am making all the sub-assemblies (deck structure, masts, etc, first, as this is the new part to me. Carving the hull draws on my transferable skills, so I am doing it last, since I have made many orchestral violins (not fiddles) which requires carving, from a slab, the outside and inside of the top and back with precision. My college degrees are BS and MS in mechanical engineering. I currently build and service pipe organs and am a portrait artist. My very first task was stropping sesame sized rigging blocks (fail here, and I might as well quit). Nearly impossible for me with wire, but easy with thread. I work a few minutes per day on this model and stared a month or so ago. Some of my completed sub-assemblies will be pictured soon. I chose this model because I was initially looking for a Revel or Limburg model of a mid 19th century sidewheel mail packet, ships like the Cunard Persia, though none were available. While never a mail packet, the HL is very much like one, and is "good enough". I will add all of its warship elements to the model.
  10. Hello Model Ship World! I am starting my build log for the Model Shipways Niagara. Although not new to model ship building, this will be my 2nd foray into wood. I recently finished the 18th Century Long Boat and learned so much, that I feel confident in moving to a larger ship. I am very slow and methodical when it comes to building. I'll let stuff dry for a week before touching it! I'm including the shots of the box and contents as it will probably be the last time it looks so neat and organized I cant thank other folks from the "Niagara Club" such as 6ohiocav and Mikiek (among others) for their build logs, your logs have been a wealth of information. Time to start counting sticks and get a keel laid down! Updates to follow! Tom E
  11. I'm just starting my SECOND model ... the Norwegian Sailing Pram. As a rank beginner, I learned alot from my first build (the Lowell Grand Banks Dory), but this one looks even more complex and challenging! So I first read several of your Build Logs here, and I'm glad I did. Found out my instruction manual was printed at less than 100%, so I downloaded and printed the appropriate pages (p 4, 5, 39) from the Model Shipways pdf, specifying 100% on my printer. Worked out well. (As an FYI, the "foot" of the sail pattern is supposed to measure 6". In my manual, it was only 5 3/4", so my new printout is now correct.) I also learned from the logs to do an Inventory check. Sure enough, mine was missing two oar locks. Called Model Shipways and they were really great, and will mail me the missing parts. But now I have questions on tools. I only have the initial tool set from the Dory, but the instructions show a longer list of tools required. I know I need drills and files, but it also mentions "hard metal flush cutting shears", bench block, miter box, broach (what are these used for?), and mini plane? Any advice on which tools I really need? Thanks and looking forward to getting started!
  12. I just completed my Syren build, so thought I'd set up a build log for the Confederacy. From what I have seen, this is an exceptional kit and there are amazing builds on this forum, so I hope to do this ship justice. This will be my third ship build. I plan to use the basswood supplied with the kit, but may upgrade the cannons and the blocks from Chuck. I am also thinking of fully rigging it, but I may change my mind as I progress with the build. I'll be making my own rope for this ship (I have not done this before), so let's see how it goes. This will be a really long project, and will only have time to work on it for a couple hours a day, so it will be a few years until completion. Anyways, I was inspired by @Justin P. to take an opening box shot of the kit 😄, so here are the pics: I will be starting this project in a few days. First I need to check the inventory and see if there are any parts missing.
  13. I am starting to build this kit as my first foray into a POF model so bear with this beginner. I am included a picture of the box but not the contents as I neglected to take a photo. I probably won't do a step by step log as it will bore the more experienced members and much of it is self explanatory, instead I will concentrate upon my challenges and mistakes and will probably asking the experienced members frequently for Help! There is a rather impressive amount of wood which I did inventory and label by size and checked off all the other items. I started by building the keel section per the plans and instructions and it was quite straight forward. I then hopefully correctly marked the frame locations on that assembly. I next turned to the building board, marked a center line and also the frame locations. Next I built the lofting jig for the frame installation and took pains to be sure it it was square and plumb to the board. I thought the frame was critical to the proper frame placement so went beyond the instructions by gluing and pinning the runners and added reinforcement to the rear of the frame. I also copied a metric ruler being sure it reproduced at 100% and glued it to the top of the jig, marked the centerline so I could transfer the measurements from the plans to the ruler on the frame, I think I wore out two pair of eyeglasses to be sure it was right😯. So it begins, I will endeavour to to present my problems and mistakes and hopefully a few successes. I suspect it will be slow going, like me at my age! Hope someone may find it useful or at least good for a laugh at my beginner mistakes. As always, any comments, suggestions or criticism would be very welcomed and appreciated!
  14. USS Constitution - Model Shipway’s Kit No.: MS2040 “Old Ironsides” 1797 Frigate Scale: 5/32” = 1 ft. (1:76.8) This is my second POB square rigged ship; I spent about seven years building my first, Mamoli’s Rattlesnake. Like the first one, I will be following Robert Hunt’s practicum, but unlike the first, I have a multitude of excellent build logs and books to supplement it and help guide me through the inevitable pitfalls that are sure to raise their ugly heads. Hopefully, based on this and my hard-earned experience with the Rattlesnake, it won’t take another half a lifetime to build. Now for the obligatory part. Below is the kit box and contents. I won’t bore you with showing all the little packets that are stuffed in the box, that has been done very well by numerous other builders. I will state that in addition to what came with the kit, I purchased a few more items: · Robert Hunt’s practicum · Hobby Mill’s wood supplement package (based on Hunt’s practicum) * · Additional copper plate tape (as I understand it, the kit was a bit too frugal with their supply) · 2 - 2½” x 2½” x ¾” genuine pieces of USS Constitution wood ** · Medallion made from genuine USS Constitution copper plate. Not sure yet how or if it will be used. * Wood package purchased before HobbyMills closed shop. The supplement package was derived by HobbyMills where Mr. Hunt made his substitutions in the practicum. It was not identified as a package that could be purchased in the practicum. I have the original price list which describes what the wood is being substituted for and where in the practicum it is being described. If anyone wants a copy of the supplement wood list, please send me a PM. ** Constitution wood was purchased from the museum just before the ship went into drydock, December 2014. I have since tried to get a larger size for the keel or nameplate but accordioning to popeye2sea (who as I understand it volunteers on the ship), the US Navy is withholding any more wood from the public for now for reasons unknown. The museum told me, maybe in the Spring sometime. This will be my third attempt at constructing this model. The first attempt was done when I was a child building Revell’s small plastic model which I really botched. I hadn’t yet learned to read and follow instructions, but just dove into assembling the parts with expected results. My second attempt was as a young teenager and when the wounds of that failed build had waned, went a bit better. This time I got the larger plastic model. I did follow instructions and even painted the parts but had absolutely no idea how a rigged ship worked let alone how the lines were attached or what they were for. It looked decent to my young ignorant eyes at the time. Both models met their demise at my hand with firecrackers; usual method of disposing such items This time I expect a glorious finish…I hope.
  15. Just starting up the gunboat Philadelphia build... I just completed the USN Picket and anxious to get started on the Philadelphia. I am by no means an expert builder but having a lot of fun along the way. One word of warning,,,,, this will be a painfully slow log to follow. I know most people hate slow logs. I am not a full time modeler so I only get to work on it when I have some spare time. Hopefully I will be able to have at least one post a week. Maybe more,,, Rather than have a log and shows only the good stuff I plan to bare my dirty laundry and show a lot of "what not to do when building the Philadelphia". I will plan to complete the Philadelphia, but it may get ugly along the way... One item that I am sure is a "no brainer" to more experienced builders, but is worth mentioning... The Philadelphia, like most medium/large models has a lot of wood strips of various sizes. Before you begin, I would suggest you identify each different size of wood strip and label it so you can easily find it later in the build. The wood strips are very similar in size and no sense rummaging through all the word each time to want a particular size. Below is my attempt at labeling each strip size. Does not matter how you label them, but you will save yourself a lot of grief in the build if you can easily identify each strip as you need it. Starting right in,,,,, The instructions call to build the false keep, glue the stem and stern posts to it, and then trim the stem and stern posts. I guess right away I am altering from the instructions,,, Hope this is not an omen for the future,,,, To me it is much easier to build the stem and stern posts, trim them, and then attach them to the false keel. Not sure if I will get in trouble later on or not, but one thing I did do when beveling the stem/stern posts for the rabbets was to trim them more than the suggested trim lines. In the past when I have trimmed the stem/stern posts to the suggested lines, it is never enough to accept the planking, and when planking I had to shave the ends of the planks to fit into the rabbets. This time I choose to bevel the stem/stern posts enough to accept the end of the planks that will eventually be inserted. Like I say, have never done this before and later on in the build I may regret it, but it has been done. Here is the result of the stem and stern post builds. Stem Post Stern Post Then building the false keel there are three cross pieces to provide support and help verify the keel is plumb when glued to be bottom of the hull. I do not have a couple machine angle plates to help insure the cross pieces (and later on bulkheads) are square... So you use what you have. In this case some angle braces. Worked well for these cross pieces, but looking at the bulkheads, I can see some (shall we say) "fun" ahead trying to get the bulkheads square. In the past I have had issues getting bulkheads square when each bulkhead was one piece, but in the case of the Philadelphia most of the bulkheads are two pieces. Doubly hard to get square.... and if the bulkheads are not square, you are in for all sorts of issues down the line - ask me how I know this 🙂 Let's just say I plan to pick up a couple machine angle plates prior to taking on the bulkheads Laying out the bottom of the boat pretty straight foreword. Glue the three pieces together and you are done. Just insure you have a very flat table and while the glue is drying, put some weight on it to prevent warping. Below is the completed keel (with stem/stern plates attached) and the bottom of the boat. One note, the bottom section of the boat is 608mm long, but the false keel is 610mm long. Not a big deal, and I probably could have left the overhang, but just to be safe I shortened the false keel by 2mm before gluing on the stern post. Was not sure that 2mm gap would have made a difference when planking, but did not want to take a chance and easy to correct. Verify you false keep fits the bottom of the boat before gluing. Below is a picture of the stern post after gluing to the false keel. The stem post connection to the false keel was really sloppy. Not a good fit at all. Below (in red square) I glued a small piece of wood on each side of the false keep where it meets the stern post - just to insure a good bond
  16. Well this is my first ever attempt at building a wooden model of any kind. I was not planning on posting my first trial ship, but did not see this particular ship listed and thought this may be a good ship/boat for beginners like me. Any advice, questions, or comments are appreciated. Thanks. A few pieces have already been removed due to starting before this post. They include the three bottom planks, but also an all-in-one bottom as a backup. Which I thought was helpful for a beginner.
  17. Had to shelf my USS Essex, too many missing parts and directions! Frustrating! Picked The Emma C. Berry for a good price and thought it is a good scale and very sexy ship. She was built and launched down the way in Noank, Conn. in 1866. Known as a "Noank Smack" fishing vessel. Got to it building the keel/skeg section, then putting together the build board and keel support unit with the frame clamp fixture. Ready to start the frames!
  18. After completing the Lowell Grand Banks Dory I have moved to the 2nd in a series of progressive model tutorials, the Norwegian Sailing Pram, designed by David Antsherl. I learned a lot through my mistakes and I know this next effort will be another fun experience.
  19. Just in from eBay, just snagged this kit NIB for $59.00. I have been chomping at the bit for something like this since I started seeing these kind of builds on MSW. Been working on the Charles W Morgan for a while now. This is a perfect follow up to that build. Can’t wait to get started so I have set up both the CWM and the Whaleboat on the bench for multitasking, keeps things interesting. Actually, the detail of this kit will help with finishing touches on the CWM. Very impressed with this kit. It’s my first build of the larger scale 1/16th. I have been working with Vintage kits around 1/96 scale. Instruction “book” and detailed parts look really good. Hope I can do this kit justice, it will be a step up for me in terms of skill sets. The micro carpentry just got more refined. Wish me luck and patients. Latter... 😎
  20. I am going to attempt to create a build log that is somewhat different. It is intended to follow my first ship construction including both the good and bad that occurs. I have built and flown RC Aircraft for about 18 years now, and have some experience with wood construction. However, I know that what I am starting is quite different. I have to stop building planes since some are now so big, they barely fit in my pickup bed. That being said, I will gladly take advice and comments as I go along. Since there are numerous build logs by experienced builders here, I will try to stay with a photo log and keep the writing to a minimum. It will be mostly from a newbie point of view any way, and I am not sure what tips and skills will convert from planes to ships. So here we go.... First, I needed to add some items to my tool box/bench. Not much need for a 9mm wrench, hex wrenches, or other larger tools. So I bought some diamond files, spring clamps in different sizes, and built my own building board that can be seen in the pictures. I used scrap wood I had laying around, added a lazy susan to be able to turn the model 360 degrees if needed. I built clamp devices that will allow me to turn over the build when I begin planking. To keep the table from spinning, I put in two blind nuts and a butterfly screw on each side. This will allow me to clamp it from either side so it will stay put. Today, I was able to begin the first step..... Hoist Anchor and get under way. 😃
  21. I recently completed the Fair American, which is my second build. It followed my first build– a solid hull Model Shipways Rattlesnake-that I completed 45 years ago. Looking back on the years, I had no prior ship model experience prior to the Rattlesnake. I had seen some ship models in a hobby shop, and I decided to try my hand at the Rattlesnake. IMO, the build turned out good. The 45-year hiatus was due to raising a family and making a career in civil engineering. Then, came retirement and an opportunity to try my hand at ship building again. I’m glad that I did. The experience was so gratifying that I decided to embark on a third build – the US Brig Syren. I ordered the ship from ModelExpo shortly before it temporarily closed its operations due to the Coronavirus outbreak. While awaiting delivery, I studied Chuck Passaro’s fine instructions on-line at the ModelExpo website. As I progressed through the instructions, I compared them to some Syren build logs on the Nautical Research Guild site – it helps to read other build logs and to learn from their experiences. From what I have read, I suspect this build is going to be very challenging. It’s going to test my resolve. Anyway, this is the first post on my Syren build. It starts with the obligatory photo of the ship model box. I checked the parts list against the contents and found everything to be in order. I labeled the size of the various bundled wood strips for quick reference. The numbered and lettered bulkheads (BH) were tested in their proper slots in the bulkhead former (BF). They fit nicely – no sanding necessary. The BHs will be beveled later. I soaked the 3/32” x 1/16” rabbet strip in water for about 20 minutes and then attached it to the BF, held in place with rubber bands and clips as per the instructions. After it dried, I permanently glued it to the BF, taking care to be sure that it is centered. I also glued a rabbet strip to the stern. I let the rabbet dry overnight. While the glue was drying on the rabbet, I began beveling the BHs, both outboard (first) and inboard (second). I decided to complete all the beveling before returning to the rabbet. Returning to the rabbet, I traced the laser cut bearding line and perforated holes to establish the bearding line and then carved the taper from the bearding line towards the rabbet edge. I tapered the bearding line toward the keel with a chisel and sandpaper. I completed one side when I discovered that I used the wrong size rabbet strip – Duh. So, I removed it. I decided to taper the bearding line on the opposite side of the BF before replacing the rabbet with the correct size strip. This worked out well, and it made me wonder why the tapering of the bearding line couldn’t be done before fitting the rabbet strip. For me, it was easier. You just need to taper each side evenly so as to leave a wide even plane on the bottom of the BF to glue the rabbet strip. With the taper from the bearding line to the rabbet complete, I repeated the process of installing the rabbet. I let the rabbet strip dry overnight. I turned my attention to the stem knee. I tapered the stem knee to fit the figurehead. I filed the figure to lessen the amount of taper and for her fit better. I took care not to taper the stem knee beyond the bob stay holes. I laid the BF, the stem knee, and the 3/16” x 3/16” basswood strip for the keel flat on the work bench and checked that the rabbet depth was about the same on both sides of the stem and the keel strip. I had to sand the rabbet one side to deepen the depth of the rabbet. The keel strip was fine. I glued the stem knee, secured it with clamps, and let it dry sufficiently before gluing the keel strip. While waiting for the glue to dry, I tapered the two laser cut bow fillers. I attached the false keel with blue masking tape to protect the keel. At this point, I decided to drill some pilot holes (1/8") in the BF for the masts as some other builders had done. I superimposed the BF onto the plan sheet and marked the angle of the masts on the BF using a straight edge aligned with the center line of the masts. Inserted the BHs into their respective slots, making sure that the scribed sides of each lettered BH face towards the bow and that all sides of each numbered BH face the stern. I faired the BF as per the instructions, checking the fair with a 1/8” x 1/16” planking strip. Rather than glue all the BHs permanently and then cut and glue the filler blocks, I glued each BH and cut and glued the filler blocks as I went along. I started with BHs P, N, and L, jumped to BH 26 and 24, and then completed the process from BH D through BH24. The filler blocks were cut from 1” x 2” pine stock left over from a home improvements project. With BHs and filler blocks in-place permanently, I did more fairing, outboard and inboard. Cut 1/16” x 1/8” basswood strips for the platform between BHs 16 and 20. Ran a pencil across the edge of each plank to simulate the caulking between them, and each one in-place. Opted not to add tree nails since they won’t be visible. The planks will be cleaned up and stained with MinWax Golden Oak later. Moving on to Chapter 3, I taped the framing template to the bulkheads. As can be seen in the photos, the BHs align closely with the template, except for the bow. This did not surprise me because I had read in other build logs that the templates are way off – they don’t align with BHs P and N. To check the squaring of the BHs, I cut out the overhead view template and placed it on the deck. The BHs align closely with the overhead view template. Also, as a check on my mast pilot holes, I superimposed the overhead view template on the plan sheet an marked the locations of the masts – the pilot holes are spot on. As I interpret the template, the bottom of the template represents the bottom of the 3/16” wide gun port frame. The top of the bottom yellow line would be the gun port sill. I pinned a batten at the bottom of the template on the starboard and port side of the hull. I removed the template to find that the batten doesn’t completely align with the bottom reference line etched onto each bulkhead. Considering that they aren’t that far off, and that the instructions say the bulkheads may not be sitting in their respective slots at precisely the same level, I decided to use the batten as a guide. I marked each bulkhead edge with a pencil along the top of the batten and removed the batten. The batten also serves to check the fairing. The fairing looks good as the run is fairly (no pun intended) smooth with no humps or dips. Based on the plans, the gun port sills are 3/16” above the top of the BHs (1/16” for the plank. 1/16” for the waterway, and 1/16” for the swivel bracket). So, rather than use the batten, I opted to use a 3/16” strip as a guide in locating the gun port sills. I placed the 3/16” strip on the top of the BH as a guide to align the top of the gun port frames. I think this approach should pretty much assure that the gun ports will be probably aligned with the carronades – time will tell. While waiting for Amazon to ship my Dremel 8220 cordless rotary tool, I started measuring, cutting, and fitting the gun port sill frames from the ¼” x 3/16” wood strips. I used a mini miter box for cutting the strips. Starting on the port side, I glued the frames in place (from stern and bow), taking care that the top (sill) of the frame was set flush with the 3/16” guide strip. While the glue was drying, I cut and fit the starboard side gun port frames. The ¼” wide strips require a lot of sanding – I had planned to use the Dremel. To alleviate the amount of inboard sanding, I set the frames such that they protrude just beyond the BH. The consequence of this is that it increases the amount of outboard sanding. To lessen the outboard sanding, I trimmed the frames before sanding. I sanded and filed the port side gun port frames inboard and outboard - wish I had my Dremel. Then, I glued the starboard side gun port frames, allowed the glue to dry, trimmed the frames, and sanded and filed them inboard and outboard. For the placement of the gun port lintels, I used a block cut to 15/32” to position the lintels. The process for installing the gun port lintels is the same as the gun port sills. I set the 15/32” block on each gun port sill and the lintel on top of the block and glued the lintel in-place. Whence the glued dried, I sanded and filed the lintels by hand to fair them with the hull. At this point, some the lintels are a little less than 1/8”, so I want to be careful not to over sand them. Next up, the green frames. I set up the template as per the instructions and I marked the locations for each vertical green frame on the gun port sills and lintels. I measured and cut the frames from 3/16” x ¼” stock. I glued the green frames in place using the 15/32” block as a guide. As with the sill and lintel frames, I trimmed the green frames to lessen the sanding. I sanded the outboard frames to match the BH stanchion profile. Using a 1/8” wood strip as a guide, I placed it on the port sills and marked the position of the red (horizontal) frames. I measured and cut the frames from the 3/16” x 1/14” wood strips. The frames were glued in place with the 1/4” side facing outboard – no trimming required here. I held off on sanding the red frames until after the blue frames are installed. I made a 1/8” x 1/8” block to square the sweep ports. Measured, cut, and glued sweep port frames (blue) in place. I did some final outboard sanding. The hull fairing looks good. Only one glitch so far - While sanding the lintels, BH 4 broke off. I glued it back on but didn’t get it perfectly aligned. As a result, in the last photo you’ll notice the port side of the hull has a hump at BH 4. This may not be noticeable after the bulwarks is planked and the cap rail is installed. I’m satisfied with the progress, however. Next up, Chapter 4 – Stern Framing. Stay tuned.
  22. Hello everyone. I have just ordered the Model Shipways Benjamin Latham. This will be my first wooden ship build, I have been modeling most all of my life and for the past 20 years I have been building scale R/C aircraft. The airplanes have ranged in size from 27" to 90" wing spans. The airplanes have been from short kits to full scratch built from plans. I have spent quite a bit of time researching information about wooden ship building (the do's and don'ts). Also there several very good builds on this site. The Model Shipways information says that prior building experience is helpful, we'll see what they mean by "helpful". Non-the-less, I have always liked to challenge my skills. For the present time, I am going to be gathering as much information as I can. I am really looking forward to getting started. This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time. If you have any thoughts that you would like to share ( even if you think I have lost my mind or bitten off more then I can chew) please feel free to comment. Thanks, Bill
  23. I am starting the Model expo Confederacy but plan on incorporating some (maybe all) of the Swiss Pear framing and other material supplied by the Lumberyard. The Lumberyard materiel will not be here for a couple of weeks so I plan on starting either the ship's boats or the guns (using Syren Ship Modeling cannon and carriages) or maybe so outside "house" work (it IS getting cooler here in Florida) until it arrives. In any event here is the obligatory work bench and kit box picture. The two blue "things" are the "T-Tracks" that go on the build board that I have yet to fabricate.
  24. I received the kit and paint set yesterday! I had downloaded and read the manual upon ordering and so began to assemble the central spine this morning with the feeling that I understood these steps. I glued the center pieces to the starboard spine using the supplied spacers. Even so, I ended up with misalignment at the top of the spine and on both walls of the bulkhead frame slots. Should have done this under magnification. I did a little surgery and sanding at the top of the spine, and will defer refining the slots until placing the bulkhead frames. Since the profile of the spine is preserved with char present, I don't think there will be a problem resulting directly from this misalignment. Will be more careful with the other side of the spine. I then freed the centerboard and cleaned and rounded edges. The next step is to form the brass operator rod for an adjustable centerboard, if this is a desired feature.
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