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captain.jerry

Fair American by captain.jerry - Model Shipways

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The kit has been ordered (backorder).  I first saw this ship about 50 years ago.  A friend was building the MS Kit that was a solid machine carved hull back then.  The lines of this ship really spoke to me. I don't know why.  I didn't have the money for the MS kit at the time but I looked around and found a good deal on a kit from Boucher (now Bluejacket) which I worked on sporadically over a 10 year period, getting it almost to completion and then decided to de-rig it and store it away for a retirement project.

 

I have some modeling experience. My dad was an amatuer artist and had an amazing eye for detail.  With him and my brother, we built and flew model airplanes, stick frames, paper covered.  We also got into model trains, building kits and scratch building.  After retirement, I took an interest in model steam engines and have designed and built a few.  That of course requires machine tools and have a fairly well equipped shop including lathe, milling machine, drill press and assorted metal working tools.

 

I have some woodworking experience as well.  I worked in sales for the old Shopsmith company in the '60s and then for Dewalt when their only product was radial arm saws.  DeWalt was aquired by Black and Decker so I have some history there as well.  My current shop also has some woodworking equipmentl.

 

I have a little experience with sailing as too.  When I first retired, my wife and I moved aboard our 37' sailboat and left the Chesapeake Bay headed for The Bahamas.  We returned to the bay a few times but spent most of the next ten years living aboard and cruising between Florida and The Bahamas.

 

Now, as I wait for the delivery of my Fair American kit, I have been reading the build logs for this ship here on this forum and I am sure that I will re-read them many times. I see that there is a lot of discussion about the details of the design, particularly the poop deck and aft cabin,  So, I have some questions

 

1. What is the purpose of the raised aft deck?  Why is it so clear of structure?

 

2. Why is there no railing between it and the main deck?

 

3. Wat is the expected use of the space below the deck?

 

4. How long would the tiller be for a ship of this size and period?

 

5. Oh well, maybe four is enough for now.

 

Comments are welcome. All input is good.  All discusion is usefull, even if all it does is raise more questions.  I realize that I have a long way to go before encountering the details of the aft section details but it helps tp have a clear understanding of the situation well before it is too late making me wish that I had done something differently.

 

Thanks for watching.

 

Jerry

Edited by captain.jerry

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Hey Jerry,

I just started my MS2015 Fair American today.  I will create a build log and post pictures later.

I wondered why there was a change to the kit.  The instructions and a practicum I have from Bob Hunt specify the keel section being in two pieces, but this is not what I have.  Mine is a single piece.  Has anyone else experienced this?

The raised aft deck is the ceiling for the great cabin.  I am going to try and follow Bob's practicum to open that up on my model.

All input is welcome.

Jeff

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Jeff

 

You will be a little bit ahead of me. Mine is on back order, another 2 or 3 weeks I expect before I get started.  I asked the questions above because I am trying to get a handle on all of the different ways in which the aft deck and bulkhead dors and ladders have been handled.  The use of the aft "great" cabin is still a mystery to me.  I will accept that the gunports will not contain guns and will be opened for ventilation, and maybe inside deck was dropped to increase headroom, but how much foot room is there with a tiller sweeping the deck with it's attendant gear?    I asked about the use of the rear deck because is swept by the main boom with precious little head clearance and the mainsheet with a rudimentary  traveler is controlled on deck with what looks like only a two part tackle.

 

I will certainly be following your build log.  I am getting anxious to get started for real.

 

Jerry

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Greetings Captain,

 

I am in the standing rigging phase of my FA. I had the same questions that you did regarding this model. As you may know, MS model is a model of the original FA done years ago. That model may not be an accurate representation of the actual FA at all. I did some basic research of brigs from that era and, as a result made a few changes:

1. I deleted the two gun port covers that were supposed to be for the two guns in the cabin.

2. I added a skylight to the quarterdeck which would have provided light and ventilation for the cabin area

3. I added a companionway to provide access to the cabin from the main deck. The plans show a door to the cabin that would have been about 2' feet

4. The deck in the cabin probably would have been 2-3 feet below the main deck to provide headroom in the cabin

5. I may add a long boat to the main deck to be supported by spars between the gallows

6. Because I added the companionway, I built a free standing helm to support the wheel 

I also made other minor changes to the kit to make the model more accurate to how it was probably built.

 

wq3296

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First observations:

 

The kit appears well packed and complete.  The center keel is a single piece, not two as shown on some and is solid wood, boxwood maybe but it seems a little softer than boxwood.  The laser cutting is very well done and all parts released easily when the tabs were cut. It is a little bit warped and slightly cupped, but nothing that can't be easily dealt with.  I was a little surprised to find that the add on keel is short.  This has been a known fault for years.  No big deal.  There is plenty of material on the material sheet to rip off a longer one. 

 

Or I could replace it and the bow and stern pieces with mahagony.  Thats what I'll do.

 

 

 

 

 

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First observations:

 

The kit appears well packed and complete.  The center keel is a single piece, not two as shown on some and is solid wood, boxwood basswood maybe but it seems a little softer than boxwood basswood. The laser cutting is very well done and all parts released easily when the tabs were cut. It is a little bit warped and slightly cupped, but nothing that can't be easily dealt with.  I was a little surprised to find that the add on keel is short.  This has been a known fault for years.  No big deal.  There is plenty of material on the material sheet to rip off a longer one. 

 

Or I could replace it and the bow and stern pieces with mahagony.  Thats what I'll do.

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Edited by captain.jerry

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I'm still trying to work out how to handle photos so bear with me.  Here is the mahagony keel and stem piece.  You might also notice the pencil marked part of the center keel part.  Since this is solid wood, not plywood, the small piece lies across the wood grain and has no strength at all.  I have knocked it off and reglued it twice,  Not again.  It will be cut out along the pencil line and a new piece with the grain running vertically (across the vulnerable break point) will be fitted.

 

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I broke mine off as well and waited until I was installing the waterway planks so that the pieces all had something to glue themselves to.  I will post my updated build tomorrow.  I have not been modeling for too long, so do not have a lot of stock wood lying around.  

 

Are you planning to modify the build in anyway?

 

Jeff

Edited by jdbradford

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Jeff;

 

I will probably make a few mods.  I can't help it, it's in my nature.  I posted a comment a few days ago regarding the rudder post and the tiller.  I am still trying to decide what to do.  The post didn't get any replies so either it wasn't noticed or the members are to polite to tell me that it's a dumb idea. I will probably move the bulkhead at the front of the raised quarterdeck back as has been shown on several other builds.  I am still bothered by the number of treads in the ladders.  I don't believe that there should be more than three.   I like the looks of the decks that Pete Jaquith used but don't know if I can pull it off.

 

I haven't done any modeling in wood for many, many years.  My stock of cabinet grade mahagony comes from the ten years that I lived on my sailboat.  It was not a "high end" boat and most of the interior was not much better than a cheap RV, but over the years, I rebuilt the interior, bow to stern with custom mahogany paneling and trim.  Some people might think it was a bit dark, but I am a bit of a traditionalist.  The boat also had mahogany rub rails( main wales) and 5 inch wide caprails.  I have a nice piece of 6/4 mahogany left, some of which will find its way into this model. 

 

I just went back to check on the post that I thought I had made.  Its not there. Maybe thats why it got no responses.  I had a thought that maybe the rudder post should pass through the cabin and be fitted on the quarterdeck.  The tiller would likely have been about 9 or 10 feet long, with a 15 degree steering angle, port and stbd.  Taking it out of the cabin and mounting it above deck would clear the cabin for full use and would have a few other benefits as well.  I have not yet worked out the rigging for the tiller but I am thinking about it.  It will require some modification to the bulkhead below the wheel before the decks are planked.

 

Jerry

Edited by captain.jerry

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I do remember reading something about the rudder question.  I did not have enough experience to comment.  I think there is some type of mechanism attached by ropes to the wheel that extends down, possibly under the floor of the great deck to attach to the rudder.  Else, there will be things to bump your head into if you decide to move about the great cabin. LOL

 Jeff

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Jeff, I wish that were so.  The rudder post enters the ship aft of the wing transom and above any reasonable main cabin deck.  Unless the rudder post passes through the cabin to an above deck tiller, there is a tiller in that cabin and its arc along with the necessary gear sweeps about 30% of the avalable space if not more.  Cable drive steering quadrants are a 20th centrury improvement and safety regs call for an alternate steering means in case of cable failure and that is usually a tiller.  My center cockpit sailboat had cable steering and hydraulic autopilot but I still had to carry an emergency tiller in case of a Coast Guard inspection.  If I had ever had to use it, I would have had to remove the matress in the aft cabin, fit the tiller to the head of the rudder stock, open the overhead hatch and stick my head up while steering with my foot.

 

You have said that you are going to follow Bob Hunt's practicum so you might ask him where the steering gear should be.

 

Jerry

Edited by captain.jerry

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I passed a milestone today.  I recovered from a fatal error!  I broke a part that I did not make.  It doesn't bother me if I brake a part that I have made.  I made it before, I can make it again.  If I brake a supplied part (badly, as I did today) what will I do.  I had fitted frame #1, glued in the bow filler blocks, faird them and let in the knightshead and timbers and I was not hapy with the results.  I started taking it apart and wound up breaking the frame.  MS made the frame, not me. 

 

I made a new frame. No big deal! I can relax and stop worrying.  I tried a new approach with the filler blocks and timbers.  The glue is drying now.  If it works out and I can get it faired correctly, I'll post pictures tomorrow.  If it doesn't work out, well...I'll try something else.

 

Jerry

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It usually is not a project stopper to break an item.  If you have the plans you can remake the part and start again.  I am sure it was frustrating as I have done similar things as well.  I was gluing up the first planking on the port side yesterday and put a clamp on the far side of the keel and began to tighten it down when a piece snapped off the keel.  I freaked for a second and then just got the glue out and reattached the piece.  I think it will be okay as it will only be support for the decking.

 

Jeff

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I know, Jeff, wood breaks.  I guess what really worries me is that everything is glued together and it is hard to back up.  In my other hobby, which is on hold while my new shop is being built, (not yet started) the parts are cast iron, steel, brass, bronze or aluminum and they are held together with screws. Rarely are they soldered or welded together.  Glue is a real commitment!

 

My modification to the bow filler blocks seems to have worked out.  I guess the method shown in the MS plans would have been OK but my implementation just looked crappy.  I know that it will be hidden but it is one of those things I would do better next time.  There may never be a "next tine" so I had to do it over this time.

 

New blkhd #1 of solid wood.  Knightsheads of 3/16" solid laid parallel to the keel. It is hard to see but there is some space between the timber and the stem part of the keel and more will be created after final fairing.  Timberheads were beveled and glued in the space between the blkhd and the knightshead.  It winds up looking something like a cant frame.  There will be more fairing needed but I am happy with this part now.

 

Jerry

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I think I should change the title of this log.  It should read " Fair Amereican - Kit by Model Shipways- Scale Approx. 1:55 - by Captain Jerry."  This is due to the fact that the model as supplied is a long way from the 1:48 that is adertised.  How do I come to this conclusion?  The plan states that the ship was of Beam = 24"  so the widest frame should be 6".  The widest frame in this kit is 5.1" wide.  That is a scale of 55 or 56 to 1, a substantial difference.  My model will be as big as all of the other Model Shipways-Fair Americans but it should hae been bigger.  I feel a bit of dissappointment at being scammed by a reputable supplier.  It seems as if they reduced the supplied parts at a reduced size as a cost reduction to fit the laser cut frames on a 5.5" wide sheet.  I guess I shouldn't complain...I got it on sale for 50% off!  or maybe that was really only 42% off, using their way of measuring.

 

Jerry

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Thanks, Canute.  Its nice to know that someone is watching.                                                                                                         v379

 

I have been wrestling with the transom, among other things, but I did something about the transom today. 

 

> It will have seven windows. 

       If I can't trust the original modeler to count to 7, why should I believe anything else on the model.

> The windows will be laid across the transom in an arc that reflects the deck camber. 

      There aren't many straight lines on a ship.  It needs a curve.

> The window castings will be skewed, thanks to Pete Jaquith's build

       They come square but Pete showed how to push them over.  I just grabbed opposite corners with my needle nose pliers and squeezed a little.

> The transom will have a convex curve.

       See above reference to straight lines. 

> The window spacing will be slightly closer together than shown on the plan.

       Closer spacing lets me get seven windows in the transom without making it too wide but does not leave room for horizontal planking between them.  I will insert some kind of vertical pilaster.  Maybe not ship shape but . . .

 

Getting the outer transom planking required some edge bending.  The closer the plank's width is to the plank's thickness makes it easier to bend it in two planes.  These planks are .110" wide by .050" thick, glued to a backing plank that was sanded on a slack belt sander to give it the convex curve.  I made the planking harder than it needed to be because it has been a long time since I have used wood glue on parts this size, and I hae never used super glue like this.  I learned a few things.

 

There is more to do on the transom but I wanted to get something posted so you didn't think I was paralized.

 

I have also been thinking about the steering.  This model will have working steering.  Thats what I said, working.   Turning the wheel will move the rudder.   It is a shame that the rigging will be hidden below the quarter deck.

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Edited by captain.jerry

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Wow! Am I ever a terrible painter?  It looked pretty nice in the raw but it looks pretty bad finished.  Well, its not really finished. The windows are no glued in and I may be able to get them a bit better positioned. There is no scroll work or ship's name but that should no be a problem, what with my demonstrated painting skills.

 

Here comes some more whining about scale.  There is no place where the dimensions of the windows is called out, and there are no other dimensions that can be used to extract the dimension.  The only way to get the dimension is to put calipers on the drawing.  Try doing that in any machine shop and you will be looking for a new job.   But i is all I can do so taking the average of several attempts,  I come up with a width of .302".  Why then, do the die cast windows in the kit measure .350"?  Because the die cast parts seem to be 1:48 scale  and the drawings and laser cut parts are 1:56 scale.  It is no wonder that so many other builders have changed the design to use only 5 windows instead of 7.  If the windows were supplied at .300" each, it would be easier to build a good looking 7 window transom. 

 

I will try not to whine about the scale issue any more, at leas not until it jumps up and bites me again.

 

Jerry                                                                                                                                                                                                424

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Edited by captain.jerry

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I'm not real sure that I like the above.  How many times do you remake the same part?  I have re done this several times today.  Some efforts were dead ends.  Some showed promise and lead to different approaches,  One method is moving ahead but needs a trip to the art supply store.

 

The bad paint job is part of the problem but beyond that, the window frames are too big.  The should be .300" wide by .410 high. To do that I need to scratch build the window frames.  The mullions need to be on the order of .018" wide. Can anyone make any suggestions?

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Thank you for the recommendation, Jim.  I used artist acrylic, water thin, because it was what I had on hand.  I don't like the uneven finish.  I probably should have used a sealer first.

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After several failed efforts, I think that I have a transom that works.  The window size has been reduced to the proper scale size which allows a reduction of the overall transom width.  I have not been able to produce mullions as thin as I would like.  The shortest piece is the horizontal mid line it works out to be about .072" long, two pieces to each window.  I have some 1/16" x 1/16" basswood but that is too heavy.  I tried slicing some 1/32" wide strips from a 1/32" thick sheet but the results were imperfect.

 

Pictures and more explanation will follow shortly.  I'm being called for dinner for the second time.

 

I'm back.  Getting seen windows to line up right is not easy.  The eye can easily spot misalignment of a horizontal line but the fingers have a hard time fixing it. The cambered arch just adds another degree of difficulty.  My method to handle this was to make the center horizontal mullion from a single piece and then fit all of the other pieces to that. There is a little more to it than that and I didn't get any pictures. I used bamboo split and scraped to about 1/32".  I would have loved to have something better.

 

The curved transom is laminated from three layers of 1/32" and one layer of 1/16" basswood sheet, plus the 1/32" planking.  The rail cap is laminated from two layers of 1/32" which was glued up on the transom with plenty of overhang and then trimmed to size.  I wanted to have the top of the rail cap parallel to the deck sheer instead of square to the transom so the form of the rail was a bit tricky.  Much easier to glue it up oersize and trim it to shape.

 

One of the pictures shows the relative size of the two versions. I may have placed the windows to low on the new version.  I'm not sure how I will handle the ships name, but I think the size is better.  I still need to paint the planking and the rail cap but I may wait until I mount it and the mail wales.

 

 

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Edited by captain.jerry

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Edited to add pictures above.  I still need to learn how to intermix text with pictures                                                                                             533

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Oh, No!  Not another one!  Yes! Another transom!  Why? Because I just located Chucks photos of the Fair American model in the Gallery section.  A couple of the pictures made it clear that there was still something wrong.  A high view of the port quarter shows that the transom does not hang out way past the side. This overhang has been mentioned in several other threads as being unsightly.  It is more evidence of a problem with the plans.  The original model does not have this unsightly protrusion.  It is another scale issue, compounded by the fact that the only full view in the plans is printed on a sheet that is in a different scale.  Still not a full 1:48 scale but larger than the 1:56 scale that the bulkheads are cut to.

 

I may never get this ship built, but by gosh, I will get the transom right.

 

Jerry

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I saw a build from another member somewhere on this site where he had hand built his transom windows and they looked excellent.  I am sure it takes more talent than I have, but I may try that sometime.  I think you are doing a great job on yours Jerry.  I only hope mine turns out as well.

 

Jeff

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Thanks, Jeff.  I really appreciate the comment.  I also appreciate the 'likes' that have been posted without comment.  They are an indication that someone is watching. We are taking greatly different paths on this.  I think your planking looks great.

 

I think I am taking such pains with the transom for two reasons.  My woodworking skills are a bit rusty but I am regain some feel for it and each new version is building confidence to tackle the more difficult stuff ahead.  Here are some pictures.

 

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The first is the transom full face.  Strangely, the windows appear in a straight horizontal line.  They really lie on a curve but the combination of tilt and the curve of the transom face make it appear flat when viewed in this perspective.  There are a few other subtleties that I had missed in previous versions.  The plans do show that the rail across the top of the transom  but they do not make any reference to the sides of the rail cap as it curves over the sides.  The face of the rail cap must take a strange curve/twist so that the face lies parallel to the ship's side when seen in plan view.  I had missed this  before.

 

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The curve of the rail bring it closer to the ship's side so the sweep of the fashion piece should be smoother.  The red arrow in the picture shows the area that I am talking about.

 

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I am still not satisfied with the mullions.  They are much to thick.  They are 1/32" or .032" wide.  They should be less than half that wide or about .012".  I am thinking wire or even thread will be necessary.  Can anyone point me to a suitable material that is easily acquired?

 

I am moving on to other areas while I let the windows mellow in my head for a while.  I have decided to go with the waterway and covering board as per plans.  I was able to steam bend the waterway in a single piece but the covering board needed to be cut from a wide sheet and joined with a scarf.  The result is another confidence builder even though it is hidden by the first bulwark plank above it and will be completely hidden by paint anyway.

 

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It is late and I am tired.  I will talk about the gun port framing tomorrow.

 

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Edited by captain.jerry

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As long as you are happy with it Jerry, ultimately that is all that really matters!

 

I think it's looking great, and look forward to seeing you progress and what interesting things you do.

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Also, attaching your photos interspersed with text is really quite easy.  

 

First, use the full editor and upload all your pictures.  I keep mine numbered in order so it's easy to figure out which one I want next.

 

Once you have all your photos at the bottom of the editor, start typing until you get to the point where you want the first photo.  Place your cursor under the text where you want the photo to appear, then scroll down, find the photo, and click on the 'add to post' text for that picture.  The editor will place the required code for the photo in that spot.

 

Next, put your cursor after the photo, hit enter (a couple times if you want to make a space after the picture), and then continue typing.  Each time you want to add a photo just go down to the list of attached photo's, after making sure your cursor is in the right spot, and click on 'add to post', until you are done and run out of photos or things to type!

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