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Sultana by Byron – Model Shipways - Scale 1:64, second ship build, roughly following Chuck Passaro Practicum

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I have always liked wooden ships, but have also always had about a million other things on the go both hobby wise and in real life.  I picked up a few wooden ship kits several years ago and worked my way through the Model Shipways Phantom as a first go at the hobby.  It turned out ok and based on that I picked up a Sultana as a next step, a Syren as a third build, and a Bluenose.  I finished the Phantom in about 3 months, but then got sidetracked with painting several new Warhammer 40,000 armies, several 15mm WWII armies, and forces for several other miniatures games that I play. 


Now, 3 years after finishing the Phantom, I decided enough is enough time to get another ship done.  It also didn’t hurt that I had an extra week of banked time at work that needed to be used before the end of September, so I decided to start on this and get a good start on it with the hope of being done before mid-December as at that point an annual miniature painting challenge starts and I have over 200 miniatures lined up to be painted from December through March. 


While I have extensive hobby experience and scratch building experience it has all been with metal, resin, plastic, and green stuff (sculpting compound), so I specifically picked ships that came with or had practicum’s available so that I could work through them with some extra guidance from some experts.  That led me to the Phantom and Syren to start, even though what I really want to build is a Bluenose and a Victory.  Anyway, enough background, onto the build….


Day 1 (Monday Sept. 21)


The Syren kit from Model Shipways is an excellent, if not very exciting kit for beginners.  We all want something big and complicated and impressive looking, but that’s not a great idea.  I learned this from painting miniatures, start easy and move up.  Having completed a Phantom, I thought the next step would be something with some planking.  Even though this kit is a solid hull, the practicum explains how to improve on the base and plank the top half of the kit.  I thought this would be a good next step.


Day one involved a lot of sanding and shaping of the hull.  I first removed the bulwarks and cleaned up the hull a bit as there was some rough spots.   I Then moved onto making sure the keel area was flat and centered. 




Next came marking the line on the hull above which I would need to carve away material to make room to plank. I then marked out the lines to follow so that I could follow Mr. Passaro’s practicum on doing faked board lengths.  It was at this point that I realized I needed more wood as all of the planks I would need are not in the kit as it wasn’t meant to be done this way.  This made a stop for the day, but by that point I had some video games calling me….







Edited by Byron
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Day 2 (Tuesday Sept 22)


So the day started with a trip to the hobby store to pick up all the wood I was going to need to follow the practicum rather than the kit instructions. Something to remember though, motorcycle panniers are not that big, luckily the kit isn’t very big so I could get away with cutting the strips in half at the store to 18” and they would still be just fine.  Next time, I should have thought of that before just jumping on the bike to enjoy a fall ride as if the kit was any bigger, it would have meant a second trip back with the car.


Anyway, once back home, I setup a jig to start soaking and shaping the wood before putting in onto the hull.  I actually made several of these so that I could get all the wood into shape in a short period of time and let it all dry once.




While waiting for everything to dry I also marked out and carved out some of the areas on the hull that would need to be removed, such as the area for the ladder down below deck.  The picture was taken after planking had begun, so ignore it in the background.




With that done and several planks bent and dried I started adding them to the hull and etching them to show the fake plank lengths.




Between everything gluing and drying I also took some time to create the transom out of a few layers of 1/32 wood.  It still needs the detail added, but I have the basic shape created and ready for fitting once all the upper planking is done.




By the end of the afternoon, I had both sides done and the upper section at the front, but then had to call it quits for the day as we had an event at my son’s school to go to. Overall though I am happy with progress and aim to finish the rest of the planking tomorrow, then start drilling and doing the trunnels, keel, stem, and sternpost. Well, that’s the plan anyway.



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Day 3 and 4 (Sept 23-24)


I got busy a little bit on both days, so not quite as far along as I hoped, but still good progress.  Also, I got so wrapped up in working on it, that I missed taking photos at several key stages… doh!  I have a note on my wall by my plans now saying “Take Pictures!”.


I started out by finishing the rest of the planking, and then moved on to drilling all the holes for the trunnels puttying them, and then sanding them.  I had not done this before and the guide from Mr. Passaro made it look very simple and worth the effort.  It was in fact extremely easy and gives a very nice effect.




It took most of day 3 to get all of the planking done, holes drilled, filled, time to dry and then sanded.  So it was not until late in the evening that I cleaned it all up, masked the bottom and applied a coat of stain.  I am pretty happy with how it turned out other that two things:


- The first is that I wish I would have done though is gone a bit bigger on the drill bit I used, as some show up very nice and others don’t, I am pretty sure this is due to the size being too small to accept enough wood filler and the grain of the wood covering such a small hole after sanding. Oh well, next time! 




- The second is that there are a few small areas where the CA got on the front of a board and the stain is not being accepted into the board.  I have tried sanding it a bit and re-staining but it just will not take it, so I needed to be more careful.  I will put another layer just on those areas later, and if not very carefully match a colour to it from my Vallejo miniature paints.  I will wait and see though, does anyone have an way to get it to accept the stain? Or and I stuck using a glaze consistency paint to touch it up? Or is this just what I get for using CA rather than woodglue, pins, patience, and time?


Today I lightly sanded and stained again, and then let it all dry as I moved onto carving the stem.  I remember having issues with the Phantom at this stage and the Sultana was no different.  It took a lot of back and forth to get a solid fit all the way down.  Luckily I managed on the first piece, unlike the Phantom which took 2 attempts because I broke the first after getting it 90% fit.






Once the stain was dry I moved onto getting the stem and keel attached.  Then onto several thin coats of wood filler and sanding to smooth the hull for paint. 






That all being done, and friends on the way to play games tonight, I just had time to get one coat of a white Vallejo primer onto it and I will clean it up tomorrow (light sand) and get a second coat on it.




Thoughts so far?  For all the expert builders out there, please point out things that I should be doing that I am missing, I am used to working of far different and smaller models like these a 1/1200 scale British 3rd rate and a 28mm old lady.


post-20804-0-42886600-1443226605_thumb.jpg post-20804-0-33082500-1443226603_thumb.jpg post-20804-0-43571600-1443226613_thumb.jpg

Edited by bmudry
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Day 5, 6, 7 ( Sept 25-27)


This update to the build log covers the last three days.  I got busy with a few other distractions (video games, board games with the wife and friends, and other miscellaneous things around the house), so my time on the Sultana was limited to an hour here, an hour there.  However over the three days combined I felt I got a lot done as there was a lot of drying time in between on several steps for both paint and glue.


I started by lightly sanding the hull yet again, then putting on another coat of white paint.  I did this twice to get a nice finish without brush strokes. That took a little while, and I may still go back, mask the ship and put another coat on with the airbrush to get a really smooth finish, we will see, as I will decide for sure just before I put the masts in.


I then painted the inside of the bullwarks red as per the build guide.  I was not to worried about getting it on top of them as they would be covered with cap rails, or even onto the deck since that would be covered as well.  However it was a good time to get it done now before either of those items were in place and then worry about having touch ups to do.




Once the hull was all finished I moved on to creating the cap rails and getting them shaped to fit.  The hardest one was the front since it needed to be cut from a sheet and is easy to break or miss-cut since it is thin and the center is with the grain of the wood. I managed to get my second attempt to work though as the first one broke during final sanding.  The cap for over the transom was fairly easy other than having to make a jig to form the wood after soaking it for a while. 


With the cap rails cut I moved onto shaping the wales so that they would be ready as well.  Once all the pieces were cut and test fitted I painted them off the ship so that they could be put on with minimal issue.




Before attaching the cap rail and wales, (other than the rear cap rail) I moved onto the decking of the ship.  This is one area where I am not following the guide that Mr. Passaro provides.  While I agree that the supplied pre-scribed sheet is the wrong scale and the board would be too narrow in real life, for my purposes it doesn’t make a difference, no one that looks at it here will either know or care.  For those that want the ship as real as possible, I strongly suggest following the practicum rather than using the supplied sheet.


That probably makes a lot of model ship builders cringe, but it is just my take on it.  If I was building something for a museum or historical show, I would do it all as close as possible to real life, but I am not.  This attitude comes from my other hobby of table top war gaming, where sometimes you paint to the best of your ability and other times you just paint something to get it on the table to play games with. When painting a miniature for a painting competition I have at times spent 40-60 hours on a single 28mm tall miniature.   The results are stunning.  However, if I was to attempt to do that when painting my Canadian and German WWI forces at almost 100 models in each army, I would never get done, therefore I paint those to a table top standard and spend about 2 hours per model.  Again, sorry if not following exact historical details make some cringe, but I am going to overall effect, rather than exact replication.


Before actually measuring and fitting the decking, I measured and cut the face planks and edge planks.  These were then installed and the face plates painted red to match the bullwarks and the edge planks were stained. I then moved on to cutting and test fitting the decking once I had the final spacing needed.


Since I used the supplied decking sheet it also meant that I could not realistically put in seams between board lengths or add the trunnels.  I did try, and luckily had some spare sheet left over from another ship, because it just doesn’t look right at that small a scale.  It looks like too perfect a pattern even though the pattern was 5 boards wide.  I therefore scrapped that one floor section and re-cut it.




Once the decking was cut, it was stained and then glued in place.  After that I moved on to putting all of the cap rails and wales on.






At this point I come to another place I chose to vary from the practicum.  While I agree that there should be decorative scrolls on the ship I far prefer working with Green Stuff than working with Sculpey.  Coming from miniatures, green stuff is the standard, it is a two part sculpting epoxy that comes as a soft blue and yellow tube or strip.  You take equal parts of each and knead them together to make a green slightly stiff clay type material and then you have roughly an hour to work with it and shape it however you want.  As it hardens you can work it differently, applying big detail at the beginning while it is soft and finer detail as it hardens.  Since it is an epoxy is also bonds to anything you press it to and allow it to harden too, meaning you can use it to join pieces and fill gaps.  For anyone that has not tried it, it is a much better option than any of the clays you need to bake (at least in my opinion).




I made several of the scrolls (volutes) and am waiting for them to harden completely before cutting the excess away and sculpting them onto the ship with additional green stuff to fill in between them.  But that is for another day, and in fact maybe not until next weekend since I am back to work tomorrow.


So, here is the current state of the ship, next steps are not the scrolls and starting to work on the deck features.







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Going to start Sultana for 1st time wood ship modeler. Would like to look along, I do better if I can see pictures.


I think it is a very good ship to start on, especially if you follow along with Chuck Passaro's Practicum and do the planking along the top instead of just thinning out the bullwarks.  I thinned the bullwarks on the Phantom solid hull that I built, and I can tell you that this method is far easier and looks better.


If you haven't downloaded the practicum yet, it is free over on Model Expo's site under documents when you look at the Sultana, you can find it here: Sultana page.  It will walk you through a lot of things that are not explained at all in the pamphlet that is supposed to pass as an instruction manual that comes with the kit.  I understand that is the nature of model ship kits, but it also is what makes it hard for new comers, so stick to a few kits that have practicums available until you are comfortable with what you are doing and what you expect it to turn out like.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Its been a little while since my last post with updates, and once again I forgot to pictures at some key times.


I started with getting the rudder attached, using some thin brass I had to make the pintles and gudgeons.  I also formed the trim to attach and painted it before attaching (unlike when I made my Phantom). I then finished all the waterways on the deck.




The one big step that I forgot to take pictures of was making the channel plates for the deadeyes.  Most of them came out really good, but there are two that I don't like.  I need to redo them, but didnt really notice them until the plates were attached to the hull of the ship and don't want to damage the plate or the other deadeyes so working myself up to it.


Once they were all attached it was time to also drill the sculpers and line them with lead to show up.  While I used the right dimension drill and got them lines up all the way through the hull from the inside waterway, they just don't look big enough. At this scale it is hard to even see the angle of them, I am strongly considering enlarging them, any thoughts?  I know they won't be "scale" but the appearance is more important to me than being exactly scale.






After that I moved onto working on all the grates and items on the deck, and the window frames for the transom and quarter badges.  These are TINY and were a pain to make, but turned out pretty well.  The image shows before cleanup on them, but still shows them well.




Lastly I attached all of these items to the ship.


More to come this weekend since there should be more time to work on it due to being the Thanksgiving long weekend.  As long as I don't overload on turkey and sleep it away :-)




In my infinite "OH SHINY and NEW" (SQUIRREL!!!) hobby mentality, I also picked up another ship to work on over the winter due to the Model Expo money back sale that just ran.  The wife has helped with many projects over the years for wargaming, mainly terrain and buildings, and likes ships as well, so we figured a winter project would be a good way to spend some more time together.  Well, we both liked the Endeavour so grabbed it and it arrived today.  I knew Corel kits had bad instructions as my neighbour is building the Wappen Von Hamburg right now and I have had to help him figure out several steps due to the poor instructions.  I did not realize exactly what we were getting into, or how bad the instructions really could be though....  7 pages of instructions with no pictures and extremely broken english.... oh boy!!!  I will start a build log on it soon, and be looking for LOTS of help!!!!  While we both want it to turn out well, it really is just going to be something to spend some time together on over the long cold winters here.



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Hi Byron:


She's shaping up nicely. A word on Corel kits - yes the instructions are poor, to say the least, but I've built several Corel kits and I hardly ever used the "instructions" anyway - the plans are all the instructions you need and usually Corel's plans are well done - clear and easy to follow. In many Corel kits I've built there is a parts list at the end of the instruction booklet, and sometimes rigging tables. I found these extremely useful as well. My first step in a Corel build is to go through the parts list and then locate each part on each of the plans its shown on - takes some time, but it's a good way of studying the plans and familiarizing yourself with the model. As I go, I write down the plan sheet number(s) that the items appear on beside the items on the parts list. 


Have fun with the Endeavour! I've really enjoyed the Corel kits I've built (even the Greyhound, which required a huge amount of bashing), and I imagine the Endeavour is no different.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Well it has been a while since my last update, but there has been some solid progress since then, and some very early progress on my other build. 


Something I am still having issues with though on this build are the volutes as I have now done them 3 times and I just keep making them too big.  I am getting close to the point of just putting a ball of greenstuff on the model and then carving it or shaping it there.  I know I can do that, since I can sculpt faces at 28mm scale, it’s just the doing it separate from the model that is messing with me here.


Anyway, I have been working on the rest of the deck items, the rail items, and the front end of the ship.  I used a small bead as suggested at the end of the tiller, and it has since been painted black.




Man are some of these pieces TINY.  Cutting the slots into the catheads and carving the cheeks were especially difficult at this scale.  They are done though and I think the only real parts at the front left to do are the timberheads which I have started to carve but only have half of them done.






I now have the back railing on and will now be painting it and then adding on the posts for the swivel guns.  I think it is then onto the masts.





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Hi Byron,

I also built the Sultana. It was my first wood model ship and came out just like a first usually does.. Your Sultana is very well done.


I have started the Corel Endeavour this month and have a build log under HMB Endeavour -Corel 1:60 - by ca.shipwright. You are absolutely correct when you say the written instructions leave a lot to be desired. However, after reading and following along on the plan sheets several times, I began to get the syntax they are using for English and they made a little more sense. A yellow highlighter is most useful on some of the ambiguities; as are noted in the margins, The plans are great, nice thick paper.not newsprint, and are scaled very close.


I am listing in my build log outright errors in the instructions and possible solutions,


The plans are historically incorrect. I use the Anatomy of a Ship HMB Endeavour by Marquarndt as my souorce for information. I reduce his !:48 drawings and enlarge his 1/96 and 1:72 drawings for making templates,


I'm sure all the Endeavour builders will welcome you log.


Good Luck,


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