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Gretel by hamilton - Mamoli

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Hi there:


For the sake of posterity and as a retrospective, I thought I would post this log of my Mamoli Yacht Gretel. This model was constructed between August and December of 2011, prior to the time when I joined MSW. I might have kept a log of the build over on LSS, when I was a member there....


Anyway, there are many features of the model that I can't recall - including the scale! But I do remember several things about the kit


1. The CNC bulkheads needed a lot of adjustment - they were very loose in the keel and needed significant shimming on their outside edges for the planking to run fair


2. The cast metal parts were very difficult to work with and I found them quite gaudy - I replaced the forward and port/starboard cabin windows, but ended up keeping the transom decoration, though in order to make it fit, I had to modify the transom slightly - the metal part is totally flat but the transom was curved and there was no way to bend these metal parts without breaking them.....


3. This was one of the first builds that I wanted to do some detailing on, despite the very small scale. So I designed, built and installed some cabin details (sadly not really visible on the finished model since I didn't really think about making structural modifications so as to make them visible). These were a lot of fun to make, though true scratch builders will notice a great many flaws in both scale and construction! 


I also seem to recall that the kit was a lot of fun to build - nice and simple but quite cute and a pretty interesting subject. I'll try to make weekly updates to this log to trace the build as it developed and to remember as much as I can about some of the quirks of the kit and my own construction strategies.....though I still have my Mamoli America to attend to, not to mention other "real world" obligations! Enjoy!

















Edited by hamilton
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I am taking the first chair to follow the build of yours.

I have the Gretel awaiting in the the yard.

When I went through the kit I found the insigna flag to be wrong.

Somewhere on the internet I found a historical accurate naval flag.

The three tongue flag is royal, so nothing wrong there, it's the dimensions that are off.

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Hi Per:


Yes - the flag is wrong on another count too - it's Swedish, whereas the kit is advertised as a "Dutch" Yacht....I ended up keeping the Swedish pennant...but I was not, at the time, too concerned with accuracy, more with learning some new techniques.....thanks for coming along for this reconstruction


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The Gretel was a yacht (dutch for pleasure vessel), made for one of the Swedish men in the Swedish navy.

The design is a true Af Chapman and made for shallow water sailing.

Take a look at Corels ship Amphion, also an Af Chapman design. The similarities are striking.

Edited by Nirvana
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Hi Per:


This is good to know - I was unaware of this during the build - and in fact, I recall another modeller noting the discrepancy between the flag and the notion that it was a "Dutch" yacht....I think both that modeller and I had assumed that "Dutch" referred to the jurisdiction under which she sailed not to the design. This adds a lot of clarity to things, and makes me feel marginally better about the flag!


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Before I started in on the build, I made a mock-up of the interior cabin so I could get a feel for what details I wanted to add, as well as for this kind of small scale work. I have to admit that I was not aiming for the kinds of fixtures that might actually have been found on a vessel of this period. It was more about trying my hand at something new. I imagine, for example, that the cabin would have sat deeper into the hull - but since this would have required some modifications to the centre keel and the bulkheads for which I was not prepared, I didn't do this.


I started by making two separate floor templates out of 1/32" basswood sheeting. I measured the distance between bulkhead slots on the centre keel to get the width, while the length was determined by placing the widths in position atop the centre keel with the bulkheads fore and aft, marking the intersection between the floor piece and the bulkheads to get the widths port and starboard. I then cut another false bulkhead piece to separate the cabin into two sections. This bulkhead was also made of 1/32" basswood sheeting, and was made by tracing the outline of the kit supplied bulkhead frames onto the sheet (all of the bulkhead frames have the same shape on top). The height was the distance between the top of the centre keel and the top of the cabin  bulkheads. I planked my floors and bulkhead using scrap .5mm walnut. I then made a rough door separating the forward part of the cabin into 2 sections. Here's a photo




I decided, somewhat arbitrarily, that the port side cabin area forward would be a berth, so again out of scrap wood I threw together a bed, dresser and small night stand, along with a (ludicrously oversized) lantern and a painting of a lady-bug. The bed took a couple of tries to get to dimensions that I thought looked ok....






Here's a shot with a Canadian dime for scale comparison




In the starboard side forward cabin area I thought to put a kind of study, with a desk/shelving unit, small chair and an L-shaped bench. I had thought to add a small table with the bench, but this didn't end up happening - would have made passage through very difficult....Here's the desk unit




And here again with the chair and the bench just visible to the left




And with the bench in place




The aft cabin area I thought to make into a galley/dining area. Table and chairs, small stove and cabinet (not really ship shape at all....) and another painting, some (also oversized) lanterns and a makeshift chart (not accurate) of the Bay of Fundy - the waters where I learned to sail.








And finally here's a not-very-good shot from the top.




At the time I was very proud of my work - and I still am. But I think if I were to do this now, I might do a bit more leg work into two things


1. Better period-based representation of the fittings

2. Structural modifications to the kit to enable the work to be more visible on completion....


Anyway, thanks for reading/watching!


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Thanks a lot Richard and Mobbsie!! (I guess you must have heard by now that auto-correct changes your name to "Mobbish"!) 


Anyway, this is a retrospective log - I completed the Gretel in December of 2011!! But since activity on the America has slowed to a snail's pace and since another MSW member expressed some interest in the Gretel and since I don't know of another log on this version of MSW I thought I'd go for it....There was a Gretel log back on MSW 1, I think......I remember checking it out when I was working on the model.....but it's always possible that the other log was on Dry Dock Models, which I was a member of before it closed and before I joined MSW....


Anyway, good to hear from you both - Mobbsie, I've been peering in on your Granado section - it is a real beauty! Bye for now


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I have Gretel on the shelf, your retrospective build log will be invaluable.  I remember the Gretel build log on MSW 1.  The scale is 1:54, which isn't small, but the hull itself is small, only 8" in length.  I've also been thinking about adding cabin detail, your cabin mock up is a great idea!  So many ideas.....

Thanks for posting this.  

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Thanks Dee Dee - I hope you find it useful when it comes time for you to dive into the Gretel. There were a lot of little problems with the kit, but nothing that couldn't be solved or that was overly frustrating. By comparison, I'm finding the Mamoli America to be quite a headache - but here the issues are with some aspects of the kit design and some real discrepancies between what is shown on the plans and the construction materials and process suggested....I don't remember this being the case with the Gretel.


Anyway, I look forward to seeing your log once it gets started - I've peered in on your Brittany Sloup several times, though I don't think I've commented on the thread - it's a real beauty.


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I truly like the mookups of the cabins and interior, certainly I will have in mind once I start my Gretel.

Btw, the name Greta in Swedish is Gretel in English and German as well in Dutch.

So the name is a mystery I will try to look into more. I am afraid I will be stranded very soon in the search.


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Hamilton, no matter if the name is Gretel or Greta which I am considering naming her.

If you remember the fairy story of Hansel and Gretel (English), Hänsel  und Gretel (German), Hans och Greta (Swedish), I don't know what to make out of it.

Name wise all is good.

Af Chapman was a Swedish ship designer.

Investigation will go on ....... maybe.

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Well, I'd rather be working on America right now, to be honest, but I was late home from work and after time spent with the kids and putting them to bed, it's probably too late to get started now....so on with this Gretel log - if I can't work on a model at least I can write about one!


This post will document the substantial fixing that needed to be done on the CNC bulkheads and keel. The following several photos will give you an idea of the problems I encountered - please note, John and Dee Dee, the issues I had with my Gretel may not appear in yours - I'm assuming that a lot of the manufacturers errors may differ between different production batches, so who knows? Your bulkheads and keel might be perfect! Here are some photos



A bulkhead way off the pattern



a really chewed up bulkhead top - this one was the aft cabin bulkhead with a cut-out for the door



another bulkhead slightly off the pattern


As I recall there wasn't a single bulkhead that was serviceable out of the box. At the time, I wasn't experienced enough with building kits to know how typical this situation is! The issue is not whether any work has to be done to "fix" things, but how extensive the problems are...


Anyway, my first step was to make templates from the bulkhead patterns provided with the kit (Mamoli is kind enough to include these with their plan sheets - not all manufacturers do, I understand, but it is nice when they do, though the accuracy of these needs to be taken with a grain of salt as well, given distortions that can creep into photocopying). Anyway, crossing my fingers I made the templates and then, laying them on the bulkhead pieces marked where shimming and trimming was needed




I did the same with the keel by test fitting the bulkheads, all of which had considerable play in the slots.....




I also made a template (no photo unfortunately) of the centre keel, one in full profile, the other cut to the bearding line. Here is the line traced on the keel at the "deadwood" and close to the bow. In these photos you can see how loose the bulkheads are in the keel....






I added thin shims made from .5mm scrap wood from I don't know where...shims were added below the bulkhead slots on the keel to stabilize the bulkheads horizontally, and I also added shims above the slots on the forward side of the bulkheads themselves to stabilize them vertically. Here are a couple of photos










After all this work the bulkheads fit very snugly, though not yet entirely squarely or fairly, in the keel - the bow shot will show you the amount of work that still needed to be done to even out the bulkheads - specifically to even out the top edges...I don't have photos of this process, unfortunately, but it was a lot of grunt work with a template, a sharp knife and a sanding block....






The last step in this phase was to shim the outer edges of the bulkheads. For this, I used a 1mm wood strip a little longer then the length of the hull to test the run of planking. Here again, it was a balancing act between seeing where the bumps and dips were on the model itself and testing each bulkhead against the templates I made to ensure something approximating symmetry....Here's the finished product






So that's that....framework complete (as of sometime in August, 2011....). My next phase was to prep the areas around the cabin and forward scuttle for the detailing I had planned....bye for now



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My Gretel kit appears to be newer, the keel and bulkheads are laser cut from a sheet of plywood and came in the full sheet of plywood they were cut from.  I compared a few bulkheads to print, they are fairly close to print and the edges are very clean.  There does appear to be a bit of difference from one side to the other, but less than 1mm.  A while back I did a test fitting of the bulkheads and they are all very tight.  They will still need some work, but not as much as you needed to do.        


The decking was also laser cut and in its full sheet of mahogany plywood and terribly warped.  After lots of steaming and pressing, those parts are finally flat.


The only other difference I can see at this time are the number of ladder steps; my kit only has enough side rails for five ladder steps.   


Edits highlighted in red: 



Edited by Dee_Dee
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Hi Dee Dee:


Interesting - I wonder if yours is a later generation kit? It seems that there is always some distortion in the CNC/laser cutting process - though it's equally likely that it is the plans that are distorted through shifts in humidity and/or cumulative error in the printing process....


In any case, ladder steps should be easy to cut, but the warp could be an issue. My decking came shrink wrapped, and there was no distortion - in my kit these pieces (as I'll show in my next update) fit very well - it seems our kits have opposite issues!! 


Another solution (if you don't have a scanner) for making bulkhead templates is to use graphite or carbon paper and medium card stock. Place the card stock on the table top, the graphite or carbon paper (graphite or carbon down against the card) atop that, and then lay the plans on top and use a sharp pencil to transfer the bulkheads by hand to the card stock. As long as you have a steady hand and go slow you can easily make templates this way....


Best of luck!


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OK, well another night where I'm settling down too late to start at the workbench, so I thought I'd update this Gretel log.....This post is somewhat of a repeat, since it will document the fitting out of the cabin.


I didn't make any structural modifications to the kit in order to do the cabin. Those with more skill and better tools would probably be able to make modifications easily. I think both the cabin bulkheads and centre keel would need to be altered to accommodate the cabin decking, which would likely have been lower into the hold than I've shown here - but since none of this is visible on the finished model, I don't have to have too much anxiety about it.


Anyway, my first step was to make false floors for the cabin sections - 2 of these - plus one more for beneath the forward scuttle. I used some 1/32" basswood sheet for this, cutting it to width simply by taking a measurement between the keel slots of the appropriate bulkhead frames and then, with the bulkheads dry fit, fairing the edges to shape. I then planked these using .5 x 4mm mahogany.


With these false floors in place, I marked the top of the planking on the adjacent bulkheads - this would represent the lower limit of the planking on the bulkheads themselves. For this I used .5mm x 3mm mahogany. Before installing the bulkheads on the model, I also put on the wall hangings (my oversized lanterns and paintings, framed with 1mm x 1mm walnut. The doors were framed with 1x1 walnut and consisted of slats of the .5mm x 3mm mahogany. Here's a couple of shots of the prepped pieces






I then installed the bulkheads permanently on the keel and then fixed the cabin furniture. Here are the results.....










That's it for now


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