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Virginia 1819 US Schooner by gonzz0 - Artesania Latina - Scale 1/81 - first POB effort


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After long internal debating, the combination of loving a certain movie with a certain ship in it (that will require no further explanation and certainly will not cause any Surprise on this forum, I guess) and a life-long passion for modeling, I took the plunge.

The ultimate goal is to make myself a nice model of HMS Surprise, but as I never did a wooden ship before, I really didn't want to mess it up (nd kill any budding joy for this fascinating hobby by getting frustrated...), so I followed the advice found on most sites: start with an easy model...

I choose the AL Virginia 1819 US Schooner because it was intermediate: I know I have a broad basis of modeling skills AND patience, and this way I got to get a go at POB Planking, and ship Rigging, the two most daunting aspects of this hobby as I see it (correct me if I'm wrong :D )

 

So, off to the store, and bought the box, after harassing the shopkeep with a gazillion questions (which he answered very patiently since he was a wooden ship builder himself..)

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At home, it felt like Christmas... never saw content like this in ANY of my models before (and I guess most noobs in this hobby experienced the same fascination when opening their first kit...)

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So I got started and began cutting out the false keel and bulkheads after reading through the manuals and plans, dry-fitting inbetween...

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Next, as Instructed by Frank Mastini in a book you all know, I traced all the bulkheads on card, cut them out and folded them to check for symmetry; I was lucky: only one needed adjusting (a lot), but I got It just fine in the end.

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Still, no gluing yet, as the plywood of the false keel was a bit warped, so it needed soaking, and then drying between two glass plates... and this took a frustratingly long time, so I took on some of the smaller sub-projects on the model

Edited by gonzz0
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Thanks for the encouragement Elijah!
So as I said, sub-projects while waiting:

 

First task was to get the boom glued up and filed into proper shape; quite the challenge, as I met with the predicted unprofessionality of instructions by Southerrn European Manufacturers... Took me a while to interpret the -unfocussed!- photographs right....

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While waiting for this to dry so I could file it down, might as well cut out the false deck and mark the position of the bulkheads on it... Saves me the time later on

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I then started to do the Cargo Hatch

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I was very pleased with this, didn't expect it to work out this well :)

Then that little shiny caronnade started winking at me, so I caved and started on that as well. It also gave me the first real challenges: tying microscopic wire onto tiny blocks.

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I do have one question here:
I had no problems wiring the blocks that needed a 'becket' or ring twisted at the 'closed end', but with the ones who need a ring on both ends I always had a lttle piece of twisted wire left over as a result of closing the second ring (is that a clear explanation? I'll mark what I mean on a separate photograph... ); is there any way of working around that, I haven't found one so far..

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Good Evening Gonzz0 and welcome aboard.

From the look of your work so far you seem to know

your way around a model ship kit.

It all looks neat and methodical.

 

Sorry  I can't help with question, beyond my knowledge at this stage.

I think from memory there are some build logs on this ship.

Do a search in the build logs for ship kits.

Others might have had the same question.

 

Hooroo Chris

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Elijah, thanks for the link. Some useful things there, though not exactly what I was looking for; however, thanks to one of the topics there, I learned that the proper term is "stropping" which led me to this : http://www.modelboatyard.com/stropping.html

Anyhow, on with the build as I had a nice long weekend to indulge myself.

Maybe one remark (for those who think I can work at the speed of light...):

All this has been done over a span of two weeks, butI only started the build log last Friday...

 

Next was the companion:

After a couple of hours:

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Halfway:

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And finished; made a little measuring (and therefor cutting )mistake but have been able to camouflage it :P

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I then noticed that my straightening false keel was FINALLY almost dry, so I choose a very small ad interim project: carving the rudder into shape:

Cut out of the frame

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Nicely shaped, notches made, and all sanded up;

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Almost didn't believe it to be that same lump of wood, so puzzle-check for fun ^_^

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Finally I could get my hands dirty with the bulkheads and the false keel; fitted everything, nailed some pins along te centerline of the false deck to align the false keel, and then started -very carefully - to nail down the bulkheads one by one..

 

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Done! Now I could start glueing those bulkheadds in place! Things are looking great!

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Tomorrow evening after work, I'll get the knightheads into place, so I can start fairing the hull day after tomorrow. :)

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I do have one question here:

I had no problems wiring the blocks that needed a 'becket' or ring twisted at the 'closed end', but with the ones who need a ring on both ends I always had a lttle piece of twisted wire left over as a result of closing the second ring (is that a clear explanation? I'll mark what I mean on a separate photograph... ); is there any way of working around that,

 

Looks like you've got a great start.  I personally did the wire stropping on my first kit, but on my next I switched to using rope, as I think it works better.

 

In order to strop a becket at both ends, with the small wire you are using, the easiest way that pops to mind is to just double-strop it.  What I mean by this, is just use two pieces of wire, making a becket at each end with the separate pieces.

 

The other method that might work, but I've never tried it, is to end the wire on the side of the block instead of the end, that would allow you to have a strop formed at each end with no 'ends', and the twisted wire ends would be folded down and glued against the side of the block where it would be less visible.

 

Good luck, and welcome to the hobby!

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Okay; What AL calls the 'knightheads' (actually: reinforcements of the bow for the planking) are glued on and are drying; so I thought, let's look at those real knightheads; MAN! Are they ugly; cast iron and painted (?) to look like oxidized bronze?? Also, they seem too big (5x5mm); I had a go at them in 4x4 mm wallnut wood; think I'll use these instead..

Funny thing is, in the illustrated booklet, they seem to use wooden knightheads themselves...

Here the originals, and what I made instead

 

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While busy, I also took the anchor posts along for the same ride; I'll post these too when they are finished; I'll probably run some brass wire through them to simulate the bars.

 

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(Does this mean I'm already won over by the scratchbuild-side ? ;) )

 

More to follow soon (first ever attempt at planking.... *shiver*)

 

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I've been fairing the bulkheads the last couple of evenings and made a deckplank cutting jig for ease of use later on;

 

I have one question however: when testing the flow of the hull (with a fairing batten), it seems that even my top plank (nearest the deck, that is) does not run parallel with the deck naturally; I thought the first couple of planks were always plug&play and should be able to be installed by letting them run their natural course?

Is it normal/ common to have to taper even the first plank already?  Or am I missing something here?

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Good Morning Gonzz0

On my swift I made them run  parallel with the top of the sides, from memory i think they had to be

side bent to some degree, But i don't think they needed much persuading.

Here is a link to some photos I put in my new member intro.

 

http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/10630-new-member-from-victoria-australia/?hl=cabbie#entry320598

 

I still plank by the rule of "If i can bend it and make it sit flat, i do it"

Probably not correct ship building technique, but a man has to do, what he has to do.

I sill haven't learnt what exactly is the correct method for something like this,

perhaps someone else will chip in.

Keep modelling Chris

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Hi guys,

Thanks for the help and encourragement so far!

 

Had a nice and productive evening and day so far, so here goes for an update:

Did most of the fairing now, just have no clue on how to finish fairing the transom (or better: the part from last bulkhead to transom) ; can anybody post some pics of how the planks of the first layer meet the transom? Do these get beveled up front or do you file them to shape afterward?

 

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I also encountered a bit of a conundrum: as I mentioned earlier, I checked all my keel parts for symmetry; even so, after mounting everything onto the false deck, I have one bulkhead that's a millimeter short, even though the deck AND the bulkheadds are all centered AND symmetrical; I don't know what to do; I think shaving off the side of the deck is equally bad as adding wood to the bulkhead since both are then distorted? I even measured both sides and those are the same as well (deck to keel)...

 

Strange indeed...

Edited by gonzz0
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Update part two:

 

So meanwhile I started the deck planking (want to be sure about that transom issue before I start my first layer of planking...)

I found a nice tutorial for deck planking online and decide to go for a four-row repeating pattern (4-2-1-3)

I drew out the first guidelines to start off with

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And off we go...

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As mentioned earlier, I built a plank cutting jig (from a broken bamboo bread plank and some leftover plywood :) )

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Two hours later, I clamped down the last side layers

 

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When these were dry, I did I light first sanding run

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And then pushed all the treenail holes in with a brass pin;

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After sanding again, things look like this;

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I'll be putting on the first layer of PU varnish tonight, and then it'll be slow going for two days untill the second layer is done. See you then! ;)

 

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The transom planking will be different on each ship, so it's really hard to say how it's supposed to work on this one since I'm not familiar with it.

 

As for the top planks being run without being tapered?  That's highly unlikely.  In the resource section of the site, you should find some planking tutorials that discuss a method using 'tick marks' or 'tick strips' and a planking fan to determine how wide each plank should be as it falls on each bulkhead.  As a general rule, the only place a plank will be 'full width' will be at the widest point of the hull, and every single plank you place on the ship will need to be shaped/tapered to some extent.

 

Here, I'll make it easy for you!

 

The planking fan for Chuck's turorial - http://modelshipworldforum.com/resources/Framing_and_Planking/plankingfan.pdf

 

Chuck Passaro's tutorial for lining off the hull  -http://modelshipworldforum.com/resources/Framing_and_Planking/Lining%20Off%20your%20hull%20for%20planking.pdf

 

I'd suggest reading all of the articles on this page: http://modelshipworldforum.com/ship-model-framing-and-planking-articles.php

 

The ones I linked are how I did mine, but there are other methods and something from these articles should work for you.

Edited by GuntherMT
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Hey Brian,

 

Thanks for the links, appreciate the effort you did in answering me :) ; I have copies of some of these pdf's saved already, and bought the book about model ship planking by Donald Dressel and the one by Frank Mastini as well; these books cover the general ideas, but I still see a lot of different approaches;
For instance, Chuck's beauties are all made with "spiled planks"; seems by far the most esthetical result but with a kit the wood will not do (it needs to be wider to be able to spile it if I'm correct). So to do that it means going to get additional wood; same for the garboard plank: not included in the kit; use the same plank width ? I guess on a smaller boat you can get away with it...

As to the other approaches: some start by banding areas off, others at start planking away at the deck (wale) level, others again from the keel (garboard) up;
Very confusing for newbee.. Especially as it looks like they all work...

I'm thinking about just diving in and seeing where it takes me, and I'll think I'll use Chucks method.. better start off right :)

 

**Update: Question: isn't Chuck's method meant for 1 plank layer only? My model is a two-layer ship, thick pine layer first with a mahogany 0.6mm finish; is the spiling worth the effort if you cover up the first layer? //***

Edited by gonzz0
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You can use Chuck's method with the kit planks, and with double planking.  It's a generic system. 

You don't need to spile the planks, you can just taper them and edge bend them instead in almost all cases. 

 

There is a video somewhere of how Chuck edge bends planks, but I don't know where a link is.  Basically clamp the plank to a board on one end, place another clamp to act as a 'pivot point' midway along the plank length, and then a third plank to hold the plank in a 'bend' on the board.  Then use a heat gun (or blow dryer) to apply heat to the plank.  Let it cool, and remove the plank.  It will have some spring-back, so you'll need to experiment to see how much over-bend you need to achieve a good fit.

 

 

Edit: To clarify the 'pivot' clamp isn't clamped onto the plank, but placed in a way that it prevents the plank from moving in one direction and allows you to bend the plank around it.

Edited by GuntherMT
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Welcome aboard gonzz0. Like you I started with this kit to learn the skills so I could build the HMB Endeavour which was a childhood dream of mine and after 4 builds I'm finally on to it. All my previous build logs were lost in the great crash, but I'm thinking of just up loading the photos of the builds to new logs if I can get around to it. Upright time with my back is limited. However it looks like you are off to a good start. As for the rigging I never used their wire with the blocks as it was too brittle so used cord from the get go on the advice from this forum which I'm glad I did. I found the running rigging impossible to follow from the kit plans so after much research and a few re riggs figured it out and learned heaps in the process. But you are a long way from that stage. I also scratch built the chain plates which I think from memory is worth doing on that kit also. Anyways enjoy.

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Thanks dashicat, I'll remember your advice when I get to the rigging. As for the wire, I have already decided to re-rig the caronnade blocks with thread for exactly the reason you give. I'll repost it when it's done.

 

After much stalling and doubting, the first planks were cut, soaked and pinned into place. The decision for the amount of planks per band was a bit of an issue as 14 divided by 4 is sheer horror; I would either wind up with 3-3-3-5 (no good) or 4-4-4-2 (even worse) and since I didn't find any examples of 3 bands for a hull (always 4??) I decided to go with 3-4-3-4 because of the shape of the hull.

 

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Some stealers in the stern will be required I guess..

 

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Guess there's no turning back now :)

Edited by gonzz0
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Seeing your first strake brings back memorys. On my first hull I didn't know to gently coax a bend in the wet planks with thumbs and fore fingers before positioning and then letting them dry before finally glueing (this also prevents gaps which weaken the hull, so it's important to glue the edges of the strakes too). Gently bending the soaked plank by hand gives the right curve or shape between the bulkheads, otherwise they tend to bend at the bulkhead and then run flat between them, which affects the final appearance of the hull and which is what happened with my first build.

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Thanks dashicat, I'll remember your advice when I get to the rigging. As for the wire, I have already decided to re-rig the caronnade blocks with thread for exactly the reason you give. I'll repost it when it's done.

 

After much stalling and doubting, the first planks were cut, soaked and pinned into place. The decision for the amount of planks per band was a bit of an issue as 14 divided by 4 is sheer horror; I would either wind up with 3-3-3-5 (no good) or 4-4-4-2 (even worse) and since I didn't find any examples of 3 bands for a hull (always 4??) I decided to go with 3-4-3-4 because of the shape of the hull.

 

attachicon.gif2016-AL-Virginia 1819-Banded and first plank.jpg

 

Some stealers in the stern will be required I guess..

 

attachicon.gif2016-AL-Virginia 1819-Banded and first plank stern view.jpg

 

Guess there's no turning back now :)

 

 

Hi Gonzzo,

 

a very nice schooner you have there.....

just a question....  the last pic of your post #22 shows a "warp" in your keel, perhaps it`s only the perspective of the Photo, but if a warp, please try and and mend that at this stage, before the planking goes on..., it`s worth the effort..

 

Nils

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Just starting the rigging on my first boat, the planking daunted me but I realised I actually enjoyed it more than I thought. I started following the principle of allowing the wood to find its natural lay and then filling in any gaps with shaped cuts of wood, seemed to work ok although it could be a lot better. It's all a learning kerb and hopefully as time goes on things will be easier to handle. Looking forwards to watching the build.

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Hi Gonzzo,

 

a very nice schooner you have there.....

just a question....  the last pic of your post #22 shows a "warp" in your keel, perhaps it`s only the perspective of the Photo, but if a warp, please try and and mend that at this stage, before the planking goes on..., it`s worth the effort..

 

Nils

Hey Nils,

Thanks for the encouragment.

You are (sadly) correct, there is a slight warp in thee keel; the false keel was originally warped in the box. I soaked it and clamped in between two glass plates for a week and let it dry, which took out the warp (initially). I then attached my bulkheads and false deck, and everything was still ok. now I(-'ve glued on the deck planking and the warp shows again.

I'm afraid the keel wasn't completely dry when I fitted it (I can't see any other reason).

I have no idea how at this stage I can still correct this. It is a 0.5-1mm warp, and it is only noticeable when you align the key on eye level and look across it lengthwise (just like in the photo).

Is it fixable without tearing out all my beautiful deck planking??

 

Ben

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Hi Ben. I think I had the same problem and in the end made a cradle that held the false keel straight while I planked the hull. On my next builds I cut a bearding line and rabbet along with attaching the keel. Then I attach the garboard which also helps to hold the keel rigid.

 

If you look at other builds you will get an idea of the rigs others use to clamp the keel straight.

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Hey Dashicat,

With this model I don't have the option for a keelholder (not enough false keel area to clamp onto..the bulkheads reach all te way down to the edge of the false keel).

I did taper the deadwood area (even though the instructions said nothing about it).

There is also the strangeness about the keel: according the instructions, I have to plank and double-plank the ship before attaching the keel pieces... So no option to have these keep the false keel straight, let alone use a rabbet...

 

Installing he garboard strake might indeed be a valid option, but I don't know if it can counter the warp that is there now.

 

I'm starting to wonder (Pirates of the Carribean, heheh) if we shouldn't consider the manufacturers 'Instructions' ("The Code?") more like... Guidelines?? :dancetl6: since I've found more useful advice here already than in all the pages of their instructions..

Edited by gonzz0
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Hi Ben,

 

do`nt worry , that warp can be settled quite easily....., and without harming or effecting your deck

This is how I would do it: (ref. to the hand scetch included...)

 

two variations possible...

 first way, in the upper scetch you would need to remove slight vertical bits of the bulkheads on the concave side, with naked saw blade or so..

Then cut (through the wood horizontally with small circular sawblade (Dremel or so) into the keel. Now you have way to correct the outer keel into the correct position. In case you would have sanded away already too much bulkheads profile, buffer up the surface there with small stripes. The keel width remains the same width over the length

 

second way. Cut away thin vertical slots next to the keel on the concave side and insert a horizontal (tapered to the ends)  stripe of fill-wood next to the keel, in order to compensate the concave area. Do`nt worry about the keel getting a bit thicker there. If necessary, buffer up the bulkheads to get good symmetric straking over the boat`s length

 

Hope this is understanable... (click on pic to enlarge)

 

Cheers,

Nils

 

 

 

sorry, my scaner is not working, so a photo pic must do

post-3445-0-68345800-1455965760_thumb.jpg

Edited by Mirabell61
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