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America 1851 by mojofilter - FINISHED - Mamoli - Scale 1:66 - First wooden ship build

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Hello all -

This will be my first posting to the forum.  I started the 'America' several years ago and got the first planking on and  the deck layed down, and put her away.  Around Christmas I pulled her out and started in again.  I got the second planking on and coppered the hull.


I used 1" wide self-adheasive copper tape (electronic cable sheilding tape).  I marked the individual plates from the front with a dull Xacto knife, and used a pounce wheel from the back for the rivets.

I did not like the look of the shiney raw copper so I used a patina fluid (Pax I think).  It went further than I wanted.  I was looking for more of a brown penney color.


Most of the deck furnature is on.  Deadeyes for the mast shrowds are next.


I've updated this first post (2016-07-07) to show coppering of hull before patina was applied


















I'll get some more picks as I progress.


- Tim



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A little more progress - Got the drain holes (? insert nautical term here) in the bulwarks, and the lower deadeyes mounted.  Note broken off capstan bar.





The supplied pot metal tiller bar did not survive cleanup of the flashing - snapped in two.  I fashioned another out of walnut.




A lot of the spars, booms, gaffs, etc. need to be turned down to tapers, including the bowsprit.

I threw down and bought a little mini lathe from Harbor Freight - the larger of the two Central Machinery lathes.  Works pretty good, although it's been a long time since I've turned anything.

Turned down the bowsprit per the drawing:




Note that the drawing (second from bottom) calls for the the tip to be turned down to 3mm.  This contradicts other places in the drawing.  The coupling between the end of the bowsprit and the jib boom, which is a straight 3mm along its entire length , shows two different sizes:





The coupler is part (525).  The bowsprit is (504), and the jib boom is (508).  Clearly the bowsprit and jib boom are different diameters.


This is OK because the part (525) was missing from the kit.  I made my own.

If I had known this I would have turned down the end of the bowsprit to 4mm.


Anyone building America should beware of this - although I understand Mamoli has gone out of business...





Next will be all the rest of the cleats, blocks, and everything else on the hull or deck, then a light coat of satin lacquer.




More later.


- Tim

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Interesting build, and you are doing a very nice job.  There are a fair number of differences between this model and the replica America in San Diego.  I don't know her history well enough to know if the replica was changed from the original that the kit is based on, but the replica doesn't have a jib-boom at all, only a single piece bowsprit.  Also the dead-eye mounting is completely different.


I have a bunch of pictures I took of her in September if you are interested.  Just let me know what area you'd like to see.  Please send me a PM though, as I haven't had the time to keep up with all the forum logs lately.


Edit: Oh, the 'deck drains' are called scuppers.  :)

Edited by GuntherMT
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I got your PM Tim, so here is a photo-dump of sorts.  Hopefully some of these are helpful, but I think that there are so many differences between this ship and the model plans, that to properly make her as the replica, you would have to do it from the keel up with that intention.  As I said before, I have no idea how many of the differences are due to the model plans vs. how many were changed when they built the replica in order to make her legal for charters or simply because the owner/builder wanted her that way.  Notice that the deck is just completely different.  There are a lot more cabins, and no big ship-style capstan at all.  The 'boxes' along the outside edges are something that I'm sure is purely for the charter legalities, as they are filled with life preservers (and double as benches of course).


If at an point you decide that you would like this post / photos to be gone in order to un-clutter your log, please let me know and I'll remove them.


In any case, here we go.  Click on any photo to view it at full 1200x resolution.  If you want larger versions of any photo, or a detail 'crop' of a specific point, the originals are at 6000x4000 and I can upload them to where you can access them if wanted.  I have quite a few more pictures, but these ones show most everything and the rest start to get a bit repetitive, other than some pictures of the masts/rigging that I can add later on if you'd like.


Generic shots of her under power with bare poles, and under sail.



As requested specifically, the dead-eyes.  These would require that they be designed into the project from the start, or I suppose you could mount them directly to the deck and pin them.




Stern showing detail of her decoration.



Deck shots showing cabins, life preserver stowage, and of course the beautiful teak deck and nibbing.



Wet deck showing how the teak colors up when water is added!



Mast base.  I forgot to make a note of which mast, but fairly certain this is the foremast.



The mast hoops.



Stern showing how things are mounted internally, rather than to the rail.





Edited by GuntherMT
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Thanks so much for the photos!!  As you said, many differences.  Some of the most noticable are:

Height of bulwarks - not even knee high on the replica.

She has a wheel as opposed to a tiller (and an engine evidently).

The main mast appears to have only two shroud lines.


Beautiful deck!!! The fitting is outstanding!  As with most kits of this scale, the kit decking is certainly not to scale.  4mm wide deck planks would be almost 10 1/2" wide in real life.  I've seen folks change to 2mm wide planks but I don't think it shows as well.


Clearly the replica has been adjusted for sailability, safety, etc.  Not knowing any better at this point, I'll stick to the kit plans.  I would however be very interested in any referances/photos of the original (circa 1851-1860).


Thanks again!


- Tim

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She has a wheel as opposed to a tiller (and an engine evidently).


Beautiful deck!!! The fitting is outstanding!  



Just as an FYI, for all semi-modern replica's, if they want to take passengers away from the dock (whether for pay, or for educational outings with school groups, etc.) the Coast Guard requires that they have an engine or they won't be certified to carry passengers.


The deck of the replica truly is a thing of beauty.  When I was on her they were making everyone take off their shoes in a carpeted area at the edge of the dock before boarding to keep people from tracking any grit onto the boat which would potentially damage the deck over time.


I'd like to see some good detail photo's of the original as well.

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Hi Tim:


Just went through your log - your model is gorgeous! I do not think the patina on the hull is too much - it has a very nice well-used look.


You mention above about the planking - I've been using 3mm x .5mm planks for the deck (a compromise) and the results seem ok - though some of the features shown in the photos of the replica would have been nice to include - particularly the coamings and what looks like a king plank - not a feature of the Mamoli kit......Anyway, beautiful work!


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So I guess I got an answer to the jib boom question (did she or didn't she have one).  I just received the Arthur C. Montgomery plans from BlueJacket.  A statement on the Sail and Rigging Plan states: "Prior to race, Ratsey made an outer jib, jib boom and martingale.  This addition was carried away early in the race and was never replaced."  I've learned that the term "carried away" means blown or washed away.  Bummer.  I imagine the crew would have to scramble forward and cut away lines/sheets etc. to free her up.

I don't know what a martingale is - I've seen references to horse tack, and betting strategies...


Evidently Mamoli decided to include it (jib boom) in their kit.  I like the look so I'll stick with it.

Again, a major discrepancy between the Mamoli plans and the Montgomery plans: Montgomery shows no companionway forward of the foremast, Mamoli has one, and a "boobyhatch" where the Montgomery shows the forward companionway just aft of the forward skylight.


I've decided to mellow out about these details.  I'm not sure if I'd ever get the definitive deck arrangement on America so I'll just go with the Mamoli plans.


- Tim

Edited by mojofilter
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Hi Tim


That's a very nice America you are building here. I also noticed your excellent coppering. Did you make your own copper plates?


My kit has arrived today and the build will start in a few weeks after the completion of my Pickle.


The point about the probably superfluous companionway forward of the fore mast is taken and I will check it. There are pictures of several scratch build Americas available in the internet and they all seem to miss that companionway.

In the internet I also found that painting below of the original America with 2 boats stowed amidships with metal davits and plan to include them (Amati davits and Caldercraft boats).


Did Mamoli really go out of business? This would be sad as their kits seem quite well done and of above average quality.






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  • 2 weeks later...

So - a little more progress on America...  (In spite of the grog)




All of the remaining deck fixtures/cleats etc. installed -




The anchor chain ways going the the chain locker seem a little too far aft . . .




















Mamoli's America kit has a stepped mainmast - I've noticed some kits (and paintings/drawings) do not. . .




Pretty rough job on the scupper holes - I'll do better next time.




The mast foot plates and belay pin anklets will be next.  They will take a bit of file work as they are quite a bit smaller than the 8mm masts.






I've posted a couple of times on the subject of copper hull plate patina.  Good? Bad? Too much?

After reading the fantastic post on the repair/refit of the USS Constitution, and seeing the hull in dry dock, I think I like the look here.

I wonder if her being out of the water and her bottom dry causes the green, and when she is back in seawater the patina disappears?


- Tim

Edited by mojofilter
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No idea on the patina, but nice progress.  On the anchor chain locker location, remember that the chains need to go over the windlass (or winch, or whatever it is), so they really can't be any farther forward because you wouldn't want the chains to be coming vertically off of the windlass into the locker.  If anything, I would expect the locker entry to be farther aft, not farther forward, but I don't really know, that's just my knee-jerk reaction based on completely different types of vessels.

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Hi Tim:


Replied to your PM - these are cheek blocks - they go on the ends of the main gaff and boom - starboard side for each. They act as sheaves for the gaff topsail sheet and running end of the topping lift. They feature on sheets 5 and 6 of the plans, but are hard to identify because the drawings do not really look like the parts - I id'd them through a process of elimination as I recall.....


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Ah ha - that's them.  They threw me off because they are double sheaved.  The cheek plates on the drawing serve only one sheet each.  And they are large.  Here again, scale would have them over 52" long in real life.  I believe I will try making them out of brass strips/wood sheaves.

Thanks hamilton!


- Tim

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Getting the mainmast on straight.  Good, assuming the handrails are the same height . . .

I'll just match the foremast to it how ever it turns out.  My father always told me the mind can judge difference a lot better than distance.


Gonna start paying a little more attention to the rigging blocks.  The kit blocks are pretty crude, but look a little better with some detailing (sanding).

I'm getting nervous about the rigging.  Dealing with the tiny mast blocks is tricky - need three hands. I need to review threads on the subject of rigging.


I did order a little serving machine today  - mostly for the shroud lines.  Good practice for the upcoming Cutty Sark project.





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Hi Tim:


Yes about the quality of the blocks.....I've found that the blocks supplied in Mamoli and Corel kits are the same, often very frayed and square looking....on a different kit I would replace the blocks with ones purchased from Chuck's Syren Ship Model Co.....but I don't think I will for this one.....I think there's a little tool you can make with an old can, some bristol paper or card stock, and sand paper that can allow you to shape the blocks en masse. Someone here will know what I'm talking about, but that part of my brain doesn't seem to be functioning today.........


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Elijah -  I got that protractor from Kmart when I was in the 7th grade.  Camera angle makes it look like it's off-center, but it's really pretty darn close.


Hamilton - I am cherry-picking the blocks.  I got spares but they are all pretty much the same (poor) quality.  I pick the ones that look like the holes are in the right place, and then sand them by hand.  I would love to see a tool to do them en masse.

I believe that I ordered higher quality blocks for Cutty Sark from Ages of Sail but like you, I think I'll just work with these.


- Tim

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I will start on the standing rigging after the serving tool gets here.

I still have not decided on the sails yet.  I doubt I will put up full sails per the kit.  I just don't think I could do a very good job.  Certainly the sail cloth that came with the kit would be ridiculous.  If someone knows of a realistic fabric, maybe . . .

I'm more inclined to leave the sails off, or maybe even try for furled sails.

What do folks do about the running rigging on ships with no sails?


- Tim

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Elijah, a protractor like that can be picked up almost any place. Look in school supply aisles or if you want a nicer one in crafting stores in the drawing/drafting aisle. They are really inexpensive. A few dollars will buy you one.


Tim, she is looking good! I also have the same question about what to do with the running rigging if there are no sails. I would imagine that most of it would remain in place and you would just model it as if the sails were furled. I do not think I will install the sails on mine either but, as that is a long way out, things may change.


Also I remember reading about a "block tumbler" on here to help shape blocks or clean up the kit supplied ones. I do not remember where that thread went to. Hopefully someone can shed some light on it.

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Ahh "block tumbler"!! Thanks EJ!


On the sails....the material provided with the kit is both too white and too thick.....I have done sails before - they've never been great, but I've not been entirely unhappy with them. For the whiteness, you can "dye" the sail cloth in a dark black tea - I'm sure someone can recommend a combination, but a deeply brewed loose earl grey worked ok for me....the cloth needs to be very well-ironed first and you should endeavour to soak the cloth absolutely flat - any wrinkles will show in the dye and that will be that.....


I've only tried tea dying once and it worked out "ok" - but other times I've gone to a sewing/textile store and purchased light muslin fabric pre-dyed a kind of light tan colour. You can easily eyeball something that will work more or less at your scale.


The operation of the sewing machine is another matter - it took a while for me to figure out how to get good straight stitching, but once this was done it's pretty much a snap. My wife spent some time laughing as I learned the ropes of the devilish device! The hardest part is sewing the edges of the cloth - more difficult the smaller the scale, obviously, since the "hem" along the sail edge will be smaller and thus harder to control in the sewing....


Another tricky thing is the bolt rope that runs along the outside edge of the sails. Many how-tos (and all kit plans/instructions I've ever seen) recommend hand stitching the bolt rope on....I started to do this once and realised how crazy-making it was and elected another option - to glue the bolt rope on with CA - this sounds very messy (and it can be), but if you use one of those thin applicator tubes on your CA bottle, you can control the glue quite easily and not make so much of a mess or make the sails all hard and patchy....


Not sure how helpful all this is - I guess my point is that I would encourage you to take a shot at the sails - if you have access to a sewing machine, that is...otherwise, you can probably skip it....I think I'll include sails on this one - there are only 5, so not too crazy.....


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