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St. Helena by Sexyauthor - FINISHED - Constructo - Scale 1:85, First wooden ship build

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This is my first log and my first wooden ship build.  I think it turned out pretty well - I learned a lot and made a few mistakes along the way.  I tend to be a perfectionist so I took the time to do a few things over until I got them right (or "right-er" anyway) :-)


I selected this kit in part because tall ships have always interested me and, since I've never build a wooden ship before, I didn't have any tools and this one came with a (basic) set.


Without further ado, I'll post a series of pictures I took while doing the build.  I hope someone finds this interesting, if not helpful...


-- Sexy Author (aka Brian)


Here are a few pictures of the completed build






Edited by Sexyauthor
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It's a solid hull model. Here is the sanded hull with the keel attached.  In the background, you can see some of the pieces of already cut to size.  I used post-it notes to keep things organized by wood size (1x3, 1.5x5, etc.).  The post-its also had the part number, length and quantity (i.e. "#87  25mm  10pcs").



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Sails!  These were cut from a sheet of cloth using templates.  Since I don't own a sewing machine, everything was done by hand - yes - old-world, hand-stitched finely crafted sails - LOL!


That's about it.  Final build pictures are at the top of the log.





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I liked this kit - the included paints were dried out (I have no idea how long it was sitting on the shelf at the hobby shop, but it must have been a while).  I ended up using Testor Acrylics.  Total build time was about 80 hours over the course of about 3 weeks.


I liked the mix of pictures and written instructions.  Compared to the Amati Adventure Pirate Schooner I'm tackling now, there is a world of difference!  The Amati instructions are in Italian with an added English guidebook, very few photographs and a very confusing part numbering system.


After completing the St. Helena, I did a second Constructo build - the Louise Steam Launch - what fun!  And that one has the "bulkhead and planking" system for the hull - what a learning experience that was!  Again, the instructions and pictures made the build very smooth and with very little guesswork about what went where or how it was supposed to look when it was done correctly.  I'd highly recommend either (or both) of these Constructo kits for the the beginner and/or intermediate builder.

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it's so nice to see new folks getting into this medium...very good to meet you Brian.  I'm not sure if a solid hull is the best for a beginner.......I was given an expert level Billing's kit for my first.  to me,  it makes no difference what level the kit is........if a person has the desire to build it,  he will see it through  ;)

      you did a super job with your first  :)

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Thanks for the kind words!  It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed building the Louise Steam Launch even more!  I'm in the early stages of the Amati Adventure Pirate ship - it has some challenges (mostly from the inadequate instructions - at least compared to the Constructo kits), so it should be an interesting build.


Thanks again for your comments!

-- Brian

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  • 1 year later...

HI Brian, that's a great looking build! Congrats. :dancetl6:

I'm also looking at the St. Helenna as new build (first serious build following a disasterous HMS Sherborne attempt) and 1/85 scale seems big enough for a decent model yet not too big for my bookcase.


If you have the time I have a few questions.


1. I was under the impression a solid hull would be easier to begin than POB. Is that assumption right? (The hull  planking is what sunk my Sherborne :default_wallbash:)

2. How much shaping of the hull is required, Is it simply sanding or is some carving involved?

3. You mentioned a 'scored' deck. Was this difficult?  Would it be possible to apply actual planking to the deck instead?

4. Are the sails pre-made or do you have to make them?


Sorry for all the questions,

thanks in advance!



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Hi Steve! 

Yes, the solid hull of the St Helena required a good bit of sanding but no carving.  However, this isn't always the case. My current build, the Harriet Lane, is also a solid hull but it required a LOT of carving as well as sanding to get the correct profile.


The deck was a scored piece of wood (ribbed) that simply glued onto the top of the hull. I added the horizontal score marks to make it look a bit more plank-like, but I don't see any reason you couldn't just plank the deck instead of using the ribbed piece of wood supplied. In fact, depending on your patience and dexterity, you could slice up that piece of wood and use the resulting thin strips as the planking material 😜

The sails were made from a single piece of supplied cloth and were hand-sewn to mimic the panels...

i hope this has helped. And good luck with your build. Have fun!

- Brian

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  • 2 weeks later...

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