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18th Century Longboat by Wschoenfeld - Model Shipways - 1:48

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Hello all,


As this is my second post on MSW and my first crack at a build log, I'll open by requesting any and all advice and criticism (preferably constructive, but I'll leave that up to you).  As you can see by the title, I am building the MS 18th Century Longboat.  This is my first build, save for a Midwest kit I started and didn't complete sometime around 2002.  I have a decent set-up of hand tools and workspace, but I need to build a proper jig - I constructed the ModelExpo framing jig when I bought the AVS, but since I decided to build the Longboat first, that jig is too big for this project.  Anyways, on to the building process:


I started out cutting and fairing the simulated rabbet.  Using a trick gleaned from someone (sorry, I can't recall who) on the forums, I transferred the line from the plans on to a scotch tape template, and used that to notch the bearding line on the port side of the keel.




After I was satisfied with the false keel, I attached the stem and then the keel.  The scarph joint required a bit of sanding, but soon the entire assembly was together.  I adapted a tip from Frank Mastini's book and used two C clamps over a piece of scrap boxwood to form a vise (with my desk as the other jaw) and used a notecard to make sure I didn't glue the keel to the scrap.  This left me with some paper fibers on the keel - not too hard to sand off, but I will use wax paper next time.




Now, for my first potential issue.  After the keel assembly was complete, I laid it on the plans to make sure I had attached everything correctly (hard to see where this could go wrong, but I have learned to never underestimate my ability to overlook detail).  I noticed, when I did this, that the notches on the false keel do not match up to the bulkhead cross-sections on sheet one.  This pictures should demonstrate what I am talking about:




I can't add reference lines to these photos yet, but if you look you will see that when I align the stem with the plans, ensuring the keel is level with the plan lines, the spacing of the bulkhead notches gradually staggers... out of whack, for lack of a technical phrase, as you move aft.  




I took another picture with a different plan view, I believe this shows the same spacing inconsistency.  


Now for the possibly dumb question: is this something I should be concerned about?  My first thought was to just proceed with the build, trusting the difference would shake out as I build on.  However, my only other wood modeling experience is in the realm of Guillow's planes, where everything laid down *must* match the plans, and I thought I would raise it with you all before proceeding.  I apologize if this has been covered before; I searched the forum for this issue and didn't find it in any of the many excellent logs I turned up, but I am still getting the hang of the search feature and could have missed it.


Thanks in advance for your help and input - I am glad to have completed the first minor steps, and I am looking forward to getting into the build in earnest.



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If you don't get a response from one of the many folks that have built this lovely little model, don't hesitate to send a private message to 'Chuck' here on the forums.  He is the designer of this kit and is always happy to help folks building it.  :)

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I think the question should be directed to Model-Expo.

Something is definitely wrong.

Good luck! You have all of our support.


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Per aka Dr. Per@Therapy for Shipaholics 

Finished: T37, BB Marie Jeanne - located on a shelf in Sweden, 18th Century Longboat, Winchelsea Capstan

Current: America by Constructo, Solö Ruff, USS Syren by MS, Bluenose by MS

Viking funeral: Harley almost a Harvey

Nautical Research Guild Member - 'Taint a hobby if you gotta hurry

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Here are some photos of the jig used by several modelers who built the longboat for the Tri-Club build.  It should be self evident how the jig is made and used, but if you have a question just ask.







Kurt Van Dahm






Nautical Research & Model Ship Society of Chicago

Midwest Model Shipwrights

North Shore Deadeyes

The Society of Model Shipwrights

Butch O'Hare - IPMS

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There's a scale "ruler" shown in your last photo.  Check it with your ruler and see if it measures up, so to speak.   If so, that would be the fastest way to see if it's the plans or the cutting that's off.  

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:                                                                                             
Past Builds:
 La Belle Poule 1765 - French Frigate from ANCRE plans                             Triton Cross-Section   

                                                                                                                       USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War  _(Gallery) Build Log

                                                                                Wasa (Gallery)

                                                                                                                        HMS Sphinx 1775 - Vanguard Models - 1:64               


Non-Ship Model:                                                                                         On hold, maybe forever:           

CH-53 Sikorsky - 1:48 - Revell - Completed                                                   Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0 (Abandoned)         



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My plans were slightly off, too. I didn't feel it made any difference in the construction of the model. Your comparison to Guillow's planes is a good question, as I've build those too, and in this context I don't think it's the same thing. The hull is pretty much a self-contained unit; there's no practical effect of each frame being in a slightly different spacing than the plans show.


You could certainly try to get a new part from ME and see if it's different, but in my experience having just finished this kit, what you show won't make any difference to your build.


Enjoy this kit, I'll be following along.

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I agree with Cathead that the slight difference between the plans and the laser cut parts should not cause you any problems.  Once you install the bulkheads on the keel assembly, most of the remaining parts will be cut from sheet stock.  You can easily adjust for the small differences.  This kit is very forgiving.  Check the scale ruler on sheet one of the plans.  It is in 1/4" increments and mine checked out exactly to the inch.  I purchased my kit when it first came out five years ago.  Printing the plans over the years may have caused them to loose their accuracy.


Good luck on your build.  You are off to a good start.



Member - Hampton Roads Ship Model Society

            - Ship Model Society of New Jersey

               - Nautical Research Guild



Current Build - Armed Virginia Sloop, 18th Century Longboat

Completed Build - Medway Longboat

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Thank you all for your input and suggestions!  As suggested above, I tried my ruler against the 1/4" scale ruler on sheet one.  The results weren't totally conclusive, but after staring at it from a few angles I do think there is a small deviation between the scale of the plans and the ruler reference.  This is the best picture I could get of it:




It is hard to tell, but (doing my best to align the first hash on the ruler with the left side of the plan scale) it looks like the scale is ever-so-slightly smaller than the ruler.  This would make sense, since my Longboat's keel over-runs the plan images.  Additionally, I laid the keel on the second sheet of plans to see how that comparison stacks up: 




This makes me feel much better.  The keel assembly appears to fit the plan almost exactly (accounting for the 1/16" stern piece that isn't yet attached).  I think, per the advice I have received so far, that I'm just going to proceed with the build instead of trying to get another keel, since I would bet that it's the plans that are off instead of the wood cut.  


Again, my sincere thanks for all the input on this first question - more to come.  This is the kind of thing I would still be scratching my head over if I were going it alone, and I appreciate your all taking the time to respond.  


I am heading into a busy end of the week, but I have what will hopefully be a quick sailboat ride from here in Chicago up to Mackinac Island to look forward to this weekend.  There are about 330 boats in the entire race fleet, and our goal is to finish at least 329th.  Once I am back from the race, I will set about building that jig Kurt laid out above, then start into the bulkhead work.  Thanks again!

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The plan with the ruler laying on it is definitely off-scale a bit.  Luckily this is a pretty small model, so I doubt it will have much (if any) effect over this small of a subject.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Time for another update! Apologies for the delay - the beginning of August was a bit of a whirlwind but I have had some time to work on the longboat.  I will probably need to break this down into a few entries - as a preview, I have completed the framing and fairing and I think I am finally *yikes* ready to start planking the hull.


I'll start with a picture of the jig I worked up, based on the example Kurt posted a few entries north of here. Since this is really my first wooden project, I am short scrap wood, so I bought a bag of basswood odds and ends from my local art supply store.  This came together from a block, a plank, and some spare square stock left over from the MS keel framing jig I built in anticipation of starting the AVS (before I "wisely" decided to start with this guy instead).  I used a carving tool to notch the slot that holds the stem, and after gluing one of the square stock pieces in place I used the keel itself as a reference to mark where the other should go.  This is the final product: clearly a little off-center, but it does the trick.




Another view, with the keel and the first two frames dry-fit:




After that, I started adding frames in earnest.  With the exception of one frame (the second aft from the stem, I think), these were all attached using elmer's white glue.  I liked being able to back the frames out if I felt they were off-kilter somehow.  I tried to use spare blocks as a jig to make sure the frames were square, but I am not completely satisfied with the results.  I used dead reckoning on the frames after that, adding one or two at a time.




Here is an example - #0 looked off-center, so I brushed on some water and was able to back it out.  I added scrap reinforcements to the adjacent frames before I removed it, which I then replicated on all the frames after seeing that technique used on multiple logs here. In the picture below, you will see my solution to a frame that canted towards the bow - a piece of scrap boxwood and two pins secured the frame in the proper alignment while the glue dried.




This seems like a natural break-point.  More progress to follow in the next post. 





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Picking back up - 


I added the rest of the frames, and placed the rest of the reinforcements.  The end result can be seen here:  




I realize that I'm a long, long way from the finish line, but this was the first time I really got excited about the project: this thing is starting to look like a boat!  After this last piece was in place and all the little battens on top were glued and dried, I started to fair the hull.  


For the fairing, I used 240 grit sandpaper.  I added a little bit of finishing with 400 grit, but for the most part, I felt that was pretty minimally effective at adding the beveling I was looking for.  Since I had never used my plank bender before, I heated it up and bent a scrap plank to what I felt approximated the curvature of the top plank (blanking on the proper term here, sorry). I used that plank to visualize how the fairing should run from stem to stern.  No blocks or other implements to hold the sandpaper, I tore off small squares and worked by hand.  This is kind of hard to photograph because of the scale and how many frames there are; here are a few views of the bow from top and from bottom so you can see where I ended up.




And bottom:




I should have mentioned that I added the bow filler blocks before I started fairing.  The blocks sanded nicely into the contour of the first frame.  


As I was going through this process I started to get a little concerned about the fit of the frames as we go aft.  Some of them appear closer to the rabbet than others.  Additionally, where I cut the false rabbet in the keel towards the stern, some of the frames actually ran into the rabbet.  I used a round sanding tool (included with the tool kit I bought from MS, picture a metal toothpick with grit on the tapered end) to smooth these little overlaps out.


Here are some pictures to illustrate what I am talking about:




Starboard stern above, port bow below:




As you can see from these pictures, I did end up adding the stern piece after I was satisfied the fairing was completed.  This piece was hand-faired before gluing.  This was the only place so far I have been unhappy with the laser-cutting.  On one side of the piece, there were a few spots where it looked like the laser took off a little more than necessary:




Might be hard to see here, but those burn marks are actually three-dimensional divots in the wood.  Since the inboard side will be covered by the locker, this side is facing the bow.  Back to the topic of adding it before framing, it seems that others here have left it off for at least the beginning of planking.  It's a little late for that, but I am considering not securing the planks to this piece until they are fast to the bow and the after-most frame.  


That pretty much brings my log up to date.  I have started to put edge and front bend in two planks but will not start the process until I ask: do you see any errors or worries to be addressed before I start the planking process?  My main areas of concern are the frames: that they may be off-center either up-down or right-left in a way that could throw off the spacing of the planks.  I assume it is good practice to glue the planks to every frame, so I suppose this isn't a huge deal (?) but I would like to fix issues before I start laying planks.  As always, thanks for your input, and I am looking forward to moving forward - my goal is to get decently into planking before my classes start back up at the end of the month.  Hope everyone is enjoying the summer!

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Based on my experience, I think you should fair the bulkheads a bit more, until most of the laser char is gone. Particularly at the bow, I can see half the bulkhead width of char still there. That implies that half the bulkhead is still essentially flat, with the other half tapered to hold the curve of the plank. You're going to want that whole thing faired to support the curve of the plank; not only is it more surface area to attach to, but the change in angle across the face of the bulkhead could actually give you a dent in the plank.


Also, I can see that the char line wanders back and forth quite a bit, particularly near the stern, which implies that your fairing isn't even, which again could cause you problems down the road. You want a smooth, consistent angle along the whole face of the bulkhead, not one that stops halfway across or changes along the curve of the bulkhead.


Having the bulkheads perfectly aligned or not isn't structural problem that should concern you, other than the final look of the model (it would look strange to have a frame leaning one way or another). But getting the fairing right will definitely make your planking easier and better. You absolutely want and need to have the plank glued to every frame, so having the best surface possible to do that, and to ensure that each plank matches best with the one above and below it, will help you achieve that.


You've made a nice start to this kit, and are clearly taking your time and thinking through your steps. Bravo! But I would go do a bit more fairing before you proceed.

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As Cathead mentioned and I also learned, more fairing is needed.

But otherwise looking good.


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Per aka Dr. Per@Therapy for Shipaholics 

Finished: T37, BB Marie Jeanne - located on a shelf in Sweden, 18th Century Longboat, Winchelsea Capstan

Current: America by Constructo, Solö Ruff, USS Syren by MS, Bluenose by MS

Viking funeral: Harley almost a Harvey

Nautical Research Guild Member - 'Taint a hobby if you gotta hurry

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I was considering sanding more when I visited a few other logs to study up on the tic mark technique used by others to measure plank widths - it would be difficult to see on the middle frames with that laser char still on and is another sign I have more fairing to do.  Your feedback confirms my suspicions - thank you!

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The char remains indicate low spots on the outer frames. If you plank over these you will have divots in your hull. Use flexible nail files (available at any drug store in various grits)  applied over as many frames as you can at once. When the char is gone, the boat is faired.


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  • 8 months later...

After many months of not really working on the Longboat, the end of my semester has allowed me time to keep working on the build.  I will try to backtrack a bit in future posts but for now, here are four pictures of the interior and exterior process.  I am planning on painting the entire hull a shade of eggshell white, since my planking was sloppy enough to require a fair amount of filling and sanding.  I am looking forward to getting back to more regular posts - as always I appreciate any and all feedback!IMG_4351.thumb.jpg.ffec135b0eb0b7551be40a06c4b8bbb4.jpg

Red on the interior is one coat (so far) of Testors enamel.  I will probably do the hull in acrylic, the enamel stuff is a bear to get out of brushes - even with the Testors solvent.  No masking used on the ribs, so there are some slight imperfections visible.  


Nail marks were made with a sharpened pencil point, bored into the wood and sanded with medium-fine grit before a few light coats of matte clear acrylic. 


The extent of filling will be clear in this picture... hopefully, the next one will be more precise.  



More to come!


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