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Lady Nelson by SimonD - Victory Models - 1:64 scale

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Here goes for my first build log.  I actually started the build in May and have ummed and ahhed over starting a log.  Finally, I was inspired by Daveward’s Lady Nelson log - http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/13171-lady-nelson-by-daveward-amativictory-models-164-scale-first-wooden-ship-build/?hl=%20lady%20%20nelson  A really helpful resource.  I just need to make sure I don’t overtake him so I can continue to follow his lead!


I actually went in the shop intending to buy HMS Pickle, but was persuaded that this was a better kit.  I have to say, the chap in the shop was probably right – the build quality of this kit is superb.  Even to my inexperienced eye, I can see that the parts are precisely cut and fit well.  Small items look very ‘clean’.  However, the instructions are woefully inadequate.  I’d certainly already be in trouble if it wasn’t for the excellent tips I’ve picked up on this forum.


Assembling the bulkheads onto the keel was pretty straightforward.  I just clamped a square in the right place and held the bulkhead against it whilst a dab of CA glue did its job.




By the way, the square was made by my late Father as an apprenticeship piece in the 1940's.  He'd be pleased to be making a contribution!


I did shape the forward and aft bulkheads a little before gluing in place.  I left the rest of the shaping until it was all glued up.  I don’t know if it’s conventional, but I cut a thin piece of plastic sheet (about a millimetre thick) to the width of a plank and used this to check the shaping.  It’s way more flexible than a plank (probably a bit too flexible) but it was easier to use.


I then built balsa filler blocks, using 3mm sheet, into the first two bow sections and the aft section.  After shaping, I then these with ‘Model Lite’ filler.  I found that filling in between the bulkheads is really helpful in visualising the hull’s lines.  I also found that the stern was a complete nightmare!  I really struggled to see how the planks were going to run smoothly off the transom (the last bulkhead) and I guess what you’d call the deadwood.  Eventually, I decided to fill and sand into a smooth curve.  Hope it works.






I’ve decided to not cut a rabbet in the keel, but I have thinned down the deadwood at the stern as much as possible.  This was easy with a tiny chisel and file.  MDF is certainly easy to work with.  I’m hoping that this will give a smooth transition between the planking and the stern post.




Finally, to date, I’ve glued the deck in place.  I pre-drilled pilot holes for pushpins first.  In hindsight, I don’t think these held the deck down quite firmly enough.  I think I should have dry fitted the deck and then applied a fillet of glue.  Still, it looks to be in the right place.






I’m now up to date with progress – more to follow.

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Thanks Carl.  I've found some really helpful build logs, and not just for Lady Nelson.  I can imagine that it would be tricky to write a really comprehensive set of instructions.  it would end up looking like a book on building model ships.  (I've got a couple of those!)



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Now things get a bit more interesting.  Having got the deck on I found it needed very litle sanding to get it flush with the bulkheads.  So, I then fixed the stern counter frames in place.  I should have given this more thought.  They looked fine, but a dry fit of the bulwark strips revealed that the port side outer frame stood proud of the strip; the starboard side lined up perfectly.  So, I pulled it back off (luckily the glue wasn't exactly limpet-like) and refitted it after I put the bulwark strips on.


I then soaked and 'dry fitted' the bulwark strips and held in place with various clips.  At the bow, I drilled and inserted a push pin to hold the forward ends' like this:




Once I was happy with the alignment, I ran glue around the underside of the deck and bulwark join.  I also glued in the port quarter counter frame.  This needed to be tilted back slightly to align with the bulwark as shown here:




All seems well so far, but I have a couple of concerns and would appreciate some guidance.


First, the stern counter frames form straight line to allow the lower part of the counter to fit.  However, the upper parts of the frame clearly do not.  Does the stern counter have to be curved to fit the lie of the frames (and I assume the frames need to be sanded to a curve)?


Second, the bulwark strips come together at the bow reasonably well, but I assume that they need to be sanded to allow the forward keel section to drop over them.  Is this right?  (See picture below)




Finally, the bulwark strips have 'hard spots' where they curve round the bulkheads (you can probably see the lack of smooth curve in the picture below).  Can I smooth these out with a little judicious sanding?




Many thanks in advance for your patience!



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You are leading the way Simon. First I outed myself, now i am going to have to start a build log also!


I have used judicious sanding in the past, but it looks like not too much of it in your current situation. Are planks adhered to this? which thickness would allow you to sand a fix. See what the other members have to say.




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Sanding is probably the most common action taken on wooden ships. It is an extremely rare day when pre-cut pieces will go together without sanding. On your bow, it looks like some sanding below the bulwarks on the filler blocks might allow them to come together where they are gaping at the bottom. That also might help smooth them out as they come around the bow. Also from the top down picture, it looks like the bulwarks are being held away from the ship slightly on the first bulkhead. I can see a gap between them and the deck on both sides just forward of that bulkhead. Try sanding it down a little more or if it is the decking sticking out past the frame then sand on it a little to close out that gap.


Assuming you will be planking over the bulwark strip then yes, you can sand on it all you want to achieve a smooth curve. I would work on the fillers and bulkheads though first to see if you can get it to lay better before you take too much of the thickness out of it.


I hope this helps. It is hard to try to type some of these suggestions than if I could simple show them.

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  • 2 months later...

After a busy summer, I've finally found time to get back to the build.  After much thought and reading advice on planking, I decided to take a very simple approach.  In hindsight, this may have been a mistake.  As you'll see in the pictures below, the hull is planked, but it's not pretty and I certainly can't use this approach for the second planking.  Anyway, here we go:


First step was to bevel both long edges of the plank.  A small plane and a bit of sanding took care of this.  I then measured the bulkheads to find the 'longest' and laid the first plank on this (after soaking) and pinned in place.  The pins seem ideal: after drilling a clearance hole in the plank, these easily pushed into the bulkhead and held the plank firmly.  Much trickier at the ends though.  At the bow, I let the plank lay where it seemed to lie naturally and marked where it overlapped the plank above.  This was easy to trim off and sand the bevel back in.  Here's the first two planks in place.




I kept laying planks in this way until about half way down the hull (on each side).   It seemed right to then start planking upwards from the keel.  The garboard plank was laid in place without trimming and I worked up from here.  Where the two phases of planking met, there was a narrowing fillet to fill in.  Sadly, I forgot to take pictures at theis stage, so here are some pictures of the completed planking.








I can't say I'm proud of the quality of work here.  In fact, it's pretty awful!  However, sanding and filling (which I've started) will achieve a smooth finish and correct shape.


I should have said that leaving off the stem, keel and stern post (contrary to the instructions) seems like the right thing to do.  I would think it would be extremely difficult to sand the planked hull with these in place.  Time will tell if this turns out the be the right decision.


Next steps are to finish sanding and filling and then fit the stem etc. Hopefully, it won't be so long before my next post!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Hi Simon. Thanks for doing this build log.


I'm building the LN as well and am currently finishing up fairing the bulkheads. The next step is gluing on the bulwark strips. I am concerned about the strength of the glue joint because, other than at the stern where the strips are glued to the outer stern counter frames, the joint will only be along the edge of the deck, which is only 1 mm thick. Also, the strips may be under a little stress at the bow because of the bending required to follow the hull.


How secure was your attachment? Based on your experience, do you think my concern is misplaced? 



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  • 1 year later...

Well that was a long break!  Thank goodness I don't have a job to go to or it would have been even longer.


Anyway, since my last update, I filled and sanded the first planking and ended up with quite a nice shape.  I then cut a rebate in the stem (using a sharp knife only) and started second planking.  


I started out measuring the distance from the bulwark strip to the keel midships and worked out how many planks this would take.  Measuring the same distance working forward gave the thickness of each plank at this point.  The theory seemed fine, but it didn't work well in practice.  The planks look far to thin at the bow and didn't seem to 'flow well'.  So, after a few planks I gave up and simply trimmed them by eye to get a nice run with planks laying more or less easily in place.  I'm now about three quarters of the way down the hull and I think it looks pretty decent.  See pics below.


Incidentally, laying the planks in place and fixing with push pins in holes drilled adjacent to the planks seems to work well.


I'm now thinking I should put in the garboard plank (and maybe the one above it) before going down any further.  Any thoughts on this?


I'll try to keep going from now on!


Second planking 8.jpg

Second planking 7.jpg

Second planking 5.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

OK, second planking finished.  Unfortunately, I discovered that I'd made the planks too narrow at the bow.  Having laid the garboard plank and the next one or two after that, I was left with a point at the stern and room for several planks at the bow (first picture).  This was not too difficult to fill in, but a bit annoying.


Second picture shows finished planking before fitting the keel and stern post.  I have to say that leaving these off until the planking was finished was a good decision.  It made it much easier to sand the planking to the correct thickness than it would have been.


Following a good sanding, I then fitted the lower wales.  This was fairly straightforward.  A few pencil marks measured from the top allowed the pre-bent plank to be laid in place.  I then drilled a few holes immediately under the plank along the hull.  Push pins in these held the plank in place and pressed against the hull.  I painted the top edge before gluing in place.  The second plank simply butted against the first.  End result in last two pictures.


Next step is to fit the stern board and paint the inside.  My plan is to completely finish and paint the hull before turning to the deck planking.

Second planking 9.jpg

Second planking 10.jpg

Lower Wale bow.jpg

Lower Wale stern.jpg

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Thanks all.


I'm intending to paint below the waterline (so some sneaky filling might be going in).  Above the waterline, I've tried Danish Oil on a test piece and it looks OK.  As the planking is relatively pale, I might try a light stain to bring some colour out.  Again, I'll try a few test pieces.


I do agree that the second planking was easier just because it was narrower.  I think I could do a better job next time now I can see how narrow the planks need to be at the bow.  Some sort of device to bevel the plank edges would also have helped.  Finally, it wasn't until I'd nearly finished that I realised what plank bending is all about.  Don't laugh but what I was doing was softening the planks and bending them as I fixed them down.  Almost too late, I realised that bending the plank so that it followed the hull took the stress out of the plank.  Moving up the learning curve!

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Thanks EJ.  It hadn't occurred to me when I started, how much of this would be a learning experience (doh!).  I'm confident that the next build will be easier and look better.  That said, something of a similar size and complexity would make sense.  Best crack on with this one for now!

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