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Dragon By Dee_Dee - Corel - 1:25 - The Classic Sailboat - Finished

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The classic wood Dragon sailboat. 


The Dragon was designed by Johan Anker from Norway in 1929.  The original design had two berths and was ideally suited for cruising in his home waters of Norway. The boat quickly attracted owners and within ten years it had spread all over Europe.  It's one of the worlds most popular keelboats with Dragon Fleets the world over.  Between 1948 and 1972 the Dragon class was raced in the Olympic Games.  The early boats were constructed of wood but during the early 1970s fiberglass boats were developed. The controlled development of the class has lead to a classic yet modern keelboat.


Back in the day, there were two Dragons moored at Montrose Harbor, 'Sea Pup' was one.  Dragons sit low in the water and they are the fastest looking boats in the harbor.  The classic wood Dragons are just plain gorgeous!  Be still my heart.    


I purchased the Corel 1:25 Dragon kit a few years ago.  As usual I'll be making some changes to the build.  Most significant change is the hull will only be painted below the water line.  The wood that came with the kit is nice and will look good with a varnish finish.  My collection of modeling tools will fit inside a shoe box with room for the shoes:  Straightedge razor blades, metal files in two sizes, X-acto knife with #11 blades, wire cutters, various sanding sticks that I made, sandpaper, micro drill, CA and PVA glue, a digital caliper and a 6" metal ruler that doubles as a scraper.  For some of the decking and mast, I'll add a soldering iron.     


On woodenboat.com there's a thread titled "Time for a Dragon Thread" with lots of eye candy photos.  Check it out!  The new Dragons are high tech boats.  Here's an except from an article about Dragons by Matthew Sheahan in Yachting World, July 3, 2015.  The new fiberglass Dragons look fast, but they have too many "strings".  Check out that photo of the bolt on keel being machined.    


The Corel Dragon kit is the typical Corel kit, great drawings, nice wood, lots of little parts and instructions that are less than so-so.  But the drawings are great and have logic to the way they are laid out. 


I started building 'Puff' last Spring.  But between June 1 and August 30, I spent 35 days on the road at out of state events, another 25 days at local events and a few more days for event preparation and post event paperwork and poof! Where did the summer go?  


The hull planking is done and starting to work on the cuddy and add the benches to the cockpit.  The hull will be painted below the waterline, right now I'm thinking a teal blue or ultramarine blue.  Above the waterline, I'll add a few coats of poly. 


I don't have a lot of photos, but enough to recreate the build.      


Dee Dee




Chris Destano, 5 River Road  #123, Wilton CT 


Edited by Dee_Dee
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PART 1  Preparing the Keel 


OK!  Here we go!


In my sloup build, I learned the importance of doing all the changes / additions to the false keel BEFORE I start building.  This is how the false keel looked out of the box.  YEP!  That spot at the back of the cockpit is a weak spot and I broke it off while making the changes.



And this is how the keel looked after the changes!   



I removed 1/8" from the keel and replaced it with walnut.  The curve section was built back up with strips of 1/64" walnut and CA and the straight parts with 1/8" walnut stock.  The Dragon mast shoe also needed some work!  The mast rises +16" above the deck, but the mast shoe was only 1/4" deep.  The slot for the mast was increased, on both sides it's lined / reinforced and it's a very snug fit!


This drawing shows the kit planking plan.  If the hull was painted, I would only add a strip of 1/64" walnut to the basswood keel to prevent the wood from eroding.  But I'm not painting the hull above the waterline and don't want white basswood showing when I plank.



Dee Dee

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PART 2 - The Bulk heads


OK!  Here's the first problem part - Bulkhead #10.



The bulkheads are made of basswood plywood and #10 became very distorted. 

When I glued the false deck on, the port side ended up being 1/4" lower than the starboard side!  My eyes started to get watery, thinking I would have to start all over. :(  After a good think session I came up with a plan.  I built up the droopy false deck section with layers of wood, filler and paper.  I wish I had taken a photo, it really was 1/4" lower!  

I added numerous cuts to the top of the deck to help the false deck curve, but it wasn't enough.  Next time, I'll steam the false deck to fit the curve.   


If you're going to build this kit (highly recommended!), I suggest laminating bulkhead #10 with layers of 1/32" birch plywood on both sides.  Do this before you do any test fitting, this bulkhead is extremely fragile and will start to distort the first time you pick it up. 


Those pieces attached to the false keel are bulkhead fillers.  Per the print, I beveled them on the bottom side.  If I build this model again, I would just lop off 1/8" and let the first planking land on false keel.  This would make the first planking a lot easier.  








I don't have any photos building the cockpit.  All I can say is there's a logical order that the parts all fit.  Just figure it out, understand that the sides of the cockpit need to bow outward.  Also, I added numerous 'glue blocks' to the bulkheads to increase the glue surface for the cockpit parts.    


The wood for the first planking is lime wood and measures 13/64" wide x 1/16" thick (5mm x 1.6mm).  This is my next complaint about this kit - This wood is way too wide for this hull shape.  I replace it with basswood, measuring 1/8", 3/32", 1/16" x 1/16".  This narrower wood was much easier to work with on the first planking.


Trying to figure out where the first planking should end took a while to figure out.  The back end of the keel needs to be the same 1/8" and the second planking needs to blend into the bolt on keel.  So, the bottom of the first planking had to end above the bolt on keel, and also keep the curve of the hull.    


I don't have any photos of just the first planking.  Here's a drawing from the prints, I removed all of the extra lines so it would be easier to see.  The red lines show where I ended the first planking.  The lines are extension of the hull lines.  Next time, I would move these lines up, about 1/8".  



I do have this photo which shows the bottom of the first planking.  The dragon has a bolt on keel, so the first planking needs to end above where the keel is bolted on.



Half way through the first planking, I found this photo from PhD student Leonardo Bortolami, University of Ferrara for his thesis about best practice in the restoration of historical vessels.  This drawing confirmed my first planking plan was right. 



Lots of photos here:  http://leonardobortolamienglish.weebly.com/dragon-d-27-acanto-1966.html




Dee Dee

Edited by Dee_Dee
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The wood for the second planking is 4mm x 1mm, I would have preferred 3mm x 1mm, especially between the waterline and the bolt on keel, where I used some 2mm wide strips.  Below the waterline, I switched to basswood in various widths.  In this photo, you can see some of the first planking.



Bow Planking, about the 4th plank, I finally got the hang of getting a good fit.  



Planking meets the stern section of the false keel.  When I altered the false keel, I added a 1/8" x 1/8" strip of walnut.  The obvious is that this walnut is a much darker species.

It was going to be a challenge to get a tight fit, so after the first planking, I removed the excess false keel.  When I added the second planking, I made a 1/8" channel with slightly beveled sides. 

I also slightly beveled the sides of the walnut filler strip, when I got a good 'press fit', I glued it in, then filed it down.

I didn't plan those alternating color strips - It just turned out that way.  And oops, the planking is slightly off.   



Dee Dee

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Per the kit, the deck was to be planked with walnut - very boring.  Instead, the king plank is mahogany, same as the cockpit and the balance is basswood.  I've already added a couple of layers of poly, which brings out the color variations in the basswood.  In hindsight, I should have used two strips of mahogany for the king plank.  Some of the planks are a big squiggly, but only if you look closely.

Per the kit, the cockpit was the cockpit should be painted.  Instead, I laminated all of the kit parts with 1/64" mahogany and then added numerous coats of poly for a smooth finish.  I still need to add the benches to the cockpit.



The hull planking is done, I just need to do a little bit more shaping on the keel.  I have another event tomorrow, so I'll get some photos of the full hull on Monday. 


Thanks for stopping by,


Dee Dee


2/05/2017 update:  Finished!

Edited by Dee_Dee
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