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Thermopylae by popeye the sailor - Sergal - 1:124 scale

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I've mentioned this kit a few times........gotten last Christmas from my admiral.   I wanted to bide my time and complete a few of the projects I have going,  before starting it.   the admiral would ask me about it every once in a while......I'd tell her my reason....and for a while,  it was good.  I think my logic has worn thin.   the time left in the closet was good though.....I was able to find that there is a second version of this kit,  which contains some photo etch.   looking around for it,  following tips from other folks,  I was able to locate it.   the photo etch mimics a wood sheet contained in the kit.  I found it at Cornwall model boats....I ordered two of the photo etch and one of the wood sheet.   sadly,  I only got one of each......I got the last of the photo etch.  I will reorder it at a later date.......I won't try and scare you with what I have planned for this kit....icky mae ;)




1:124 is a small scale for this ship.....to me it is anyway.......it will be quite compact,  and not as much detail,  as would be seen in a larger kit.  of course I don't believe that....quite a few folks here have proven that theory is only limited to those who don't want to.  there is one build of this model listed here on the site,  but it took a hit with the last crash,  losing all of it's pictures......unless the gent comes and fixes it,  I'm on my own.

    the fittings for this model are very small.......lots of tiny parts.  as I saw with the other build,  there are some thing I will be changing.......railings,  for instance will be a focal point.






wood strips.......got'em.......looks like a lot of smaller sizes




here'e where the kit starts to get dicey.......their laser cutting methods lead lots to be desired.   normally,  you have the small etch points,  which have to be cut,  in order to pop the part out.  with this one,  the laser cuts are not complete,  with large tabs that need to be cut {or finished}.








the bulkhead sheet is even worse........the laser cutting doesn't go all the way through.




I didn't take a photo of the back side......{you'll see later}.  it's a really nice kit.....too bad there is a lack of quality.   the thinner sheets though are better......they still have the unfinished cuts,  but the cuts are much better.  the smaller sheet is what the photo etch is copied from.








lastly......the order I got from Cornwall Boats




this photo etch seems to be thicker than what I have seen with other builds {not my own}......this will be the first time I attempt etch of any kind.   we'll see how this plays out.....I like the looks of it.  I was hoping that there would be more parts for the windlass and winches,  but some of the parts were done on another sheet and not included here.  again......we'll have to see how this plays out  ;) 

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........and then there the instructions.   it's mostly done in Italian....there is only a limited amount of text done in English.

     comparing the wood sheets to the diagrams on the instruction sheets.....they are not 1:1.   even on the initial sheet itself,  it says that all diagrams may be distorted or shrunk.










these are nice to have.......they are not to scale though.   I took great pains to try and preserve that parts panels,  so that in the event that a part becomes damaged.  I can trace the part out and make it.  I view these as something to be blown up,  in order to build a larger model of the ship.   I am not used to dealing with large sheets either....most of the builds I've done were in book form....broken up and put in a school binder.   it makes it easier to look ahead and plan the build.






one thing that I see,  is that it appears that the rigging shares belaying pins.   nice that the pins are of wood,  but they are too large in my opinion.   multiple numbers are listed on each pin of the rigging sheet.   the sail sheet is somewhat of a let down.......for those who work with these types of instruction sheets......this might be typical.  they are blended into the rigging diagrams.








are there shortcomings with this kit........sure.   can they be dealt with..........you bet they can.   I think it best though,  to hold off on the cloning stuff.  besides.......I'm going to need to do some cleaning to the parts panels.  good thing all I care about is the hull parts  ;)


let the insanity begin!




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as mentioned,  cutting out the bulkheads was painful.  I don't know if it was me,  but I thought the keel and bulkhead part were a bit too thick for this scale of kit.   they are 3/16" thick......dry fitting the frame together,  you'd think they were 1/4" 




the fit isn't too bad.....the instructions don't specify any specific slip details.  I used the stand parts to prop it up.








the frame was then taken apart and all the contact points were cleaned and the char was sanded off.




removing them from the parts panels was a pain,  as mentioned.   chunks of the back layer chipped off in places.   it's not a big deal.....none of it will be seen once the hull is planked.




I used my Billing's build slip to assemble the hull frame.   the bulkheads were cemented in place.   the deck platform was used to help keep the bulkheads in alignment as they dried.




when the frame was dry,  the platform was removed,  and the center spine contact points were sanded.   the center spine was cemented in place.




at this point,  I've run into the first dilemma.   the last bulkhead for the stern is supposed to sit flush at the end of the keel.       with the deck platform and this bulkhead dry fitted in place,  it doesn't.   it wants to jut out past it and hang out over what is to be the cut away for the rudder.






adding part #21,  which is to be beveled,  to aide with the counter,  is to sit flush with the deck platform.  it does it's job,  if the stern bulkhead is left where it is.   to try and alter the position of the bulkhead,  with throw that off.....not that it would matter if there was a gap behind it.   I have the solution......the next log will show you what I did.

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You didn't get to far yet so i think I will find a spot and join in to watch. I always enjoy seeing what can be done with a "simple" kit. I've always believed that the kits are just a starting point and while they can be nice and make a decent model, the real magic happens we we go beyond the instructions.

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the solution is simple.......fill in that cut away.   




the bulkhead was cemented in place,  using the deck platform and the poop deck platform as the alignment tool.




now with the rudder dry fitted in place,  the gap is gone.   it was about 1/8th of an inch.




it does sit slightly off........but it's following the keel line.  I did nothing about that.......




note that the platform want to curve upward........it's uneven back there.   once dry,  these contact areas were sanded flush.  

     when I initially cemented the bulkhead in place,  I did shim it with 0.5 thin strips,  because I knew it was uneven back there.   at first I was going to add the shimming,  but that would have kept t he curvature......sanding it flush leveled it out.






the poop deck contacts were sanded flush and the deck was dry fitted in place.






...and now for something that I caused.   dry fitting the knighthead,  I noticed that the deck platform was a little off.






putting the fore castle in place,  it was even more evident




looks like I'll have to loosen the glue and reposition the #1 bow bulkhead.   this isn't a big issue......just stinks that I have to make the adjustment.  this is where I am at the moment........I'll make the fix here,  and then I can move on.



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hello E.J.  welcome to the log  :)   it's not a bad kit......I haven't fully looked into them,  but there are lots of tiny fittings.   I'm so used to having a parts list to follow.........there is nothing like that with this kit.   I've been playing with scratch builds and necromantic mods....could be interesting to build from a kit.  I do agree with you though........I've always said that these kits are merely generic in nature.  it's what you do with them that makes them special  :)


I hope you enjoy the build  ;)

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hello Robin  welcome to the log as well   :)     I was trying to be a good boy,  and not touch this kit....but what the admiral wants....... ;)
let's see!   looking at the thinner parts panels,  I was sad to see that some of the punch outs for the decks were gone.      I like to save these pieces.....they do well if you want to add additional detail.   these odd pieces of cast off wood can serve in many different ways.  the round ones,  for instance,  can create instrumentation bezels,  light lenses,  or even portholes.   square ones can be box sides,  extra detail for doors,  hold covers.....you name it   ;)   I've got a whole box of these silly little pieces,  just waiting for a place to go.
I forgot to add this in the log posting.........just something I think folks can use.  I hope you enjoy  :)

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Hi Chap,

I can sympathise with the Plans/Instructions, Pretty similar to the Sergal/Mantua Cutty Sark, and I believe, not to scale either.

(I was lucky enough to be able to refer to Billings and A/L plans for detail.)


Did not have the issues with the Laser Cutting on the C/S and the alignment was perfect using the False Deck to hold Bulkheads in place.


Anyway, Looking good thus far.



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welcome to all the new faces....and to the usual faces as well.   if it would only take a minute to get the pictures out of the camera,  I'd show how I fixed my little boo boo  :D  


welcome Zoltan......I got some milk crates around here somewhere.   you'll have to put a cushion on them though......or you get the criss cross marks on your bum  ;)  :D    glad to have you look'in in!


too much Sjors!  glad to see you here  :)


good to see you Nenad.........you'll find that these two vessels have quite a bit in common....at least Revell thought so  ;)


I know Carl........between the admiral and my inability to keep my fingers out of shiny boxes......I'm doomed.  if there is any consolation at all,  it show that I'm totally committed towards being a life long member  ;)     they'll have to pry my x-actor out of my cold dead hand........"if ya gotta go,  go with a smile!"


glad your here John.......you know,  I'm not sure about that.   there are some things that I'm going to do a bit differently,  but I will remember to keep them at the top,  perched slightly outward.   I'm a little disappointed anyway.......they don't show the studding sails.   I'm going to need to add extra belay pins anyway.   oh....wait!  your talk'in braces....not studding booms!  :D  :D   tuteur me!  I'll have to look at that...........

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lucky chap!   the bulkhead sheet was terrible.......I had to finish cutting every one of them.    such is the way of life.   welcome to the log Hof..... I'm used to the Billing's plans,  so I'm not that far in the woods with it.   I was told I can't keep it on the Kitchen table....so I pinned the plans to the wall by the build table. 

     they are too big for my poster frames.  the hull is only 18 inches long........it's gonna end up very busy if I plan to go with sails.  I do the same with the deck platform........I finally took the rubber bands off the wood bundles.   I have never planked a hull using 0.5 x 3 planking before.   sanding the hull is gonna be a nail biter!  ;)


hope you enjoy!

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Hello Denis ,A kit with a few starting challenges will keep you aware of maybe more to come, which in itself is not a bad thing more or less of what you've been doing for a long time, a nice looking ship ,an admiral pick ??, the best of the season to you ,family and your followers ,Edwin

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good morning everyone!   thanks for look'in in and the kind word....thanks for the likes as well  :)


welcome Jack!  :)   plenty of room my friend!    at it again?!?!?!  why........I haven't stopped  :D  :D   always something going on at the Wharf ;)


welcome Steve.........considered counted!  ;)    enjoy!


welcome Bob.........this entire kit is a change from the Syborn!    I never though how different,  kits differ from brand to brand.  even though the Syborn is a scratch build......the practicum credit goes to Billings....since the hull is a spin off from the Mary Ann/Cux design.  I see I'll be doing a few thing differently to compensate. 


welcome Frank.............I lost track  :D    if I were to post a review picture right now........I'd look like Jeff Dunham and his puppets!  when asked that question a while ago,  I said  "I'm setting myself up for retirement."   they asked,  "financially?"   I said,  "No,  mentally!"  ;)


welcome Ed........haven't heard form you in a while..........I hope my star reader is well.  it was an admiral's pick.......but not really.   I have the Revell Cutty Sark.........I though it would be cool to have the Thermopylae too....a nice pair,  you might call it.   I visit oldmodelkits.com quite a bit,  and one day,  I saw they had one.  so I made up a Christmas wish list........a Revell santa Maria {made in 1960's} 1:87 scale,  a 1:28 scale Revell Fokker D VII,  the Revell Thermopylae 1:96 scale......a funny car or two'  and the Adam West batmobile {yes,  it's either my inner child,  or I'm a very large child }


"doctors have announced that they found an 87 year old woman to be pregnant..........they estimated that because of her advanced age,  she will have a grown up!"


{had to put that in here.......George Carlin humor.......ha....ha....ha}


Anyway.......when she went about ordering these kits,  the Thermopylae was gone.   so,  she did what she thought was the next best thing......ordered this one from Ages of sails  {I did get my Adam West batmobile >snicker<}  {it'll look good next to my Michael Keaton Batmobile}.   even though the Cutty and the Thermopylae will be of different scale,  I figure that I can clone a hull or two from this kit,  and build a couple other clipper ships from it.   anyway....you and Urmilla take care......have a great Holiday season.......and keep look'in in!  :)

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to repair the misaligned bow bulkhead........it didn't go as planned.   I used alcohol to loosen up the glue,  and rather than try to loosen up the center spine.....I just ran the mini hand saw through it.   working with my x-actor and a single edge blade,  a little head way was made.........and then......




well.......doesn't this just bite the big one!   it was obvious that I put the stamp of disapproval on this attempt.  it's a bit TOOOOO shattered for me to even try to repair it.  I'll make one instead.   this is the reason why I try to keep the parts panels intact.   I have quite a few parts panels in my storage box........all I want is the hull parts.  here are some I have in the box:


Billings Regina.......fairly complete....been dying to make another hull - POF

Billings Half Moon......fairly complete......what I don't have,  I drew templates

Billings AmericA ......recent production and complete

Billings Boulogne Etaples..........on it's last leg.....perhaps one more hull

Billings Mary Ann...........on it's last leg....patched together with metal rod

Midwest lobster boat..........fairly good shape 

Billings Gothenborg........I think it's complete...what I don't have I drew templates 


I might have one or two others in there.   I use them to make repair parts,  or create hulls,  outfitting them the way I want to.  I buy the plywood,  trace out the parts,  and cut them out with my scroll saw.   now normal plywood is a little tougher to sand and shape........the plywood that model manufacturers use is softer and less dense....easier to shape.   I decided to look at the older parts panels for areas of wood large enough to make the bulkhead.   the Mary Ann panels had a couple of areas I could use,  so I scuttled it.....I've been wanting to buy another Cux 87 anyway.  




once I had the part traced out,  I went out to the garage and cut them out.




next was to remove the broken bulkhead........it was nice to know that the part was fully inserted in the keel.




you can also see that I had cut the center spine part where it fits into the broken bulkhead.  I can either cement a patch in there later,  or simply fill it in completely.  the only reason why it's there,  was to fit that part.  it's all cleaned out now.




I found that the Mary Ann panels are about 1/8th of an inch........which leads me back to the question of why such a thick panel was used for this kit.  the Billing's America kit is a relatively small kit........I don't recall a thick plywood being used for it.   the thickness difference isn't going to matter too much,  as the deck will be planked over anyway { there is a slight gap......1/8th as opposed to 3/16ths}   the deck platforms were put back in place to align the bulkhead.  the knighthead was also cemented in place.






I also had a chance to unbundle the wood.   I have quite a few of the plastic sleeves that I've gotten,  from wood ordered from Billings.  




I have planked many hulls with 1.5 mm thick {various widths}......but I have never planked using 0.5mm.   I haven't measured it,  but I think it's 0.5 x 2 mm.  there is no parts list included with the instructions




still doesn't deter me though........anything is subject to change.   following through with the plans that I will keep at bay,  in the back of my mind,  will be hard........although I did manage to hold off on the A.G. for a long time.   creating additional hulls from this kit,  is very tempting.........now made even harder,  since I now have a constant reminder.





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Can i Take a Bench with a Fridge at the side of me - I promiss not to get confused with my  other medium,     any way    "Whats this one  called again"  -  Wool,  Woop,  Woof   I mean  Wood,  yes that not so heard of material that a few ships where built from for a time ;):P :P :P




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Nice recovery Sir!!

Don't know about the 0.5mm planking, seems a little extreme?

You would have to handle with "Kid Gloves" so as not to put a "Dent" in things.

Is it single or double POB?

If Double, I guess you can look forward to approx.. 0.75mm after careful sanding?


(Almost bought one last week of NZ Auction site, (Trademe.co.nz), was started but someone else out bid me, no problem.)


Interesting build and interesting to see same construction method as C/S

I'm guessing that the Bulkhead extensions get removed after planking?



How did the kit "Smell" when you opened it?

(I reckon that the manufactures put something on the Timber to make us remember.... A/L similar scent.... :))



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Knowing you, Denis, it seems you will slide on a "dark side" with this build - very very soon ... ("I do not like this, I do not like that")


Mark delivered enough pop-corns, so, what are you waiting for ?


Maybe for you Nenad, but I feel he is a bit stingy. When Popeye hits the darkside, we need lots more!!!

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