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Phantom New York Pilot Boat 1868 by gin007 - Model Shipways - Scale 1:96 - First build

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Hello all,


Last year, after much debate, I bought the Phantom to start me on my way in Model Shipbuilding.  I don't have any experience at all in modeling, and it is my first venture.  I was very pensive about taking on a solid hull, as I am really quite terrible at wood carving, but my dad, who does do Norwegian wood carving agreed to shape the hull for me.  He did the Amati Drakkar, which I did the sails on for him as his one and only model ship, and it turned out great.  I sent it off with him for the hull molding and now its back, so I've been reading Chuck's practicum and the logs of others. 


I should start out by saying that the size of this model is extremely small, so I'm nervous about how tiny its pieces are, and I have pretty low expectations for the final result but I would at least like to give it a try, and maybe learn some things along the way.  My goal as a complete beginner with no background knowledge in modeling is merely to finish.  Eventually, I'd like to do the Pride of Baltimore II as I both got to see her in the Philadelphia harbor and she looks much like a schooner I sailed on in college (the S/V Westward) and/or the Bluenose, both of which have a letter better scale for me.


So, anyway, I've ordered a cutting mat, and I'm waiting on it.  I only have the tools from the deluxe kit from Model Shipways, and its going to take a little bit to get organized.


In the meantime, it looks like my Dad may have taken a bit too much off the depth of the forward area, as it is 1/8" below the -R mark but the aft deck matches perfectly.  So, I guess that might impact the waterline a little, but I don't think there is much to be done at this point.  The length of the hull is 9 1/2" but the plans show 9 1/4" so I'm also unsure if the plans are meant to be drawn exactly to scale, but the length does match the size of the hull template. 


It looks like the first thing I need to do is install the keel, stem & sternpost, and I've looked through all the other logs and Chuck's practicum.  I know I'm meant to glue some pieces together before cutting out the keel, but I haven't found much else about how to do it. It seems like once it is glued on, it would be very easy to break off, and I understand people use pins and such but I don't know a resource to help a total newbie to figure this stuff out. I sort of feel like I wish I had a video of someone putting together a solid hull to help me out, but I guess I'll just do my best, right!


It'll be awhile until I post any substantive work until I receive my cutting mat (which apparently won't ship until next month), but thought I would at least get my log set up!


- Ginger

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Hi Ginger! I would recommend reading Chuck's practicum very carefully. There are a few places where he gets some of the measurements wrong. Always double check his measurements with the plans. One example is when he tells you to make the copper plates 1/4" long instead of the real measurement being 1/2" long. Also, take your time and be careful. Make sure you are using the right sized wood. For the keel, I took the stem post measurements from the plans, printed them out, and then glued them to some of the wood to cut out. The stem post is the curved piece connected to the keel at the front of the ship. For the little nib at the end of the keel, I just filed the end of it before cutting the keel to length, ensuring a good fit. I personally just glued the keel on without pins. It has held up so far. Just make sure it is straight. Have fun with the boat, she turns out very nice in my opinion. Also, words work, but as the saying goes "a picture is worth a thousand words". I look forward to more updates! If you have any questions, just ask :). That's what MSW is for! Good luck!

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Thanks, Elijah! I have really enjoyed your log! I will take some photos of my ship versus the plans as I am concerned about the length in the template versus the plans. Also rereading the other logs and some books on shipbuilding is building my confidence. I may not attempt more sophisticated techniques like deck planking on this model, but if I make it through, I'll be thoroughly proud! I have also gleaned some really helpful tips from Hopefuls old log and several others!

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Ok, here is what I am confused about.  I am assuming the plans are drawn to the same scale as the template e.g. the actual model.  Model Shipways states that it provides "Full scale plans". If this is not true and the plans are not on the same scale as the template, then I guess I'll need an abacus or something to figure out how to scale things.  In any event, here is the hull my dad has kindly carved for me to the scale of the template:




So that looks like it pretty much fits.  Great.  But then, when you put the hull or the template up to the plans, you can see the hull is actual longer than the template (and this does exclude the keel which has not been added on yet):




As here where I offset the hull to show how much of a difference there is with the plans:




And here on the plans (the template is marked in pink:




So I am unsure what to do about this difference between the template and the plans because there is an extra 1/4" even without adding the false keel, which will add another 1/8".

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Hey Ginger, what I did was print out that part of the plan sheet and cut and glued it to a piece of thin cardboard. In my template I did not include the keel, as that was a different piece to be glued on later. I also printed out the part of the plans with the side templates and cut and pasted them to styrene, (you could use cardboard), to make sure both sides of the hull were symmetrical. I had the same problem with the out of scale templates, as have other Phantom builders. Always go with the plans for measurements. Good luck!

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Thanks for the advice. There's not much I can do at this point as my dad has already completed the hull shaping (though I notice he was a bit off on the starboard and larboard being mirror images. In this respect I would have been better off to try a POB but read all the advice and it sounded like the Phantom was highly suggested for newbies because of the practicum. In any event, I suppose this is a warning to other phantom builders: there is some difference between the template (note: without the false keel and the stern post) and the "to scale plans." Also, Elijah, I note your comment about the size of the copper. However I noticed most of the logs use 1/4 inch instead of 1/2 inch. This is likely because the practicum says to cut it in 1/4 inch lengths and it is easier to cut in 1/4 inch lengths rather than the 1/2 inch lengths on the plan because to cut the 1/2 inch lengths you have to cut the tape on the long side. I haven't decided which one I will use yet but it seems like the jig to make the 1/4 inch links is easier to make and use.


I had a bit of a delay this weekend when my package containing my water line marker, a planking book, tweezers, and gesso was stolen. Fortunately the police department found my stolen items in a stolen car and returned some of them to me yesterday. My little ship is already having adventures without me.


Today I worked on the launching ways and completed everything but inserting the pins. They look pretty good for a beginner but if I had realized from the beginning that I should use a board to make sure everything was properly aligned it would look even better. Instead of using a guiding board to push all of the timbers against, I used a 1/8 inch board to align everything individually but it turned out not to be exact. In any event I look at this as a learning experience so what I learned this time I can apply to my next model even if this model won't look exactly perfect.


If anyone used 1/2 inch copper plates (looking at you Elijah!) please let me know what kind of jig you used to cut them - thank you ! That's probably it for this week because I am working 12 hour days but next weekend hopefully I can start work on the copperplates. I'll update this post with a picture of my launching ways soon.

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Hi Ginger! I used a wooden piece as a wall and two square sticks at 90* to the wall, 1/2" long and 1/4" apart. Then I cut a 1/8" wide square stock to be slid in. I cut along the edge to ensure a straight cut across the copper. Once cut in half, I cut along the two sticks protruding 1/2" from the wall. That makes the split copper cut into two 1/4" by 1/2" copper plates. I hope this helps!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok, I tried cutting the strips into 1/4" strips, and while one went ok, the next several were pretty awful, so I bought some 1/8' copper tape off amazon, which is beautifully perfect and will make cutting off the 1/2" pieces super easy.


In the meantime, I put on the keel and sternpost, added wood filler to the gaps, sanded and painted the hull, and carved out the bulwarks.  Not heeding Chuck's practicum ended up in me breaking the bulwarks near the bow while gripping a little too hard during sanding, so I repaired that and painted the hull black.  I found one nick in the hull that's a little too deep, so I'm adding some wood filler and re-doing that part, but I'll be coppering the hull soon.


I was using photobucket but the site is so slow for photos, it just isn't worth it.  Any better free hosting for photos that someone can suggest/


I've read about planking the deck.  Would there be a drawback to cutting the supplied 1/32" sheet of deck planking and using the individual pieces for deck planking?  I haven't seen that done before (usually people get a separate sheet of different wood.  I just thought I could cut the deck out as if I wasn't cutting the sheet, and then cut out individual pieces as that would make the gaps larger, but perhaps there is a drawback to this method.  Off to sand my hull nick down!

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  • 1 month later...

Hello Ginger - I just picked up this kit as my 2nd wooden build before I try my hand at a POB kit. I'm trying to finish up my 1st wooden kit on an old Scientific Bluenose kit. I'm going to tag along and follow your build for some pointers. As for your comment about pins, I used 2mm brass eye pins from HobbyLobby for both eye bolts and also as pins to secure my rudder to the hull. They can be cut with ordinary scissors. You may need to purchase some micro drill bits for modeling, if you do not already have them on hand. Smooth sailing on your build!

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