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Continental Gunboat Philadelphia by Elijah - Model Shipways - 1:24 Scale -

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Hello all! This will be my build of the Continental Gunboat Philadelphia. A brief history of her is taken from the model shipways website. 


"Launched in August of 1776, the gunboat Philadelphia is the oldest American fighting vessel in existence. Part of the American fleet commanded by General Benedict Arnold, she sank on October 11, 1776 during the Battle of Valcour Island against the Royal Navy on Lake Champlain. She remained sitting upright in the cold waters of the lake until she was raised in 1935. Today, she’s on permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., complete with 24-pound ball that sent her to the bottom. "


Length 26-3/8”

Width 13-3/4”

Height 24-5/8”

Scale 1:24 (1/2” = 1 ft.)


The actual gondolas built by Benedict Arnold were armed with two nine pounders, one twelve pounder and a few swivel guns. Arnold's gondolas were around 53 feet long with 15 1/2 foot beam and 2 foot draft. 


An overview image from the website is the following. 


The first few steps were pretty simple. I removed the parts I needed for the keel, stem and sternpost and glued them together. The keel was very straight with no noticeable war page. I sanded most of the laser char off. 


The pieces of wood that form the rabbets are pretty simple to carve. I just used an Xacto blade and a sanding block. There are also the visible parts of the stem and sternpost a which get narrower towards the ends. I have yet to make these rabbets at the bow.image.thumb.jpeg.398d4fcdb31240952436709f87d691c2.jpegimage.thumb.jpeg.e659955660e7a866a6602d5607c0e083.jpegimage.thumb.jpeg.05cca1492b53aa43036e3a165160183d.jpegimage.thumb.jpeg.1f00c7e65a64ccbe90dab9892f10e22a.jpeg


That's it for now. Thank you for looking in! :)






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Hello again everybody! In the past two weeks or so I have gotten most of the steps before planking done.


I glued the parts that form the base together on the flattest surface available. I then glued the keel to the base.


I then proceeded to the framing. It was a simple process of beveling the bulkheads where it was needed. The process did not take long because the bulkheads included laser etched guides. I used Legos as squares to glue the frames straight. 


Next up are the cockpit floors and the lining off of the hull for planking. You might have noticed that the lines on the frames in the photo above are to help with that process. This kit has proved so far to be very well designed! Thanks for looking in!


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello again! It's been a few weeks since I've updated my log and thought it time to do so again. First, I added the cockpit flooring. That was just glueing the supports and short planks in place.


Then was figuring out and adding the mounting system. Kurt recommended using t-nuts for that. IMG_20170426_075435013.thumb.jpg.2ca5be2b8d2676c1f1a9eb2d48659b37.jpg

I then located and drilled a hole on either side of the keel, one below the fore deck and one below the aft. I then aligned that hole and drilled it in to the filler block. Taking into account the thickness of the base of the t-nuts, I layered the wood so that when the t-nuts were installed they would sit flush with the base.


I then glued them on to their respective places and used a screw to keep them aligned.


After that, I lined off the hull and started planking. I have thinned the ends of the planks that for into the rabbet and beveled the underside of the planks for a tight fit. I also used a number 2 pencil to add 'caulk' to the underside of each plank. I first soaked the planks and clamped them to the hull to dry. I noticed that the field made small debts in the planks that way. A lake water and a bit of sanding makes it not noticeable, but since then I've used little balsa tabs as spacers to take the dent. So far I have finished the sheerstrake on both sides. I have noticed that although the planks above the Wales aren't spiled, they do vary in width. Thanks for looking in!




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

Well, I'm still planking the outside of the hull. I have two strakes left to do on either side. I've tried and tried again a few spiling techniques, most with unsatisfactory results. I think that at this scale some of them don't work as well, such as the tape method. I settled on my own way that has worked fairly well. It is similar to the tape method in only one way, which is instead of lying the tape on he hull with no side bending, you lie a wide strip of wood. Being wood, it would be very hard to edge bend. You clamp it in place on the hull, run a compass at the edge of the plank that fits into the bow or stern and cut along that line so that the plank fits in the rabbet when it is done. Make sure to thin the plank at this point. Now lie the plank back on the hull, WITHOUT the end in the rabbet  but still making the plank end directly below the above strake, not necessarily following the curve of the bow or stern. Make sure that there is space between the top edge of the wood strip and the bottom edge of the above strake. Double check that the space continues the whole length of the plank you are attempting to create, from bow or stern, all the way to the last bulkhead that the plank rests on. At this point, you should have a strip of wood on the hull that from a side view looks curved, but in actuality it is running its natural course along the hull. It should form a light U shape. Then run a compass along the edge of the strake, drawing that line onto the wood strip. Cut the wood strip on that line and test the fit. You may soak it for a few minutes and clamp in place. Once dry, mark where each bulkhead is on the plank. Now, with a divider, measure the width of the plank at each bulkhead and transfer that to the plank. Connect each transferred point on the plank with a line. Cut near the line and test fit again. Fine tune, add pencil on he bottom edge to simulate caulk, and finally glue. 




I will show you what I mean by the whole "strip on the hull making a U shape" in photos once I finish with the outer planking. Nearly there!

Until next time,

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