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Emma C. Berry by Steven1 - Model Shipways - scale 1:32

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The Emma C. Berry is my second attempt at a model ship, my first being the Model Shipways Armed Virginia Sloop. The AVS was completed to the rigging stage, then put aside as life got in the way. 


My daughter recently had her first child, and to provide help to her (my wife and I are both retired school teachers) we were able to "house sit" a beautiful home on a lake near her, up in the Adirondack mountains of New York. No TV, just a big fireplace and a beautiful view of a lake. I had the Emma C. Berry in the stash so I figured getting her planked up would be a great way to spend time when we're not babysitting.


So, I packed up a small set of tools and began. She's coming along nicely although I've made plenty of rookie mistakes. I didn't originally plan on creating a building log at NRG but I have taken some pictures and kept a journal, so I thought I'd give it a try! Currently I'm home and the boat and building journal are up at the lake. Attached are a couple photos of her current state.


If there's any interest here, I'll dig in!







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I'll definitely follow along. There are very few of us building this particular model right now. I am only currently planking it right now.

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Hi Steve -


Thanks for starting this build log...although you are already pretty far along.  I am also building Emma C. Berry, but did not start a build log.  I have the frames, transom, and clamps completed.  I also have the cabin and forecastle soles completed, but have not done the ceiling or the wet well.  I do have the assemblages of deck beams around the cabin and hatches assembled but not attached to the clamps.  I can't decide whether to build the wet well or not; and whether to leave a portion of the framing exposed so one can look into the hull.  It appears from your photo that you elected not to install the wet well, and also that you simplified the knees between the deck beams.  I will likely do the same.


You have done a very nice clean job so far.  Any photos of earlier stages of your build will be appreciated, as well as any tips you may have.  Yes, I will definitely be following along.



current build: SYREN

nearly done:  Fair American, Benjamin W. Latham

future builds:  Emma C. Berry

completed builds:  Rattlesnake, Newsboy, Sultana

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Since this was only my second build, I decided to forego all the interior details and completely close the boat up, concentrating on building my planking and rigging skills.


Here are shots of the keel being assembled, the jig for installing the frames, and a few frames installed. I was very particular to concentrate on the frames being at the proper level; note that there will be some shimming needed to have the frames smoothly meet the rabbet.


Also note that fairing will be done after all frames are in place, and generously braced.






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Can't think of a more peaceful venue to build a ship model save down by the sea. Great start on this model. Hope to see more in the future. If you are an upstate New Yorker certainly like to hear from you via the messages icon in the tool bar. We have a thriving modelers group in Rochester NY. Here is our web page modelshipwrightguildwny.org.


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Thanks Thistle17, if I get out your way I'll let you know! My daughter lives near Lowville (she's a large animal vet) and we're hanging out up there to help with my new grandson, "Sullivan". Sounds like a good name for a boat!


Anyhow, attached is a photo showing the Emma with clamps installed and outer frames roughly  faired (used a series of 1 X 3 inch sanding sticks I made from various grits). I've used battens to determine where to add shims and will continue to fair until I'm satisfied. You can also see reinforcing strips I used to get the frames "spread out" to their proper width before mounting them to the keel.


(BTW, Ace Hardware sells a "high performance" sandpaper which uses a ceramic grit. Doesn't clog and lasts a long time. If you haven't tried it, check it out)


Note also the top extension of the stem is gone---I got tired of knocking it off and will add it when (eventually) it's needed!




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WHOOPS! Planking is off to a rocky start. Garboard fits well but is WAY too wide. I'm going to leave it; maybe scribe in a "fake" plank. Well, it's going to be painted but will need to pay closer attention!


BTW, I'm using boxwood instead of the supplied basswood. Very nice material, I've always wanted to try the stuff. I have a Byrnes saw and can rip my planks out of 3/64 stock.


Also using black thread for batten strips. I think I saw this from David Antscherl. Anyhow, works well.




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Coamings installed and making progress on decking. Using the supplied basswood, I'm going to leave the finish natural. From what  can tell the Emma at Mystic now has the deck painted black; I'm going to paint the rest of the boat so I really would like to see some natural wood. Artistic license! I'm using a mat finish lacquer from a spray can and will rub it down.


BTW, I deliberately sorted out my deck wood by shade, and tried to vary the shades of adjoining planks to add contrast and "interest". I'm not sure that I'm happy with the result, it might be a little "much"!


You can see the importance I place on an orderly and neat work area!


The color to use for the bulwarks and sides of cabins is a pale off-white, cabin roof and hatch covers are a more yellowish "buff". I have a couple Floquil railroad colors in my stash that should work but they're up at the lake so I'll let you know what I will use over the next couple days.


I won't make much progress this coming week (I'm drywalling and taping my daughter's garage) but hope to finish the deck, do some sanding and filling of the hull, and start the bulwarks.


Please let me know if you have any questions!





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20 hours ago, Steven1 said:

My daughter lives near Lowville

Steve, my grandfather was born and raised not far from there in Port Leyden. His parents were lock tenders on the Black River Canal. You are definitely in the real "Upstate NY" right near or on the Tug Hill Plateau.


Did you make that jig you are using for the hull frame or was it included in the kit? It's looks like a pretty useful jig.  Nice progress on the model and congrats on the new grandchild.

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  • 6 months later...

I'm back!!! After a summer off from shipbuilding (gardening, lawn work, maybe a little fly fishing!) weather is cooling off and I can get back to work. Spent the last couple days installing knightheads and stanchions. Not the greatest fit but lots of shimming and fussing got them in!


I'll keep you posted!





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  • 1 year later...

Hi  - this David O’B. I’ve been slowly “working” on the Emma C. Berry for years. I bit off more than I could chew on this one. I’m not one to give up, but I read and try to comprehend what to do and need some guidance on how to proceed. I’ve started and stopped several times. Can you help me?

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 9 months later...

Hi Folks,


I've made some progress. Here's the hull so far.


A few comments: I've been airbrushing Tamiya acrylics and have been very pleased. My LHS guy suggested I use the acrylic with Tamiya's lacquer thinner and it works well. The "red-brown" under the waterline is a mix of 5 parts XF-7 red, and 1 part XF-64 red-brown. These dry dead flat so I oversprayed everything with some leftover Floquil flat, which is more of a satin/eggshell.


I'm also feeling better about the natural wood for the deck.


The white oval trim along the stern is more prominent than in the actual boat, but looks pretty good.


Headed to Woodland Scenics for rub-on gold lettering; any other suggestions are welcome.


Next up will be the white trim along the sides, and installation of chain plates.


I've ordered Chuck P's deadeyes; while I've ordered his blocks for other kits in the stash I have some old Warner Woods blocks I'll use here. They're quite nice.


I haven't provided a detailed blow-by-blow description of the build but if there are any questions, please ask!


BTW, about 170 hours up to this point.






Edited by Steven1
additional info
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Absolutely stunning. Beautiful model and great paint job.

I love the deck with the various shades of wood. The hull is beautiful because you can see most of the planks. It adds to the realism of the model.

Will you be drilling the hull with 256 holes for the well?



Edited by yvesvidal
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I have an ECB, awaiting to be built.

This is just a beautiful job you have done.

I like what what you did with the "recipe" of the paint. 

I did my own mix for Bluenose, but never recorded the mix properly in my book or uploaded to my build log.

There are some "blemishes" needed to take care off, so now I have to test me through to find the right ratio.



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Per aka Dr. Per@Therapy for Shipaholics 

Finished: T37, BB Marie Jeanne - located on a shelf in Sweden, 18th Century Longboat, Winchelsea Capstan

Current: America by Constructo, Solö Ruff, USS Syren by MS, Bluenose by MS

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Nautical Research Guild Member - 'Taint a hobby if you gotta hurry

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