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Rattlesnake by David Lester - FINISHED - Mamoli - Scale 1:64


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So, spurred on by my return to the forum with my Constitution, I'm starting a build lot for my Mamoli Rattlesnake. I bought this kit through Cast Your Anchor in Toronto who were able to track one down for me.

 

At this stage, I have the first layer of planking on the hull, the false decks in place and some of the planing on the bulwarks done. This is my first non-Model Shipways kit and so far it seems to be ok and so far so good. I needed to shim a number of the bulkheads, but that doesn't seem to be out of the ordinary. I had a bit of trouble getting the transom set correctly. The tabs in the rear deck didn't seem to want to line up with the slots in the transom. If I forced it, things didn't look quite right, so I cut them off and measured carefully against the plan and I think things are ok.

 

I have the Bob Hunt practicum for this kit, but have to admit I'm not actually using it. For this particular kit, his practicum involves much kit-bashing. I chose not to go that route, because it involved ordering Hahn plans, changing their scale, ordering special wood etc. all of which I didn't want to get into. While the practicum claims to be helpful if just building the kit out of the box, it really isn't as all of the pictures only show the kit-bashed version. The kit instructions (which appear to have been translated out of the Italian by machinery) are actually quite good, once decoded as are the plans and I think I'll do just fine with them alone.

 

Despite essentially building the kit out of the box, I am making a few minor "kit-bashing" choices nevertheless. There are cast metal parts representing the windows in the transom, the doors under the quarter deck, the head rails and the crosstrees, all of which are pretty crumby. I'll be making all of these from scratch. I have started the doors in the picture below, but they are not completed yet. I think I'll use the cast metal part for the curving scroll work around the transom, as it will look ok once painted and for sure a whole lot better than any carving attempt I might make. I read about a painting technique in a Blue Jacket newsletter that looks like it might work well. One picture below shows the cast metal windows which I'm discarding and the start of my alternative windows in the transom.

 

I'll try to do better than with my Constitution build log and post another update before a year has passed.

David

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Edited by David Lester
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I get to be 1st follower - how nice!

 

I think your transom mods for the doors and windows are a real positive!  You don't have to do major kit bashing to make a real positive difference.

 

Keep up the good work!  I think I can learn from your build.

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The Mamoli Rattlesnake, my first build; and I jumped in with both feet doing the complete Hunt kit-bash. Now I'm doing the USS Constitution. What I have learned from the Hunt's practicums, is first, I could not have done the Rattlesnake without his guidance. The second thing I learned was that I relied too heavily on his instructions rather than read the kit instructions on the plans and make my own judgement calls.

 

I would also make a suggestion as to the kit's plans - transcribe them to notebook paper. I found they were very difficult to read (for me at least) due to the small print and inconsistent contrast. In a notebook, it's much easier to make notations. I did the same thing with the rigging charts, and parts list. The parts list to have to translate yourself.

 

I look forward to following you on this endeavor.

 

Jonathan

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Thanks Doug and thanks for the tips on the Rattlesnake instructions Doug. I did something similar. I didn't transcribe them, but I made enlarged photocopies of the English part of the instructions, the parts lists and rigging sections and am working from them along with the plans. I agree, as printed, they are very difficult to read.

David

 

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Good Morning All,

I've been doing some deck work as you can see in the pictures below.

 

Choosing paint colours for this model has been harder than I expected. I know many have built this ship leaving it for the most part natural, with only minor painting and this is the way it's shown on the Mamoli box cover. However, I do not yet have the woodworking skills to produce a natural model that I will be happy with and I'm afraid I will again be resorting to paint (and lots of it!)

 

But discovering the "right" colours is easier said than done. The MS version shows a black hull, off white below the waterline and with a pale yellow strip along the gun ports, which looks quite pleasing to me, but does that shade of yellow seem right? In the MS instructions they talk about yellow ochre, but that certainly isn't yellow ochre in their photo. They also suggest gray for the bulwarks. I don't recall having seen that colour used before. Does that sound right? It's moot in any case anyway, as I've settled on red for the bulwarks and gun carriages.

 

I also recall seeing photographs of a reproduction of the Rattlesnake with a largely yellow ochre hull (as opposed to a black hull) with some black and lots of blue accents.

 

Is this one of those cases where nobody really knows what colours it might have been, so it doesn't matter too much what I choose, or are there indicators out there somewhere that I am missing that would strongly suggest one scheme over another, or am I overthinking it altogether? Any thoughts would be most welcome. 

 

David

 

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Nice job, David.  Don't sell yourself short.  You have all the skills necessary to keep the model natural and not paint .  All you need is an assortment of woods.  I have used yellowheart in the past for the ochre effect, but it's falling out of my favor.  I plan to use boxwood for the outer bulwarks of my 1/24 Triton cross section - to substitute what would have been painted ochre.  Bob Hunt's practicum for "Rattlesnake uses boxwood also.  Crown timber can supply in in the dimensions you would need.

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Good Evening Everyone,

It was a rainy day all day today, so perfect opportunity to work in the shop. A little progress to report. Thanks for the vote of confidence Dave, but I think I'm going to paint this model nevertheless, probably similar to the MS version.

I've finished planking the bulwarks and they're in the process of being painted. (I planked the main deck earlier and have put down some tape over it to protect it from paint, glue and coffee while I'm working on the rest of the model. I installed the bulkhead and I've planked the upper hull with the finish layer, have it sanded and the gunports cut out. 

 

We'll see what the weatherman brings tomorrow - if it's sunny I'll be edging gardens. I hate to hope for rain, but sometimes it's hard not to.

 

David

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Now this brings back some memories. Your off to a fine start.

The language is translated ok but all of the parts in the list are still Italian. But Google translate helped me out for that. Nice work on the inner bulwarks and decking. 

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Thanks Scott,

I too spent a bit of time earning the Italian terms for the parts. On-line translation was only partially successful because some of the terms are as unexpected in Italian as others are in English. For example, a 'caviglia' is literally an ankle, which turns out to be a belaying pin (I'm glad I figured this out before I started the rigging!) and 'bigotta' means bigoted, but in context is a deadeye. 'Bozzello' was easy - it translates directly to block. So it was a combination of inference and on-line reference. Not too hard to learn, but more difficult to retain!

 

David

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David,

 

The book "Ship Modelling Simplified" by Frank Mastini contains a extensive (30 pages) dictionary of Italian to English ship terms.

 

Maybe to late for your translations but I find paper provides an excellent off-line memory for me!  I have a 2nd copy of the book that I got as part of a small library of ship modelling book I bought from an estate.  Your welcome to that copy if you'd find it useful.  If you do PM me with a mailing address.

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Happy Thursday Everyone,

 

I have a bit of progress to report. All three decks are planked, the bulwarks are finished and the base for the forecastle railing is installed.

 

I am now started the second layer of planking which is going along well enough. You'll notice several different colours in the wood, none of which is intentional; it's just the different woods that the kit supplies.

 

At the same time, I'm painting the cast metal "carving" that goes on the transom. I read what sounded like a fool-proof method to apply two or more different colours with very crisp differentiation. As a result of my skillful application of that method, the piece is currently soaking a a shallow tray of paint stripper. I'm taking pictures at various stages of the process which I will upload once I have an acceptable result.

 

David

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Everyone,

A little progress to report.

Last time, I had made a failed attempt at painting the decorative molding for the transom. I think my second attempt has worked well enough. I read about the technique in a Blue Jacket newsletter; it was a new idea to me, but probably old hat to most of you. I first soaked the piece in vinegar, which was a good thing as it removed the cheesy looking gold finish on the cast metal, which might have interfered with a decent paint finish. I then primed the piece with white primer and then applied several coats of a bronze colour. As as rule I seldom like using metalic paints, but I have to admit that this Model Master bronze worked really well. Then I painted it with polyurethane to seal it - (one which requires mineral spirits to clean up, not water.) Then lastly two coats of the blue, not worrying too much about getting it on the bronze, and just wiping it off the high spots with a dampened rag. I'm sorry the pictures aren't better, but my camera doesn't focus well at such short distances.

 

I have also finished the second layer of planking and I guess now it's time to paint the hull. I know that sounds like sacrilege to some but I tend to like painted hulls.

 

This year we are having the rainiest spring I can remember, so more time in my basement than I expected.

 

David

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You are doing a great job with this. One thing I found very useful when building my Mamoli Constitution was to use my phone to take pictures of the instructions. Then I would use my iPad or iPhone to enlarge them as needed. This saved paper and could be put to immediate use. Once through a step the photos could be discarded.

 

Mastini's book is an excellent reference for Italian boat terminology.

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Hi Bill,

That's a great idea for the instructions. However, I had already photocopied the instructions and enlarged them on 81/2 x 11 which is working quite well. With careful reading, the instructions are actually good and the plans seem to be very clear. I'm not finding too many problems in this area. The Mastini book has the best Italian-English nautical dictionary I've come across; certainly better than anything I've found on-line. Thanks to the generosity of Doug (Heronguy) I now have my own copy.

David

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David

Have a look  at  my log RattleSnake by mog   I do not paint , preferring to use different types of wood and stain,  not being the most skilled builder,  but happy with the overall look.   I follow the Frank Mastini style of building  using his excellent book  "Ship Modelling Simplified".

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One other thought on resources, I found it was handy to have a searchable set of Mastini's English/Italian Dictionary. So I bought on Amazon and downloaded it to the Kindle on my iPad. It came in handy when I ran across a term in the instructions (Usually in the tables). I found that once I had that, and became comfortable in the style Mamoli used, the instructions were fairly good. I did not follow them in lockstep since there a number of changes I wanted to make to my model based upon research, or I felt it was something I wanted to put off installing until a later point in the build. For the latter, I would mark the bottom of the page so I remembered to come back to it.

 

Their rigging was great once I figured out how to interpret them. I wrote up a guide on how to interpret them if you are interested, It is here - Mamoli Rigging.  

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Thanks for that link Bill; I hadn't actually come across it yet.  Although I am no where near the rigging stage, I have pored over the rigging plans at great length and have figured out their system. It appears arcane at first, but is really quite logical and well delineated. I also highlighted every part/line number with two different colours - one colour for lines and another for parts (blocks, deadeyes etc) which should speed up the process of cross referencing the number on the plan to the number on the list.

David

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  • 3 weeks later...

Good Morning All,

Well, I've finally finished painting the hull. This took quite a bit more time than I anticipated. My problem was the line at the top of the wales where the black meets the yellow. The lower line where the black meets the white was easy to tape and achieve a decent result, but not so easy at the top of the wales. The wales is thicker than the planking above it, with a ledge. I wanted the top of the ledge to be black, not yellow, but taping to the 90 degree transition was very hard to do. I must have made four or five attempts and no matter how carefully I thought I was taping, I always ended up with an unacceptable result. It occurred to me that if i could tape flat on the yellow, just a fraction of an inch above the transition point it would be easier to get a clean tape line and perhaps it wouldn't be noticeable to the eye that the line was just barely higher than the top of the wales. So I ran a slightly dull pencil along the top of the wales and it placed a parallel line on the yellow, above the wales  barely 1/16 of an inch or so. I taped to this line and it worked like a charm. The eye cannot easily detect what I have done and the result, while not perfect, is acceptable.

 

We're off to a family reunion this weekend. You know what they say - "Family isn't a word, it's a sentence!" If I survive, I'll be back with more updates.

 

David

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Nice work David.  I've been working on the same issue on the PdN.  Normally the Tamiya tape I use for masking has worked well.  But this time I had the black seep under the edge onto the yellow.  With the contrast between the 2 colours if seems to get you whichever way you go (black 1st or yellow 1st).  I finally ended up with a very small brush in a steady hand (sort of steady - at least not a 3 espresso hand).  I think its acceptable.

 

We need to remember that we're likely the only ones looking at that level of detail.

 

Enjoy your reunion. 

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Good Morning All,

 

Thanks for your comments and likes everyone, and zappto I agree, it was a beautiful ship, with a very long and lean look.

 

A little progress to report - I have started work on the deck details. The stanchions for the forward rail are done, but not installed yet. Then I proceeded to the railing on the quarterdeck and realized that its height depends upon the height of the stanchion on the small platform in front of the quarterdeck, and that stanchion's height depends upon the placement of the platform so I needed to install it first. This of course led me to realize that I needed to install the cannon that sits under the platform on each side before the platform goes in, otherwise I'd never accomplish the rigging. So I set out to assemble the cannons.

 

For some reason, there is no provision in this kit for the rigging of the cannons, (perhaps because they rest under a platform that runs the length of the main deck? - I don't know.) In any event, I've rigged all the ones that are on the main deck, with blocks left over from my Constitution and have installed four of them, and the small platforms that extend from the quarterdeck.

 

One thing I hate doing is making the little hooks that are supposed to be used to attach the blocks to the eyebolts. I can never get them small enough, they always look terrible and they always come unhooked, so this time, I just seized the blocks to the eyebolts. It works for me, and the cannons will be only partially visible in any case.

 

You can see my start at the details for the deck. For the gratings, I tried something that seems to work quite well. I assembled the grating to the approximate size and then I glued it to a piece of heavy black paper. This gave it considerable stability and will work well on this kit, because the gratings just get glued to the deck; there is no actual opening below them, so the black paper will be effective. I just have to remember when installing them "black side down, David":D

 

So that's pretty much it for now.

 

David

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