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US Brig Syren by Heronguy - Model Shipways - Scale 1:64


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The Syren is the 1st kit that I chose rather than kits that chose me (by being for sale relatively inexpensively  when I decided to try model ship building).  This is almost true - I did select my starter kit but it was intended as a get my feet wet sort of project.

 

There were a few reasons that the Syren was my choice.  First and foremost were the recommendations here on MSW.  Mr. Passaro’s elegant design and extensive documentation were a very strong draw.  I like the idea of having clear detailed instructions as I learn the craft of model building.  

 

Secondly there are lots of terrific build logs for this ship.  They serve well as an additional resource to help with interpretations, alternatives, and the inevitable problems that will arise.  The craftsmanship shown in many of these logs is both daunting and motivating for a rookie builder like me.  The community here on MSW is so supportive that the motivation aspect outweighs the trepidation at not being up to standard

 

Finally,  I like appearance of the ship and will look forward to enjoying it both during the build and once it is completed.

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Like several other who have recently started on their Syren builds, I found the plywood in the kit was not satisfactory.  Like many others I contacted Model Expo and the issue was dealt with promptly and to my satisfaction.  

 

I was not going to start on this build until I had an earlier one completed but when the issues with the plywood arose for 3 or 4 other build this spring I decided I should at least look at the bulkhead former and bulkheads to see if the kit I received had problem wood as well.  Once It was open and on my desk I just sort of kinda you know STARTED.   There I’ve clearly placed myself in the “Can’t help myself once the box is open” members of MSW.  I will never have a large stash of future builds but I may have a lot of models on the go.

 

Here's the originalIMG_1160.jpg.5b84954de79766d4baef6d6a16ca1e90.jpgIMG_1181.jpg.c6c9078a523da780d0aca68d65b7e5c3.jpg

 

and the replacement which is solid basswood - not plywood.  As I have solid basswood for the bulkheads and BF of the Prince de Neufchatel I was quite pleased with the replacement sheets

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1 minute ago, jablackwell said:

Mind if I pull up a chair a watch? 

Looking forward to following along with your build of the Syren. It is on my list. 

~john

Delighted John!  Welcome aboard.  I'm certainly enjoying the start of the build!  I think there are good reasons that this is a popular build.  When do expect to you might get to your build?

 

 

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I really liked the way rabbet is formed on this build.  I thought it quite straightforward to thin the bulkhead former.  The bearding guide lines on the BF make it very clear where to begin the tapering.  I had a preconceived notion that the rabbet strip would be wider than the BF but eventually understood the method.  Seems quite sensible to me now!

 

Since I received replacement wood for the BF, bulkheads and other plywood bits, and yet the BF and bulkheads went too bad (compared with the stern shapers for instance) I decided to mess around with the plywood version and hold the basswood sheets in reserve.  I was expecting trouble!

 

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With my favourite tools I worked on the rabbet.

 

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The stem gets some minor tapering for the figurehead.

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If I was going to continue with the plywood version 1st I would need to duplicate the stem.  Simple enough to trace the outline on a basswood sheet and cut it out 

 

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It won't be as easy to duplicate the figurehead! 

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Doug,

I am aiming to get to it as soon as I can finish the <ahem - not a ship> model of a Sopwith Camel. I am well into the wings... but then the empennage and fuselage must follow. I would day some time in September I will be into the Syren.  As you note in your post, there are a lot of really good logs for the Syren here on MSW: some finished and others in progress. The Syren will be my first POB build, so I am taking as many notes as possible from the masters out here. ;-)   I see you also had issues with the provided plywood. Interesting. I'll have to check my parts and see if I have been given the same dreaded material.  Looking forward to your progress. Have fun with your build! 

~john

 

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"In for a penny, in for a pound"

 

I might as well continue with the plywood as long as I could - it was a good dry run, right?

 

I found the bulkheads needed very little adjustment to slide into place and seat at the correct depth.  No need for shims.  

 

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There were some minor plywood issues with the bulkheads but no showstoppers

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3 minutes ago, jablackwell said:

Doug,

I am aiming to get to it as soon as I can finish the <ahem - not a ship> model of a Sopwith Camel. I am well into the wings... but then the empennage and fuselage must follow. I would day some time in September I will be into the Syren.  As you note in your post, there are a lot of really good logs for the Syren here on MSW: some finished and others in progress. The Syren will be my first POB build, so I am taking as many notes as possible from the masters out here. ;-)   I see you also had issues with the provided plywood. Interesting. I'll have to check my parts and see if I have been given the same dreaded material.  Looking forward to your progress. Have fun with your build! 

~john

 

Thanks John.  Happy flight with your Sopwith Camel build.  I'll watch for you Syren build this fall.

 

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I cut the filler blocks out of some scrap 1”x2” pine.  Then I drift all the bulkheads and filler block (the masking tape helped hold the filler blocks in place.

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Once I was satisfied I started gluing the bulkheads and filler blocks onto the BF

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Once all the fillers were in the hull was quite a bit heavier but very sturdy

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Once again the guidance provided by the fairing marks etched on the bulkheads made the fairing process pretty straightforward.  I used an x-acto blade to pare down the bow bulkhead close to the fairing guides then sanded to create the smooth transition between bulkheads. 

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Top I forgot to install the kit supplied bow filler.  Not too late though.

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A batten bent with a curve at the end was used to check the fairing.

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Although I was being careful (you see I do learn from one build to the next) I did manage to break one bulkhead extension when my sleeve caught it.  It gave me trouble several times after that as I tried to fix it more permanently.  Each fix was a little less satisfactory as more of the joint was damaged.  Solution of course was to pin it as well as glueing.

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15 minutes ago, donrobinson said:

Great start, your fairing of the bulkheads looks excellent. When I look at your signature there appears to be room for at least a couple of more ships in your "Current Builds" list ;)

Don't tempt me with a suggestion like that!!!!!   As I may have said before, I have very little won't power.  But right now I'm gritting my teeth and telling myself I won't do it!

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Thanks Julie.  I've been encouraged to start by watching the several other early stage Syren builds.  Shared pain???  Seeing how the finished and the further along Syrens are is a great pull.  I hope I don't end up on the rocks to discover the Syrens were sirens.

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I made a minor diversion on this build to check out a possibility for coping with the fragile stern frames.

 

The wood received was  crumbly.

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I printed the patterns for the stern frames and glued them to some 3/16" hardwood strips (some was cherry, some was jatoba - just to see if there was a difference in working these 2 woods.   Cut them out a a dremel moot-saw.

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Here's the result with the basswood replacements for comparison.

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With these in hand I can still decide to go ahead with 2 hulls past the planking stage if I choose to. (TBD - to be determined)

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43 minutes ago, David Rice said:

Looks good.  If your lucky enough to get to the pieces before they crumble, soaking in a glue/water solution does help. Every time I see that Pink Plywood, it makes my skin crawl. 

 

I know how you feel about it.  I feel really lucky that they replacement they sent me wasn't more of the same.  You've done a great job of dealing with it though!

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5 hours ago, Julie Mo said:

Great build, Doug!  You're moving right along.  Thanks for sharing.

Julie,

 

My sister-in-law (also a Julie) was visiting and showed some interest in the model ships and in the tools for modelling (Byrnes tools).  She is very artistically inclined and quite keen on woodworking etc.

 

To motivate her I showed her a couple of MSW pages.  She was really taken with your Endeavour hull.  Maybe we'll have a new member one of these days.  If you see a new Julie on the site give her welcome - it was your work that inspired her.

 

 

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I have completed work on the gun port sills and lintels.  I took a very direct approach to cutting and glueing the individual strips between the bulkhead extensions.  ( I keep in the back of my mind that I can have one fresh start if my slapdash approach lets me down).  

 

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To space the lintels above the sills at the correct height I cut a pair of 15/32" rectangular blocks as spacers. They'll be useful for the gunport verticals as well.

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The main challenge on this phase was simply dealing with that weak bulkhead extension I mentioned earlier.  As the instructions claim, once the sills and lintels are attached the ship is much sturdier above decks.  My tools of choice for thinning down the sills and lintels were an x-acto #11, mini-chisels, sanding sticks and sanding blocks.  I found the whole process of thinning them down quite straightforward and kinda enjoyable - i created a lot more chips than sawdust.

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It's looking really good Doug.  Also, if you have a major error on your sills/lintels, you can file them flush with the hull, and insert thin pieces of wood to fit, which can be indistinguishable from the other method.  I know I did that on a number of mine, and it's possible I did that to all of them! 

 

Alan

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9 hours ago, knightyo said:

It's looking really good Doug.  Also, if you have a major error on your sills/lintels, you can file them flush with the hull, and insert thin pieces of wood to fit, which can be indistinguishable from the other method.  I know I did that on a number of mine, and it's possible I did that to all of them! 

 

Alan

Thanks Alan.  Yes I think  adjustments to the interior bulwark structure (gunport framing) can be made fairly easily and unobtrusively if required - as long as they're identified early enough!

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8 hours ago, reklein said:

I didn't see where  you marked your sheer with a batten down the side. Are you setting the lower lintels to the laser marks?

 

Hi Bill.  I left that photo out.

 

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I set the batten and marked the bulkheads in order to establish the bottom of the sills.  I did use the laser marks to help establish the sheer line.  I mistakenly used the bottom scribe lines when I 1st started but then derealized I was supposed to use the middle laser marks.  (I would have had to make really odd carronade sleds if my gunport were open at deck level!).  I made minor tweaks to get a smooth run of the batten on both port and starboard.  That process

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I had to make another short diversion from the instructions as while I was reviewing some other build logs it dawned on me that Id forgotten to plank that lower deck section mentioned in Chapter 2.

 

I stained the wood strips Golden Oak and had a deck.  I think the main deck won't be as easy.

 

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Gun port sides.

 

Trimmed the templates and taped them back to the hull. There was a minor discrepancy between the actual bulkhead extensions (other than 26 where we start the alignment)  and the position on the template.  The instructions say not to worry - so I didn't.

 

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By the time we reached nearer to the bow the discrepancy was about one bulkhead width.  I had previously checked the templates, plans etc because other builds had reported much larger discrepancies - so I still didn't worry.

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Using my 15/32" block as a guide I positioned act gunport side where marked on the sill and lintel.

 

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Where the gunport opening impinged on a bulkhead extension i used the x-acto saw to cut a small kerf then used a knife and a square file to open it up. I found the use of the block handy for getting the correct angle on the sides of the gunport on the curvier part of the railing.  I just eye-balled the block to be perpendicular to the sill.

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The bridle port require more dramatic shaping to get the direction correct.  I placed the sided flush with the bulkheads to give a good glueing surface, then filed away the excess wood to create the gunport opening.

 

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Only 2 steps left.  Top of the sweep ports and then the sides.  I cut some 1/8" spacers and a 1/8"x1/8" rectangular block for the sides.

 

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Once again the templates are attached to allow the sweep port sides to be located.  An alternative might have been to cut a strip of wood that was the gun port spacing (left side of one to the right side of the next), then mark the middle and sided of the sweep port.  This little roller then could be used to mark the hull for placement of the sweep port sides. I started doing this later in the process.

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There was another pair bulkhead extensions to remove.

 

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as well as a couple of extensions that had to be trimmed out since the sweep ports overlapped with them.

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