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Modeling the Extreme Clipper Young America 1853, Volume 2 by Edward J. Tosti

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Modeling The Extreme Clipper

Young America


Volume 2: Deck Facilities & Pre-Rigging

By Edward J. Tosti

Florence, Oregon: SeaWatchBooks LLC, 2017

9“ x 12”, hardcover, xvi + 224 pages

Illustrations, drawings, CD, bibliography, index

ISBN 978-0-9904041-9-4

www.seawatchbooks.com, seawatchbooks@gmail.com


   In his opening remarks, Edward Tosti explains why he opted to include an additional volume into what originally was intended to be a two-volume treatise on modeling the extreme clipper, YoungAmerica 1853.  You may recall that it was assumed that a single second book would provide the reader with a completed, fully rigged model.

   In Volume I, the author made every effort to minimize the need for precision machine tools, thus making the building of Young America more viable for the modeler who has fewer resources and experience.  Unfortunately, as Tosti began the second book with the fabrication of various deck machinery, small duplicate parts, or items requiring micro-joinery, it became apparent that the use of these power tools would be more prudent if precision work was going to be maintained.

   This dilemma forced the author to devote more space to setup, and the use of these tools.  Thus, an additional volume was added, which allowed for a more thorough discussion of machining techniques required for the numerous pieces.  It would also allow for a more in-depth coverage of the rigging phase later in Volume III.

   The net result is that Volume II, with its considerable emphasis on setup and use of power tools provides modelers with a unique opportunity to learn new skills, or hone the basic abilities they already possess.  This certainly makes this second book unique among works published for the model ship builder.

   In the introduction the reader is advised that some subject matter covered in Volume II may be subject to interpretation since reliable references began to dwindle once Tosti got beyond the builder’s original table of offsets, the original half model, and the builder’s sail plan and engineering practices.  Two photos of Young America taken in the 1870’s were also extremely helpful.  Secondary resources such as early American standards documents,  the structural tabulations published by William L. Crothers, comparisons with known data on other ships, and some contemporary paintings were also utilized.  The author, by no means, implies that the net result of his research represents the ultimate appearance of Young America in the mid 1850’s, and encourages the individual to utilize his own discretion when building this phase of the model.

   This book begins where Volume I left off. Chapter 16 discusses weather deck enclosures.  In this area, Tosti feels reasonably confident about the accuracy of these structures since he was able to obtain information from the original builder’s model and the previously mentioned photographs.

   Construction begins with pre-painted wall panels composed of individual planks, which are then cut to size.  Structural members and other details, made from a contrasting wood, are then added.  The author opted to leave the interiors exposed on the port side, and explains in detail how this was accomplished.  The fabrication of ladders and skylights are also discussed in this opening chapter.


   The final 10 chapters all feature extensive use of the lathe and milling machine.  As stated earlier in this review, Tosti goes into considerable detail on constructing various items. Some noteworthy assemblies include the windlass, capstans, ship’s wheel, and bilge pumps.  This last item is one of the more intriguing pieces with its unique flywheel design.  Using a milling machine, and a series of very nice photos and sketches, the author’s technique is easily understood.


   Although discussed in Volume I, for the sake of continuity, Tosti also reviews basic silver soldering techniques, which are essential in fabricating items such as the pump or three anchors.  The use of various grades of silver solder and their advantages, soldering step sequencing, anti-flux products, and heat sinks are all explained.

   The author’s attention to detail is exemplified by the use of two symbols in the index and next to the headers for various construction segments. The anchor, which has also been used in Tosti’s HMS Naiad series, denotes a re-usable process.  In the Young America treatise, Ed has added the crossed file and hammer symbol, which indicates a special tool/device.


  An example would be the molds or plugs used to construct ship’s boats.  Ed Tosti devotes an entire chapter to these small craft, and provides plans for four different types.  They include three different sizes of cutter and a 28-foot longboat.   Three of these craft are carvel planked, while the 24-foot cutter features lap-strake or clinker style construction.  The author’s description for building these models is most noteworthy, particularly the lap-straked cutter.


  So far, this review has concentrated on the more complex assemblies found on the Young America.  Yet, it is the fabrication of smaller, more numerous fittings that can cause our hobby to become somewhat tedious.  They include  belaying  pins,  stanchions,  cleats, chocks, deadeyes, backing links, eyebolts, shackles, and bullseyes.  The author addresses all of these items in great detail, and offers hints and tips that will help expedite their construction while maintaining a high level of quality.

   Volume II comes with a single 1:96 scale drawing, which features an overall deck arrangement, and external sheer plan.  Those who prefer the 1:72 scale will find printable, letter sized sheets on the CD  that comes with this book.  The drawing, designated as Drawing 11, coincides with the final chapter in Volume II, which deals with preparing for masts and rigging.  The locations for all the rigging connection points on the deck and outer hull are illustrated on this sheet.


   It is this writer’s belief that the second book in a series of this type can be the more interesting, and it is only because it deals with so many different sub-assemblies and details.  Add to that the machining process tutorials this book contains, and Young America 1853 Volume 2, certainly reinforces that belief.


  With over 200 pages, 500+ photos and illustrations, a CD containing tables, templates and patterns, and 12 full-color photos, this book represents a ship modeling tour de force for nineteenth century merchant vessels.  It is highly recommended.

Reviewed by BobF






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