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Maersk Detroit by xken - 1:354 scale - Container ship

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Finally completed enough CAD drawings to get started on building. The CAD drawings are based on technical drawings from the ship builder. Attached are a couple of PDF files showing all the section bulkheads for the container bays.

Detroit Bay Sections 01.pdf

Detroit Bay Sections 02.pdf


This build is being done for my son-in-law who is now the Captain of this ship which is his first command since being promoted to Captain. I thought that he should at least have a model of the first ship he commanded. Since he took over Command and after two 72 day tours the ship has gone from the worse in it's class to number 5 in the entire Maersk fleet. 


The build will be a new challenge being completely scratch built and a major difference from a tall ship. It will be built in sections for ease of handling during the build process until the units are glued together. As I pondered the build while doing the drawings I finally realized that this would be an inside out build due to the container bays down in the hull. The good news is the main deck is flat down the center line with a slight crown side to side which will really help on this build. Being a scratch build things will be made up as I go and bounce back and forth between build and CAD drawing.


Here is a sequence of the start on the bow section. The main deck and inner container walls are 1/32" plywood, bulkheads will be 1/8" plywood and planking will be 1/16" basswood strips. Because of the small scale dictated by eventual display location the length will be 32 inches. When drawn the hull walls and inner walls almost touch which required the use of location braces for some sections of the bulkheads that will be cut away as the inner walls are added. This will be an inside out build since it is easier to cut and trim the inner walls without the planking being in place.












Now back to adding the center section bulkheads.





Edited by xken
Typed wrong scale number
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Hi Ken - 


I'm always interested in an unusual build, and this promises to be a good one.  Add me to the audience.


1:376 is an odd scale, but, if you haven't already, you can find 1:350 scale railings, ladders, doors, etc. which should work for you.  Try Gold Medal Models and Tom's Modelworks.


Are you building it hollow because you will be detailing the interior spaces, or because it will be R/C powered?


Best of success with the project



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Thank you all for following along and welcome aboard for my new adventure into ship building.


Here is a beauty picture of the ship courtesy of Best Aerial Photos. Visit their website link for their service and other great aerial photos.






Dan thanks for the links and I am an old customer of Tom's from my WWI  airplane builds using his machine gun cooling jackets.

I checked out his rails and once I get close to determining the number of rails I may order some. No it is not for RC but for container loading. I will let Evan sort out what load out he wishes down the road.


John, the new Proxxon table saw is working perfect and a great help in sawing the 1/8" plywood for the bulkheads shapes for hand sawing. Even the Admiral is happy because I made picture shadow box frames for her new product artwork.


I also mis-typed the scale and will have to edit, it really is 1:354 which makes the photo etched rails from Tom"s even better.


Sawing out all the bulkheads with my jeweler's saw is time consuming so I saw one, file it clean and glue in place with the glue setting as I saw the next one. This weekend is my wife's big craft show so I will help her as grunt labor and gopher for the Labor Day weekend. If the Admiral is not happy no one is happy!  :cheers:


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Back to building after a hot weekend helping the Admiral with her craft show. I finished up the rough sawing of the bulwarks and glued them in place except for the stern wall which I will cut openings in before adding it. I will also add bracing to the deck before removing from the building board.









Reinforcing bracing to be added to retain shape before removing from building board in sections to add the inner walls.



Now back to bracing and some work on a commission project.


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I got all the hull bracing in place, not exciting work but very necessary with this narrow and long structure. I worked back and forth between the bow section and building the mooring deck at the stern which I made removable so as to be able to add the deck equipment later, bits and winches. On the bow section I added  solid blocks to form the bow and next will be the bow rider and adding more planking to support the bulwark parts secured with braces so that the braces can be cut away.


I thought this would be an inside out build but now am bouncing back and forth dictated by the hull structure. The good thing about scratch building is that you can kind of go wherever the build leads you.


Here is in progress of the bow section and why I built as a separate unit. Much easier to handle this short section for building. I am leaving the planking long to be able to attach to the center hull when joined.






Here is the development of the mooring deck which is below the main deck at the stern. The side and transom openings are for mooring lines. On this deck are located winches and bits for mooring lines. The deck will be 1/32" plywood and be glued to the support structure which press fits horizontally into the center hull section kind of like a drawer sliding in and out. Once finished and painted will be glued in place.


The real challenge was getting the 10 transom openings visually correct so I just started at one end and started down using a steel shim block as a spacer to get them correct. They are kind of like teeth in a smile. 










Back to projects and lets keep the Model Expo folks in our prayers since they are located in Miami and a site sponsor. 


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After finishing up the roughing in of the stern mooring deck; I moved to the bow section which will have an elevated mooring deck one level above the main deck and have the same winches and fittings as the stern mooring deck. So I thought it would be wise to finish both decks at the same time with their winches and fittings. I decided to plank the bow section and finish up the inner container racks while still easy to handle since these ha d to be done before moving on to the bow mooring deck. I plan to finish up as much as possible on the bow section before joining it to the center section. 












I prefer using the automotive glazing putty because it is softer than wood, easy to sand and on the inner surfaces is scrapped with a square blade rather than sanded for easy cleanup. Works equally as well on bare wood and spray painted primer. Think of it as a thick primer and most will be sanded off. I does a great job of filling any deep sanding scratches and plank joints.


Now back to a couple of other projects that need attention.



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Thank you all for your kind compliments. I have been bouncing between a commission project and the Detroit. Going from CAD drawings; writing instructions and building. Anyway making slow progress and I am really glad I decided to do the bow as a section with all this tiny work required on it. First I added the mooring deck one level above the main deck. Then the framing structure and cap rail that was hand bent after soaking in water on edge in two halves. Then, while waiting for glues to set I finished up the container racks. The forward bulkhead was then added along with it's supporting structure. Just for size reference the two passageways are six feet high by 3 feet wide between the mooring deck and lifeboat deck. Here is a few pictures so far.









Next I will add the walls and braces for the forward holds and standing walls for the hatch covers before joining to the center section.

I may also decide to sort out the rear center section planking supporting the propeller shaft which defines the "ride of the ship" since it does not have a traditional keel before adding the bow section. The joy of scratch building is making it up as you go sorting things out. 

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Moved on to adding the balance of the framework and bracing on the walls and the coaming for the hatch openings. I also opened the third and fourth hold openings now that the structure is strong enough with the planking in place.  I carefully drilled and filed the deck drainage holes on the sidewalls. Just a great deal of fussy work with small parts to be cut and fit.






































Here is a closeup.




Next I located and cut in the anchor openings.




Next after a final hand sanding and blending I did the first primer spray painting of both the inner and outer surfaces and set aside to dry and set overnight before the next sanding. This is when you find those little bits of gaps that you missed resulting in more glazing putty.




Now while waiting for paint to set I will move on to planking the rest of the hull. 



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One of my commissions is now available to purchase. Here is the Ladder Wagon to compliment the Allerton Steam Pumper. Follow the link to view if interested.



The best laid plans often go astray. Initially I thought this would be an inside out build but the actual execution dictated otherwise. I added sidewall braces between the bulwarks but this did not eliminate the overall flexing so back to plan B of doing the outside planking while hull lay flat on the building board. I added the flat area outboard sidewall to stiffen the center area first. I then started planking form the sides inboard and from the center out board and slightly forward of center lengthwise.



When planking and regardless of the width of the plank I always bevel the ends so when adding the next plank I will have a stronger joint. Here you can see the top edge of the side wall in place.




I planked as much as I could defining both the hull and the prop shaft tunnel merging from the main hull shape. I reached the point where I had to add the prop shaft bearing for the propeller down the road.




I cut the shape need to support the brass tube bearing surface from the plans using 1/32" plywood. Using plywood I can keep track of the centerline when shaping around the brass tube later. In positioning the carrier I glued the tube first to the plywood, then once dry I inserted a longer rod to visually center the shaft both on centerline as well as vertically parallel to ground.




Here is a close up of the brass tube in place ready to be planked and blocked around. The curve will define the end of the planks. I will use solid wood for the rest of the shape.




Now back to more planking while waiting for status updates on three more commission projects.







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I just grabbed one of the empty chairs to follow your build. Very fascinating and different!

One question I do have ...... which hasn't been asked, strangely. Even with the scale 1:354 she looks like to become a large model.

How long will she be?

I might pick up the idea of the automotive glazing putty. At least I have to try it.

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23 minutes ago, Omega1234 said:

Hi Ken. 


That's a idea about the 45 degree bevels at the tips of the planks.  I'm going to lock that idea away for future use.


Have a great weekend!





Patrick, I used that beveling when planking my Bluenose. Made it easier.

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Per the length is 32" x 4.6" wide x 6.8" high. Not too big and the size was dictated by where it will be finally displayed at the kids house here in Morro Bay, CA. Once you use the glazing putty you will love it; just dusty when sanding. Also use a plastic or wood applicator to apply. Just make sure it is completely dry and set before sanding.


Patrick once you start using them you will quickly understand the benefit, especially if the joining plank is too be bent.






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Eric thank you for your interest in this build.

I finished up the rear hull section planking and forming of the propshaft housing which just required a great deal of cutting and fitting of the planks. While waiting for glue to set I moved back and forth with the sanding of the primer on the bow section. Here you can see the results of the sanding showing the highs and lows of the surface.




Here are views of the hull planking with a close up of the prop area. 






The the large flat sheets were cut and glued for the flat bottom and then weighted with steel blocks and allowed to set on the building board. This weighing down assures the hull staying flat and true.





I will plank as much of the forward hull section and finish off like the bow section and then thew inner racks before joining the two sections for easy handling.




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Planking along slowly but surely, just a great deal of cutting, fitting, forming and gluing. I worked both on the outer hull and while waiting for glue to set I cut and fit the rear interior sections. I decided that I will finish as much of the interior before adding the solid walls that define the holds. My son-in-law shared that these solid walls compartmentalize flooding and that the ship could still float with any two holds completely flooded.

First I added the bottom flat piece based upon the tangents of the curves. Next I added the 1/16" thick planking starting at the top and working down from side to side. 



I also added gluing surfaces for the front bow section joint area. The gap will be short transition planks that will be filled in once the bow section is added after the hull is primed and sanded. 




Here I have added the rear portion of the holds interior walls. I am using the 1/32" plywood for the interior walls which really stiffen the hull once the glue is set.




Once the forward planking was complete I started adding the interior surfaces starting with the flooring and then working up the sides using steel blocks as weights to maintain flatness until the glue set. I am cutting away the braces a bay at a time as I move forward to maintain the structural integrity and strength. I also am staggering the internal and external joints again for strength and not creating a bending point.

The solid hold walls will add even more strength.  




Now back to cutting and fitting. :cheers:



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Finished up the inner walls and container racks and cut the solid hold walls and installed the hold wall in the bow section. One of the challenges I am having is that in the plans provided there are no view drawings, just a great deal of sub components. Evan, showed me where the solid hull walls were located. He goes back to sea on Tuesday and will be taking the ship into dry dock for some serious maintenance and updating and new paint. He will be sending me a bunch of photos to use.


Here are two pictures showing the hold walls.







I then sanded and fitted the bow section to the main hull just a little bit of fussing to get the three reference points to touch without any pressure to assure a good tight level fit.




Once fitted I glued the two sections together and once the glue set overnight I then sanded the hull section to match the hull. The bow section plank ends splayed a little which I had thought would happen since they were not glued to anything and required a little sanding to blend before adding the filler plank pieces.




Here I am adding the filler pieces and here is where cutting the beveled ends comes in handy for a tight fit on the hull section.




Now back to finishing filling the gap.



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