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US Brig Niagara by Tom E - Model Shipways - 1:64 Scale

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Hello Model Ship World!

I am starting my build log for the Model Shipways Niagara. Although not new to model ship building, this will be my 2nd foray into wood.

I recently finished the 18th Century Long Boat and learned so much, that I feel confident in moving to a larger ship.

I am very slow and methodical when it comes to building. I'll let stuff dry for a week before touching it!

I'm including the shots of the box and contents as it will probably be the last time it looks so neat and organized

I cant thank other folks from the "Niagara Club" such as 6ohiocav and Mikiek (among others) for their build logs, your logs have been a wealth of information.001.thumb.JPG.43d6bf9d57be2223cf72144c1e3efcbf.JPG002.thumb.JPG.46a9e05141c5cfa6a933ab88e4b4a76a.JPG003.thumb.JPG.574f45eebb4d2e695a167b1372429faa.JPG

Time to start counting sticks and get a keel laid down!

Updates to follow!

Tom E


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Hello, welcome to the Niagara Club.  This is a fun build and you will enjoy the intricacies of this ship.  Should you need some references on building this  model you might wish to check my website Build Log at: http://www.niagaramodel.com should you have questions please feel free to contact me.  Good luck and have fun.



Edited by texxn5
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All the counting is done, most is there. Missing a few blocks and deadeyes, but shouldn't be an issue as I plan on upgrading to Chucks products. 

Started taking a look at the keel and its pretty darn straight! Shouldn't need to alter, and just needs a bit of light sanding.

The directions mention a keel that has to be assembled, nice surprise to see just one piece. 


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How's that for a Rabbet? Only my second.

In the end, it was the X-acto knife and small chisel and a fair amount of sanding. I tend to cut and sand short then adjust going forward.

When the bulwarks finally get lined up I may need to deepen it, just don't know yet.:huh:

I feel its easier to take wood away then put it back. Don't get me wrong, big fan of wood fillers and the like! love em!





Started building the ships boats. These "stackables" are interesting to say the least. I took heed of others advice and left the bottom layer off to have better access to the insides.

This is one of the side projects while letting the main boat dry. I think I'll go slowly with these and see what I can think up.

I'm thinking sand smooth and just plank em!

To try and sand these stackables almost paper thin to attain the shape, per the instructions, is perplexing. 

I'm gonna hold off on that for now.

These will appear again later. 




Port aft rabbet still a work in progress. I've already deepened it since the picture was taken.





Tom E



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Happy with my rabbet, and some final sanding to clean up the keel, I've moved onto the bulkheads.

There were some pieces that the laser did not completely cut thru, but was rare and easily fixed.

So far, they have fit extremely well, the usual amount of light sanding.

Started aft going forward, don't know why, just felt right.

I'll put a small amount of general fairing to the bulkheads before gluing, while its still a bit easier.

Side note, very proud of myself.......not one broken timberhead!!!!...........yet.


One question that did come up......

Is there a specific way the bulkheads should face?

Does the smooth side point forward or backwards?

I started with the smooth side point to the rear. I studied the natural curve of the laser cut and it seemed to "flow" when compared the next bulkhead and the natural curve of a ship.








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Assembling the bulkheads was fairly easy, all slid in well with the normal amount of sanding. It was an uneasy feeling.

I started from the stern moving forward with the "pretty" side of the bulkhead facing out.

Then on the 9th bulkhead, all of a sudden nothing fits well, nothing slides in well, nothing is in alignment any more. I would have had to do some major sanding and carving to make these fit, then in all its simple glory.......I turned the bulkhead around and the darn thing drops right in and alignment returns.

With some serious thought, I stuck with it. Subsequent bulkheads fit easily and relative alignment was good. I say relative as there is always sanding/carving to do!





A bonus to having the bulkheads "flip" in the middle of the keel is that the "pretty" side of the bulkhead will point outwards.





I've done worse!!!!!!

Mast support blocks have been added.




















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Evening all,

I installed the bow filler blocks. I've seen the phrase used in other builds that "the second try is usually better".

Soooooooooooooo true!!!!!!!

Can anyone tell which filler block was first?!?!?! Hahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!

How did I not see that gap at first! Oh well......learning moment.


Now I have to decide if I should fill that little gap with wood filler or let it be.









I'll do the final shaping of these when I fair the rest of the ship.






Tom E 


Edited by Tom E
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Thanks Derek!

I'm thinking the same thing.

It shouldn't be to much of a gap to plank over. I think if it was just the tiniest bigger, I would fill it.

If it gets larger while fairing the hull, I'll fill it.


I can live with it for now.


Tom E 

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Morning all, 

Quiet Sunday morning, hot cup of coffee, and its just me and the cat. Admiral is spending the weekend with her son, and I've been in the Shipyard most of the weekend.

Very few chores have been done. As per protocol, I'll get everything done in the last few hours before she gets home!:default_wallbash:


A good Sunday dinner should resolve any left over issues. Its a beautiful fall weekend here in New England, crisp and cool. That means slow cooker season to me!

The Admiral is a good Irish girl. Think I'll get a boiled dinner going. Nice pink Corned beef, carrots, potatoes and pearl onions.....has to be pearl onions per the Admiral!



Started to place the stern timbers. I enter this part of the build kind of gun shy. Heard it can be difficult. The plans are what they are, the build logs here are helping more!

I test fitted the stern timbers, with the stern filler block measurements kept in mind. 

To call these jagged things timbers is over doing it.


True story.....I was away from the Shipyard, watching football (huge New England Patriots fan, and long before Brady and company came around!)......and one of em broke......true story!


There is no alignment with these things. With the way there place below, the only thing in alignment is the slots for the deck beam. 

I'm going to stick with that in alignment and adjust/sand/carve everything around it.

In the end I only broke two, I'm calling that a victory.

We'll see what happens.





Edited by Tom E
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Good progress.


The dreaded timbers.  All I can say is that I am a Browns Fan, (going back to the days when Bill was our coach), and I can honestly say that we are so bad, there is nothing the Browns could do to break one of my timbers.


Good luck going forward. I used the 2 diagrams of the filler blocks from the plan sheet, cut them out, transposed them on my basswood block, and rough cut it out with the band saw.  I then attached the blocks to the stern and did all of the rest with a file. It took me more than a few to get two right.


I also placed filler blocks inside the first couple of bulkheads, aft and bow. I used balsa wood. It was very helpful when it came to planking.  I strongly recommend it.



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5 hours ago, 6ohiocav said:



Good progress.


The dreaded timbers.  All I can say is that I am a Browns Fan, (going back to the days when Bill was our coach), and I can honestly say that we are so bad, there is nothing the Browns could do to break one of my timbers.


Good luck going forward. I used the 2 diagrams of the filler blocks from the plan sheet, cut them out, transposed them on my basswood block, and rough cut it out with the band saw.  I then attached the blocks to the stern and did all of the rest with a file. It took me more than a few to get two right.


I also placed filler blocks inside the first couple of bulkheads, aft and bow. I used balsa wood. It was very helpful when it came to planking.  I strongly recommend it.



Hi Darrell, 


Thanks for the kind words.

And don't worry about those Browns, all teams get better. Just takes time, but when our teams are losing its tough.

It gets better......Hockey returns this week!

Looking forward to another Boston Bruins season.


I have been chewing on the idea about the extra filler blocks, and it just makes sense to do. It's logical.

I was looking at some balsa wood blocks at the local Michaels store and was so close to buying them. At least I know they have them and the next time I'm in town I'll make the investment.


I've started on the stern blocks and they look a bit chewed up but workable.

It's odd, I see my mistakes as I go but I find it enjoyable to think about what I've done, how to fix it, and then execute said fix.

They may not be the prettiest fixes tho!

I'll have an update shortly.


Tom E

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Started on the stern filler blocks. I used Onion Paper to transfer the dimensions to the blocks. 

I don't have a scroll or band saw, just yet - waiting on Admiral approval, so it was all done with a Dremel to remove the bulk of the material.

As seen below, we can easily see which was my first and second attempt.

As stumpy as Port side looks, its actually workable....well, will be.

I try to be very OCD when it comes to alignment. You can see the notched area, for the Arch board, on the bottom of the stern timbers aligns with the top of the filler blocks for the most part. Port side will need some love tho!

My build board has a slight left side lean, so its not helping the photo, but I think I have a way to make this work.

Since the timbers are there purely for reference, I'll plank around them. Some shims and creative sanding should help.   


It sounds good in my head.





The second attempt below, 





My first attempt below.

The blocks are still kinda thick by the bearding line, but that's by design.

They will get a good sanding when I start the overall fairing process.

Yes sir! I have a lot to learn and I love it!:D





Tom E




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I think I've made some good progress on the stern.

Below, you'll see I had to glue the Quarter Stanchions on top of the filler block. I think in the instructions and on other builds this was shaped and "hugged" the back of the filler block.

Couldn't do this. If I formed an hugged the filler block my stern it would have stuck out way to far. It just rubbed my craw for the longest time on what to do.

The stern would be about 2 inches thick, and seemed to wreck the scale. 

I decided to glue on top of the filler blocks. In doing this I could keep my quarter stanchions aligned to be used for planking.

The timbers are really just there as a guide for the where the open areas will be. 










A rear view with some supports installed.







The only bad thing about gluing the quarter stanchions on top of the filler blocks is it sent the curve, of what will be the main rail area, shooting straight up!

Need a ski lift to get the top of these things!!!!:huh:









I can fix this.





To be continued, 

Tom E


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Part 2 of the stern:

I removed the quarter stanchion supports.







Made some new supports and made them level with the top of the timbers and sanded down the corners.





Looking much better.

With continued sanding this will level out more.

All is starting to take shape and align......for the most part.






I don't think the curve shown below is true, the photo may be emphasizing it. 

In the flow of the ship, it works.

And with continued sanding it will come down. 








Tom E





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With the stern "in progress", thought I would start the waterways.

I ended up gluing the first two forward sections together, formed, and glued them in.

From the aft section I adjusted the length needed to complete the waterway into the stern.


I've heard stories of the waterways not being long enough. Had plenty of length to play with, not a problem.

It was harder to do in my head than the actual operation.






Installed the waterways.

Kept the bowsprit in mind for final placement.











The supplied waterways were plenty long enough.

Simple adjustments at the very end, and they slid right in.


Seems an easy part of the ship.

That make me feel uneasy!!!!!!!!  :huh:

Wonder what I've forgotten, overlooked, or missed?!?!?!


What ever it is, It'll pop up somewhere down the line!





Tom E 





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Made a bit of progress. Finished the waterway, then a good overall sanding.

Moved onto the planksheer. I liked the cut of these pieces, they easily came out and clean up easily.

I decided, unlike the waterway, to install these one piece at a time, feeding off the lay of the previous piece.

Started on the starboard side. 









The end of the planksheer was worked over a bit and fit nicely.

A nice smooth run with well aligned gun port areas.

Fill have to fill some open areas around the bulkhead frames. 





Let this set up for a bit.

I'll tackle the port side sometime this week.

That "work" thing we have to do keeps getting in the way of my build!?!?!?:stunned:





The infamous gap has appeared between the edge of my planksheer and the edge of the bulkhead frames.

Not much, but enough to add to the "to do" list. 

I have plenty of scrap to fill these in. They all need it. 




Tom E






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An afternoon in the Shipyard, because the chores are done early, a fresh hot cup of tea, and playoff baseball on the TV.

Could it get any better?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Well, I suppose if the Red Sox had won, then yes it would be better. But as we say...."There's always next year!


Time for a Niagara update.

Finished the port side planksheer. Plenty of length, adjusted at the stern and fit nicely.











Alignment is good. Plenty to work with here.

Time to start sanding, and filling the gaps at the bulkheads.






Similar to the waterways, the planksheer needed some adjustment at the stern, and they fit easily.

All gun port holes align well as compared to the plans. 




The Yard Boss, Gordon, likes the look of these.

Just looks at me and says "start sanding".

He's a hard drivin moose! Keeps a tight Shipyard.




Tom E




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This ship has teeth!  Almost looks appropriate for Halloween!


I installed the front timbers.

As you can see, I made them a lot longer than needed and then trimmed.

I think they came out pretty well.

Admittedly, used ALOT of glue on these things. I anchored these things very well to the bow fillers.










These will get a better profile as I continue to fair the bulwarks.








I did like the pre cut fillers for the front timberheads. It gave me a gauge for the overall curve of the bow.

the alignment of the timberheads where based off of these and the overall shape of the ship.






With what will be the bowsprit, this is starting to look like a ship!!

You start to get a better sense of the size of this ship.






Every time I see it, I'm still astounded at how straight my keel came out.:dancetl6:










Tom E





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