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Tom E

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

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Hey Tom - Great color on your deck. Maybe I didnt see it as well in previous pix. re the anchor line, Enterprise (my current build) just has holes drilled thru the deck a few inches back from the hawsers and maybe 1/2" on either side of the centerline. The holes are dressed up a little with a square piece of 1/8"stick maybe 3/8"x3/8". Cut those, maybe round the edges a little and glue on top of the deck holes. Obviously the hole has to go thru those as well. I used a walnut stick just to get a spot of contrast on the deck. If that doesnt make sense let me know and I'll post a pic for you.


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I really like that idea. It makes sense and in my head looks good.

What I may do is drill some holes in the deck right below where they would be on the hatch.

The below pic is a good example of that area.

I'm not in front of the plans right now for a better look, but should work.

Just have to make sure I don't foul up the Bowsprit area and it's needs.

Would it be wise to wait until the Bowsprit is fully installed before drilling? 




Tom E 




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Tom - the holes for Enterprise would be approx between your foremast & the forward hatch, so the anchor line does run a little ways down the deck. If you're using the big thick line I think it looks kinda cool for it to run down the deck a bit. I did end up gluing the rope to the deck as I could not get it lay perfectly flat. In your case I dont see the bits where the bowsprit will fasten to so its hard to say exactly where the best spot might be. You might be able to put the holes slightly in front of the forward hatch.

I think if it was me, I would go ahead and finish this item now. Once the bit is in place it might be harder to measure and get a drill in there. I forgot to mention in addition to the little piece of wood over the hole the Enterprise kit supplied two metal pieces that fit into the holes of the wood pieces. These metal pieces look just like the ones we put in the Niagara hawser - a very short piece of tube that is flared out on one end. It adds a nice touch. I think that piece can be found at craft stores.

Again, in the last photo too, your deck color is fantastic.

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Hope everyone is having a great night in the Shipyard.

Chores were done early, everybody fed and watered, Celtics on the TV.

Niagara continues. 



Appreciate the kind words on the deck.

Only one coat of pre-stain and Golden Oak needed. I deliberately left it bright.

Some of the deck Furniture has a darker stain to them which off sets it nicely, I think.

I'm trying to keep the deck furniture a bit darker, down playing the Buff paint when possible. 


Below I started building the Saloon Skylight.


Coamings are getting easier to make.


I placed these "frames" strategically.

The windows correspond to the gaps in between the "frames". 


Worked pretty well. 

I need to work on my window carving ability! :huh:


I sanded a gradual curve to the roof.


Came out pretty good.

Sanded up well.

Once this is painted I'll add the metal bars to the windows. 


I was thinking of painting the Coaming Red, the body Buff, but the roof I may use my dark stain. The same as my Fore hatch.

Again, trying to minimize the Buff paint.  


Stay warm,

Tom E 



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Looks good - I did not use any buff paint. If the instructions said buff I left it "bright". I also cheated on the deck furniture and moved the companionway aft and used grating in place of the salon and Capt skylights. Do not see how you could use the capstan with those structures as shown. They probably do not use it on the replica but I am trying to get what IMHO the Niagara might have looked like when built.

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I saw how you did that to the furniture, I really liked it. 

Seriously thought about changing the furniture to reflect that. It made sense. 

But, In the end, given my limited experience, I decided to just follow the plans I have in front of me.

I may adjust the overall sizes of things in that area, but nothing severe.


Tom E 


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It's coming along Tom. The one suggestion I have is use as few different colors/stains as possible. Keep a consistent tone with your structures. Use the same color for all frames, coamings, etc. - possibly even the roofs. Use the same color for all structure siding.

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Hope everyone is well.

Very limited time in the Shipyard lately. But, some small items were done.


I've really been making a push to finish the Bowsprit. 

I noticed I missed installing a few chocks on the Dolphin Striker. 


While the chocks were drying, I played with idea of tan rope for the lashings on the Bowsprit. 



Went against the tan rope. 

The below pic is a test wrap. I did the same with the tan, but for some reason never took a pic!🤨

It didn't work with the stain of the Jib boom and the black of the Bowsprit. 


The below 2pics are the finished product.

I'm happy with it.

According to the plans, the back lashings are wider then the front. 

The rope is glued underneath where no one should see it. Then wrapped like a fishing rod guide. 

I'm hoping to get the hearts for the Fore and Preventer Stays started this weekend. 


It dawned on me.....

Besides stropping blocks, this is the first use of rope/rigging on my ship!   It looks so cool!!

Little milestone in this builders head. 

There's a few miles more of rope to be strung!



Thanks for watching!

Tom E 


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Took a few days off from work. Been enjoying a lot of time building. 

As long as the coffee holds out, I'm a happy man! :dancetl6:

All the chores are done, and to the Shipyard I went!


I'm only going to show 1 pic of the Bilge pump.

It's pretty sad. I'm tempted to re-build it. I can live with it.....for now. 

It should get "lost" in the busy Main deck. 

I think it's the Buff color that gets me the most, I may change that.    Bulwark green maybe? Hmmmmmm…..


I started to bring together the parts for the Capstan. 



A little sanding and all fits well. 



That was pretty easy. 

I figure painting this little thing will be harder than building it. 


The Capstan, as well as the Saloon Skylight, went to paint. 

Trying to shy away from the Buff paint. The Saloon Skylight will have a stained roof,  Bulwark green sides, and red Coaming. 

The Capstan will be Black, Green, Red, with some Brass. 

The roof will be stained the same color as the Forecastle Hatch roof for continuity. 

Below is only after 1 coat of Green, I usually do at least 3, or more, coats. 


Tom E 



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Hope everyone is well. Small update tonight.


I finished the Salon Skylight.

As I mentioned before, I'd like to stay away from the Buff paint. I'm going forward with a darker color scheme.


I stained the roof an "Early American" from MinWax. The same stain as the Forecastle hatch. 


Just like the Forecastle Hatch, just a tick darker than the deck. 


Glued 28 gauge wire to the inside for the bars.


I think it came out ok. 


On a side note, I took advantage of a sale at Model Expo.

I originally was going to just buy some Bullseyes for Niagara.

That didn't happen! I took full advantage of the recent "scratch" sale. 

In the end tho, I saved $40.


I wanted to point out these tweezers I bought.

There "non-magnetized Black Oxidized" tweezers.

Not sure if all that means much to a wood medium, but I found these to be quite nice. 

They have a good weight in the hand, but not too heavy, and there fine points are superb. 

That's just this mans opinion.


Stay warm, 


Tom E 



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Black Oxized means they have gone thru a nitride heat treatment process.

Likely surface hardened to keep their gripping edge and nicer to look at.


A very good purchase.

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I didnt knew that I could get such tweezers. I bought more than a few things to stop magnetism on my tweezers with no success ofcourse.


thank you for letting us know.... nice of you!



Ps. Keep enjoying your build... your results are confirming it! Nice work. 

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Very quiet weekend here in New Hampshire.       It's been awesome!! 

Cleaned the house, went to the market....all done early on Saturday.

Sunday has been a lazy Sunday! 


I've lived off the left over donuts from this morning all day long....it's been great! :dancetl6:


There has been some work done in the Shipyard.

I installed the first of many Cleats on the Bulwarks. Just one, mostly as a walk thru for the rest of them. 

Using an old Model Master Wood paint for the color.

I really need to focus more on outfitting the deck. The deck furniture is almost done.


With the Saloon Skylight officially done, the Capstan off getting its paint, time to start the Companionway.

Never built anything like this before!

I decided to keep it simple as towards reinforcements on the inside. This thing has an opening in it, I have to account for that.


Most of my reinforcements goes up and under the roof.

You can see it just under the roof below.

That's where my opening ends.


Now I need to think a bit on the sliding contraption on top.

At this scale that's seems difficult.

I'll figure it out.


Had to include the below pic.

Sometimes you cant beat the view from the Shipyard.

Beautiful late winters morning, really starting to feel the angle of the sun. 

Feels great! Spring does eventually come!


Stay warm, 

Tom E 




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This Niagra looks great... I always figured it would be too much like The Syren but looking through your build log, I see there are wonderful differences. I recently finished Syren and am now well into The US Picket Boat #1. The Niagra and Syren are so pleasing to the eye that I may well get the Niagra in the future. I also want to pick out a nice long build like USS Constitution By MS. Keep up the great work!

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Thanks Sea Hoss, 

Niagara is a great kit. It has it's drawbacks, but , most kits do. Yet, it's manageable.

Being my first large build, it's made me learn things, yet it's forgiving.

I've noticed, and other Niagara builds have as well, they give you a lot of extra wood, more than usual. 

That helps.


I have the MS Constitution in my stash, the odd thing, I chose Niagara first. I though it would be quicker!  


I've been watching your Picket boat. That's a nice ship, great build. 


Tom E 


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Good day at work today, tomorrow is Friday, feelin good heading into the weekend.


Time for an update. 

I'm basically done with the Capstan, just needs some touch up's. 

Still staying with the darker color scheme.

I like it......it just needed something.....extra. 

Way in the back of my head an idea said to wrap some brass around the edges.

Just to give it a little shine. Don't know why, just thought it would look good.

It'll probably just blend into the deck to the casual observer.


Took a good length of extra strip brass and pre formed it around the edge first then glued. 


A little wobbly, but not bad. 


Then the top edge got its brass. 


I think it looks good. 

Really defines the edge of the Capstan. 

I may omit the star on top. I've tried hand painting it, stencil, straight edges.....everything and it looks horrible. 


Tom E 



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Hope everyone is well.  

Very little work on Niagara recently. Been sick as a witch the past few days.

I've lived of mugs of hot tea for the past 5 days. 

Really came on last Thursday, went to work on Friday......was promptly sent home!! Think I was on the clock for less than an hour.

Have not been that sick in 10+ years. More a fever than a flu.

Since I work in medicine, with patient contact, it's required that I get a flu shot. If it was a flu it would have been worse and longer. 


Any whoo…..


Feeling better, and thought I would update. All of below was done 2 weekends ago.

Hope to be back building soon.....the "building itch" has returned and I feel so behind!


I stropped and mounted the Bullseyes on the Bowsprit for the shrouds. 

I was wrapping the Bullseyes, when it dawned on me I don't need the clothes pin.


I do have a "3rd hand"!  Forgot all about it.

It really does help. 


The Bullseyes were wrapped separately then "tied" together strategically so it cant be seen well.

This maintained the Bullseyes in there final locations well.

A little CA glue really helped too! :ph34r: 


All black rope is .025 from Syren.  I'll use the same size rope for the actual Bowsprit shrouds.

The Lanyards will be .018 tan rope.  

As some may have noticed, Syren no longer makes black rope. 

Before they sold out I was able to get an order in that should finish the Niagara with plenty of extra for screw ups. 


The Bullseyes were bought from Model Expo.

The instructions have you drill out 1/8th Deadeyes to make Bullseyes.

That was a comedy! I must have ruined 20 trying a dozen different ways to do it. 

They just flaked apart, might have been dried out the way they crumbled.

Coating in CA glue before drilling didn't help. 

They should just include the Bullseyes with the kit.



Tom E 




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Thanks KHauptfuehrer, 

I appreciate the kind words. 

Bluejacket fittings never even crossed my mind. I'm a big fan of there products.

I'll definitely check them out in future builds.


I've been watching your Connie build. She looks great.

It's in my stash, but the Model Expo kit.

Lord knows when I'll get to it!


Tom E  

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I have been following your build with great interest. You’re doing a really fine job, clearly better than I’ve accomplished.   I’m building a scratch version (but, based on the Model Shipways Niagara plans) that I’m call  the Lawrence, and taking a lot of liberties with the appearance of the normal color schemes. 7BE8C73A-CE0F-486D-AB87-332C2EFE0612.thumb.jpeg.8a4f099247e6d2c9b751615b60f61fa3.jpeg

That aside, I have a question for you about your forceps post. As I’m getting into rigging, I am experiencing frustration with the forceps I use ( they are on the bench of the pic above). I find that as I squeeze harder on the legs, ( which occurs whenever the manipulation of a line becomes more detailed) the tips of the legs of the finer pair part, usually releasing their grip on the lines, especially if working with fine thread ( like on the ratlines). I don’t think I’m unreasonably heavy handed, but maybe so. I was wondering if you have experienced anything like that with the set you mentioned. If those forceps are immune to this deficiency, I know I’ll be getting a pair. 


Again, really enjoy you log. Hope you soon overcome that bug. 

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14 hours ago, Srodbro said:

I find that as I squeeze harder on the legs, ( which occurs whenever the manipulation of a line becomes more detailed) the tips of the legs of the finer pair part, usually releasing their grip on the lines, especially if working with fine thread ( like on the ratlines)

I'm having the same problem Steve. I have a set that looks the same I got off ebay and they do this all the time. Mine might be a cheaper version of the ones Tom has.



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Steve, Jesse, 

Thanks for looking in. 

As towards those forceps, I have not experienced that with these. 

With that said tho, they are brand new and haven't been used as much and still pretty tight. 

Will they be like that after a year or so of use, well see. 

I do have older forceps that do that, but they are made of fine/thin stainless steel and feel flimsy compared to the new ones. 


Tom E 

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Time for an update, albeit a small one. 


Work continues on the Companionway.


Below, is my first attempt at the bits above the opening.

Grossly out of scale, way to thick and tall!


Below is the comparison of first try, on the left, and my second attempt, on the right.

A lot better.

The sliding cover will basically rest on the companionway itself. Should still be able to slide it.


Its a work in progress!


As of tonight, its out for painting.

The roof will be stained, green middle, and red coaming. Same as the rest of the deck furniture. 

The sliding cover will be stained with the bits holding it painted black.

In my head it looks nice, we'll see what comes out the end!



Tom E 



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Tom - what type of paint are you using (the green)? Seems like your first coat always comes out kinda light. The other structure was the same way. Are you priming first?


re: forceps - I have the set you have and have never had an issue with them releasing what they hold. A few notes on that - 1. The very fine pointed tweezers are not the best choice for working with rope for that very reason. 2. Based on Sam's picture, be careful when squeezing them, as the "elbows" eventually come in contact with each other and all the squeeze pressure gets transfered to them rather than to the tips. 3. Make sure there is a slight concave bend to the area right before the points to keep the points touching but nothing else.

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It's the Model Expo Bulwarks green, part of the Niagara paint set.

I do prime everything. 



The weak paint is probably all me.

A few days back, the green was getting low and becoming mud like in the bottle. 

So I added some water to loosen it up, thin it out a bit. Try and stretch out the bottle a bit. 

I may have gone a bit to far. It's thin, and it takes a few coats before its acceptable. 

I have a fresh bottle ready to go, may crack it open sooner than later.


Tom E 

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Hope everyone is well. Had a nice quiet weekend with some building done. 

But more importantly...…….taxes are done, signed, and accepted!


I did several things over the weekend, but I did a lot for the Companionway. 

The paint scheme is coming together, and the roof has its stain. 


The small bits for the slider are cut.

The ends will get painted black. 


All glued in.

They seem to have a curve downward, but there straight to the roof.

Shouldn't pose a problem. 

I will "plug" the ends of the 2 bits for the slider with tiny scrap pieces of wood glued in, then painted. 


I also stained the piece that will eventually become the slider. Same stain as the roof itself. 

This will eventually get cut and sanded to shape. Then some bars in the windows.


I also started laying out the Coamings for the Captains Quarters.

It starts with a box. 


Tom E 



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Quiet Saturday night, cup of Tea in hand...time for an update. 

I've had limited building this past week. The old Sciatic nerve decided to pay visit.

Hurt like a bugger! But went to work all week! :huh:?!?!??


Finished the Companionway. 

I think It came out well. 


I stayed with my darker color scheme. 

Should look good when it all comes together...….somewhere in the future!

A thought, with my darker color scheme throughout the build, what should I do for the Main rail?

Paint or stain, I'm thinking stain it the same color as the deck furniture, or, it will just get painted black.

No buff!


Added some bars to the inside as well. 


I have the Port side fitted with its Cleats. 

Using an old bottle of Model Master Wood paint for color. 

They do get a sanding. 


The Starboard side will get it's cleats sometime this weekend, hopefully. 


I figure after cleats I'll start identifying where eyebolts go next. There are a few in the Waterway.

Some eyebolts I wont put in until much later in the build. 


Once the tiny bits are in I want to shift to the Catheads and Channels. 


Tom E 




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Tom - check the plans. Recheck the plans and recheck the plans. Identify  all that bulwark hardware and get it in NOW! Once the guns & tackles are in place it's almost impossible to put in eyebolts and the like.

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