Jump to content
Tom E

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

Recommended Posts


Quiet night, thought I would update from this weekends activities. 


I have tried to build a Binnacle, but it was a comedy of errors and ended up slicing my thumb. Not bad, but enough of a hint from the Universe to move on!  

Since the beginning I've been trying just to follow the plans. I know there not very accurate but I'm learning with this kit.

Hopefully in future builds, with some added experience, I can add some nice touches. 


I continued piecing the Main Topmast Crosstrees together. 

Really kept an eye on the alignment.

The Futtock Shroud holes were drilled prior to gluing. 


Brass strips were added. 


Chocks have been installed. 

These will get a good sanding to bring down there size and a nice smooth edge for Shrouds.

As of tonight, It has a coating of Primer and will dry for a few days.  


The masking tape finally came off of the Bootstrap. 

Not bad for my first one! 


It's a bit wonky, but I can work with it. 

Touch ups will certainly help. 

I used Tamiya masking tape. Not one piece of black paint was pulled up. Worked really well. 


The Main Rail is slowly being painted. 

In the below pic, you may see where I've had to start. 

Looking at the Cannon ports, the top portion of the ports specifically, the underneath needs to be painted first.

I think I'll get better results If I paint the underneath and edges first, then the top of the rail. 


Thanks for watching!


Tom E 



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


A quiet night at home, Red Sox on the TV, time for an update.


The Catheads were finished off with the brass rods. 

These were blackened with Birchwood-Casey. They were such a good fit, I used no glue.

If they slip later on, I'll add a dab of CA.


The eyebolts are glued in. 

I may add the Bullseyes to the 3 eyebolts facing the Bowsprit before installing, just feels logical. 


The Main Topmast was primed. 

After the Main Topmast, all that's left is the Main Topgallant/Royal mast to build. 

Then the Yards will be started after that.

While the Yards are being built, I hope to be at a stage where I'm mounting Cannon and furniture to the deck. 

Rigging after that?!?!?!?!?    😨



After a good dry, It has it's coat of buff. 

As much as I'm trying to stay away from the Buff paint, I'm still using it for the masts.

In my little mind, I was thinking if they were dark colored masts, the rigging will just blend right in and be hard to see. 

The very top and bottom will still be black. 


I started shaping the Mooring Chocks. 


These weren't too bad, but a good pair of reading glasses were needed!

These will be painted black. 


The Main Rail also had it's first coat of black. 

With successive coats, the paint "lines" coming from the underneath should get covered.


Tom E 





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Thought I would update. 


A lot of painting going on recently.

Thought I would focus on the Anchors while other things dry. 


A while back I decided to use wood for the anchors. 

The metal ones from the kit can be used, but I just didn't like the look. 


Anchors were primed, the wood was stained. 

I kept the stain the same color as the deck furniture and Catheads.

Its called "Early American" and is just a tick darker then the stain used on the deck.

Hopefully provide a pleasing contrast. 


Starting to come together. 


I've seen this trick else where.

Used card stock for the straps on the wood. 

Wouldn't even call it "card stock".....I took a chunk from a manila folder. :ph34r:

They were "painted" black with a Sharpie. 


A tiny smear of CA glue and they easily attached. 

I was surprised to see little to no soak thru from the CA glue.


Each strip was slowly worked around then trimmed where they met. 


The Sharpie black works really well with the stain of the wood. 

I'm really happy with the way the "card stock" trick worked. This was my first attempt at using it. 


There not quite finished, but below you can start to see where I'm going with them. 

They need to be attached, then a ring for the top.

I've seen others wrap the wire ring with rope. I plan on doing the same, it's a nice touch.

What's a good gauge wire for the ring?


Long holiday weekend coming up, and I have absolutely no plans.

I see the normal chores getting done early, and some serious time in the Shipyard!


Tom E 



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



   I know you are not there yet, but when you get there I have a suggestion for the brace blocks that go near the end of the yard arms on the course, top sail and top gallant. I used line (Syren .012 or .008) for stropping the blocks and the pendant that holds the block a short distance off the yard. I would recommend using wire to strop these blocks and for the pendant. What happened to me is that in the course of running the brace lines through the blocks it introduced twist (more accurately more twist) to the lines that I had a devil of a time keeping the lines to the blocks from twisting, even when I put as much tension as I dared on them. If you used wire I think this would at least reduce the problem if not eliminate it.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


On the couch, cold drink on the end table, Red Sox playing the Yankees at Fenway on the tube.

Thought I'd share an update. 



I took a look at the tip you gave. Your right, It's a few steps before I get there, but I see what you mean.

With the wire it should give the piece some "backbone" and limit the twist.

I should be starting Yards soon.  


I started the Main TG/Royal Mast. 

I start by marking off certain features then start shaping.  


If you look at the plans, I mark the date of when I started a certain piece. 

Don't know why, Just do. 

But, Sadly, It's taken a year from when I started the Fore TG/Royal to when I started the Main TG/Royal.

Little bit of a snails pace here!!!!


Oh well, no rush.  :)


Generally start to cut in certain features, then continue to slowly shape/sand. 

Having no belt sander, lathe, or the like, It's all by hand. 


Always checking the fit with the Main Top Mast. 


She's still a bit rough, but will slowly smooth out into its final shape. 


I now have a full compliment of masts!

Little bit of a milestone in my head. 


The board for the masts should prove invaluable when I start rigging. 


Thanks for watching!


Tom E 




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I found shaping the tagalants  very trying. I forget how many I made but more than two! I’d either make them wrong or break them while trying to taper them. It’s one of those things where I wonder if it wouldn’t be easier doing it full scale. Particularly at the very top of the mast, shaving it thinner and thinner and saying to myself “this is where it will break one day if it’s too thin”.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I only broke one! 

But luckily it was the very first one and I learned that lesson quick. Was real careful with the rest. 


Knowing my luck, I figure I'll snap one when rigging.


Tom E 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Hot cup of coffee in hand, the house is quiet, thought I'd share an update. 


Well, the below pic should look familiar to all builders.

That horrible snapping noise as you know your putting too much pressure on a piece. 

I was lucky tho!


I was able to kind of "wrap" the wood stock around the metal shank. with some CA glue it firmed up nicely.

In the below pic, the left anchor, just below the ring you can see where the 2 pieces meet.

Not too bad, I can live with it. When I hang it, I'll keep that seam out of sight. 


I used some 24G wire to form the rings. 


I dabbled with the idea of wrapping the rings with a Tan rope.


I decided to stick with a black rope for the rings. 


A little lumpy, but acceptable. 

I'm going to lightly brush some black paint to calm down some of the shine. 

Not much, but just enough. 


I'm calling these done. 


I cant believe that I've been on this build for two years!!!!!!

Never did I think I would keep at it. 

The below is a little walk thru history. :rolleyes:


Two years ago. 


One year ago. 



I may not be the fastest builder, but I like what I see so far.


Thanks for watching!


Tom E 




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Masts and anchors look great. But in your last picture I have realised how successful is your deck floor! Outstanding.


I notice you got your rope from germany. I bought my rope also from Marx. Very good quality and reasonable price. Do you wax it? How do keep the rope together after cutting it? I use  cyanoacrylate glue.



Edited by MESSIS

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the kind words gentlemen. :cheers:


No pics yet, but I started the Channels today. Harder in my head than in practice. May have the Starboard side done this weekend.



That rope is from Syren Ship Model Co. The stuff is amazing.

I've dealt with rope unwrapping after you cut it, but not this product.

There is some unwrap, but if I need to sharpen up an edge, I use CA as well.


Tom E  


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Hope everyone is well. Work does continue on the Niagara. Not as much as I like though. 


Been busy with friends and family.  Fall in Northern New England tends to attract visitors! 


In between road trips, I started working on the Channels.

Started with the Fore Starboard Channel.  


I used some Tamiya making tape to mark off where they will be installed. 

This saved me from constantly checking and re-checking the plans.

Inner edge from one piece of tape to the other inner edge. 


I also installed some wire for added strength when it is finally installed. 

The final wire pieces will be trimmed. 


The Channels will first be installed as one unit. 

Then, Using some rope acting as a shroud, I want to mark where the Deadeyes should be.

I want to see where they lay before I start making divots for the wire stropping. Make sure they have a pleasing angle and don't lay in front of a cannon. 


Once the Deadeyes are installed. The Keeper strip will be installed. 



Holes were marked and drilled for the wire pieces.

Should add some strength to it......hopefully!!!!!

I REALLY don't want these pulling out when finally rigged. 


Was on a roll and started the Aft Starboard Channel as well. 


They were generally shaped to the curve of the ship.

Then shaped further to match the curve of the ships rail. 



Tom E 




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Hope everyone is well and busy in their Shipyards.  

There's a chill in the air, must be Fall. Probably the best time to build, I think. 


I really knuckled down and started the Rudder. The outside/hull of the ship is basically done. 

Some paint touch ups and I'll be ready to install said rudder. 


I think I learned the below trick from the 18th Century Longboat kit. 

Drill some basic holes for small bits of wire. 


Then wrap the brass piece around the wood. Gives it a nice footprint for the glue. 

Sand it back into shape, get rid of the glue tracks, and its ready for primer, then black paint. 


Looks like one of them tall fellas on Easter Island!?!?    but that could just be me!:huh:


In the below pic, several things going on. 

Rudder has its coat of primer. The Tiller I stained the same shade as the deck Furniture.

The piece on the far right is improvisation. 

The rear end of my ship is not steep enough to fit the Rudder stock and go thru the body of the ship. 


Instead the Rudder will be glued in a natural angle below, but wont go all the way up thru to the deck. It cant.

The round wood stock will be glued in the rudder hole in the deck. The Tiller will be attached to this piece. 

"Appearing" to be connected to the rudder below.

I may add a piece of wire inside "connecting" the rudder to the post. 


Its the best fix I've come up with for said problem. 


I have started the Main and Fore Course Yards.

Essentially tease the Yards out of the dowels. The dowels supplied were quite good. Very little warp, and what is there I can work with.

They'll look waited down if I do it just right.


I have no lathe. Mostly by hand.

Just sandpaper and a mini Dremel, which actually helps quite a bit. 


Once the basic length is there, mark the smaller landmarks, like where the Octagon shape is.

Then start shaping. 

If your not paying attention they can get wonky, but so far so good. 



Tom E 



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


    I too am lathe-less so rather than use the kit dowels (mine had significant warps/bends) I started with square stock. I tapered the square stock to get close to the desired dimension (taking into account that the square cross-section has to be bigger than the desired round diameter - I actually passed high school geometry) then using a jig to hold the square stock with the edge up I used sanding sticks (actually tongue depressors with sand paper glued on) to make it eight sided then further sanding to get it round where required. 


   It was easier than I expected and it was much easier (for me) to taper the square section wood evenly and it gets the eight sided areas in the process. Trying to make something eight sided from round sounds difficult (to me).

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Quiet night at home, Bruins game on TV, time for an update. 



I have seen that method with the square stock. I did ponder on that approach but stuck with the kit dowels.

I lucked out, they were relatively straight. Very little warp. 

Although, shaping has been deliberate and a slog so far. Trying not to remove too much at once. 

Should have some pics soon. 


Other things have been worked on while shaping Yards.  

Been doing a lot of painting lately. Mostly black. 


I did install the Starboard side Channels. 

Not too shabby!


They curve pleasantly with the curve of the Main Rail...…..for the most part :rolleyes: 

With these in place, I can temporarily install the Main or Foremast. Then start marking where the Deadeyes and support chains go. 

After the Deadeyes are located and rigged, just prior to installation, the Channels and Main Rail will get there last coat of black paint. 


The Port side Channels should be installed by tomorrow. 

Support bars underneath need to be added. 

There will be a keeper strip of wood at the end of each Channel. 



Tom E 




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Jesse, 


That's Model Expo paint. The Niagara paint set they sell. 

This bottle is probably more water than paint buy now.  Incredibly thick in the beginning, needs lots of water to thin it out.

I've been using the same bottle over a year now, just keep adding water.   


Just need an extra coat or two. 


Tom E 


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Had the day of from work today...….did some building!

I don't know how many cups of coffee!

Wishing I was in New Bedford for the NRG Conference. I'll get to one eventually ;)


I'm constantly studying the plans looking for blocks and things to install, we all probably do it. 

I noticed on my Fore Topmast that I had installed the 1/8 single blocks for the Leech lines, but, also needed a 5/32 single block each side for the Topsail Course Yard truss. 


Below is the original way I rigged it.

I haven't rigged the Main Topmast with its blocks yet. What I learn here will be translated to the Main Topmast. 


So, I stropped four 1/8 single blocks and two 5/32 single blocks. 

All Syren blocks and rope. 


I managed to place a healthy order with Syren for Black rope when they stopped making it. 

Should have more than enough for the Niagara.


The usual process. 


I stripped off the old ones.

While I was stripping the blocks, I ended up giving the entire mast a good going over with a mini Dremel and some sand paper. 

It needed to be thinned out big time!

Fresh coat of paint as well. 


Then started re-installing the blocks as I have interpreted them.


Is this correct?


It's tight, but looks right for what will be in this area of the ship. 

I angled the blocks kind of away from each other, so that If I do actually rig these things, I might have a snowballs chance in heck!

The holes in the blocks were cleaned out really well prior to being stropped. 


The Main and Fore Course yards continue.

I think I lucked out with dowels. I have heard about some warped dowels in these kits.

These don't seem to bad. The camera puts more curve to them then they actually have.  

Or maybe my rookie eyes just don't see it yet!!! :huh:


Measurements were taken from the plans. 

I managed to sand in the square section in the middle. I may keep this square for now.

Sand in the octagon shape once other things are installed. 

Jackstay eyebolts and small chocks will be next.


Thanks for lookin!


Tom E





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


I'm having one of those weekends where more ship building gets done than chores.

Good times, good times!


Since I'm spending all this time in the Shipyard, an update is needed.


The Fore and Main Course Yards have been marked for the Jackstay eyebolts. 

All transferred from the plans. 

The camera seems to add 10lbs to the Yards. <_<    They just don't look this beefy in person!


A series of holes, then kit supplied small eyebolts. 

I figured I would use these for all the Yards.

I can make eyebolts, but they would not look as uniform.


Drill em and fill em!

Both sides. 

Chocks and other items will be added, a good final sanding, then off to the paint shop. 


I also finished re-installing the blocks on the Fore Topmast.

I'll do the same for the Main Topmast next.  

The smaller blocks, I think, are used if I rig it with sails. Since I'm not, these may not even be used. 

To thread them would be near impossible. I left some wiggle room though.   



Tom E





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Chores are done, nothing on TV, time for an update. 


I've installed all of the hardware for the Main and Fore Course Yards. 

These received a good sanding.  As of tonight, they have a coat of primer. Eventually they will be all black. 


A little bit of a milestone for me.

Shrouds have appeared! I've never been this far with a build before!


Granted, there not the real shrouds that will eventually be strung, but it looks cool!


I used kit supplied rope for the fake shrouds. It's approximate to the same size Syren rope that will be used in the end. 

These can be re-used for all the Channels. 


Below shows, what should be, good clearance on the inside of the Shrouds. 

I cant remember off the top of my head, as I'm writing this, if the Hammock rails go under the Shrouds. 


They were anchored down with Tamiya masking tape. 

Worked as well as one would expect. 


Then lined up in there sensible locations. 

Keeping in mind spacing, not blocking portals, and the like. 


Small nick marks were made where the Deadeyes will be installed. 

A keeper strip will cover this eventually. 


Tom E 




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Did some work earlier today, so small update tonight. 


The Shipyard is now officially closed for the Patriots game! 


Below, all four Channels are now installed.


Not too shabby.

Some have "tick" marks for the Deadeyes. There not broken. 

I've held off of the final coat of black paint for the Main Rail and Channels until all Deadeyes and other hardware have been located. 

Plus, should cover some glue stains!:ph34r: 


Build the Starboard side front Pin Rails.

I plan on painting these red as per the plans. 


These were more difficult in my head. 

The Pins are tight, but tight enough where the woods not stressed. 


Go Pats! 


Tom E 



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


I cant believe its been over a month since I last posted! Sheesh....life does get one distracted from the build. 

But it's been a good distraction, I'm buying a house!!!!!

It's a small place on Mascoma Lake in Lebanon NH. Since it's just me these days, this will be my "retirement" home. Should be paid off by the time I retire, if not earlier. 

The closing is scheduled for December 19th. That means I'll have to shut down the Shipyard.

But, with the space I have at the new place, I should have a pretty sweet model shop.

I have funds set aside already to set it up with a quality workbench and airbrush set up.

Cant wait!!!!


Any who....

Back to Niagara



The Main and Foremast Course yards are painted.

The eyebolts need the paint cleaned out of them.


The eyebolts will be rigged with rope, then the foot ropes. 


I also added the two inner double blocks for the Course Yard Truss on the underside on the Main and Fore tops. 

The outer two blocks are the Buntline blocks. 


Below is the final income. 

The blocks for the Truss have not been glued in yet. 

I have a suspicion it will be easier the rig the blocks before gluing and I'm not at that point yet. 


The Pin rails continue. 

Below are the rear Starboard rails.

The front pinrails are currently being painted red, as will these. 

Port side rails will be next. 



Tom E 



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Thought I would share un update, may be a while until my next. As of today, the Shipyard has been shut down, packed up and ready to bug out.

I close on a new house this coming Thursday.     Of course, the Shipyard will be moved first...…..of course..:ph34r:;)..…..carefully, slowly, in the car, with a lot of towels/blankets!!!!

The rest of the apartment goes in the truck on Friday. I've been thinning out the inventory of old useless junk we all seem to accumulate thru life.  

I'll be essentially starting out with a new canvas. New couch, bedrooms, it already has a new kitchen with all new appliances. 


This is my first house, quite the process. 

I do however plan on having, what looks to be, a nice build area. But until I'm truly in there, I wont know. Dimensions, right work table, lighting, etc. 


Any who......

The Niagara does continue, this and maybe one more update, and I'll be completely up to date. 


The Fore and Main Yard Jackstay eyebolts have been rigged, with a simple collar where they meet in the end, nothin fancy. 

Using .12 Syren rope. 


They line up fairly well. 

I scraped away the paint that ended up in the bolts.  I think they look fine as is. 

On other builds I will consider blackening these. 


Chunky looking Landyard in the middle......what can I say, it was my first....still learnin! :huh:


Both the Main and Fore mast Yards where done at the same time. I'll do the same when I start the Topmast Yards. 

Slow and steady at a comfortable pace. 


With all the Channels finally in place, I finished marking where my Chain plates/deadeyes will be. 

Below, Starboard rear. 

These are just the faux shroud ropes I've used before, kit supplied rope actually. Syren rope will be used for the final product. 


Port rear

I used paper towel in the Main mast slot to firm/tighten things up and gain the correct rake, and be able to maintain it while I fiddled with things. 


Port front

The Fore mast didn't need the paper towel in the mast slot.

It sits really well on its own. 


Thanks for watching!


Tom E 



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Let the building begin!!!!!! 


I have successfully moved into my new home! There was little blood shed! :cheers:🏁

With the move behind me, the Shipyard begins to take shape.

I think I have it in a spot that works. Behind the screen is a large bay window. Oddly, It has two small side windows that open.

One of those windows has been ear marked as a vent for an airbrush vent system. Most likely right where the trunk is on the floor. 


I cant wait to dig my teeth back into Niagara. I've got the modeling itch something fierce!



I still have camp chairs as furniture for now. 

A new sofa and recliner are in my near future. 

These flags will eventually be replaced with more permanent fixtures.     I see a ships wheel clock in my future!!!!!! 😮

My cable TV was set up just in time to see the Bruins lose, then the Patriots lost......what the heck!?!? 


Oh well...….

It's great to be back on MSW and should have updates soon.


Tom E


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Tom - it's been a long time since I checked in with you. Wow - moving the shipyard, I can't imagine. What a headache. Glad it seems to be working out and falling into place. Will try to keep closer tabs with you and your Niagara.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Happy new year Tom, happy ship building in your great new shipyard!


Looking forward for your new work.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



Mike, Christos, as always, glad to have you looking in. Happy New Years to you and yours as well!


With the move to the new place finally settling down, Niagara has come back to life!


I dove back into the build with some rope work. 

With the Main Yards built, they needed the Footropes and Stirrups. 

These are fiddly little things! You sneeze once.....and you have to start all over....true story! 


I started by hanging the Stirrups. As long as they were long enough, they posed no problem to work around. 


The Footropes were strung next. 

All the ropes are Syren .012 black (if I'm remembering correctly) 


I'm having a tough time to get the length of the Stirrups just right, so no finished shots of the Main Yards yet.

Hopefully soon. 


Deck work on the ship itself has begun again. 

It seems every time I look at the plans, there's always something else to make and install, bloody amazing! 


Started by getting some Deadeyes installed. 

Easy enough, open up a large enough slot and they slid right in.....mostly!

The Deadeyes are wrapped with a 23G wire that creates the loop on the end. I'll get more in depth with the Deadeyes soon. 


Thanks for watchin!


Tom E 



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
  • Create New...