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King of the Mississippi by drobinson02199 - FINISHED -- Artesania Latina - 1:80


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Well, day 1 of the build and I've already made my first doofus move.  I wasn't being careful and had the plywood sheet flipped over relative to the key sheet, and took the wrong frames out and glued them to the fore part of the false keel -- using CA glue.  Fortunately, discovered the mistake about 30 minutes in and was just barely able to knock the frames off -- but not before the last "knock" broke the false keel into two pieces as shown in the first pic.

 

The fix was to assemble the two halves of the false keel, the frames, and the bottom board simultaneously -- so that the bottom board aligned the two halves and also created structural strength.  All fine again.

 

On reflection, assembling frames, false keel and bottom board at the same time is the way to go, so that the frames can be properly aligned (and necessary tab sanding done as you go), but with other ships I've built it was false keel and frames first, so that was the reflex.  Need to slow down and look ahead.

 

Regards,

David

Keel1.jpg

Keel2.jpg

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Here's the finished hull with side bulkheads.  I fitted the deck (not shown) before attaching the bulkheads, as it's easier at that point to sand down the frames and make sure the tabs fit properly, and the deck seats properly.  It also helps with positioning the slanted piece in the stern.

 

Regards,

David

Hull2.jpg

Hull1.jpg

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Chris:

 

The main deck, which is the largest outside dimension of the boat, is 25" long by 5" wide.  The hull is a bit shorter and narrower.  There is, however, a boom that hangs off the bow, and I don't have a fix on how much total length that would add.

 

The box says almost 26" wide by a bit over 5" wide by almost 12" high.

 

Regards,

David

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I have finished planking the main deck and have mounted it to the hull.  Will wait on penciling in nailheads until I finish hull planking and varnish all of this first assembly.

 

It will be interesting to see how the hull planking works.  I have rounded the corners where the bottom meets the side bulkhead, and maybe with some steam I can curl the planks around that to create a smooth transition.  That's what the pictures in the manual look like (sort of -- it's hard to tell).

 

Regards,

David

 

Deck1.jpg

Deck2.jpg

Deck3.jpg

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Chris:

 

The deck pattern was like that in the instructions.  They called for 10 cm strips staggered.  I staggered them, but instead of a 5 cm offset I ended up with 4 and 6, which I continued.  I say "ended up" because it started with a measurement error, and so I just continued it.  Looks OK to my eye -- but I tend to forgive myself a lot when I mess up.

 

At least one of the upper decks calls for a herringbone pattern.

 

I've started the hull planking, and it's actually kind of tricky.  Unlike sailing ship hulls which have a continuous vertical curve, the sides and bottom form a right angle, and the trick is to get that transition without leaving any space or a rough looking corner.  I've done one side and the approach I used was to plank the side first with an overhang past the bottom, then lay in bottom strips against the overhang and sand down the overhang.  Looks good -- pics will follow when I finish and get the first coat of varnish on.

 

Regards,

David

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Hey Dave, for what its worth, my mail from a few guys who really know a lot about these boats, (Cathead, Kurt) reckon nearly everyone of these boats had a painted hull. Either white or black. But predominately white. I am currently building the Sergal Mississippi Riverboat 1:50 (big SOB), the box art depicts her with a varnished hull, which I really like. However, after discussions with the above 2 members I decided to paint the hull white. Looks really good I reckon. Also it allows for the addition of a bit of filler between planks if you need to. Varnishing, whilst giving a beautiful natural finish is far less forgiving.

 

Also I have seen one of your current models complete at a show near where I live. The herring bone deck looks really nice I must say. If I build this model I would definitely go for this look on the uppers.

 

Chris

 

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Chris:

 

Thanks for this.  I have a real weakness for the look of a natural varnish on the hull.  If you look at my Revenge, just completed, you'll see that I didn't paint the bottom half of the hull white (as specified) because I love the natural look.  I'm reminded of a post I read a while back that said "It's a model ship, not a piano", but I'm still a sucker for that look.

 

Thanks,

David

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I have now completed the hull planking.  Pictures after the first coat of varnish are below.

 

I think I'm going to like this boat and like building it, but I have to say that I'm not completely happy with how the walnut hull turned out.  The wood Artesania Latina provides for this is flimsy, and chips easily.  More comments on the kit itself in the next post.

Hull 1.jpg

Hull 2.jpg

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This kit requires some self-defense.  When I started building the deck structures , I noticed that the forward one didn't fit the tab slots in the main deck.  So before I finished gluing it, I looked at the alignment of the deck structure tabs to the second deck.  It turns out that the first and second deck tab slots are out of line.  You can see it in the pic below.  What I'll need to do is sand that tab down so the forward structure can lie flush, with the rear lower tab engaged.  When the rear structure is mounted and the forward one lies as you see it, the second deck fits perfectly (see picture).

 

I'm not sure how AL got this wrong.  While I'm on the subject of the kit, I've had to carefully inventory all of my wood, because AL doesn't provide much if any spare wood, and I needed to make sure I had enough.  I'm short of one of the wood types, but I have spares from other kits I have finished so I think I'm OK.  But the wood quality and quantities in this kit are nowhere near what I had in the Amati Revenge.  On the other hand, the kit didn't cost much.

 

So a heads up on this to others who may build this, and I will continue to look ahead to ensure fit as I build this.

 

Regards,

David

 

Misfit_1.jpg

Misfit 2.jpg

Misfit_3.jpg

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Antony:

 

I hadn't thought of the height vs. draft -- in the Navy they taught us the "center of buoyancy" vs. "center of mass".   Get the center of mass above the center of buoyancy and she flips over.  Looking at this hull and the superstructure, they must have just had tons of lead ballast in that hull to keep the center of mass low.  Makes sense -- shallow draft for the river.

 

Regards,

David

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These boats generally carried no ballast other than cargo, and were stable even when unloaded. The center of mass is provided by the very heavy machinery (boilers, engines) on the main deck and the fact that the superstructures were generally very lightly built. The hull framing was generally oak (as opposed to superstructure of pine) which also adds to the lower center of mass. They would be very unstable in any real open water, but even the widest stretch of the Mississippi didn't have a long enough fetch to really generate significant waves (and any real waves would break their back anyway, as these boats lacked a true keel and were designed to flex longitudinally). A heavily-loaded riverboat could have its deck a few inches above the water and be safe to operate. That being said, a good severe windstorm or tornado could flip one of these, but by that point the wind had probably torn the lightweight superstructure apart anyway. It was an operational hazard.

 

On the color, the real things were certainly painted, but there's definitely nothing wrong with the varnished look from an artistic perspective. I think it looks good on models, too. And it's especially appropriate for a kit like this, which doesn't exactly strive for historical accuracy, so there's no loss in making it look really nice.

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For the engine room doors, the kit calls for acetate windows, scored then painted and wiped off (so I assume the black paint stays in the scored lines but wipes off the rest).

 

Acetate for model windows and I have never gotten along well.  I seem to get it scratched or smudged or dirty, and then over time it collects dust.

 

So instead, I used some leftover wire from an earlier model to make barred windows.  Back and front shown below.  It turned out as I had hoped, and I like the look.  I know that the wires aren't perfectly straight (hard to get that from an old coil), but from a normal viewing distance I think it will be OK.

 

Regards,

David

Door1.jpg

Door2.jpg

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Hi David.

Yeah they look just fine.

A lick of black on the bars will finish it.

 

To straighten wire that is bent.  Not spring wire.

Cut the wire to length. Place it on a hard surface. Use another hard surface on top and roll the wire. You can tell then it has been straightened.

 

Regards Antony.

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Antony:

 

Thanks for the tip on straightening.

 

I thought about painting the bars black, but even though it's not probably historically accurate (or even good modeling technique), I like the look of a bit of brass on these models.  In the pictures in the manual, the hinges on the double doors in the boiler room are left unpainted brass -- so I figured I can leave these brass as well.

 

Regards,

David

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The first level structures are complete and mounted on the deck.  A few construction comments:

  • I noted above my use of wire mesh vs. acetate on the doors.  Antony UK -- thanks for the wire straightening tip.  Worked great and the other 3 doors look much better.
  • Re the horizontal windows you see in the detail picture:  I aligned the two long pieces and drilled them together before mounting them.  That gave me aligned vertical holes for the pins.
  • The doorknobs on the small doors are actually leftover bollards from the Revenge  that I cut off.  The instructions seemed to call for the same thing as is on the hinged doors, and I thought that would look off on these, so I improvised.
  • Re the hinged doors:  the instructions actually call for creating working hinges by folding over the hinge you see and using two, with a pin.  I tried it and couldn't get it right, so since I don't care about working doors I just used 1/2 hinge as you see, and it looks fine to me.

The rear structure for the paddlewheels isn't varnished yet, and I want to put nails in for looks.

 

I've started on the second deck with the herringbone pattern.  Mindful of S. Coleman's comments on his experience, I took a lot of measurements and pulled some old trig out of dusty memory.  Have laid a few planks, and so far so good.  Fingers crossed.

 

Regards,

David

First Level Structures.jpg

Windows.jpg

Doors.jpg

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Thanks Dave, I probably should start a log of my own I guess. I think the wood is walnut. What I did was cut a lot of scaled down 20 and 10 foot lengths, then mixed them up to get he random color effect. Then I just placed them randomly and finished off with 2 coats of Cabot's matt clear polyurethane acrylic.

 

Chris

 

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I love your doors with the bars, looks really good and I would leave them brass as well. I gave up using the silly coils of brass that come with kits ages ago and splashed out for various sizes of rod. Not cheap but well worth it for me, I have never had success with straightening coiled wire.

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