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Evergreen by JSGerson - FINISHED - Mini Mamoli - a 1:125 Scale Solid Hull Model British Schooner

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This is not only my first wood model sailboat I’ve built, it is also my first build log so bear with me.

I had always been fascinated with models and built numerous plastic ones as earlier as ten years of age. In fact my very first model, a B-36 “Peacemaker” was built by my father and given to me when I was just 7 or 8 years old. I think that was his first and only model he ever made. I suppose that’s when the bug bit. I always chose the more complicated ones so I ended up making WWII military ships. The cars and planes seem to me to be too simple. I usually never looked at the instructions and was able to put them together without too much of a problem. I think all I had was a pair of tweezers for tools. My models neat and clean but weren’t painted. I let the color of the plastic provide all the realisim.  As I got older I started to paint. As I look back on it they probably weren’t great models but I had fun. Most if not all ended up being blow up with firecrackers. Hey, I was a kid!


I graduated to the Guillows scale balsa and tissue paper planes and built them as static models. They were fragile and over the years they too met their demise.


All this is leading up to my very first adult build, the Model Airways Albatross D.Va, a WWI German fighter; a “museum quality model.” It’s the plane that the Red Baron got most of his kills in. I chose that kit because it had the most number of parts for the fighter plane kits being offered. To build the kit, I started to accumulating materials, tools, etc., and a lot of what I purchased I bought from Model Expo. During one of those buying sprees, Model Expo had a deal whereby if you spent X amount of dollars they gave you a free model kit. I received the Mini Mamoli schooner Evergreen. According to the box cover this is a circa 1920’s British racing yacht. This particular kit was offered to customers by Model Expo for around $30 in 2006-7, but I haven’t seen it since nor have I been able to find anything about the actual boat on the Web.

After completing the Albatross, I was a novice when it came to knowing the ins and outs of a sailing craft. I didn’t know the nomenclature, nautical terms, the mechanics of how a sail boat operates, etc., but I jumped into the water so to speak and started the kit January 2008. This would be my training wheels project for I had spied my next project even before I started this one. I wanted to build the Mamoli Rattlesnake.


The Evergreen kit had the bear minimum of instruction and in some cases the picture on the box did not match what was in the box. Even some of the instruction illustrations contradicted each other. The final product as shown on the box cover left something to be desired which I shall explain in the build log.




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The Boat Stand

The kit did have a nice boat stand that you had to build which also aided in the construction of the boat itself. So that was the first thing I built. Basically you cut up big pieces of stock wood into little pieces and reassemble them to make the stand. Simple!








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Painting the Hull

After sanding and prepping the solid hull for painting, I added a coat of white primer and then added the green and white paint with a black stripe. The pictures were taken before I touched up where the colors bled through the masking tape.



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Rudder - First Attempt

At this point I was supposed to add the rudder. There were 2 images of the rudder in the plans, but they weren’t exactly alike. I made a cardboard template based on the 2 types and then trimmed the best fitting one till it fit to the hull.


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The instructions stated to glue the rudder to the hull. That is what I initially did. All that was holding the rudder to the hull was a line of glue along the thin edge of and irregular shaped flat piece of wood to and irregular shaped surface of the hull. It didn’t take too long before it was knocked off. I set that aside for a while.

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Deck Planking

The instructions next indicated that I was to add a strip of wood along the side of the deck to form a low hull extension above the deck around the boat and then add the deck planking. This would mean that I would have to create fitted pieces of the deck planking where it met the hull extension. Instead, I set aside the hull extension and planked the deck first. It was then a simple process to cut and sand the decking till it conformed to the hull shape.




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Deck Structures

The first structure I attempted was the stern cabin. It was simple enough – a precut block of wood, a few items of wood I had to fabricate, and some cast windows and a door. I quickly realized that the door and windows appeared to be too thick, out of scale to be realistic. I decided that I would recess the parts into the wood block.



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The grating was precast metal as well which I initially painted and initially used. However, the more I looked at it the more I disliked it and by this time discovered that one could order wood gratings online that I could assemble into a much nicer structure. As you look at the images, at some point you will notice that the painted metal grating changes to wood. I regret I didn’t take photos of that process.


The ship’s wheel presented a problem. According to the instructions I should have had a precast structure to hold the wheel. No such casting was included in my kit. According to the instructional image shown, the casting looked like an upside down letter “Y” with the axis of the wheel going through the bottom of the stem of the “Y”. However when I looked at the image on the box, the wheel was attached to a single short dome topped column. So, I just guessimated the dimensions and made the structure out of a piece of stock wooden dowel. I worked.


Thus, I created my deck structures.


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Rudder – Second Attempt

This time I knew what was missing from the rudder and it would mechanical improve the strength on the bond to the hull – hinges. The instructions made no mention or showed illustrations of hinges. I made mine out of ordinary copy paper which I cut and painted. It worked.



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Hull Extension

With everything on the deck I added the strips of wood to create the hull extensions. I did not use a single piece of wood because first it made it harder for the wood to conform to the curve of the boat. Second, I figured in the actual boat they had to use shorter pieces because lumber doesn’t normally come in that length. I also added what is called a wale but did not know that at the time. I didn’t like the transition from the solid hull to the extension and so I covered it up. Somehow I knew this piece existed on boats.



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This boat has sails and green ones at that. I transferred the shapes of the sails using carbon paper I still had from the old days of typewriters. This stuff must have been 30 years old if a day. Today if I needed purchase this, I would go to a sewing or fabric store where they use it to transfer dress patterns and such to material. I know this because my sister who is an excellent artist makes lot of her own clothes among other stuff. (See www.paintedfurniturebysue.com). She also told me about fabric glue which I used to glue the lines to the sails.


The instructions are minimal. All they directed you to do was to add some loops to the sails and thread the masts through them. I wanted more and through a bit of research and self-education I made things more complicated. I can’t sew and I don’t have a sewing machine and even if I did and could use it, the stitching would have been out of scale. So for the seams on the sail, I drew them with pencil. The loops at the corner of the sails are seized and as I look back on it are probable way too large.








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The yards as shown in the kit don’t even have a collar so it can slide up and down the mast. It appeared they wanted you to glue it directly to the mast. I created my own. The deadeyes were nothing but eyelets that I had used to make eyelets that I attached to the hull. I didn’t like that either. The rigging lines were a very simplistic version of standing rigging. There was no running rigging for the sails. There were no block and tackle. So back to Model Expo and I purchased deadeyes and blocks. Now I am really winging it. I don’t know how to rig a boat. Thank goodness for the internet. I got a bunch of pictures of schooners that look somewhat like the Evergreen, bought books, and made up the rigging plan as I went along trying to figure out how the sails were controlled and maneuvered. I had no idea where or how the lines attached to the boat deck. Where I thought somebody needed to tie off a line I added a cleat. How do you make a cleat that small? I had some fine nails from some place. I think they were use in model railroading to hold down the rails. Where I got them I don’t know, I don’t have a model railroad. In any case, I had them. I filed off the 2 opposite sides of the nail head to the width of the nail stem. The result was a “nail” in the shape of a “T” and 90 degrees to that in the shape of an I. Stick that into the deck and you have a makeshift cleat. 









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You may have also noticed the line from the anchor that goes over the capstan. I have no idea if this is the way it’s supposed to be done. The capstan is nothing but a winch and I assume the line goes below deck somehow. I just gave it my best shot.

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I've been working on the Rattlesnake for almost 3 years, a couple of hours a week so I was moving real slow. I'm now unemployed, oops retired (depending on whom I'm talking to) so the pace has picked in the last few months. I have been taking pictures from the beginning but have been somewhat reluctant (more like intimidated) to post them due to the skill level of the other modelers. They have set a pretty high bar to match. I know I've made mistakes, some of which would be quite obvious to the skilled artisans at MSW. Yeah, I'll probably post them, just need to get a little courage. 8-)

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Hey, nice looking model, and you did a great job overcoming the poor instructions provided!


As far as being intimidated by others' skills....POPPYCOCK!  Yes, there are quite a few awe-inspiring builds here, but there are even more who are rank novices, or nearly so, and with a log for your Rattlesnake (I have a current bias for this ship :P ) there is plenty of expert help if needed.



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OK, OK, I'll post'em. It may take a while, I'm going visiting for a while at the end of the week and need to put my house in decent shape (read cleaning), I'n an old bachelor so my incentive for these things needs a push. My Sister is coming to join me in my travels and I've people coming to take care of the cat so putting the house in "shipshape" come first. When I get back, I'll start the posting of my version of the Bob Hunt kit bash of the Mamoli Rattlesnake.

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