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US Brig Syren by wool132 - Model Shipways - 1:64

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After considerable contemplation, I've decided on the US Brig Syren as my first build. I was thinking of getting my feet wet with the smaller English Longboat and English Pinnace kits. Then I found the Tigersteve and Blue Ensign build logs showing their fine work, especially the planking. Yikes! I got to thinking about that skill: I need something I can practice on so that it won't matter when I screw things up. 


Ah ha! The copper sheathed Syren! I can mangle the planks to my hearts content, slap on a coat of wood filler, sand it down, and no one will know the difference. Once I get good at it, I can order some hard maple (like Tigersteve did for the English Pinnace: see 30-Apr for the order list, 29-Sep for the results) and tackle the Longboat and Pinnace, where the planking is much more visible.


"Wait!", you say. Statistics show that 90% of first time builders who tackle a Big Boat give up early and the other 50% don't finish either. "Au contraire", I respond, I'll go ahead and purchase all three kits. Some time after Chapter 5 - Hull Planking, when I hit the doldrums and get dejected with the thought of never ever getting done (copper plate number one thousand thirty two, one thousand thirty three, ...), I can amuse myself by puttering around on these two more manageable craft. Plus word gets back that the Syren's User Manual is terrific (with color pictures no less!).


Now, having said all that, where did I put that order form ...


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  • 4 weeks later...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

The kit arrived safe and sound a couple of weeks ago with no sign of the notorious pink punk plywood:

The keel is slightly warped but should be manageable:


Most of the month has been spent setting up an infrastructure. There's now a six foot long portable table in our attic set aside for modeling: 

There's a general work area on the right side and the left has a makeshift dust hood. The dust is filtered out by a whole-room air cleaner that used to be on the floor. To help guide the dusty air into the cleaner are some shelves made of cardboard along the back and plastic sheeting on the top and right hand side. The cardboard frame that supports the plastic is taped to the shelves so it can swing out of the way of the right side work area if needed. 


I've also started to invest in some of the recommended tools of the trade. On the left you can see a genuine, certified, bona-fide Nirvanna chop saw (Nirvanna, July 19) from Amazon. There's also a pen sander (Charley54, Jan 19), with power supply, a Mouse Detail sander, a vise (Blue Ensign, 18-May), and a cutting mat.


The lighting consists of Hue dimmable bulbs that can be controlled from my intra-planetary communication device. There are two lamps for detail work and a set of four lights attached to the sloped ceiling for general lighting:

These four bulbs produce between 0 and 3,000 lumens depending on what's needed (3,000 lumens is a lot of photons: the picture of the workbench above was taken without a flash).



Edited by wool132
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I rummaged around the shop in the garage and found a scrap piece of hard maple to use as a building stand:

After a bit of work with some hand planes it started to take shape:

The rough edge on the right was cut off with a rip saw and everything planed square. 
A smoothing plane set for a fine cut provided the final finish:

The end product is shown below. I'll screw in a couple of poplar wood strips to hold the keel then finish it with Watco Danish Oil.



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Hi Jonathan.

Welcome to MSW.

Nice choice of kit. Lots of rigging nice to get you tangled up.

17 hours ago, wool132 said:

The end product is shown below. I'll screw in a couple of poplar wood strips to hold the keel then finish it with Watco Danish Oil.


Watch there are NO warps in the board as they will get transferd into the model. Even the smallest warp will be devastating. 

All the best. Will be watching this wonderful ship being assembled.


Regards Antony.

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I heeded Antony's advice and found that one of the corners was down by 0.014". I managed to reduce that so now there is no place (longitudinally, laterally, or diagonally) between the Veritas 24" steel straightedge and the face surface that'll accept a 0.003" feeler guage. There is a 5" long by 2" wide section at one end that's still off by 0.002":


I think I'll declare victory and move on.:)



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