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Mississippi 1870 Riverboat by vossy - Sergal - 1:50

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Possibly a bit late to start a log, but what the heck! Being an old steel boat sailor myself I never thought I could fall in love with any other type of craft. I was wrong! When I saw Charles's build log of this vessel I literally fell in love with this type of craft. Since then I have tried to learn as much about them as I possibly can. Kurt and Cathead have provided a wealth of information, and for that I am truly grateful. 


Previous to starting this model my main understanding of this type of vessel came from multiple viewings of the Jodie Foster ( best actress ever) film, Maverick. Obviously I had a lot to learn!


The thing I learnt very quickly was that this particular model was not a very true, or accurate depiction of the type of craft of the day. Spewing, as Jodie would look fine on mine! Anyway, so given it is a bit of a fantasy boat, I intend to try to glam mine up a bit (as would befit Jodie).


There are a few gaps between pic updates, but since Santa deemed I had been extra good this past year I was presented with a cool new digital camera! So once I get to master it a bit better I hope the updates will be more frequent.


Anyway here is where I am at the moment.

























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never too late to start a log.......I think you covered it quite nicely  ;)    your off to a very nice start.   seeing that I received one of these kits too {the A.L. kit},  I might see if there is a site dedicated to these vessels.   they are not uncommon on the site....seems quite a few folks have built one.  I'll look forward in seeing what you do with this fine model :) 

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So here is where I am at currently. have done the underside of the second deck. This is a bit tricky as you have to mark it out from underneath when you place the deck on top of the boiler and engine room structures. As you can see over the horse bay, one went a bit wonky, but you cant see this when the deck is fitted. Made a novice mistake here of actually gluing the battens into place before painting the underside white! A lot of careful painting the result! After all had dried a test fitting revealed a really good fit of battens against all upper wall structures. Only real problem I encountered was that my deck in this particular kit was pretty warped. Really had to make sure the outline was correct before cutting and placing the battens. At this stage I could glue the second deck on I guess, but I have chosen to plank it first. Plus I want to add more to the horse bays, and it will be easier to access that area without the deck attached.



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Hi all, the deck planking is supposed to run length ways like I am doing it. I cut scale 10ft and 20ft lengths and just place them randomly. I also mix the lengths of different lengths they are cut from up so as to get different shades in a random manner. It really shows up well once it has a few clear coats applied.


As for the figures, they came from Walthers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Just visit walthers.com. These particular guys are O gauge steam era people. They are actually meant for model railway but I figure you can use them just as well on this vessel. They are just the right scale for this vessel. It is nigh on impossible to find the right scale figures of the period for 1;50 scale. These are the only 6 I have been able to find. I intend to buy at least 1 more packet and paint the ladies, especially, a different color so to have more people on the boat.




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Hi all, some more pics of the progress. Nothing has been sanded, glued etc. Mainly pics to show where my passengers will end up etc. My trusty night porter will make sure the ladies get up the stairs in dim light as they enter the main dining hall.


Take no notice of the out of whack second tier cabin structure. Its only there to show what I intend to happen later. Plus with all this planking taking an eternity I feel I need to show something!






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hey tom, it is a massive kit really. scale is 1:50. overall length is 1100mm, width about 240mm, height about 600mm from keel to top of main stacks. height is very approximate as there are no 1:1 scale drawings in the plans, but I reckon its about 600mm.


its about 220mm longer than the chaperon and roughly twice as high, but again the height is just a guess really, it is possibly somewhere in the vicinity of 550 - 600mm actually. either way she's a big boat!




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a bit of an update. the second deck and the beginning of the main staircase are just preliminary dry fittings. as you can see the second deck is quite warped. this isn't so much a problem as more than an annoyance really. it should glue down just fine. the main reason its not glued down now is that I want to add more detail to the horse bay area and it is a lot easier without the deck covering it.


have searched high and low for some horses at the right scale, but cant seem to find any suitable candidates. the kit comes with a red sticker to simulate carpet (I guess) going up the main stairway. I figure my fancy ladies deserve better than that so will source some fine reddish material and cover each rung individually. 


to take these pics I am using a Nikon Coolpix a300 20 megapixel camera. as you can see it shows up every blemish/error known to mankind. these are not visible to the naked eye however, so at this point I am pretty happy with where I am at.











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nice job so far.......yea,  that deck will sit fine, once you glue it down ;)    the A.L. kit has the spiral stair ways.......your will have port and starboard stairs off of the one shown?   completed,  it should look really nice.   the absence of windows on the first level suggests housing for livestock,  cargo and supplies..am I correct?

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yes, the first deck is what I would call a working deck I guess. horses etc in the bay area, along with hay, water barrels and the like. no self respecting fancy lady or dapper gent would be seen dead on this level! lol  the stairs do indeed go straight up as you mentioned. all around there is really nice decorative balustrades too. its a lovely kit straight out of the box, but I reckon enhanced with extra's like people, foliage etc. it makes it even better.




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You're right, cameras are the worst critics in the world! Your workmanship looks plenty crisp to me.


The main deck of these boats was both the cargo and engineering space (boilers, engines, forge, etc. take up a lot of room); genteel passengers were generally discouraged from using most of it except for boarding and disembarking, particularly on fancier boats like this kit is meant to represent. However, I'd bet that any slaves or lower-class passengers would be confined to this deck unless specifically serving an individual in the cabins above. Certainly, on lower-end boats, and particularly on those heading west up the Missouri, foreign immigrants were often packed into whatever space could be found on the main deck along with the livestock and cargo. Kinda like the immigrant trains that packed all those Swedes, Czechs, etc. into livestock cars heading for the plains because they weren't wanted in the coaches. The boiler deck and above are for the upper-class set. This all meant that the all-too-common boiler explosions often hit the poor/immigrant classes harder because they were closer to the source and/or more likely to be trapped by debris or fire.

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  • 2 weeks later...

crawling along with all this planking of decks and cabin structures! finally have second deck glued down, but requires another coat of matt clear I reckon. second deck cabin structure is a slow process to plank. here it is just dry sitting on top of the deck itself. when completed and ready to mount, it will also be white, so any small gaps the camera shows up can be filled if necessary.


none of my passengers and crew have been glued into position as yet, and I am still procrastinating over the horse bay area detail. anyway, sorry, not much of an update, but it is a way to bump my log up from page 5 I guess :cheers:





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hey dave, I really like the figures myself I must say. the problem with them though is that they are actually just a little bit smaller than 1:50 scale.

the figures stand 38mm tall to be exact, but they do tend to look in scale with the doors of the boat so I went with them. now the horses in the link

you sent me, and thanks for doing so, are 1:50 scale and thus stand about 60mm tall. I thought maybe they would be just a little too tall in relation

to the humans and thus look too out of place. having said that, I probably will get some to really make sure. it will be easy enough to place one into 

the stalls as the area is quite big and I can get my hand in there no problems, well at least until I put the side rails on, but this is still a fair way off.

I am still looking around for something to put on/against the empty wall in the bay. thinking hay bales, buckets, maybe tools etc. again it all is a matter

of finding stuff the right scale.




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I'm curious. You say that the 38 mm figures are too small for 1:50, but if I did the math right (38*.039*50), that's about 6' 2", far higher than the period's likely average of around 5' 7" or even less. So if anything they're a bit too big. What's the scale height of those doors, for comparison?

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hey eric, I see your point. the doors themselves, the single ones on the side of the engine compartment, are 40mm high, but as you can see they sit slightly above the deck, so from the deck to the top of the door is about 45mm. this kit states that it is 1:50 scale, but I wouldn't bet my life on that scale being true for the whole model itself. it is more of a showboat than a true life representation. having said that, I reckon the figures look fairly plausible to scale against the doors and other objects so far. my problem was/is that the horses are 60mm high, and I just thought that was about 10mm to high. I think it makes the horses about 10 foot tall, which is a damn big horse!




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Oh, I agree, they look fine with the model for the reasons you state. The difference isn't enough to matter, I was just curious.


As for the horses, do you mean height at the withers (top of the front shoulder) or at the top of the head or ears? If the latter, it may not be that far off; I'm 6' and I've stood next to horses that dwarfed me. Wikipedia states that a big draft horse can easily exceed 6' at the withers and one record horse exceeded 7', so a big stallion with its head erect could at least approximate 10' in total. See this Clydesdale next to a 5' 3" human, not far off a reasonable human height for the 1800s. Just figure that your boat is carrying some valuable breeding stock.

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