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ronkamin

Brig Niagara by ronkamin - Model Shipways - 1/64

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After building a couple of ships I decided to actually create a build log. I have built and learned a lot building the Phantom and the Pride of Baltimore both from Model Shipways. The Admiral bought me the Brig Niagara, also from Model Shipways for Christmas. I went down to the workshop this morning and started to open the box and did and inventory of the parts, all there.

 

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I then repackaged all the small parts. From history I ended up either loosing the parts or droping them to never be seen again. I am re-purposing some old medication bottles to store the parts.

 

 

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It normally takes a while for me to complete a ship so it may be a while before I have an update. The Pride of Baltimore took me over two years to complete. I enjoy the build so I take my time.

 

 

 

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Well I started the assembly this week. Attached the keel and the stern post to the center keel. I used a piece of safety glass to ensure the parts were true and flat, I re-purposed an old refrigerator shelf for this. One more point I removed the rabbet before I attached the keel. I found out from previous builds it was easier to do this way.

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Once this was done I proceeded to carve out the front filler blocks, and assemble the Knighthead Timberhead and Top frame

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I am now in the process of carving out the rear filler blocks. Tis is fairly time consuming since I am using basic hand tools, hand saw knife and sandpaper.

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Hi Ronkamin.

Welcome to MSW. 

It's a nice model to build and there are some very good build logs on MSW. Worth reading and noting parts that need curfull attention. 

You are off to a good start.. not to late to grab a front seat on this build.

 

Regards Antony.

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Well, I have done six builds and you have taught me a great tip on the first page of yours. I normally do the keel and bulkheads and then set about the blocks. Your simple trick of pre-shaping them before gluing in the bulkheads is an excellent, yet simple, idea. I can see I could learn a lot from your log. Thank you. 

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Hi Ronkamin,

Welcome to MSW!

The Niagara is a beautiful ship. The complexities are challenging yet not overwhelming.

Your off to a great start. I wish I had seen the timberheads being built off model. That's a great idea, I would have done the same.

There are some great resources here. I have to recommend the Niagara build logs of @xken and @mikiek.

Especially when it comes to the main rail.     Admittedly, I still got the main rail wrong! :default_wallbash:

Both of these logs have helped this rookie many times.

 

 

Tom E 

 

 

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Major setback today:(. I was putting the final filler blocks and Quarter Stanchions onto the stern. I realized nothing was lining up. I traced the problem back to when I installed the inner, outer and horn timbers. I installed them with a slight angle up and not 90 degrees to bulkhead Q, so the rear rail was almost 1/4" too high. I am now in the process of disassembly to see what parts can be salvaged.

 

It looks like everything is usable except the inner, outer and horn timbers.

 

I will check back with Model Shipways if I can procure new ones. They have been pretty good in the past.

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My mistake. I reversed the inner and outer timbers. I was able to remove one of the outer timbers in couple pieces and it was actually an inner timber. Major mistake on my side:angry:

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Its such an easy mistake. 

There is such a small difference between the inner and outer timbers its almost imperceptible.

I sat and looked at those timbers for a full day before making the decision as to which ones were inner or outer.

I measured, re-measured and measured again and I was still unsure. 

Eventually just jumped in and made a decision. 

I think got it wrong as well. I had to remove my quarter stanchion supports and sand everything down because I had a huge upward slope. 

 

Tom E

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Yup - got me too. However I decided to live with it. All the transom planks as well as the rail have a slight slope up to the middle and back down again. I really like the look, especially on the hand rail.

 

Fortunately that whole transom structure is easy to fabricate if you have to. Voice of experience.

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After thinking about the problem I decided to dis-assemble the stern and start over. Working gingerly, I was able to dis-assemble the whole assembly with only breaking one stern timber. I was able to glue this piece together, and it matched the drawing pretty well.

I decided to use this piece instead of trying to make a duplicate. Shown below is how far along I have progressed. I am pretty happy how it turned out so far. Everything seems to be lining up.

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In the meantime, I am starting to install the bulkheads. I am using my small square to ensure everything is square and true.

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Hi Ronkami.

Nice progress on the Niagara.

Easy mistake to make even when you spend time reading other build logs and double checking..That the way we all learn.

 

Regards Antony.

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I completed installing all the bulkheads including the stern assembly. I then started installing the planksheer and waterway. This went fairly smoothly, although I had to trim a few of the notches on the water way since the notches seem to be a little narrow.

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Here is a pic of the planksheer and waterway completed.

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The instructions say to install a 1/16” and a 3/64” stringer on either side of the timberheads, this does not leave enough room for the gun ports.  There is only 5/8” between the planksheer and the top of the timber heads, and the gun ports are shown to be 5/8” high and ½” wide. After reviewing a few other build logs I decided to install a 3/32 x 3/32 strip on top of the timberheads. This gives me enough room to frame the gun ports.

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Here is a picture with a gun port tool inserted between the planksheer and the installed rail.

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I made a tool for both the gun port and the sweep port so that I could ensure I would frame them all the same size. These tools were made from scrape wood.

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Don't get overly dependent on tools like that. Not all the ports have perfect 90 degree corners. The waterways should have a vertical curve from bow to mid-ship to stern. If you set perfect squares on that curve it will look a bit odd. In a perfect world if your hull is level, the vertical frames should be aligned with a plumb line and you would see that in fact the ports are not square.  Granted this is overkill for a model, but just understand the theory. Hardly anything on a boat is square. Things slope and slant for a reason.

 

When you do use your tool be sure to center it on the holes in the waterway. Pins will go in these holes and would be used as a pivot point to help angle a carriage one way or another. So the holes are really the center line of your port. Adjust your framing accordingly.

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Check your plans on this, but I seem to remember that the gun & oar openings are "framed" with 1/32" square sticks inside & out. They go on top of what you have done. Your plank ends will butt against the ones running vertical.

 

Instructions didn't mention them but they are on the plans. I suppose those might be done after planking but would probably be a lot easier done before.

 

It's been a while but I do remember something like that.

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One other thought. When you're done with those port frames you might consider painting them and the insides of the ports before planking. If you wait until after planking then you will have to mask the planks and paint the ports. Then mask the ports to paint the planks. Painting before planking can save you a masking step.

 

I found doing a good job of masking those bulwarks to be quite tedious. I described it as 90 minutes of masking for a 5 minute paint job. Then you tear it all off and do the opposite.

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Great idea. I was planning on planking the bulkheads, priming and then painting. Painting the frames first may be the way to go! That means I need to smooth out the inside of the bulkheads and put on the framing before moving on.  Thanks for the tip.

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That strip is not the easiest to work with. So you are better off working around the strips with your planks rather than working around the planks with your strips. If that makes any sense.

 

Don't forget you have to do the inside bulwark just like the outside.  I spent so much time getting the outside perfectly flush which left some gaps and other imperfections on the inside. I was also shocked at how much time I spent masking and painting. Make sure you have a plan before you start that process. What will you mask first and why. Sometimes things are not as obvious as they first seem.

 

I don't know what your experience level is with masking & painting. Mine was zero at that time. The one tip I pass on and follow is after you apply the tape be sure to burnish it particularly at the edges. Even more important, before using colored paint apply some clear paint (try to use the same brand) over the wood and the edge of the tape. You are trying to seal up the gap between the tape edge and the wood underneath it. This will help keep the colored paint from wicking under the tape and getting on the wood/paint you are trying to protect. While you can use varnish or lacquer to do the same thing, I've found clear paint to work better. Just try and stick with one brand (if possible) for all your paint/finish supplies.

 

If you don't have some already, look into some detail paint brushes. I'm not necessarily suggesting these particular brushes, just trying to give you an idea. Some of these brushes are so fine you can literally count the hairs. They are very valuable for touching up those 1/32" frames.

 

Good luck..........

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Mike

Some of your tips I have lived through. On my first build, the Phantom I made a number of newbie mistakes. I went out and bought paint brushes 10 for $, big mistake. The bristles were hard and fell out while painting. Went out and bought a few good quality brushes, what a difference. The detail brush with only a few bristles really made a difference. The old brushes are now just collecting dust on the work bench.

 

Second mistake was buying artist acrylics. Paint was thick so they needed to be thinned, tried distilled water and alcohol. Thinned out OK, but coverage was poor. Finished the project but was not happy with the results.

 

When I started my second project the Pride of Baltimore, I went with model paints, what a difference. Tried several brands and found the Vallejo paints fitted my needs. My second revelation was finding this site, I found so many tips and hints that made the built a lot easier.

 

Enough of my background, I have been looking at how to attack the planking of the bulkheads. I was looking at how to get the gun port frames in the proper position and size to paint without the planks in place. I think I will plank the whole outside then paint. Then continue with the inner planking. I am a not a big fan of masking, I only do it at the water line on the hull. In the past I have had good luck painting freehand, I guess I have pretty steady hand.

 

Thanks for the tip of burnishing and putting a clear coat prior to putting on the final color.

I really appreciate all the hints, I am by no way a master at this, I consider myself an expert beginner.

 

Ron

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Found the next problem with the kit. The drawing sheet 2 says the sweep ports are supposed to be 3/16" square. When you start putting on the bulwark planks, the opening in the planks is larger than the framed opening. The planks are 1/8” wide, and it take two planks up the side of the sweep opening which is only 3/16” tall. So now the upper framing showing by 1/16”.

 

 

 

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I need to think about this before I proceed.

 

Ron

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by ronkamin
corrections removed extra pics

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I believe I solved my own problem. I did check a couple of build logs and found that the second plank is notched. Duh should have realized that myself. Well back to planking tomorrow.

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Ron - I believe there should be a 1/32" square stick running horizontally in addition to the ones running vertical. So yes, you may have to notch some planks but the horizontal 1/32" sticks will make the notch a little shallower.

 

I do remember cheating on some planks - filing down the long edge to make them a little skinnier. Not everywhere, just as needed.

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Well I finally finished planking the bulwark, both port and starboard. I did an initial sanding and am ready to put on the sanding sealer and do a final sanding prior to painting.

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I plan on painting the outer bulwark and transom then start planking the inner.

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Ron - if you are going to paint it, why the sealer? Just prime & paint.

 

She looks ready for some makeup. :D

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In the past when I painted over raw wood the job looked rough. I spoke to a couple of wood workers and they said never paint over raw wood, either use a sanding sealer or a primer. They said Acrylic paint raises the grain of the wood. I though I would give the sealer a shot and see how it turns out.

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