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Fair American by Worldway - Model Shipways - Scale 1:48

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This is my build log of Model Shipways Fair American.  I also have Bob Hunt's practicum to reference.  He does a bit of kit bashing in his practicum. At this point I'm not sure if I'm going to do the kit bash or not.  I have a bit of time to figure that out.


I'm not going to post a pic of the kit itself, I'm sure there is enough of those pictures on this forum already.


Well, it started early.  As I was taking the center keel out of the billet I dropped it and of course......




So of course I glued and clamped it and will let it sit overnight




One thing I noticed is that the instructions show the center keel as a two piece assembly yet in the kit it came as one piece.  One less thing to do I guess.

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Welcome aboard Don and Doug.  It's funny Doug, I was actually thinking about the number of kits you have on the go when I opened the Fair American.  Cursed you a bit under my breath :) for making me believe it's OK to have more than one on the go at a time.


Having said that, I find that I'm always waiting for glue or paint to dry.  With two kits, I can always alternate between the two although my bench and shop is going to get crowded.

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I saw your build log Bob. I will be happy if I can achieve 1/10 the quality of yours.


I think I am going to limit painting of the Fair American.  The kit comes with walnut strips for double planking and I would like to keep that look.  I prefer the look of natural wood over painted wood.


I'm curious. As far as I know the original Fair American was a 16 gun ship and Model Shipways makes reference to this fact quite often on their plans yet they advertise this model as a 14 gun ship.  Is it because they don't display the 2 aft guns?  Glancing at the plans, they show 2 the two aft guns however the kit only comes with 14 guns.  It does include 2 gun doors.  I'm assuming that the 2 aft gun bays will have the doors in the closed position.  Is this because you can't access the location?  Bob Hunt's practicum kit bashes in the fact that he opens up the quarter deck to show the Captains quarters.  I guess if I was to go with his bashing I would have to purchase two more guns to be historically accurate. And I apologize for the terminology if it's incorrect.  Learning a new language (nautical terms) is taking time.

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I used a marking gauge to locate the depth of 1/16" for the bearding line depth.  Work quite well.






Luckily the bearding line was already marked on the hull.  Just a matter of making some cuts.



Got a little too aggressive with the scalpel.  Kinda went a little too deep in a couple of spots.



I decided to apply a bit of wood filler to build the area back up again.  Once dried, I will carefully sand away the wood filler to the required depth.


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OK, I have to give a shout out to Model Expo / Model Shipways.  I screwed up the center keel as you can see from my posts above.  Also, I didn't do a great job with bulkhead #1 and broke a small bit of it.  So I emailed ME/MS.  In my email I asked for a price to replace the two billets.  I also mentioned that I got my kit a few weeks before Christmas but just did an inventory on the parts and realized a couple of dowels were warped and there were a couple of single blocks missing.


Long story short, I fully expected to pay for the two billets I need replaced because of my workmanship.  However, I got an email from them tonight saying that they would be shipping everything shortly.  Not one mention of price.


I am a purchasing agent by profession and deal with a lot of companies.  It's funny how, I can place an order for say $12 million.  If our installers screw something up, I pay dearly for a replacement part.  However, you take a company like ME/MS and they 100% stand behind their product even when the error is not there own.  It's refreshing to see amazing customer service.  i don't see that much these days.


We also have a local company that sells campers, etc.  They too have amazing customer service,  Because of that, most parks that I camp in have trailers with this company's name on them (both Ontario and New York parks).


I was pondering what I was going to do for my next build but I definitely think it will be something in the ME/MS inventory.

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  • 5 months later...
  • 1 year later...

It's been quite a while since I've worked on this build. I just realized that some steps were missed. I have started to get back into this build.  There are a couple of reasons why I stopped.


The biggest thing was that my personal life changed slightly. I still have the same admiral and kids but we ended up with two dogs, unexpectedly. They consumed a lot of my time when I wasn't at work.


Second thing was boredom.  I had reworked the Bluenose a couple of times doing mindless repetitive work that I ended up getting bored from it.  And couple that to the fact that I made a huge mistake on this build I wasn't sure I could work around.  I am following a practicum and missed an important step.  Instead of trimming a large piece of wood before gluing I just glued it as a full chunk.  I then realized I had a huge amount of wood to remove. Wasn't sure how I was going to do it but I knew it would be a huge job.


So I walked away for almost a year.


But I'm back.


I've added to my tool collection, started a new group build on this site and decided to dive in again.  I'm also doing a non boat related build that I have no intention of posting about because, quite frankly, sometimes it gets a bit much when you spend a day in the shop and have to remember to take pictures as you go then spend an hour at night downloading the pictures and writing about them. I realize that it's important to share your work so others can learn or help you to improve and that's what this forum is all about.  But I figured, heck, it's non boat related (and not Chinese either) build.


So here is where I'm at.

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You have to add a stern filler block.  The practicum tells you to set it in place, mark the outline of the bulkhead, then remove all the material past that point.  I didn't do that, so I was left with removing a good 1" bit of the filler piece after it was glued in place.  The only thing I could think of using was a carving knife..








This was after the first hour or so.  I just dug my heals in and decided to go for it.




I was getting to a spot where I thought I was close to being done.  But then I realized....




You had to get down to the bearding line.


So perseverance, a couple of beers plus 3 hours finally got me to a point where I can continue.


Sorry I don't have pictures of the bulkhead installation or the bow filler blocks.  But on and upward.

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Glad to see you are back in the saddle on Fair American.  I too am on a small sabbatical from FA - partially due to distraction by Syren's Medway longboat, which I just finished and now due to shoulder surgery which has left me with only my right hand  for a month or so.


I saw you pictures of the stern fillers that you had to carve and sand - tough work.  Anyway, since another modeler or two kept telling my stern fillers were not sufficiently faired and needed more sanding, I thought I would send you a couple of pictures of how far down I had to sand my blocks.


The blocks in this photo were deemed entirely too rounded for the planks to lie smoothly across the blocks to the transom.


Same thing in this one.


The next two were almost right - you can see that the bulge of the filler blocks has been almost completely taken away

P1010312.jpeg.c280e3a71a381558a14b82a49e8a8fb4.jpegP1010308.jpeg.ed497d89f37d2b0c25e0ec86535b292d.jpegfiller Hope this helps.  Jim

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Thanks for the pics Jim, this helps a ton.  I noticed that the kit includes two templates to help you shape the filler blocks.  I'm not sure how useful they are but I'll soon find out. I did notice that the bulkheads did not go all the way to the bearding line so I thought I should add filler pieces before I start the bulk of the fairing.20191226_155205_resized.jpg.0e5d956ba03d53b3758e7aab940cc92e.jpg


I have a lot of Maple veneer so I thought I would cut and glue a couple of pieces together to use as filler pieces.




I then added the filler pieces to go from the bulkhead to the bearding line.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, after a bunch of sanding, I still have more to do but I'm getting closer. I bought an electric hand held belt sander with a 1/2" wide belt.  It helps and removes a lot of wood fast although it's butchering the plywood bulkheads.  I will do more hand sanding to achieve the final results.  I'may be at this for a while longer.


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For what it is worth, I have found that sanding sticks (I get mine at a beauty salon store, where they are sold for sanding fingernails) in various grades from 100 to 600 work really well on bulkheads.  the important thing, as you know, is to frequently check the bulkheads at various heights with a batten to ensure you are getting the right curvature and that the batten is getting maximum contact with the edge of the bulkheads.  Good luck and happy sanding!

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  • 2 months later...

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