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Swift by Zuko - Artesania Latina - Scale 1:50

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I’m posting a build log for my first build: the “New” Swift from Artesania Latina. Apparently, this kit has gone through a number of iterations over the years. Since I ordered it in November from my local hobby shop, I assume this is the most current version. For those who have posted build logs for this boat, you’ll notice the differences. Some of the changes made are somewhat superficial (in my opinion as a rookie modeler), like the sail configuration has been modified. Other changes are more substantial.



The boat no longer has a lower deck beneath the cabins. The false deck is one solid piece. It is also only single planked, which I understand will likely force me to paint it? I had hoped to leave in with a wood finish, unpainted. Oh, well. On to the build.


One curious thing about this kit is that there are no plans. Only a poster of 1:1 color photos of different views of a completed build. I contacted AL by email to inquire whether plans should have been included. After a few days, I received a response that the plans were those photos. I don’t consider those “plans” in any sense, really. But that’s all there is. The instructions with a couple of generally technique videos come on a DVD in the kit and are also viewable on the AL website if you view the Swift model online.


I dry fit the bulkheads on the false keel. They seemed to all go in fairly easily. Unfortunately, the keel is warped. I tried a number of times and ways to straighten it by moistening, bending, flattening with weights, moistening only one side and clamping flat...nothing worked.


I finally decided to use balsa fillers between bulkheads at selected spots to either mildly constrict or expand the interbulkhead distance in that spot to try and straighten it in that manner. I also added some filler at the bow and stern to aid in planking. It’s not perfect, but hopefully workable. 


I soaked the false deck and left it rubber banded in place over night to develop the compound curvature necessary, then I glued it the next day. Now I’m ready to start planking. Attached are some photos to document my progress. Hopefully, I will get better at posting. Not sure how this will work, but here goes...















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Hi Zuko.

Welcome to MSW.

Nice choice of kit. 

Read up on planking techiques. Take your time with the planking and it will make a nice display model.

Those masts are enormous in height.


Regards Antony.

Best advice ever given to me."If you don't know ..Just ask.

Completed Mayflower

Completed Fun build Tail boat Tailboat

Completed Build Chinese Junk Chinese Pirate Junk

Completed scratch built Korean Turtle ship 1/32 Turtle ship

Completed Santa Lucia Sicilian Cargo Boat 1/30 scale Santa Lucia

On hold. Bounty Occre 1/45

Completed HMS Victory by DeAgostini modelspace. DeAgostini Victory Cross Section

Completed H.M.S. Victory X section by Coral. HMS Victory cross section

Completed The Black Pearl fun build Black Queen

Completed A large scale Victory cross section 1/36 Victory Cross Section

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Hi, Antony. Thanks for the reply. That last photo is out of sequence. I dry fit the deck and masts just to see what it was going to look like. Kind of like sneaking a peek at the Christmas presents!


And so, planking. Yeah. I placed the top plank that will lie just below the bulwarks(?) and the garboard(?) planks on both the port and starboard sides. I trial fit both a plank that will run just above the garboard plank and a plank 4 plank-widths down from the top plank (at the widest bulkhead point). To allow those planks to run their natural coarse, I’m going to need to do drop planks and steelers(sp?). The drop planks may not technically be correct ship (or model) building technique. Forgive me, I’m new. But I’ll take suggestions moving forward!


So here are some pictures of my thinking and progress. The middle plank is not yet glued on. It’s just dry fit. I’ve only done the port side dry fitting. The last photo shows the starboard side.


If it doesn’t work, I’ll rip them off and start over. I’ve already done that once for the garboard planks...






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I’m still planking the hull of my “Swift”. I’ll post photos of my progress when there is more to show.


I made a crude jig to help me with plank bending. I’ve seen others with similar set ups...more refined and impressive than mine...but this seems to be working ok for now. I either use a heat gun or just let the plank sit in the jig over night. The photo shows prebending the bulwark (?).


BTW, one thing I wanted to learn with building a ship are proper nautical terms. I’m picking up a lot from everyone here, so thank you for that. The instructions for this kit are not much help in this effort. It’s all just “attach part 16 to part 12”, and such. Is this the way with all kits, Artesania Latina, or just this kit in particular?


I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but the next step appears to be planking the deck. Does anybody have an opinion or recommendation of stain to use for the deck on my “Swift”. Any brand that is easy and good to use? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



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Well, I’ve just completed planking the hull of my Swift. Definitely some errors and misjudgments along the way. Pretty significant divot on the port side near the bow where I did the drop planks. On the bright side, I’ll get experience with using filler. I wish the hull were double planked so I could get another shot at this while everything is fresh in my mind. Guess it will have to wait for my next build...assuming I survive and am successful with this one.


I haven’t looked ahead in the instructions yet, but I think attaching the keel and planking the deck are next. I’ll post more photos for critique or advise when I’ve got more to show.


Thanks for those who have been following along!



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It’s looking good so far.


Is there a copyright date on the box?  Like 2010 or 2016?


And even though it’s intended to be single planked, any reason you couldn’t double plank it if you want to and are willing to buy more material?




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I haven’t built one yet, but I plan to, soon.


I want the below-deck details, as on the earlier versions, but I Ike the sail plan better on the new one,


And for my first build ever, double planking might be a good idea.


So - when I finally get started, it’ll be a blend of versions.


I’ll start a build log when I get going.





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Z -


Back in 1987 Model Shipways published a small book titled "Planking the Built-Up Ship Model" by Jim Roberts. It's very well illustrated and detailed and I highly recommend it. Model Expo has it http://modelexpo-online.com/planking-the-built-up-ship-model.


If you decide to add a second layer of planking, I'd go with the thinnest material I could get or you'll end up with a hull that is too wide and out of scale.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I’m making slow progress. I’ve glued myself to the model. Twice. Luckily, I was able to extricate my finger from the predicament each time myself, without having to go to urgent care and have to explain why I have a wooden ship attached to my hand. One positive is that I think I can use the fingerprint on my Swift to open my iPhone. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.


I’m at the point where I might need filler to even out irregularities in my hull. Attached are photos of my deck planking and where I currently am in my build.


Any words of wisdom on how to use filler? Is there a good technique tutorial somewhere? Or is it really not that complicated?


Thanks for those who have commented and are looking in on my simple, newby build. I appreciate your help, interest, and encouragement.




And here is the filler I plan on using.





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  • 2 weeks later...

I need help. I’m at the point of making the cabins. I’ve done most of the wood work and have started on the door hinges. My problem is this: when manufacturing the hinges, they made one of the holes too small to fit the diameter of the nail that is supposed to pass through it into the door or frame. I’ve attached a photo. The hole nearest the bottom of the photo is smaller than all the others. How do I enlarge the hole in this tiny, thin strip of metal? I’ve tried pounding a nail through it, and the nail just bends. My pin vise drill doesn’t seem sharp enough and won’t cut metal. Has anyone encountered this before? How did you deal with it? Thanks in advance for any help!



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I finished the deck cabins. They aren’t attached to the deck yet. To deal with my hole diameter problem, I just clipped the offending end short and folded that side underneath so it doesn’t show (much). I may invest in those cutting broaches eventually, but in the infancy of my model building career, spending more money than I’ve already sunk into it really isn’t in the cards right now.






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  • 2 years later...

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