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Kate Cory by wemattson - Model Shipways - 1:64

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After spending a couple of years following some of the amazing build logs that have been posted here, I figured I jump in and start a build log of my own.  Part of my reasoning is to learn as much as possible from the great people here and partly to keep track of my successes and failures.  Hopefully, the log will provide extra motivation to do things the right way and to follow through to completion.


Having grown up in the New Bedford, Massachusetts area, whaling history was a big part of our education and is part of what defines the city.  Going to the New Bedford Whaling Museum and visiting the Seamen's Bethel was a regular field trip for us not to mention that Moby Dick was required reading in school.  The whole adventure of spending years at sea sailing the globe in search of whales just really captured my imagination.


With that said, I have always been interested in building ship models and a model of a whaling ship was a given.  I chose the Kate Cory for a couple of reasons; it was built locally (Westport, MA) and should be a fairly strait forward build as my first real wooden ship model.


I almost didn't start this build after seeing the condition of the hull when I opened the box.  The bow had a big chunk taken out of it, there was a real bad knot at the stern in the compound curves leading to the rudder, and there were numerous dents throughout.  I almost returned the kit but I figured I should give it a try and repair it.  I've built and repaired quite a few R/C airplanes and thought that this repair shouldn't present any real issues.


I didn't take any pictures of the original condition of the hull but you can get a sense from looking at the filler and the glue lines from where I glued the bow piece back in place.





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Finished up shaping the hull and carving the bulwarks.  The instructions indicate that the bulwarks should be carved down to 1/32" thickness. I used a Dremel to carve most of it and then sanded the rest down to a thickness that I felt comfortable with, which wasn't quite 1/32".  It finished up somewhere between 1/16" and 1/32".  I was too nervous to go any further and risk breaking it.  If I find myself in this situation again, I will probably cut away the pre-carved bulwarks and rebuild it with 1/32" sheet.


I finished up this evening by applying a coat of sanding sealer.  Tomorrow I plan on drilling the mast holes, drilling the holes for the stands and starting on the planksheers and wales.


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Life got in the way of my ship building and therefore, progress has been a little slow this past week.


Over the last couple of days I was able to cut the slot for the bowsprit, which I did by cutting multiple slots with an X-acto saw followed by using a small chisel to remove the slivers.  This was finished off with sanding sticks.  Once the bowsprit is installed, I'll fill in the gap between the bowsprit and cap rail with a small block of wood carefully shaped to fit.


As I look back at these pictures, I see I need to do a little fine tuning.  It's also funny how the stem knee looks crooked but in real life it's straight.



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Last night I was able to install the outboard planksheers and the wales.  This required some careful measuring.  With dividers, I transferred from the plans, to the hull, the location of the planksheer at each station.  I followed these marks when laying down the plankseer, which were glued to the hull with CA and Zip Kicker.  The Planksheers and wales were first soaked in hot water.  The nice thing about CA and Zip Kicker is that it works with wet wood as well as it does with dry; something I learned when bending stringers for model airplanes.


I painted the hull first so that I could get a clearer picture of symmetry when laying the planks.


I noticed that one of the wales shrank a little after drying.  This doesn't bother me too much since the wales will be painted black.






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  • 5 months later...

Looking good so far! Good to see another Kate Cory build! I'm going to pull up a seat. Hope you've just been busy and haven't abandoned the build. Life does get in the way. I haven't done much on my Kate Cory since April. I'm in between standing rigging, carving whaleboats, and thinking about starting the cutting in tackle. She's a nice looking ship. 

If you haven't already, look into the plans and rigging spec booklet that at one time was sold through the New Bedford Whaling museum. Not sure if it's still available, but worth the effort if you can locate a set. 



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  • 2 years later...

Well, it’s been two years since I did anything on the build due to life and other hobbies getting in the way but one of my New Years resolutions was to get back to what I really enjoy, which is model building, specifically ship models.  Also, I’ve seen some nice builds of the Kate Cory come together on the forum such as the recent completion by Richvee.


With that said, I decided to redo some of the copper work I did the last time I worked on her.  I just wasn’t happy with the way it was coming out.   I finally completed the copper to some degree of satisfaction.  I tried very hard to keep it symmetrical and tight while trying to keep to the plans.  The gore line gave me some issues at first but I figured it out and took multiple measurements from the keel towards the outboard both on the port and starboard sides where I thought the gore line should be and then connected the marks with Tamiya masking tape, which formed the boarder where the triangles could be cut before proceeding to the upper belts.


I added some rivets for visual interest.  I might add more but I’m on the fence about that.  Lastly, I’m doing some research on properly weathering the copper.






Edited by wemattson
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A little irony.  I started mine in 1989. Worked only it for about year. It was just about at the same point as yours when you took a break.  I had the deck, bulwarks, and rails done, topsides painted, and just about ready to start competing when I got married, bought a house, and raised 2 kids. It sat for about 27 years until 2016. Glad you didn’t take 27 years to get back😁

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  • 2 weeks later...

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