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Colin Archer by Torstein - FINISHED - Billing Boats - scale 1:40 - (BB606) First build

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This whole story began as I got the Billing boat kit of the Colin Archer as a birthday present in the beginning of January. 


Eager and without any idea of what I was getting myself into I carried the box down to my little den in the basement where the magic is supposed to happen. A box of plywood will somehow be transformed into a magnificent piece of naval history. Or that's my initial plan anyways. I have to say at this point that previous experience with any build kits has been blobs of glue with pieces of a plastic aeroplane hidden inside and an occasional successful Lego car. All this means that you should expect horrible errors but hopefully with small successes sprinkled in for good measure.

So - lets get the log started.


Picture of box:

Instead of the content of the kit, which I didn’t take a picture of, here’s an overview of the dry dock area. No need to worry about the place getting dirty, but a horrible place to loose stuff on the floor as it consists of cobblestones and sand.


The kit is not a standard keel and bulkhead, but rather two halves which after planking should form the complete hull. 

I used some tiny angle irons and paper clips to help get the bulkheads straight:


I will go back and forth between port and starboard side for the images, so don't be confused. 

After sanding and shaping the bulkheads the next up was the planking. Any information on how to perform this task was almost non-existent in the instruction manual, so I went with my gut feeling. I have to admit that at certain times I felt that I might have confused gut feeling with stomach flue - I was not at all sure I was doing the right thing. 


For those who have never seen the elaborate instructions Billing Boats provide for planking the hull on a beginners set - here it is in all its glory. In the next schematic the whole hull was planked and sanded.



5 planks down - so far so good.


And almost immediately after I hit a block in the road. The hull shape changed so rapidly that I had no chance whatsoever to bend the planke to follow the last one. At this point I decided that if the plank won't bend to my wishes - I'll have to bend to the planks. I decided to put the next plank where it fell naturally. I've later seen pictures of other builds which seem to do the same thing.


Next up was filling the void with planks which actually was easier that I initially thought it would be. The last plank ended up being too narow for my liking so instead I joined two planks before gluing them into place.


Some of the tapered planks had some difficulties with staying in place so I used some helping bits while the glue cured.


Edited by Torstein
Finished build
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I had a quick walk with the dog down to out nearest harbor and I came across this beauty - It ain't the Colin Archer and it's a sloop instead of a ketch - but still - there is an uncanny resemblance. Basically, variations on the "Colin Archer-theme" is quite common in these parts of the woods. A few years ago the local Colin Archer club celebrated 40 years with almost 200 members and 90 vessels. 


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Hull painted and Starting adding various bits and pieces on the deck. It is actually starting to look like a boat.


And even more thingamajigs are added while I drag out the time before I have to tackle the rigging.


The dog are either admiring my work or planning some devious actions...


Edited by Torstein
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  • 1 month later...

So, I haven’t posted in a while. The current status is that I’m having a bit of a trouble at the drydock. The masts has been raised, the standing rigging is up, sails has been sewed... and than the lightning struck.

An unwanted healt and safety inspection of the vessel lead to a strict ban on launching! The rigging was not up to standard, they said. Would not stand the strain during bad weather, they said. So to get the OK on the vessel I have to take down the rigging and redo it. •insert favoritt expletive•

I kinda blame both myself and my eagerness to push forward, but also in part the instructions in the kit which didn’t mention in a word how the deadeyes should be attached to the chainplates nor the lanyards. And for the threading, I just hoped Nothing really mattered (humming along)... . It did...

Long story short : The whole thing did not look good at all.

Anyways, I’m now taking down one line at a time and trying to get it right. I dont have much rope left, so I steal it from my next project (the line wont be used there for at least a year) And I got myself some spare deadeyes as the installed ones were a bit filled in with CA which made that a blocking issue.

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sorry to hear about the rigging issues.........Billing is not very good at showing all the particulars.   I've build many Billing kits........even though they are my favorite kit,  their instructions are a bit derelict   who is 'they' BTW?   you've done a swell job with the hull and deck work.........I'm sure you'll figure out the proper rigging.

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5 hours ago, popeye the sailor said:

sorry to hear about the rigging issues.........Billing is not very good at showing all the particulars.   I've build many Billing kits........even though they are my favorite kit,  their instructions are a bit derelict   who is 'they' BTW?   you've done a swell job with the hull and deck work.........I'm sure you'll figure out the proper rigging.

«They» are possibly an imaginary group of critics which I am sure mean well, but are very annoying at times :-)

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  • 2 weeks later...

So - I ended up cutting away all the rigging and started over hoping that second try would end up a bit better than it did on the first run. My first decision was that I didn't want tp bother with painting og dying the ropes as I had done with some of it previously, which meant that the rope for the deadeyes ended up being white. If it is suposed to be black - than regard it as a makeshift repair with available resources :-) 


Anyways - lets start with the main reason I decided to redo the rigging : uneven and to be frank - really ugly tigthening of the dead-eyes. Let's just pretend I had found a bottle of rum when this happened. 


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I never figured out how to put text in between images after the edit while previewing disappeared, so here is the rest of my story. 

The rigging went down and I've put it back up again (cue Tubthumping - Chumbawamba)

I'm don't think I'll do much on the model for quite a while. I want to build a nicer stand for it, but in the meantime what was in the kit will have to do. I got other fish to fry :-)


So now the vessel is standing proud in the living room - not were it was originally intended, but who cares at this point. Some pictures of the final results:












Edited by Torstein
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  • 1 year later...
  • 7 months later...

is it the #404 or the #606?  if it is this model,  it is the #606.  this is typical of a few of the Billing Boats kits......like the Norden and the St. Roch,  which utilizes the half hull construction.  the America reissue is another.  to plank the hull frame, {for the stern} it looks to me that the planks terminate to the edge of the half keel about half way up.  from the half way point,   to the top of the bulwarks,  a wedge of visible bow and stern stem must be exposed...say 3/16 of an inch.  for the bow,  the same increment must span down the entire stem.  the garboard plank will expose the keel under the hull.   I'm looking at the instructions.......your instructions should show this visually, if not in diagram and text.    you can terminate the planks to the edge of the keel to make it easy,  but you will need to add a keel strip where the two keel parts meet.


start a log on your project,  I'm sure that there are many here that can help  welcome to MSW :) 

Edited by popeye the sailor
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