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Whaing Bark WANDERER by BETAQDAVE - Aurora - 1/87 - plastic - heavily modified

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    This model was just sitting on a shelf patiently waiting for some attention when a friend of mine saw it and wondered if I could build it for his office.  While I am currently working on the MS Phantom, I thought I could do both and try my hand at making a build log for this one.  I suspect that this method of model building is quite unusual, To tell the truth, I was not certain that this belonged in the kit built category, as the only part of the kit that is being used is the hull with all the rest being scratch built from wood and metal.

    My friend was actually interested in a wooden ship, but I told him that I could replace most of the plastic parts with wood.  I told him I’ve done that before and he agreed that it would probably look better that way, as the kit had heavy plastic sails moulded right to the spars and the deck had a lot of  the details moulded right on which he thought looked pretty bad.

    As I reopened the box to examine the kit I found that the instruction manual was missing!  Luckily, I had built this ship before in wood and still had the blueprints from A.J. Fisher.  The plastic deck was not very impressive with a lot of the details moulded on it, but it was a one piece deck so that would make it easier to use as a template to make a wood  replacement. 

    Before I actually started construction, I decided that I wanted to do a search in the internet for more details of the actual ship.  One thing that really caught my attention right off the bat, was the fact that the real ship only had four sails on the main and foremasts and not five as shown both in the kit and my set of blueprints. These two pictures below show both the box art and one of the pictures that I found showing the ship as it was built.





     Discovering this, I decided to really do some digging to see if any other discrepancies were evident.  There were a few, but nothing as glaring as the sails.

    Taking the plastic deck in hand, I traced the outline onto a piece of manila folder including the mast holes, marked the center line of the deck, and transferred the outline of the hatch as shown below.



    As the end of the hull was closed in and the tumble home of the hull sides was too severe to allow a one piece deck to be slipped into place, I decided that I would have to split the deck down the middle for it to be installed. I took two 3”x24” sheets of glued up 1/8” wide 1/32” thick decking boards that were glued up with black colored glue to represent the caulking joints and joined them together edge to edge with tape across the backside. 

    Placing the manila pattern over the pair of decking sheets, I taped them together, being careful to align the center-lines of the pattern and the joint of the two decking sheets.  I traced this outline onto the decking sheets and unassembled it to allow easier cutting of the rough outline of the two deck pieces on my scroll saw.



   After cutting, the next step was to carefully tape the rough cut decking sheets back together again on their backside and tape these under the original plastic deck.  Once again, I was careful to align that center joint of the decking with the center of the plastic deck.  This assembly was then taken to my belt sander and sanded close to the edge.  I would sand up to the tape and re-position the tape as I went along.  (This was necessary because the plastic deck was quite warped and once untapped; it wanted to spring away from the decking sheets.)



    At this point the assembly was taken to my drill press.  I drilled all of the larger round holes right thru the plastic deck to assure that they would align exactly.  (This was especially important for the heel of the masts to align with the mast steps on the inside of the hull.)  I then took the whole assembly to my workbench and drilled all of the remaining round holes with matching small bits in a pin vice.  Here is a picture below of my progress to this point.



    Taking a look here at the inside surface of the hull, you can see that the waterway was already moulded on and would remain.  However, the projecting tabs for support of the plastic deck and the injection mold stubs would have to be removed.



    Taking my new battery powered Dremel, I ground off all of these unwanted projections and sanded them smooth to allow me to glue some 1/32”x 13/64” basswood strips to serve as a ledger to support some new deck support beams.



    I decided that I should make a 1/16” thick basswood sub-deck, as the decking sheet was very thin, so I cut up two sheets of basswood for the sub-deck similar to the decking sheet as shown here. (notice the plastic decking springing away from the tapped wood deck)



    Then I made up a spacing jig to help align the top edge of the planking to the underside of the moulded waterway. Taking short pieces of the decking and sub-deck for spacers, I glued them to a thicker piece of wood for a handle as shown.



    Here is a picture of the spacer jig in use.



    Using this spacer jig as a guide, I used some thin ACC to attach the 1/32”x 13/64” basswood for the beam support ledger and clamped it in place for it to totally set up overnight.



    While the hull was drying I decided to work on the upper structure.  The first thing I did with the masts and bowsprit was to do a trial assembly without glue of all the components to see how they all fit together.



    Disassembling these assemblies, I drew up some dimensioned diagrams of all the components for making their wooden replacements.  The lengths were all drawn full size and the widths were written out next to their locations.



      Returning to the hull construction, I cut 17 3 ½” long pieces and 4 shorter pieces of 3/8”x 3/16” basswood to use for the deck beams.  The kit was designed (as most plastic models are) to have a flat deck, so I worked up a method of adding the camber to it.  I marked the center-line of all of the beams on their top edge as shown below.



    The camber was scaled off the 1/6” scale A.J. Fisher blueprints and converted to the models 1:87 scale.  This worked out to about a 1/16” slope.  Flipping over the whole stack of full length beams, I shifted the full size beams up against a piece of 1/32” scrap wood (to account for the approximate 1/32” width of the pen point), and marked all of the pieces on both ends.



    I set the beams on top of the plastic deck to get an idea of how to arrange them.



    That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far, I will post more later on the shaping and installation  of the beams.  

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    To shape the deck beams with the camber for the ships deck, I first found an appropriate ships curve.  I traced around the curve with a .5 mechanical pencil with a soft lead installed from the center mark on the top of the beam to the marks that I had previously put on both ends of the beams.


Taking this beam to my belt sander, (being careful not to sand off the marked center-line) I sanded down to the curve. (just taking off the line)    



Now, taking my micrometer to each end I measured them again and sanded the wider of the two of them till both ends matched.

    This beam was now marked template #1 and was used to make two other templates marked #2 and #3.   Using #1 to make 5 more beams, I switched to #2 to make 8 more beams and finally to #3 to make the rest. Using the templates tends to wear them down if used too often as it was just made of basswood.


    With the beams shaped with the camber, I now took the two plastic hull halves to a sink filled with warm soapy water and scrubbed them down with an old toothbrush. This needed to be done to remove the mold release agent from the plastic to allow paint to adhere properly.                 



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yepper........that kit's been around for a while!  been a long time since I last heard that company name  :)   I've got a project like this in the works......I'm just waiting for my second set of decks to warp out,  so I can start all over again { I gotta get that one back on the table}.   sounds like a fun project.......will enjoy following along! 

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  • 1 month later...

    Getting back to my log once again, I decided to try a trial fit of the hull.  When I clamped the two hull halves together, I dry fit the plastic deck in place to see how things lined up.  Unfortunately they were a poor fit and had to be forced together with clamps.  Once they were together however, I thought that it was a problem that I could work around.

     Measuring the width of the hull (90.89 mm) once assembled, I made note of it and then measured it again (86.88 mm) with the deck removed.



    As you can see above, without the deck in place it turned out to be quite a bit less.  Obviously one or both of the hull sides warped inward and needed to be held in place at the 90.89 mm measurement.

     So, knowing that I needed some kind of reference line to use that didn’t involve measuring from the sides, I decided that the best bet would be to establish a centerline to aid in placing the deck beams.  That way I knew that as long as I kept the beams perpendicular to that line I could be assured that my location measurements for all of the other beams would line up with the locations of all the mast holes and the hatch opening would be square.

    To help me to set things perpendicularly, I made up a small (it had to be to fit inside the hull) wood square with a perpendicular line drawn on its face as shown below.


     To set up this center-line I took a length of black thread and ran it through the hull seams at the bow and stern, stretched tight and taped in place.  (As the shear of the deck was quite pronounced, the thread could be shifted up or down as needed to allow the line to be above the beams.)  Then the hull halves were clamped back together again.


100_4424.thumb.JPG.8246af3a88207cdffa6710c19425984e.JPG    The first beam had to be carefully measured for length so that when set in place it would not distort the hull beyond the 95 mm measurement.

    By the way, all of the measurements for the length of the beams were done “old school” with a pair of inside calipers that I inherited from my grandfather.


    The first beam was placed at the approximate location of the rear of the hatch opening perpendicular to the center-line. A clamp was set across the hull to hold the beam in place.  The hatch opening was cut out of the manila template and I slipped it back into place.

100_4430.thumb.JPG.6f8edea25eca80f43787ca9197e9a8f4.JPG     It took a few adjustments until I was able to get the beam where it belonged, but once the beam was correctly in place, I took an awl and punched a hole through the template into the beam to set up a reference point to make all further beam placement measurements from.


    The template was then removed and I put locating marks on the faces of the ledgers for that first beam.  The first beam was used to locate the forward edge beam of the hatch, which was cut and put into place.  The space between them was measured and then both beams were taken out, the cross beams were cut to length and the framing for the hatchway was assembled with glue and pins.  I took this assembly and clamped it in place once again inside the hull.


     The locating hole on top of the first beam was then marked and labeled as shown below.


    The template was lined up with the backside of the plastic deck and a hole was drilled thru the deck that now would line up with the hole previously made in the first hatch beam.



    Now when an items’ location was needed, a set of dividers would locate it on the plastic deck and be transferred to the location of the same item on the deck of the model.


    Now I needed to place a pair of beams with a spacer block for all three masts. Working on the main mast first, I used my dividers to locate the rear beam, measured the space, and cut the beam to fit.  Then the spacer was centered and glued to the forward face of that beam.  The other beam was then measured, cut, and also glued to the spacer as shown below.


    This mast beam assembly was then marked on the ledgers, and then this procedure was repeated for the mizzen and the fore mast.

    I changed my ideas on how to do the bulwarks and stanchions, so now I will be making a few more revisions to my build once I order some special products to do them with.  More to follow.

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     While reviewing the overall appearance of the hull, I decided to cut out the opening in the bulwarks for the cutting-in platform as I was going to display it being deployed. I used a razor saw to cut down to the covering board.  Then a scalpel was used to carefully make many, many, many, (Did I mention many?) very shallow cuts along the covering board until the section could be removed without damaging the hull or the removed section that would also become part of the model.  The cut was then filed and sanded smooth.




   Upon further review, I also thought that the rivets on the hull coppering looked way too pronounced (somewhat like a porcupine) and needed to be a little more subdued.  I took a sanding block to it until I was satisfied with the new look.



  After reviewing the build logs of Doris and her card models, I became very interested in making use of those self-adhesive backed woodgrain strips.  The bulwarks and stanchions were just semi-smooth plastic meant to be painted, but I thought that they could be improved with some wood grain and the appearance of individual planks. 

     Since the cap rail had very little projection, whatever I used for a veneer had to be extremely thin.  That pretty much eliminated any kind of wood veneer.  The self-adhesive backed wood-grain strips therefore seemed to be just what the doctor ordered.  I searched the web and eventually found a source that I ordered a couple of 4 inch wide rolls from.



    The first step was to shave off the stanchions while still leaving marks in the plastic for locating the new ones.  Once again I made use of my new battery powered Dremel, some files, and a scalpel.  I first used the scalpel to scribe the locations, then ground off the stanchions with the Dremel and filed it smooth.



    Making use of a rotary cutter made cutting narrow strips of the wood-grain tape (or as Doris refers to them as foils) easily done.  First I taped a strip of heavy paper for a stop with the edge the width of the desired strips away from the cutters’ cut line.  I slipped a section of wood-grain tape under the cutters’ hold down clamp until it butted up to the guide paper stop, held down the clamp, and ran the cutter over the tape.  (It makes away all risk of slicing up ones fingers with the straight edge and razor method!)  It makes a very smooth and precise cut.  These photos below illustrate this.







      Once the tape strips were all cut to width, I cut them all to a scale length of 20 feet and stretched them into place.  Then I went back over the strip and cut out the part of the strip where the new stanchions were to be placed and left the space bare so the AC glue could have a more secure bond with it.



     I used a razor blade to separate the woodgrain facing from the backing material.  You just need to pull the backing partially off so you still have a bit of a handle to place the strip in position.  The exposed end of the tape is pressed down on the surface to be covered.  Then the tape is stretched into place gradually while peeling the backing off as you go along.  (According to Doris it’s very important not to touch the adhesive with your fingers so I also used a pair of tweezers quite a bit.)

     Once the strip was placed, I used a strip of smooth wood to burnish it to make sure that it was securely bonded to the surface.  After all the strips were in place I used an old hair dryer to apply a little heat which also helps to promote a better bond.  Where openings were encountered, I just went right over them and returned to them later with a fine file to open them up.



    Here are a few photos of the taping process to this point.





    Next I applied a watered down application of white acrylic paint over the tape.100_4539.thumb.JPG.6d78b55e8d5da52763ed08d4a5bf62aa.JPG


    I cut a strip of 1/32” thick maple that was cut to match the width of the removed stanchions.  It was sanded and given 3 coats of the watered down white paint on the edges and one face with sanding after each coat.   This strip was then cut to the length of the stanchions from the covering board up to the bottom of the pin rail and glued in place with some AC as shown below.


      I have now almost caught up to the actual build.  Seems like it takes longer to write up the log than it takes to actually build the model.  :huh:                                                  

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   Wow! Somehow I found a couple hours free, so I could work on the pin rails.  The first step was to shape the rails to the curve of the bulwarks.

     Taking the manila template in hand, I held it in place up against the hull pieces and marked the locations and lengths of the rails onto the template.  I taped it down onto a strip of maple (previously sanded down to 3/64” thickness) and traced the outline onto the strip for the outside edge of the rail.



      I marked 5/32” (the width of the rail) on the template at both ends, then shifted the template to these marks and traced the same curve onto the strip again for the inside edge.



     Now I had both edges of the rail drawn on the strip.



    Taking the strip to my scroll saw I cut it out, keeping the blade about 1/16” outside of the lines.






     Then it was off to my 2 inch belt sander where I sanded it down just short of the lines.



    Taking the rail to my vice, I smoothed out the curve with a rough sanding stick and just removed the lines. Switching to the finer grade stick I gave it the final shape.



    The procedure was then repeated for the other two rails.  At this point I had the overall shapes, but I still needed to locate the holes for the pins.



   Holding each rail in their proper position on the hull, on the underside of each rail, I marked the location of all the stanchions.  Since I wouldn’t be able to put a pin where the stanchions were located, I laid the rail upside down on my bench to mark the pin locations between them.  I decided to put two pins evenly spaced at about 3/8”between each stanchion which would give me the proper number of pins.  I marked the spacing for the holes on their bottom sides for all three rails.  This photo below shows all of the rails at this point in their proper locations on the hull.



    Oops, times up!  When I return I will be drilling the holes for the pins.

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    OK, now for a little more work on the belaying pin rails.  First step for doing that was to measure the belaying pin shaft diameter.  I used my digital micrometer and came up with .74 mm.  The #66 drill bit proved to be the best as it measured .83 mm and would allow the pin to seat easily and still not allow the crown of the pin to fall through.

    As the rails were curved, it meant that I needed two bearing points pretty close together that would allow the rail to slide along and keep a consistent distance from the edge.  I set up a simple jig with some scraps by spot gluing two pieces of basswood to a small piece of plywood. 

    Taking my jig to my Dremel drill press with my Proxxon X-Y table, I clamped it in place.



  I mounted the drill bit in a small collet and installed that into the Dremel collet.  (By the way, my MD has weakened my grip to the point that I always need to use pliers to tighten small things like collets which can be a little cumbersome, but such is life I guess.)



  Using the adjusting wheels, the jig was then maneuvered to line up with the drill bit.100_4556.thumb.JPG.e6009a377091367d5d369a78db22b3e3.JPG


     I almost forgot to set the drill depth so it wouldn’t go through the plywood base of my jig onto the Proxxon table, but remembered just as I was starting to drill the first hole!



    Sometimes when you get in a hurry, you find yourself doing something stupid.  Most of the time if you don’t take the time to think things through ahead of time, you end up having to do it over.  Which brings to mind one of my favorite sayings: Why is there never enough time to do it right, but always plenty of time to do it over?  Well anyway, this time I was able to catch myself in time.

    The other two rails were then done the same so the next thing to do was to steam bend the two long rails to match the shear of the deck.  I simply taped the rails together side by side with the top sides up.  Then I put a scrap of wood (about twice as thick as the amount of bend needed) on my counter under the front end of the rails.



  I would normally have used a heavy weight on the rails right where the curve started (as most of the rail run was relatively flat), but this time I just used a bar clamp instead. (I guess I had just mislaid the weight somewhere)



    While trying a test fit with the short pin rail with the top piece of stanchion in place, I discovered that even though the stanchion was only 1/32” thick, it still projected slightly beyond the inside edge of the models’ cap rail. (maybe a little hard to see in this photo)  Hardly a proper detail for my model!



    Also, the hull sections have such a pronounced warp to them that I won’t be able to actually install the pin rails until the hull is assembled!  I need to have a closer look at this problem to come up with some kind of solution to this new glitch. 

    At this point, I will just use the short pin rail as a spacer for fitting and installing the upper portion of the stanchions so the cap rails can be set into the gap later when the hull is put together.  Giving the pin rails three coats of the thinned white paint and sanding each coat, these were just set aside to dry for now.

    So, I guess it’s back to the drawing board as they say, for a bit to ponder a solution to this new problem. 

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   (Here is a clearer photo of the problem of the projecting stanchions tops.)



    Actually, I literally did have to go back to my drawing board to come up with a solution. Going back over my research notes and photos, I started this drawing below to figure out how to take care of the stanchion projection, but found that it also revealed some other unforeseen problems.


    The first problem was that the cap rail on the plastic model was just a single rounded over edge, but I found that the cap rail actually had somewhat of a double beaded edge.  The second problem revealed was that the waterway was too small and there were no drain scuppers!



    By adding a 1/32” square piece of maple to the inside face of the plastic cap rail, the exposed end of the upper stanchions will be concealed.  Then, by adding 1/32” thick maple cap rail over the top of the plastic rail and wide enough to cover the extra 1/32”, it will be possible to make it a cap rail that can have the double beaded edge formed on it.

    To adjust the waterway problem, I will add a strip of 1/32” x 1/16” maple that projects out a little beyond the plastic one to make it thick enough to allow the scuppers to be added    Problems solved, right?  As I mentioned in the previous post, none of these problems can be handled right now due to the warped hull.  They will have to wait along with the pin rails until the hull can be assembled.  But wait!  Now I realized that the deck itself may also be a problem to install.

    When adding a wood deck to my Revell Constitution, the installation was fairly easy. The rear transom was a separate piece and allowed the deck to be slipped through that gap.  Then the transom was put back in after the deck.  However, the Wanderer has no separate transom, it’s moulded right into the hull and there is no practical way to cut it out, so a different method will be needed.


     After some more thought, and rejecting several different ideas, I decided to make two additional cuts across the deck that would align with the rear deckhouse partition and thus be less noticeable. Since the deck is already split down the centerline, it would allow me to slide the front two deck sections on top of the deck beams and under the plastic waterway.  Then the two rear deck sections could be similarly done.  Once all four sections are installed, the new waterway can be wedged into place and drilled for the scuppers.

  OK!  Now that that all of those problems seem to be worked out, I can get back to cutting and fitting the rest of the deck beams.  Because the waterway will now be 1/32” thicker, I will need to start by trimming down the top edge of the ledgers to lower the beams.  Time to get back to the bench and start doing some actual modeling again!

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    Well, it looks like my ship modeling will be delayed somewhat now.  My access to my shop will be limited for a while by the fact that my elevator is now in need of either some major service or a complete replacement! :(

      It’s about 16 or 17 years since it was installed, so it’s apparently nearing the end of its service life.  Originally it ran around 12K plus installation and remodeling of that area of our home.  The estimates for repair are about 10K.  I haven’t gotten a quote on a new unit yet, but I guess I’m leaning towards its placement with a new unit with increased weight capacity.

     Someday when I get promoted from my manual chair at a mere 40 pounds to a power chair like my brothers’ at around 450 pounds, :o the existing unit wouldn’t be able to handle the extra weight.  So as it stands now, I’m limited to only using it a few times a week. (I guess it’s like adding too many miles to your car at this point.)  It may cost a bit more to replace it with a new unit now, but as I see it, why spend the 10 K for the repairs now when it will soon need to be replaced anyway. (Who has an extra 10 K just lying around anyway?)

    However I did manage to switch to doing some things in my office that don’t require trips to the basement shop.  Working on the finish deck is one of them.  I sketched up a plank layout pattern based on a three plank shift with the frames at about three feet on center and a basic plank length of about 24 feet.  Taking a long paper strip, I placed a mark at three foot centers to scale.  The strip was taped down to my desk along my parallel rule.

    Then the two deck pieces were taped together on their backsides and taped down to the desk with the centerline also set parallel.  Now by using a triangle to transfer the locations of the beams to the deck, it wasn’t necessary to draw any lines on the deck that would need to be removed later.   (Remember, the decking is just soft basswood at only 1/32” thick.) 

    The photo below shows my setup for this operation.




    I started with one of the center planks and using an F softness very sharp lead in a mechanical drafting pencil, marked the plank end butt markings at 24 feet lengths based on my previous sketched layout.  Skipping three planks, I marked the fourth plank the same way.  This was repeated for the full width of the deck.

     Now moving the triangle over two marks, the butt was moved down one plank.  These plank butt joints were then marked for 24 foot lengths and the process was repeated until all of the butt marks were marked. (Allowances were made along the way so the plank lengths were at least four feet.)

    I then went back to all of the butt joints with a narrow straight chisel and pressed it lightly into the marked line just enough to leave the impression of a joint.  Once this was done the pencil lead was given a sharp point, pressed into the plank at each butt joint for two treenail impressions at each end and twisted lightly in place.

    Using the triangle again, similar impressions were made for treenails over all of the remaining deck beams.  Setting the triangle just to the right of the beam location marks, one treenail impression was made in the near edge of each plank all the way across the deck.  By shifting the triangle just to the left of that same beam location, another impression was made in the far edge of each plank all the way across the deck as shown by the photo below.100_4579.thumb.JPG.f5e2fb6266e1cc7d92f6081cfe1ca011.JPG



     Now, this procedure was repeated at all of the remaining beam locations.  This was done to keep all of the impressions in line with each other all the way across the deck while showing a staggered pattern with two impressions per plank as shown in the photo below.



    Here is an overall photo of the deck as it stands now.


    My next step will be to stain and poly the deck.


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    Yes Yves, that may be true. ;) However, now that I am well into the project I am quite happy that I did it this way.  It is actually quite a bit of fun doing it this way! :rolleyes: Apparently it is similar to working with a preformed fiberglass hull.  As I mentioned in my previous posts, I did something similar to my Constitution model that is laid up in dry dock.  On that ship everything that came with the kit was used except for the decks, rigging, and masting. 

    For the Wanderer, I decided to go all out with the exception of the hull.  Most of the plastic parts were poorly formed, especially the masts and spars which had thick preformed sails moulded right to them.  The shrouds and ratlines were also of preformed plastic which I also found to be quite unsightly. However, the plastic parts will serve as a 3-D sample to duplicate. :P

    My friend that I am building it for most heartily agreed.  If not for him, this model would still be ignored and sitting on the shelf.  Other than the easily corrected warp to the hull pieces, we both thought that the details were excellent.  The copper sheeting was a little overdone, but a little sanding was all it needed to tone it down.

    The fact that it has all of these issues to solve and improve on is one of the things to me is that is the most fun to do!B)



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  • 3 months later...

     I scraped down the decks, put a light coat of Minwax light oak finish on it, let it dry briefly, and ran a rag over to remove the excess stain.  After letting it dry, I put 2 coats of polyurethane over it while lightly sanding between coats with 400 wet/dry sandpaper.  As you can see, the treenail and caulk impressions left showing provided a nice bit of detail even though it’s probably a bit over scale.  Here is a photo of the deck with its finish applied.



    Almost forgot to duplicate the fore deck.  Using rubber cement, the plastic deck was glued down to a section of wood decking, carefully lining up the deck seams with the plastic pattern.  I shaped the deck section with my belt sander using the same method that I used to make the main deck.  The center notch for the bowsprit was carefully cut out by hand with a thin fine toothed backsaw and finished off with a fine file and sandpaper while still glued to the plastic pattern.  Very carefully, the pattern was peeled away (at this point it was very fragile) and the bottom side of the decks surface was filed to match the bevel of the bowsprit. 



    Treenail impressions were made and the deck was finished as shown here to match the main deck.



    Now that the hatch and mast partner beams were done and clamped in place, I used plastic cement straight out of the tube, applied it to the keel seem, and set it aside to dry overnight.  Taking the deck pattern in hand, the remaining beams were located, numbered and drawn in place perpendicular to the center line.  Using my rubber cement again, the remaining beam blanks were glued in place on the deck pattern, numbered and set aside to dry.



    Once dry, the pattern was flipped over.



  Now the projections were marked on the beams which gave me the proper curve going into the hull sides.



  By drawing a line inside and parallel to this marked line (to allow for the ledger thickness), the length of the beams at the top edge of the ledger could be followed.  However, with the varying slope of the deck sides to be accounted for, both ends of each beam had to be filed to match. (The cuts were basically a curved compound angle.)  A very tedious business this!  (This was especially true at the three beams at the bow.) Every beam was different and you had to go at it carefully or you could take off too much. 

    After a lot of time trimming to fit, the beam ends were then located with the dividers and marked on the ledgers.  Now some real fun began.  As clamping the beams in place was not feasible, each beam had to be held in place with a locking tweezers while applying some thin CA.  (At times I thought that I could really have used another pair of hands!) While waiting for the glue to take hold was in reality just a few seconds, it seemed to take forever trying to hold the beam steady.

    Most of the ships main deck frames have now been installed, but I am unsure at this point about having the main hatch left open or not.  I am also unsure about leaving the transom as is or removing it and replacing it with wood as you can see here that the plastic seam is a poorly matched fit.



   That is why the final three deck beams haven't been installed yet, as I need to leave a little access space to get the lower deck slipped into place and replacing the transom.








extra photos at end
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  • 1 month later...

    I haven't posted in quite a while due to elevator problems, but I had the time to decide one thing.  The main hatch will now be left open and therefore I plan on suspending the inner deck at a scaled 6' below the main deck.  This did however bring up a question about the inner deck.  I assumed that the inside deck had a matching hatch opening going into the bottom of the hull to store the casks of oil. 

    My question is: did this inner hatch have a combing with hatch covers, a grating, or was it just left open?  I made a search on the internet for info on both the Wanderer and the C.W. Morgan and found several cross sections that show this inner hatch but none of them indicate that it even has a cover of any kind. Sounds a bit risky leaving it open just waiting for some crewman to fall in, or did they just rope it off somehow? 

    There is a cutaway view drawn of the Morgan from Mystic Seaport which clearly shows a coaming and hatch cover on the main deck but nothing on the inner hatch.  True, the Wanderer was a different ship, but I think they would have been similar.  Does anyone else have any more info on this?  I was thinking of trying to contact someone there who could answer the question, but not sure how to go about it



    Also, rechecking my overall hull width measurements revealed that the deck beams were not such a good fit after all.  They were made a bit too long and thus widened the hull!  :default_wallbash:Well, needless to say, not happy to find that out since the deck would no longer be wide enough to fill it in.  So all of the beams were removed and I am now in the process of trimming them down for a more precise fit.  One bright side to this development was that installing the inner deck will now be easier without too many of the other beams in my way.:rolleyes:

    As to fixing the transom, I am still trying to determine if the poor fitting raised seam in the center could somehow be repaired or if I should remove it and replace it with wood.  I guess that I'll give it a bit more thought while I finish installing the inner deck.

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not sure how high the coaming was.......but I haven't seen a hatch or hold yet,  that didn't have a cover on it.   whether it be of wood or canvas,  they were all covered over in the event that water came on board.   sometimes less is more........too bad about the problem with the beams and the deck platform.   on most wooden models,  if there is a deck platform,  it is mainly cemented to the bulkheads and that's about it.   with a POF model,  the beams and framework is laid and the planking is done over it,  without the use of a deck platform.  if you desire to treat this model like a POF,  create the border along the bulwarks and lay the beams and framing.   doing the borders will enable you to cement your planking along the bulwarks......do away with the platform.   if you chose to use the deck platform,  then lay beams as you would see bulkheads,  and then lay the platform.


modification is a tricky business.........unseen problems can sneak in.   I know you want to give this model as much realism as possible.....but sometimes,  a shortcut can't hurt........and who knows,  it may open up another possibility ;)     if your going to leave the hold open,  figure out the height of the lower deck,  fit in a section of deck platform and plank it over.  it will look great!   I like what your trying to do.

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  • 4 weeks later...

    Here and there, I have been able to gain access to my basement model shop for a little work on my Wanderer.  When I left off before, I had just removed all of the deck beams to correct errors in their lengths.  Six of the frames shown in photo below were trimmed to the correct lengths and glued back in place with carpenters glue and put aside overnight to set.


    These six were done first so that I would have easier access to suspend a partial lower deck visible through the open upper hatch.  I sized the lower deck length to equal the distance from one beam beyond the hatch frame to the stern and one beam to the bow.  The width was sized to span across the inside of the hull at approximately a scaled 6’ below the upper deck and still allow some clearance for the lower deck framing. 

    To make the inner deck, I trimmed three left over scraps of pre-made 1/32” thick decking to be applied to a sub-deck of 1/16” thick piece of sheet basswood.  I repeated my earlier method of marking the deck plank ends and treenail impressions.  I stained and sealed them to match.  Once dried, they were glued with carpenters’ wood glue and clamped to the sub-deck.  I first used a vice for the center portion and then heavy weights for the outer portions to ensure a flat deck.




    Looking through my copy of Whale Ships and Whaling by Albert Church, I found an ink sketch of the wooden cooling tank between decks of the bark Commodore Morris that also showed an inner hatch with a coaming.  While not the Wanderer, I assumed that it was probably similar.  So I decided to trim the opening with a coaming similar to the upper hatch for it.  I marked the location and size of the hatch to align with the upper hatch and bored holes in the four corners, and used a fine coping saw to cut the opening.



    Once it was rough cut, I took a sanding stick to trim it down to the final size.


                                                                (Opps, looks like the camera focused on the wrong subject!)  

    To suspend the lower deck from the upper deck I took some 3/32” x 5/32” basswood to make a pair of U shaped frames for suspending the front and rear edge of the lower deck.   I cut one piece the length of the deck width for a horizontal beam and glued a pair of 1” long posts vertically at each end of the beam.  These U-frames were set aside to dry.  Once they were set, I sanded the bottoms of the U-frames to allow more clearance in the hull.   

     I cut four spacers to give me a scaled 6’ ceiling space between decks.  The U-frames were glued to the front and rear of the inner deck and the spacers were glued to the 1” vertical posts leaving an open notch for the lower deck and an overlap at the top to be attached to the deck beams above.

    For the coaming itself, I cut some more 3/32” x 5/32” basswood to length for the outer trim and some 1/32” square basswood for the inside ledgers and glued them all in place with CA.



    The assembly was slid in from the stern and past the front deck beam to test the fit and propped in place with a sanding stick.


    At this point it looks good enough to me.


     I masked off the lower deck and gave the coaming two coats of paint and light sanding between.  I took a couple narrow pieces of decking to serve for the interior hull sides and finished them to match the deck.


    The masking was removed and it was ready to install.


    The assembly was slid back in with the side pieces unattached, glued and clamped in place. (I tried with them attached before installation but didn’t have enough clearance to slide the whole assembly in place.)   So, now with a lot of fiddling and cussing, the side pieces were glued into place.


    I measured the hatch opening before installation, as I was not sure if the hatch would be solid or a grating, so I just left it open for now.  As you can see here, the sidewalls were maybe a bit much, as they are not easily seen, but maybe a couple of subdued LED lights would help.


    I’ll give it some thought, as I was impressed with the way Doris did it in her ships.  I plan on installing a few knees that would also be partially visible and maybe an oil cask or two.  So, now that the lower deck is in place it's time to decide what to do with the transom problem.  I will experiment with a couple of solutions and get to it!

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Good to see you back in the shop.  I will be following this project.

Looking back at your build log I was very happy to see you have a fire extinguisher in your shop - right on the bench - something very few modelers consider as appropriate shop equipment.

Take care,


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    After pondering how to fix the misaligned transom for a while, I tried out a few different ideas.  The one that I have settled on is to cover, not only the transom, but the entire wooden portion of the outer hull with the adhesive foil technique that Doris employs.

    The first step was to fit the transom the best I could with some filing to get a better fit.  Once satisfied with that, I clamped it together as shown below.


   I then put a heavy coat of plastic cement on the inside of the stern of the ship as shown here.


    I let this sit overnight before continuing, to make sure nothing would shift on me.  Taking my black roll of adhesive foil to my rotary cutter, I cut a few pieces to match the width of the transom planks.  I applied a few of these strips to the transom as shown here.



    As you can see, the seam was still quite visible and needed some more work yet.  I applied some filler and tried sanding down the seam to allow the foil to disguise it.



    I tried applying a strip of foil on the curved portion of the bulwark to see how well I could match the curve.  With a bit of heat applied to the foil, I could see that it might not be as difficult as I first thought.


    Tomorrow I will try finishing the inside of the transom bulwark.

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   Today I cut some white adhesive foil strips on my rotary cutter to give me three rows of planks to fill in the inside face of the stern bulwarks.  Once they were applied I cut out a space for the center stanchion as shown.


    Using thick CA, I attached the center one, clamped it temporarily, and repeated the above steps for the other two.


    The two in the corners were a bit trickier as they had to follow the slope of the sides, but eventually they were similarly applied.  Some watered down white paint was then applied to both the planks and the stanchions and set aside to dry.


    The next deck beam (12) was trimmed down equally from both ends, tack glued with thick CA, clamped in place and given fillets of carpenters glue to solidify the installation. This was repeated for the following beam. (13)


    The next two beams (14 & 15) that were previously ganged together with blocking for the mizzen mast were also similarly installed, although trimming four ends at one time was a lot more difficult to handle.


    When I get back to working on it (hopefully tomorrow), I will continue to trim and reapply the remaining deck beams

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