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Let me begin by saying the I am starting this log about half way through the build.  At first I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish the model, and didn’t want to leave a half finished log.  Now that I am finished with the deck features and the bowsprit I feel more confident.


I put a lot of research into the whole concept of model wooden ship building, and came to the conclusion, as so many others have, that building the Phantom from Model ShipWays and following the practicum by Chuck Passaro was the best way to start.


Sourcing the model was fairly straight forward, the local hobby store had one, they just had to dig around a bit to find it.  I was also able to acquire most of the tools required at the same hobby store.  It appears that the model has been updated since Chuck wrote the practicum, as some of the deficiencies he mentioned have been addressed, such as the scale of the accessories, the number of belaying pins, and the lack of grating.


To recap the build so far:


I had the same issue with the hull profile as ICOPLEY98 did.  I couldn’t quite get the templates to fit exactly, and the hull wasn’t 100% symmetrical longitudinally.   Lots and lots of sanding to finally get something that to the naked eye looked ok.


Building and installing the keel was fairly straight forward.  The glued curved bow section split along the glue line during sanding, but as I was almost finished I managed to rescue it by gluing the keel on in two sections and filling in any gaps with wood filler.  The tricky part was getting the keel to be straight. 


I wasn’t sure from the practicum whether the hull was painted before or after the application of the copper plating, the description and the pictures don’t seem to match.  I painted it before, down to just below the waterline.  I then had to re-do the water line.  The practicum suggests cutting the copper stripping into 1/8 by 1/4 inch strips which at 96 scale is equivalent to 1x2 feet.  During some research on the history of copper plating on British war ships, I found that the usual size of the copper plating was 1x4 feet thus 1/8 by 1/2 inch, much easier to cut and handle.  (see Hedderwick: Marine Architecture (1830))


Deviating from the practicum, I shaped and glued the waterways in first using the wood in the kit allocated for the cap rail.  I then cut and sanded the deck planking to fit, but didn’t glue it in place.  I then glued on all the bulwark stanchions, and cut a 1/8 inch deep hole in the poop deck for the cockpit, with a matching hole in the deck planking.

This allowed me to paint the bulwarks and waterway without having to worry about the deck planking.


Back to the practicum for the remainder of the deck, except that I only drilled two holes in each chainplate.  The wheel house wouldn’t fit between the cockpit and the traveler, so I moved the wheel house up to the edge of the cockpit and cut the cockpit coaming to fit.  I originally cut the block of wood for the skylight to size, but adding the window frames, made it too big to fit between the stove pipe and fife rail.  So rather than build another one I just rotated it 90 degrees on the deck.  I also had to enlarge the bowsprit gap as once the bowsprit is painted, it is thicker.  I haven’t installed the navigation lights, or the anchor davit, as they will probably get in the way when installing the masts, also the kit came with two starboard side navigation lights, and I haven’t figured out what to do yet about that.  It will be another few months before I can resume building as I will be traveling.


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