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cdrusn89

US Brig Niagara by cdrusn89 - Model Shipways - 1/64 scale

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Thanks Jim. Back from weekend of watching losing baseball. Hope to get hull planking completed and first coat of filler applied today.

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So, I put Bondo 907 automotive filler on the hull (probably a little, maybe a lot thicker than necessary) and then proceeded to sand, first with 120, then with 220 using mostly the sanding sticks I made from tongue depressors. Generated so much red dust that I decided to use my air brushing face mask to keep from inhaling all the red particles containing probably more bad things than I care to know. Anyway below are pictures of the before and after. Need to go over the hull again looking for areas that need more filler but it looks pretty good a first glance. Will at least go over with 320 sanding sticks before priming. FYI, the pictures after sanding were taken shortly after wiping the hull down with a rag soaked in paint thinner so the wood is darker than it would be when dry.

Hull with filler.jpg

Hull sanded port side.jpg

Hull sanded stbd side.jpg

Edited by cdrusn89
typos

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I did some more filling and sanding on the hull and finished with another coat of primer and 600 sandpaper than what I hope is the final coat of primer. There are still spots where you can see the individual planks but I have never gotten a plank on bulkhead hull to a completely smooth (looked like a fiberglass sailboat hull) so did not expect to get to that level this time. Here is what the hull looks like now.

Hull with 2 coats primer.jpg

Port Side with primer.jpg

Stbd side with primer.jpg

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With the hull (in theory) ready for the finish paint I decided to keep the hull in the "primer" state while I work on some other things. I have to re-plank the forward bulwarks as I did not extend the planking under the bowsprit and see no elegant way to fix that without redoing the planking. I have not decide how to paint these sections (brush or spray). Will have to figure that out when the planking is done. While waiting for the primer to dry I started on the gratings. I tried using the grating material supplied with the kit but could not keep the pieces lined up satisfactorily. I had some Syren Ship Model gratings, which I have had good success with in the past so I decided to use them. I also decided to fabricate the gratings before the coamings. IMHO it is easier to build a correctly sized coaming when you already have what will fit inside it. Also, the grating do not come in infinitely variable sizes. Here is a shot of the hull (all the masking tape is gone now) with the first planks on the port fwd bulwark and the gratings for the various hatches.

Gratings.jpg

Redoing fwd bulwark.jpg

Edited by cdrusn89

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Speaking of the gratings and such. I have decided to try and build the model closer to what the 1813 version "might" have looked like. It seems pretty clear to me that the capstan is close to useless in the current configuration with the skylight and companionway so close fore and aft that you could not get past them and still be pushing on the capstan bars. And the capstan was used for more than raising and lowering the anchor(s). Since no one knows what the original configuration really was I have decided to substitute a grating for the Salon Skylight and Captain's Skylight and interchange the locations of the Captain's Skylight (now a grating) and the companionway. This will put gratings fore and aft of the capstan and make it much more usable IMHO.

Edited by cdrusn89

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On my previous kit (B. J. Latham) I built and installed the deck coamings and planked the deck around them. I found that somewhat tedious and generally not worth the extra effort. The camber in the Niagara deck is quite mild and should not present any difficulties with laying the deck furniture directly on top of the deck. After looking at the plans and the Syren gratings that I had I figured out that the 3/32" thick gratings should just fit inside a 3/32" coaming making internal ledges and such unnecessary. I used my disk sander and a home made jig to get the small pieces very close to the disk and put the required 45 on the end of 3/32 x 3/32 boxwood. I used the grating, which were already cut to the required size as the template. After the gratings were glued up I used a sanding stick to add the taper on the outside of each coaming. After two coats of paint on the coamings and a coat of clear, flat on the gratings here is what they look like. Making me want to get on with planking the deck so I can see how they look where they belong.

 

Gratings complete.jpg

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With the gratings done I focused on the companion way which as I indicated above will be located where the plans show the Captain's Skylight. After two tries at getting the coaming correct I gave up and opted for a solid base made from 3/32" boxwood sheet. The actual companionway structure used the 3/64" strip wood supplied for the sides, front and back and 1/32' strips for the tops. I decided to simplify the paint scheme and substituted the yellow used on the bulwarks for the buff called for on the plans. I have not decided yet on the treatment of the main rail, I may leave that "bright" but if it is painted it will be bulwark yellow.

Companionway 2.jpg

Companion way 1.jpg

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While working on the re-planking of the port side bulwark I noticed that it was difficult to get the planking to follow the hull lines, a problem I did not have the first time because I used a 1/64" plywood "carrier" that was soaked and shaped to the lines (more or less) before the planking was applied. This time I decided to forego the carrier and use the 1/32" bulwark planking directly on the bulwark stanchions. The stbd side came out with a noticeable depression between bulkheads A and B. I used Bondo filler to correct this but thought I should pay closer attention on the port side and see if there was some was to avoid more red hands and red dust all over. What I found was that after the first two rows (starting from the plank sheer) the planking wants to take the straight line between Bulkheads A and B rather than follow the curve. My solution was to fit in two additional "stanchions" (3/32" X 1/16") between A and B. They were glued to the inside of the first two rows of planking (which follow the hull curve pretty well) at the bottom and to the top rail. I had to trim them at the top to make sure I had at least the 1/32" clearance needed so the hull planking is at least flush with the top rail. The picture below shows the two extra stanchions after several more rows of planking have been added. It looks much better than the stbd side did at this point. Another lesson learned.

Stbd fwd bulwark repair.jpg

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It took all day (except for time out to watch one baseball game) but I got half the deck planked. I am using Alaskan Yellow Cedar in 1/16 X 3/32 X 14" which I got from Syren Ship Model. It is half the price of boxwood (from Syren) and ships quickly. Given that it comes in 14" lengths I decided to follow the same joint pattern as on the hull planking. As it turns out using short (four or five bulkheads) lengths means I have enough fingers to pull the pieces into place. I apply the glue (yellow carpenters on edges, medium CA on bulkheads) and press the measured and cut piece in place, hold for 10-20 seconds to let the CA set up then move on to the next piece. I used a carpenters pencil to darken one side of each piece to simulate the caulk. I have tried other methods but this works out better for me. It still makes a mess and leads to considerable clean-up sanding. I decided to forgo the curved, tapered pieces and kept all the planks parallel to the centerline. I did use a nibbling strake and it came out reasonably well. I will include more detailed pictures when I have the deck planking completed and cleaned up some.

Half deck planked.jpg

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Two lessons learned from the first half deck planking. At the stern it is useful to add some additional support between the horn timbers, especially on the outboard side. As you get further outboard there is essentially no support for the of the deck planks between the horn timbers. I had to use the CA to glue the plank to the end piece before gluing the rest of the plank down. As you get closer to the edge this gets more and more difficult so for the port side I added supports between the horn timbers to hold up the extreme aft end of the deck planks. The second problem occurs as you approach the last two or three rows of planks on the outboard side. When the nibbling strake/deck plank joint (which can get pretty long out here) happens between bulkheads it was hard for me to keep the ends aligned vertically. So I added supports under the nibbling strake which are glued to the bulkheads and nibbling strake with thin CA. Hopefully this will make the port side an easier job than the starboard was.

Stern support.jpg

Nibbling Strake Support.jpg

Edited by cdrusn89
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Deck planking is completed. The end joints seem more prominent than I would like. I have been working them one by one with a small blade and 180 sandpaper to try and make them less obvious but so far it has been slow going. I also put the deck furniture in place (more or less) to get and idea of where I do NOT have to worry too much about how the deck looks. This is the different deck furniture configuration that I referred to earlier. It makes better sense to me but, the capstan will be much more prominent so I will have to make an effort to add as much detail as my limited skills will allow. I have not decided what to use to finish the deck. I do not plan to stain it as I prefer the light color of the yellow cedar. The two candidates I have available are Model Master Acrylic clear flat and Wipe-on-Poly flat. I am doing a comparison on some spare deck planks but am open to other suggestions. Anyone have any?

Deck complete with furniture.jpg

Nibbling Starke fwd.jpg

Deck Fwd.jpg

Deck aft.jpg

Deck completed.jpg

Edited by cdrusn89

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Gary, 

Really nice Niagara, enjoying your build!

 

I have to comment on that deck configuration, It really looks like it opens up that deck.

Just looks more logical.

It just looks so crowded on the plans.

 

Tom E 

 

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Tom,

     At the deck level this arrangement is only slightly different from the plans. The somewhat larger companionway is further aft and what was the Capt's skylight takes its place aft of the capstan. The real difference is the removal of the "structures" above the coamings for the Capt's and salon skylights to make way for sailors to operate the capstan. It would also allow more room to work the guns at the gun ports near the capstan.

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Finished the deck planking sanding and after running a test of both the Model Master Acrylic flat and flat Wipe-on-Poly I decided to use the WoP although it was virtually impossible to tell the difference on my test sample. Three coats of WoP with #400 sanding between the first and second and #600 between the second and third. Am thinking about a fourth coat (I have some #800 sandpaper). The planking is Alaskan Yellow Cedar that I got from Syren. I bought it in two batches of 50 pieces each. The first batch did about two thirds of the deck and looking at the views from forward and aft you can see that the second batch was considerably lighter than the first. Another lesson learned - if the wood is from different lots, mix them up (or alternate) before you use them. Now to mask everything off to prepare for putting the finish paint on the hull

Planing complete - stbd.jpg

Planking aft.jpg

Planking fwd.jpg

Edited by cdrusn89
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Darrel,

 

Thanks. I just got another slug of cedar from Syren so I plan on building the rest of the deck furniture to match the deck. Not sure about the main rail yet. Have to decide painted (per instructions) or "bright" and if bright kit wood or cedar. At the moment I am leaning to bright cedar but need to see what additional wood and effort (like recreating the kit pieces in cedar) that would require.

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I agree with Jim.  I put a cherry rail on my Niagara.  Traced it from the laser cut pattern and cut it out on the jig saw. I substituted cherry for bass wood for anything that was not painted

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Sounds like a good excuse to by a jig or scroll saw - I will check with HQ and see what the art of the possible might be. Have any suggestions on a particular jig/scroll saw to get?

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Jim/Darrell - thanks, found a Delta on Facebook Marketplace. Will have it tomorrow. Haven't decided whether to buy the stand (is does not come with one). Will put it on my "power tool" bench for now.

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Spent some more time on Deck Furniture while waiting for plumbers and electricians to hook up my new standby generator. No more worrying about power outages in storms (hurricanes or severe thunderstorms, both have been known to happen here in Central Florida). Got both fife rails and the pump completed. Ordered a brass bell from Billings Boat, kit one is Britannia metal so will work on the the ship's bell next. No scroll saw yet, UPS guy is late. So here are the three pieces that I got finished. I used rubber cement to attach a copy of the drawing to my build board, then drilled the posts on the fife rails for metal pins and drilled holes in the build board (through the plan) to hold the fife rail posts. Fashioned the connecting rails (and added some support pieces to help provide some more area for the glue to work) and then glued everything together. I will transfer the plan pieces to the deck and use the holes to locate the holes for the fife rails. Probably will not mount any of the deck furniture until after all the guns are mounted and the masts, yards, etc. are ready for mounting.

Aft Fife Rail.jpg

Bilge Pump.jpg

Fwd Fife Rail.jpg

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Thanks Darrell - it took two tries on the aft fife rail to one that would hold together with only three sides. I have to take a week+ off - HQ wants a trip to her home in Michigan for her brothers b-day (the big 70). Work in shipyard is suspended until the 28th.

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Shipyard has reopened a day early after a 1223 mile non-stop journey home from Ontario (Canada not California) due to an allergic reaction to a cat that just had to be petted. She had one eye so swollen she could not see out of it. So it was a solo drive to boot. Anyway, as for the ship model, I completed the capstan and assembled and painted the rudder Pintles and Gudgeons which are now drying. I addition I cut and painted the 10 belaying pin racks. Next up is rudder installation and then the pin racks. I got the brass bell from Billings Boats so I will work the ship's bell structure when I get the pin rails and rudder done. Here is the capstan. I used a piece of file folders to simulate the metal band and some plastic hex bolts from a model train supplier on the top. Probably a bit out of scale and it is my understanding that hex heads bolts came after the Niagara but I think it looks letter than lumps of glue.

Capstan.jpg

Edited by cdrusn89

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