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Rattlesnake by John12 - Model Shipways - 1:64

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Welcome everyone to my first build log. This will be my second ship model. My fist ship was the Model Shipways solid hull Sultana kit which is currently in the rigging stage. I bought the Rattlesnake kit probably four or five years ago, but after examining the kit and instructions I felt a little overwhelmed. With only a couple scale car builds for modeling experience I decided to put the Rattlesnake on the shelf for a later date. I was currently in the Navy at the time and while I was bouncing around from place to place, my interest in building a model ship returned. I noticed that the Sultana had a very detailed practicum, so I gave it a shot as a learning experience before I attempted the Rattlesnake. Unfortunately I didn’t start a build log on the Sultana and I wish I had. This forum is full of knowledge and experience and probably could have prevented many of my mistakes. With the absence of a practicum and this being my first POB ship, I’m sure I will have many questions. 

50C564D9-EE9C-4BF6-9B5F-B2A088B7DCB0.thumb.jpeg.d17f96c2807b6e6a0546a4da06e11a67.jpegSo to start off I cut out the pieces for the center keel. Lining them up with the plans I noticed the same misalignment that some others have had. It might not have made a difference in the end but I decided to shim the two halves out slightly to split the difference. Now the mast slots at least line up. This weekend the plan is to drill holes for the dowels on the keel, sternpost and stem. Then taper the stem and glue them to the center keel.1D8BF465-7650-4EE8-885D-99F971653A20.thumb.jpeg.b29a31b18bc330a2cdb2f16043ec432c.jpeg1E731F1A-8D22-4F24-A7E9-A3EE45992EB0.thumb.jpeg.b8cd01a48b94d18163a211edd3594a84.jpeg78C49AC9-47CE-44BE-9F1F-D8BCC474F4C0.thumb.jpeg.c390c72f07fce056c8a7f7c0d0a7ae95.jpeg

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Thanks for the kind words about the Sultana. I still plan to finish her, but I needed a break from tying rat lines.


Thanks Jim. I might pick up the rigging one from them when I get to that stage. 


Well progress has and probably will continue to be slow. I finally have the keel pieces pinned and glued on. I still need to taper the stem and cut the rabbit. I’ve noticed that the laser cutting leaves a slight bevel on the edge. To get some of the parts to fit flush, I had to sand the edges flat. 


Does anyone know if the sternpost should be tapered? The plans make it look like it’s the same width all the way to the top. 




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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi John,

You're slightly ahead of me on the Rattlesnake, so I look forward to watching. I had trouble with the bulkheads not sliding into the keel. I broke two of them before I gave up and cut a small groove in the bulkhead with a chisel and sanded out the slot. They fit pretty well now. bulkhead.png.a74d193673bf71b6796953140a01efb6.png

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Thanks! I will keep that in mind when I start fitting the bulkheads which will hopefully be soon. I haven’t worked on it for a couple of weeks so it will be good to start making progress again.  I finally have the rabbit cut. That was a nerve racking experience. Cutting to the depth called for in the instructions doesn’t leave very much left. I couldn’t seem to get a very good picture of it using my phone though.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

That jewelers saw will be a great asset to your ship yard. The counter on the Rattlesnake is a trickier one on shape as it curves in a few different directions. Just keep sanding and dry-fitting it as you go and it will work out. If you have not thought about it yet, I would suggest to start fairing the frames while you wait on your saw. The angle of the fairing will impact the final shape of the filler and counter blocks. It is another tedious yet extremely beneficial process for the planking coming up.  


When all the fillers and counter blocks have been installed and the fairing is complete, use some wood filler or even drywall spackle to fill in the low spots. Having a smooth, even surface to lay the planks down on will help out tremendously as dips can deform the shape just as much as a bump can or prevent adequate glue adhesion. 


Looking good so far! 😃

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  • 1 year later...

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