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I was planning on a galley next (La Real by Dusek) but got diverted from that diversion by steamboats. Decided to proceed with Chaperon by Model Shipways.

In addition to the plans and instruction book, I managed to locate Kurt's 6 part article in Ships in Scale and at least one of the references mentioned which has some fantastic ideas for super-detailing a steamship build - right up my alley!


Chaperon start planking-1.jpg

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I decided to forgo the boring pictures of gluing the false keel, faring and mounting the bulkheads, etc.

The planking is straightforward only in that no tapering is required, but in order to have the (initial 13 1/8x1/16 planks lie flat against the bulkheads, careful beveling and clamping is required (as I learned to my cost in a brief and currently in hiatus build attempt of the English Pinnace, now awaiting a calmer mind and removal of a number of planks).

I have fallen back on my original planking method - bevel, soak in hot water for 15-20 minutes, add any significant curves with a bending iron, and carefully clamp until dry. As I am blissfully retired and have a number of "projects" underway, Chaperon gets 2-3 hours per day. I am clamping 2 strakes to dry overnight (P/S), gluing them in the morning, and fashioning another 2 in the afternoon - so 2 planks per day. The picture is just after gluing plank 5.

My goal is to have no gaps that require filler. So far, so good.

This will be a slow build, so be patient with me.


Chaperon start planking-4.jpg

Chaperon start planking-2.jpg

Chaperon start planking-3.jpg

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I have added all 13 (P & S) 1/8 inch wide strakes to the Chaperon, which brings me up (or down) to the flat bottom which will be finished with 3/8 inch planks.

Here is the planking to date prior to any sanding. Minimal filler will be needed, mainly at the very front of the bow where the planks meet the stem, for clamping related dings, and one short area of slight separation of adjacent planks. The rest should sand smooth. I'm quite pleased with the planking job thus far.

Will paint white, but I would like the planking to be subtly visible. Likely will add a "mud line" if I can do it well.

Chaperon 13 1-8 planks finished-1.jpg

Chaperon 13 1-8 planks finished-2.jpg

Chaperon 13 1-8 planks finished-3.jpg

Chaperon 13 1-8 planks finished-4.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finished the planking and added t-nuts to the inside to anchor screws to fasten to the base allowing easy removal and remounting.

I put a base together, but won't finish it until the hull and first deck is complete and painted.

Now I'm making sawdust with first rough sanding completed. Some filler here and there, then progressively finer sanding.

Will paint the hull white after adding the keel strip. Researching the best way to add some dirt in the form of a mud stripe.

Also, before adding the deck I'll need to decide on whether or not to add lighting. Suggested approaches?

Planking and stand finished-3.jpg

Planking and stand finished-1.jpg

Planking and stand finished-2.jpg

Planking and stand finished-4.jpg

Planking and stand finished-5.jpg

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That looks great so far. I am building the same kit so I know what a chore planking the hull is! That's, a beautiful  job on the planking. I cheated. I used super glue and pure rage to attach the planks. Not as precise as clamping the wood but it came out very well. I will be following your build. Where did you locate the 6 part article?

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Moving along but my computer with my photo software is at the “doctor” with an uncertain prognosis. 

Hull painted white and rudders completed and shaft holes drilled. 

Waiting for deck paint so may add mud stripe to hull and rudders next after some experiments on painted scrap. 

Also need to decide if I’m lighting this puppy since I’ll want the wiring to come out the bottom to external battery and switch. No deck gluing until then. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/29/2018 at 5:27 PM, Brucealanevans said:

I have added all 13 (P & S) 1/8 inch wide strakes to the Chaperon, which brings me up (or down) to the flat bottom which will be finished with 3/8inch planks

Hey Bruce,  good work by the way.   I have a question relating to the  Strbrd / port  bulkhead stringers.  I have found that I don't have stock in the kit to make these one piece.  From the photos I don't see any splice ....  so I wanted to inquire if I've been shorted in materials .... splicing these would be counterproductive to the purpose they were intended.  I have looked in my shipyard and don't have the size.  No splice is shown on the ship plans so I think it was a packing area.  

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14 minutes ago, Brucealanevans said:

No the longest ones have to be spliced. I did it at a bulkhead. 

Worked ok. 

Been working away. Deck on and painted. Stand completed. Did mud stripe with pastels on hull and rudders. Finished boiler and working on forward companionway now. 

Computer is borked and only partially fixed so no pics yet. Maybe next week

Thanks Bruce,  I'll start that tomorrow...... I'm going to like this build a whole lot.   

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  • 3 weeks later...

My computer is back, so here is an update on my Chaperon build. Been gone for 9 days, so this is the progress to date.

Finished and painted the deck; with careful filling the "finger" interlocking area is not very visible. The wire visible will provide power to the LED lighting unless I screw it up. The exit from the hull is on the bottom with a small plug that will attach to a plug-in converter.

Built the boiler with a few changes suggested by both Kurt's build series and some material on such boats that included a fair amount of detail.

I added some dowel sections to represent the tops of the boilers within the enclosure, and added a silkspan plus pastel rub blanket to simulate the asbestos blanket covering often used (!). Added some detail to the fire doors and added the heat shields, most of which isn't very visible.

I decided to try the Micro Mark rivet decals and am fairly satisfied with the look, although the blend with the surrounding black isn't perfect..

Entryway was straightforward, altho I added coal piles as suggested by previous build log here (I'm a shameless borrower!). I'll add some black shmutz on the deck between the piles and the fire doors

None of that stuff yet glued to deck as i wanted to be able to cross clamp the entire deck for the rubbing strip. I had 4 plastic clamps that JUST reached far enough to do the job.

Next is painting the pieces to assemble the aft cabin.

deck boiler entry-8.jpg

deck boiler entry-7.jpg

deck boiler entry-6.jpg

deck boiler entry-5.jpg

deck boiler entry-4.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I have installed lighting LEDs for the main deck.

Testing to make sure everything works from my external power connector to the individual lights prior to finalizing with shrink tubes on the main power lines where the five lights connect - temporarily held together with the visible red and black clips - and neatinizing the wiring, all of which will be covered by the deck structure.

The main power line will go up to the next deck to provide stateroom lighting. I may put a small light in the floor of the pilot house, but I wonder if that was done since it might affect the night vision of the pilot. Anyone know?

Lighting Main Deck-1.jpg

Lighting Main Deck-2.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

Added the stationaries and the supports for the bull rails on the main deck, but will hold off the bull rails till later to make adding some cargo and figures easier.

The boiler deck cabin was definitely a lot of work!

Firstly, the deck shear was a bit off, so I had to do some selective sanding of the cabin sides on the bottom. This also necessitated shortening some of the doors in the sanded area. The there were the scores of battens to add.

I found the round bends at the corners difficult. Thankfully I came across the hint of gluing some card to the inside of the areas to be bent which made the occasional fracture along the bend lines tolerable instead of a disaster. I really would call the process more of a series of controlled fractures than a bend.

After painting, added the door frames in red, glazed all the windows with clear plastic, and added pin heads to simulate door handles on each door.

I opted not to wet, dry, and sand the cabin sides prior to painting which gave them a more aged and shabby look.

Here are the cabin pieces dry fitted. Will add some gray pastel aging before gluing.

Then on to the two staircases and the hurricane deck.

I will wire the lights for the boiler deck cabin on top of the deck within the skylight structure.


Boiler Deck Cabin-1.jpg

Boiler Deck Cabin-2.jpg

Boiler Deck Cabin-3.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Added the hurricane deck. Followed the instructions in Kurt's Ships in Scale article to simulate tar paper covering with silkspan strips.

Put in all of the hurricane deck supports.

Before adding the skylight structure I put in 3 LEDs leading to holes in the deck within where the skylight would go to provide some lighting to the main cabin structure. It's not bright - good simulation of several kerosene lamps being lit I think. Tested the lights - all levels working so far.

The skylight structure was next. A lot of windows but easy to glaze with strips of clear Lucite on the inside after painting. I like to glaze the windows rather than leave them open because the reflection off of them with ambient light adds to the realism.

I'll put 3 lights on the deck within the hurricane cabin outline since access to the roof in an unobtrusive manner - with only the pilot house on top of it - prevents easy running of the wires via the roof. The silkspan "tar paper" will not hide them as I determined with an experiment. Those will be the last lights.

The small black "grabber" is holding the wires those LEDs will attach to.


OOps - I just noticed looking at the pictures that I lost one of the aft hurricane deck posts for the railing. Better fix that now.

Hurricane Deck-1.jpg

Hurricane Deck-2.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Now have added the Texas cabin and glued it down after finishing the LED lighting.

No real problems with this phase of the construction.

Now I put the ship aside to work first on the pilot house. With the modifications to the front and side exposures and the subsequent exposure of the interior there will be a fair amount of detailing work to do.

I have a scale stove, one of Syren's ships wheel kits, and a figure that will do for the pilot to add. Also need to figure out the best way to reproduce the small "Chaperon" label - likely will use what I did on the Morgan printing in Word on a color-filled background and applying with Maj-Paj paste covered with dull-coat.


Texas Cabin and Lights-1.jpg

Texas Cabin and Lights-2.jpg

Texas Cabin and Lights-3.jpg

Texas Cabin and Lights-5.jpg

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Hi Bruce,


Not sure why I haven't run across your Chaperon build before, particularly since I am working on my own version of that kit. Very nice work indeed! I like your idea for the the windows to give a more muted and realistic look when the lights are turned on. I saw one version some time ago where the lights were the almost hospital white and it did not look good at all, at least in my opinion anyway.


I have kind of let my Chaperon slip of late and am only at the stage of installing the boiler deck. You mentioned using silkspan strips to simulate the decking. Did you ever consider black emery paper? That is what I have in mind and wondered if you encountered any problems with your solution. I have never used silkspan before but am always open to something new if it works for others.


Anyway, keep up the excellent work and I will surely be following along in the future.



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I got the silk-span procedure from Kurt Van Dahm's Ships in Scale series on the Chaperon build when I was able to get the back issues involved before they ceased operation.

I had some silk-span on hand since I had used it for sails in a previous build.

I really like the effect. The silk span is cut into strips 3/4 by 5-6 inches and fastened down with Acrylic Mat Medium, with 1/8 inch overlap. When dry, painted (airbrush works well) with flat black and when dry covered with dull-coat type spray. The strips need to be cut with a sharp x-acto blade, and the cutting works best when the silk-span sheet is taped at the sides to a cutting board so it doesn't slide, and a straight-edge pulled down from the taped area the appropriate difference to flatten the sheet when cutting. Drew light lines on the deck 5/8 inches apart to guide the application of the Mat Medium and allow for the overlap of the 3/4 inch sheets.

Fiddly, but otherwise straight forward.

I'm not sure how emery paper would look. Is it too thick? The silk-span really snugs down. Would the edges of the emery paper show white and require painting anyway? Don't really know.


thanks all for the "likes"


Made a test turnbuckle from brass tubing. Once I found the right way to cut the windows in the outer tube it went pretty well, so I guess I'll make 11 more rather than use the flat brass ones provided with the kit. Thanks for the tip, Kurt! Luckily I had the three sizes of tubing on hand, since my local hobby shop where I bought such stuff has gone belly up. Used CA jell to glue the nested tube ends rather that soldering, which seems to have worked well. 20 gauge black coated copper wire for the inserted hooks in the end.

I think I'm going with black for the hog-truss hardware and the wire (rather than line) to connect them.

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Hi Bruce,


Thanks for the response to my question. I am concerned as well that emery paper might be too thick and look out of place but had not come up with a better solution on my own. I will have to do a bit of experimenting with silk span to see if I can get the desired effect. Your directions will be most helpful. I may be back for further assistance.


I have seen others mention Kurt's SOS series and always wished I had a copy but a bit late for that. Anyway, thanks again.





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Finished the Pilot House except for a bit of white touch-up here and there.

Made the modifications as per Kurt and the Steamboat Cyclopedium (see first post this topic) - sliding windows on the sides partly open and visor and folded breastboard in the front rather that the latticed window.

Put in a wheel (which should be 50% bigger but that's the largest I could find), a pilot figure holding the wheel and a guy lounging in the back next to the stove.

Next up is the stairway to the Pilot House and the railing around the Texas deck.

Pilot House-1.jpg

Pilot House-3.jpg

Pilot House-4.jpg

Pilot House-5.jpg

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16 hours ago, leclaire said:

I have seen others mention Kurt's SOS series and always wished I had a copy but a bit late for that. Anyway, thanks again.




Here is an extract from the article where I described the silkspan "tar paper" method.  Hope this helps.


Extract on roofing technique.pdf

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