Jump to content
ESF

Zebulon B. Vance by ESF - Dean's Marine - 1:96 - Plastic

Recommended Posts

This is a build log of the Zebulon B. Vance, based on the Dean’s Marine kit of the St. Olaf hospital ship, which was a sister ship to the Vance.

 

My interest in the Vance was kindled when I was casting about for a new project after completing my first wooden ship build (Bowdoin by Bluejacket Shipcrafters which is chronicled elsewhere in MSW).  My late mother was a WWII war bride who sailed from England to New York shortly after the war ended, and I thought if I could find and model her ship it would make a lasting gift to our family.

 

And an interesting journey it has become.  Before I get too far I would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their feedback and assistance:

 

James E. Atwater, Assistant Curator, U.S. Army Transportation Museum

James Smailes, Ship Plans Office, Smithsonian Institution

Textual Reference Archives II Branch, National Archives at College Park, MD

Nathan G. Jordan, Archives Specialist, National Archives at Atlanta, GA

MSW member Koa4225

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.

The Library of Congress

 

An excellent book on the subject is Hospital Ships of World War II An Illustrated Reference, by Emory A. Massman; McFarland & Company, Inc., 1999; which I purchased during the course of the research.

 

ZebulonBVanceLaunch.thumb.jpg.e9e03b4b58f438e886125d897c86af9a.jpg

The photo above from the Library of Congress (source C. Seavey, 2017) is of the Zebulon B. Vance launch on December 6, 1941 at the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company in Wilmington, NC.  The Vance was originally a Liberty Ship, the first of 90 to be built at the North Carolina shipyard.  After several years of service the Vance was reconfigured to a hospital ship at the Bethlehem Steel yard in Boston, MA, one of six identical Liberty ships to be changed to support the growing need for transport and care of injured soldiers.  In its hospital mode the Vance was renamed the U.S. Army Hospital Ship John J. Meany.

 

240444026_MeanyHiResStarboard2.thumb.jpeg.2748bd70e02b974b67fd061ac5b0236a.jpeg

In addition to new paint and red cross insignia the conversion added multiple decks and structural enhancements to support the new loads.  The photo above, courtesy of the National Archives, shows the Meany in its hospital wardrobe.  The Meany made six transatlantic voyages.  At the conclusion of the last voyage to New York on January 1, 1946 the Meany was removed from hospital service and given a one month retrofit at the Bethlehem Steel 56th Street Yard in Brooklyn; to serve as a personnel carrier for the multitude of war brides and refugees traveling from England and Europe to the U.S.  The Zebulon B. Vance name was restored.  By this point the Vance was pretty tired and the quick changeover, illustrated in the  photo below courtesy of the National Archives, did nothing to enhance its appearance.

 

Vance1946.jpg.2ab4a88207bc20b4d0417eb1b5fe2804.jpg

Pretty or not I’m guessing the Vance’s initial docking at Southampton, England was a welcome sight to over 500 war brides looking to escape the horrors and devastation visited upon their homeland.  My mother was one of those brides who packed into the ship, three bunks high with no bathroom privacy, for the 16 day voyage.  In later years she referred to the Vance as a “tramp steamer” and said she was sick the entire trip.  When she arrived in New York in late February my dad met her at the dock.  As they walked to the car he said, “You’re in the United States now, you have to know how to drive.”  So he taught her, on the 150 mile trip north to Troy.  She was a good driver after that, although I’m not quite sure how she did it after being sick for almost three weeks.  I suppose it was child’s play after enduring the Blitz, V-2 rocket explosions while sitting in the park and other war traumas.

 

So here we are.  Having only one build under my belt I did not feel qualified to scratch build the Vance, nor did I feel I had the skill to kit bash a Liberty Ship model since the superstructure is so different in the Vance’s post-war configuration.  I chose the Dean’s Marine kit because the St. Olaf was one of the six Liberty ships to follow the Vance’s reconfiguration to hospital ship, and because the post war Vance looks essentially identical to the St. Olaf except for paint.  The downsides are the kit is large (54 inches) and the construction is fiberglass and laser cut styrene.  Many of the new skills I learned with the wooden Bowdoin must be put on the shelf in favor of wet sanding, fiberglass resin and Bondo.  The upside is that I have purchased the RC bits and pieces and I hope to recreate my mother’s voyage across the pond, with the pond near our house sitting in for the North Atlantic.

 

Let’s get to it.

 

Unboxing.thumb.jpg.15c68dd15bc83d29bf8514a5eac42044.jpg

The kit arrived well packaged, in a shipping box nearly as tall as the Admiral, and in a remarkable 4 days from England.

 

VanceKitPartssmall.thumb.jpg.51868a4655cbed1f6fa5c7e995bce59f.jpgIn addition to what is shown the kit includes many sheets of laser cut styrene and a CD with a full range of photos.  There are two instruction books, one more of a reference and the other more step-by-step.  And about 1000 pieces of PE brass, 600 of which are railing stanchions.

 

VanceVsBowdoin.thumb.jpg.e3457d4db04c3db5d8a4b008e8becfd2.jpg

The Vance’s hull was placed on top of the Bowdoin case for scale reference.  The Vance is 1:96 and the Bowdoin is 1:48.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To all who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by.

 

Chris, thanks also for stopping in, and for your support and encouragement.

 

Steve

 

The first order of business was to squeeze the 54 inch hull into the shipyard.  Thankfully my work surface is 60 inches long.

HullOnWorktable.thumb.jpg.cff8afcd2f4e4519fc79565d1b47a24c.jpgThe hull needed to be scrubbed with dishwashing liquid and warm water to remove mould release, then air dried after rinsing.  Apparently rubbing the fiberglass dry with a towel results in static build up which causes problems with paint.

pianowire.jpg.544c49c1d47bc6e17ab9151f7605f064.jpg

Piano wire, which is installed through small holes drilled in the hull, provides a guide for placement of the perimeter deck beams.  The instructions show nice straight lengths but when the local piano store sold me some wire it came off a roll.  Deuce of a time getting it semi-straight.  I tried the stretching trick used to straighten brass wire but believe me, piano wire doesn’t want to stretch.

deckbeammaterial.jpg.f3eb7b04782150d5953b2088987ec3a9.jpg

The perimeter deck beam is built up with three layers of laminated styrene strips from the laser cut sheets.

 

perimeterbeamclamps.jpg.0d93da21190f070f95708bd56f89c2af.jpgThe strips aren’t that stiff so the gluing clamps must be close together to keep the beam aligned with a layout line I marked using a flexible metal straightedge.  The line at the bow and stern needed tweaking since the straightedge doesn’t do a compound curve.  The brown on the inside of the bulwarks is Bondo, used to smooth out the rough backside of the fiberglass since portions of the bulwarks are visible.  Priming will tell whether the extensive sanding provides a reasonable finished surface.

CrossBeamInstructions.thumb.jpg.2e5e7389f9a62ad6e33b7d1e3435823f.jpg

The instructions call for two cross beams, each laminated with 5 strips of beam material and supported at each end on beam seats made of styrene triangles glued to the underside of the perimeter beams.  The question was how to align the beams perpendicular to the hull centerline.

crossbeamandstring.jpg.51e2035c8809a61498fc714ecc2018b2.jpg

I stretched a string the length of the hull, marked it at the cross beam distance at each end, then held a triangle on the mark and parallel with the string while I marked the bulwarks on each side.  I extended the marks down to the perimeter beams.  The tape is to hold the hull, which is quite flexible on its own, to match the cross beam dimension while the glue dries.

brickweights.jpg.25bfcb5bae181bcd44cbcb153837599a.jpg

There is a wood stiffener along the hull centerline, sort of a poor man’s keelson, to help keep the hull flat.  The wood is set in a layer of fiberglass resin and must be weighted down while the resin cures.  Some spare patio blocks, with a block plane for a helper, did the job.  The finish shot is below.

Keelson.thumb.jpg.f4bcef5a630ad6743d3481ff77703415.jpg

bradpointbit.jpg.6d6fc1d9e3c371e23ef0d63b5a49c041.jpg

There are many holes to be drilled, routed and filed along the hull.  For the portholes I saw a tip for using a brad point drill bit on fiberglass.  The problem is that the hull fiberglass is thin relative to the brad point.  When the brad point passes through the hard gel coat it moves rapidly through the glass mat and charges out the back side, causing the perimeter points on the bit to slam into the gel coat, which responds to the insult by chipping out.  The pics below show the result on the first two portholes (3/16 inch diameter) and the later repair.  After that I used a small conventional bit for a pilot hole, which then allowed me to slowly introduce the brad point, using a very slow speed to let the perimeter points gradually score the gel coat.  This worked much better.  

 

The small hole above and centered between the chipouts is the drilling for the piano wire which was filled and sanded.  The short horizontal strips in the hull are the scupper locations.  The vertical strips moulded into the hull represent rub rails that were added to discourage damage during delivery of injured soldiers at sea.  I expect they will need some weathering, which I have never done before, and your suggestions are most welcome.  I don't want the ship to look a complete wreck since the voyage I'm targeting was immediately after the Vance came out of post-hospital re-fit. 

portholechipouts.jpg.e6da3ddcb660d497706cec1533d0f86e.jpg

repairedportholes.jpg.0b2671d2c07b79ed056c41a32a84ba66.jpg

ScupperTools.thumb.jpg.2a3424ae86ef61fdac89cc13a9247e2e.jpg

The long promenade openings at the top of the hull were roughed out using a Dremel with a side cutting bit, after drilling a pilot hole, but the scuppers were too small for it.  The photo above shows the tools, including an ancient rat tail file, that were used to finish the scuppers after chain drilling each scupper with a 1/16 inch bit.  I’m sure there is an easier way but my tool choices are limited.

 

StarboardHoles.thumb.jpg.378fff4cbb5cb22eb9fa8dd2e7eada7c.jpg

The starboard hull holes are essentially complete, although now I have to figure out how to fill all the portholes so they will stand up to water entry during sailing.  The instructions call for  taping the outside of each porthole and filling with clear epoxy from the backside, but if you have any better experience please let me know.  I have heard about Kristal Klear but I saw a comment that it is very thin when it sets so I don’t know how it would hold up.

 

These first two episodes are mostly retrospective since I started in mid-August, then picked back up after returning from holiday.  Future posts will be more stretched out to correspond with the work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another plastic build hits the road. Interesting ship, Steve. Quite a change from a wooden sailer ...

 

For the portholes you might have a look at "Glue 'n' Glaze"

 

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To all who liked, thanks for stopping in.  I appreciate your interest.

 

Carl, I've gone to the darkside (white styrene side?) for awhile, but for a good cause.  And this one will actually sail (he said hopefully).  My grandson has already made a Lego figure of my late mother (complete with dress) to stand on the Vance when she takes her ceremonial trip across the pond.  The other part of me also researched my next wood model, for which I have procured some plans and which I hope will start in a year or so.

 

Thanks for the Glue 'n Glaze tip.  I'll check it out.

 

More work to show later.

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris:

 

Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comment.  Dean's Marine in England is the manufacturer and vendor of the kit.  The link is below.

 

https://www.deansmarine.co.uk/ 

 

I'm not sure if this will work as a hot link but if not it could be cut and pasted.  The kit is the St. Olaf in their merchant ship section.

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

To all who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by.

 

Steve

 

Much of the work has been focused on cutting out the remaining portholes, all the promenade openings and the remaining scuppers (freeing ports).

scuppersquareandround.thumb.jpg.d7ff73dcd2e74ed9297bd4e6833d186b.jpgThe scuppers have rectangular locating tabs moulded into the hull but after chain drilling and filing each one I discovered from photos that the Vance’s are rounded at each end (stadium shape in math-speak).  So I made another lap of the ship to round them all out.

 

PortSternShiftedScuppers.thumb.jpg.ee6e43aa46be2a31f29a4c01f3c8a09c.jpg

At the port stern area the scupper tabs were mis-located and too many, relative to the starboard layout, requiring them to be sanded away in favor of a new position.

 

SternCutDownAndDamage.thumb.jpg.4c393fc53596f26095672e1cc7c5eac8.jpg

The hull bulwark top edge ends in a thick mould flash.  It proved quite resistant to sanding even with 60 grit in an electric palm sander, so I tried a side cutting bit in a Dremel.  That worked, all too well as evidenced by a nice gouge in the bulwark at the initial touch.  The remainder was trimmed very, very carefully without incident, until the very last cut at the stern when the bit grabbed the fiberglass as I was cutting down the bulwark to roughly the required profile, biting a chunk out of it.  Bondo, Bondo where art thou.

 

BatteryElectronicsSupports.thumb.jpg.0bf5f6203db46e2c1bfc4ca7061e8806.jpgSince the ship will be powered a platform for the electronics must be constructed.  The first step is bonding wood strips to the hull on either side of the keel using fiberglass resin.  The patio blocks came into play again to keep things flat while the resin cures.

 

MotorAndPropShaft.thumb.jpg.0575ae58eaab46cb8e26a9ecbe6e7345.jpg

Propeller.thumb.jpg.3905b261e69f85a3251a5cbcec41d89e.jpgThe motor, universal joint, propeller tube, propeller shaft and propeller were test fitted.  The working propeller is a pretty brass piece (the kit version is a rough metal casting) in a size and shape as recommended by the kit manufacturer.

MotorElectornicsLayout.thumb.jpg.12484086acf7540335ab1c0b16cd2377.jpgRC electronics are all new to me.  Compounding it is that some of the parts came from the kit manufacturer, but the transmitter, receiver, battery and charger were locally sourced from an RC race car shop, a battery store and an auto parts shop.  For those unfamiliar with RC the parts in this build are the motor (duh), an electronic speed control (ESC), a servo to operate the rudder, a receiver with small antenna to get the signals from the remote 2 channel transmitter, an on-off switch and a 6 volt 7 amp hour gel-type battery similar to that used in a child’s power wheels toy car.  At the suggestion of the manufacturer I bought a second battery, for backup and as ballast.  The only extra wiring is a small harness to make up the gap between the Tamiya connector on the power wires from the ESC and the spade connectors on the battery.  I was expecting a lot of fettling but when I flipped the switch and turned on the transmitter the parts had a brief flashing conversation amongst themselves and went to work.  No fuss, no muss.  I’ll end here for now so I don’t push my luck.






 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice progress ... it pays to check on the wear of your rotary cutter ... frequently, some just don't keep it up very long

 

I remember I pored resin at the stern to seal the prop shaft when I built the Smit Rotterdam & Smit Nederland, the same with the rudders, as the hull couldn't cope with the strength of the servo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To all who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by.

 

Carl, thanks for your ongoing interest and your suggestions.  It was no fault of the tool or bit, other than it is old and the on-off switch is on the wrong end when you need it in a hurry.

 

Steve

PropTubeAtStern.thumb.jpg.3c5c55fa2a36c5e179bf9823d12b3889.jpg

 

I sealed the prop tube with epoxy at the hull penetration and then gave it structural support with Bondo.  For the rudder (yet to come) the instructions show a wood block in Bondo  with the rudder tube drilled through it but I think I want to start with an epoxy seal there too.

 

BatteryDeckTowardBow.thumb.jpg.d2d7a084318b0df27e4c30dedb21ac02.jpg

Looking toward the bow, the electronics deck is installed, along with a crib for the battery, and a support block for the on-off switch.  The layout marks are for the RC receiver (port) and electronic speed control (starboard).

OverviewMainDeckTest.thumb.jpg.437459e187d42b7ee957f326b54030e5.jpg

MainDeckStarbd.thumb.jpg.73a83159305682e638f1dd62d79a348b.jpg

CloserStarbd.thumb.jpg.61939989b4f223e4a9ff66d7b1c00b10.jpgI cut the two pieces of main deck from the laser sheet and test fit them to ensure there is access to the electronics.

 

OverheadPlatform.thumb.jpg.bea3494a2b09395c2e755c3053171eac.jpg

The main deck has two sizable  openings and parts of the superstructure are to be installed loose to allow access.

BatteriesTestFit.thumb.jpg.2e7a955a9c209be4fde0a3696c0d0f14.jpg

Apart from snagging the blue tape on the in-out the batteries were an easy fit.  The forward battery is primarily for ballast and I need to make a little crib for that too.  I may put some velcro on the batteries and e-bits to help hold them in place.

 

I made a test paint sample of the two hull colors (slate gray and deep red) but the red is not deep enough and the gray is okay but could be more cool (blue-gray) in tone I think.  I’ll have to try again.  The challenge is that there is a lot to paint.  I don’t have an airbrush (yet?) and it’s too much to brush paint so I’m limited to what is available in rattle cans.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To all who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by.

 

Steve

SlaterOverview.thumb.jpg.e9f14da9a402eb26fa3a24a041690683.jpg

Slaterliferaft.thumb.jpg.721946d3329dc3618ae97cd3879246ef.jpg

I visited the USS Slater museum (https://www.ussslater.org ) near us to see if I could find inspiration for the correct gray paint on the hull, and to check out a few details.  While I was chatting with the volunteers who do a great job of maintaining the Slater, I mentioned the Vance and said I was trying to determine which was the correct gray paint.  One of the fellows said “Just pick one!  Even on the same ship the grays could be different in different areas, depending upon who mixed which batch of paint.”  Of course they also went to great effort to get the historically correct dazzle colors and pattern when they repainted the Slater a year or so ago.

 

Ruddersupport1.thumb.jpg.06dac2b5ba34695dc30005717556c937.jpg

Ruddersupport2.thumb.jpg.cec3466c119fbfde33bd3f1d1c0dfb12.jpg

I was laying out the rudder and rudder support when I discovered the support fouls the propeller.  At first I thought I could cut away most of the fillet in the support, but quickly realized that the prop also fouls the bar of the support.   I rechecked the instructions and the prop shaft is exactly where it was shown to be, centered on the prop shaft fairing.  An obvious fix is to install a smaller prop but I don’t know how that will impact the operation.  I sent a note to England and will see what they have to say.  In the meantime I thought I might modify a stainless steel angle bracket, but after getting a new carbide bit for the Dremel all I did was spray myself with tiny hot bits of metal, with virtually no progress in the attempt to cut the bracket down the middle.  Brass would be easier to work, but in the end I'd rather not have the support extending down below the hull.  If anyone has a suggestion which would allow keeping the current prop, other than ripping out the entire driveline and motor support which are epoxied and Bondoed in place, please chime in.  Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ESF said:

To all who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by.

 

Steve

SlaterOverview.thumb.jpg.e9f14da9a402eb26fa3a24a041690683.jpg

Slaterliferaft.thumb.jpg.721946d3329dc3618ae97cd3879246ef.jpg

I visited the USS Slater museum (https://www.ussslater.org ) near us to see if I could find inspiration for the correct gray paint on the hull, and to check out a few details.  While I was chatting with the volunteers who do a great job of maintaining the Slater, I mentioned the Vance and said I was trying to determine which was the correct gray paint.  One of the fellows said “Just pick one!  Even on the same ship the grays could be different in different areas, depending upon who mixed which batch of paint.”  Of course they also went to great effort to get the historically correct dazzle colors and pattern when they repainted the Slater a year or so ago.

 

Ruddersupport1.thumb.jpg.06dac2b5ba34695dc30005717556c937.jpg

Ruddersupport2.thumb.jpg.cec3466c119fbfde33bd3f1d1c0dfb12.jpg

I was laying out the rudder and rudder support when I discovered the support fouls the propeller.  At first I thought I could cut away most of the fillet in the support, but quickly realized that the prop also fouls the bar of the support.   I rechecked the instructions and the prop shaft is exactly where it was shown to be, centered on the prop shaft fairing.  An obvious fix is to install a smaller prop but I don’t know how that will impact the operation.  I sent a note to England and will see what they have to say.  In the meantime I thought I might modify a stainless steel angle bracket, but after getting a new carbide bit for the Dremel all I did was spray myself with tiny hot bits of metal, with virtually no progress in the attempt to cut the bracket down the middle.  Brass would be easier to work, but in the end I'd rather not have the support extending down below the hull.  If anyone has a suggestion which would allow keeping the current prop, other than ripping out the entire driveline and motor support which are epoxied and Bondoed in place, please chime in.  Thanks.

have you checked any other build logs of the same vessel 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by.

 

Kevin, thank you for the links and suggestions.

 

I realized that if I pack the hull bottom 1.5 mm in the area of the rudder support, it will move the support down far enough, that with some judicious sanding of the support it will clear the propeller.  We'll see when executed but for now it looks like problem solved!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To all who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by.

 

Lou, thanks for your observation.  The rudder support was loosely taped in the pic but when I tightened it up it did help the clearance.

 

Steve

ruddersupportshim.thumb.jpg.e4d825010129b74bafd9d90bff3a5a29.jpg

rudderandsupport.thumb.jpg.006e8908c913e7987ca2838e1c354367.jpg

ruddertube.thumb.jpg.e696b0518a4d55c20bf4bfd0c3e219d6.jpg

I CA’d a wood shim to the hull bottom and did some preliminary sanding.  Then I taped the rudder support to the shim and worked on the layout of the rudder tube hole through the hull.  Voila, it worked and the prop just clears the support.  No need to replace it or try to fabricate a new support.  I’ll do a little more sanding at the support fillet, then work to make the installation permanent.  At the interior I sealed the tube to the hull with epoxy and will follow it with some structural support.  All in all a better finish to the day than it started out.

Edited by ESF
added my name to the opening paragraph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by.

 

Hal, thanks for checking in and thank you for your compliment.

 

Steve

BondoRudderShim.thumb.jpg.03dce8563065da2925efbd19c786ad18.jpg

EpoxyShimCap.thumb.jpg.8ff14eb8b6ec19900dbc77bbb4636f3d.jpg

After gluing the wood shim for the rudder support I globbed some plastic filler around it, but while waiting for it to dry I had second thoughts.  Although it will be primed and painted the rudder support area will be underwater during sailing, so I sanded off the filler and replaced it with a two part cold weld reinforced epoxy.  The second pic is just after placement and a full day prior to curing and sanding - I needed a bit more hardener.

BulwarkMasking.thumb.jpg.7c567d8f3443d8769eb45b4faf2d7040.jpgGiven the size of the ship (54 inches) versus my Bowdoin build (23 inches) it seems like every step involves either endless repetition or long distances, rolling back and forth from one end to the other.  I thought I’d give the bulwark interior a shot of primer.  I want to paint it prior to placing the main deck to keep the joint clean between the two.  After three laps of the ship, yards of masking and a wipe down with tacky cloth it was ready.

ForwardBulwarkPrime.thumb.jpg.648f3755a4d24943c581b1e18666048d.jpg

BulwarkPrime.thumb.jpg.8ddccf664b1a67268c301f21b735a1c5.jpg

The slight blotchiness is the bulwark filler showing through the light primer coat.  I’ll prime again after filling a few defects.  Hopefully it's not bleed-through.  If it is I'll go back to Kilz or BIN.  The paper towels are just to keep paint off the electronics/battery deck which was just sealed, and the prop tube/motor mount/rudder area.

Vance-nara.jpg.e477d1b612cc96f65b758b38648dd4df.jpg

A question is what should be the finish color of the inside of the bulwark?  In the National Archives photo above the promenade openings are white on the outside, probably leftover from the Vance’s hospital duty, but the hull and exterior of the bulwark forward and aft are darker, which I am assuming is a gray tone (Battleship Gray in Krylon speak) added to cover up the large crosses and green horizontal stripe that signified hospital use.  If the forward and aft bulwark interior was white during hospital work is it reasonable to assume it would have been painted over when the exterior bulwark and hull were refinished?  Or should I assume only the hull exterior would have received the new paint since the refit only lasted a month?   

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To all those who gave likes, thank you, and a special thanks to those who are hanging in during my glacial progress.

 

Kevin, this is only my second build and my first large plastic/fiberglass/RC kit so I'm not really qualified to judge whether it is good or not.  Pluses so far are the hull fiberglass has reasonable thickness and level of detail.  The gel coat is very well done and the portholes and other penetrations are located with raised tabs or molded indents to guide drilling and cutting.  The kit comes with a large quantity of photos (on CD) of prototype builds; finished kits and a good set of annotated photos showing various stages of the hull and superstructure assemblies.  There are two stapled sets of instructions with diagrams, text and some photos.  One set is more step by step, and the other is more of a guide.  The PE brass sheet appears well formed.  I have only applied one PE piece so far.  The RC bits were purchased after the fact, some through the manufacturer and some sourced locally.  They were literally plug and play when I tested them.  There is a full size drawing in color, with plan and elevation views.  There are three trays of fittings with a legend sheet for each one.  The superstructure and decks are laser cut plastic with different thicknesses depending upon use.  Part numbers are incised into the plastic sheets for easy identification.  There is a numbered list of the recommended glue/filler types (9), with the numbers keyed to the instructions.

 

Challenges to date are that the instructions in one set don't always match the other, nor with the drawing.  For instance, the waterline is described as 50 mm in one spot, but measures about 67 mm on the drawing.  The description and photos in one spot show a wood built-up motor support and wood bulkheads, but the kit motor support is formed plastic and I was advised that the superstructure contains cross supports which eliminate the need for bulkheads.  The starboard scupper placements near the stern were different than the port side.  The only experience I have with the cast metal so far is the rudder support and the tiller arm.  The rudder support seems okay.  It requires sanding and drilling.  The tiller arm  is supplied with a small, self-tapping style screw and requires drilling out the tiller hole and the screw hole, but when I tried to turn the screw tight to clamp the tiller post the threads stripped out of the soft metal.  I have ordered a new, and hopefully stronger tiller arm that comes with a set screw.  Having never built a large RC ship I'm not sure what to expect in terms of a kit.  This one seems quite complete but, as with any build, read all the instructions thoroughly before starting work, read them a few more times, then resolve any differences to your satisfaction before constructing carefully.

 

Thank you

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Steve, for your detailed answer, i am looking for another build on completion of the Victory, and would like to got for a merchant vessel of some kind, without the need to build a hull, I had been hoping to get a decent scale paddle steamer hull, but very few manufacturers make them, I must admit i like the lines of your currant build, and will continue to watch progress until i make my mind up

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by.

 

Steve

 

Waterlinetest.thumb.jpg.246cc708331a9a8e799469d6e4f343e3.jpg

After priming, painting and flat clear coating the bulwark/promenade interior, I experimented with the waterline placement which is described as 57 mm high with a slight turn up at the stern to accommodate the rudder.  The tape is temporary and the line will need to be redrawn after priming and upper hull painting.  And yes, I know the rudder is backwards in the photo.  What I don’t know is what possessed me to set it like that.  Fortunately it’s not the permanent install.

 

ServoSupport.thumb.jpg.411a4af8862167ab88f0a05117fd7ce0.jpg

The servo support is interesting.  After determining the placement a cross beam is cut to fit.  To get the cross beam width I used two shorter strips of wood, slid them to fit the width and locked them together with a bit of tape.  The cross beam was cut to the length of the taped strips. After the ends of the cross beam, and one end of each side beam were drilled, pieces of brass wire were installed which allowed the side beams to swing as needed to engage the port and starboard hull.  The side beams were taped in their final positions, tacked with medium CA, then permanently bonded to the hull with epoxy.  Then the second cross beam was fit to the servo and bonded to the side beams.  In the background at the blue tape is the packing which secures a shaped and drilled wood block that provides structural support for the rudder tube.

PromenadeMask.thumb.jpg.c5ceec4c590e3ec19b3c9468b35f3f0f.jpgThe promenade exterior was masked where it will be painted white to match the Vance's post-hospital livery.  It’s fiddly since the line is aligned with the bottom of the promenade openings giving nothing to mask to.  Fortunately the inside edge of the promenade openings is the same color as the hull so overspray shouldn’t be a problem.  I also masked the interior to further discourage errant spray.

 

HawsePortsTrim.thumb.jpg.206afff57372fec7bcbc31eaf000befb.jpgThe PE brass trim rings were installed at each hawse port.  I used a small basswood strip to push the ring off the tweezers.

 

 

HullPrimer.thumb.jpg.9d7a5aca881b4893a28431f87b4adad4.jpg

HullPrimerBow.thumb.jpg.edbc2980817ac6fef09d66f0897cf054.jpg

The hull got a primer coat which immediately revealed more work is needed where I shimmed for the rudder support.  The camera seems to have a problem interpreting gray paint.  The two pics above were taken in the same area, then fiddled with in Mac Photos, but neither one shows the exact color.  It's a moot point since it will all be covered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by.

 

Carl, perhaps the Vance is more interested in knowing where it has been than where it is going😄

 

Thanks again for your support.

 

Steve

 

BaseCutout.thumb.jpg.2187237f625eb1261eb5f26c2af15253.jpg

MainDeckPortholes.thumb.jpg.161c478114b4cdccd9c4b29ff7caa997.jpgMuch hull priming and painting this week with infill work such as pattern placement for the base on a piece of oak, and drilling main deck cabin portholes.

 

NewRudderArm.thumb.jpg.1a6090521e2fd27bae42fc221528ea76.jpg

RudderTestFit.thumb.jpg.1ad4609b2d43b5e621780902a5687a70.jpg

The new rudder arm arrived from England and was immediately test fit - what a difference in clamping power.  The rudder and rudder support were temporarily placed.

 

MaskingForLowerHull.thumb.jpg.c5f42f631a417787e8c1d86088995343.jpgOnce the upper hull was painted (except for the promenade exterior) the masking had to be reversed for painting the lower hull.  A great tip to ensure a sharp waterline came from Mr. Bluejacket (Nic) in the company newsletter.  The recommendation is to place and burnish the waterline tape and masking, then hit the waterline tape with Dullcote prior to spraying the finish color. The Dullcote blocks the color coat from bleeding under the tape.  It worked perfectly all around the ship - about nine feet worth of very sharp waterline.  Thanks Mr. Bluejacket!  See below for the finish, prior to painting the promenade exterior, paint flattening with paper towels, and flat clear coating.

HullPainted.thumb.jpg.261d50872195be61dd103c9bfd869095.jpg

The hull is just about ready for the main deck.

 

Edited by ESF
typo corrected at waterline tape

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by.

 

Kevin, I’m glad the waterline tip I learned about was helpful to you.

 

Steve

 

ElectronicsDeck.thumb.jpg.efad1810abb6aed01ad27f3030eb170e.jpg

Time to start buttoning things up below the main deck.  The electronics deck is complete except for placement of the power and control bits.  The heavier crib on the left is for ballast (the spare battery).  The deck was tarted up with a a bit of trim at either side and coat of wipe on poly.  The white strips are Velcro to better secure the components.

RudderAndServo.thumb.jpg.c7cf6c43a6ccdd62f35b0bc66461f79d.jpg

As shown in the earlier pics I sanded and fitted the main deck, then set the pieces aside until later.  After installing the servo cross beams I reset the main deck, only to discover that a slight misalignment when installing the servo cross beams resulted in them pushing the hull sides out just enough that the deck wouldn’t sit on the perimeter beams.  The photo shows where I Dremel-excised a piece from each beam, pushed them together a bit and added two scabs.  The good news is when I temporarily connected the power components, the RC transmitter operated the rudder in fine fashion.  The transmitter has two trim controls that allowed fine tuning of the rudder arc and center neutral point.

PortholeEpoxy.thumb.jpg.bd1ccd9b2123a254b784342c308ac08f.jpgThe instructions suggest using two part clear epoxy to fill the hull portholes, after taping over the exterior of each one.  Remember, this ship will be in the water.  It worked, sort of.  The epoxy seems to have taken a bit of texture from the sticky side of the tape, but it’s not altogether unpleasant so I’ll leave it.  The lesson learned was to use much care when placing the epoxy into the porthole.  On the first few I dabbed a blob in the hole then dragged across it with a craft stick that looks like a tongue depressor, thinking it would drive the epoxy into the hole.  When I removed the tape each porthole had a nice broken air bubble at the exposed edge of the hole, which I had to fill with more epoxy and a toothpick.  Doing some reading I found a comment about filling holes in fiberglass with epoxy, which said to never drag an epoxy filled putty knife over the hole since it would guarantee an air bubble trapped at the bottom.  The recommendation was to pre-wet the sides of the hole with epoxy, then fill the hole from the bottom up with a syringe.  Since the portholes are not very deep I decided to use a disposable paintbrush to introduce the epoxy into the hole, coating the sides and bottom and gradually working my way up.  It worked quite well and resulted in a full face on the finished epoxy.  By using the magnifier headset I was able to see any air bubbles lurking at the bottom, then prod at them with the brush tip to break them up and vent them to the surface before the  epoxy set up.

MainDeckPinned.thumb.jpg.5357340fd6c95a7eb673cebe34259e3f.jpg

HatchReinforcing.thumb.jpg.1264239634a7833439546ec011ecba55.jpg

The main deck is 1.5 mm and needs some stiffeners around the large hatches.  Since the deck has sheer it needs to be in place and held down temporarily while the first stiffener strips are glued around the inside edge of each hatch.

MainDeckUnderside.thumb.jpg.70840474a4da6336d9416182d287d145.jpg

Once the strips are installed they must be reinforced from the underside, and the inside corners receive reinforcing too, since there is not much glue surface on the edge of the deck or at the corners of the stiffeners.  While the deck was upside down a piece of PVC plumbing pipe was placed at the midpoint cross beam to help maintain the sheer curve.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping by.

 

Steve

 

MainDeckLayoutLine.thumb.jpg.db98520affc11338664967b37cb1ee90.jpgThe main deck cabin walls are located with a layout line inscribed on the deck.  The walls are stiffened at the base with a strip set 1 mm back from the layout line so step 1 is to add all the base lines.  The base strip is installed while the deck is set in place to maintain the sheer, but the deck is not glued until later.

AftViewMaindDeckLayout.thumb.jpg.dc720ca8809ed85b0bc4eb6019a95f94.jpgA view aft of the layout lines.  The instructions call for installing all main deck cabin walls permanently while the deck is set in place, then removing the deck and walls as a unit for painting, before gluing the deck in permanently.  This seems to make rounding off all the wall corners a problem, and I’m concerned about getting a clean paint line between deck and walls.  I would like to paint the walls off the ship, but they are not boxes, just strips of walls with sheer, and insets for door lobbies.  If anyone has a suggestion about sequencing please chime in.

WallSupportTriangles.thumb.jpg.98dc806d91798e4c383b705b27d9ee05.jpg

In addition to the base plate the walls are stiffened with support triangles and corner stiffeners.  Shown are squares of triangle pairs as cut from the carrier sheet, before final separation and sanding.

BoatDeckSupportWall.thumb.jpg.bb534170eb11afd5cf95c7df83b6b6d1.jpg

The forward main deck has a support wall for the boat deck above, installed behind the primary forward wall which is two decks high.  As laser cut the support wall width is a little short of the full deck width but I found that if I include the ends of the carrier sheet it makes the width perfect.  Shown is the support wall with filler drying, and the two story primary wall resting against the sanding block.  The primary wall will be installed against a curved base plate and the forward end of the boat deck.

DoorHighlight.thumb.jpg.a7192d1f6ee0e33872f067e1c3c409b1.jpg

Since doors are installed with the wall strips I experimented with a black wash highlight.  Test 1 is top left, and skill building goes to the right.  I just touched a very small brush to the incised lines and the wash wicked its way around.  Is that how highlighting works? I’m not sure if this is how they are supposed to look but it seems to give a reasonable impression of a door with wear and corrosion.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

highlight would be a light colour, so with the dark you are shading. yes, that's the way highlighting & shading work. it is, however, mostly done on the painted surface, after a gloss varnish has been applied. when finished, a matt varnish is usually applied to "secure" the shading

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Carl,  thanks for your quick input.  The superstructure on the Vance was white and the doors shown above had a prime and topcoat of flat before I started experimenting with highlighting the cut lines and hinges, with flat black mixed with thinner.  I plan to Dullcote the lot after I'm finished with them.  A couple of doors need to be painted dark gray since they are located within the body of the hull.  Perhaps I'll try something lighter there for a highlight.

 

Thanks again for your ongoing interest.  I really appreciate it.

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model shipcraft.

The Nautical Research Guild puts on ship modeling seminars, yearly conferences, and juried competitions. We publish books on ship modeling techniques as well as our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, whose pages are full of articles by master ship modelers who show you how they build those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you what details to build.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
×
×
  • Create New...