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Eighteenth Century 26 foot Longboat by BenMansfield - Model Shipways - Scale 1/4" - First time builder

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Hi there everyone, this will be my first post here on Model Ship World. I have been trawling the many build logs for several months now and I'm excited to finally become a part of this community!


As a quick introduction I'm an Englishman and recent graduate working in Los Angeles. Since I was a child seeing the model boat in Tintin's 'Secret of the Unicorn' I've had an interest in the complexity and beauty of models ships and I'm glad to finally be making a boat of my own! With that said I have very little prior modelling experience other than a few Airfix plane kits that I would glue together as a child and then throw out the window to see if they would fly. As such I thought it would be a good idea to start with a rather small and low difficulty model. When I stumbled upon Chuck Passaro's 18th century Longboat it seemed like the perfect kit to cut my teeth on. So far I have relied on the instructions and reading through build logs but I do now have a couple of questions that I want to pose to you guys. 


Firstly, at what point should I apply the poly coating to the different elements of the boat? Right now I am beginning to glue in the interior details (only the floorboards so far, everything else is dry fitted) and it seemed to me like this might be a good time to apply the poly whilst I can still reach everything easily. Is that something I should do now? Also I hear most people talk about using wipe on poly. Right now I only have the clear satin poly provided with the kit and have been applying it to test pieces with a brush. Is this a method you guys would recommend? As I say I'm completely new to this so any advice is welcome!


And Secondly, in the instructions regarding the mast it simply says to seize two single blocks to the iron bands. I'm a little unsure of how to do this especially on such a small scale. I have looked around a fair amount but still do not feel very confident in my understanding of what I need to do. In one of the following images you can see that I have attached one already but I did this simply through tying a couple of knots and applying a tiny amount of CA to the knots. If there is a more accurate way to achieve this I would love to know! 


Below are some photos of the boat in its current form. 








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