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Liveship Vivacia by Nikbud - Mantua - 1/64 - kitbashed from the Mantua Pinta kit

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Hi and welcome to my build log of the Liveship Vivacia.

This model is not based on a real ship but comes from the fantasy novels by Robin Hobb.


My ambition is to build the Bounty, but I feel that I need more experience before I start such a project, especially in the areas of square sail rigging, hull planking and general component building (- basically everything, haha).  So I have decided to build the ship that first got me interested in sailing ships when I read the books nearly 20 years ago.

The books are fantasy novels based on a pre-gunpowder medieval style era, the ships mentioned are Caravels, Carracks, Cogs, Galleys and unspecified fishing and row boats.

I have long wondered if it is possible to make an acceptable and “realistic” model  simply from a novel. Repeated reading of the 3 novels in which this ship appears has convinced me that there is enough information to build a model that will fit in with the detailed description in the books.

The Liveships trade along the coast and up and down certain rivers -think the eastern coastline of the North and South Americas - and while well-built and very expensive, are not ostentatious. The Liveship Vivacia is a merchant carrack/caravel style ship with at least two masts, raised fore and aft decks and transom stern. Due to a certain set of circumstances, these ships (made from a silvery grey wood), and the figureheads, eventually become sentient, hence Liveship.

I know what you are thinking……. I won’t mention the magic and the dragons………

So I searched for a donor kit, eventually settling on the Pinta kit from Mantua. This kit has the required raised fore and aft decks, is multi masted, and a flat transom. It has square sails on the mainmast and foremast, with a lateen sail on the mizzen mast. Whilst the lateen sail won’t help with learning for the Bounty and is not specifically mentioned in the books, I’ve decided to keep it.

To start off here are the pics of the kit contents;




The kit itself is of a pretty good standard: single-layer hull planking in walnut, pre-printed sails, brass turned cannons and swivel guns, pre-formed pintles/gudgeons and other fittings already blackened, pre-cut decking, usual kit style blocks and triangular deadeyes and the usual laser cut plywood.

This kit will need to be extensively kitbashed to achieve the result I am after and I expect this will be a project that will last me the next few years. I hope you will find this interesting and for those that wish to follow please pull up a chair, the beers are in the fridge!

Cheers, Paul


Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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Thanks for your comments on the Virginia build, Fright, I'm hoping to reduce the number of obvious mistakes on this build...…..


Sorry Mark, I left the popcorn at your build...….. I'll fetch some more!

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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When I started looking over the Pinta kit and plans I realised that there were several areas that I needed to think about before I started cutting, glueing and sanding:


The kit is 1/50, which meant that the Pinta was smaller than I had imagined the Vivacia to be. I eventually decided to lengthen the keel and change the scale to 1/64. I chose 1/64 as it seems to be a standard in model shipbuilding. it is a new scale for me as I am used to 1/32nd and 1/48 so its lucky that some 28mm helpers turned up…

The Pirate, Captain Kennit, who has for so long been desperate to possess a Liveship, has brought some of his adoring and loyal crew to ensure the construction proceeds in a most satisfactory manner.


The lengthened hull means the Vivacia will equate to an approximate length of 93 ft with a width of about 26 ft.

The Bow;

I knew that I would have to change the bow to accommodate the figurehead of  Vivacia herself. I will change the triangle shaped foredeck into a trapezium - the books mention several characters leaning on the forerail talking to Vivacia, depending on my skills and how it looks I may be able to make the foremost portion of the deck and the forerail curved rather than straight.

The Stern

This is the area that has taken the most time to work out because on Vivacia there is a ships wheel for steering, and the area under the stern deck comprises of the captains stateroom plus cabins for the first mate, second mate and carpenter, the galley and chart room. Initially I thought that all I would have to do would be to close of the area under the stern deck and add windows etc. However in the kit this area houses the tiller. To cut a very long story, and many many drawings, short, I decided to raise the deck by about 4mm and shorten the Rudder.

These are my initial drawings/plans


with Captain Kennit ckecking the headroom in his stateroom;


After much headscratching here are the “final” draughts for the Bow and stern areas, ( I think the foremast will end up being moved forward to allow a pinrail on the aft edge of the foredeck)




The false keel is the one big letdown of this kit - it was badly warped in both axis. so my original plan of cutting the keel in half and adding a section in the centre was not going to work. So I drew a longer keel and increased the gap between each bulkhead by between 5 and 8mm. Time will tell if this changes the shape of the hull too much.

Original false keel and new plan;


Are you getting the impression that I’m making this up as I go along? Because that’s exactly what I’m doing…

So to paraphrase an engineer from Apollo 13;

I have to make this


from this


using nothing but this



Thanks for looking

Cheers, Paul

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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This weeks work began by gluing the plan for the false keel to a piece of 4mm lime. . I used “pritt stick” to glue the plan, not knowing whether this was a good idea or not. As it turns out it worked very well; after cutting, the plan and glue came off after wetting with a damp sponge.


 The little bit left over at the bow was stuck to an offcut. I cut along each line with a scalpel blade, removed the plan and went over each line with a sharp pencil. I used a fretsaw to roughly cut the outer shape and then used a mini plane to clean up the edges.



The cutouts for the bulkheads were removed one by one.

The first bulkhead fits!...



…and so does the second. I am very proud at this point….



I continued to remove each cutout  and noticed that every bulkhead didn’t sit perpendicular to the false keel. I was annoyed at myself for not cutting straight but no matter how carefully I filed the cutouts I could not get the bulkheads to sit right. I took me quite a while to work out that the error lay with the kit bulkheads and not my sawing. The cut out on each bulkhead (as circled below) was not cut at a 90 degree angle. Being laser cut I had assumed that they would be…



Test fitting all the bulkheads after fixing the “square” problem…




I intend to CA glue lego bricks at the bulkhead/false keel join to ensure they are at 90degrees.


I spent an afternoon in the week sharpening the plane irons in my miniature hand planes, where I was reminded of the old adage of buy cheap buy twice - the cheap honing guide I had bought had a wonky wheel. I managed to find a sweet spot on the wheel so I had to sharpen the irons with very short movements.


Lastly this week I turned to the transom bulkhead.

 I wasn’t happy with the shape of it, and it wasn’t symmetrical either. So I designed a new shape that I thought better suited a carrack/caravel.


After some trial and error I came up with this shape; (the kit bulkhead on the right)



After folding the paper in half along the centreline I cut it out. This is the shape at the moment. The sharp eyed may have noticed that the cutout to attach to the false keel is shorter on the new bulkhead than on the original; this is to "raise" the bottom of the hull - effectively allowing more water to flow over the shortened rudder.

It is also taller, the top intending to be the upper deck support but depending on how I decide to form the cabin area I may only use the bottom half as the top half will dissect the captains cabin, or probably cut out the centre area of the top half leaving a vertical frame on each side, but that is a decision for later.



However my first decision is hull v rabbit v keel , but that’s after a good nights kip...



Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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Hi Mark, Thanks for your comments, though the helpers, and Capn Kennit in particular, weren't happy with me today as I ignored the saying of measure twice cut once"! After getting a 2x4 across the back of the head from the disappointed Pirate I put the shipyard away early today....


I noticed that fix you did on your log, unfortunately my false keel was also bowed top to bottom so the keel was completely unuseable. I hope you get your stern problem sorted soon, just from your pics it looks like part 17 is the incorrect shape? Good Luck!


Hopefully I will get the shipyard out tomorrow and have an update tomorrow night.


And thanks for all the likes everyone, I do appreciate them.

Cheers, Paul

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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A productive couple of days in the shipyard, despite the enforced early finish yesterday.


I knew that, because I had increased the distance between the bulkheads, and because there will only be one layer of planking, I was in danger of having flat spots between, and bumps over, the bulkheads in the planking. So I have decided to fill the gap between each bulkhead with balsa blocks - effectively giving a solid hull and a smooth base to plank on.

I have decided to make a rabbet for the planking - I didn’t make one for the Virginia build so I wanted to make one for this build. My original plan was to make the rabbet in the false keel, glue on the keel, stem and stern post and then attach the bulkheads etc. However because I am going to infill between the bulkheads I am worried that I will damage the keel etc as I shape the hull. So attaching the keel, stem and stern post will wait until the hull is fully formed. This will mean that these won’t be as strong as they could have been so I will have to properly pre-bend the planking so as not to put too much stress on them.


I knew I wouldn’t be able to mark the rabbet freehand so I used this gauge marking tool thingy;



I marked both the sides and the edge then carefully planed off the excess and tidied up with 800 grit sandpaper.

I also created the bearding line…



..and partially pre shaped the edge of bulkhead 1. I also lowered it slightly to fit the false keel.



The transom bulkhead (no.8) was up next. I used my dremel to roughly shape the piece….


 and then hand sanded until I was happy with the final shape.



I added a 2ml batten to each bulkhead to raise the deck level.



I have only added one batten at the moment, I think this will be enough, I can always add another one later.


In the books the crew live in the forecastle so I wanted to raise the foredeck to give the crew at least some semblance of headroom. To achieve this I added an extra part to bulkhead 2 - this will provide the base for the foredeck and extend the side of the hull up to the foredeck. The deck-planks will butt up to the new piece and I can build the visible bulkhead with window and door in front of the new piece.


I also extended bulkhead 1 -


and test fitted a mock-up of the foredeck. It’s not the final shape - but just to give me an idea of how things look -



Whilst checking the hull and bulkhead fitting I decided that the rabbet I had made earlier may not be enough. Rooting through my wood stock kept from the Virginia build I found a 2x2mm batten, soaked it for 10 mins and formed it around the keel and stem. It might be a bit thick but I can always sand it down but I won’t know until I have glued the bulkheads on. It’s not glued on yet, like everything else on this build I’m thinking and thinking about when the best time for this will be….



But……I’ve been putting off gluing the bulkheads onto the false keel for long enough………

 I think that has to be my next step…

wish me luck……..


Cheers, Paul.

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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Thanks Mark, this build is turning out to be 90% thinking, 5% building and 33% swearing at the moment!

I think the Gauge Marking Tool Thingy came with a set of carpenters squares. Its one of those tools that I have had for ages but never actually used!

It probably wasn't designed for making rabbets....

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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I thought I was bashing a kit, but it seems you're gone ballistic mate!
Great job doh. Think 5 steps ahead before you make a decision or you'll regret it later. You're making fundamental changes to the kit so you are right about 90% thinking, 5% building and the rest is swearing... :)


good luck and I will follow your progress!




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Thanks for your comments Katsumoto. I seem to spend most of my time thinking; every time I think of doing something I find that there are 3 things I need to do first! I have to keep reminding myself this is a marathon not a sprint...….


Mark, didn't see the film but I'll keep those words in mind, Thanks!


Cheers, Paul

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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Hi everyone, just a little update from the past few days work. Not much tangible building work has been done but a fair amount of thinking , decision making and mind changing has gone on…….


Firstly I prepared the false keel to accommodate the bowsprit, the main mast and the tiller;

I cut the inside of the bow at an angle (taken from the “plans” I drew). The bowsprit will lie against this so the angle of cut will be the angle of the bowsprit - the angle is 55 degrees from the horizontal.  Zu Mondfeld states that medieval bowsprits are between 50 and 60 degrees, so I went for the middle ground. This big an angle will also let me have a sail on the bowsprit that’s high enough so that the figurehead can see ahead of her.

I also cut a notch for the mainmast foot to sit in. I spent some time working out how the mast foot will be secured in the sideways aspect, I have come up with a plan which will be shown later.



The stern of the false keel was notched to allow the initial part of the tiller. This space will be boxed in and painted black so it will give the impression of a full length tiller. I also cut a hole in the stern bulkhead for the tiller to pass through. It looks a bit small but my initial rough testing shows that it is big enough. The shape needs a bit of refinement - I purchased a stencil that will help me get a good oval shape - so the hole will increase in size slightly.



I test fitted a piece of card to give me an idea of the side of the stern cabin area. This showed me that I still needed to adjust the angle and width of the upper parts of the bulkheads so that the walls of the cabin area are straight front-to-rear.  The kit has the upper stern deck starting from bulkhead 5 but as you can see I am only starting from bulkhead 6 - this will give me a greater maindeck area. On the maindeck I need to fit  forward and rear cargo hatch’s, a capstan and a fife rail around the mainmast. I will also need to fit two ships boats aswell somewhere…oh, and some pumps.  Whilst test fitting Captain Kennit came aboard and kindly reminded me that the stern bulkhead had to be cut to allow the ”windows across the stern, if you would be so kind”.



I decided that I couldn’t put off fixing the bulkheads to the false keel any more so I tested and tested with bulkhead 4 before I was happy,  and then used the lego pieces CA’d to both the bulkhead and keel. I felt quite proud at this point….



…..And then the swearing started. I had got the bulkhead square, but I hadn’t glued the bulkhead/keel join - and while the CA was doing a good a job at the top, there was no strength in the join at the bottom of the keel. So I glued a couple extra lego pieces towards the bottom and run some aliphatic glue along the joints. After the glue dried it was stuck fast!




After I glued (properly this time) bulkhead 3 I started thinking about bulkheads 1 and 2.

My original plan was to have no side-to-side camber on the fore and stern decks, but whilst some medieval era artwork doesn’t show any camber on these decks, all the pictures I could find of real ships all showed a camber in this area.

Bulkheads 1 and 2 with the camber, again some refinement will be required.



I had been considering how to build the stern cabin area. I think the easiest option would be to build it as a separate component off the model and attach later, but it just doesn’t “feel” right. Building a hatch or capstan off the ship feels ok but the cabin area should be part of the hull structure and built with the hull. Quirky I know but I’ll feel happier building a ship rather than a bunch of components.

To start off with I made a jig to bend the deck supports for the stern deck and tested it with a piece of basswood;



It worked, but didn’t look symmetrical. I am constantly amazed at how the human eye can see such tiny discrepancies, I never noticed while building plastic models. I can see when something isn’t square even down to an unmeasureable fraction of a degree. So to ensure the jig was symmetrical I drew round the curve onto a piece of paper, flipped it over and compared the curve. I then sanded where it was needed and tested again. After doing this a few times I tested the jig again.



Back to the false keel; The foot of the mainmast will fit into the small rectangular hole. I stuck on a couple of flat pieces to give extra gluing area when the time comes to fit the mast.




I drew up a template so I could decide on where the windows and doors would go on the bulkhead for the stern area.

Captain Kennit advises that he is definitely not lying down on the job just “merely indicating where the door should go….”



Not much building to show for a week or so, but I’m getting there………

I was hoping to get in the shipyard a lot this week but Daughter #1 and Granddaughter#1 turn up tomorrow for a few days…………

Cheers, Paul

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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Thanks for the kind words Mark, although despite my meticulous planning I had a bit of a disaster today.

I had cut out the space for the stern windows in bulkhead 8 painted the tiller cutout and pleased that things were going well, I glued the bulkhead to the false keel ensuring all was straight;



Only when the glue was dry and a couple of other bulkheads had been glued on did I notice that the false keel had developed a slight warp between bulkheads 7 and 8. Initially I had thought that bulkhead 8 wasn’t glued on straight so I had tried to remove it but the CA and aliphatic glue wouldn’t  loosen up at all. Eventually I realised that the keel itself was warped; it took a fair bit of soaking, clamping and heating to get the keel looking ok-ish. It’s not perfect but I’m worried that if I fiddle about too much I’ll create a worse problem. Luckily bulkhead 8 won’t be seen as the cabin area will stretch further aft and any slight wonkiness will hopefully be sanded out when I prepare the “solid” hull.

As you can imagine I was a bit gutted and didn’t take any pics while I was trying to fix the warp but the Captain did come out to confirm that I had all the bulkheads glued up at last……




I did end the day on a little bit of a brighter note, I noticed on the box for the plank/keel clamp that I had bought 4 years ago that there is a picture of the Pinta. Just one of those coincidences that make life a bit more interesting.



Hopefully I’m going to get time to order the wood for the keel, wales and upper planking this week. After seeing Katsumoto’s build log of the Santa Maria I’m going to make the keel from Walnut - the same as the kit planking. It also fits in with the books description that the keel, frames and hull planking was made from one “log”.

Thanks again for all the comments and likes guys, they are always appreciated

Cheers, Paul

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all, not much has been happening in the shipyard the last couple of weeks, I have done a fair bit of thinking, changed my mind half a dozen times, and nearly threw the whole lot in the bin at one point!


I think that the biggest mistake I have made up to this point is that I started building far too early. I should have spent much more time making accurate drawings of what I wanted to achieve. In part this is down to my flaw of rushing things. I really need to slow myself down and enjoy what I am doing rather than having an eye on what I want to do next, I always seem to want to hurry up an complete this bit so I can start the next bit. I am going to have to force myself to SLOW DOWN!!


Anyway enough of my rant, onto the build;

I fashioned a piece to hold the foremast and inserted it between bulkheads 1 and 2. I made it at an angle of 5 degrees from the vertical.


I filled the hull with balsa blocks..


..and did some initial sanding with the dremel;


After some hand sanding the Captain helpfully pointed out where I had been over zealous;


The transition between the false keel and the hull needs some work, at the moment it is too sharp,


It will need some filler, in fact there are one or two places on the hull that need a bit…


After many measurements and much thinking I have decided to build the aftercastle off the hull. The tumblehome will be 10 degrees. I will build a framework out of 5x5mm stock so I made an initial drawing of the expected size. I will use this to make a detailed drawing of the framework


Like I said not much work, but I am trying now to take my time. I’m going to be making more detailed drawings so I can hopefully avoid some of the mistakes I have made so far and to enable me to be more accurate……..

See you next time…

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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Thank you Katsumoto.

I was convinced over a walnut keel from your build. I was initially debating wether to have the keel in a lighter wood like on my Virginia build, but seeing how good it looked on your build helped me decide - it also fits in with the story that the ship was built from a single log of "wizardwood".



Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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After the frivolity of photographing old models (plastic ones - I can see you smirking at the back there!) it was back into the shipyard today.

However there is not much to show, I am at the stage where I’m sanding, checking, sanding, checking, filling, waiting, sanding, checking and so on and so on.

I am using more filler than I expected, partly because I was over-enthusiastic with the dremel, especially where the hull meets the keel, partly because of the sharp transition at the stern and also partly because I have increased the distance between the bulkheads.  I am being careful to keep the bulbous shape of a carrack and not end up with a “racing” hull.

I did find out a neat trick today.  As I was sanding this afternoon the low sun came in through the back doors and I noticed the shadow on the hull. By turning the hull in the sunlight I could see high points and low points marked out by the line of the shadow all along the hull. Not very scientific but very helpful nonetheless.



One side of the hull is almost complete, the difficulty now will be getting the other side to match.



Hopefully I can complete the hull sanding by next weekend, we shall see…..

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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Thanks Mark, I'm hoping the more sanding and shaping I do now the less I will need to do after planking. And yes a table lamp will be needed, weather has returned to dull grey again, the sun is next due out in April!!

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

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Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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I suppose everyone has had one of those days where you realise that you really really shouldn't have opened the shipyard, well today was my turn....


The afternoon started off ok.


Initially I overcame one of the problems of not having a complete set of plans and of changing your mind mid-build. While sanding the starboard side I sanded a tumblehome on the top of the forecastle until I got the look I was after. So to get the same on the port side I found the centre of bulkheads 1 and 2, and using a set of dividers marked where the tumblehome would be. 




So far so good....



So I started to sand the port side when there was an audible snap. Yup I had snapped off one of the bulkhead sticking-up things. I had managed to sand the whole starboard side and no problems, a couple of minutes on the port side and I break something. Some swearing was had. I continued sanding, and I'm not kidding but less than 30 seconds later there was an even louder snap, followed by a lot of swearing - another sticking-up thingy had broke. From the living room the Admiral said "Are you OK, heard that in here, what snapped?" I mumbled something, looked at the ship and dropped the whole thing onto the table and swore a bit more. Quick as a flash my son chirped up "Sounds like it was dads patience!" The ship was OK but I knew that I should pack it up for the day.


Hopefully I am less ham-fisted tomorrow!

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

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3 hours ago, Wallace said:

 There is always tomorrow. 

Yup, and "tomorrow" the same bits snapped off! 

I should have left them off till I finished sanding, oh well 🙄

On the plus side probably only a couple days left of sanding..... yay me!

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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I loved the part your son said that the snapping part was your patience...😂

but, it can really be a thing when Murphy shows up and seems to stick around...😫

Just hang in there and don not give up my friend! You will succeed I’m sure of it! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello again, I’ve managed to get a few hours in the shipyard over the last few days.

Mostly I have been sanding the hull. Because I have changed the shape of the hull from the original kit plans there has been a lot of filling and shaping. It’s been difficult to make sure that both sides of the hull are the same - especially at the stern, but I think I’m almost there.

Thinking ahead I have decided I need one of those Vertical Sanding Thingy Incorporating Spinning Disk Machines. So I decided to adapt my Dremel stand. Firstly I needed to make a thin pencil for my old compass. So out came the home-made lathe and I sanded a standard pencil to 4.5mm.



It is about 0.05mm too wide but I didn’t want to chance my luck, but it fits.


I drew and roughly cut out some disks and then shaped them on the dremel.




The disks were then chucked in the dremel and then sanded smooth. This is the set up.




Back to the boat.

As the hull is nearly finished the planking should come next but there are two areas that need attention first;

The Keel - which will form the rabbet,

and the Wale, scuppers, waterway and deck arrangement. The main wale will be the point from which the planking starts.

I wanted to incorporate scuppers into the build, not holes but scuppers that run the length of the plank like here on the Matthew;




To achieve this I need to build the false deck at least so that I can work out the relative positions of the waterway, the wale and therefore the scuppers. A bit like this arrangement,



This gives me a rail height that comes up to the midriff of the Captain.

I made the false deck in two halves, I wasn’t sure that I would get the correct fore/aft and athwarts cambers with a single piece, and I didn’t have a piece wide enough anyway.

I cut off the upper parts of bulkhead 6 (these will be part of the aftercastle) and made one half of the main deck.



The second half test fitted




And then both halves glued and pinned.





As I decided earlier the rear cabin area is going to be made off the ship. Instead of a framework I am going to use bulkheads to create the shape of the deck camber and the sloping sides. The bulkheads were drawn out on a 5mm piece of lime, assisted as ever with the captain lying down on the job.


I'm not sure if I am happy with the camber on this. It will be greater than the camber on the main deck. Looking at the pic above it looks too severe, I am going to have to flatten it out.

One piece needed  extensions on the sides as the lime wasn’t wide enough so it was glued and clamped.




That’s it for this update.

I have done some testing on the keel - where a decision was made for me but that’s for next time.



Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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Thanks for the kind comments everyone, they are much appreciated.

I have come to realise this build is far more involved and difficult than I first imagined. I really wish that I had some properly drawn plans, bulkheads etc. I keep having to stop building and rethink and replan, I imagined I would be planking by now but realistically its probably months away! Having said that I am having loads of fun and really enjoying this build, even if it is two steps forward, stop, think, two steps back and think again. 


For example; the keel......


I had a delivery of wood last week mostly walnut with some dibetou (African walnut) - the wood is darker than in the photo.



So I decided to try plan B with the keel. I thought that it might be possible to bend the 5mm strip to form the stem.


Firstly using a heat gun. It went well to start off, and then.....




So I tried soaking it for a while and then wrapped it in kitchen roll and nuked it. Again it started off well, I got further than the first try and then...….




So I returned to plan A.


I cut out the stem pieces from the plan I had drawn and stuck them onto a piece of 5mm thick walnut.




Hence the need for the sanding thingy! 

I have roughly drawn the shapes to allow for adjustment to fit on the ship. With this build it is a case of building "to what is in front of you" rather than building to a plan.


I am going to work on the aftercastle for now, the size of the windows on the stern and the sides mean that you will probably be able to see into the Captains cabin...…..

 Till next time,

Cheers n have fun!


Edited by nikbud
wrong pics!

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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I like the solid stem pieces from Walnut. With a Jigsaw you will get them out in no time! :)


When bending thicker walnut pieces, try to use boiling water diluted with ammonia. Just don’t do it in the house, the ammonia smell is overwhelming and may “upset” misses Nikbud. :rolleyes:

Edited by Katsumoto
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Thanks for the tips guys.

Peter, unfortunately ammonia is a no-go; the last time I had the stuff in the house was 10 years ago when I seeded my fish tank - the Admiral swore never again!

Mark, I love the jig. I am going to need two jigs for the planking as I will need to edge bend as well as the "hull" bend, so one jig will have to have a vertical element to it to accommodate for the bend from the first jig..... I may have to use blocks of shaped wood rather than pins, thoughts are swimming round...….. Luckily I am weeks away from any planking...….🤔

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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With this build it has been another week of a lot of time in the shipyard but not a lot to show for it. I have redone several things over again this week to achieve the look I am after. I’ll say it again, having the plans only in my head means a lot of stopping and thinking……



So I said previously that I wasn’t happy with the camber of the aftercastle deck and I wracked my limited brains trying to figure out how to achieve the correct camber. I didn’t want to use the jig I had made previously as it just didn’t look symmetrical. Eventually I realised that I had the correct camber on the plans. These were duly photocopied and stuck together because there was no central portion to the bigger bulkheads;



And then cut out and the aftercastle b/h’s marked.



I then used my dremel sanding machine thingy. Not the most professional set-up but it allowed me to get the correct angle on all the sides.


I made a 6 degree jig which came in handy…..


It’s important to concentrate and not get carried away……


Test fitting b/h no2,



The reason all this took so long is that everything is at angle;

The deck rises towards the stern at an angle of 6 degrees.

The side walls close from bottom to top at an angle of 6 degrees.

The side walls close from fore to aft at an angle of 8 degrees.


After I remade the sternmost b/h, I cut out the centre to accommodate the windows. This will be covered with a board which will be planked. The sides of the b/h will represent the frames, the top represents the beam and the bottom will be seating/lockers. All may become clear…….



Before I had completed the b/h’s I had drawn a plan of the captains cabin. Captain Kennit is unsure…….

The cabins forward of the captains cabin will not be detailed as there will only be one  small window in each.



For the deck I laminated a 1mm sheet of lime to a 1mm sheet of walnut. Both needed the grain to run fore/aft so I did get a bit of an athwarts curve even after weighting the deck down whilst the glue dried. However this curve disappeared when the bulkheads were glued to the deck. I also drew some deck planking in the cabin with a pencil.




Up next, making some cabin stuff……

…… and remaking some cabin stuff……             

Completed Build --- Virginia 1819 - Artesania Latina

Other Models      --- German Armor plus others    Mastermind


Current Build --- Liveship Vivacia

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