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New England Stonington Dragger by FriedClams - FINISHED - 1:48 POB

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This is neither 'my' period nor 'my' region, so I overlooked this build-log until now - shame on me ! It's an excellent tour-de-force on weathering. I will keep watching the progress now ...


On the subject of lamp-boards for the navigation lights: I seem to remember that in the mid 1970s or so the maritime rules were changed, requiring the boards to be black rather than in red resp. green. Anyway, roundabout that time I noticed the change.


There are some guys in the model railway fraternity that push the naturalism to its limits. There is, for instance, this Swiss, Marcel Ackle: http://www.feldbahn-modellbau.ch/. Quite inspirational !


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On ‎9‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 4:24 PM, Jim Lad said:

Just catching up after some time away.  She's really looking superb, Gary!

Thanks John - glad you stopped by.


On ‎9‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 4:37 PM, druxey said:

That hose is draped so naturally and your weathering is first rate,

Thanks for the kind words Druxey.  The solder is a great material for this sort of thing - soft, flexible, doesn't kink and it's available in a many diameters.


On ‎9‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 6:11 PM, gsdpic said:

but that tiny water valve is just jaw-dropping

Thanks for looking in and for the comments Gary.  I'm happy with the way the valve turned out, but I threw out three other attempts before it.  I'm still not willing to admit how much time I spent on it, but the word absurd quickly comes to mind.


On ‎9‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 9:29 PM, Keith Black said:

I'm surprised not to see a rag tied on some part of the hose to lessen a leak that's gotta be there

There's probably a entire roll of electrical tape wrapped around it in various places, it's just difficult to see.  Thanks Keith.



On ‎9‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 12:25 PM, wefalck said:

This is neither 'my' period nor 'my' region, so I overlooked this build-log until now - shame on me ! It's an excellent tour-de-force on weathering. I will keep watching the progress now ...


On the subject of lamp-boards for the navigation lights: I seem to remember that in the mid 1970s or so the maritime rules were changed, requiring the boards to be black rather than in red resp. green. Anyway, roundabout that time I noticed the change.


There are some guys in the model railway fraternity that push the naturalism to its limits. There is, for instance, this Swiss, Marcel Ackle: http://www.feldbahn-modellbau.ch/. Quite inspirational !


Hello Wefalch.  Thanks for stopping by and for the nice compliment.  It is interesting that you mention the 1970s as the time period when the lamp-board coloration changed, because that is what I noticed when reviewing photos of these boats.  My evidence was anecdotal at best so I made no mention of it.  Yes, I am aware of Marcels' exceptional work though I didn't realize he had his own web page.  I have learned most of what I know about weathering from modelers like him and the model railroad folks in general.



On ‎9‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 10:50 AM, KeithAug said:

Hello Gary - just catching up - lovely job. I particularly liked the finish on the exhaust pipe. Solder for the hose pipe is a good Idea which I must use.

Hello Keith - glad to have you looking in.  I first saw the use of solder in modeling a few years ago by a guy that had used it as a tire inflation air hose on a 1:48 service station diorama.  Colored orange/brown, he had it strewn across the ground and over objects in such a natural way, that I just had to try it for myself.  I now use it when ever I can.    




Here is a little preliminary CAD work and info on the rooftop dory.


The lifeboat of choice for these small draggers seems to have been the classic Banks Dory.  These dories were sturdy little boats and very stable even under heavy loads.  They could also handle some pretty rough water due to the long overhang at the bow and stern.  The dories were always mounted onto the roofs of the pilothouses right side up.  I’m guessing this was done because the bottom of the boat is so much narrower than across the gunwales and there was simply no space on the roof to mount it upside down.  And I have not seen in any photo where these boats were covered by a tarp, so I wonder how this worked in rainstorms or with water breaking over the bow?  


As a sidebar, the Banks Dory was originally built in the mid 19th century in response to the needs the fishing industry of New England and the Canadian Maritimes.   Designed to stack on the decks of fishing schooners, they would be launched off the "mother ship" once they arrived at the distant fishing grounds.  The dories would trawl the surrounding area for ground fish with multiple hooks on a single long line.  And as the name implies, the fishing grounds were the chain of nutrient rich underwater plateaus on the continental shelf from the Grand Banks in the north to the Georges Banks in the south. 


Tens of thousands of these boats were built during the era of the fishing schooners. In 1911, a single boat shop in Amesbury, Massachusetts produced over two thousand boats.  There were many high production shops along the Massachusetts North Shore in Essex, Gloucester and Newburyport as well as in Lunenburg and Shelburne Nova Scotia.  But there were many builders of these boats throughout the region.  The dories were easy, quick and inexpensive to construct.


It’s hard to think of any small open boat more iconic of a by-gone fishing era than the Banks Dory.  The public domain image below is of the famous Winslow Homer painting titled “The Fog Warning.”  It is one of my favorite paintings by the artist.  It is an oil on canvas work that Homer produced in 1885 at his Prout’s Neck studio in Maine.  It has a foreboding quality to it as the fisherman faces a long hard pull over rough seas back to the schooner in a race to beat the fog before it envelops him.  And it’s a darn nice painting of a Banks dory as well.



I seem to have slipped off topic. Sorry – back to the model.



The length of the flat bottom on these dories describes the size of the boat.  So here, I’m building a 12' dory even thought LOA is 15'6".  It has a 56” beam and a maximum width of 30.5" across the bottom.

 The plans for this little dory comes from the fine book Building Classic Small Craft by John Gardner. 


I start by drawing the body plan from the table of offsets provided.



From that I produce the frame stations.



And then the frame spacing.



From the plans I draw up the template below for the bottom planks, cleats and frame positions.



A profile is traced from the plans.



And finally an expanded transom is drawn up.


This lifeboat will be right around 4” or 100mm in length and because it is mounted upright, it will be fully detailed.  I hope to show you a completed dory on the next post. 


Thanks for stopping by.



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Thanks to all for stopping by and for hitting the like button.



This dory is 15’6” LOA, which translates to just under 4” in 1:48.


I begin by cutting out the frame stations and mounting them to a build board.



The stem is made from two thin pieces of basswood laminated together.  They were first soaked in alcohol, then pre-bent and finally glued and formed over a template.  The lamination eliminated the problem of kinks in the bend and the line of contact acted as a rabbet line in landing the strakes.



The transom, stern knee and bottom planks are made and sanded.  The bottom is cut from 1/32” sheet stock as a single piece.  It is scored to imitate individual planks, then marked for frame and cleat positions.



The four pieces are assembled.



The bottom/stem/transom is flipped onto the frame stations, aligned and pulled down tight with thread.  The holes where the threads pass through the bottom are located where bottom cleats will eventually cover them.  No glue is used in placing the bottom.



Next the garboards are cut.  The plans provide the shape of the garboards – hallelujah!



There are four planks per side to go on.  The garboards (as always) are the most trying to place.  The most difficult aspect of this little boat was simply its size and fragility.  A number of times I had to fight back the urge of returning to childhood and smashing the thing to smithereens.  After walking away a time or two, I got the garboards on by placing them simultaneously, working my way back from the stem and edge gluing them to the bottom planks as I went.  This kept the stem and transom straight and it also kept the bottom centered over the frames.  Both edges of all strakes are beveled and are set to provide for a slight overlapping edge - not a full lapstrake. 



Here is the hull fresh off the form.  Because I did not pre-bend the strakes the hull tries to straighten out and in this photo looks more like canoe than a dory.



Putting in the first thwart opened up the beam back to where it should be.  The floor cleats are glued in and the crossed futtock frames are placed piece by piece.



The seat risers go in and the remaining thwarts.  The stern cleat is placed.



The gunwales and caps go on and finally the breast hook.



Thole pin holes are drilled and the starboard side pins are temporarily placed to see how they look.  The pins are 0.02" phosphor bronze.  They will be pulled before paint is applied.



And that’s that.




In the next post the dory gets some color, oars, a baler, becket and whatever else comes to mind.


Thanks for taking a look. 



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16 hours ago, KeithAug said:

A cracking little boat.

Thank you Keith - I appreciate your comment.


16 hours ago, Jim Lad said:

A beautiful little boat, Gary.  I assume she'll have the same worn and 'knockabout' look as the trawler?

Thanks for compliment John.  Yes, it will have some wear on it, but less than the dragger itself.  This boat could have replaced the original one and as such doesn't need to echo the same level of crustiness.  But I don't want it to look out of place either.


12 hours ago, jgodsey said:

you make everything look so smooth and easy.

It's just an illusion Jim.  I try to show in my log what has mostly worked for me, hoping others might find it useful or interesting.  There is really nothing instructive in all my throwaways, so I don't share them.  My work process is rarely smooth and easy, but I'm pleased that it comes off that way.  Thanks for your nice comments Jim.


13 hours ago, druxey said:

Interesting method of creating the rocker on the bottom of your dory, Gary!

Hello Druxey and thanks for the comment.  This method worked out okay on this small hull, but I've had problems applying it to larger models.  The force needed to keep the keel/stem in place on the jig necessitates too many strings/threads to the point where you ask yourself - why am I doing it this way?  Thanks for swinging by.







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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you Vaddoc for the comment and kind words - I appreciate it.  And thanks to all for stopping in and hitting the like button.


Finishing up the lifeboat dory.

It has been close to a month since my last post and yet I've accomplished little in that time.  As you all know, sometimes life just gets in the way of hobbies.  But to bring things up to date, I have finished my lifeboat dory although it is not yet mounted onto the wheelhouse.


The boat shown in this posting is actually not the one I built in my previous post.  I decided to build a second one to correct what I feel is a sort of heavy clumsiness in the first effort.  This only became noticeable to me as I began to add color to it - and once I saw it, I couldn't un-see it.  This second boat was built exactly as the first, only this time with wood sanded down to finer dimensions beforehand.  So the resulting boat is a little more delicately made.


Once that was done, I began the coloring process by ageing the entire boat with a very light brown/umber chalk and alcohol wash.  The interior of the boat was then brush painted with a sky gray acrylic.  The thwarts were painted the same gray with a touch of raw umber added to set them apart from the rest of the interior.  The gunwales and caps are an off-white acrylic and sanded for wear.  The thwarts were scraped revealing the aged wood beneath.  And finally, dry chalk was scrubbed on here and there.



The hull exterior was painted with a thinned mixture of orange and burnt umber acrylic.  It was then lightly sanded.



Pieces of basswood were filed, sanded and assembled into a set of oars.



A wooden baler was made up.



This boat will have a coil of rope thrown over the rear thwart.  In order to get the rope to drape naturally, I make a mock-up and place some soupy wet string over it.  The soup is “wet" water with color and glue added to it.  Wet water is simply water with a surface tension reducer added so it flows and penetrates more easily.  Years ago when film-developing shops were common place, I used a darkroom print making chemical called Kodak Photo-Flo for this.  In the days of digital, Photo-Flo isn’t as easy to find and I now use a dishwashing machine rinse agent like JetDry instead.  A quarter teaspoon per quart of water and that will last – a very long time.  If you don't mind a few suds, liquid soap or windshield fluid is also commonly used.


I add a speck of gray acrylic and raw umber to a spoonful of the wet water as a colorant and a drop of PVA to firm things up when dry - not so much PVA that it turns into rock and can’t be removed from the mock-up, just enough to hold its shape.



I leave it in a puddle like this for a few minutes to give it time to fully penetrate, and then absorb it away with a point of paper towel.  The color changes once the excess liquid is removed and the natural color of the string blends with the applied color.  This process works best on cheap white/yellow string.  High quality miniature rope tends to resist being colored in this way. 



Beckets at bow and stern have been added and everything is placed in the boat.  I could have stuffed lifejackets under the thwarts but I didn’t want to add bright colors to the mix.  Maybe some sort of fresh water container and another set of oars would be appropriate, but I like the visual balance of what is there now and I am a strong believer in the “sometimes less is more" philosophy. 




Thanks for stopping by.




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Hello Gary I just finished going through this build. Such a lot of great detail in small places the compass in the wheelhouse and the hose are just two that stand out as excellent touches, the overall weathering works really well worn but looked after. Superb job. and I also loved the little dioramas in the shadow boxes.



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 Thanks to all for stopping by and hitting the like button.


On 10/22/2019 at 2:22 PM, KeithAug said:

must use your rope trick - it looks so authentic.


On 10/22/2019 at 6:52 PM, Jim Lad said:

What a great trick with the rope, Gary - it looks just like the real thing on the model.

Thanks Keith and John for your comments.  Yes it’s a simple and fairly convincing technique for piles of tired looking rope.


On 10/22/2019 at 3:22 PM, michael mott said:

Hello Gary I just finished going through this build. Such a lot of great detail in small places  . . . .  the overall weathering works really well worn but looked after.

 Hello Michael – thanks for the kind words.  I’ve enjoyed doing the weathering on this model, but it does make for slow progress.  So much trial and error involved - a lot of both.  But I knew this before I started and the process is fun.  And I'm in no hurry to finish.  Thanks for swinging by and for your comments.


On 10/23/2019 at 11:34 AM, TOM G said:

i'd have to use a microscope to try to build something like that.

Well I haven’t needed to use a microscope yet, but I do have the most powerful magnification lens snapped into my OptiVisors.  Thanks for stopping in and for your nice comment Tom.


On 10/25/2019 at 6:25 PM, KenW said:

Just discovered this blog.  It's really impressive

I’m glad you found my build log Ken and I hope you find something useful here.  Thanks for the nice comments.


On 10/22/2019 at 3:24 PM, michael mott said:

Gary I too find that this is one of my favorite paintings.


On 10/22/2019 at 8:26 PM, druxey said:

Yes, I love that painting as well! I think it's called 'Fog Warning', or something like that.

Hello Michael and Druxey.  Yes, I have always admired Winslow Homers' work.  He was quite prolific and a master at several art mediums.  Here is another of my favorites by Homer from the same time period.


Fisher Folk in a Dory - 1881 - Harvard Art Museums/ Fogg Museum




So here is a short update on the dragger.


The dory was mounted to the wheelhouse roof.  It sits on wood frames and is tied down with rope attached to eyebolt rings.  I tried to make the knot as small and unobtrusive as I could – I think it's called the “halfwits' hitch".  Glue holds it together.




I also added some vertical and horizontal grab irons to the pilothouse.




It has occurred to me that most of the photos I’ve provided over the past few months have all been close-ups and small portions of things.  So I took some overall shots of the model to show where it stands at this moment.  The boat is 11 ¼” in length.








 Thanks for stopping by.




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This site is full of outstanding build threads, but this one must be among the top 5 👍 ! The attention to detail and to scale realism, and the subtle weathering make the result absolutely above the rest.

i will keep following your build with eagerness, Gary !


Edited by Hubert Boillot
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