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Flyer by WRed27 - Constructo - Scale 1:100 - First wooden ship build

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I decided to attempt the Flyer as my first build. Actually I did build a very basic AL kit - the Barcelona - many moons ago, but it had a plastic moulded hull so I’m not sure it counts! It was also well before I stumbled across this forum. Many of the models here are truly inspirational, and I’m continually blown away by the levels of craftsmanship I see.

I was heavily influenced by the fact that the Flyer has a solid hull, and I think the finished model is a nice looking boat. I just hope that my model bears at least some resemblance to the box art! I have a couple of old AL kits waiting in the wings (Marie Jeanne & Supply), but wanted to cut my teeth on something a little simpler.


So this is what I’m aiming for. I’m not sure how many people might drop in and take a look, but I would welcome any and all feedback (good and bad!)





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I had a good look through the box contents. To the untrained eye, the materials all look to be OK. The instructions appear clear enough; right up to the point at which they state “a detailed description of how to assemble the rigging would take too long” and advise you to refer to the pictures.  Thanks Constructo. I’m not sure how typical that level of detail is, but it’s a long way off in any case!


The first instruction suggested drawing pencil lines along the deck to simulate planking. I did this, and it did not look good. I therefore bought some thin lime strips and chose to plank the deck. I also referred to captgino’s log on here, and note he did the same thing. I’ve actually referred to it a lot so far - thanks captgino!

I used HB pencil on each plank edge to simulate caulking, and stuck with Contructo’s recommendation on the planking pattern. I ended up with a tiny gap on the port bow, which was too small to fill. But I think once the bulwarks are on, it will not be visible. In hindsight I should have cut the plank behind the gap slightly longer and pencilled in the join.

Finally it was sanded smooth (along with the rest of the hull) and I used a clear satin varnish. I didn’t realise until I was nearly finished that the lime strips are a slightly different shade front and back - so I have an unintentional pattern. However, I’m happy with the result.



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Next task was to fit the bulwarks. I soaked them in hot water, and created a crude ‘bending jig’ by tracing the hull outline from the plans and nailing either side of the bulwarks. Whilst they were drying, I decided to start painting the hull. The instructions suggest doing this much later in the process. I’m not the best painter in the world, so want to paint as much as possible before attaching. This way I can’t make clumsy mistakes and ruin the model!

I sanded the hull a number of times until I was happy with the finish. It’s not perfectly smooth; I want to leave a tiny bit of texture visible close up.

This is when I discovered the first problem with the kit. I’m not sure how long it had been on the shelf of the local hobby shop, but the included paints were completely dried up and useless. Into the bin they went, and out came some Revell acrylic paints from old plastic models. I tested them on some spare ply. It would need a few coats and plenty of sanding in between, but looked fine.



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I managed to achieve a pretty decent bend on the bulwarks - at least laterally. There is a very slight mismatch at the bow, where the hull continues to curve inwards, and my bulwarks to not quite follow the same curve. I’m not sure if there is a better way but a couple of attempts using my ‘nail on board’ method got me quite close. The dry fit of bulwarks and transom is below. The hull already had a slight ridge where the transom and bulwarks would sit, but I found that I had to sand away a little extra to ensure a flush fit:


Contructo recommend using glue and nails to attach both transom and bulwarks. I’m trying to avoid using nails wherever possible.

The transom went on first. To try to get the correct angle flush with the stern of the hull, I raided my son’s Lego box and built a quick guide. Coupled with the dry-fit bulwarks the result looks OK. I painted before fitting to avoid mistakes as the margin for error between transom and hull is very small.


Finally I painted the bulwarks and glued them on. I could not find any way of clamping them, so ended up glueing bit by bit from bow to stern, and holding them in place whilst the glue set. At the stern, the bulwarks lift slightly. I’m not sure if that was a result of my bending. However, the gap is small enough that it will be covered by the wales when they go on. I will need to fill slightly so that the gap is not visible when looking directly at the stern. A quick note on colour - I wanted to match the reddish brown of the box art for the bulwarks. The included (and subsequently binned) paint was a brighter red. Handily, Revell do a matt acrylic paint called ‘Reddish Brown’ which I think looks quite smart.


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I decided to reorder the instructions slightly, and fit the keel, stem and sternpost/rudder (one piece) before the wales and stanchions. The reason being I thought it would be easier to get a nice fit between wales and stem if the stem was already fixed.


The stem needed a small hole cutting into it, through which the thread attaching the bowsprit will go.  I drilled 2 holes at each end of the planned hole, cut away the middle and filed it.


Dry fit reavealed some significant gaps. I sanded the stem to get a close fit knowing that I’d be using some filler afterwards. The keel/stem join left a big gap for filling too.


The sternpost/rudder required a groove cutting into the single piece to simulate the gap between sternpost and rudder. I contemplated separating them completely, but the ‘hinges’ supplied do not allow this. So I cut the recommended groove and tried to paint black within it. Then I painted the remainder white before attaching. In hindsight I think I’ve gone from one extreme to the other, and the ‘gap’ stands out too much. I may try to dull this down somehow before the hinges go on later in the build.


I did end up using some nails in addition to glue to ensure that the keel and stem were firmly attached. Thankfully the single nail in the stem should be barely noticeable.



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Next the wales went on. I bent them using the same template and technique as for the bulwarks. They were varnished rather than painted, and glued in place.  I got a nice fit at the bow, and they do indeed cover off the gaps between hull and bulwark at the stern.  Oh, and the Barcelona snuck into the background...


Finally I could turn the model the right way up! So far so good (I think!)


Thanks for looking.

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Well, well well.....nice work Sir. Clean lines and clean work. When this ship is finished I believe you are ready for a more complex vessel. 
When bending wood, there will always be a little recurve, so make sure you make the mold more curved than it supposed to be. 


excellent work so far...keep it up Will!






Edited by Katsumoto
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Next up were the stanchions. When fitting these, I realised that I had another problem due to my deck planking. Namely that I ran out of wood! The stanchions needed to be glued to the bulwarks in line with the transversal planking lines across the deck. Because of where I started my planking, I ended up needing 2 ‘extra’ stanchions. The same wood (albeit slightly thicker) is used for some of the deck furniture, so I’m hoping that there will be enough left over to thin down and put my extras in. You can see the gap at the stern.


I cut each stanchion ever so slightly taller than the bulwarks so that I could sand them down to create a decent surface on which to attach the gallant rails. And used trusty Lego to ensure right angles!



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On to the wardroom then, to see if I would have enough manzonia strip left over for my extra stanchions!

I drilled a right angled brace into some chipboard to start off to make sure that my wardroom walls were vertical.

The first wall was clamped on to the brace, and the rest glued onto that.


Then the roof was glued on to the walls and fit nicely (it’s all laser-cut ply).


Next I cut the manzonia edging strips and glued them on.


Finally the wardroom door, hatch and windows were glued on. I’m not sure if I did something wrong with the windows. The sizes stated in the instructions simply wouldn’t fit on the wardroom walls due to the sloping roof. So mine are cut slightly smaller.


And the good news is - I have enough manzonia left over to put in the extra stanchions!

Incidentally - I’m cutting all my edging strips with 45 degree angles; purely because I think it looks better. Is there a ‘historically’ correct cut? The instructions have everything squared off so no clue what is actually correct...


Thanks for looking,




Edited by WRed27
Removed duplicate photos
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Hi Will,


Looks like you are doing an excellent job with this model. I personally really like this line of Constructo kits, as I think they are enough of a challenge for first time builders, yet provide a taste of most of the tasks that will be faced with bigger kits. Also, it gives you a good platform to modify and upgrade to make it as complicated or as simple as you want.


Regarding the rigging instructions, to be fair, I think rigging is really hard to explain, and most of it is better left to diagrams to show you where things go. If you looked at written instructions on rigging, you might be tempted to put the kit back up in your closet for being too much to deal with. 


Anyway, there's plenty of help here on MSW if you need it.



Clare Hess

He's a -> "HE"

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Thank you both for having a look at my log and for your encouraging comments.


In fairness, my comments about rigging guidance were a little tongue in cheek, although that statement in the instructions certainly brought a smile to my face! I’m so far off reaching the rigging part that I’ve not looked too closely at the plans that are provided yet, but I’ve no doubt I will be reaching out to some of the wealth of expertise here on MSW. So far, I’m thoroughly enjoying the ‘wooden bit’ coming together. I actually started this build about 6 weeks ago so my log is still catching up a bit - hence the posts coming thick and fast at the moment.


Thanks again,


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Having completed the wardroom, I thought I would also get on with the two hatches that sit on the deck.

This was pretty straight forward, just a case of partial cuts into the centre piece of ayous wood to simulate adjoining planks, and fixing some sapelly edging strips around the outside. I went for 45 degree corners again and I’m happy with the end result.


A ‘ring’ then has to go into each end of each ‘plank’. The rings are actually small brass eyelets. They need to go into each plank and get bent over so that they sit flush with the wood.


I wasn’t sure whether they should be left brass, or should be blackened. I chose to blacken them. Having looked through various posts on here, decided to use Brass Black. It takes about 60 seconds to achieve a satisfactory blackened finish. 


At this point though, I started having problems. When I attempted to bend my first eyelet around some long nosed pliers, it snapped. As did my second. I wondered if the blackening process was making them brittle. I tried to bend another before blackening. I snapped it. I tried gentler bending techniques with soft wood. I think all but one of my attempts ended with a snapped eyelet. I was at the point of ordering some new eyelets when I thought I’d check one of the AL kits waiting to be built. Luckily, the Marie Jeanne has eyelets that are exactly the same size. And thankfully, they are rather more robust. With no more breakages I bent, clipped and blackened them. I drilled pilot holes in the hatches and fitted them.


Brass ‘v’ black... Both hatches now have black rings.  Looking at the close-up photo, I can see my first hatch (bottom) has some slightly longer rings. If there are any eyelets left I’ll re-do those!


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Next job was the gallant rails. These are all laser cut ply. There is a piece that runs down each bulwark, and a piece to go over the transom. The transom piece needed bending before fitting. Initially I tried to bend the wood against the shape left in the ply sheet having cut the transom out. However (to your earlier advice Peter) this left me with too little curve, and edges that did not sit flush on the transom. Cue walking aimlessly around the house looking for circular things of the perfect diameter that I could bend wood against. I settled on a cake tin which worked well! Again - I painted everything before attaching to prevent clumsiness later on.


The gallant rails above the bulwarks did not need any bending. However, they did not fit together well at the bow and needed some sanding. In trying to get a perfect fit, I took away (way) too much. I couldn’t bend them together because this would mean that the bulwarks would be visible underneath (possibly only because of the bending issue mentioned in an earlier post where they don’t quite follow the hull curve at the bow). So I glued them following the curve of the bulwarks, and then cut a small filler piece as below.


I’m still working slowly on making it as invisible as I can, but the result is not too bad.


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The next step was the davits. These were pretty straight forward. The stern davits just needed cutting and shaping slightly. Although the instructions state that 1.5mm holes should be drilled in a strip of 2mm width. I chickened out fearing cracking the wood, and went with 1mm holes instead. There will not be any thread going through these holes in any case.


The bow ones were 2 pieces and had to fit around the gallant rail. I’m pretty happy with the close fit I achieved. Then a blackened eyelet went through both parts. There will be thread going through the holes on these, so they are drilled to the correct size. Thankfully no problems. (Still work to do on that filler where the gallant rails meet!)


And finally the ship so far! Nothing glued down yet, but looking almost like a ship!


Edited by WRed27
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A brief update from this weekend, and a question if I may...

I shaped and attached the chainwales over the weekend. They were OK, although I found it quite difficult to shape the inside of the 2 nearest the bow to accurately match the hull profile. Through much sanding, much trial and error and many, many dry fits I think I achieved a relatively close match, although they are not perfect.




The ones for the main mast required much less shaping as the hull profile carries much less curve there.


Now for the question... I started shaping the pinrails. These are essentially shorter versions of the chainwales, and as such should be straight forward. But my planking/stanchion placement has come back to haunt me again. The plans/instructions slot the pinrails between stanchions. If the placement is critical, then I have stanchions in the way. The question is - should I attempt to cut a groove out of my pinrails to go around the stanchions? Or would I get away with shifting the pinrails half an inch or so forwards so that I can put them in between? (Photo below shows the approximate placement as per plans.) I can’t easily tell from the instructions what the pinrails will ultimately have attached to them so finding it difficult to judge what moving them forwards would mean.


Thanks for looking,


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  • 2 weeks later...

A brief update on my Flyer build. In the end, I decided to cut away a groove in the pinrails so that they would fit around the stanchions, and I could fit them in the correct place according to the plans. It may have been easier to cut away a portion of the stanchion, but they seem to be very well glued to the bulwarks, so I left them well alone!

The grooves that I cut out are a pretty close match to the stanchions, and any inaccuracy is nicely hidden by the gallant rails.

I’m happy with how they look...



And a pic with belaying pins and the deck furniture (nothing glued yet though)! Incidentally, I also tidied up my little gallant rail filler at the bow. It’s quite hard to see now, so happy with the result.


I started on the pinrails for the masts. These just comprise 2 posts and the horizontal rail, all with grooves cut in such that they ‘interlock’. Additionally, I had to drill a hole into the base of each post, and will put a piece of brass into it. Presumably this is just to anchor it to corresponding holes in the deck. Is it normal? I would have expected just glue would suffice? I’m struggling a bit to get nicely aligned holes drilled. In spite of measuring properly, it seems when I start drilling, there is just a little movement away from centre. It’s quite noticeable when holes are close together. Any recommendations on this at all?

Pics below.



Thanks for looking!



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  • 9 months later...

Wow - it’s been over 9 months since my last update on the good old Flyer. Progress over the summer was always going to be slow (even slower than usual) as I spend as much time as possible outside!


I’ve since resumed work.


The carronade is now built. The woodwork was pretty straight forward. I’ve used Brass Black again to blacken (all) metal parts. I’m not quite so happy with the finish on the carronade itself. It seems the larger the part, the more challenging it is to achieve a nice smooth and uniform finish. So this had a couple of treatments, and I think it looks ‘OK’. I’m not totally sure what should be blackened and what should remain brass, so at the moment I’m blackening all metallic parts. I’m generally happy with how it’s looking so far.




The other thing I’ve put off so far is the ‘rope work’ associated with the carronade. Constructo seem to have simplified it somewhat. I’m undecided as to whether to attempt something more authentic. I can’t find much guidance out three for these deck-mounted swivel carronades.


Father Christmas brought me a Dremel and Workstation this year, which has made some of the problems I was facing with manual drilling much easier, particularly with the very thin pinrail posts. So they are now firmly attached to the deck.


I’m now ready to start with the bowsprit. But in doing so I realised that the bowsprit bitt that I made leaves a big gap, so I need to make a new one. I assume the idea is that the horizontal piece of the bitt rests against the top edge of the bowsprit?


I’ve also created a tiller which took some considerable patience due to the scale - it required cutting a groove out of the tiller such that it would fit over the top of the rudder post. Even having narrowed the rudder post, there is very little room for manoeuvre. I think this is the fiddliest part I’ve had to deal with so far in the build.


Thanks for looking,




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A brief update on my Flyer build. I’ve reworked the bowsprit bitt so that sits better with the bowsprit in place, and have been working on the ‘jib boom’ (which I previously thought was all part of the bowsprit).

It needed tapering quite a lot, not least so that the bowsprit cap would slide on into the correct place.

Most of the parts that need tapering are short enough that I can use my Dremel workstation as a vertical lathe to sand them to the correct diameter. I butchered a small screwdriver to create ‘teeth’ with which to turn the dowels. 



I added a small piece of scrap deck plank to sit between the bowsprit and boom, just to make sure that the angles were consistent. I painted it white to try to disguise it in case the woolding didn’t cover it completely.


Thankfully the woolding did cover it so that it can’t be seen at all. I’m trying to stick with authenticity where realistically possible.  I’ve not yet purchased any books on rigging etc, but probably will do in the near future. For the woolding, I followed some guidance from this site here, and managed to get a decent result after a couple of attempts. In theory, it should remain fast, but I coated it in PVA/water just in case!


And dry fitted, snug under the new bowsprit bitt.


Looking forward to doing the gammoning and making some more progress this weekend. I’ve been trying to see if I can splice a ‘rope’ but at this scale it’s beyond me as the thread is much too thin. So I’ve tested a cheat, where I’ve looped some thread around a cocktail stick, and then created some tight twists which I’ve clamped in place and applied PVA/water. It seems to hold OK, and given the thread diameter, it looks fine too.


Thanks for looking,









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Well, the gammoning is done now. I think it looks OK. The only thing I’m not happy with is that after running the thread through beeswax, I’m left with some pale residue on the thread which looks a bit unsightly close up. Not sure if its because the wax is cold or if its due to some other reason. In any case, I’ve left it as it for now. There’s nothing stopping me redoing it if I have better results waxing the shrouds etc.


I’ve pretty much reached the end of the written instructions now, other than to follow some vague guidelines about the anchors, but I thought they might get in the way, and will take care of them later. So from here on, its uncharted territory for me!


I built the stand, only because I noticed whilst doing the gammoning that when I applied any kind of downward pressure to tighten the thread, the cradle I was using would tip. It’s supposed to be clamped to a desk, but my desk is not flat underneath. The stand gives me a bit more stability. There’s supposed to be a nice sapelly (sapele?) strip around the edge of the base. When I started cutting the edging to size, I ran out of wood after 3 sides, because of my repeated attempts to create pinrails that I was happy with from the same strip. 😞


The next step would be the chainplates/deadeyes.

For this model, this is just wound copper wire (Constructo say its brass, but I’m sure its not) pinned into the hull. I attempted to blacken the wire, but Brass Black would not darken it at all. For now it will remain shiny copper.

I’ve tried to line up the angles of the chainplates with how the shrouds will lie by measuring up the mast, and taping thread at the correct height. Then I ran the thread down past the drilled holes in the chainwales and marked where the pin would go into the hull. To my untrained eye, it looks about right, but time will tell when the shrouds go on!




I’ve only done one set so far. I find I end up spending far more time thinking about how I will do something, than actually doing it. The other 3 sets should be pretty straight forwards, and then onto the more tricky bits.


Here she is so far.



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  • 2 years later...
  • 1 year later...

Apparently it’s been almost 4 years since I last worked on the Flyer. I guessed maybe 2, but 4 years is a bit of a shock. In any case I’m going to try to complete the build before summer (this year) here in the UK.

When I left off, I had completed the dead eyes, and got as far as tapering the dowels for the masts and putting them together. I’ve noticed that the masts don’t quite sit at the same angle, but that’s a problem for another day.

I started working on the carronade. This has been a bit of a learning experience. Trying to find a way of seizing relatively fine thread and getting a result I’m happy with has been a bit of a challenge. Additionally, there are no instructions for how to rig up the carronade, so I’ve done a bit of trial and error and ultimately found something that I think looks ok.

Initially I tried rigging double blocks to both the carronade and the eyelets that are drilled into the deck, but the result just looked messy:


Therefore, I undid all that, I went with a simpler solution - single blocks only on the carronade side, and just tying the threads off on the eyelets.


I’m not entirely happy with how the thread looped on the carronade looks. It would be a heavy rope but with a thin thread I can’t get it to hang naturally. I also need to work out how to get rope coils to sit nicely, but I’m quite happy to at least have had some practice with seizing threads and working with tiny blocks!


Rudder hinges and anchors next before working out how on earth I’m going to tackle the rigging. I’m quite looking forward to it though!

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That's an interesting rigging setup on the guns! I think the looped thread looks just fine. Like i said before, the company that made this model has no excuse not to give you at least some instruction on the rigging. My recommendation is to look up rigging plans of similarly rigged ships, or see other MSW modelers rig their kits. 

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Thanks for looking in on the build log; I’m grateful for the comments and advice.


I couldn’t agree more on the lack of rigging instructions! Having looked at modern kits with instructions available to download, I see pages and pages of glorious colour photos and step by step instructions! Super jealous of those! Anyway, I think I know where to begin with the standing rigging, and will work slowly through the running rigging when I get there.


I’ve made a little more progress with the model although felt like I was going backwards briefly.

The rudder hinges are a a bit odd on this model. Since the rudder is not actually separate from the sternpost (the gap is simulated by a groove cut into a single piece of wood) the rudder hinges are not actually hinges at all. They are single pieces of brass which you have to cut in half and then glue and pin to the rudder and stern.

I found it quite difficult to get the pins in nicely - they are super fiddly since the rudder is only 3mm thick, and a pin has to go in on each side in the same place. I also managed to break the rudder off the hull when applying pressure to the pins, so had to fix that up.


Thankfully that’s now done, so next it’s back to the anchors. The instructions are light on detail here as well - nothing describing or showing what to do with the lines, so a bit of research required here too.


This is my Flyer so far:


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Looking very nice!  I believe, though, you have the gun facing backwards on the base; in post #24 the first photo looks correct in that the ropes will restrain the recoil. In the rest of your photos its turned around and the gun crew is at risk of being killed by the recoil. 😏

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It’s just odd, isn’t it? There is no rope attached to the gun - which is as per the plan. So I suspect the gun crew wouldn’t last long at all - perhaps not even long enough to realise they shot through their own mast… The gun is definitely correctly mounted on the base, so I think I’ll re-add the rope that would restrain the cannon. There’s nothing on the gun to put it through though - previously I just wrapped it around the barrel for a slightly more authentic look…

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  • 2 weeks later...

I’ve made just a little more progress with my Flyer build. I’m a bit frustrated by the lack of guidance in some areas. There is nothing for the anchor. The instructions & plans just have anchor warp running through the hole in the bulwarks and being tied off on the bowsprit bitt. There is no capstan or windlass arrangement on this model. I’ve see an excellent post on here describing how it would work on similar vessels, but I’m not sure I’ve got the space or layout to pull it off effectively, so I will likely opt for a couple of Sampson posts and will wrap whatever thread I have left around them.

Likewise the tiller arrangement. I understand there would normally be a couple of single blocks on each side of the tiller, but there is not enough space for this to work; the gap between the two blocks is so narrow that it looks odd. Therefore I went with the plans provided and just looped thread around the tiller and tied it off on each side.




I’ve added the bowsprit shrouds which I’m quite happy with. Having not done this before I was worried that I might not get them sufficiently tight but this has not been a problem so far. The only thing I don’t like is the white wax residue on the dark thread. It’s super fuzzy if not waxed, so would welcome any recommendations on how to avoid both wax and fuzz!






I’ve also added a few more eyelets in preparation for rigging. Oh, and put a rope to restrain the recoil on the cannon because safety first!

Next steps I think are masts which are only dry fitted so far, and then tackling the standing rigging.

Do people normally glue masts in place in perfect alignment before any rigging, or can adjustments be made via tension on the standing rigging?




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