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US Brig Syren 1803 by blackjack40 - Model Shipways - Scale 1:64 - by Joseph Brown

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Team, I've been working on the Brig Syren for a little over a year now so I have a bit to share to bring everyone up to speed. I will break this into to several post to chronicle it from the start up to where I am now. April of 2018 I started the ship by carving the rabbit, attaching the frames and started framing our the gun ports.


I immediately ran into issues here due to inexperience, I initially used CA glue extensively because it dried fast and allowed for quick progress, this also allowed for zero error which unfortunately I had plenty of. After finishing one side and about half way through the second, I was thoroughly frustrated and decided to put it down and walked away for nearly 8 months and a move across the county. This last January, I picked it back up and decided to see if I could salvage what I had. I used wood glue this time and was able to quickly finish the framing.       



The stern framing was uneventful thankfully. 




I'm sure you all can appreciate early frustration. This nearly killed the model. Thankfully, it did not. 



Just a army dude that likes ships

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Once all the framing was completed I started planking the hull following the instructions. Again, inexperience took its toll. RGJUMlNGfrSA2zymdCn3Pk32Nje15J2hBTjfhOq6hAnPWvS1XX4TICPeWIVYOaqVAbr-ki19loI1mKM3

I had nearly completed the exterior planking with some nasty planking meeting the front. I had mixed emotions at this point given the front end. But a larger concern as the top. According to the plan I had full plank left but I was out of room by about 1/16 to 1/32 of an inch. I had no idea what had gone wrong so I took a long shot and contacted Chuck via facebook for advice. He quickly pointed out my error, I had used the wrong size board for my first plank throwing everything off. 


It was time for a bold decision that would either ruin the model or save it... rip off the planks and start over. 






I was nearly in tears at this point... 



Just an army dude that likes ships

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Thankfully, if you follow the instructions and use the right planks, you can save it even with it as far gone as it was above. Below is my second attempt  and as you can see, it turned out much better. Every now and then a bold move pays off. 








You may notice some refinements to the gun ports. During this part, I started being very concerned about measurements and ended up adjusting several gun ports so the size was consistent. Again making up for mistakes due to inexperience.




Finally I was ready to start the hull planking. (don't worry I adjusted the coloring later, it looks better now).



Just an army dude that likes ships

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Hull planking for some one that hasn't done it before can be daunting. I had previously completed the 18th century long boat and had just had a major victory in correcting my bulwark planking so I thought I knew what I was doing... yea, I was wrong.  Thankfully, I did approach this with much more caution then previous portions so after a lot of patience, research and the obligatory steam, shape, dry fit, curse, steam, shape dry fit place the hull was completed fairly quickly.




I was initially concerned about the rear of the ship...


but following some trimming, I cleaned up nicely




Again, inexperience nearly got me, I had planked only one side of the hull! some folks pointed out that I was in danger of creating a twist and that I need to finish the other side with a sense of urgency. It took me about two weeks to do the first side, I did the second in about 4 days. Thanks army for leave just happening to line up with this.  d4ySn7c55R8LGhICv8AQZL24FLUGprtbSEBibv6K




Some good sanding and the hull looked solid. I finally had positive momentum.



Just an army dude that likes ships


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The next steps I completed the stern, planked the interior and built the deck. I don't have a ton of pictures of this process and It was fairly uneventful. 







I had some issues determine a water line, this was a struggle for a while. I ended up painted the entire hull black until such a time as I can successfully determine the water line (I figured it out later)




I really enjoyed the process of decking the ship. This went very smooth thou, in hind sight, I should have done an step with the planks instead of the pattern I ended up with. Regardless, I like the way it turned out and I'm not ripping this one up.






In the finial step, I stained it using the golden oak stain. 



Just an army dude that likes ships





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The next step in this build was coppering the hull. This part was equal parts rewarding and overwhelming. The first step, build and test the press. 








I wasn't really sure if I like this, they imprints seamed to large for individual rivets and in fact, they are. However, when taken in the whole, they actually look really good, and so I started the process. DEIeI2BPgztgheNI6_490h4VUebFkKEhxjNchibT


Dear lord, this was a lot of copper plates.... c3P51bUKSYLvqTMtvSuBbyKJ2n5dUn5EyJuo1eb5


But four weeks of work, and its complete! 







and with that, you're all caught up. The next step for me is the hull details. I'm very excited to see where this thing takes me. It's been a huge learning experience so far and I expect I will have plenty more opportunities to learn before I finish this one. 



Just an army dude that likes ships


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Looks very good, I did the Syren also (Jan 2018-Feb 2019). I am reliving it in your Syren. She is definitely a good way to figure one's patience level and a very good learning experience! Thankfully, Chuck P. did a great service in the HUGE instruction manual...But when all is said and done, you will get a graet looking ship! I will watch your progress...

     Current:         Emma C. Berry Lobster Smack-Model Shipways-1:32-1866

        Back on the shelf:    USS Essex- MS- "Old Yellow Box" Solid Hull  Wall Hanger (Half Hull)                                                                                                                                                                                              

   Completed:    18th Century Armed Longboat-MS 1/24

                          USN Picket Boat-MS 1864 1/24                                  

                          US Brig Syren by Sea Hoss- Model Shipways-1803

                          18th Century Carronade/Ship Section

                          Mayflower-Pilgrims Pride by Sea Hoss-Model Shipways-1620

                          18th Century Long Boat by Sea Hoss-Model Shipways

                          USS Constitution by Sea Hoss-Revel-Plastic

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  • 1 month later...

Team, very excited to share my progress. Since my last update I completed the head rails, Cannons, exterior details and started on the internal details. Plenty of lessons along the way but I'm very happy with it so far. Check out the photos below!



Quarter Badges




Carronades! (I added elevation screws after this photo and they have not been glued or rigged yet) 



Long Guns



Head Rails.




6_jFDsLKW7m7Fo-hwMaLg7sYjDIuFxIYQkz-XB1TSome belay pins placed 





Head Rails with the Bumpkins and Figure Head




Thanks for taking a look! I'm open to any feedback you have. I'm learning along through out this build and thoroughly enjoying it! 



Just an army dude that likes ships


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It all looks very nice indeed. Good job Joe! The detailing makes the model look very "busy". The guns/carronades, are they painted or have you used "chemical blackening"?


Kind regards



"The secret of getting ahead is getting started" - Mark Twain

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I painted them, I gave serious consideration to using chemical to blacken them but ultimately decided I have paint already and I’ve never tried chemically Blacken before. Not sure that was the right call for a lot of the detail work like eye bolts but for larger pieces like the cannon tubes I think they look fine.

Edited by blackjack40
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Hey, started rigging the Carronades tonight. I spent a lot of time figuring this out tonight (still have a ways to go) I think I’m on the right track, but I would love to hear any advice anyone has for how to improve this before I move on to the rest of the guns. 



Just am Army dude that likes ships.


Edited by blackjack40
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so, basswood and boxwood.... a few weeks back I ran out of kit provided 1/8 x 1/16 strips used to plank and build just about everything on this kit. I though, Its a model expo kit I'll order from them and I did... didn't really pay attention to the type of wood and frankly I didn't know there was a difference between boxwood and basswood. so I got basswood... When it arrived it seemed different but I didn't give it much thought... that is until I had to replace a board on the deck, and it become very apparent and suddenly all the little frustrations I have had over the last few weeks came into clarity... I hate basswood... never ever shall I ever order basswood again... box wood is on the way and the deck will soon be back what it should be. 





Just an army dude that hates basswood

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  • 2 months later...



It has been a while since my last update. I've been very busy with work but I did find time to finish my ships boat. This was an adventure... first time building a boat like this, I spent weeks trying to build the necessary skills. Lots of frustration but I think I have a good finial product. At least I'm happy with it.








Just am Army dude that likes ships.

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Need some help. I’m trying to build a cradle style stand for my ship. In Chuck’s build log he mentions a template for one he designed that was very nice. Unfortunately those files have been lost to time. Wondering If anyone has a copy that they could share? Or plans for something similar. Also open to ideas on how to go about it without a template or plans.


Thanks in advance. 



Just an Army dude that likes ships.

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If the plans for the kit has line drawings, find the body plan.


Otherwise find the part of the plan that has the bulkheads.


Pick out whichever bulkheads that you want to place the cradles for your stand at, trace the to them waterline.


That is the inside of your cradle.  


Next, draw out the outer side of your cradle.  


Reflect the entire thing over the centerline.


That’s how I did mine.


It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is.


See post 64 of Prince de Neufchatel by GrandpaPhil in the scratch build section.



Edited by GrandpaPhil

Building: 1:64 HMS Revenge (Victory Models plans)

1:64 Cat Esther (17th Century Dutch Merchant Ships)

On the building slip: 1:72 French Ironclad Magenta (original shipyard plans)


On hold: 1:98 Mantua HMS Victory (kit bash), 1:96 Shipyard HMS Mercury


Favorite finished builds:  1:60 Sampang Good Fortune (Amati plans), 1:200 Orel Ironclad Solferino, 1:72 Schooner Hannah (Hahn plans), 1:72 Privateer Prince de Neufchatel (Chapelle plans), Model Shipways Sultana, Heller La Reale, Encore USS Olympia


Goal: Become better than I was yesterday


"The hardest part is deciding to try." - me

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Good progress today, I worked on my cannons rigging and weathering. Bit of a face palm moment earlier reading through a build log and they discussed dry brushing the guns with gunmetal. As an armor dude mostly, I always do that to give guns a realistic look and I had left every gun simply black. I have now dry brushed all of my cannons and cannonades with gunmetal and difference is impressive. Photos will not do it justice, but I’ll post anyway.











I also got my wooden cleats in the mail today to replace the terrible one supplies. I love how they look. 5mm and 9mm. I decided to pant the smaller ones red with the background, but I'm considering leaving the larger one natural. They are not glued on yet, so I’m going to live with it for a bit.






Last big thing, I didn’t like the wheel provided (noticing a trend here), so I order the 24mm kit from Syren Model Ship Company, awesome little kit Chuck. Good god, tiny parts, but the result is simply excellent.






All to do now is wait for the glue to dry thoroughly then sand it down!



Just an army dude that likes ships. 

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Thanks Joe, I'll be following along with yours. I still need to finish the anchors and flag on mine but almost done with it.



 Current build: Syren : Kit- Model Shipways


Side project: HMS Bounty - Revel -(plastic)

On hold: Pre-owned, unfinished Mayflower (wood)


Past builds: Scottish Maid - AL- 1:50, USS North Carolina Battleship -1/350  (plastic),   Andromede - Dikar (wood),   Yatch Atlantic - 14" (wood),   Pirate Ship - 1:72 (plastic),   Custom built wood Brig from scratch - ?(3/4" =1'),   4 small scratch builds (wood),   Vietnamese fishing boat (wood)   & a Ship in a bottle






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The flurry of activity is coming to close tomorrow as I come back off leave. However, I'm making more hay while the sun shines, below is the completed sub assembly for the ships wheel and the cradle stand completed!   










Now, back to work!



Just an army dude that likes ships 

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The Steering assemble is complete and rigged! A few evenings of work here but it was worth it I think. Turned the tiller using needle files on the mini lathe, built the wheel as described above. abTKIFxX3ID1ql142FJHW3Nxafah61RLzzhH1qzF










Hope you guys like it! I'm pretty happy with how its shaping up.



Just an army dude that likes ships.

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So, I've been putting it off for way to long and now I'm at the point that I can't do anything else till I'm done or I won't be able to rig them effectively. So, lets go with the guns!


Its been about four or five months since I was working on these, and it turns out you learn a lot in that time. I hated the rigging that I had done previously... so I cut it off and started over. I finished re-rigging the breach lines last night and I think the difference was worth it. Below are the before and after pictures. 






It was worse than the pictures really lets on, the droop on a lot of them was almost non-existent. You can kinda see what I'm talking about on the guns on left of the pic. 


Here are the new breach lines. Its not a huge difference, but its the details that matter right? I think it was worth the effort. oh yea, the new gallows are also in this picture.  




Here is my first block and tackle rigging post new breach lines. Not sure I'm sold on those coils.  



the process continues! Any feed back is welcome. thanks for looking




Just an army dude that likes ships.


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  • 4 months later...

Back at the wooden ships after taking a couple of months to work on another project. I’m making progress on the Winchelsea and the Syren. 


Tonight, between glueing bulkheads on the winnie, I knocked out some coils. I’m PCSing in a couple of months so I’m trying to get as far as possible with out starting the masts. 




One side to down, one to go.



Just an Army dude who likes ships.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Update on the ship, I have been a bit busy but I have made some pretty good progress finishing up the deck fittings. First up, here are the completed coils. LlMZrTKQaq4Dk_NNmcmFkUlbI67CXhdVhXWQ4J8G


Next I knocked out the ships pump over the course of a few days. 




Next up, I completed the fife rail and boarding ladders. I'm very happy with the fife rail in particular the legs which I turned on my mini lathe. 




Finally the forward bits. 




Finally the stern davits. These were optional, I like the way the look thou so I'm keeping them.  







I do have one question for the group. I'm struggling with carving the timber heads. the larger ones in the last picture weren't difficult but the smaller ones that follow keep falling apart when I trim off the excess. Any recommendations are welcome. 



Just an Army dude who likes ships.

Edited by blackjack40
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  • 2 months later...

I apologize, I've fallen a bit behind on this build log but not on the actual building. I'll try to catch up over a couple of post. Reference my last post here are my completed hammock cranes with netting.  I am very happy with how these turned out. I debated putting hammocks in them but ultimately decided against it. I like the look of the empty nets. 







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My Next step was to tie my launch down and complete the bowsprit. The bowsprit was frustrating for me because I hadn't figured out how to square the beam and taper it appropriately. I ended up replacing the dowel and starting over. Still not perfect but I got it to the point that I was satisfied. I used painted tape for the iron bands... not the best choice, but it does look good. I finally figured out how to used the provided material for the bands when I moved on to the mast but I'm not going back to fix them on the bowsprit. Oh well... this model has been alot of learning. wYmsdUgcL2ElVf2Xut95OEV_1ift_QI_lqe-RF2A
















Next step the mast! and lots of learning. 







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THE MAST! So admittedly, I was supper anxious about the mast, so much so that I purchased three spare three foot dowels... I have three remaining now... Taking the lessons from the bowspirt I approached the mast with a much more deliberate and researched approach. Also the steps laid out by chuck were super easy to follow.  I neglected to take photos of the lower mast before I had the cheeks on. But, honestly, there was nothing special about the process. The mini lathe was supper handy to shape the cheeks once they were no and the iron bands were no issue. The only part I would say was a struggle was squaring the top with out incorporating a twist. I struggled a lot with that and really didn't get the hang of it till the top mast. 


After a lot of work the main mast was good to go. 




Next I built the tops, decided to go with the real method of hanging blocks. This was more frustrating than I will give it credit because I simply lack the knowledge of what blocks go where and do what. So despite careful examination of pictures and the plans I kept second guessing my self. 



The top mast, things really started to come together. I had my system down, I was extremely deliberate and i think it paid off. 
















and after a lot more work and some rigging that I didn't take pictures of... I glued them in place... For this step, I wish I had drilled smaller holes instead of the mast sized holes I did, because early on, I failed to place the bracing blocks in the along the keel that would have provided a much firmer base for the mast. Alas, I have learned... so it good right? right.   






Of note, the curve on the main mast is not as pronounced in real life and yes I did adjust it. Also, important to note, the top mast and up are not glued in place to allow for eaiser rigging later.  




Just about caught back up, next step is dead eyes and chain plate which I finished tonight! 




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