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I've decided to dig into my stash and take out the oldest resident there: Model Shipways USF Confederacy.

This is going to be a slow build, because I only have a couple of hours a day to devote to it; too many other kinds of projects going on.

Since there are a very large number of both old and new build logs of the Confederacy, I'm not going to post a blow by blow description. Plan on periodic updates and asking advice for problems encountered since many have built this model. 

I was relieved to find the kit had the good plywood, and there was no warping despite its period of neglect.

I dusted off the snazzy build board I bought primarily for this build once I determined that this big mother would fit. The building "board" is amazingly flexible once you figure out how to arrange all the bits depending on what you want to do.

I just moved the model up from the base clamp once I finished placing the bulkheads, filler blocks, stern and bow fillers, and fitted balsa blocks at the bow.

So, ready for faring. The board apparatus allows for rotation of the model, and some clamps (visible in the photo below) holds it rock steady together with the fore and aft clamps. I've got it turned to work on the starboard faring, and will start that soon. It looks like I will have plenty of clearance for constructing the stern pieces, and other than rotating from side to side I should be able to do all of the upper planking at least with the current positioning of the attachment points. Pretty neat.

Planning pretty much an out of the box build, perhaps except replacing the cannon with Chuck's. I wish he still had replacement figurehead though.

That's all for now.


Ready for Faring-1.jpg

Ready for Faring-2.jpg

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Search hobby world USA for hobbyzone professional building slip. 
it was discussed quite a bit here a few years back. 
putting it together from diagram based instructions a bit of a PITA - you need to be very careful regarding part identification and orientation. Originated in Poland I think. 
there is a smaller one nowhere near as flexible. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finished with bulkhead faring. A lot of sanding. I was really quite diligent with this, probably more so than on the previous builds.

Also put the shadowbox and its ribs in - again, a lot of sanding to bring it into line with the bulkheads.

No surprises or issues thus far, but I'm about to start on the stern structure, the like of which I have not previously done.

May not get going on this for a week or two with holiday and other projects. This will be a slow build.

Faring completed-2.jpg

Faring completed-3.jpg

Faring completed-4.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Continuing to work at a slow pace, given other activities demanding my time.

Finished with the stern structure. A fair amount of fiddling (including correcting things that migrated under clamping while the glue set, and, as is my habit, having to "unglue" and replace 2 pieces I cheerfully put in upside down) and a LOT of sanding. Using a small hand held battery driven Dremel tool with sanding drum to rough out some of that which helps a lot.

Here's where things stand, now ready for placing the false deck:


aft structure completed (1 of 5).jpg

aft structure completed (2 of 5).jpg

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The fore and aft pieces are on different 1/32 sheets that are a significantly different color.

The aft piece midline/division between the two pieces seems off. While the mizzen mast hole is on the midline. the hatch markings are, as seen asymmetric, and the edges don't line up with the fore pieces.

Are these faulty pieces? I don't see how I can correct this by messing with the notches without throwing things off.

Help please!


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  • 4 weeks later...

Received my replacement false deck pieces. Really appreciate MS service!

Only working on this an hour or two a day due to other projects/interests.

Placed the false deck and planked the forward bulkhead and the beak deck.

Some rough edges in the doorways yet to be smoothed.

Now on to the dreaded cannon port placement.


beakhead and false deck.jpg

beakhead and false deck-2.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

Finished the sills and lintels! No real problems. For the sills, I put them in in pairs (port and starboard) and trued them to level with the spacer 3/8" square strips spanning both lintels and clamped to them while the glue set.

I had to adjust the height of the last two uprights to get the cap strip for the quarterdeck lintels to run true so that the ports would be symmetric, especially the upright supporting the "zz"strip which for some reason (operator error I'm sure) came up short.

Next some sanding to fair the new woodwork to the hull exterior, and then on to the uprights.

I have never seen a kit with this degree of excellence in the instructions! Thanks Chuck.

It's starting to look like a ship!

Sills and Lintels.jpg

Sills and Lintels-2.jpg

Sills and Lintels-3.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Finished Chapter 4! A lot of work just on the hull bones with this model and a lot of sanding.

I'm only working on this 1-2 hours per day so things move along slowly. A moment of panic when my Byrnes sander started making a rubbing noise and stalled. I couldn't see anything stuck in it but whatever it was responded to a few rapid starts and stops and now working as silently as ever. Quite a relief as that is my mainstay tool, along with a small hand-held Dremel that was very useful to rough sand for faring.

Not real pleased with the crispness of the sweep port outlines. It was surprisingly difficult to neatly cut out the openings from the template and then neatly trace perfect squares. I'll have to make up for that with the planking I guess.

No other real issues yet - we'll see how the planking above the wales lines up after I paint around the cannon ports.

I am already not looking forward to sanding the inside of the bulkhead extensions/lintels/sills to taper to the required thickness (or thin-ness) at the rail.








Hull Complete.jpg

Hull Complete-2.jpg

Hull Complete-3.jpg

Hull Complete-4.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Hello , I think you did a fantastic job on this model ship. I also want to build this ship from model shipways but I don't feel that confident yet. Thank you for sharing this pictures and please complete this model. Your doing an excellent job!!! Thank You Chuck

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Slowly working onward. Spending perhaps 2 hours a day - despite "sheltering at home" as a bona fide old fart I have lots to do and this complex model is only one of them.

Thanks for the comments. I'd rate myself an intermediate modeler/craftsman at this point, and this model is a bit of a challenge. Some of the beautiful ones on this site are an inspiration.

My rabbets around the cannon ports are turning out a bit generous, but I can live with that. About 1.5 mm difference in the plank heights side to side, except for the front which is dead even. Not enough for me to worry about.

The 1/8 x 1/16 strips are not as uniform as I would like, resulting in some unevenness. The lower strakes up through the channel wales have had at least a rough sanding. The planks above that have not yet and therefore look a bit uneven, almost all of which is edge elevation variation rather than actual gaps and will look much better after sanding.

Here's where I am now, just enclosing the gun deck cannon ports. I'm doing both sides simultaneously, 1-2 strakes at a time.


Planking above the wales.jpg

Planking above the wales-2.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok I need help. 
Have I screwed up?
I have finished planking up to the top. 

The black strake and wale strake below it come just to the lower edge of the counter at the stern. See picture in immediately above post. Now I am instructed to lay 3 more 3/8” wale planks before doubling them. 
Where do the stern ends go? No picture to help. 
Do they twist to meet the lower Horizontal edge of the counter? Or just extend in line with the strake above? Can’t see how that latter would work. 

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Bruce, I’m not saying mine is correct but so far so good  it seems you are ok to me. Looking at your picture and comparing it to mine, they seem pretty close. Yes, the other wale strakes twist and tuck under the counter. I hope this helps. If not, shout again.59541190-FA4D-4D85-A35E-CCADC81BA064.thumb.jpeg.5f68927f6d495afd95a14a45e4f6e7eb.jpeg far so good. I don’t know if this picture answers your question but here it is. A8F381CF-B3D5-48EA-AB6D-E1059E062D20.thumb.jpeg.497b38151bd33e073b0737a4f315fbe6.jpeg3772237B-2987-4D66-9A68-CAF219FACB1C.thumb.jpeg.1cc2b89b2c6c2ce38d221d4bfdead356.jpeg

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Bruce, thank you for reminding me! Yes, the ends were tapered. About 3 to 4 inches from the end if memory serves correct. Don’t get discouraged. There were a few times I had to just walk off and take a breath. She is a bit complicated. Filler and white paint works wonders. 

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Finished the planking above the wales.

Cut out the quarterdeck gun port lintels and touched up the red paint.

Did a fair amount of sanding of the planks. Almost ready to (gulp) stain what's been done so far. A few of the strakes are a bit rough and will require a bit more sanding before that.

Will paint when I'm ready to put on the trim pieces - likely after I add the 3 lower wales and double up all the wales.


Planking above the wales done-2.jpg

Planking above the wales done.jpg

Planking above the wales done-3.jpg

Planking above the wales done-4.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finished the channel wales doubling and the "black strake" and stained everything (on one side).

Now placing the main wales that will be black. I'm pre-painting the beveled edges so that I don't have to do any touchy taping/brushwork to get a nice sharp border.

I did the aft end first since the bends/twists involved were the most intimidating so I went there first.

As Mark Twain supposedly said, "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you all day." Or something to that effect.

When these are done, I'll sand and then finish the black paint, and finally place the first 1/8 x 1/16 unstained plank below the wales.


Then I think I'll tape to just above the sheaves, and paint everything above black. Once I then place the molding strips including the long one at the border of stain and paint, I'll turn this thing to the other side and repeat.


Black Wales.jpg

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Sweet! I don't know how I missed this, Your work is great I followed your Morgan mostly after you finished it. I have the CW Morgan but haven't started it until I finish my Cheerful build. Keep up the great work!



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Finished painting and molding strips on the port side.

Reasonably happy with this so far.

I do need help: Looking ahead to planking below the wales I see the strakes at the rear are run off the frame and sanded smooth prior to adding the stern post which, according to the instructions "will be added later"

The finished pictures of the planking below the wales before beginning work on the quarter galleries and the stern, however, show the stern post in place. I can't find in the instructions where and exactly how it is added, which seems to involve making an appropriate hole in the counter.

Am I just missing it? What page in the instruction book covers this?

Meanwhile, the pictures of progress:


Port Hull Painted.jpg

Port Hull Painted-2.jpg

Port Hull Painted-3.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just finished the starboard side above the wales.

Now ready to begin planking below the wales. My goal is to go slowly, treat each plank as a project, and strive for an acceptable look without having to resort to filler and painting. We shall see.

Reasonably happy with the look so far.

Measuring midships yields 33 1/8 “ planks. 
Plan 11 in initial belt in this building board configuration on each side before turning her over to work on the bottom belt. 

Above Wales Done.jpg

Above Wales Done-2.jpg

Above Wales Done-3.jpg

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