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King of the Mississippi by Bob Fraser - Artesania Latina - Scale 1/80 - 1st Build

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Had this started 9 years ago, as usual life got in the way but managed to put a bit together here and there. Not worth starting a build log just to have it seem abandoned.

Just started again the other day with a bit more time available.

Building this for my Admiral who would love to travel on one, but because of her own issues barely leaves the house.

Likeley to be a slow build so please bear with me.


Progress so far.


Hull built and planked


Livestock area. I added tie rings to both side. You don't want animals fighting over the hay or running wild on deck!


Hooks for the livestock area.  Rounded tops so no animal injuries!



Barn doors and hinge. Looks better from a normal viewing distance 🙂 


And where would I be without my helper!



Cheers for now,




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Thanks Chris, thanks for looking in. Cooper is a "he" and was still chasing bits around ater they were packed away.

Bit more progress - after a couple of hours soaking managed to get the curved ends fitted to the top two cabins.

Lots of pins to hold the curves, not yet glued in place. Going to give them another 24 hrs to dry and keep the curve.


Even after several hours soak the plywood still cracked! Still, this will eventually be covered by the planking, so nothing that can't be sorted.

Cheers for now,


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Thanks kpnuts!

Today I've fitted the arched doors. While they look reasonable at a viewing distance, the photos close up really show all the imperfections.

Anyway, hinges work, and fitted a latch to each to stop them opening when under way.

Doors closed.


Doors open


Hopefully once fitted to the deck these will look ok.



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Some progress over the last few days.  Small things, but lots of time taken to do them.

Deck house and engine house doors fitted.


Animal area bar holders fitted and adjusted - they were far too big for scale.


Roof fitted after planking and edged, all deck houses edged top and bottom to hide the gaps.



Decided not to go with the metal windows provided for the second deck.

I glued plastic sheet over these and painted curtains with tie-backs. On the curved ends I cut out a depression and glued the painted plastic so it's flush with the curve.


Not sure yet what I'm going to do with the doors.

Cheers for now,



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Posted (edited)

So, thought it time to make the rudders before getting too far ahead of the build.

Picture in the book shows this - looks like mahogany, same shade as the dowel


What you actually get is this - plywood


One of my helpers thought this of them


Found some scrap of the same depth and made these


Edited by Bob Fraser
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I thoroughly approve of your helpers, as evidenced by my username and photo. You made an earlier comment about certain things looking better from a distance, that's true for most models. Only the true geniuses among us can make things that look great in close-up photos!

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Thanks for the comments and likes.

Another day creating sawdust. This is for the Admiral and she would like as much as possible in "proper" wood where it is visible, not ply.

The livestock arches come in ply. Had a play around and managed to get these done. Edge glued to 10mm planks together and hand cut these. My skills aren't great, but they've been given the OK.


Next sone is to figure out the spiral staircase!



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  • 2 weeks later...

Decided to leave the spiral staircase for now, and do some of the long repetetive process of planking the large areas.

Fair bit of progress, but not much to show for it.

Fitted the second deck house and planked it. Remembered I'd got some photo-etched saws.


Used the long thin one to saw the tops off the planking. Fitted the livestock arches.


The pic shows it befor sanding.

Planked the 3rd and 4th Decks, and made the 3rd deck house. Also made the wheelhouse.

As she stands now


And then the captain came to visit - "Big door handles!" he says.


I'll have to look at changing them for something smaller.

He then goes aft and wants to know where the paddlewheel is!


Think I'll have to get a move on - he seems a bit impatient.

That's all for now,



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Some progress over the last week.  Syrprising how small bits seem to take hours to do.

Upper deck almost finished.


Wheelhouse.  As I'm adding a captain figure there's now a step and a paperwork  / coffee / whisky shelf


Didn't like the original plywood door, so had a play around and cut / carved this one. First time carving. Even managed to get the door to open and close on hidden hinges. using pins.


Still got to fil a sill to the lower window edges to finsih them off.


As usual, close ups show all the rough bits and small flaws 🙁


Stay safe, stay well



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Some progress over the last few days.

Captains cabin almost finished. Fitted the stove, roof and rail. Added edging boards to the roof.



Added the ventilation gap to the upper deck. Remembered to drill and countersink the holes for the pins this time! 😼


That's all for now,

Stay safe, stay well,


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  • 2 weeks later...

Quick update - sorry it's been a while. Life gets in the way sometimes.

Almost done with the top deck and wheelhouse.  Still got the brasswork and fences to install.

Stair measurements given by AL don't match up to the actual real life sizes. One stair too few 🙁 when trying out the first one for size with the base at the same  pictured plank distance in the instructions.  Ladderway to the cabin house was still too short for the angle required at 9 steps, so had to put in an "under walkway strengthener" for it to rest on.


Also noticed, missing in the written instructions but in the picture instructions and not labelled, stanchions under the forward end of the roof. Pics 54 and 55.1896947285_pic53.thumb.jpg.ade3564f9a4db4a0a7a2a6e2e2ec0a3f.jpg

This doesn't appear anywhere else thoroughout the booklet in any photos.  There are photo's of this model with them installed out there, and there's also a version of this (old!) that has two gangways and a straight (not spiral) staircase. Dan Vadas did a re-build of this one a few years ago. KotM by Dan Vadas 

Cheers for now,


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Thanks for the likes!

Slow progress, but some!

Added the brass scallops to the steering deck, and the fencing around the deck below.

Since access to the steam pipe are would be crew only I fenced that off too, and added steps.

To the steps I've added brass handrail made from 0.8mm beading wire. Not sure yet if the cabin stairs will remain one rail or to add the second.




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Cheers guys!

Some more progress.  Help from Cooper the cat again


Eventually got them done668103781_PaddleWheels.thumb.jpg.7ec70b7ae71c9974e2616028d2080f40.jpg

The black paint is Revell Aqua Colour. It's gone a bit thick but it represents the thick bitumastic paint used on iron. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! 😁


Added the second handrail to the stairs, fitted the second deck doors and shutters.


Made some chains for the "Crew Only" areas and fitted them with a notice.


Did a bit of research on the use of the capstan in the bow. Turns out it's steam powered and used to tighten up the main mooring rope so the bow is tight to the dock.

Where the instructions show a hawse hole there are rollers or a fairlead, another at the end of the bow plank, and bitts to the side (behind the 3 guys to the left) for other ropes.

This is the steamer "Lookout".


Here's the capstan AL provided, and the one I'm replacing it with. Brass band is from the scrap off the bridge deck scallops.


Works almost at a halt now as it's been decided not to fit the spiral staircase, but to make a straight wide one. I've got to order in the sheet wood for this.

More when I can, Look after yourselves,


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  • 3 weeks later...

Whilst waiting for the wood to arrive for the new stairs I did this one. Revell Titanic at 1/1200. (Revell 1/570 waiting in the wings)

Our 11 year old son is autistic and has had a fascination with the Titanic for over 5 years.  Turns out his mum had a cousin (2nd turkish bath attendant) who went down with her.



Not done a plastic kit in over 40 years, so thought I'd start small. Drilled all the upper portholes out and tried to seperate the pipes on the stacks.  Need to learn the esoteric art of sprue stretching for the radio wires and rigging.


Anyway, the wood arrived, new stairs cut out and put together.


Brass wire railings added in keeping with the rest of the stairs.

Cheers for now, stay safe and well,


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Managed to complete the sternwheel - eventually. Turns out the new one piece single laser cut parts need to be fitted further back than the pictures show to allow for the wheel to turn.

(Or maybe that's just me?)

Found some copper rivets for the piston arms, and blanked off the massive holes in the engine room. Wheel turns nicely.


Sorry it's a bit fuzzy.

Next adventure yet to come is the gangway. It doesn't fit where it should because of the stairs.  The original model, and Occre's model, both have one each side, so I'll be following that when i get there.



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  • 1 month later...

Very nice job Bob!

I like your helpers and captain too 😺 The part with the captain and the doorhandle was really funny. I can tell you’re enjoying your build.

keep up the good work, 🤙🏻

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Thanks Halfdan.  The Captain has now been joined by a very stern Mate!

Thanks to all for the likes.

I did these, one side only, before the 4 week illness 🤢 break. 

Distances between were measured as per the large plan page as advised (thanks @John Gummersall)

Measured the height with a micrometer - great - cut one out to test fit.

Fitted - then realised these are angled 🤬 Each one differnt height.


Then the Mate inspected the sternmost post. His comment was "a bit of a tight squeeze there!"



He also inspected the stairwell fence for height.



said it was "fair enough"

Looking at sorting an easier way of putting a slit into the beams to sit the brass etch into.

May be a while before another update, decorating the son's bedroom.



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