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King of the Mississippi by Bob Fraser - FINISHED - 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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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...

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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  • 6 months later...
On 6/27/2020 at 3:52 AM, Bob Fraser said:

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

You were right about this, that bedroom must have been some project! Have you returned to this model? We'd love to know how you're progressing.

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Hi Cathead, and others who are following along.

Sorry for the silence so far, life really does get in the way at times!

Just before things were put away I fitted up a jig onto the mini pillar drill in order to make 0.5mm slots 0.5mm deep into 1.5mm planks to take the PE railings. This was so much faster than hand filing I'd done and I thought "Yes! I can get this done!", and then had to pack it all up.


It did turn out to be a longer job than thought. He wanted a space themed bedroom with models on shelves and walls, but wanted specific ones, and the room fairly specific. He's high end autistic and everything has to be just so. Still got the Saturn V to finish and the Eagle lander to do.


Walls, ceiling, bedding and curtains needed to be glow in the dark, and one wall a giant nebula mural with glowing stars added.


It didn't stop there! The house then had a new damp course in the hall, living room and kitchen, so a full strip down and decorate throughout which include the satirwell and landing, with a new kitchen yet to be installed and then re-decorated.

Meanwhile middle son (23) was staying with us as his "support bubble" for the first UK lockdown taking up the modelling area.

Our two youngest, above son (11) and his sister who is 13, are home schooled so I do a the lesson planning and "one to one teaching", normally I was able to manage to do a little modelling around them, but not this time.

Christmas arrived and went and I'm only now being able to get back to getting a corner to work on and the modelling stuff out.

I did get an early christmas present though, a pillar drill for the shed - ploy by the admiral to get me to make body joints for the posable teddy bears that she makes as presents for family and friends. (also because I nearly took my left thumbnail off at the bed of the cuticle using a hand drill to make them when she ran out of shop-bought ones).


I'm looking at the King as I type, back on a shelf in the living room, the parts box is almost accessible again in the store room so hopefully in a week or so.

Thanks for looking in,




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  • 6 months later...

At last - a real update! (Sorry for the delay)


Lower deck uprights added to the remaining side and both sides now have lower deck railings.

Steam stacks made and placed but removable for access to installing railings later on.



And of course the captain and his mate have to inspect





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Thanks all for the encouragement.

Realised I'd forgotten to put the bead cap on the railing newels - Doh!

Checked out the instruction manual and it shows them just glued on.  As this is going to be with brass railings, (no paint except where needed are the orders!), I decided to embellish them with a brass top. Holes drilled into the top where reachable, and brass nails cut to size slotted into place and glued.

Also added the three remaining upper staircases, thinning the sides down - something I should have done to the others before installing - as they're quite thick.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but always too late!



I've also rounded off the edges on the paddles as they just seemed "wrong" with the sharp corners.



Cheers for now.



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Small update.

Added the handrails to the upper level stairs.



These are the dimension used for my build - probably won't work for anyone elses. Quicker and easier to work out 1 and then copy it.

Used brass beading wire, 0.8mm diameter.



If anyones interested Artesania Latina now have a new website  and a New Revamped Kit!  The photo etch railings have changed for the better, and it comes with a base and nameplate.  You can also buy a not yet available  LED lighting kit and motor for the paddle, and a set of figures that are.


Now I need to give it a good brushing off - you can't see the dust under normal lighting!




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Brushing off done, and new wood oiled.

Having already painted the smoke stacks I decided to sort them out, and the other smaller stacks to make sure the sizes and holes were correct before doing fiddly delicate work that could be broken off.  These are just paced at the moment.

Also did the side masts that AL call "turnbuckles" as these run alongside the side railings.



The smokestacks I'd already painted - bad move as it turned out.  The brass rings wouldn't fit! So some sanding and fit testing ended up with this -



Still to paint the fancy bits, and will put a brass strip around the expanded base inside the indent.


For the turnbuckles - well, the deck holes are cut through vertically and are too small for the width of dowel required, so some shaping and angling of the holes on both decks is required. Again best done before any railings are fitted!




Engine room stacks, again holes too small for the required dowel and didn't quite line up straight - probably my fault when fitting the upper decks.

On the revamped release these at turned in at the bottoms, so holes resized, bottoms shaped to a curve, and shaved to fit.


Going to put a brass strip around the outer to hold it against the upper deck.


The guard railings around the stern were made and fitted.



I noticed that the upper two decks upper and lower railings are inset into the newels. This is only visible on a couple of pictures, and not mentioned at all in the instructions. Bad photo, but you can clearly see the mortice cut out on the centre deck, and that the lower rails are inset on both levels.


Going to give it a try!


Got the grandkids today, so all work put safely out of reach!


Cheers for now,



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By "turnbuckles" and "masts", are you referring to the set of three posts that form a fan shape (one angled forward, one centrally vertical, one aft)? That's my impression from the accompanying photo. If so, those are AL's oddball version of what are properly called "hog chains". On real vessels, hogging (the hull sagging to fore and aft) was a huge problem as the hulls were long, thin, and very lightly built (none of the heavy timbers or cross-bracing of a sea-going vessel).


The only way a steamboat  could be functionally built this way was to introduce a set of iron rods forming a truss that held the hull in shape, not unlike a railroad bridge. These could be adjusted using turnbuckles threaded onto the rods (maybe that's where AL got its term?). Why they were called "chains" is not known. These were arched both along and across the hull on angled posts like the ones you've installed, though AL's design is pretty wacky.

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  • The title was changed to King of the Mississippi by Bob Fraser - FINISHED - Artesania Latina - Scale 1/80 - 1st Build

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