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N.Y. pilot boat Phantom 1868 by BETAQDAVE - Model Shipways - Scale 1:96 - Highly modified hull, deck furniture and fittings

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Since the Pandemic was declared on Friday (The 13th go figure.) it looked like I would have quite a bit of time available to actually write up a log for this ship that I started way back in 2013.  At that time I was still getting my feet wet so to speak with computers.  Writing a log, coordinating it with pictures and sending it through the computer was way out of my comfort zone back then. 

But since I started with my hybrid model of the 1:87 whaler Wanderer by Aurora and am doing a log for that during construction, I thought I’d do sort of a retroactive log of the construction of my Phantom.  Since I am quite a ways into the build already, most of it is from memory and my notes.  Eventually the log will catch up with the build, but as I am building both ships at the same time, it will undoubtedly take quite a while.  Also, the photos were taken recently rather than during actual construction, so they will be mostly out of sync with the log.   So without further ado here goes nothing.

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    I’ve built and sold several tall ships in both plastic and wood before.  But having reviewed the kit directions and Chuck’s practicum, I decided to look for more info on this ship before going any further. I also read How To Build First-Rate Ship Models From Kits by Ben Lankford and decided that I wanted to incorporate some improvements to the kit as there seemed to be some uncertainties about many of the details of the Phantom anyway.

    For one thing, since having searched quite a  bit for info on these pilot boats in that era, it seemed that since almost all of them had one or two small boats onboard to transfer the pilot to the ship in need, I decided to add one to this ship.  I found some pilot boats had what they referred to as pilot yawls, which had partial clinker built planking.  Then I looked for and found info on it and decided to put one of these on the deck.  So far I haven’t worked on this yet.

    After recently reviewing the impressive scratch build of the Eagle by Pete Jaquith on MSW, I found that a lot of the modifications that I had already added to my build were not really as original as I once thought.  I took the solid carved hull, removed the bulwarks, and shaved the hull down to the inside of planking as far down as the line of the copper sheathing. Then I installed the shear strakes, notching for the timberheads thru the strakes and into the hull. When I finished installing my hull planks, I applied some strips of my stock basswood for bulwarks and put in the scuppers by omitting the bottom plank at the openings. 

    On reflection later, I think that I should have put a bit of a bevel on the edges of the planks so they would stand out better. Once it was painted black, it was hard to discern that they actually were individual planks and not a solid hull.  It seemed like a bit of wasted effort there, but as I had never planked a hull before it was fun anyway.

Since this kit was a solid wood hull model, I started by making templates for the hull and keels.  I selected the templates at stations four and seven and constructed this simple cradle shown below that was made with some 1/8” foam core poster board to support the ship during construction.


    Early on I decided to build up the bulwarks by adding the stanchions with planking applied to them, rather than carving them out, so these were removed right away.  Once they were removed, I proceeded to slowly carve and sand the hull into shape using the templates to guide me.  When I was finally satisfied, I cut, shaped and fit the keel, stem and sternpost until they fit properly and attached them with wood glue and nails.

     As far as the deck of the ship goes, Model Shipways changed what I considered to be a prominent feature of the ship by not recessing the sunken cockpit and just substituting some metal coamings and leaving the deck flush.  One could easily see that the ships wheel would not have any clearance with the deck, especially since the deck grating provided with the kit was so thick.  So I decided to throw out the metal cockpit coamings and rout the floor down another foot to scale as was mentioned by Chuck in his practicum.

     To do this I traced the outline on the plans of the inside face of the cockpit walls and added 1/32” outside of that outline.  This new outline was located on the deck and transferred to the surface.  Using my Dremel drill with the routing accessory set at 1/8” depth, the recess was cleaned out to that line.

Now that that was done the next thing I did was to discard the scribed decking sheets!  For one thing, the decking layouts shown on the plans could never be done with a sheet. The stern decking was supposed to follow the curve of the hull and the decking on the foredeck needed to be nibbed into the shear strake.  For another thing, even on a deck with all the planks running parallel to each other, the grain of the wood would make it all too obvious that it was not made up of individual planks.  After all, we are for the most part trying to make it look realistic!  So I cut enough 1/32” x 3/32” strips of my stock of basswood in 20 foot to scale lengths to use for all of the decking.

    I started on the fore deck.  The first step was to mark the location of the deck beams below and a centerline on the hull.  The outline of the coaming for the companionway was also marked.  The shear strakes were then steam bent to follow the edge of the hull.  These were tacked into place temporarily.  I marked the location of all the stanchions on the strake and cut a notch for every third one. Those notches were extended into the hull below about 3/8”.   

Then the individual planks were set in place, starting with the two on each side of the centerline after first rubbing a #2 lead pencil along the ends and edges to represent the caulked joints.  All of the planks were glued down with carpenters glue in a three butt shift pattern.    

    I continued installing the decking, alternating from one side to the other, cutting notches in the strake and tapering the ends of the decking where nibbing was needed. Rather than having the end grain exposed on the face of the step in the decks, I shaved the face back 1/32” and installed the decking up to the new face.  The decking was omitted over the marked location of the companionway.

    A 1/32” thick strip of basswood was steam bent and installed to cover that end grain that was shaved back earlier. It was installed overlapping the decking on the fore deck and trimmed off at the top of the step.

Moving on to the aft deck, the centerline and locations of the beams below were drawn on the hull along with the outlines of the coaming for the skylight, companionway and wheelhouse.  I steam bent the shear planks on the sides and cut a piece to fit across the stern.  Once again these strakes were marked, notched for the stanchions, and temporarily tacked in place.   Next, I glued down a 1/32” x 1/16” strip of basswood with a slight overlap of the step facing for the edge plank.  Once the glue was allowed to set, the planking here was laid similarly to the fore deck. 

    However, the deck pattern here required the planks to be steam bent and laid down parallel to the shear strakes.  Alternating from one side to the other, the decking was laid toward the center until they met in the middle in a herringbone pattern at the stern.  At this time decking was also laid on the floor of the cockpit.

Before finishing the decking, all of the tacked down shear strakes were temporarily removed.  Using the ends of the beam lines previously marked and now revealed, a flexible straight edge was lined up and using a sharp HB pencil lead, I lightly poked a slight depression in the decking and twisted the point around a bit to make a representation of the treenails.  The decks were then scraped smooth and given a coat of Minwax light oak finish that I let set briefly and then the excess was wiped off with a soft cloth.  The decks were sanded with #400 wet/dry sandpaper and given two coats of matt finish polyurethane that was lightly sanded smooth.  The caulking and treenail impressions left showing, provided a nice bit of detail even though it’s a little out of scale.  It looked good to me, so I was happy with it anyway.

    To leave me more room to work, I decided to skip doing the bulwarks until the deck houses and some of the fittings were finished.

    Trying my hand at making the deck furniture from solid blocks as called for in the kit, I was not at all happy with the results.  Thinking that I could certainly do a better job than that, these were quickly trashed.  Seeing that the cockpit had already been carved out, I decided that I could also leave the companionway hatches open and make the interior of the skylight visible.  Of course this meant that now I would also have to carve out the spaces below them. If I was going to do this, now was the time to do it.  So…… once again I broke out the router and chisels and went to work. 

Once these areas were carved out, I also thought that putting decking on the floors would be a good touch.  Although it wouldn’t be all that visible once the deck houses were put in place, I installed it anyway.  I also lined the interior walls with some grooved 1/64” plywood.  Same reason I guess.

    Moving on now to the coamings, I selected some 1/8” square basswood strips from my stock.  I cut the pieces to size, cutting half lap joints for the corners.  I assembled them with wood glue and set them aside to dry.  After the glue set up, I filed a slight bevel on the outside edges.  The coaming for the rear companionway was quite troubling at first until I realized that it terminated on the main deck where it ran into the cockpit walls.  There were no coamings around the cockpit walls at the main deck or the walls inside the cockpit.           

    At this time it was time to decide what kind of color scheme I would use.  Since this was to be my version of the ship, I planned to deviate somewhat from what the kit suggested.  I would introduce a bit more contrast, by making the coamings and the shear strakes a light green color, rather than the light buff deck house that would be used on the remaining deck house walls and the inside of the bulwarks.  The roof, hatches, cockpit walls, and the cap rails would all be stained with Minwax light oak and then two coats of matt finish polyurethane. 

    So now all of the shear strakes were given a couple coats of the light green (from my last remaining bottle from Floquil) on the areas that would be visible and they were finally glued in place.  The coamings were also painted with the light green paint where they would be visible and then set aside until needed.

Returning now to the cockpit, the first step was to cut a strip of wax paper followed with a strip of paper coffee filter and line the cockpit walls with them.  I ripped some very narrow strips of 1/32” basswood to use for the vertical panels. I cut several pieces of them long enough to reach from the decking on the cockpit floor to the bottom of a cap rail 1/8” above the upper deck.  These were then glued to the paper filter lining on the walls for the inside panels and left there to dry thoroughly.

Once dry, I cut several more pieces for the outside panels long enough to reach from the upper deck to the top of the inside wall panels already in place.  These pieces were then glued to the outer face of the inside wall panels with their joints offset from the joints on the layer below. 

    Confused?  Well, this actually left me with a cockpit wall above the upper deck 1/16” thick and 1/32” thick below the upper deck.  The top of this double thickness wall was sanded even for the application of the wall cap.  With the coffee filter paper glued between the layers to hold it together and the wax paper preventing the assembly from sticking to the wall of the pit, it could be slipped out of the pit in one piece.  This allowed me to trace the outline on a piece of stiff card to make a template for making the cap rail.  I took the resulting outline as the finish outside edge of this cap and drew the inside edge to the required finish width of the cap.  I made the cap in five pieces and even made scarf joints with two quarter knee pieces at the corners so no end grain would be exposed.  (They were only about 1/16” long!)

I sliced a 1/32” strip of maple from a piece of ¾” maple and sanded it down to 1/64” thickness for making the cap rail. Once it was glued down to the template with rubber cement and with carpenters glue at the joints, I set it aside for a few days to be sure it was held together good. 

    Very carefully it was separated from the template and glued to the top of the cockpit wall while it was set in the recess. Wow, wasn’t that easy? This whole assembly was then removed to be stained and sealed. Oh wait, the ends of the wall assembly would still need trimming to join into the sidewalls of the rear companionway. I can hardly wait!  Showing it to the Admiral, she thought I was nuts!!!  Here is a photo of the cockpit walls with the cap rail already applied.



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    So, for something a little less nerve racking now, I moved on to the building the skylight.  All of the deck structures were built with basswood and separate from their coamings to protect them while working on the rest of the model.  I drew up three versions of its construction before choosing the one closest to the layout shown on the plans.  The walls were built first using 1/32” x 1/16” as a bottom plate arranged in a simple jig set up to hold it together as a flat rectangle with butt joints in the corners while glue up with carpenters glue.  When the glue set up it was removed from the jig and reloaded with more of the 1/32” x 1/16” material, but I made the butt joints offset from the arrangement of the bottom plate.  This was then glued and dried. 

     Using a small square, I laid out the arrangement of the vertical posts and glass bars on the plates making three openings on the sides and two on the ends.  Each opening had two bars apiece.  The posts were made of 3/32” lengths of 1/32” x 1/16” glued between the top and bottom plates.  But, before I assembled the walls, the plates were stacked on top of each other and taped together.  Using a #68 bit the holes for the glass bars were drilled thru the top plate and not quite thru the bottom with my Dremel drill press to assure alignment of the holes.  Now the plates were glued up with the posts glued in between and the assembly was painted light buff deckhouse.  Once dry, I inserted short lengths of some hard black wire for the glass bars through the holes and applied an additional plate on top of the end walls shaped with the camber for the roof that was also painted.  I drilled for and installed four small brass locating pins into the bottom of the assembly for later attachment to the coaming.  For the glass, I took some clear plastic from a packaging shell and cut it for a force fit inside the skylight frame so that I wouldn’t have to use glue that might obscure the plastic.

   To make the roof of the skylight I cut some very narrow strips of 1/32” basswood which I put over a cambered waxed form covered with coffee filter paper. I used some wood glue on the paper and assembled the strips edge to edge and let dry.  The filter paper was very thin but when glued to the planks the assembly held together quite well. (Although the filter paper got quite wet with the glue, it didn’t wrinkle up at all.)  This assembly was then trimmed with end caps that were fit and glued on.  I finished these roof planks the same as I treated the deck planks and when it was glued onto the walls it had a much more realistic look to it than my first attempts which had been cut from a sheet and scribed.  Here are some pics of the finished skylight below.




    For the wheelhouse, I cut off the end of a piece of basswood that was formed to match the required W and L dimensions so that no end grain would be visible.  One end was then tapered and filed down to form the roofs sloping cambered top.  A piece of 1/64” square basswood was cut and fit for the trim piece.  The face of the wheelhouse was drilled for the ships wheel shaft.  The assembly was then painted light buff deck house.

     Since the roof on the wheelhouse was much thinner than the other deckhouses, I used some of my grooved 1/64” plywood instead.  Since the grooves were too far apart, I scribed lines in between them.  The roof was stained and finished like the decking on the top and the perimeter of the bottom.  Once dry, it was glued on by clamping it with a cushioned pad on the roof side to ensure it would follow the shape.  The edges of the roof were then finished; the wheel was painted a dark brown and glued on with medium CA.  Below are a couple of photos of the completed wheelhouse.




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    The fore companionway was next.  Having the companionway hatches left open made everything much more involved as more of the insides would be visible and I needed to search quite a bit to find out what the inside even looked like.   I tried to incorporate most of the details shown in the following sketch compiled from several illustrations from the internet.


    The side and closed end walls were made with 3/32” basswood with the end wall arched on the top for the roof.  For the open end I took some 3/32” square basswood and routed a 1/32” center groove and glued it vertically to the front edge of the side panels for the pair of drop panel door slabs to slide into.  I cut a piece of 3/32” basswood and glued the ends onto the sidewalls with an arch on top to match top of the end wall.  This was for the roof support across the middle of the hatch opening to align with the water dam to support the cut off roof boards. At this point the assembly was painted light buff deck house and set aside while I worked on the sliding hatch cover.

    The 1/32” x 1/16” runners were tapered and a thin groove was cut along the top for the hatch slide anchors made with some thin shim brass.  A pair of notches were cut into the inside face of the runners for removing the hatch cover and also notched for the dam.  I even notched for the drain holes in the side runners by the dam.  After cutting the dam to fit the resulting opening and gluing it between the runners, everything was painted light buff deck house.

    Now for the roof itself which was made similar to the skylight roof, but with a notch cut out for the roof hatch.  One other difference in the roof was that rather than putting any end cap trim on the ends of the roof boards, they were run straight thru. Then of course it was finished similar to the deck boards.  Once dry, the roof and runner assemblies were glued up with carpenters glue and set to dry.   As you may have noticed by now, I am a strong believer in painting or finishing the individual pieces before assembly, which even at this small scale still allows a sharp division between the different finishes without masking. (I must admit that I got a bit carried away here, adding so many details that would not be visible on the finished model, but at least I know they are there.)    

    While this portion was drying, I had to make the sliding hatch cover.   Once again I glued narrow strips of 1/32” basswood over the cambered waxed form with filter paper.  For the hatch cover I didn’t put finished trim pieces across the ends of the boards, I just trimmed them off square.  This was then stained, finished and allowed to dry.  Taking some 1/32” basswood strips that I sanded a camber on the top edge, cut these to length and notched the ends for the shim brass hatch slide anchors and attached them with AC glue.  Now I used 2 strips of 1/32” square basswood to serve as the slide covers.  All of these parts were then painted in light buff and glued onto the bottom of the hatch cover. A tiny bit of blackened copper was also glued on with AC to the top of the cover for the upper latch.

     As the companionways were to sit on top of the coamings, I made a sill stop of 1/64” basswood to sit on top of the coaming for the drop panels.  The rear companionway was a little different than the one on the foredeck in that the open end had stepped down into the cockpit area, but otherwise was made similarly. Since there was no coaming inside the cockpit, I made a sill from 1/32” basswood with a 1/64” sill stop.   Here are some photos below of the fore and aft companionways.






    The entrance doors for the companionways were made with two separate pieces: an upper and lower drop down panel.  I made each of the door panels with two layers of 1/64” grooved plywood glued together with carpenters glue.  On the outer face of the panel the grooves were run vertically and the inner face they were run horizontally.  I cut the panels to size, leaving a 1/64” rabbet where the panels overlapped and an arch on the top edge of the upper panel to match the curve of the sliding hatch covers.  These were stained, sealed and set aside for later installation.

The following four photos are of the finished door panels.  The first shows the outside faces, the second the inside faces, the third shows how they appear when joined together, and the final photo shows how I plan to display them by the forward companionway on the finished model.





    The cockpit walls were carefully cut and filed on the open end so the walls were able to terminate at the sides of the companionway walls.   And finally, I cut and fit some of the 1/64” plywood to serve as the inside wall facing and at the same time serve as a guide to slip the companionways into their coamings.  I still need to make the access ladders and decide how to finish the insides.  If painted dark, it would hide most of the detail inside; while if painted a lighter finish I would need to see what other details would be visible.  At this point I’m not sure, more internet searching may be needed here I guess.  The deck houses and cockpit wall assemblies were all removed now and set aside at this point. 

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    Switching gears now, it was time to work on the outside of the hull once again so the ship was now supported in the cradle with the waterline level with the benchtop.  I made this makeshift waterline marker shown below from scraps and ran a line around the hull with the pen. 


    Using an exacto knife I carefully followed that inked line with a depth guide clamped to the blade to limit the depth of cut to 1/32”.  Then I cut a block of 1 ½” thick lumber to size and glued a piece of foam padding to the bottom side and drilled for two screws through the block and into the carved out companionway areas so I could mount the hull upside down in a vice as needed. 

    Now I proceeded to shave 1/32” from the hull with a narrow chisel one plank width at a time using a plank as a guide.  I starting from the waterline and worked my way up to and including the shear strakes.  The shear strakes had been made early on from 1/32” x 5/32” basswood planks that followed the edge of the carved hull.  At that time 1/16” wide by 3/32” deep notches were made in the shear planks and cut into the hull at the location of every third stanchion.  Now a slightly overlong 1/16” square basswood stanchion was glued in place at every notch with carpenters glue and left to set up for two days to be sure that they were solidly anchored.  The edges to be left exposed were painted light buff deckhouse.

    Then I steam bent a 1/32” thick basswood plank to follow the curve of the decks.  This was then clamped to the notched stanchions to hold the false timberheads in between, which had also been painted light buff deckhouse, in their premarked locations.  I glued down their ends with carpenters glue, and after this set up for a couple of days; the clamped guide board was removed.  There were no details of how to plank the transom on the plans and I was unable to find any relevant details anywhere else for this type of ship. So, I planked the lower transom with parallel planks laid horizontally and ran the ends of the side planks to butt into it.  I think that is referred to as a round tuck pattern.


    The sides of the hull were planked with both 1/32” and 1/16” thicknesses of 1/16” wide basswood in scaled lengths of about 20 feet.  I started at the level of the lower deck with one row of 1/16” thickness.  Two rows of 1/16” thickness were added above this row for the bulwarks.  Two additional rows of this thickness were run below the deck shear.  The upper bulwarks were made with two rows 1/32” thick planks. Where the scupper openings were located, I filed off the bottom 1/32” of the plank width before applying the planks. The remainder of the hull planks laid was all 1/32” thickness.  The bottom row of 1/16” thick planks were blended into the 1/32” thickness below with sandpaper.

    The shear strakes and the decking were masked with Frog Tape and the inside of the bulwarks were painted with light buff deckhouse.  Once the bulwarks were dry, the tops of all the timberheads were filed and sanded even with the top of the bulwark.  Then the outside of the hull was finish sanded and given two coats of hull black to just below the waterline.  As I mentioned earlier in this I think that I should have put a bit of a bevel on the edges of the planks so they would stand out better. Once it was painted black, it was hard to discern that they actually were individual planks and not a solid hull.  It seemed like a bit of wasted effort there, but as I had never planked a hull before it was fun anyway.

     The cap rail was next.  My first attempt was made in one piece as was suggested in many of the logs on MSW.  I took a sheet of 1/16” basswood held down on the top of the bulwarks and used a pencil to run along the outside outline of the top of the bulwarks onto the sheet.   The sheet was flipped over and remarked with the overhang added. The finish width of the cap rail was then added to get the inside edge.   The inside edge of the rail was marked out and using my scroll saw I cut it just outside of the lines.  I sanded the lines down to its finish size and laid it out on the ship.  Although it turned out to be accurate, I was not happy with its appearance at all, since it looked like it was cut from a sheet, which does not make an accurate representation of the real thing.  I didn’t like the look of the basswood for the cap rail either. 

    However, since I had an accurate outline of the overall shape to work with now, I could redo it with some 1/16” thick maple strips that I ripped down on my full size garage table saw.  I decided to cut it into four approximately 20 scale foot sections on each side and one additional section across the stern.  Scarf joints were used at the joints of the sections together along the sides and a pie shaped filler piece was cut for the bow.  At the stern a simple miter joint was made with a knee piece in between.  Diagrams of the design for the joints made are shown below.



    Here is a photo of the joints as done on the model itself.



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    Now it was time to tackle something that I had never done before, coppering the hull!  I spent a lot of time combing through all of my books, magazines, MSW and finally the internet for needed details.  All in all, I came up with my own method.  Sorry, but I didn’t take any pictures of this process.

     Rather than trying to split the copper tape that came with the kit which would leave me with a scaled 12” width which would leave me with no overlap, I just bought some copper tape used for stained glass work from Hobby Lobby instead that was 5/32” wide.  That’s very close to 14” at scale which was the actual width of the copper plates on the ship. I decided against trying to indicate the nails on the plates for two reasons.  For one thing, they would be very tiny at this small scale.   And two, since they were hammered in flat they would leave very little visible evidence that they were even there.  So cutting them to the proper length of 50” at scale was all that was required.

    I started by mass producing the individual plates by simply stretching out the tape and stepping off tic marks on the edge of the plates with my old drafting dividers with the opening set at that scale 50” length.  Once the tape was marked, I simply cut them with a pair of scissors, being careful to make the cuts perpendicular to the edge.   The only tedious part of making individual plates was separating the cut plates from the backing paper.  It required a steady hand with a sharp scalpel and a lighted optivisor on your head to see what you’re doing.                              

        Just drawing the layout for the coppering on the hull was the next problem to solve.  Since the exposed width of the plates was 12” at scale, I locked a pair of my old drafting dividers at 1/8” and I inserted the shouldered points into both legs to keep from poking the points too far into the wood.   The lines of the strakes were then laid out by placing the bottom leg on the previous line with the other leg held perpendicular to that line and poking a hole into the hull with the upper leg, spaced about every ¼” along that line.  When done, I just connected the poke marks with a flexible straight edge and a pencil forming the new line parallel to the previous line.  This allowed me to leave a scale 12” exposure and still have a slight overlap.

     As near as I could determine from the plans, the gore line between the upper and lower belts was a line that more or less ran parallel with the keel from around the midpoint of the hull and then curved up to within to about a strake or so below the waterline at the sternpost.  So basically, this lower belt just covered the skeg of the hull.  The next strake of plates continued up the hull until it overlapped the gore line.  I ran the plates just beyond this line and trimmed them off so there was a slight overlap with the upper belt.

     The first strake was started along the bottom edge of the keel which allowed the first plate to reach the knuckle of the hull and run up onto the hull itself a bit.  Then the next strake would start at that knuckle, thereby overlapping that first strake.  From there on, I just kept on marking one strake at a time parallel to the keel until I reached the gore line of the upper belt.  From there on the strakes were marked parallel to the gore line of the belt.  I continued this procedure, alternating port and starboard sides of the hull to ensure the layouts would align with each other at bow and stern.   Once I had all of the strakes drawn on the hull, the area to be coppered was given two coats of polyethylene and sanded smooth to ensure a good bond with the tapes adhesive.   

    At this point I noticed that I seemed to have forgotten to make the rudder, so I glued up three pieces of 1/8” basswood and filed it to the proper shape.  Rounding the rudder post portion, I left it extended about 3/8” to fit into its hole in the hull.   Notches were filed for the hinge joint.  The very upper portion that was above the waterline was painted hull black and the coppered portion was given two coats of poly.  I decided to make the pintles and gudgeons from brass rather than the paper suggested in the kit, so I needed to bone up a bit on making ironwork and soldering.  Narrow strips were cut from some shim brass sheets and bent around some 1/8” forms into U shapes.  The U shapes were stacked on top of each other, the ends cut to their proper lengths and were soldered together in pairs while still on the forms.   At first I was going to blacken them, but decided instead to paint them a bronze color, since I remembered reading somewhere that bronze and copper were more compatible than iron and was used more for ships of this era.

      I started coppering the ship at the sternpost with a full plate, overlapping that odd horn on the bottom of the keel.  The plate was just trimmed around the horn and pressed into place.  The next plate in line was overlapped, leaving the previous plate with a scale 48” exposure.  This was repeated up to the front edge of the stem and trimmed to match its curve.  The hull was then reversed and this strake was repeated on the other side.  About every third plate or so, I used a wooden stick to firmly burnish the plates. 

    The second row of plates was laid similar to the first row but starting with a half plate at the sternpost.  When the rows of plates for the lower belt came to the gore line with the upper belt, the plates were left overlong and then trimmed off with a knife leaving a slight overlap.  Once the bottom belts for both sides of the hull were finished, I went on to work on the upper belts.  The same procedure was followed there until the top rows of plates were trimmed off at a scale 8” below the waterline.  A final strake of plates was then laid parallel to the waterline with the top edge of the plates 6 scale inches above the waterline.

    Going back now to the the very bottom of the keel, I needed wider plates to cover the bottom and be bent over the keel edges to overlap the bottom row of plates. Since the 5/32” tape was a little bit too wide, I used some of the ¼” tape that came with the kit.  This allowed about a 1/16” of lap on the sides which looked about right.  I continued coppering the bottom of the keel with 48” scaled lengths of exposure that were offset from the bottom row of plates by half, right up the curve of the stem to the waterline, but switched to plates that were cut to 5/32” lengths so the plates could more easily follow the curve.

    Returning once again to the rudder, it was given its coat of copper plates below the waterline.  I used plates long enough to start at the rear edge on one side and finish at the rear edge on the other side.  As it went around the front edge it was carefully trimmed at the pintle notches.  Then the rear edge of the rudder was finished similar to the wrap at the stem of the ship.  The hole was drilled for the rudder post in the transom, the pintle and gudgeon assemblies were then pressed in place on the edge of the rudder and glued with medium AC.  The rudder post was then slipped into the hole in the hull and the gudgeons were pressed into place on the sternpost and also glued with medium AC. 

    Once I had all of the copper plates in place, I burnished all of the plates with my wooden stick to ensure a good bond and brushed on a coating of poly to seal it.  The hull was set upside down and left to dry for a few days.

    OK, at least this is a photo of the coppered hull when it was finished.


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    At this point all of the holes in the bulwarks were formed.  A notch had been cut for the bowsprit before doing the cap rail using a 1/8” square piece of basswood for a guide and the scuppers were also formed while planking the bulwark.  But I still needed to drill out the oval shaped holes for the mooring lines.  These four holes were located and drilled by hand with an undersized drill bit held in a pin vice.  Then they were shaped with a fine round file and some #400 wet/dry sandpaper glued around a small dowel.

    The holes for the hawse pipes were drilled similarly and the pipe lips were glued in place with CA.  Looking again at the mooring holes, I questioned the fact that no similar lips had been provided in the kit for those mooring holes.  The plans appear to show them, but since mooring was more likely not done with chains there wouldn’t have been a lot of wear on the holes.  For now, unless I find out later that they actually had metal lips, I’m not going to add them at this time.  This is a shot of the mooring holes as shown on the plans below.


    The ship was then set back in the cradle with the waterline level to the base.  I made some templates from the plans out of some stiff card stock showing the rake angle of the masts to the deck.  The cradle was securely taped down to the base plate of my drill press and the plate was tilted to match the angle on the template.   Here is a loosely staged photo of the set up for drilling the main mast below.


    Then being a little leery of making a hard to correct later mistake, I triple checked the setup before actually drilling the holes.  Once the hull was drilled for the 5/32" masts, I went to the plans and located all of the other holes needed in the hull. These were then drilled for all of the items that would be difficult to get at once the rigging was begun.  That included all of the cleats and eyebolts in the stanchions that needed to be blackened before installation.

    The bowsprit was tackled next.  I took some of the 1/8” square basswood supplied with the kit.  The portion exposed beyond the stem was filed round and cut to length as shown on the plans.  Several holes were then drilled for the two cleats inboard and the two sheaves for the stays outboard.  The sheave holes were elongated and a brass pin was drilled through the sides to act as the sheave.

    There was now a bit of ironwork to be tackled. (Metalworking’s something that I am not very skilled at yet.)  The gammoning iron and the majority of the rest of the ironwork was suggested in the instructions to be formed from card or tape because of the small scale, but I had done that in the past and wanted to try doing ironwork with actual metal on this ship wherever possible.  Since the pintles and gudgeons had worked out ok, I thought it was time to continue pushing the envelope of my metal modeling skills.

    Taking a sheet of thin brass shim stock, I heated it with my torch and cut some very narrow strips with my coping saw.  I cleaned up the edges with a fine flat file and went to my scrap maple bin and made a form to bend the strips into the required shape.  Next time I try this method, I will make the form out of metal as the maple (although it’s a hard wood) became deformed and was only good for one use.  When I had the two pieces formed, the top end was soldered together.  It was painted hull black and loosely slipped into place until the bowsprit could be installed. 

    The wood jackstay was made next from 1/32” square maple. These were then glued into place with wood glue.   Once they were set I drilled the dozen closely spaced holes along the joint of each jackstay as shown on the plans for the gasket ropes.  I stained the portion of the bowsprit beyond the bulwark with Minwax light oak and inbound with white paint and once dry, the rope gaskets were threaded in place. 

    The next item to make was the metal wry band at the end of the bowsprit which required an eyebolt on each side and the bottom.  The band itself was simply a short section of hollow brass tubing that was a snug fit near the end of the bowsprit.  The hardest part was drilling the holes for the eyebolts on the round surface.   I did find that by cutting the tails of the eye bolts off just long enough to go through the band, I didn’t have to worry about drilling through the bowsprit itself so the holes were drilled while the band was slipped onto a scrap piece of dowel.  The eye bolts were soldered to the band and a thin fine round file was used to smooth out the inside of the band. This was then painted with hull black paint before installation.  

     As the band was about to be slipped into place and glued, I discovered that I had forgotten the old carpenters’ adage “measure twice, cut once”.  I realized that once the wry band was installed there wouldn’t be any bowsprit beyond it! :angry:  The bowsprit was about 3/32” short.  While that may not sound like allot, @ 1/8” scale that’s about 9” off.  Rather than remake the whole bowsprit, I actually shortened it some more.  Cutting it back to the middle of the band, I added a short piece to the end of the bowsprit reformed to the correct overall length and applied CA to the joint as it would be hidden inside the band.  Fortunately I don’t think that the lines will put too much strain on the joint so I may  have just lucked out this time with a quick fix to hide my error! :Whew:

    Before the bowsprit could be mounted on the ship the bitts with the windlass fitting needed to be cleaned up and installed.  I formed a pair of bent brass wires for the portable handles, drilled holes in the windlass barrels, and glued them with AC.  The upper portion of the bitt post corners were eased with a file and I carefully painted the windlass black and the bitts light buff deckhouse.  Once dry the bitts were glued into the deck with medium CA. 

    Now the bowsprit was slipped through the bulwark and into the hole in the bitts.  The cleats were glued to the inboard end of the bowsprit.  And finally, the gammoning iron was glued to the stem to finish the bowsprit installation.  Here is a photo below of the completed assembly as it stands now.


    As you can see from the photo, I installed an eye bolt according to the plan detail apparently for attaching a block for the jib downhaul.  I say apparently as there isn't one shown for the fore stay sail block.  Also, the uphaul end of the same line just shows the block being secured to the stay itself.  Before I start the rigging I shall have to investigate further to see which attachment method was actually used.

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    I continued working on a few more features of the bowsprit by forming three turnbuckles which the plan refers to as stretching screws.  I previously put a small tutorial in the Shop Notes section under “Metal Work, Soldering & Metal Fittings”, so I won’t repeat it here.  The topic listing is Turnbuckles and it was entered on March 16, 2018.

    Once these were made, I worked on the stay fittings that are mounted on the stem.  The details for these fittings on the plans were rather vague.   They appear as a pair of separate pieces with a gap in between them.  With the thickness of the stem being about 12” on the actual ship, I thought this to be rather unlikely since the pin of the shackle would need to be over 14” long to tie it together.  I thought it more likely that the fitting ends would be bent around the stem and joined together similar to the gammoning iron above.  This would allow the use of a much shorter pin on the shackle and a more secure connection.  (Or so I chose to believe, and thus was the way I made mine.)

     Anyway, the upper one is a single eyed fitting with a shackle to join to a seized eye spliced end for the forestay.    At this scale, shackles were still beyond my skill level, so I substituted simple brass split rings for them.   The lower one is a double eyed fitting with two shackles.  The top eye is to join a seized eye spliced end for the jibstay, while the lower eye is to join to a seized eye spliced end for the bobstay.

    The upper iron fitting was tackled first as it seemed simpler to make.  A narrow strip of shim brass was heated and cut overlong.  The strip was doubled over a metal bar the same thickness as the stem and the bend was pinched together forming a tab about 3/16” long that was then drilled for the brass split ring/shackle.  Once the hole was drilled, the tab was filed to shape and the “shackle” was installed, bent closed and soldered.  Since an actual shackle is a slightly elongated shape, I squeezed the ring slightly to imitate the shape.  The lower iron fitting required quite a bit more filing to make the final shape, but other than that it was similar.

    The next feature I worked on was the splash rail at the bow.  1/32” maple was used to make the side pieces by rubber cementing the two pieces together and shaping them on my belt sander so that they would match.  Once they were shaped and separated, half lap joints were cut into the tall ends at the bow before they were steam bent to match the curve of the cap rail.

     A separate piece of maple was carved for the intersection at the bow with half lap joints made to receive the half lap joints previously made in the side pieces. All of the pieces were then painted hull black on just the exposed surfaces and set aside to dry.  Two coats of Minwax light oak finish were applied to the cap rail, sanding it down with #400 wet/dry sandpaper. While that was drying, the half lap joints of the splash rail were joined with carpenters glue off the model.  (They were taped down to the original one piece cap rail to keep them aligned.)

    Once the glue set overnight, the splash rail assembly was set and glued onto the cap rail with carpenters glue after scraping the finish off several spots of the cap rail for the glue.  When the splash rail was finally fixed in place, a small round file was used to make the notches on the topside for the rigging lines and touched up with hull black paint.  Here is the finished splash rail in place below.


    Since the face of the splash rail on the model was barely 1/16” high, I decided to skip trying to put the ships name on it.  (The printing would have to be smaller than the fine print on contract papers.)  Next on my list was to make some of the metal deck fittings.  Some of them, like the pumps, ventilator, stove pipe and cleats, were simply cleaned up, painted and glued with CA into predrilled holes in the deck.  The eyebolts were blackened before installation with medium CA. 

    Some of the other metal fittings had to be custom made.  The crossed pipe guards were bent from four pieces of .022mm stiff blackened wire around a U shaped metal form. Pairs of these U shaped guards were crossed over each other and were glued into four predrilled holes with medium CA glue.  The crossed joints at the tops were soldered together once in place on the deck.   The photo below shows the guards in place.


    The boom buffer fitting was also custom made and due to the very limited space available to install it and the related eyebolts and blocks, it was a rather tough one to make.  The photo below shows that it was basically a bent four legged “table” with an oval shaped hole in the top.


    The photo also illustrates the value of not permanently attaching the deck structures until most of the rigging is in place, especially when building at such small scales.  Imagine trying to do a feature like this with the wheelhouse in the way!

    I bent two overlong pieces of the .022mm stiff blackened wire over a wide U shaped form to make the supporting legs.  The “table” top was a flat rectangular piece of brass with three overlapping holes drilled in a row in the center and then filed smooth into an oval shape.   The “table” top was placed bottom side up with the legs clamped in place to the bottom and soldered together.  Once the “table” was completed, it was set into position and using the tips of the legs to mark their positions on the deck, four holes were drilled.  The height of the top was adjusted by shortening the legs.  It was cleaned up and blackened. 

    Now a hole was drilled for a blackened eyebolt to go directly under the “table”.  A single 3/32” block was tied to the eyebolt with a long link passed through the hole in the “table”. The “table” legs and the eyebolt with the long link were glued with medium CA into their predrilled holes at the same time.  (Could have used another set of hands for that, but there was no room.)  Another blackened eyebolt was glued to the deck about 1/8” from the “table” toward the starboard crossed bollard with another single 3/32” block tied to it.   A 1/8” double block was stropped with a pair of opposing 4mm hooks for later attachment to the main boom sheet band.            

     Using the .20mm tan rigging line attached to a becket on the first single block. The line was first run through the double block, back through the single block, back once again through the double block and finally through the second single block for later tying off at the crossed bollard. I thought that hooking up this block and tackle arrangement would be easier to do at this point, rather than waiting for more obstacles to work around later. 

    At this time I questioned the fact that the plans called for two crossed bollards and an additional four uncrossed bollards, especially since there were only four mooring ports.  In the end after a search on pilot boats, there seemed to be a lot of conflicting opinions on that subject.  Some said anywhere from two to six, and some just called for cleats rather than bollards.  In the end I chose four, one for each mooring port.   The ones at the bow were just straight posts, while the ones at the stern were made with cross bars.  The cross bar bollards are shown below.


    Taking a length of 3/16” square basswood, I cut four 3/8” pieces and filed down the lower portion into round mounting pins.  The cross bars being rectangular in cross section needed matching holes in the posts.  I made the bars from 1/32” x 1/16” maple, so I drilled two 1/32” overlapping holes and filed the opening to match.  I found that exposed ends of timbers in this era were capped with copper for protection from rot, so after painting them light buff deckhouse I put some of the copper tape from the hull on the ends.  Here is a photo of them on the model.


    As I look at them now I feel that the timbers look overly large, so they may be reduced before gluing them in.

    I looked over a rather poorly cast anchor and decided to modify it to make it a bit more realistic.  The shank and the shackle were OK, but the cross bar stock was basically a lump on the side of the shank so it was filed off and custom made with a length of .022mm brass wire.  I drilled a .028mm hole for it in the head of the shank to leave a little extra room allowing the stock to fold up if that’s how I want it displayed, because at this point I have yet to decide.   The wire for the movable stock was heated, cut to length and a right angle bend was made on one end.

    This movable stock required two ball shaped end caps and a stopper ring near the middle.  These were all made from the Britannia coaming walls that came with the kit.  The first step was to cut a slightly oversized flat round disc from the wall and thin it down to the desired thickness of the retaining ring.  Then a .022mm hole was drilled through the disc.  The straight end of the stock was slipped through the hole in the shank and the ring was then soldered to the middle of the bar and then filed down to its final diameter. Since the ring was so close to the shank, I used a couple of heat sinks to make sure that the heat wouldn’t deform the shank.  There was also a small chain and pin used to lock the stock in place, but at this scale it would be very difficult to make so I just skipped that detail.

    The two end caps were made similarly, but once cut; I left them twice as thick as the stopper ring.  They were both drilled, but only about halfway through.  After they were both soldered on, their caps were filed into ball shapes.  The anchor was then painted iron /hull black.  The photo below shows the finished anchor sitting on the deck.



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