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HM Lady Nelson by drjeckl - Amati/Victory Models - Scale 1:64 - First wooden ship build

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So the journey begins. I'd been planning on getting into building model ships and what better excuse than the quarantine to start?  After some online research, I picked the Amati Lady Nelson.  Then I needed tools.  I basically had nothing since I had downsized into a small cottage from a 4-bedroom house and had to sell/giveaway most every tool I had accumulated over 30 years.  Boy, it wasn't cheap to restock and I included a starter airbrushing kit from Master Airbrush and a spray booth.  Was not willing to brush paint all what needed to be painted.  Also, it was a scramble to get tools; most of the modeling sites had a lot of out-of-stock for items.  Guess a lot of folks are doing the same as me.


Then it was looking for help.  This site was fairly easy to find and has a lot of good stuff, especially the Build Logs.  I also looked for build video logs.  Those on Modelers Central were way too expensive.  But I did find that Amati released free video build logs of the their Lady Nelson by Models Shipyard.  There are 20 of them on Facebook, starting here: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=Amati Modellismo lady nelson&epa=SEARCH_BOX .  The builder takes some different paths from the Amati instructions, such as beveling the bulwarks AFTER adding them to the false keel.  After comparing his approach to what I found in the build logs and other tutorials here, I decided to follow his process, supplemented with tips from the MSW logs.  The most comprehensive MSW log I found for this ship was by vossiewulf.  Wow, he is one master builder!  Anybody know why he didn't finish it?  Too bad; I would have loved to see the final product.


Anyway, as to my build.  Below is where I am.  One issue I ran into was while beveling the bulwarks: the false deck popped up at the edges, not by much, but it did flatten the deck somewhat.  When I first glued the deck, it had a bigger curve to it, port to starboard.  I didn't see a problem with that.  After it popped up, I decided to leave it.  It still had the curve, just not as pronounced.  I looked at the the MS logs and he had the same gaps at the edges that I had, so I don't seem too worried.

IMG_20200510_161139.thumb.jpg.e1491fb9ad3fd6555ceafb3c00effb73.jpgHere's the bow:


And the stern:


The MS builder used a marker to highlight the filler blocks and the deadwood before beveling to show what had to be taken off.  I also had to take some of the deck off here since it overhung the last bulwark.  I guessed that was needed based from what I saw from the MS logs.  The only issue I had at this point was supporting the gluing of the outside stern counter frames into their slots.  With the bulwark beveling, I had removed most of what those frames would stick to.  So I glued 2 x pieces of the 1mm plywood sheet underneath the deck between the last two bulwarks.  See below.


Those frames are not going to move.  So I'm off to attach the 3 x keel pieces and then move onto the first planking.  Some observations:


  1. The MS builder avoided using balsa bulwark filler blocks between the bow and stern bulwarks.  When I saw that technique in the MSW logs, I did think that was a bit overkill for this small ship.  I figured two sets of hull planking would eliminate having to deal with the thick filler blocks.  Surprised vossiewulf went there. Also, he and others had the tools to easily make those blocks; I don't.  Comments anybody?
  2. The MS builder's plan for tapering the planks involves calculating how much to take off on either end based on mathematical formulae which I found easy to comprehend.  When I looked at planking guidelines here, it appeared to involve drawing lines on the bulwark edges or lines, bow to stern, on a fully filler-block loaded hulls and then taking measurements.  That seemed a little tedious so I'm planning on following the MS builder's plan.  Also, he planes off what needs to go .  Some of the MSW log techniques appear to draw a line on the planks and then utilize a craft knife to remove the excess.  I'm going with planing the edge off a plank held in a vise.


Final painting scheme is still fluid.  My current thinking is (comments welcome):

  1. Hull:
    1. White paint from the bottom to the waterline. (Maybe tinged with a little green or maybe grey.) 
    2. Walnut paint from the waterline to the main whale (maybe walnut stain)
    3. Black paint main wale
    4. Walnut paint from top of main wale to the top of the hull, including the upper wale (Again, maybe walnut stain)
    5. Black paint for capping rail. (Any reason I shouldn't paint the rails before attaching them?  Obliviously need to deal with the pin holes, but not a big deal compared to painting the rails in place.)
  2. Deck:
    1. Carriage red for the bulwark side planks.  Same for hatches and the frames walnut (flipped from what I see on the MSW logs, but the Italian version of MSW showed that and I thought it had a better look.)
    2. Red for the gun carriage, flat black for the guns. As for the rigging of these, I see vossiewulf tried but then abandoned to rig with them with 2 x side tackles and 2 x train tackles and went with just 1 x centered train tackle because there was no room on the deck for all that rigging.  I will follow his lead on that.
    3.  Natural for the deck, no paint.  The MS builder used, as a deck scraper, a piece of thick glass and that gave it a nice look.  I'm trying to find a piece of glass; may break a window!


Off I go; wish me luck...John

Edited by drjeckl
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  • 3 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Wow, it's been exactly 5 months since my first and only log post.  Since then, I've posted in a couple of specific forums for certain issues that I probably could have posted here; either/or!  Anyway, I think I've made decent progress:

  1. After laying 5 x planks with fairly miserable results, I sought advice and was convinced to restart.  From this:

    To successfully completed first planking:

    The secret technique I was missing was Chuck Passaro's plank edge-bending process.  What a difference!  Check out his videos on this.  I haven't yet migrated to his technique of lining up yet, but I may for the 2nd planking; not yet sure.
  2. Challenged myself to follow Chuck's plan with laying down a margin plank on the border of the deck.  Rather than piecing together several shorter planks with scarph joints (I forget now why I couldn't do that with the material I was able to put my hands on (3mm beechwood kit planks and max width of 5mm planks available online), short-term memory is the first to go!), I tried and was able to edge-bend a single 5mm plank for each side.  Here's the result and adding the king plank:
  3. I laid down deck planks until the end points of the plank got too sharp and started to hook them as per Chuck's process, found on page 10 here: http://modelshipworldforum.com/resources/Confed/Chapter10.pdf .  I cut out 2mm chunk out of the 5mm planks, leaving a 3mm plank in the middle of it and hooked the ends for the blanks at the ends.  The cutting out technique I used was captainbob's, found here (scroll down a little): Due to some careless fit cutting, I had to follow one of Chuck's rules:  If it doesn't fit, toss it aside and make another one.  I used a jumbo graphic stick to coat each edge of every plank with lead to simulate the caulking. Couldn't keep from getting the lead on my fingers and while gluing the planks to the false deck, got sticky lead on the surfaces.  After every two or three planks laid, I used a single edge blade to scrape the surface lead off (NO SANDING!!!).  Here's how the final deck turned out:

    I marked the center of the deck cutouts with a pin hole so I know where they go.   I'm pretty happy with how this turned out.
  4. You might be able to see that there is a spirketting plank between the lowest bulwark plank and the margin plank.  The deck edge layout was a topic of discussion I raised here: I had to adjust my final layout of the spirketting plank to rest it on the false desk so it wouldn't cover the oar ports.  But it works as intended, keeping the cannon carriages nicely away from the bulwarks planks.IMG_20201008_130340.thumb.jpg.3d0d6b0756837569cc83b32652a90ec7.jpg

    Did not try laying in a waterway; didn't want to stretch my luck.
  5. After the deck was completed, I needed to clean up the bulwark planks from the scrape marks.  So I masked the deck and gave the bulwark a couple of second airbrush coverings using Vallero Air Red 71.269.  The planks were previously primed with Vallero Surface Primer Pure Red 70.624.

So now I'm ready to move on and have some questions on the sequence I should take.  I'm planning to etch plank butts according to a 5-butt scheme.  After testing a couple of plans on some off-ship planks, I'm planning to do the following:

  1. Cover the deck planks with one coat of  MinWax Wipe-On Poly followed by some smoothing out method (?)
  2. Transpose the 5-butt scheme, in pencil, to the deck.  I did a layout in Visio (there is also an Excel spreadsheet by AEW one can use at   http://modelshipworldforum.com/ship-model-framing-and-planking-articles.php).
  3. Use an milled down Excel blade #17A exactly to the width of the 3mm plank to etch the butt lines.
  4. Use a Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.05mm pen to make the lines. 
  5. Cover the deck planks with a 2nd and maybe a 3rd coat of WOP with the same smoothing out method in between coats.
  6. Mask over the deck to protect it and start the final hull planking.
  7. During my testing of the pen, without a coat of WOP on the plank, as soon I touch it with the pen, the ink absorbs in a circle and I don't get a clean line.  With a coat of WOP on the planks, I do.

So here are some of the obvious questions:

  • What type of smoothing method would be best?  Sanding is out to avoid spreading the graphite.  Steel wood (0000 grit) could be an option.  What about stray, stuck steel threads?  Use a magnet to pull them off?  I also have a softback sanding sponge, 2500 grit.  Too fine?  What's best?
  • I probably should cutout and mask the edges of the deck hatch and mast cutouts so the deck furniture, et al, glue will adhere good to the deck.  I will likely use PVA for this.  I have read in some posts that PVA will adhere well over WOP.  Should I risk not masking out the cutouts before applying the WOP?  If it doesn't stick, I would likely be left with scraping the edge of the cutouts.  I'll also need to deal with gluing (CA or PVA?) the cannon trucks to the deck.  Mask that area with a rectangle piece of tape under the entire carriage?  What about the water-based WOP?  Anybody use that and glue over it?

    Not so obvious questions:
  • Any issue with the 5-step plan above?  Recommendations? Alternates to the Staedtler pen?
  • Because I don't know: Would a coat of WOP over the bulwark planks be any help?

Any and all recommendations will be appreciated.  I just have to say that this site is fabulous for learning this hobby.  The wealth of experience here is amazing!  I have gained so much knowledge in the last 5 months and well before I started my log.  Oh, and the 2021 calendar is great!



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Hi John.  When you say “sanding is out because of the graphite”, I’m not sure what task you’re working on.  If you’re talking about pencil on the plank edges, I’ve sanded mine and it works out great.  I assume you’re concerned about spreading graphite all over the planks.  That doesn’t happen in my experience.  Feel free to take a look at my build logs.  You can see that I sanded the crap out of Winnie’s starboard side and I sanded plenty on the deck of the Virginia.  I hope that’s helpful.

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On 10/10/2020 at 1:35 PM, drjeckl said:

I'll also need to deal with gluing (CA or PVA?) the cannon trucks to the deck.  Mask that area with a rectangle piece of tape under the entire carriage?  What about the water-based WOP?  Anybody use that and glue over it?

I used CA on my cannon trucks because the trucks were painted black. I wouldn’t worry as much about masking off all these areas though. You could do a test, though to be certain (apply more coats of WOP than you think you’ll use to be certain and try gluing two pieces together).


Are you mixing your own WOP? I was under the impression that water based WOP wasn’t sold? Regardless, I’ve had good results with non-water based and plan on sticking with that moving forward. 

On 10/10/2020 at 1:35 PM, drjeckl said:

During my testing of the pen, without a coat of WOP on the plank, as soon I touch it with the pen, the ink absorbs in a circle

This would make me nervous, I unfortunately don’t have a better suggestion though. Did you give any consideration to laying shorter planks on the deck? Your deck looks really nice as is; I’d be tempted to leave it alone for fear of messing up the butt ends. With the guns and other things on the deck you may not really notice the missing butt joints.

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A few quick comments:


The time to create a butt shift pattern in the deck was as you laid it, I don’t think any method will turn out very well after it’s already installed.  On this small ship you won’t notice much anyway after the furniture, guns, and rigging are installed, check mine out as an example.


Your first planking looks rough because you didn’t taper the planks, a single plank should run from the bow to stern without interruption. That’s done by tapering the planks to fit based on measurements. I describe this some in my Cheerful and Nelson logs.  I did it by following Chuck’s tutorials which you’re already familiar with. Filler blocks at the bow are always helpful in models like this one that don’t provide enough bulkheads. I shape mine from blocks of balsa. It takes no more than a modeling hand saw and an exact knife.  


I place the guns with a dab of medium (gel) CA on each wheel.  It doesn’t take much to keep them there, I haven’t lost a gun yet. I agree on this little model the breaching rope is enough. 

I like to paint with a brush, I only spray the guns. I think it gives a more natural look to the wood, but to each his own.


Careful with the stem, at least on mine it was soft wood, I broke it and had to repair it, I’d never had that happen on any model before.  

Glue will stick to areas with WOP, but it’s best to rough sand it for better adherence. WOP is oil based, there are water based polyurethane products, those aren’t typically referred to as WOP o this site. I use both depending on the circumstance. But one is not the same as the other and it’s generally one or the other.


PVA and CA will generally both adhere in almost any circumstance (a little tougher on two already painted surfaces maybe). You’ll find a lot of debate on which is better for what. 

For your next model I’d recommend cutting out the hatches and mast openings as you lay the deck, I think it will be challenging to do that after laying the whole deck, not something I’d do.


Hope some of this helps. 

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5 hours ago, Matt D said:

 I assume you’re concerned about spreading graphite all over the planks.  That doesn’t happen in my experience.  Feel free to take a look at my build logs.

Matt, yes that was my concern.  I've seen that caution several times here.  I'll take a look at your logs.  Thanks.


5 hours ago, VTHokiEE said:

Are you mixing your own WOP? I was under the impression that water based WOP wasn’t sold?

Amazon has it:


Figured that PVA would have better adhesion over this product.


All, since this is my first build, I did not want to chance that I would screw up with installing anything but a full size deck plank.  And there are numerous topics on MSW regarding simulating plank butt edges.  But you're probably right, I should abandon that idea.  Maybe next build I'll install accurate size planks.


3 hours ago, glbarlow said:

I agree on this little model the breaching rope is enough. 

I'll probably just add one train tackle, but I agree, side tackles would be too much.


4 hours ago, glbarlow said:

Careful with the stem, at least on mine it was soft wood, I broke it and had to repair it, I’d never had that happen on any model before.

Yeah, I already broke mine; twice!


3 hours ago, glbarlow said:

Glue will stick to areas with WOP, but it’s best to rough sand it for better adherence.

Thanks Glenn, that's what I'll do.


Gents, thank you for your advice...John

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Just found your build  -  the hull planking with the first planking (I assume you will be laying a second layer of planks over the top as its normal procedure)  is always a tricky/fiddly/nerve racking  procedure  - even the pro's like to get it out of the way.

With your deck  You have done a fine job  - its neat and tidy  and as  others have said  its easily sanded even with pencil  in between  the planks as the sanding action cleans as you are going.


Keep at it  you are doing fine.



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hey there!  I see your well on your way with the lady :)    since this is a double planked hull,  you don't need to fuss too much with the first planking......shape it to the desired contour.  some will use filler if needed.  your best bet with the second planking would be to use 0.5 thick planking.  it will be easier to work with and can be purchased in a variety of woods....dark walnut...beech,  to name a few.   keep it tight and taper where indicated :) 


I used to use pencil for simulated caulking....I've even tried crayon and 0.5 x 0.5 mahogany thin strip.   I done everything but thread......but I've had the best result using the  Pritt archive Pen.  you did a very nice job with the deck.  I agree with Glbarlow......butt shift patterns should be done as the deck planking is laid.  some have done well penciling them in,  but mistakes are costly at this point.  it looks good......I'd leave it. ;)   


I think I have only one model where I double planked it.......to me,  if the first planking looks good,  I go with it and avoid wasting wood.  in cases where the hull is to be painted,  a single planking is enough.   planking is an art.......there are many here far better than me.  keeping the plank line straight,  tapering and using stealers and Jogging planks help in keeping the line straight.  as you've seen there are a few methods.  take your time and keep it up......it only gets better from here!

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Hi John,

I will be following your build with interest. I am also a newbie to the site, so I will be starting my build log at some point. I will be doing the Triton Section.


Good info from yourself and other member of this very knowledgeable group.


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Well, on that note, I will be following you as you have selected a section build, which I have thought about, but will be at a minimum, my 3rd build.  I have already purchased and received Vanguard Models' Speedy for my 2nd build.  Still learning on my first, the LN, including acquiring the appropriate tools for this hobby.  I'm taking a deep breath on embarking on the 2nd hull planking.  Hope I remember how I did the first; it turned out pretty good after the second try, but it was a couple of months ago.


Hey, welcome to this site, start a build log, check the existing logs for your build and don't be afraid or intimidated to engage other members (i.e. follow other related builds, like individual posts; I see that you have done both; keep it up).


Good luck dude...John

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1 hour ago, drjeckl said:

I'm taking a deep breath on embarking on the 2nd hull planking.  Hope I remember how I did the first; it turned out pretty good after the second try, but it was a couple of months ago.

Oddly enough I found the second planking (while nerve wracking at first) to be somewhat easier with the solid base of that first layer down. I’m certain yours will look great (and if you’re painting below the waterline white you can cover up some issues if they do rear their head).

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2nd planking, tapering is important as is plank bending. Follow Chucks video you’ll be fine. Start at the top and work your way down about a third of the way. Then go to the bottom and do the bottom couple coming up 2-3 planks then go back up to the top and finish coming down. 

Why? Because if you’re not perfect and have to do some filling in you’ll be doing it in a place that can’t be seen once painted and mounted.

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