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Half Moon by usedtosail - FINISHED - Billings Boats - 1:40 Scale

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I bought this kit many years ago and it is now at the top of the pile - actually it is the last kit in the pile for now. Here are some pictures of the box and contents.




The wood looks OK as do the larger laser sheets. The thin sheets are a bit warped so I may have to remake some pieces.


There is just one two-sided plan sheet but it is a real plan and not an isometric view.


There are some plastic trim pieces that I am not thrilled about but I'll deal with them when the time comes.

Edited by usedtosail
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Thank you maturin. I can only hope.

I test fit the bulkheads to the keel and they all fit very well without any sanding of the slots.


I marked the bottoms of each bulkhead on each side of the keel to use to mark off a rabbet but I haven't decided if I will carve one yet. I was very confused about how the planking would go along the keel but Popeye's build log has some excellent pictures of how he did it so I am good to go now. Thanks Popeye!

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I forgot to mention why I am building this kit. Even though I have lived in the Boston area most of my adult life, I was born in the New York City area. I built the Constitution because it is such an icon in the area, so I thought to build the Half Moon as it was the ship that Henry Hudson used to explore what is now New York. My next build will most likely be tied to New Hampshire, which is where I live now.


The instructions for this kit are horrible. It is lucky that I have build logs like Popeye's to use because otherwise I would be stumped on many steps.


I have glued the bulkheads to the keel and added the support pieces to give them some strength. The next step is to add the deck pieces but they are all warped, so I soaked them in water for about 15 minutes then placed them under some flat boards with weights on top. We will see how they come out.

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My attempt to straighten the deck pieces just made them worse so I made new ones from some 1/16" basswood sheet and glued them in. They are actually wider than the bulkheads at each end, as were the original pieces, so they will need to be sanded back during the fairing process. I think I can still use the other deck pieces but if not I'll do the same for them.


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Thanks Steven and Jeff. Those pieces weren't as bad as that out of the box but in trying to flatten them they got worse, mainly because I soaked them first. I like the new pieces better because they are a little thicker and provide more stability to the frames.


I have started adding support pieces on the bulkheads to better support all the deck pieces.


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I finished adding all the support pieces then glued the rest of the deck pieces in. I also pinned a strip of wood to the main deck so I can hold the hull upside down in the Keel Klamper later when I plank the hull.


I really don't like the wood supplied for planking the decks as it is less than 1mm thick. I know I would have trouble planking with that so I am going to use 3/32" x 1/16" basswood strips instead. This will add more support to the decks and will be easier to sand without worrying about sanding through the planks. I cut a 1/32" rabbet into a strip of 3/32" x 3/16" basswood on the table saw, then glued pieces of this onto the ends of the two overhanging decks. These will make sure the ends of the decks are flat and also hide the edges of the plywood deck pieces.


I put the hull into the Keel Klamper and started adding the transom support pieces, getting ready to plank the transom. The planks provided for this are thick enough that I feel OK using them.


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Thanks Patrick.


I finished the diagonal planking on the lower transom and have it a preliminary sanding and scraping. I also faired the lower sections of the aft bulkheads.


I have also been planning the planking along the keel in the bow which has been a bit puzzling. I have a plan now so I am feeling better about it. You can see the garboard plank that I have been experimenting with. It curves up pretty sharply at the bow. I need to fair the fore bulkheads now.

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I started adding the planks on the upper transom. Before I did though I wanted to do something about the loose plank ends at the curve of the transom. I cut two edges and glued them in behind the plank ends, then used the laser sheet as a template to cut two more supports for the upper transom.IMG_0796.thumb.jpg.17166398690c6b3d4e3b7a9cbf208ace.jpg

I then started adding the rest of the transom planks.


It was at this point I realized I had glued one of the deck pieces on backwards. The slots for the bukwark extensions happen to be right in the middle of this piece so it fits either way. I was able to carefully remove it with alcohol and remove the end plank which was now on the wrong side. I had to make a new longer end piece but luckily the saw was still set up for it. I glued it back in the right way and added the end plank so it's all good now.


After I finish the transom planking I will start the hull planking.

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I finished planking the transom and sanded the ends flush with the transom piece. The hull planks will overlap and hide these ends.


I decided to add some filler blocks between the stem and the first bulkhead to help with shaping the planks where they bend severely and to give me a larger gluing surface. I used some chunks of basswood for the fillers. They look ugly in the picture but they are faired.


I then soaked and bent the first plank along the main deck on the port side. It is clamped onto the bulkheads to dry.


I then did the same on the starboard side.


I have 12 planks to add on each side down to the chine, then 9 planks from the chine to the keel, so this will take a while.

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I have been adding more planks on each side down from the main deck.


After adding five planks on each side I bent the planks that run along the chine. I did this to see how these planks would fit and also to remeasure the remaining space for the planks between.


They line up nicely at the bow and the stern.



After gluing these on I will redo the planking plan for the gap and probably plank both up and down to fill the gap.


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Planking continues. I have added planks down from the rail and up from the chine. The bow area is still the most difficult to get right with some edge bending required to keep the clinkering effect down. So far I am pleased with the results.


There are two planks above the main deck level that wrap around the bow. Since there are no supports in the bow for these I soaked two full width planks and wrapped them around the planks at the main deck level to shape them.


After they dried I glued them to those planks.


They fit really well so I am happy. The second plank will be slightly less in height so I need to rip some plank stock for them.

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Looking good 👍

I really like the voc fleet models. I’m considering one for my next project, but I think I’ll buy one from Kolderstok as those kits come with more bulkheads. You are managing just fine but as a beginner I’d feel more comfortable with that. 


Anyway, I like your progress so far and will be following your log with great interest. 



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Thanks Halfdan. More bulkheads would be nice.


Well I had to put on the brakes yesterday and reassess this planking job. The planks at the bow were not laying flat as l planked down and the edge bending was becoming way too severe. I removed two planks on the starboard side then just bent a plank with the bow curve and clamped it where it wanted to lay flat. I will have to plank around this one with some drop and added planks and maybe some spieled ones too. I am going to work on just the starboard side for now to see if I can get it planked without crazy plank bends. This morning I added another plank on the starboard side again letting it go where it wanted to. I guess this is the Zen method of planking. I am happier with these two planks and I think filling in between them will be a lot better. We shall see...


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I experimented with spieling the plank that goes above the one in the picture in the previous post and was able to get a good fit around the bow. The rest of it is pretty straight but does change width a lot due to the edge bending of the planks above it.


I have also been trying to figure out where the bow sprit goes into the hull. Most of the pictures I can find are of the Corel kit which shows the bow sprit going through the little front deck, but the angle on the stem of this kit has it going through the front bulkhead, which is what the only other Billings kit pictures I can find did.


There is just so much of this kit that has no instruction or plans, like the bow sprit installation and the rudder. There is a piece of wood on top of the rudder that goes into the hull but does it go through a slot or a round hole? Questions like that are keeping me up at night.

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There is indeed no hole in the stern for the rudder.

Easier for Billings to design a model. More difficult for those who will build the model ...

Why not make a hole in the stern yourself?

There is a replica of the half moon. For more info, search on google for


Half moon

Halve maan  ( Dutch)

Halve maen  ( old dutch)



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Thanks Patrick. I do plan to make a hole myself. I have been searching through photos of the replica but none of them show that area clearly. They all seem to be dark in that area. Maybe time to dust off my image processing skills and see if I can enhance one of those photos to see it.

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is that the Corel Mayflower Patrick?  no difference.......these two ship are alike in many ways ;)   you got me there Tom......I never gave the rudder enough thought :wacko:  yep......that's an old kit.....the nice thing is that you have all the parts to assemble the tops........the kit I have was an incomplete kit {missing some parts}.  I believe Billing's at the time used basswood for the planking.   I've become accustomed to using Obechi,  which is what Billing's supplies in most of their more recent offerings.  back in the day,  they used to supply mahogany as well......I have a whole bundle of it from the second Norkap kit I got.   I'm using the kit to build the progress another fishing boat that was produced back around the early run of the Nordkap.  is your kit laser cut?  if not,  then your kit is likely 30 or more,  years old!

   I took a few liberties with the planking too...I also changed the bulwarks a little.  for the bow spirit.......it's in my log.  I can agree that the instructions lead a lot to be desired .   I'm glad I finally got to see your build....look'in forward in seeing another beauty come out of the box :) 

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Thanks Popeye and Steven. Popeye, this kit has the laser cut parts and the basswood planking so I don't think it is too old. Its the first Billings kit I have done though so I am getting used to their assembly instructions. I am glad this is not my first model.


A milestone of sorts - the planking is completed on both sides from the main rail to the chine. It is still pretty ugly but with lots of sanding and scraping it should be OK.






This planking has been very different than other hulls I've done but I think I can move on to planking from the chine to the keel now.





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I have been working on the planking from the chine to the keel. I have been spieling planks to fit at the bow and even removed bow sections of previous planks and replaced them with spieled sections. I am going to have to add some extra plank sections at the transom but for now I am just adding full width planks from these bow sections.



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  • usedtosail changed the title to Half Moon by usedtosail - FINISHED - Billings Boats - 1:40 Scale

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