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I'm going to slowly re-create my build log on Lady Nelson I published on another forum. I've left that forum never to return so I'd like to have an active version of the build log I completed there.  The rest of this post and this log is my posting my off-line copy of that build log.  I hope perhaps it might help someone new to modeling. For me this simple kit was a reintroduction after and extended absence.  I'll throw a few [NOTES] in it as I go, the log was started originally in January 2020. So here goes:


I started all my ship builds with a purpose; I learned the process with the AVS practicum, developed technique and accuracy with the Granado, painted with exotic woods to achieve color differentiation with the fully framed Fair American, achieved what I could of historical accuracy with Pegasus with plans from the Maritime museum and Antscherl's books, built a “74” with Vanguard. After 8 models I was done, finishing the last in 2017.


Ultimately though I missed the building part so I recently purchased the Lady Nelson. It’s a small ship but the process is the same, it’s a nice model to spend time with, without spending a LONG time building it.


My detailed build logs for the Fair American, Pegasus, and Granado were lost due to infamous system crash on Model Ship World, though the somewhat abbreviated Vanguard log is still there. Sadly I wasn’t smart enough to keep offline copies then.


So, in the hopes of providing some entertainment, help with building models, or demonstrating how not too depending on your viewpoint here’s my log for the Amati Lady Nelson. 






The kit, despite the small craft, is another well designed Victory model series designed by Chris Watton, although he informs me it was 30 years ago. The material, parts, plans, are all of good quality. I [then] only build from kits by Amati or Caldercraft, I am confident I’ll have a good start when I open the box. [NOTE: I'm since a bigger fan of Vanguard Models and Syren Ship Model company. My current build is the HM Cutter Cheerful, link below.]


I’ve reached the point where I’m far more dependent on the plans than instructions. That’s good in this case because the plans are well done and the instructions are surprisingly brief. I’m not sure a beginning modeler would get what they need with them, so then the importance of a website like Model Ship World to seek additional help.


Without being overly critical the MDF in my kit is a bit soft and the walnut laser cut part sheets are too brittle, I’ve already broken and repaired a few parts despite being careful in removing them from the sheets. I would still buy the kit, maybe my wasn’t stored in the best place at the store I purchased it from. It doesn’t deter my recommendation for Amati Victory series models.


I have a kit and now a job to do, who says retirement is boring.

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So when you’re not sure where you want to start and feel a bit weighed down by the decision then of course you start with the end and build anchors





After opening the kit I had to do something to get back on the horse with 3 years since my last build. Scratch building the anchors, replacing the boring metal pieces provided in the kit was a good afternoon’s work. I started with a scrap piece from the 3mm walnut parts board and used my Byrnes Saw and Sander along with a collection of sanding tools to shape it up. I used heavy black paper [NOTE: now I would use artist black masking tape] cut in narrow strips to complete the anchors. I finish everything on the model with water based Minwax Polycrylic in Clear Semi-Gloss. I’ have and tried all the other stuff, I always come back to this simple way to protect and finish my work. [Note: Unless I'm building Cheerful or as I did on Fair American using Wipe On Poly, next level stuff]



I have a love-hate relationship with sanding, its an integral part of building with wood but not always the most fun thing to do. Aside from the Byrnes Sander I have The True Sander, it is one of my most used tools. Aside from standard sanding blocks I’ve also created my own various sized sanders by covering scrap wood with different sandpaper grades using double sided tape. I leave 3 edges open allowing me to manage what I sand and more importantly what I don’t in small tight areas. I’ll end up changing the sandpaper a couple of times during a build, they all get used a lot. I also have some I’ve cut for a specific and often one-time use based on the model and circumstance. I share this because they are easy to make and helpful to have.


Next comes the work. Or is it work really…

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So then it begins, framing the keel. This work is the same on every plank on bulkhead model, in this case I just have fewer and smaller pieces to assemble.



I first sanded a rabbet on the bottom and stern of the keel before installing the bow, keel and stern boards.  The instructions don’t mention this, but it comes in handy to slot in the planks for a better fit. Most large models make a bigger deal out of it. I’ve just always done it and saw no reason not to here. [NOTE: Here the long layoff showed; I forgot NOT to attach the sternpost until the planking was completed. It still works, just make it that much harder. Don't put on the sternpost kids.]


I did find a misprint on the plans. There are a couple of these typos where part numbers don’t match. In the case of the bulkheads the plans incorrectly label 2 and 3.  It’s quickly obviously it’s wrong, here a simple reminder of the importance of checking and dry fitting to prevent a catastrophic mistake if you're too quick to glue.



The instruction recommended and I did do initial fairing on each of the bulkheads 1-3 and 7-9. There are two keys here, don’t overdo it and fair half of the bulkhead. Remove the laser burn to improve adhesion of the planks but leave an edge using the laser burn as a guide facing midships from both bow and stern, otherwise the resulting hull will be off shape and likely uneven from one side to the other. I dry fitted them and laid a batten from one to the next to get a general idea of how much to sand, that seemed to work out.


Having completed that I then scored each bulkhead tab at the in and outside. After the second planking these tabs are removed, this makes that later process easier. Of course score being the operative word, cut too much and they’ll break off while installing the gun port pattern.


I found these little squaring tools somewhere on some site, sorry I don’t remember where [NOTE: Woodpeckers or Amazon has them now].  They are perfect for ensuring square frames, but I still double check by measuring and using my various squares.


I use Admiralty Models white glue for this work and take it slow.  I start from the front. part 1, and the back, part 8, saving the stern frame, 9, for last. Install and wait 30-45 minutes to dry. [Note: I started Cheerful from the middle and worked out both directions, go figure.]


Good time to watch 30 minute TV shows between frames. The key is not to rush it.

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And it continues:


I installed the false deck, again with white glue. Rubber bands were a lot easier to glue to the curve of the bulkheads than the pinning with nails called for in the instructions


Next up is gluing the gunport patterns prior to the first planking.  Soaking them in water for about 30 minutes is essential.  Be careful not to soak to long though, its ply and could warp and/or delaminate.  This has been a monster and frustrating task on my other models, notably Pegasus and Vanguard, but here on the Lady Nelson it was an easy alignment and fit.


A way to keep it easy is to use a pattern board to shape them. I use tracing paper to trace one side of the bow from the plans, cut that out and transfer to a board then use a jig saw to cut a replica of the bow into the board.  Bend the properly soaked pattern (gently, bend too quick if the pattern isn’t wet enough it will split) then clamp it until it dries.  With Vanguard I had to use a dozen or so  large clamps, with the Lady Nelson one small clamp and rubber bands did nicely.


I just glue (still with white glue, cyan sets to fast and wouldn’t allow time to do the necessary alignment between the pattern and the top of each bulkhead and stanchion at the stern (part 12, I saved the two middle stanchions for later, I’d just break them off if I added them now as the instructions ask). I just glue and clamp as I go. Unlike prior models I did both sides completely instead of having to take it a section at a time, the benefit of a small model.


So all this work and I have this little boat. My 3 year old grandson said he liked it as it was and could he play with it now 😕

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First planking is complete and stern transom installed.  I followed the modeler’s code for first planking, cover the ship with wood and shape it like a boat no matter what it takes.  Frankly my work was a bit frightful. Apparently planking is not like riding a bicycle, but ultimately it doesn’t matter, the hull is even and now smooth, ready for the next step.


Speaking of which; I’ve always been “ok” at the second planking but it’s time to step up my game. I’ve just ordered the Vanguard Models (Chris Watton’s new company) HMS Speedy. He also has the HM Alert, but its basically bigger, better, improved copy of the Lady Nelson so it wouldn’t be special .


So to prepare for that model I will use Lady Nelson to try a new planking technique, Chuck Passaro’s plank bending. I built my “plank bending station” today and started practicing. I need to go back and rewatch his YouTube videos but I think its going to work out “bending wood the wrong way”.  I’m a cyno guy when it comes to planking, this method allows me to continue to do that. I have no patience for pins or time for planking with PVA (sorry purists). [NOTE: See even over there I was talking about Chuck, I didn't know at the time how popular he is on that other forum. LOL]


Here’s my old method, a glass of water and a little soak…I'm rinsing out this glass after first having a beer or two.


Anyway, next up is the 2nd planking. I’ll start that once I get comfortable with ironing wood. After lots of mulling it over I’ve decided the paint scheme will be black and white.  Swiss Pear inner bulwarks, Boxwood above the wale, Ebony wale, and the kit walnut below the wale.  Not much of that will show after painting white below the water line but I decided I needed something to tie together the other walnut kit fittings on the boat (I almost went cherry but its just one to many colors.


So far not much interest in my little log, I guess I’m typing to myself.  I talk to myself a lot so typing to myself is the next step I suppose.  Off I go. [NOTE: this is in regard to that other forum where I first published it, it didn't get any better. I just kept typing notes to myself...like I'm doing here...]


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[NOTE: OK, that's a start of transferring my log to MSW.  In case you're wondering there are a total of 24 posts.] I'm sure you all can't wait to see them all. Lady Nelson is a basic kit, but as I said it was perfect for me to see if I still wanted to build models after almost 4 years past since the last one. Turns out I did and I do...

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First of many oops moments. I just notice I put the deck on “upside down." Normally this doesn’t matter but with the offset bowsprit the mount on the deck is also offset, so the mounting holes are on the wrong side.


No problem, I used a square off piece of MDF to draw lines (no ruler would fit) to get the alignment, then the eventual cross bar to locate the accurate distance


Drill a new hole with the best sized bit and open up with my trusty blade.  One thing all modelers know is it isn’t all going to be perfect.  Adapt, improvise, and overcome to quote Clint Eastwood.


I’ve become a big fan of a simple set of riffler files, not sure why I had never discovered these before. This particular one allowed me to square up the corners of the new hole ver precisely and a dry fit of that eventual bowsprit saddle and laying the dowel on top, alls right with the world again.


Oh, and I put a X over the now wrong hole so I remember to plank over it when the time comes.  The quality of the stem wood and another oops moment when I snapped it in two led to the decision to paint it black after the repair along with the sternpost (the part that won’t be be painted white below the waterline.  It’s walnut, but not very good walnut.  I’m a bit concerned about the soft wood when I move into deck furniture.


I’ll make it work, and off we go. [NOTE: Actually as you'll see it wouldn't work so I got to practice my scratch building, the model is better for it]

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After seeing my sorrowful job of first planking I decided to take a step back and re-learn planking with some practice and tutorials.  Lady Nelson will become a test bed for a new technique, well new for me.


NOTE: [This was originally on the "other" forum, I wanted to promote Vanguard there]. 

I just received the HMS Speedy from Vanguard Models, Chris Watton’s starting his own company and this is one of the first two kits out.  It’s a really great looking kit, I recommend checking his website out at https://vanguardmodels.co.uk So now Nelson is just to relearn and reinvent my skills in preparation. 


As I always do I plan mounting my model at the very beginning, drilling the holes in the keel before installing the first bulkhead.  Normally I use a small gauge threaded machine screw, but the Nelson is so small there is no screw to fit the inside 3mm Keel, so I’m using 1.5mm brass wire I’ll epoxy into the base of the ship and the mounting board. I glue scrap MDF either side of the drilled hole and make sure it goes through the keel into the MDF by at least a few mm. I did all the trial fitting last night and happy with how it will eventually sit. Measure 4 times, drill once is the method here.


The first planking is ugly, but its smooth and will provide the necessary base for the 2nd planking. I really should care more but really all I want to do is cover the ship. ... If I say that enough times I may start believing it.


So off to the tutorials and practice.  No idea how my other ships came out looking as good as they do, must have been luck.

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I’ve completed the planking above the wales using boxwood.  Why, because I like Boxwood and I had some. It’s a remarkable wood, so easy to work and bend into place.


These are actually from my first attempt at ripping my own out of a plank. I read a few tutorials, got some input from reliable sources and went at it with my Byrnes saw (with the right blade). My first couple weren’t going that well with the blade binding and the wood backing up. I got the hang of it though. They were a tad thick, but they worked out great on the boat. [NOTE: Thanks to Chuck, Rusty, and Jim Byrnes who all offered advice and help I can do this pretty well now. That I hadn't in all my prior models is because I bashed them all with wood from Jeff at Hobbymill. He did provided high quality wood already cut so I didn't have to. Sadly Jeff is no longer in business. I'm ripping like crazy for my current Cheerful build.]


I mentioned before I attach the gunport patterns I score each side of the tabs above the deck. I also only glue at the top point and the bottom. I elected to break off the three tabs on each side that were obstructing my cutting out gun ports electing to leave the rest in until I complete the first planking. After all the cutting and filing and cutting and filing and cutting and filing and being thankful this is a 12 gun ship, not the Vanguard [the model not Chris' company 🙂 ], I did some basic sanding (leaving the rest and needed filling until the 2nd planking is complete. I put a coat of satin poly just to keep the boxwood clean.


I’ve also spent a LOT of time fidldling and pondering how to finish up the stern. I have the last piece painted and ready to attach but I’m going to leave it off until I finish sanding the 2nd planking.  I’m still not sure about the fashion piece on the sides, the part included with the model is a disappointing.  More on all that later.


So the moment has arrived to learn a new method of planking following Chuck’s tutorials and videos. First step is lining off the hull, I made pencil marks where the bulkheads are and dividing the hull into two bands using artist tape.  Bulkhead 4 is marked as the widest part of the ship. Now to make the tick marks…  At this point this thing looks a bit beat up.  It’ll all come together.


Who knows how this is going to turn out.  If there is never another entry in this log you’ll know it went badly.


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A good start with a new way. The planning and marking took most of the morning, then there was the Super Bowl so work stopped and beer was consumed.

So here’s where I am - starboard complete.  I’m pleased with the result.


To be clear, I take no credit for this method. I researched a new way of planking that fit my style of working (fast, without battens and without pins, using CA) and found it in Chuck Passaro’s method. I followed the .pdf he has posted on Model Ship World at Lining Off your hull for planking.pdf. There are also some videos including a recording of Chuck at a workshop - in that video he does things much simpler maybe less precise than in the .pdf that gets the same result, I used those, no french curves for me. As it is it took me several days to get this small ship planked.


I’ve always done something similar with measuring and determining where to begin tapering, but it was a lot more ad-hoc. That part of my process has worked, I’m built some nice ships doing it. What is really different and game-changing for me is his plank bending method.  I’m not going to go through it all in detail, you can read the .pdf, but I want to share a bit of it in hopes that a beginner might be inspired enough to learn more. The headline is no soaking and no twisting to fit.


First there is taking the time to do the planning - using tick strips to take measurements at each bulkhead, counting the number of strips at the widest point and converting that to the ships hull at bow and stern. Chuck used fan strip, I prefer a calculator.  If it’s seven 4mm strips at midships, using the tick strips to get distance I determined it has to become 2.5mm at the bow. This is tedious work, but worth it. Because it was here I learned my first error in my old ways. I was starting the taper too soon, I learned through measuring in detail that I didn’t need to taper (on this particular hull, it will obviously vary) until midway between bulkhead 2 and 3, and not at all to the stern. That got me a much more even and consistent look.


Dividing the hull in half and determining the “line” I wanted the planks to follow (3 or 4 bands for a bigger model) allowed me to be more precise and get a cleaner look instead of ad-hoc figuring it out as I went. These strips are hanging there just for the photo, I'm a little more precise doing the actual measurements.


All well and good, but here’s the fun part - quick and easy “bending the wrong way” using my personal plank bending station. Consisting of a raised board three clamps, three pieces of thin wood - two for preventing clamp marks and one to set the point of the curve, and one inexpensive steam travel iron.


NOTE: The plank in this photo is being accidentally held upside down, plank bending is bending down to turn up on the bow, so to install it's upside down shallow U not as shown here.  Placing the strip on the hull at the beginning of the taper point and bending it to the bow with my fingers (no glue) produces a curve, the apex of that curve is the bending point. Mark it and put that center on the middle of the clamp then gently pull down and clamp on both sides. I broke only one plank, the strip wood had more elasticity than I would have thought. I DID NOT soak the strips in water. I put my finger in water and ran it over the wood then “ironed” the strip for several seconds. Let it cool for a minute and you have a curved plank.


I then just kept track of my measurements, I did redo them a few times on the lower half, 4mm planks aren’t a perfect fit so I ripped two to 3mm each to fill the gap (and not have one super skinny). It still was a lot easier adjusting for the final pieces. Most importantly the planks, while it looks odd in a two dimensional photo, fit flush to the hull and its double curve by adding the downward bend in the tapered plank.  Again, no soaking, no bending no twisting.  I used drops of CA, first gluing it tight at the bow, then just 1-2 bulkheads at a time. I had roughed up the 1st planking with 100 grit sandpaper to help with adherence.


Here I will admit my major error, or the error the instructions led me to do - that’s attaching the sternpost when I built the frame. It is  so much easier at the stern to not install that until after the second planking. I know this, I blame it on the three year layoff since my last build. It wasn’t a show-stopper, it just made fitting the lower band of planks harder since they had to be cut to fit precisely at the stern post. On my next model I’ll not install the sternpost until after all the planking is done. 


On to the next step…

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Planking is messy stuff, I'm almost there on my little ship. For anyone that doubts planks can be curved and bent the wrong way without soaking - here's proof. Nothing more than a hot travel iron involved in the bending of this wood.


I'm learning I have to trust the measurements and the ability to bend more. The overlap point that I used to use as where to start the tapering doesn't always apply, if there is a conflict from that traditional approach I used through all my prior models and the measurements taken at every bulkhead - I know now to go with the measurements and bend the plank to fit. It also may seem counter-intuitive to bend the plank down to go up on the hull, but it works.


PS: the upper band has preliminary light sanding, the lower band none - hence the temporary uneven look.

PS2: I really wish I hadn't put the sternpost on with the frame, the planking would be sooo much easier...


I had originally planned to use some ebony on the wales, but what I had would just have overwhelmed this little model and the wood supplier I contacted didn’t come through, so I went with two strips of 3mm walnut that came with the kit.  My only really (small) challenge was matching up the top of the wale perfectly with the bottom edge of the boxwood upper planks keeping the boxwood separate from the walnut below.


Of course I now never want to miss a chance to bend wood so I added the appropriate curves to the wood for the wales. Mine flare up a bit more at the stern than the plans, I wanted it to meet my modified stern at the right places.


Once glued and sanded it was time to paint. I’m sure many modelers know of Tamiya masking tape, this stuff is perfect for us. Installed correctly it prevents any leak or bleed over and makes painting so much easier on a task like the wales. I also like to put a plug in for Admiralty Paints. The Dull Black looks great and takes only two coats for complete coverage. [NOTE: Turns out I like Ironwood Black better, even for the wales. It's all I used on the masts and spars.]


Having used boxwood above the wales the kit supplied facia wasn’t going to work, plus the whole 2 mm parts sheet is of very poor quality walnut, I may be making more parts later.  I opted for this simple design. This is a generic cutter, fancy just doesn’t work for me, plus I’m not good at carving ….


To get the right angles I fitted a piece of Tamiya tape then cut it to fit the wale and stern lines, port and starboard are just a tiny bit different so I did both sides.  I lifted the tape and placed it on card paper stock, then cut that out with my trusty #11 blade and metal ruler. I intentionally extended the line (on the second attempt, hence the different photos) and used that to line up the perfect angle on my Byrnes saw.



I like the clean simple look of the final result.



I have one more thin moulding strip to add between the gun ports (also boxwood, not the kit supplied walnut) and then its time to move inside the ship for deck and bulwark planking.


I’ll appreciate my log as notes to myself one day. [NOTE: At this point with no interaction from anyone on the other forum except two moderators that would say 'nice post' it as getting frustrating over there...crickets.... I decided I was going to complete the log for myself because I don't like abandoned logs, but beyond that I had moved on to MSW for everything except this log.  For the photo below I had a single post that said:]



Here is a photo of the completed stern.


[Followed by the next post that said] So here's the completed deck.


I followed my own 3 butt pattern in laying the planks. I elected to use the kit wood and save my remaining holly. I added the boxwood fashion pieces at the stern since the wood looked odd just terminating at the stern. I fashioned the my own "waterways" by shaping a 2x3mm swiss pear strip and using my new plank bending station to shape it with an angled overlay at the stern. It will be less noticeable when I complete the inner bulwarks with more Swiss Pear 1x3s.  I'm finishing the deck with Matte Poly but using Satin Poly on the hull, no reason other than I like it. 


[NOTE: There are more posts to follow these so please stay tuned.]

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Glenn; thanx for the photos and text....very helpful.  I just learned about Chuck’s planking method and intend to give it a try on my next build (The Alert). Sounds like you’re a planking convert. Thanx again for the build...Moab

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24 minutes ago, Jonny 007 said:

I’ve already learnt a lot.

I’m glad I’ve helped. Thanks for the reply. 

4 minutes ago, Moab said:

Sounds like you’re a planking convert.

I definitely am. It’s a process that works. Thanks for the reply. 

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Continuing with the transfer of my build log to MSW:


The kit supplied tiller was pretty ugly so I made my own. Just two pieces of cherry parts scrap from my Fair American build glued together, one horizontal to one vertical. No plan, I just filed and sanded until I had something I liked.  It looked even better after some buffing and satin poly. So what if it's the only cherry wood on the boat…so far. [Note: that wasn't the last of the cherry, and I kept shaping this tiller almost until it was mounted at the end]


Swiss Pear for inner bulwarks. Matte Poly for interior, Satin Poly for exterior of hull. Admiralty White Matte paint for hull - about 6 coats to get it deep and pure looking.


Nothing historic about it, but it wasn’t a real ship anyway, so why not boxwood, walnut, swiss pear and kit deck material to go with black white, and a little Admiralty Red Ochre in the ports and French Blue trim. Haven’t decided on deck furniture paint yet.


Checked fit and level of final mount, its back off into the working cradle. Cap rail and stern rail are up next.


A few updates: I completed the cap rail and a few other hull finishings, but not without one minor problem that turned into a two hour fix.


For some silly reason I put the edge of the cap rail up to my sander to add a 15 degree angle to the leading edge, something I could easily do with my sanding block. The wood in this kit is very brittle, the front 15mm of the cap rail was snapped off and devoured by the sander.  So I had to use the plans, cut a template with tracing paper and card stock, manufacture the missing piece from the same parts board the cap rail came from then glue and sand it into shape. Now that its on the ship and painted you’d never know - other than the two hours it derailed my day into recovering from a one second bad decision. Oh well.


I turned my attention to the rudder. While etched brass fittings are provided, they never work for me, they seem to heavy and are a poor fit. I use black card stock cut to 2mm width and blackened brass eyelets, the ring removed on the rudder and the brass bent to a hook to hang in the eyelets on the hull side. It’s a simple method than gives a better look in my opinion.


With the hull now completed I’m going to rig the blocks that attach directly to the deck and hull and drill the holes fore eyelets used later for stays and rigging while I have a lot of room to work before moving on to the deck furniture. I'm going to use blocks from Syren Ship Modeling Company - kit blocks are always the worst. I just throw them away.


Back to the deck furniture. The Nelson is a basic model, I knew that going in. I wasn’t expecting the parts boards to be so brittle but I can deal with that by being careful (and not putting them up against the sander but I digress). [NOTE: the blocks in the above photo were replaced later with Syren blocks].


However I looked at the companionway and decided it was too basic, too brittle, and too boring so I took a single strip of 4mm boxwood, a little 24 gauge wire, and some black card stock and scratch built my own companionway.


Using the parts board only for a start on the measurements I constructed the 6 pieces by cutting and gluing the strip wood side by side in to rough shapes, then used my Byrnes saw to get them to precise sizes. No surprise, for 6 pieces (the top is two) the measurements have to be very precise to get a square box with a slanted roof to work. My metal squares are purpose built to square up the parts while gluing them together.


Cutting wire to 2mm lengths for the hinges is no picnic - snip…where did it go…catch in my hand…it rolls off the bench never to be seen again..my bare feet will find it later…start again.


I did the top in two pieces to show, by sanding and gluing a strip of black card stock between the two, separation the way the companionway would open fo access. One lesson learned is I wish I had left that card stock piece unpainted but it still shows up well enough.


Practically the front door may have been two separate swing open from the middle doors, but at this small scale that would have been too much “weight” in my opinion with the hinges and handles on a 14x14mm square. As it is I could have made the hinge straps 1mm instead of the two they are - imagine trying to cut and find 1mm wire…


Anyway I’m pretty happy with the result and will now move on to rigging out the hull before the rest of the deck furniture is added.


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Continuing on with the world’s least read build log [NOTE: that was true on the other forum but it's starting to seem true here as well, I guess this little cutter isn't that exciting, or I'm not]


Since I’ve decided to take on my first scratch build project with the Cutter Cheerful [which I did and I am] a log of my remaining Nelson build will include trying new things, which if done right will be of benefit to Nelson. One example was the companionway, the next is the hatch covers. First off I started by ripping a 2x3mm of cherry I have on had, I’m abandoning the brittle kit wood wherever I can.


The easy way is to just over lap the edges or nor much harder make them 45 degree mitered joints but the real way is lap joints.  It seems pretty easy but I had to be very precise with the cuts.


My latest addition is the sliding table to go with my Byrnes saw. I’m already wondering how I did without it. I cut the 4 sides of the hatch the exact same length - determined not by the opening but by the completed hatch crossing pieces -  plus the width of two sides. Then I set the blade the width of one side and half the height of the board - I knocked out the resulting notch with my #11 blade.


Then its filling and sanding to get the over lapping joints to fit perfectly, be perfectly square, and have the completed hatch crossing perfectly fit inside the resulting box. All my various squares. rulers, and calipers all placed a part.


I did great with this first of three, but then rushed the next one and as a result I’m throwing it away and starting all over. It took my building five to get three I liked, the hatches are completed and installed.  It takes precision to get eight notches the right height and depth to make lap joints, not to mention for each of the boards to come together for the right interior measurements. Even building the “box” after measuring the completed hatch material is a nice challenge. [NOTE: I realize none of this is new for many, but it was new for me, now it's like "whatever."]



The end result is worth it, they look good and I’m happy with how they turned out. So much better with cherry than walnut. I ended up adding wipe on poly to the covers and the tiller, probably the only place I’ll use it on the ship. I also added holes not mentioned in the plans for the hawser rope, also not included with the kit - but I have lots of different sizes, opted for 1.6mm. I used a round file to slowly make the holes, drilling would have shattered the fragile strips.


I turned my attention to my next scratch built piece, the catheads. While I wanted to do this in order to make the “pulleys” it was an easy call given the poor quality of the kit supplied part.  The plans just have this mounted with no ropes so its a very brittle and flimsy piece of walnut.


Here you can see it beside my near final product. I used Swiss Pear in this instance as I’ll paint it black before installing it. I made it in two parts, the upper leg is long just to make it easier to handle while cutting the two notches. It was also easier having the lower part a little long in order to properly fit it against the bulwarks.






I built a little jig as a working surface and to help hold the piece steady while cutting the notches. This started by measuring and marking basically a tick-tac-toe layout. From there I drilled four holes then used my #11 blade, a round file, and some 24 gauge annealed wire to work open the notches between two holes on both sides. I tried several different “elegant” methods, none of which worked and I ended up coming back to just “digging it out.” The challenge is not to do one, its to do 4 (on two catheads) that are near the same size and look. It took more than one attempt but I think I got there. [NOTE: This is what people who don't have mills do, I'm pretty sure I'll have one before I build the next cat head.]


Once I had the notches then I drilled the hole the side, managed not to crush the notches and glued my “pulley” through the center - a strip of 24 gauge wire glued through. I cut off both ends, filed it down just enough so it stand proud. The final test was passing rope through all four of the resulting slots which I’ll later rig for the anchors. Then I mounted them into place, cutting the rail, waterway, and base of the cat head to get a flush fit with the bulwark.


Now let’s see what else I can scratch build. So far I haven’t used any of the kit parts on the deck other than the grids for the hatch.

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I replaced the last of the kit walnut by building the bits from cherry, the kit provided piece is laying on the hatch for comparison


The tape over the mast hole was belatedly added after I dropped one of the pieces into the hull. Fortunately with a few lucky upside down shakes and tweezers I was able to retrieve it.


The kit design and parts has a significant flaw that I recognized and had been struggling to find a solution. The bowsprit bit is either out of scale or just too high. I built the bowsprit, and found two problems. Once braced on the bit It sits to high above the rail, almost 5mm. There is also not way in the plans on how to secure it. I contacted Chris Watten, who designed this kit several decades ago he says and he agreed but couldn't remember his original design, probably not follow by Amati so they could use an existing bit in the kit. I’m not sure how the box photo is holding the bowsprit either. He told me on his new Vanguard Alert model, a similar cutter, the stem is much higher and he provides a photo etched brass ring to secure it on the stem at the rail. I tried fabricating one from wire, but that pushes the bowsprit off center and with the short stem it simply wasn’t a solution. So where to go. I could just glue it to the side of the stem but it looked bad sitting so much above the notch in the rail and that’s no way to build a model.


So I ripped the kit provide bit off the deck, got out my trusty tools along with some cherry and boxwood and scratch built new bits.


I was tempted to leave them natural, but it has the reverse affect of highlighting the somewhat oversized wench - I thought about rebuilding that but decided enough is enough, I have Cheerful waiting for me.


Seeing the two sitting side by side it doesn’t seem I made much difference, but its far more to scale and the with the difference in height of the bar allows the bowsprit to lay right in the groove with enough clearance on the stem for the later rigging. (the drill is just holding it in place during this dry fit, the blue tape on the connecting dowel is so I don’t loose it on my work desk)


I’ve now completed all the deck furniture, next of is the rail stanchions and gun mounts, plus two cannon left to paint. 


Here is the finished hull. The swivel guns are made but won’t be put on until the end.  I’ve also completed the cannons and will install those after adding the channels and deadeyes.



[NOTE: Still a bit to go to complete the move of this log to MSW, more to follow]









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40 minutes ago, JToma said:

doing a nice job


7 minutes ago, Ryland Craze said:

Keep up the good work.

Thanks guys. FYI, this is a model I’ve already finished, the build log was done on the other forum and I’m slowly porting it over having had my account there “suspended” for questioning their stance on piracy multiple times. Since I won’t go back there I just wanted the log captured in the hopes it might someday help someone. 

This simple little build was to check my interest in returning to modeling after a near 4 year absence. 

Nonetheless, I appreciate the comments. 

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Just recording progress at this point, if anyone has any questions please feel free to reply. [NOTE: This log on the other forum was built over several months, the dearth of replies other than 'nice post' from moderators was very discouraging.] 


Since the last update I’ve added the channels and deadeyes and made the transition to the cutter’s final home. A step I always take prior to beginning rigging as I need the ship steady and looking like it will look on my shelf. I prepare for this step at the very beginning as is noted in my earliest posts by drilling the 2mm hole in the keel and matching it up to brass wire and pedestals on a 12 inch walnut display board. This always pays off in making the mounting so much easier.  I’ll confess the 3mm keel had me a little concerned, I always used threaded bars for the extra grip. I see no need for the elaborate nuts and bolts built into the keel, I haven’t had one come off the base yet.  However, this time I couldn’t find something so small so I had to use smooth brass.  I needed have been concerned, the JB Weld Clear epoxy mix I used, properly applied and allowed to cure has melted the boat, wire, pedestals and board into a single entity. The big challenge is to make sure the boat is level on the stand before it sets. I have a number of line and small levels to match the boat, board, and surface its sitting an are all equally level. I should have taken a photo, but bottom line its all level and taking the time to do that carefully is a must.


The cannons are now mounted and the rigging has begun. I’m only adding breech ropes for this model, the small 4 pounders are just too little for me to rig and have any semblance of scale.


So my work area converts to my rigging box.  I’m using Syren Ship Company blocks and rope.  [NOTE: I started with some Warner blocks I've had for a long while but switched them out.] @Chuck's product are superior to anything I've used on my eight prior models. 


After rigging the cannon it's time to make the main mast, the bow sprit is already done and rigged but will be the near last thing I install - cutters have long bowsprits and not a lot of rigging to hold them.


All the yards, booms, and masts are made. My process is to cut the appropriate dowel 3 inches too long, stick it in my DeWalt drill and spin them into shape with sand paper, files, and my digital caliper. Once I have the shape and size, I just cut off the extra length. I leave my workshop and sit out on the porch, wear a mask, and let the sawdust fly.  I was happy with how they all turned out not having done this for a long while, especially the extra baskets on the mast.


The kit rigging is a bit sparse for me so I added a my own lines and blocks, it's reasonably accurate but I’m sure not fully so. My goal is shelf appearance, I’m not sailing it anywhere.


Then I set about rigging them with the objective to compete every standing and running line I can before anything is installed on the ship. I found these color coded tabs when I was looking for something to store my Syren rope, they came with a little inexpensive winding tool that works just great for moving the rope from their loose coil to these tabs, the rope is then easy to work with and free of tangles.  They also work great along with low adhesion tape to keep the installed lines out of the way until I’m ready to deploy them.  The last thing yet to do on the mast is adding the shrouds. They do kink the rope a little, but I find it you wind it loosely it's not so bad. I may need to find spools, but its just so easy to store it this way.



So here it sits with the mast dry-fitted while I check and install lines and I get ready to move to the final stage of building. If you look close forward of the bits I added something just yesterday.  It occurred to me the crew had no means for a hot meal, so I built a stove, installed it below decks and then built and added the stove chimney to the deck...Ok, I did one of those things.

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The mast is rigged with every rope both standing and running rope in advance including the loosely fitted shrouds. It looks like a mess now but doing this makes installing the rigging so much easier by doing all the seizing and blocks off the ship.


The next step is critical, stepping the mast permanently in place.  Do this wrong and I’ll just toss the whole thing away - a crooked or twisted mast does not a ship make. The small ship with a tall mast makes it a little bit more of a chore finding and keeping level. I started by inserting a cut off straight pin in the bottom of the mast leaving only about 5mm protruding.  This does a nice job of grabbing purchase in the mast seat below the deck to prevent it slipping around.


Next is leveling the boat which I confirm by the line level on the deck, I did this before I epoxied it into the stand, I was happy to see it still level on the stand (which I also confirm with another line level on the table to check they match up.



The red laser up the mast confirms its level on dry fit, so I take the mast out, dump in the PVA and insert the mast. The pin catches the seat, a little maneuvering to make sure its straight and facing the right direction (wouldn’t that be fun to find later I had it facing backwards).


I doubly confirm its all lined up, if you look close you can see the laser hits the stem, the forward bit and the mast, then travels straight up the mast.  I carefully backed out of the room and left it to dry and cure overnight. 


I’m going to leave off the swivel guns, they are so comically out of scale they make the whole ship look silly. I made new posts to fill the slots on the cap rail.


Now the final attachment of the rigging begins and the ship is almost done. My log to myself will then be complete.

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NOTE: The last post for my transfer of my other forum build log to MSW] Thanks to @chris watton for a design he created for another company a long time ago but still holds up today.


My back to basics kit after a multi-year layoff from modeling is finished. I bashed it pretty well as most of the kit walnut was replaced, planked with boxwood above the wales, and the deck furniture scratch built (other than the winch, which I kinda wish I’d done now).


I added a good deal of rigging, likely not historically accurate, but it wasn't a real ship so... I enjoyed using Chuck's Passaro's blocks and ropes throughout the model. It was fun, took just 3 months, and energized me to take up modeling again. It was coincidence that with recent events I had lots of home time to build.


Here are some of the finished photos. I created a gallery here as well.




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Congratulations on completing your Lady Nelson.  You did an excellent job on this kit and I liked the modifications you did.  I am glad this kit helped to rejuvenate you back into ship modeling after a short absence.  I can not wait to see what you do with your Cheerful build.


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Hi Glenn


I was impressed when I saw Lady Nelson in the gallery. I'm even more impressed now - a really beautiful little ship - and it's great that you've retrieved your log from the dark side.


Sorry Glenn, I can't resist picking up your typos. This one is even better than the wench you're building on Cheerful!


On 5/30/2020 at 4:50 AM, glbarlow said:

I first sanded a rabbit on the bottom

You'll have the animal cruelty people on your case 🐇🐇



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