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Virginia 1819 by mpk73 - Artesania Latina - Scale 1:41


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Hello everyone. This is my first model ship kit and - after running into a snag (more on that in a bit) - I found this forum. I was encouraged to start a build log. I received this kit a few years ago from my father-in-law. He finished a similar kit while he was in medical school, and he thought it would be a good project for me while I was finishing my doctoral thesis. Unfortunately, the thesis took the front seat and I never had a chance to start the kit. Fast forward five years, we're all stuck at home and I no longer have an excuse. I began this kit around the end of March, so I'm around two months into it at this point.

 

I won't belabor a discussion on the Virginia - I can see that there are plenty of descriptions on this site. Suffice to say - it is apparently not a model of any real ship, but rather an imagining of a common type of ship of the era.

 

It's a very pretty kit, and the quality seems to be rather high for the most part (though I have no other kit to judge from). For a "novice" kit, the documentation is rather lacking and uses ship lingo heavily, though this has been nice to force me to learn everything. Anyway, to the build.

 

Here you can see the false keel and a bundle of the raw materials - mostly ramin, applewood, and mahogany.

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Here it is partway through decking. I chose to go with a simple decking pattern, and marked the sides of the laths with pencil. I was not very consistent with the deck lengths at this stage, unfortunately, which is noticeable later on.

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Next up was putting on the first layer of pieces on the hull. I did not find that any heat was necessary - soaking the pieces in warm water for 30 minutes was enough to provide the elasticity to match the proper curve. Of note: I hammered the brads in the entire way rather than nipping off. This made things a bit harder later on when filing smooth, but was not a huge issue (for any future builders).

 

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With the first layer down, I filed and sanded smooth, and filled in anything large cracks with a homemade putty (there was plenty of sawdust...). This was required mostly along the border of where the bulwarks were attached. I don't have any pictures, but the bulwarks did not quite match the curvature (you can see a bit of the putty job to the far right). Here is the transom - note that I attached the keep prior putting the mahogany on, so as to assure that the mahogany abutted the keel perfectly. Note that I left plenty of overhang for the stern post (I think this may be a common error in this build, more on it later). I did not bend my transom to have a curve, and instead opted to go flat. I regret this somewhat, as the slight curve is nice - but that bird has flown.

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And a few pictures mid-way with the mahogany:

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And finally finished (here you can see most of the deck fittings and the rudder). The stern post is now fitted, and the transom does not hang past it much. If you cut the keel flush with the stern, then the stern post will sit too low and the transom will jut out past the stern post - creating issues when attaching the rudder. I believe this to be in error. I've read a few build posts that state this is a flaw in the kit, but I contend that it is an error in the build - I have no issues with fitting everything in as-is at this point.

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On to the railings. The kit recommends cutting the applewood struts to 14mm and 17mm, but this requires a substantial amount of filing/sanding (which would be required for leveling anyway) and thus plenty of breaking off struts and re-gluing. If I did it again, I would opt for something more like 11mm and 16mm, which is much closer to the final height. You can also see that I've added in the applewood rubbing strakes at this point, as well.

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...and here I've glued on the pieces for the helmsman's traction. You can also see some pieces I've added to the transom - unfortunately, I broke the transom internally while sanding. It left no visible damage on the ramin veneers, but it was loose. I cut a couple of rib stiffeners made out of scrap applewood and tried to make them look purposeful. They did the trick (adapt, right?).

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Here you can see the stiffeners again - the transom is solid and no longer wobbles. I've begun to put the railing on at this stage. Here there does seem to be an error with the kit - the curvature of the railing is far greater than the curvature of the bulwarks and thus the railing struts - so much so that I do not believe I have made an error. I have adapted by tracing the curvature of the top of the struts onto paper, connecting with a french curve, and chopping the railings (originally two pieces) into four pieces to better match the curvature. You can also see in this photo that I've attached the hawses.

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Fast forwarding to the current stage:

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...and this is where I currently am. Of note: some of the deck fittings were pre-cast (such as the bowspirit masthead columns,). They did not look great, so I opted to make them out of wood instead. Same with the water pump handle, the anchor tie-offs, and the carronade quoin. I may fashion a piece for the rudder, as well.

 

At this point, I have glued everything to the deck. This is how I discovered the forum, because reading on I have discovered that I should have applied finish before gluing anything on the deck. I do not have much glue squeeze out at all, so I think I am just going to apply spray-on satin poly and hope for the best, and will wipe on any poly carefully in places that coverage is poor.

 

I will likely remove all of the brass fittings and attempt to blacken a bit - as they have not been glued (except for the "foremast spanker sheet" - the large piece near the cargo hatch - it has been glued in and will remain brass!). I will likely leave the brass brads in the rubbing strake, as I like the sheen there and don't want to weather them at all I hope the poly will cover them fine.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I decided to go with a water based satin finish spray polyurethane - polycrylic from Minwax. I spent today spraying, leveling, and respraying the hull. It's easy to use, though it does sputter a bit (works out during level sanding). Here are the results of the hull.

 

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The satin finish is perfect for what I was looking for - I didn't want a high gloss or a perfectly matte look. I've additionally begun working with the thread... Results below.

 

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I had accidentally glued most of the deck fittings on before putting on the polyurethane - this didn't turn out to be much of a problem. If you're using spray finish, there wasn't a problem with gluing the fittings before finishing. The water based polycrylic from Minwax gave good coverage, and got into most of the corners (the spray cone is wide and even). I went ahead and glued rest of the (finished) fittings onto the deck and began rigging. I completed the standing rigging over the course of the weekend, as well as most of the deck riggings. Here are some (blurry) shots:17.thumb.JPG.eed38c7677226e1ce8613f950d9adefd.JPG17b.thumb.JPG.39798b213b25149b9b3552c8dbeb538e.JPG18.thumb.JPG.821d13211b6382dff8e08379e2d8a6f7.JPG

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I've attached all the blocks on the ship and the gaffs and boom. It's now ready to accept the final rigging and sails. Problem is (and I've seen others comment on this) - the sails are of rather poor quality. They are misshapen, and sometimes too large. The foresail, for example, is too large to fit between the foremast and the mainmast. Is this intentional? Can anyone comment? Is it meant to sit askew of the line of the ship, either port or starboard? Anyway, here are some pictures with blocks:

 

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Thanks! I come the world of guitar making - bending wood, precision, and details are common needs.

 

Here are the supplied sails. I've tried to hold up the foresail to show how it is too large (it hits on the main mast!). Does this seem correct? Also, the jib has such a profound curve on it that there is no way to ever straighten it out  - it would require a degree of tension that would tear the sail. This seems like a more obvious error to me than the foresail.

 

I've preemptively ordered some lightweight cotton/linen blend to potentially make my own sails, pending what you all have to say.

 

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Many modelers make their sails out of silk span.  This is the material that is used to cover model airplane wings.  You can purchase it from BlueJacket Ship Crafters.  Nic, the owner of BlueJacket, did a seminar at a recent NRG Conference on how to make sails out of silk span.  There are many articles and videos on the internet that show how it is done.  The end result is very realistic and to scale.

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Well - I'll give it an attempt using the linen/cotton I purchased first... I suppose I was looking for someone to confirm to me that the foresail is too large! I imagine it's supposed to be able to swing freely between the foresail and the mainmast without hindrance?

 

Same with the jib - the fact that it is so curved makes it difficult to stretch linear (as in the picture below).

 

Another question: Does anyone have a good picture of a similar style schooner with wind in the sails? I think I'd like to style it as though it would if it were catching wind, though I have no idea what way the sails are intended to catch wind on a schooner. A diagram would certainly be helpful, as well (how are the sails / boat positioned with respect to a straight line wind??).

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

So - progress has come to a bit of a halt. The supplied sails were far too warped and would have required more tension than the provided thread could handle to even come close to straightening out. I attempted to order some cotton/linen fabric and make my own sails (I have a bit of sewing experience), but they too came out warped (perhaps the fabric was too sheer?).

 

Any suggestions? Does anyone fabricate their own sails and can point me in the direction of some quality fabric?

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  • 1 month later...

So, after a bit of a hiatus, I've come upon a reasonable method to make passable sails. This method is courtesy of @Tim Curtis.

 

I'm using 115 gram/m2 weight vellum tracing paper. To dye the paper, I soak 1 earl grey teabag in 5 cups hot water for 5 minutes. I then soak the paper in this hot liquid for 30 minutes, after which time I blot dry with paper towels, and then transfer to a heavy book (with weight on top) for two days. I cut the sails to shape directly, and scribe (gently scrape) lines to mimic seams. I glued thread along the outline of the sail (using Elmer's white glue - very tedious) to give it a bit of fabric-like dimension.

 

Here's where I'm at right now. Still a bit messy, but you get the idea I'm sure. I am hoping to have this finished up within the next week or so.

 

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