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New Bedford Whaleboat by PJG - FINISHED - Model Shipways - 1:16 - First nautical build

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A few more small things and a little history


As I mentioned early on in this log, I picked this boat because I had become aware of ancestors who served on whale ships out of several New England whaling ports and aboard many ships (including the Morgan). I wanted to associate this boat with a specific ancestor and the ship he sailed on. Given the 1850-1870 general window for this particular style of boat I went with the Adeline which he was aboard in 1856. I don't have any information as to the design of the ship's flag but found enough examples from other ships active during this period to make an educated guess. I don't have any proof that whaleboats flew any type of marking pennants atop their masts or individualized their waifs to sort out their kills from those of other boats but given the level of activity during this "peak" period it doesn't seem too far-fetched. Regardless of historical evidence/accuracy, my boat flies Adeline's colors! 






Once weathered and displayed, these should add a nice pop of color/interest.




I ended up making the center board from 3 individual pieces rather than the single piece die-cut offered in the kit. The plans also show a lead weight inserted into the middle board which I made from Sculpey clay. I'm assuming that these center boards had to have had some kind of reenforcing structure (iron rods running from top to bottom through each board?) unless there's some kind of fancy nailing/joinery that could hold boards together end-to-end like this. These things must have undergone a lot of stress beneath a tacking boat. 

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OK, we have a few nearby Michael's so I'll see if I can make up a small assortment. Thank you for the help. The flags are really sharp. Is that a textile?


Is the Adeline the same ship as the Adeline Gibbs? The later has it's logs digitized at the Martha's Vineyard Museum.

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12 hours ago, Mike_In_RI said:

The flags are really sharp. Is that a textile?

Thanks...they're made from the material that came in the kit for the sail. 

12 hours ago, Mike_In_RI said:

Is the Adeline the same ship as the Adeline Gibbs? The later has it's logs digitized at the Martha's Vineyard Museum.

It looks like the Adeline Gibbs is a different ship. I checked the crew lists for the years in question and my guy doesn't appear. I do appreciate the heads-up to another great resource though!

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Knowing when to stop


My tendency with all things creative is to keep doing "one more thing" until I've made a mess of it. The good news is, I'm going to break that habit with this model. I struggled a bit with the decision to not include the sail on this boat but after spending some time with and without my paper mock-up in place, I decided l much preferred the sail-free look. I may revisit that at some point in the future but for the moment, this build is officially done. Thanks to everyone who took the time to drop in, have a look, make encouraging comments and show interest in general. It's much appreciated.



























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Well, I'd have to say that your project is absolutely stunning. The build quality, the weathering art (which I truly envy) the presentation and the photography all bring ones attention right into the scene. Well done!


Can't wait for the first make that the second photo of the Fifie. You're gonna need more space.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Don't know how I missed your log, but saw the gallery photos and just caught up. What a great build! I really like what you did with all the weathering. I never really considered building this kit, but you now have me intrigued...



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13 hours ago, jwvolz said:

Don't know how I missed your log, but saw the gallery photos and just caught up. What a great build! I really like what you did with all the weathering. I never really considered building this kit, but you now have me intrigued...



Thank you...it’s a fun kit to build, especially if you want to approach it as a blank canvas and do your own thing. 

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Great build. I have the kit finished to the point of installing the frames. I only hope to complete it as well as you have. It's waiting me to finish Chuck's Cheerful. Hope to use your build log to guide me somewhat. My congrats to you

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On 6/28/2020 at 11:50 PM, PJG said:

Thwart risers, some interior painting and ceiling planks:


I made one easily avoidable mistake here that careful reading of the plans and instruction book could have prevented. The thwart risers are intended to be slightly thicker than the ceiling planks that start under them but I failed to take note of this and used the same thickness of material. I’ve noticed this in several other builds so I can see that it’s an easy detail to miss. If I had realized this before installing the thwarts themselves I would have added a thin strip to fake the extra thickness. Oh well, another lesson learned. The ceiling planks went on mostly without a hitch other than having to improvise some hidden support here and there where a plank ended and the frame it was supposed to terminate on happened to be somewhere else. The great frame disaster strikes again! I added the first coat of paint before installing the ceiling planks but added some weathering later when I had a better feel for the overall color scheme. 




I decided to go with a dark blue/grey for the interior of the hull, thwarts and risers. These areas will be weathered to a lighter, sun-faded color eventually but my overall color scheme will be dark blue, black, various shades of grays, and white. Nobody seems to be able to pinpoint any particular combination of colors beyond the primer coats new boats were delivered with so I did my own thing. Given the jobs these boats were designed to do and the relatively short lives they were expected to do it in, I concluded that utility was probably much higher on the list than adventures on the color wheel. Distinguishing your boat from that of another ship seems to be a reasonable criteria when considering  how colors were chosen. 




I installed the first ceiling plank with the light gray paint I intended to use on those to get some sense of how the scheme would work. I knew everything would be toned down considerably with a little weathering so I settled on my choices. 




Before the ceiling planks could be installed in the bottom of the boat the centerboard case and mast step needed to be added. Painting these the dark blue rather than gray was probably something that would have been considered a waste of time in a real boat but I liked the contrast and the fact that they were installed before the ceiling on the real thing made it somewhat plausible. I didn't use fasteners on this build so I made a test of simulating nails with paint early on. I didn't think these looked overly convincing so I ended up scraping them away with a sharp blade and using a simple number 2 pencil instead. With a little weathering I thought the results were much better. 






With the ceiling complete and some subtle weathering applied (in my opinion) I was satisfied to move on to test-fitting the thwarts.




With the interior mostly complete and painted, all 5 thwarts were fitted in position as per the plans. According to Ronnberg's book, the bow and stern sheets weren't painted so I resisted making them light gray. As you can see, the forward-most thwart ended up with a misplaced frame right in the middle. It should have rested between two frames. I could have moved the thwart forward and maybe gotten away with it but I decided to stick to plans from this point forward no matter what. The great frame disaster strikes again! 







Fast-forward and a whole bunch of other interior details get done! All of this work took several months to complete. Carving the cheek pieces, bow chocks, loggerhead, oar locks, peak cleats and various other parts was time-consuming and educational. I thought carving was going to be my achilles heel but turned out to be something I rather enjoyed. If a particular step/activity seems intimidating, just give it a shot. You may discover you had nothing to be afraid of. 

sooo fantastic build im thrilled wonderful explanation etc. i love model shipways but i onow myself how difficult is to build clinker and so on. so very detailed so realistic and nice. thanks fro sharing fantastic. i think i will try her once. oh treat for eyes .

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  • 1 month later...

I have one of these that’s almost complete. I have enjoyed working on it so much that I bought another kit so that I can have a do-over. I used the copper nails included with the kit. I also found them to be out of scale and even purchasing additional nails wasn’t going to cut it. So, I moved on to copper wire. That worked out well. Then I bought some sterling wire from fire mountain gems that I will use on my next build. I figure if it tarnishes, it will be black. It’s stiff enough to push through drilled holes and soft enough to flatten with a punch and an anvil.

 I don’t have the skills and dedication you have shown on your build, but I will enjoy the work and results of my next build.

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