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Hello all. This is my first attempt at a ship model of this complexity, and coincidentally my first build log. I recently completed Model Shipways' 18th Century Longboat in 1:48 (I still need to take some proper photos and get those posted), had a really great time with it, and started looking around for my next project. I had read lots of reviews and some other build logs about Vanguard Models' HMS Speedy kit in 1:64, and everyone seemed to agree that it was a very well designed kit. That sounded ideal for a relative beginner like me, and then there was the matter of the actual size of the model. I live in an apartment in Union City, NJ with under 1000 square feet (and a wife and a cat), and doing something even the size of a little brig or ship sloop in 1:48 seemed impractical. It was a question of Speedy or HMS Pegasus, and in the end Speedy won because she seemed a little bit simpler. 

 

Well, Vanguard shipped the model extremely quickly, and it was with me in only about 4 days I think. Speedy indeed. I've been very impressed with the look of the fittings, and it seems that the kit has undergone a few waves of improvement, which is nice to see. For example, I had seen pictures of an older version of the photo engraved deck sheet that had some inconsistent burn marks. This version is dated only to May I think, and looks like a significant improvement. Some delicate parts that were originally supplied in MDF are now supplied in stronger plywood. That sort of thing. The instruction book looks very detailed, and has a great many pictures to illustrate the process. 

 

The mdf frames fit together so well that the first steps of the model have gone much faster than I had anticipated, so I am starting this build log slightly ahead of where I had intended to. I've gotten as far as attaching the stern pieces, and am going to start fairing the bulkheads tomorrow. 

 

As I say, this is the first time I've done a kit of this complexity, so if you see me doing something wrong, or are just spontaneously moved to offer advice, please don't keep it to yourself! 

 

-James

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi James

 

I've just found your log - welcome to the Speedy club!

 

Coincidentally, I've just bought the 18th Century longboat with a view to starting it when I've finished Speedy - your longboat gallery album caught my eye which led me in turn to this log. I really like those smaller vessels designed by Chuck Passaro, and having completed the English Pinnace just before I started Speedy I was keen to try another.

 

Anyway you've made a good start, and thanks to me deciding to fully rig all the guns I expect you'll soon catch me up!

 

Best wishes

 

Derek 

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Thanks very much for the welcome Derek. I've had your Speedy build log open very often for instruction and inspiration, and will be relying on it heavily as I (very slowly) move forward. Your Speedy is looking absolutely beautiful. I've not updated this log in a couple weeks, partly because my work load suddenly increased, and partly because I am taking my time fairing the frames as throughly as I can. 

 

I think you will enjoy the longboat a lot. It is small but still very nicely challenging (for a rookie like me at least), since there is not much to hide a bad planking job. I look forward to seeing your build. 

 

Regards, 

James

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I am looking forward to following your build of the Speedy.  I saw your Longboat pictures in the Gallery and was real impressed by your work.  I agree with you that the Longboat is a real challenge for the first time builder.  With the skills you have acquired, you should have no problems with building the Speedy.

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Thanks very much Derek. I've done a little work on wooden model ship kits before, but never got very far. The longboat was the first one I've attempted in years, and the first I've finished. I do have a fair amount of experience with model making in general though, for what that is worth. Most of the ship models I've worked on have been very small gaming pieces, like this one, a white metal kit from GHQ: 

 

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It's pretty crude compared to wooden display models, but it is 1:1200 and just intended for use in games. (I know my rigging is not as accurate as it could be on this piece...)

 

I did not make the case, but ordered it custom built from Chameleon Woodcrafting, a one man outfit in Washington state. Michael Jekubik was the creator, and he does excellent work. I'd highly recommend him to anyone looking to have a custom case made.  https://chameleonwoodcrafting.com/

 

Ryland, thank you for the encouragement. Yes, the longboat was a very good learning opportunity for me. It was small enough that I could concentrate on trying to do each step as best as I could without it feeling overwhelming. I'm trying to carry the lessons of that build forward with me into the Speedy. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well I've been moving very slowly indeed on the Speedy, partly because I wanted to take my time, but mostly because I've been pretty busy with work. Not a bad thing to have to complain about these days I guess. 

 

But here is what I've done over the last few weeks. 

 

First off, a lot more fairing. The Model Shipways Longboat build really showed me the importance of fairing, so I wanted to give this the attention it deserved. I've found I still have some more to do, as bulkhead 8 needs more attention. I see now that I could have done a lot more to fair the stern frames before attaching them to the model. At the time I was worried about overdoing it. 

 

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Then I attached the inner stem piece. This fit very securely into the grooves in the MDF false keel piece. I just had to sand the stem a little so that it could slot in, as the fit was quite snug, a good thing. I was glad that it fit so well that I didn't have to worry about it being straight. 

 

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Then the attachment of the gunport patterns. I was dreading this a little, having read other people's build logs and hearing that this was one of the more challenging steps in the early part of the build. I knew going into that it was going to be difficult to keep the pieces from going wavy, and that was borne out by my experience too. 

 

Herein follows a description by someone who has never done this before and doesn't even really know how to describe the process. Hopefully this will be intelligible to the more experienced. 

 

I immersed each piece (one at a time, as I was working each one) in near-boiling water for about 20 minutes before working on it. For me the first challenging part was figuring out the best possible pitch of the front pieces. If I aimed to make them perfectly level with the top of the first bulkhead, the pieces wound up sitting higher than the tops of bulkheads further down the line. Or if I tried to force them down further, the bottom edge was much more inclined to go wavy. I pulled the first patter off after attaching it to the first bulkheads, and redid it. The difference was very slight, but it seemed to help. So my gunport patterns sit slightly low on the first couple bulkheads. Just by a small amount, and I believe it is symmetrical. So hopefully the effect will look all right later on. 

 

Rather than pin the pieces in place and use white glue, I chose to use super glue, applying glue to one or two bulkheads at a time. I held the bottom edge in place with my fingers while the glue dried, and clamped the top with clothes pins. 

 

You can see in the photo below that I added a couple pieces of mdf scrap to brace the first two bulkheads on the starboard side. I had put a little too much weight on them while fairing the other side of the model, and they had bent slightly. Once the mdf bends it is much weaker, and so they would not have held their shape against the pressure from applying the patters. But it was a simple matter to glue those blocks into place, and they held just fine. 

 

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Here is what it looks like with the patterns installed. You can still see some subtle waviness in the lower edge of the patterns at the bow. But I've sanded out some of it, will sand a tiny bit more, and am hoping that with the remaining opportunities for sanding that the planking will offer, I can successfully hide any remaining irregularities. 

 

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So that's where I am right now. I need to fair bulkhead #8 a little bit more, and then I will be starting the first planking. I expect I will be soliciting a lot of advice as I take that step. Pointers more than welcome. 

 

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You've done a fine job on those gunport patterns James. As you say, any slight irregularities will be hidden by the planking.

 

I found this part of the build a challenge, but you've nailed it (unintentional pun :rolleyes:).  Well done!

 

Derek

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Thanks Derek, I appreciate the encouragement. I read and reread that part of your log before starting my attempt. 

 

Vane, I think you're right, it has become very popular. A testament to a well designed kit, and of course a beautiful vessel. I definitely am benefitting from the large number of build logs already underway for this model. Yours was the first one I saw, and the one that made me buy the kit. So thank you for that! 

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You are a little bit in front of me so I can follow you on the foot 😄

The only thing is that I'm building the Flirt  but it is similar

 

Sjors

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  • 1 month later...

I think mine is probably the least speedy of Speedys on this site, but I did finally manage to finish installing the 1st planking layer on the model. Now I'm sanding away at it to smooth it out. I bought myself an electric sanding mouse to help out with that part. I'd never used one of those before, so first I built myself a little test section from leftover scraps of limewood, so I could see how fast the sander ate it up. Fortunately it was slow enough not to cause alarm. I could make multiple passes over the same area, check it, and go back for more. The sander has made the process easier than expected, though I'll be going back over it by hand to fine tune it. 

 

Here are some pictures before any sanding has taken place. As you can see, I experienced a little confusion at the stern. At first I had intended to plank over all of the mdf for consistency, and then sand my way down through it. That seemed to be what the instructions were recommending, though I may have just misinterpreted them. But as I worked my way down I balked at how much extra work that was going to mean, and terminated the last few planks early. I wish I had marked out a bearding line and sanded the mdf before beginning planking. A lesson for next time. 

 

I put in just two tiny triangular stealers at the stern, and those were fairly clumsy. But as they won't be seen in the end I felt they didn't have to be too pretty. 

 

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You are not the least Speedy on here - I am !! I started at the begining of the year and having restarted  I am now behind you !!

 

You seem to have broken much less and had fewer problems with the MDF than I had.

 

I note in the pics what appears to be a teeny bump or two at the positions of the forrard BHs - if they are actually there it might be wise to sand them out  to give a cleaner run for the second planking - the lime is thick enough to take that I think

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You're definitely right about the bumps SpyGlass. I'm currently working on removing those, and a few others as well. I'm relying on the thickness of that lime wood to wash away a number of sins. 

 

I admire your perseverance for restarting the build - it will be all the better for having had a practice run! 

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Very good first planking James. You're right that you don't need to cover all the MDF at the stern. On the other hand you need to make sure the planks merge smoothly into the MDF, especially the second planking, otherwise you'll end up with a step. Here's mine after sanding:

 

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I think there are similar photos in the kit manual. Unfortunately you do have to sand off a good deal of wood to get the desired result (alternatively filler can be a life saver in first planking!).

 

Anyway, well done. You've produced a sound base for your second planking.

 

Derek

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Its not perseverance its just that I used to build with flair and speed then my health, eyes , hands and brain failed plus three house moves and rebuilding work - NOTHING has gone right in my builds for years.    A house move, carelessness and b**** MDF caught me on  Speedy but now I have a calm atmosphere,  decent work place, my tremor has nearly gone and with  ply BHs and keel I am determined to do a reasonable job.

 

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On 9/24/2020 at 4:24 PM, DelF said:

Very good first planking James. You're right that you don't need to cover all the MDF at the stern. On the other hand you need to make sure the planks merge smoothly into the MDF, especially the second planking, otherwise you'll end up with a step. Here's mine after sanding:

 

Thanks for the picture Derek, that is helpful. Did you sand the MDF adjacent to where the sternpost gets attached prior to beginning the planking? 

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9 hours ago, whitejamest said:

Did you sand the MDF adjacent to where the sternpost gets attached prior to beginning the planking? 

No, although that might work if you were careful. In my photo you can see that some of the MDF has been sanded down, especially at the point. That was unintentional - I did it when sanding the planking. However it wasn't a problem - you can easily lose mistakes like that  under second planking and coppering. As I said before, filler is your friend!

 

The crucial point is to make sure that the combined width of the MDF and planking at the stern is the same as the width of the sternpost. You want the hull planking to flow smoothly into the sternpost so there is no obvious step or angle where they join. That's why the manual suggests that, before second planking, you file/sand the sternpost area to 1.5mm so that when you apply the second planking it sits flush with the sternpost. 

 

 

 

Derek

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  • 3 weeks later...

A very brief update here. I've done the bulk of the sanding of the first planking, and just need to do a little more fine tuning where a few bumps remain. I added a small amount of wood filler at the stern to smooth things out. 

 

I've never worked with Alaskan cedar before, but looking at some of the gorgeous examples of other modelers' projects I decided I needed to give it a try. The pear wood supplied in the kit looks to be of very nice quality, but I just prefer a lighter color. So I've placed an order for some. Meanwhile I'm watching videos on measuring and bending and shaping planks. Hope I can post some more updates soon! 

 

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