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HMS Winchelsea by AdrianoArt

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This is the first time I’ve ever blogged and I’m new to the MSW forum and model boat building so I ask for your patience. I’m sure I’ll screw something up! Considering the incredible work I see from so many members, I’m sure I’ll get more out of this than those reading my notes. 

Where to begin. I was born in NYC. Lived there and in the Bronx in my early years. After college I married and my wife and I moved to New Rochelle in Westchester County. Yes, that New Rochelle. First epicenter for COVID! Seventeen years ago we decided after a lifetime we had enough of city living and moved 3 ½ hours north of NYC to Cambridge, NY, a small farming community in Washington Cty. We are half way between Saratoga Springs and Manchester, Vt. about 6 miles from the Vermont border. I come from a family of journalists. Father, uncles, cousins. My dad was a foreign correspondent for Italian TV and magazines. At 15 I picked up a camera and began shooting sporting events with him. He covered auto racing extensively which was my passion and over the years I specialize in that subject. I worked my way through college with my photography and the day I graduated I was hired as head photographer for a union in NYC. For the next 12 years I traveled extensively shooting film and photo assignments for the union as well as freelancing. But I started to get burned out from the traveling. While in Phoenix covering an Indy car race I went to see an exhibit of the Cowboy Artists of America at the Heard Museum. That was the moment I decided to put down the camera and try my hand at painting. It was a totally insane thing to. We had a house (re: mortgage!), a young son and no experience or training in painting. So what could go wrong!? The wife gave me her blessing and years later I’m still painting. If anyone is curious about my paintings visit  www.adriano-art.com


I’ve always been fascinated with miniatures. I remember many years ago drooling over a Fabergé egg collection at the Forbes building in NY. I can still see the Gerald Wingrove model car at the home of a collector. Needless to say model ships were the thing I enjoyed the most. We’d visit Mystic Seaport quite often and I’d spent time admiring the collection. I’d stock up on back issues of Ships n’ Scale and read them cover to cover. My wife is from Italy and during a trip to visit her family and my relatives many years ago I bought an enormous model kit of the HMS Victory. Had no clue. What did I know!? I managed to get the bulkheads together. Even though I read and speak Italian the nautical terminology made it very difficult. Then work got in the way and it sat for years. I eventually tossed it in the fireplace. Big mistake! But I did keep all the parts that came with the kit. I finally decided to get a subscription to S n’ S and was disappointed to find out it had just gone out of business. But I discovered the Nautical Research Guild and became a member. My first kit two years ago was a Chesapeake Skipjack followed by a kit of the Sultana. As I’m sure many of us do while we are building a boat we are already dreaming about the next one. Whenever I went onto the forum, I’d end up looking at the vendor section. I was intrigued by Syren and Chuck Passaro boats. One in particular seemed like a fun challenge and so I went ahead and started the Cheerful. A friend says it takes chutzpah to go from a simple kit to the Cheerful. 


Last year I went for the first time to the model ship show in New London, Ct.. Wow! I met Chuck, got to see his latest creation and drooled over the models. And wouldn’t you know it there was a finished Cheerful gem on display! It was breathtaking. Sorry I didn’t get the name of the builder. I think Chuck’s practicum is excellent. And he’s always there to answer my stupid questions. The thing I love is he gives you just enough info so you have to think it through to solve the problem yourself. When I heard about plans for the HMS Winchelsea I knew I had to try and build it. When the plans became available I downloaded them. The Cheerful is coming along and I’ve posted 2 photos of it. I was anxious to see how the treenail process Chuck described would work. It was outstanding! I discovered in my box of pencils and pens that a BIC 0.7mm HB#2 pencil was the perfect size to darken the drilled hole which made the process go quickly. I did go through a few #78 drill bits at first though till I got the hang of it. 


So while working on Cheerful I started the Winny. I dug up a 5/4” cherry board I had in the barn and had a friend run it through his wood planer till it was perfectly flat. I put the cherry on top of a ¼” thick piece of glass and clamped them to the table. This gave me what I hope is a nice flat surface to build on. Chuck recommends light plywood for the bulkhead former and bulkheads. It was frustrating to find flat, decent, light ply so out of desperation I bought a few sheets of birch plywood from Lowes. Spent some time to find the best sheets and bought a few extra to make sure I had enough. I downloaded and printed the bulkheads at 100%. A few times I did forget to set print scale at 100% and ended up having to re-cut a few bulkheads which were obviously the wrong size. I cut them out on my band saw, sanded them and hit the edges lightly to get rid of the rough edges. Yes, it is definitely a harder wood and it will require more work to sand but I just gave up trying to find decent light ply that wouldn’t bankrupt the project. I’ll look around for a small electric sander and maybe sand some edges of the fore and aft bulkheads before I glue them. Since I was also working on the Cheerful (and I did have to spend some time in the studio working!) I knew the pieces of ply would be sitting around for some time. I had 2 more sheets of ¼” glass so I evenly spaced the pieces in between the pieces of glass and placed some weights on the top. This kept them flat and when I took a few out to cut they were perfectly flat. 


The surprise came when I cut, sanded and joined the bulkhead formers! Holy c@#p! This was one large model. My wife had a good laugh when she saw it. She looked at the Cheerful and the Winny and was sure I had gone crazy. But it didn’t seem so big on Chuck’s table at the show! Who knows if I’ll live long enough to finish it! I haven’t glued the bulkheads on yet since I have to attach the rabbet strips first. I also have to figure out the best way to make sure the bulkheads are perfectly aligned. I did have a few issues in the very beginning when I started gluing bulkheads of the Cheerful. I decided to build both the Cheerful and Winny out of Yellow Cedar and love the finish after a few coats of Minwax Wipe-on-Poly. I acquired the knee of the head set from Syren and assembled it. 


I learned to go back and re-read a few chapters ahead to know what’s coming and to make sure that I won’t be surprised by something. I’m taking my time and do things right. No rushing. Patience has never been my strong suit and my wife is surprised how the builds have pushed me to be more patient. If there’s a problem I take my time to work through it. The wonderful plans and directions from Chuck help. 


Building these boats really got the juices flowing so last year I decided to build a real boat. Always wanted to try it. So I built a 12’ skiff. What do I know about building a boat? Ha! What a dumb question. It’s that chutzpah thing again. I admit I had some guidance from a friend who grew up on the north shore of Long Island, NY and has been building and restoring duck boats and sail boats since he was a kid. He’s a retired DEC biologist and lives ten minutes away and was really helpful. I’m waiting for a trailer to be finished and look forward to getting out to do some fly-fishing on the lakes in the area. That boat got done a whole lot sooner than the little ones! 


Win 2.jpg

Das Boot.jpg

Cheerful 2.jpg

Cheerful 1.jpg

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Glad to see you finally made it in the group.   Your Winnie is off to a great start and the Cheerful looks fantastic also.   Keep the updates coming.   We love looking at the models....so lots of photos are great.




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Welcome aboard Adriano!


As I'm sure you already know both of those shops are a lot of fun to build. 

I look forward to seeing both progress. 


"So Long For Now" B) 


Current Builds: HMS Winchelsea 1/48  Duchess of Kingston


Completed Build Logs: USF Confederacy , US Brig Syren , Triton Cross Section , Bomb Vessel Cross SectionCutter CheerfulQueen Anne Barge, Medway Longboat


Completed Build Gallery: Brig Syren , 1870 Mississippi Riverboat , 1949 Chris-Craft 19' Runabout


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