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Zulu Lady Isabella by EKE - FINISHED - Vanguard Models - 1:64


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I’ve been encouraged to start a log for my build of this beautiful kit, the “Lady Isabella” by Chris Watton and Vanguard Models.  This is my first ever wooden ship model.  So I’m thirsty for knowledge and eager for thoughtful input.  I’ve been a life-long architectural and plastic kit modeler, and wood worker, so I’m fairly handy with my hands, but I need to learn so much about best practices in this discipline.  
 

I’ll be posting up a few photos soon as I have the time over the weekend, and I’ll catch you all up to where I am in the process.  Many thanks to my new and helpful friends, Chris Watton and James Hatch who have been very encouraging and patient with all of my newbie questions.  
 

I am having the most fun with this build.  Looking forward to sharing a bit of my joy with you all.

-Erik

 

 

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Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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Let me start off by saying that this kit is beautifully conceived, engineered and packaged.  It has been put together with such care.  James has shown abundant photos of all of the contents of the kit, so I won’t soak up bandwidth here with more of the same.  But the materials seem just top-notch, and all of the laser cutting and photo etching seems fine, precise and accurate. 
 

Special praise is due for the beautiful, detailed and thorough construction manual which is provided.  For a first-time builder such as me, it’s much appreciated and a real confidence-builder. Bravo to Chris and James for putting the beginner in a great position to succeed.

 

 

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Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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Chris has provided full size drawings showing the layout of all the laser-cut parts.  When corresponding with him before I started, Chris recommended that I check all of the parts sheets against the drawings, to confirm that they were all there, and that the numbers matched.  Good idea!  There were in fact a couple of minor discrepancies between the way the parts were numbered and how they appeared on the control drawings.  Chris had warned me of a few errors, which I’m sure he’ll be rectifying in future editions of the kit.  So my advice is to go through the parts sheets, compare them to the drawings, and take note of any discrepancies.

Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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Another item to note:  when I was checking the MDF sheets against the plans, I found that the three parts for the deck winch were not cut into the sheet where they were shown in the drawings.  See the photo below, where the location of where the parts should be is identified.  I contacted Chris, and he quickly acknowledged that I was correct, and he sent me the winch parts in the mail.  Outstanding customer support!  I’m sure that he’ll be updating the cut file to add the parts onto the sheet in the future, but if you are building the Zulu, I recommend you double check.

 

 

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Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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Here’s a test fit of all of the bulkhead framework.  Everything is very precisely cut, and fits quite snugly, with no ambiguity about how it seats together.  Very well engineered.  There are two false floors (one of which is shown in place here), which slot in horizontally, and give the structure great inherent rigidity.

 

Also seen in this photo are some of the pieces for the deckhouse.

 

 

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Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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Before proceeding with the hull structure, I built the deckhouse.  There are six MDF parts which glue together to create the structure.  They tab together, and the whole structure will tab into the upper false floor.  You can use the false floor as a form to make sure the deckhouse parts are square as the glue sets.  Just make sure you don’t glue the deckhouse structure to the deck.  Dry fit only.  
 

Everything fits beautifully together.  No ambiguity.  
 

 

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Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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The MDF deckhouse is faced with very pretty veneer pieces of pear wood.  They are laser etched with beautiful detail, including splice joints, deck boarding, main hatch companionway, and fish locker hatches.  All really lovely.  These pieces laminate to the outside faces of the structure.  I used a couple of clamps on the top piece, since there is a camber to the top of the house and you want the veneer piece to follow that curve.  Everything goes together quite easily.

 

 

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Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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Your progress looks great! I’ll follow this build and see how things go!

Current Builds:

Flying Fish - Model Shipways - 1:96

 

Future Builds:

Young America 1853 - Scratch Build - 1:72

 

Completed Builds:

HMS Racehorse - Mantua - 1:47 (No pictures unfortunately)

Providence Whale Boat - Artesania Latina - 1:25 (Also no pictures)

Lowell Grand Banks Dory - Model Shipways - 1:24

 

Shelved Builds:

Pride of Baltimore 2 - Model Shipways - 1:64 (Also no pictures)

 

 

 

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At the bow and stern there are pairs of filling patterns which slot into place, sandwiching the keel.  They provide extra thickness at the pointy ends of this double ender.  Shown below are the aft patterns.  Be very careful of these pieces as you are slotting them together.  They are very slim in certain places, and the MDF material is not as strong as plywood.  When taking the frame apart after my test fit, I broke the aft port pattern where the MDF is extremely thin.  This turned out to not be a big problem, as the two pieces of the broken part each can be slotted independently and glued into place, so I was able to save the situation.  But beware and be gentile with these parts.

 

Also note in the photo the beveling lines which are etched into these parts.  All of the filling patterns, and the fore and aft bulkheads have these bevel lines, and allow you to pre-bevel them before assembly.  

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Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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Here is the framework a little further along, all glued together.  I used Titebond wood glue to assemble the frame.  It seemed to give me plenty of time to get everything properly in place before it set up.  You can see the false floors installed in the center of the hull.  I’ve also installed the light plywood false deck, which slides into small slots in the bulkheads.  This plywood piece is very flexible, and it needs to be, since you need to bend and warp it to get it into place.  Once it finds its home, it just snaps into position.  This piece is very accurately shaped, and it fits with no modification necessary.  I have to say that’s kind of amazing to me. 😊

 

I clamped the center of the deck down to the bulkheads amidships, to make sure that it was seated properly, and would take on its proper curve, and I let everything dry for a while.  

 

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Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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Once the frame was dry, I spent some time fairing the bulkheads.  This didn’t take too long, since I had already beveled the bulkheads to the bevel lines etched into them.  At Jim’s suggestion, this pre-beveling was done with a Dremel tool.  The MDF cuts away very easily, like butter, so if you use a power tool, don’t set it to high RPM, as you can get ahead of yourself very quickly.  Once everything was assembled, I faired the bulkheads with a small sanding block and 120 grit paper.  Here’s a few shots during the process.

 

I have to say, the lines of this hull are really pretty.  I’m particularly smitten with the stern.  So unusual, and so lovely.  Can’t wait to see it planked.

 

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Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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After the fairing was complete, I added the pearwood keel, stem and rudder post pieces.  These parts are very precisely cut, and fit perfectly.  Chris has provided a few clever laser-cut clamps which assure that these pieces remain plumb and true while the glue sets.  You can see those clamps in this photo.  Yet another instance where Chris has gone above and beyond the expected to give the builder the best chance to succeed.  The notches in the rudder post will accept the tabs on the rudder itself.

 

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Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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Next up were the bulwarks.  These pieces are laser cut from pearwood, two parts each side with a tabbed splice amidships.  They are fully developed shapes, and are bent around the top of the bulkheads at the shear.  I soaked them in hot water for about a half hour, and then clamped them in place without gluing to allow them to bend to shape.  I let them dry for a few hours, and then glued them into position.  They fit perfectly.  
 

 

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Edited by EKE

Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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Here’s the bulwarks installed.  I’ve slotted the deckhouse in place... not glued.  You can really start to see the shape of the hull now.  I have to say that I’m a sucker for a swoopy shear.  And the shear of this boat is just that.  Very pretty!

 

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Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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6 hours ago, James H said:

At this rate, planking will be done in a couple of days 🤣

 


Well, it’s easy to fly through the build when you are actually further down the road, and are just posting up photos you’ve taken long before.  :)  I am actually making slow and very deliberate progress.  I’m a “measure twice, cut once” guy.  Once this log catches up with me, here in the future, things will slow way down and I’ll be pestering you all with lots and lots of questions.

Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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6 hours ago, James H said:

Good to see the bulwarks site on well on the faired bulkheads.


They fit perfectly, like a glove.  Not a bit of trimming necessary, except a tiny bit at the bow for length.   I find that kind of thing really amazing, actually.  As an architect, I’m always a bit stunned when some custom assembly we’ve designed, made in a shop across the country, shows up on the job site, and fits perfectly.  I know it’s not, but it feels miraculous.  :)  Chris did a marvelous job developing these curved shapes in CAD.  

Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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You are doing a good job on your Lady Isabella.  Your craftsmanship will produce a very nice model.

Ryland

 

Member - Hampton Roads Ship Model Society

            - Ship Model Society of New Jersey

               - Nautical Research Guild

       

 

Current Build - Armed Virginia Sloop, 18th Century Longboat

Completed Build - Medway Longboat

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29 minutes ago, Ryland Craze said:

You are doing a good job on your Lady Isabella.  Your craftsmanship will produce a very nice model.


Thank you very much for the kind words and encouragement, Ryland.  Between you and me, I am having such a good time with this, the end product will simply be a bonus.  The journey is the thing. :)

 

Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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Here’s the start of the first planking.  This is the first time I’ve ever done this, so we’re into uncharted territory here.  Following the techniques recommended in the building manual.  Seems to be going pretty well!  I’ve been using white PVA glue, and taking my time carefully tapering the planks and beveling the edges where appropriate.  
 

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Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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Working on my planking technique.  I have tried using the Amati nail driver to pin the planks to the bulkheads, but I find it a bit frustrating.  The pins are very tiny, and it’s hard to accurately position them with this tool.   Also, it’s very hard to know how far you’ve driven the pin, because you can’t see it while you’re driving it in.

 

So I bought a Pin Insertion Plier from Micro-Mark.  I have to say I think that this is a terrific tool.  It allows you to place the pin with great precision, both in location and angle.  And it allows you to insert the pin exactly as far as you want to, and no farther.  Just what the doctor ordered, in my opinion.  So I found the good technique was to place the pin with the plier, and then, if I needed to push it all the way home, I can use the Amati tool to do that.

 

Anyone else using the Micro-Mark pin plier?  Curious what you all think.

 

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Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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7 hours ago, James H said:

Using the Amati tool is something you need to learn. I usually lean it on a finger so the pin lies against the inner wall, then work from there.

 

Hard to believe this is your first time at planking. That is beautifully neat.


Thanks so much Jim!  I appreciate the encouragement.  I’ve been taking my time and trying to carefully prepare each plank before installation.  The stern is tricky, as the curvature is pretty tight there.  As mentioned in the manual, there’s a bit of “clinker” type scalloping in the stern area, and this seems unavoidable due to the hull curvature.  I’m hoping this will sand out fine.
 

I’m guessing I’ll be needing some short “filler” plank pieces in the aft portion of the hull, since the draft there is deeper, and the first planks installed are well tapered and bend upward pretty dramatically.  Isn’t there a name for those kind of “filler” planks?

 

I’ll continue to work with the Amati tool, and I’m sure I’ll get better at using it.  It seems that finding the right angle to hold it is important.

Erik K. Evens

Architect and sailor

Evens Architects

 

Currently building:  Brig Sloop HMS Flirt - Vanguard Models

Completed"Lady Isabella" Scottish Fishing Zulu - Vanguard Models

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Your planking is looking great! My first time planking I couldn’t quite understand the idea of tapering, so I’m glad to see your planking turning out nicely. So i think the “filler” pieces you are referring to are called stealers. When you have two planks that come together at to sharp of an angle or the tapering isn’t correct then you might find a spot thats way to thin for a standard plank but to wide for some filler, basically you cut the shape of the plank out of the existing planks and fill it with a stealer plank. I took a screen shot from my current builds practicum.  

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This gives a couple different options based on how your planking looks before your stealer plank is inserted. Good luck and have fun!

 

Bradley 

Current Builds:

Flying Fish - Model Shipways - 1:96

 

Future Builds:

Young America 1853 - Scratch Build - 1:72

 

Completed Builds:

HMS Racehorse - Mantua - 1:47 (No pictures unfortunately)

Providence Whale Boat - Artesania Latina - 1:25 (Also no pictures)

Lowell Grand Banks Dory - Model Shipways - 1:24

 

Shelved Builds:

Pride of Baltimore 2 - Model Shipways - 1:64 (Also no pictures)

 

 

 

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