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PILAR by Pat Matthews - Radio - Hemingway's Pilar in 1:12


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Designed in CAD starting in 2015. Made a few changes... since 2015, I built a whole new hull and a whole new cabin, tossing the previous versions. Accurate plans don't exist, but overall dimensions are known, and there's a decent profile from a sale brochure for Wheeler Playmates. 

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Most of the model is hand built from wood of course... but certain components were printed- either in plastic, or in wax for investment casting in bronze. Such as the struts and rudder footing. The footing works with the extended wood  skeg, a common design layout in the 20's and 30's. This casting is missing from the boat at Finca Vigia, which leads some modelers to make some odd drive arrangements. If only they knew...

 

Hemingway had Wheeler make several well known modifications to Pilar, including the installation of an auxiliary 4 cylinder Lycoming for trolling. There is no evidence of this on the boat now, so this is also omitted from models.

 

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Source material: Many many photos, both historical and from tourists to Finca Vigia. Many of these nice folks post high resolution images on Flickr and elsewhere- very helpful, thanks! There's also one page from a Wheeler brochure showing the profile, but with a somewhat different cabin... still helpful for working out basic dimensions.

 

The grandson of Wheeler went to Cuba and measured Pilar in order to develop a modern take on the boat. But he won't share, I tried.

 

And yes I know about the several fake Pilars, none are useful for determining original features.

 

There's a Popular Boating issue from 1957 that has some good (and some imagined) information. 
 

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Cabin is constructed of ply and basswood, with all exposed wood done in cherry. The real boat appears to have been built with mahogany, but I find that cherry "works" better, and has a better scale grain appearance. The sides are built up as a 3d jigsaw puzzle, as many as 3 layers deep. They hang down straight like a curtain from the deck intersection, but angle inwards at 2° from that line up, while also following the sheer... a bit tricky.
The cabin roofs are covered with shirt cloth to simulate canvas. The cloth is secured with water based polyurethane, painted, and clear coated. The weave still shows through, like painted canvas.

The cherry is all stained with Minwax "Gunstock", and clear coated with lacquer. Warning: Most all of my cherry stained a very nice color, but occasional pieces turned orange, yuk. Always test!
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I changed my mind after this shot and added the forward cockpit.
 

 

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Roof beams

 

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First piece of cloth installed

 

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