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Phantom New York Pilot Boat by SkiBee - Model Shipways - 1:96 Scale

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      So, I’m going to try my hand at a solid hull, it’s a little scary since I’m not a very good whittler.  About 20 years ago I bought a wooden boat model that was a solid hull and I could never get it started since I had no clue on how to finish the hull.  This is actually the second model I bought, but I kept putting off to gain more overall experience by building the MS Grand Banks Dory, Norwegian Pram and the 18th Century Longboat.1254883280_Pic1.thumb.jpg.bbfa15c25538d695047f2ad93c89e66f.jpg


     Reading build logs about this boat made it a little less intimidating so here it goes.

      I have learned that it is important to inventory all the parts of a kit at the very beginning and it appears that there a couple of metal parts missing so I’ll contact Model Expo. As some of the instructions say, inventorying the parts also helps to familiarize you with them, their names and where they are installed.


{I've edited the initial posting to remove the work I did on my original hull}

Edited by SkiBee
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I started to reduce the keel to 1/8 inch thick but I wanted to check midship template to see how much I should remove around the keel.  However, I noticed a problem, there was a gap on the starboard side when I held the template centered on the top and bottom centerline.  The gap between the side of the hull and the template was a little more than a 1/16 inch.  Also, there was a gap between the top of the hull and the template a little less than a 1/16 inch.  The port side was a fair match to the template.  I measured the beam at midship and it matches the plans.

I can’t move the keel centerline to the starboard since there is not enough material.

Has anyone had a similar problem and what did you do?

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  • 1 month later...

I'm back working on the Phantom after finishing the Muscongus Bay Lobster Smack by Model Shipways.


I practiced whittling and sanding the initial hull before starting to shape the replacement hull, good experience.  This confirmed that the hull center line was off-center and that one side of the hull was shorter than the other and the plan.  But it looks pretty good and I don’t think anyone would notice in the final product.



{From this point on I'm working on the new hull}

Per the instructions, the first thing I did was to get a flat keel surface and I also did the bow.  I laid a full sheet of 80 grit on the work surface and then just moved the boat back and forth on the sand paper, trying to keep even fore -aft pressure as I tried to keep the boat perpendicular to the work surface.  I kept checking the overall fore to aft flatness with a rule as I went.


I then did the same thing on the bow, dragging the boat on the paper to try and keep a flat perpendicular surface to the center line as I rounded the bow.


I’ve been working on the aft end of the boat; cutting, chiseling with a knife chisel blade and sanding with 80 grit paper.  I was having a hard time whitling or chiseling with a blade, so I tried to file it with an old wood rasp I had (it was old, over 50 years old) but it was too large for the job.  So, I went back to 80 grit sand paper and the knife chisel.  The instructions said that you might have to remove about an 1/8 inch from the aft.  I only removed about 3/32 inch to get it close to the template.  I think I will wait until I have the sides of the hull close to template before I reduce it any more in the aft, as I’m doing for the bow


My initial check of the hull evenness with the templates indicates a good hull.


Now to move on to drawing centerlines and carving the hull to match the templates.

Edited by SkiBee
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First, I checked the hull to the templates #5 thru #9 on both sides.  It appears that I need to reduce the thickness of the aft part of the keel all the way down for the sternpost to fit and deepen the curve in the hull.


I used a chisel blade, #18, to reduce the thickness of the keel all the way down the aft end and just taking off a very small vertical notch along the keel from station #5 to #9.  Then I used a curved x-acto #22 blade deepen the curve between the hull vertical and horizontal, as well as reduce the horizontal part of the hull from station #9 thru #7.  Then I used some 80 grit sandpaper to smooth the areas and checked them against the templates.  I had to do this about 4 times so I would not reduce to much at one time.


The fwd part of the hull just needed to be reduced a small amount to match the templates #1 thru #5, so I just used 80 grit sandpaper to reduce and smooth the hull transitions.  My final hull did not match all of the templates exactly, but I think it was good enough.  I was more concerned about getting a smooth hull with acceptable transitions.  You can see that some of the gouge areas and the aft part where the keel and sternpost will be glued will require some wood filler, but that is why the sell it.




You can see a faint line where I will carve the step at the top of the hull, I also drew a line on the top of the bulwark 1/32 in from the outside to act as guides for cutting out the step.  I also had to curve it up at the aft since the aft end of the fantail is only about 5/32 thick. I used a #22 curved blade to score along the line on the hull then I used the #18 chisel blade to take thin cuts down to the score line a couple of times.

When I was done carving the step on the port side, I noticed that I ended up with 1/16 th deep step.  I don’t think this will cause to much of a problem downstream, maybe with the way the cap rail fits.




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Finished the top step all around the boat, the depth looks even all the way around, about 1/16 in.  There are a few dips in the step, maybe a little putty will smooth them out, I do believe in putty.


Built the bow stem per the instructions, reduced it down with a jeweler saw, knife, file and sand paper.  I did break the stem/keel piece at the joint, and then glued it back together, you can see some discontinuity at the joint at the curve.  Also, you can see a gap at the top of the stem, I got to the point that I could not reduce the stem’s curve to allow a perfect fit due to lack of material.  Will moisten it and use rubber bands to bend it to fit, and if that does not work, more putty.


The main part of the keel when on ok, along with the stern post.  You can see in the picture below that I have to fill in the aft part of the hull to match the keel and stern post, more putty.

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I’ve tried to pull in the top of the stem by wetting it and using rubber bands.  It has reduced the gap between the stem and bow by half, still about a 32nd to 16th gap. I will fill the gap with glue and saw dust then putty for a smooth translon.  You can see I’ve put on the first coat of putty in the gaps between the keel, stem, and stern post and the hull.


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Took a minute to build the rudder, not sure how much tapper to have from front to aft.  Also, I think I’m going to put a pin at the top and bottom instead of shaping the rudder stock.

1095195402_Pic26.jpg.a20393b88c7e1b65e645233b77ec8b0b.jpg 287465403_Pic25.thumb.jpg.467dee2ba62fe9f511e282837ae936f8.jpg

A fourth coat of putty and then some move sanding, after that I think I will spray on some primer to determine how much more sanding and filling needs to be done.


The primer indicated very little putty work left to do on the majority of the hull.


The biggest problem is what looks like a depression at the port keel is actually a hump of wood just above the keel.  I think I’m going to have to whittle and sand to remove it.  I thought about just filling it but I think that would eliminate the appearance of a keel at mid-ship.

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I whittled the hump in the hull rather than just sanding because I thought I would have more control to reduce just in the area that I wanted reduced. 

Then I sanded the area smooth as I could and then used putty to fill in the remaining knife marks and make a smooth transition from hull to keel.

What it looks like after a second coat of Tamiya Fine Gray primer.  I will be going through another round of sanding, putty and primer.  I don’t like the unevenness of the step.

1160197704_Pic33.thumb.jpg.cc78190618ee7460668cd0cab05a9c6b.jpg 275604552_Pic32.thumb.jpg.025b2d553545b7debcd5af01714f6abf.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Final coat of primer on the hull, Tamiya Fine Gray Primer.


Decided to do a little something different, I painted the step below the cap rail Model Expo Bulwark Dark Green acrylic, left over from the Grand Banks Dory.  A small problem arose, that in some areas the paint peeled off when I removed the tape, I used to mask the step off when I painted the rest of the hull Tamiya Matt Black spray paint.  I think the problem is that I did not really rough up the surface of the primer prior to applying the acrylic, the primer I used does have a very smooth finish.  So, I sanded the step down to mostly bare wood and tried again, need to touch up the black paint.


While the coats of paint were drying, I built the launching way.  One recommendation, the instructions say to build the end riser with 5 pieces of wood, but if you lay it out you only need to use 4 to have a constant rise over the launching way.

Edited by SkiBee
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