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Fifie by GBModeler - Scale 1:48 - Typical late 1800s Scottish Herring Drifter


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I have been researching the famous Scottish Fifies, and am inspired to try building a model of a small to medium sized boat of 42-feet (12.8 meters).  
 

Detailed information about these boats is hard to find.  Evidently, the real boats were mostly built by sight, without the help of plans or half-hull models, so there is not a lot of documentation to discover.  Most of the sources I did find focus on the large Fifies (60 to 80 feet loa) of the early 1900s.  However, from various historical photographs and writings, I am under the impression that smaller boats were more common-place during the late 1800s.

 

In addition, there are very few surviving Fifies left in the world today.  One smaller boat, the "Isabella Fortuna," survives as a Scottish National Historic Ship.  She was built in 1890 and is 43 feet loa.  
 

By using written descriptions, historical photographs, and the plans of larger boats, I have developed my own paper line-plans of what I think would be a typical boat in existence, circa 1870 - 1880.  Here are some of my sources:

 

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  • ccoyle changed the title to Fifie by GBModeler - Scale 1:48 - Typical late 1800s Scottish Herring Drifter

Making progress by cutting out and assembling the false keel and bulkheads...

 

Paper templates glued to 3/32" basswood plywood.  A "gap" in the false keel and some bulkheads will become the main hold.  Another gap will accommodate the fore (main) mast.  All the parts were cut out with a table scroll saw...

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More building-up the frame today.  I added curved strips to the tops of the bulkheads to create camber for the deck.  Also installed walls for the hold and a foundation for the decking (i.e. a false deck).  The false deck is cardboard made from a repurposed cereal box.😬 

 

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Deck planks were made from 1/16" basswood sheet cut into 3mm wide strips.  The strips were lightly sanded and then stained with a mixture of India ink, isotropic alcohol, and water.  The stain goes on dark but dries to a "weathered wood" appearance.  The more you dilute the stain with water and alcohol the lighter the color, of course.  Trial and error finds the right mix you prefer.  The strips were then glued with white PA glue to some off-white cotton "business" paper.  I have also used black construction-paper in the past, but wanted to try something different, and a little thinner, this time.  The planks were cut off the paper and installed over the false deck, starting from the middle and working out toward the sides.

 

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The deck planks were stained prior to installing because the gluing process (with PA white glue) is very messy (at least the way I do it).  Even though I plan to sand and re-stain the deck, any residual glue would block the second application of stain and give an uneven finish...

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After sanding and shaping.  You can see almost all the original stain has been sanded off...

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The re-stained deck.  Now on to planking the hull!

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Edited by Gbmodeler
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I decided to try my hand at "clinker" (lapstrake) planking, since most of the historical photos of smaller (and older) fifies have that feature.  I have never attempted clinker planking before, but it seems easier than carvel planking, so far.  Also, the planks are being stained, rather that painted, for a more natural wood appearance.  Again, the wood is basswood cut from 1/32" sheet.  
 

I find planking a slow process, but if it works well, it is very rewarding.  The hardest part of clinker planking is getting the ends near the stem and stern posts to transition from clinker to edge-matched carvel-like planking as the planks fit into the rabbet.  Fortunate for me, there is no real rabbet, as I will install the keel, stem post, and stern post after planking😬.

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22 minutes ago, Gbmodeler said:

transition from clinker to edge-matched carvel-like planking

Depending on how sharp the bow (and the stern here) are, the overlapping section of the lower plank would be sharpened out to near zero over a distance of several plank widths - is it that what you did ?

 

I agree, that clinker-planking can be a bit of challenge, but if it worked, it is very satisfying.

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2 hours ago, wefalck said:

Depending on how sharp the bow (and the stern here) are, the overlapping section of the lower plank would be sharpened out to near zero over a distance of several plank widths - is it that what you did ?

 

I agree, that clinker-planking can be a bit of challenge, but if it worked, it is very satisfying.

I am beveling the lower edge of each upper plank to near zero for about 5 or 6 plank widths.  It seems easier to do it that way (modeling-wise) as the plank is fitted and applied.

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