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Phantom by FlounderFillet5 - Model Shipways - Pilot Boat

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Hey everyone, 


My name is Max and I am in the middle of my first attempt at a Model Shipways kit, the Phantom.  I had a build log going on MSW 1.0 but that is gone now so I will pick up where I left off.  I have more or less been following Chuck's practicum but I strayed from it some and got some ideas from others who had build logs of this kit before.  I haven't worked on this kit much in the past few months because of college and my wife and I recently bought our first home and I have been doing projects around the house, ect...  Anyways, I have a decent setup started in my garage and this will probably be a much better place to build than in our last house we were renting because i was building in our guest bedroom/wife's sewing room/my hobby room and it wasn't ideal to say the least lol.  


Pictures to come... I will edit this post and add pictures as soon as I find a photo editing software that will allow me to reduce the size of the photos since we can only upload 2mb files.  Anyone remember the name off the software that was recommended on MSW 1.0?  If so, do you have the link to download it?  Thanks in advance!


I am super excited to get going on this build again, it has been too long and I really enjoyed building her up until this point.



Until next time,



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Hi Max,

Good to see you start a build log here..


If you're using a Window, the Photo Gallery can do it.. but I'm not so sure about the quality of the photo after reducing the size..

Just right click on a picture > Open with > Photo Gallery > at the upper left click the Edit, Organize and Share

you can even do batch resize there.. 



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Ok, as ZyXuz suggested, photo gallery seemed to do the trick so here goes with some photo updates.  I apologize for picture quality because we are still in the tail end of this move and I haven't located my little camera so these were taken with my smartphone and THEN resized which also hurt quality some.  


First, a couple photos of the new workbench and whatnot.






I also have these right next to my work space as motivation to complete the builds and it doubles as proof that they can be finished haha.




Here is a photo of where my hull stands at the moment.  I want to re-paint her because she picked up quite a bit of dust in the move and her dry dock time.  You can also see that I have the waterways and deck step cut to size but they are not glued in place yet.  I have some boxwood strips that I will be using to plank the deck, still trying to decide exactly how I want to go about planking it though, full length planks and then possibly marking in board ends or laying planks with like 60mm long strips of wood.




Here are my deck fixtures where they currently stand.  These may also get a fresh coat of paint but I'm not sure about that yet.  The roofs of the deck houses are all boxwood strips so they will match the deck and they are thinned down to 1/64" for scale.  The doors for the deck houses are obviously not done, I want to get the runners installed and the sliding top made before cutting them to size in order to get the best fit.  What do you guys think about color for the doors?  should they be white, stick with the wood(different from the boxwood) or I could make them out of boxwood but I don't think I like that idea much?




Also, I wanted to add in a couple pics of the way I mounted the hull to the launching ways.  I used a metal rod and a metal tube with an inside diameter slightly larger than the rod diameter.  The tube is set inside the hull and the rods are mounted on the lunching ways.  It provides for a smooth way to attach and detach the hull from the launchingway and I feel like it is sturdier than just having the rods go into the wood where they could potentially damage the hull or break through the wood.






Man, I really like the new posting system on this site.  Very easy to add pictures inside of the text and whatnot. 

Edited by FlounderFillet5
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Hey Adam!  Good to see you lurking like the old days haha.  


I got a little bit of work done.  I painted the hull and deck fixtures again and for the most part, everything looked good after one coat so it wasn't too bad.  I was happy that I repainted the inside of the bulwarks too because I got a more desirable cream color that the first time.  I mixed some white paint (MS4831) with a tiny bit of bulwark brown (MS4817) and it came out nice.  I didn't take a photo of the paint job since it looks almost identical in pics to before and you will see it in other photos.


I installed the baseboards for all of the deck fixtures and I will lay the deck around the baseboards.  I can't remember where I found it but I recall reading somewhere that on real ships this is more or less the way they did it.  Hopefully it won't prove too difficult to get nice fitting plank boards that fit snugly against the baseboards.




I was test fitting the deck fixtures to make sure everything was nice and snug and it also gave me a good idea what it will look like once installed.  You can also see the hull paint job in this photo... just standard black (MS4830).  




A closer view.  The skylight might need a little work because that photo really accentuated the flaws in the paint on that one.  I think I can easily use a razor blade or exacto knife to trim the wood smooth and then paint over it.




Hope you guys like the pics and progress!  I think I am going to have to start the deck planking next which is something I have been dreading since before I stopped working on this build months ago.  


Btw, I found the camera so hopefully these pics are a little better than the smartphone ones.


Edited by FlounderFillet5
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Hey everyone, checking in.


Thanks Richard!  Welcome to my build log.  


I built a jig for cutting the deck planks.  It has produced nice, repeatable planks.  Each plank is 1/16" x 30mm and 1/32" thick (Sorry for both US and metric measurements lol).  That roughly scales up to 6" x 9.5' which I thought would be reasonable in real life, although I have no idea how long deck planks ran on average.  Also, each strip of boxwood that I have produces 20 full length planks and one 11mm plank which I bet will come in handy when I need to add shorter planks for the joggling in the waterway or when I run into the baseboards for the deck fixtures.








Guide lines for laying the fore deck planking.  For some reason I could not get a good clear photo of this.



Edited by FlounderFillet5
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By the way, I wanted to mention that the boxwood I am using for this project is from HobbyMill.  Everything came very well milled and precise.  Jeff offered great customer service and really helped me choose the best wood for the project and I can't speak highly enough of what good customer service he provided, which is extremely difficult to come by these days.  Just to be clear, I am not affiliated with HobbyMill in any way other than being a very satisfied customer, I will definitely be using them again for future projects.


I started playing around with different options for adding in caulking between the planks.  First, I tried using a sharpie to color one long side and one short side of each plank.  The results weren't bad, but the marker ink seeped into the wood a little causing it to be a little less than ideal.  I was going to go with this method originally.  


A photo of the sharpie boards (top) vs boards with no simulated caulking.




At the time, I thought it was an acceptable result and tried to mark the boards five at a time.  






The results were really sloppy and the boards definitely needed to be tossed.  I have seen this method work quite well for others but not so much for me.  I'm not sure if it was because of the small scale of this project or what.


I then tried using my wife's sketching pencil  :ph34r:.  This produced good results but the lead or graphite or whatever this pencil is made out of it quite hard so it takes a good bit of time to get each board well marked.  


The sharpie boards are on top in this picture and the penciled boards are on the bottom.  I think the pencil makes for cleaner lines and there is no seepage.  




I expect the pencil to be a bit messy when laying the planks but a razor blade slid across the surface should clean things up nicely and quickly.

Edited by FlounderFillet5
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Hey guys, 


I started the dreaded task of planking the deck... It has been going pretty well, but it hasn't been without hiccups along the way.  Overall, I am pretty happy with the result.  It is definitely time consuming though!




In this picture you can see some error between the top two planks.  Basically I installed the plank on the top but there was a bit of a gap between it and the plank to its left.  I tore that plank out and installed a new one, but while taking out the original plank, I slightly damaged the planks below it so now there is still a little bit of gap there.  It might be something I will be able to cover up with ropes or something later on.  Or actually, it may be mostly covered up by the fore mast and the ventilator.  Time will tell.




Now to go start smoking a brisket for tomorrow's dinner... yum!

Edited by FlounderFillet5
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More deck planking progress... It's time consuming but enjoyable!  I am waiting to put in the waterways and the planks that will joggle into it.  Hopefully I'm not shooting myself in my foot by leaving that for the end but I have it in my mind that I will be able to just drop in the last planks like puzzle pieces... we will see.



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My gosh, this deck planking is slow going!  I'm not sure if I approached it the right way by doing the easier inner planking first and then leaving the planks that joggle into the waterway for last, but it is working out okay.  It is just very mentally straining because every plank requires a ton of concentration to cut right and then get a matching notch in the waterway to accept it.  Like I said, it is VERY slow going.  


Here is where I stand currently.  I would say I am about 1/3 done with the planks that require joggling.  



Edited by FlounderFillet5
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Progress update:


The fore deck planking is done and it has been partially scraped with a razor blade to smooth it out and get rid of lead and extra glue.  The area that has been scraped already looks really nice with the nice boxwood color.  Although the planking job isn't perfect, I am satisfied with it as a first attempt at any kind of planking.  I plan on just covering up some of the imperfections later with decorative items like rope coils and the like.


Here is a photo of the completed fore deck planking.  




Once the deck scraping commenced.




This is one of the errors in the planking.  At this scale, any gap is significant and quite noticeable, at least to the builder... lol




Next up will be the aft deck and, thankfully, that will not require any plank joggling.  Instead, the planks will be bent so that the follow the lines of the waterways.  Hopefully, this will prove easier and less time consuming than plank joggling, I cringe at those words!

Edited by FlounderFillet5
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Hi Max:


I love the commitment to detail you're bringing to this build. Really nice work. My Phantom is currently in a dilapidated state in my son's room, but your build is adding some motivation to strip the thing and re-do it. Thanks for sharing


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Hey guys!


Hamilton, welcome to my build log and thanks for the encouragement.  So far I have been happy with how the build is turning out, although I am probably one of the slowest ship builders around haha.  If you have pictures of your Phantom, I would love to see the finished product.  Also, if you do end up restoring yours, start a build log as I would be very interested in seeing a model come back to life after needing some TLC.  In case you aren't already aware, there will be a POB version of the Phantom coming out sometime in the, hopefully near, future.  


I finished scraping the fore deck and the boxwood is really showing its colors now.  I need to repaint the inner bulwarks but I will wait until I am done with the aft deck planking before doing that.  All the decking will be getting a coat of polywipe satin(I think I have the satin version).   I test fit the deck house again and it still fits.


A photo of the scraped deck. 



Edited by FlounderFillet5
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A quick update:


The aft deck planking has been coming along nicely, though it is time consuming.  The planks have been bending easily without the need to do anything extra to them, thankfully.  Below are a couple pictures of the progress so far.  




Now is the time to decide whether a king plank is the way to go or just have the planks meet in the middle in a criss-cross or zig-zag fashion.



Edited by FlounderFillet5
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Hey guys,


David, Tom, Adam, and Richard:  Thanks for the kind words and thanks for following along.  


The aft deck planking is done, all that remains is the sunken cockpit decking and it will be done.  The aft deck still needs to be scraped but I think it turned out well, although not without its flaws.



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Build update:


The aft deck is scraped and looking good.  Last bit of planking is the sunken cockpit which should not take too long.  Then, it is on to something different.  I know what you are thinking... "Thank God, the repetitive planking updates are almost over!"  lol







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Planking Progress:  Done!


Finally, the planking is completely done.  The sunken cockpit is planked.  I mistakenly didn't cut individual planks for the cockpit so I had to go in and cut small lines in the planks to represent plank ends.  I then tried to work some lead into the cracks.  




Here is the cockpit scraped and smooth.  As you can see, I accidentally cut into neighboring planks on a couple of the cuts.  I am a little disappointed with the results of this fix but I think it will likely not be too noticeable once the model is complete, though I will know the errors are there.




Test fitting the aft deck house to make sure everything fits well and it does.




Next, I will be trying to cut new strips for the cockpit grating.  The kit supplied grating is grossly over-sized.

Edited by FlounderFillet5
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Ok, so I built a little table saw for use with my dremel 4000 to make the grating.  I found the plans online, if anyone is interested you can find the instructions here:




Its no Byrnes saw, but it did the job ok.




I cut a piece of 1/32" boxwood.  Then cut channels doing my best to keep them a consistent distance from one another.  Each cut is about 1/64" deep in the wood.




Next, cut strips in the other direction.




Here is a comparison of the difference in size.  The kit supplied strips are up top, and the bottom two sets of strips are mess ups that I was testing stain on, trying to match the color of the accent strip which will be used later in the project.




The stained and glued grate, just needs to be cut to size but I will wait a little while before doing that.  Will need to repaint the cockpit area and apply poly to all the planked surfaces.  




A reference for size.



Edited by FlounderFillet5
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WOW! That's some serious commitment! Excellent work so far on the Phantom. I don't have any photos of my phantom to be honest - it was my first model and I was more focused on developing techniques than documenting the build. She's not sitting kind of sad on my son's window ledge....so many other modelling projects that I don't know when I'll get to her.....someday.


There are (or have been) some rehabilitation projects here on MSW.....there was a particularly detailed one on MSW1 by a fellow Canuck whose handle I can't remember - but I think it was of a clipper ship....the model was fished out of a trash can as I recall in a really sore state - watching her come back was a real treat - perhaps other forum members can fill in the blanks of my sketchy account....


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Hey guys,


First, responses to your posts.


Adam, ever since I first opened the kit to see the contents, that grating has bothered me so I am glad I was able to make something I can live with as a replacement.  Too bad I don't have a Byrnes saw yet, as it would have come out much nicer I am sure.


Hamilton, as always, thanks for the kind words and encouragement!  That totally makes sense to just focus on building some skills with your first kit, I built a few Midwest kits before starting this one which really gave me some confidence to go ahead with this build.  I am sure this build would go MUCH faster if I wasn't trying to improvise so much, hopefully it all pays off in the end!



It has been a while since my last update so here is a quick one.


I have been working on a variety of little items for the ship:  I cut the caprail, I am working on the rails for the sliding tops of the companionways, I have been cutting a TON of copper plates, and started experimenting with Patina-It.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention why the updates haven't really been coming.  I have been experimenting and practicing with my new airbrush and I finally built up the confidence to paint the hull and inside bulwarks with it.  I have found out first hand that spraying acrylics definitely has its fair share of difficulties like tip dry and whatnot.  Fun to practice though!


Here are a couple pics of the caprail.  I started with a 1/32" thick sheet of boxwood, pressed it against the bulwarks and traced the outside.  I then cut out about 1/16"-1/8" wide of that line and sanded to shape.  Once it roughly overhung the exterior of the bulwarks by 1/16"-1/32", I cut out the interior and went to work with my needle files until it was about right.  I am a little concerned that I didn't leave enough overhang on the interior to fully cover and hang over the stanchions but that can probably be fixed by sanding them a little thinner.






A picture of the hull exterior with two coats of Golden fluid acrylic bone black with matte medium and airbrush medium mixed in.  The waterline is also drawn on.





250 copper plates in the box and some oversized plates for the keel, stem, and stern post.




A few spare copper plates on a scrap piece of wood, burnished and ready for patina experimentation.




First try using Patina-It.  I used some 0000 steel wool to remove the finish and then applied two coats of Patina-It with this result.  I will be trying many different methods of application and see if anything seems like it will look good on the model.  Maybe a more sporadic application so it isn't as solid.  Let me know if you guys have any experience or ideas about using this stuff.




Now it is on to coppering the hull and I expect this project to really start moving along.

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