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US Brig Syren by SparrowHawk7 - Model Shipways - 1:64 - First build


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Thanks Patrick ... I'm just muddling along as best I can. I try to do the best job possible for my level of skill and hope for acceptable results. I think one important thing is that I know when my work is below what I want it to be and I am able to see why or where I went astray so I can learn from it and hopefully do better next time. I can't say I'm bursting with pride over what I've done but I am pleased overall because I didn't expect to get this far at all so that is something of an accomplishment. And I don't see any reason why I can't finish the model from this point so that is also pleasing. I was really worried about the planking as that has been the death knell for so many model attempts before this. I do appreciate your encouragement and that of others here though.  Thank you. :)

 

I think so many outstanding artists posting build logs here is something of a two edged sword for beginners like me. On one hand it shows what can be done with a high degree of skill and that is good until the beginner realizes they can't replicate it and fall woefully short. And by that, it can be discouraging in a way because I do not really think I can build anywhere near some of the level of skill demonstrated on this site. But it gives me something to strive for ... and the people here are all encouraging and helpful which definitely keeps me going.

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Did all the wales today. Not very difficult although clamping was awkward but they are now done. I also cut some of the sweeps and shaped the gun ports somewhat better plus did some framing on the stern gun ports.  I think tomorrow I will experiment a bit with treenails. I have a Byrnes table saw and draw plate so I have all I need - the biggest question is what size drill bit to use so they look correct and not oversize. Probably hard to go too small at 1/64 ... Questions enough for tomorrows investigations.  :)

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Hi Doug ... they are all a bit daunting to be honest, but I have found that if you take things just one small step at a time they are manageable.  The big problem is that we haven't got the skills when we start ... and we see the videos that make it look so easy or the other build logs from guys who are exceptionally talented and skilled so a part of us tells us we can do that too. But it isn't likely to happen the first time around so we have to have patience with ourselves and allow us the luxury to have time to make the mistakes and learn. I was afraid of planking because it looked so hard and the results some get are really awesome Of course I hoped for that myself, but I knew it wasn't likely so I just jumped in and did the best I could - trying to remember everything I had read/heard/seen. You can't, of course, but I found bending the wood was not particularly difficult which got me to taking each piece on it's own merits and trying to do each one to fit as well as I could. In the end, I succeeded in planking the hull. It doesn't hold up under close scrutiny but it is still complete and the overall lines seem about right. I will take that as a huge success and know I will approach planking my next one differently and probably (hopefully) will do a better job. Skills being built - however slowly. You will do the same.

 

It also helps to keep one of these build logs - I found that out when I was learning to draw. Just showing finished artwork got me a lot of "ooos and ahhhas!" but that only boosted my ego and did nothing to help me grow. Sure it's nice but the point of a log is pointing out what was done in the proper order and having something you can look back on to see how much you've grown. I critiqued all my work terribly and found that as time went along I saw all the mistakes before they became insurmountable and my artwork improved tremendously. Another advantage to these WIPS (work in progress in the art world) is to add a certain amount of pressure on you to keep going - after all others are watching so you can't just quit. Don't try to please viewers because that wont be possible, but show your mistakes, own up to them, and explain as best you can where you went wrong and how you can fix them - or ask for help. That is also priceless and can lead to decent skills being developed without too much pain - and most of the pain is self inflicted which isn't too bad. I'm not a big fan of the word "luck" but I have no doubt that you will do just fine and end up with something you can legitimately be proud of. It probably won't be award winning ... but it will be to you. :) You already know all this ... I'm just writing away. I'm very taciturn and painfully shy as you can see. 

 

Ken

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Did the treenails on the starboard side. Sadly the drunk workman who planked the stern drew dibs for the job. I am taking steps to fire the guy but labor laws are such that it is difficult. Perhaps I can get him to use an awl to mark the exact location for the holes before using the drill as that would definitely help. Hopefully he won't be too stubborn to at least try that when he shows up for work tomorrow. Good help is hard to find. Sigh.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've actually been working on the model but the going has been a little slow due to my using PVA glue and not CA at this point. I do a small thing then wait for it to dry before moving on. Maybe not the best but it seems to work for me and gives me plenty of time to plan my next mistake.

Anyway, I finished the inside of the bulwarks and stern. I have reached the point where I have applied wood filler to a couple places that needed it but there is a bit more sanding to be done on those areas and also along the cap of the bulwarks. I didn't get the thickness correct but I will probably just use a wider stock (or mill my own) to cover that error and it probably won't show. Keen eyed watchers will note several more errors I've made but ones I am going to just live with. There are supposed to be 10 gun ports per side ... somehow I got lost after 8. ??? sigh. But everything is now covered so she is going to have 4 less canons. I also got messed up cutting the sweeps and missed a bunch. Again though, everything is covered so finding them would just ask for trouble and being my first build I have decided that rather than punch holes in the hull hunting for peas I will live with the mistake. I have learned a tremendous amount in doing the build this far and won't make the same mistakes again but some are kind of past the point of no return on this build without spending an inordinate amount of time. I didn't get the gun ports 100% square but they are pretty close and I think will look fine once the port covers are put on and the canons in place. A ship has so much to see that the small things we focus on when building her will go almost unnoticed in the completed ship.

So I am now ready to paint the interior red which ought to make a huge difference. I spent a lot of time putting 3 coats of black on the hull but obviously the frog tape didn't hold and there is some severe leakage. I have tried scraping but even though I have tung oil on the bare wood of the outside bulwarks, the black isn't going anywhere. So I have decided to use yellow ochre on that stripe as I have always liked the colors of the HMS Victory which is nearly the same year. Close enough for rock-n-roll anyway. So that's where I am at the moment and moving ahead. I think I will tackle the deck next and then the coppering. I am hesitant about that but will give it a try .. how much more can I screw things up? And I am thinking that regardless of how badly that might be, almost everyone who looks at a model ship of this caliber knows nothing whatsoever about the ship or the techniques so they'll never know. And we all look at our earlier work and see things we would like to improve so that will be entirely normal. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And if it all goes to heck in a handbasket I can always just paint the hull with only a few the wiser.

 

Sorry the photos aren't very good quality ... I try but it's rather difficult in my work area to take photos and the lighting isn't terribly good ... and mostly I'm lazy. A tripod, flashes, reflector and the like - all of which I have and know how to use - are so much trouble to set up and even more difficult now that I'm confined to a wheelchair. So that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it. :)

 

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Thanks for watching.

Ken

Edited by SparrowHawk7
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I guess it's either that or give up on the hobby altogether, Patrick. I am never going to make the "perfect" model and I seem to have an unlimited capacity to make mistakes (it's a gift it seems) so I suspect I will get plenty of experience fixing and overcoming errors as long as I pursue being a model shipwright. The thing is I find I really enjoy that. In fact, although I have screwed up nearly everything I have tried on this model in one way or another, I am thoroughly enjoying every bit of the build and looking forward to my next one where I will ardently try to find NEW mistakes to pursue. That is my goal and one I feel more than competent enough to achieve!

 

Thank you for watching and offering your encouragement ... it means a lot.

 

Ken

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I've come up with a story for MY rendition of the Syren after examining things in the light of a couple coats of paint and allowing for the lack of skill moving forward. Since the ship is going to appear recently dry docked (freshly painted mostly) I have decided my version shows what she looked like after repairs with whatever they had on hand so she could get back to sea as quickly as possible. They didn't spend a lot of time trying to do exemplary work but just slapped things together and slopped tar and paint on as fast as possible - and then there's that drunken workman we've spoken of before. Well, it works for me and makes me feel a bit better about my lack of skills so we'll just keep this between us, OK? (as you'll discover over time I have almost no personality and am painfully shy. Sigh.)

 

Ken

Edited by SparrowHawk7
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