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Corsair by cbeckenb - Occre - 1:80 Scale


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Hello everyone, 

This will be my second build log on MSW, now for the Occre Corsair!

I saw this kit selling for a very good price and decided to snag one while I could. This will be my first actual ship, since the other kits I have built have been much smaller boats.

I think this kit will be a good intermediate level build, since it only has two masts and the build does not seem overly complicated. Looks like a good opportunity to try planking and rigging for a larger and more complex subject. Plus, as far as I can tell, it is a fictional ship so I do not have to worry about being accurate with every detail. Plus, it's a pirate ship!

So let's get started....

 

First up was to unbox the kit and sort/inventory everything.

 

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The blocks and deadeyes are made of plastic, but I think they will look quite good in the end. The metal castings look well done and it does not seem that there will be all that much cleanup required. I am less thrilled about the rigging thread, it seems to have quite a lot of fuzz and I do not really like the color of the lighter line. That will be simple enough to replace when I get to the rigging later down the road.

 

I marked the laser-cut pieces with their numbers as suggested by the instructions.. Next all the wood strips were sorted (there sure are a lot):

 

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Next I removed all the bulkheads and cleaned off the char from gluing surfaces as best I could. The larger laser-cut pieces are just plywood and the charred edges are very rough so this took quite a bit of filing but I think I have removed enough for glue to hold well enough.

 

After dry-fitting everything a few times, I glued the bulkheads onto the spine one at a time, using the deck to hold them in place while the glue set to make sure they are lined up correctly.

 

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The deck is already sort of warped in the correct direction along the spine, but it is also curving upwards athwartships. It does not seem so stiff that it will need to be soaked to flatten it; I think the curve is small enough that if I glue it to the tops of the bulkheads strategically it will be fine.

However that also means I will want to glue it to the ship before doing the deck planking so that it will be flat... I do not think I will have major problems with that strategy but we will see how it goes.

 

While all that set, I decided to try planking the poop deck. Using this link for reference: http://modelshipworldforum.com/resources/Framing_and_Planking/Deck_PlankingIIbuttshifts.pdf

I chose the "Every 5" strategy which means the plank ends are staggered like this:

 

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I picked a 120mm plank length (scaled up that's about 31.5 ft, for us Yanks). The edges of the planks are marked with pencil to darken the joints.

 

Cutting, marking the edges, and gluing was surprisingly time-consuming for such a small part. Once they were all glued on I used a razor saw and files to trim the edges.

 

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I like the result. I am not sure whether to sand it to even out the seams, I am worried that sanding would remove some of the pencil shading as it is mostly on the corners of the pieces. In any case I am thinking I should put on a single light coat of Wipe-On Poly so that I can lightly knock down the grain after the first coat, since that will probably be much more difficult once it is on the model and more assembly is done.

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In the past few days I got the main deck glued on and the main deck planking finished up.

I used CA to do this rapidly, and as mentioned before I glued the deck on one bulkhead at a time to flatten it out.

 

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Then I moved on to the planking.. I created a little jig to cut 120mm planks and made quite a lot of them. Here is one batch:

 

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I used the same "Every 5" method as above for the poop deck and set to work..

This ended up taking much longer than I expected and was quite tedious.. here is a shot halfway through:

 

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And I managed to finish it up along with planking Bulkhead 9 this weekend.

 

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I also got the holes for the masts, bowsprit, and hatch cleaned up, as well as the outer boundary of the deck. This probably would have been easier to do before gluing the deck to the spine, but I do not think the deck would have curved correctly in both planes had I done it off the model.

 

I put on one thin coat of Wipe On Poly to the surfaces that I have planked.. I expect I will put on a second or third coat later on but I wanted to make sure I could get one coat smooth before more assembly is done.

 

Next up is the bulwarks... these are thick plywood and I am 100% certain they will snap when trying to bend them at the bow if I am not careful. My strategy will be to soak and bend them to the right curvature before I plank their insides.. the instructions would have you do the planking while the pieces are flat but I do not think you could bend the bulwarks correctly (or easily) if they are planked beforehand, so I will play it safe.

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  • 1 month later...

It has been a long time since my last post, but I have made some pretty good progress despite a break of a few weeks.

 

I decided to bend the bulwarks before planking the insides to make the job a little easier, and I think it worked well. I soaked them for a long time in hot water and nailed them into place before letting them dry overnight. They kept the shape pretty well when removed.

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After planking the insides of the bulwarks they were glued on which took some time but worked out okay enough.

 

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I also planked the fore deck, upper stern, and attached them but neglected to take photos.. 

The upper stern was soaked and bent before planking, similar to what I did for the bulwarks.

 

I then faired the hull and started on the planking!

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Starting with the 'master strake' per the instructions, I planked upwards to the bulwarks.

The kit comes with 2mm thick strips for planking, which are thicker than I would have liked and made it a bit difficult when it comes to curves at the bow and twists at the stern.

 

Another point to watch out for, is that the second bulkhead is much narrower than I think it should be. Gluing it on the way it is set up would make for a very sharp bend at the third bulkhead and an almost straight run to the bow. I don't think that looks good at all and decided to let the shape of the bow follow the way the plank wants to bend, which leads to about a 2mm gap from the bulkhead.

 

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Ultimately I made a couple shims to keep the curve of the bow looking more natural.

Another problem that needs to be corrected later, is the depth of the master strake. The master strake comes as a 4mm thick plank and sits in notches in the bulkheads. The notches are inconsistent and deeper than 2mm, so a 2mm thick plank next to it will not be flush at all in some places.

 

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I couldn't figure out how the outermost planks were supposed to sit at the stern so I decided to build up the stern galleries first.. this is out of sequence with the instructions but it made it easier for me to figure out how planks are supposed to sit back there.

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Once the top was done, I started from the garboard up and the master strake down to meet in the middle.

I was more intelligent about the bottom planks and soaked one end in water, nailed it in place and let it dry to get the twist at the stern easier to deal with.

Then took it off, soaked the other end, and nailed it in place at the bow, and let that dry. Once that was done I took all the nails out and glued them into place.

 

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This of course led to some weird shaped planks needed to fill in the gaps but that was not too hard a chore.

 

So the next problem to solve was the aforementioned depth of the master strake:

 

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The discrepancy is almost 2mm at the curves at the bow and stern and clearly can't be managed with just filler.

So I decided to stack up some 0.5mm strips to fill it in.

 

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I'm not sure how well this is going to hold up during sanding but we'll see...

 

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So there we go! First layer of planking done.

Thank goodness there is a second layer because this looks terrible.

 

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I don't like the way Occre wants you to plank the hull. Instead of doing it properly and having a consistent number of planks that taper at the bow and stern, they have you do it this way where the planks are attached as they would be if you just lay it on the side and bend it into place without any tapering or spiling. 

Look at the way the planks curve upwards at the bow vs. what the correct way would be:

 

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I know they do this to make it easier, but to me it makes it more difficult to figure out whether they are twisting or bending the right way as you go.

I will definitely do it the right way for the second layer of planking, as the way the first layer is done just looks very unnatural to me. Unfortunately, if you attach the master strake in the notches on the bulkheads you have no choice. It may have taken less time but I feel like it will make it more difficult to do the second layer properly.

I also wish the strips for the first layer were thinner, as that would have made it easier to twist and bend them and get them to lie more correctly.

 

Well, in any case, next up is a few hours of sanding and putty to get a decent foundation for the second layer of planking.

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Planking update!

The first layer of planking is all filled and sanded and I have done about a third of the second layer.

 

Sanding and filling took a good several hours this weekend but turned out much smoother than I anticipated.

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(I did a little cleanup at the stern after taking these pics)

 

The hull has quite a nice shape to it and should look pretty good in the end, I think.

Once that was all cleaned up, I glued on the keel and stem parts. It took some sanding and cutting away bit by bit at the upper bow to get the stem in place but ultimately it fits pretty well.

 

Next I spent a few hours planning out the second layer, including measuring and lining off the hull.

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I may have gone overboard but this is my first shot at doing it this way, with spiling all the planks at the bow and stern. So far so good.

You'll notice I put some masking tape over the keel to stop it from getting scraped up as I move the thing around. Turns out those pieces are just regular plywood dyed that dark color, so any marring of the surface really shows..

 

Next is the second layer of planking, which is this nice looking walnut:

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I'm not sure if it's actually walnut or something else dyed this color. Anyway, it's paper thin and easy to bend and twist. 

However, it is really fragile. it will splinter and fall apart really really easily. Dampening each strip with my finger before working with it seems to help.

 

I decided to go with a 3-butt shift, my first time attempting it. It's actually pretty quick using Chuck's method found in some YouTube videos in the Planking section of the forums. About 20 minutes per strake so far, though I'm getting quicker.

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I think it is going to be a handsome looking ship, I like the wood color. I will leave it natural like this and just put on a few coats of Wipe On Poly.

 

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I've learned it is best to cover one side of the ship with masking tape while I'm planking the other side.. otherwise these planking strips will catch on anything cloth and start to splinter.. I'm not sure if that is typical of this kit, but the wood is so fragile that I'm kind of worried I'll run out if I'm not really careful.

 

All said, I think I'll be done with the second layer this week if all goes well!

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Great progress this week.

I have finished the second layer of planking. 

Despite the roughness of the wood the lower hull turned out great.

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Yesterday I got the upper hull planking finished up which was significantly easier, not needing to spile every single plank.

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Stern galleries planked over:

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And then today I got the rubbing strakes put on and the upper stern planked over.

The strips provided for the rubbing strakes aren't quite long enough to run the full length, so I ended up cutting them into 16cm lengths which split the strakes into three pieces, which I think turned out to look better.

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So after getting all these pieces on, I figured it was time to put a coat of poly on the lower hull to protect it while I move the thing around getting the other decorative pieces on the wales.

 

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Quite a large contrast! I think it looks fantastic, much better than I anticipated to be honest. I'm really glad I went with splitting up each plank into ~20cm lengths, I think the variation makes it much more interesting to look at. We'll see what it looks like after the poly has all soaked in and dried overnight; I don't think it will be as glossy but hopefully still keeps the color.

 

There are a few little gaps where the wood splintered at some point and you can see through to the first layer of planking..  had I seen those earlier I would have tried to fill them in. As it is, though, you can't seem them when the ship is sitting upright so I'm not too bothered.

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Posted (edited)

Progress update.

 

Since varnishing the lower hull, I have made some decent progress this week.

 

I started off getting the railings on and some other decorative strips along the bow and stern.

 

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I am rather proud of the way the curved pieces at the top of the poop deck worked out. Per the instructions, they were made out of some little 2x4mm pieces. All sanded down and stained they look pretty good on the ship.

 

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A coat of poly was then applied to the hull above the wales once all those pieces were on.

While waiting for that to dry, I decided to get started on painting the castings since they'll be going on the model pretty soon.

 

I airbrushed the stern decorative thing and the gunports gold over black primer, which turned out pretty well.

 

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Cannons and anchors painted with black primer, with some drybrushing to add a little depth.

 

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I spent way too much time mixing the brown to go on the anchors, since I can't seem to find an appropriate shade ready made.

I also built and stained all the cannon carriages:

 

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The little wheels provided are plastic and a kind of light tan, which I think makes the assembly look like a toy.

Since I can't seem to find a brown paint I'm happy with, I'm thinking I will just paint the wheels/axles black.. any thoughts?

 

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The gunports are now on the hull along with a couple small additions, which sums up the progress this week.

I am reaching the point where I need to cut into the railing on the forward deck for the cat davits. I realized that I had installed the fore deck much too low for the cat davits to end up flush with the railing so I also pulled that off and reworked it a bit to install it at the right height.

 

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Edited by cbeckenb
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Posted (edited)

More good progress this week. 

Started off getting the gudgeons and pintles nailed on and the rudder attached. Took a while longer than I thought to cut the hole in the stern for the top of the rudder but managed to get it all done.

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Then I made pinracks and cat davits, and started on the beakhead. I stained the laser-cut parts to get closer to the color of the kit wood.

 

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Other various details were added on, like ladders, windows, and the decorative sternpiece.

 

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I experimented with making my own windows but after spending an hour on one of them and then messing it up, I decided it wasn't worth the time investment..

 

The first rigging is on the model, which is just some blocks and hearts attached to the deck:

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Other major item this week is getting the deadeyes installed:

 

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Took a few tries to get the process down for these, but it went somewhat quickly once I had it figured out.

 

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I'm not entirely confident in the ability of those chains to take very much tension since the links come undone pretty easily, so I will have to be careful when tensioning the shrouds later on.

The spacing of the chains bothers me too, but between trying to stay in line with the shrouds and avoiding the gunports, I guess that's the way it has to be..

 

A couple other details, I managed to get the railing on the upper deck last night and got the grating made.

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The ship is really coming together! Masting and rigging is not far away.

 

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Edited by cbeckenb
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