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San Francisco II by Mike - Artesania Latina - 1:90

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That's my first build of that scale, but not the first experience with ship modeling.

The goal is to complete this kit on a reasonable time, gain enough experience, and then start a new one - more detailed and expensive - polishing it to perfection.

So this log will be quite boring, I do not plan to do any interesting changes to the kit, and will use details provided in the kit. Otherwise the build time will be increased unreasonably ;)

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Got mislead by a photo in AL manual, used a thick planks instead of thin ones. Decided to leave it as is :)



Current phase - everything is ready for planking, filling the front part with balsa to have a proper contact


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Does anybody had a problem with a mahogany plank shortage in a kit? I made a rough estimations, remaining planks should be precisely enough to finish the hull, if you assume that they are used with 100% efficiency, without any plank broken or damaged. Is it possible to contact AL and order extra planks? The "contact" section on their website is empty, hence the question.

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Hi Mike, Welcome to the San Francisco club! There are quite a few builders here and I'm sure you'll find all the help and advice you need.


My San Fran was an older version and was double planked. I had plenty of materials provided in my kit, quite a bit was left over. Not sure how good Artesania Latina's after sales service is.

First Completed Build: San Francisco (Original Version)

Current build: Victory Models HMS Pegasus

Cross Stitch Project (Finished): Battle Of Agamemnon and Ca Ira

Cross Stitch Project : Victory & Temeraire

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Found an AL mail in the facebook group:

Phone: +34 942 70 56 00

Mail: artesanialatina@artesanialatina.net


Let's see if they will reply to a mail ;)


In a meanwhile, prepared balsa fillers for planking:



Planking turned out to be as tricky as I expected :)

Planks bend awfully, especially when you need to curve them a bit to follow the hull shape. They bend at a weak spots, not where you need them to be bent. Would appreciate a hints how to bend them properly. Right now I soak them in water, press with hot iron and try to bend. Works OK, but they bend unevenly, and I need them to bend smoothly and fluently.


I was not careful enough about fitting the planks into each other, so results are quite bad, there are gaps between the planks:




Probably, will re-do that part of the hull, and will spend more time fitting planks into each other.


Also, discovered a problem with kit - one of the bulkheads is a weird shape, as a result there is a non-smooth transition between the bulkheads, which do not follow a natural plank line:



Right now it cause a small "ladder":



It's good that planks are thick enough, so I can send off the poking plank and make that "step" less visible.


Edited by Mike Y
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  • 4 months later...

Hi Mike


I had the same problem at the foremost bulkheads.  I glued a piece of balsa wood to the bulwarks in that 'flat spot' (the piece came all the way to the top of the bulwarks).  I then sanded it down to give the hull a smooth, natural flow and then planked over it.



Current build : San Francisco II (AL)

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Yes, that makes sense, will do the same.

Currently build is on hold due to a lack of space to build in a new apartment :(

But will continue around christmas holidays :)

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Installed a test planks and feel a bit confused. How am I suppose to keep the waterline (which is bent) but make a smooth transition below the waterline?

Planking profile below the waterline looks really weird.

Most probably I'm doing some obvious mistake, but can't find how to fix it.

If I lay the planks in their natural position, then waterline would be flat, not bent line of as decks and gunports.

Would appreciate an advice from experienced builders!








Edited by Mike Y
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Decided to make a dirty workaround to move forward. That would be an experience obtained while building a first model :)

Just made a waterline planks as they should be, and filled the gap by diagonal planks.


Also, the whole thing required quite a lot of sanding, and top part of the planks shrinked a bit after soaking, exposing gaps - will fill them with smth later. Not ideal, but well, next time I will do better! ::






Also ordered Proxxon mini belt sander, hope it will help me to smoothen the planks.

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Had a nice hobby day today, was building during the entire day, whoohoo! Placed 10 planks, including some tricky filler planks.

That was quite simple thanks to my new proxxon belt sander. Looks like some kind of sander is mandatory for shipbuilding :)post-5430-0-84522500-1386445205_thumb.jpg


I like the result, filler plank is even hardly visible:






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  • 2 weeks later...

Continiung planking. Moving quite slow, but, well, it's a slow process :)

The most time-consuming planks are filler planks, like this:



I have just two planks left on this side of the hull. Yaay! :)





Really like the view of that mahogany, real wood. Should look better after sanding!


Also found some imperfections in a hull shape, for the next build will spend more time on bulkhead shaping.


And looks like I will be really out of mahogany planks quite soon. And not so many scraps to use. Will try to chase AL. Of course, they do not reply to mails, will call them.

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Finished planking of one side. It was a lot of experience, which is clearly visible on a hull. First planks has bigger gaps and less accurate fit.

Finished hull looks quite nice, there are some small gaps and imperfections, and I really hope I can smoothen them by sanding. Lets see when the entire hull would be completed :)

Lesson learnt, it is really extremely imporant to properly shape the bulkheads, next time I will do some temporarily planking to make sure that bulkheads are forming a smooth line. There are some "pits" on a hull that are simply incorrectly shaped bulkhead. Well, thats what experience is! :)








Now switching to MS longboat (pinnace) as a side project, need to have a rest from bending & sanding of the majogany planks... ;)

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I find that it is best to only push the nails half in, then remove them. It should make it much easier to sand things nice and smooth and then you can put them back in (with the heads cut off) after.

Kits owned: Mamoli Royal Louis, Mamoli Friesland, Mamoli HMS Victory 1:90, Occre Santisima Trinidad, Constructo HMS Prince

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Mike the hull looks great! Too bad about the AL support, thanks for the heads up on them.



"I drank what?" - Socrates


Current Builds:  


Finished Builds: 


Future Builds:        

  • Mamoli Golden Hind
  • Mamoli Black Prince
  • AL Swift


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I find that it is best to only push the nails half in, then remove them. It should make it much easier to sand things nice and smooth and then you can put them back in (with the heads cut off) after.

Indeed, you are right. I recognized it too late. But also I used nails for real, to hold the planks :)

So now I hammer nails deeper during sanding, which takes a lot of time..


Casey, thanks! Yes, AL is a bit dissappointing. I did not wasted any planks, every small broken piece is used for small planks in the top part of the hull, above waterline. And still, there are just not enough planks.

But, well, its a cheap kit after all.

Edited by Mike Y
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I like your build.  It looks great.  Couple of things though:


1.) Next time you do planking, I think the perferred method is to affix one plank to one side and then repeat on the other.  I believe the intention is to avoid warping the hull along the long axis.


2.) Here's a tip a learned about filling hairline gaps between planks.  Rub a little white glue into the gap between the planks and then lightly sand the area.  The resulting sanding dust will adhear to the glue and make the seam almost invisible.  I wouldn't try it on any gaps larger than 1/32.


I'll be following your build.  Thanks for sharing.



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Jesse, thanks a lot for your suggestions! They are really valuable.

Didnt thought about hull warping, it could be a problem. Will plank symmetrically next time.

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Nice build, Mike. Since this is one of my next projects - with probably some modifications - I´ll follow yours with interest! Waiting for new pics ^^

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Vivian, thanks!

Just a bit of warning - contact the seller and agree that they can provide more planks if number of planks in the box is too low.

According to my rough calculations, you need around 40-45 planks on each side, so you need something like 80-90 planks for a ship. AL gives you just 70 (according to item list), which is a really tight number, you cant afford to break planks or throw away the scraps. And mahogany is brittle and can break while bending. It is very frustrating, good reason to consider other kit if its one of your first builds.


And I'm not the only one with that issue, I saw similar frustration in some other logs too.

Edited by Mike Y
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Hello Mike


Planking both sides evenly is an important step as glue drying can cause keel warpage. 


It you haven't already seen it I highly recommend DanV's thread on how he fixes Boo-Boos and Oopies.



He covers filling gaps in planking and straightening a Fully framed keel that is warped among other things. His Vulture build is a must read also.


On the not enough wood issue. I have had GREAT luck getting wood from Mr Cantin, whom sells on ebay. I have ordered 3 times from him and even sent wood for him to cut and have always been pleased with his speed and wood. Mahogany may be hard to match but if your interested, I highly recommend his service, I have ordered on Saturday and had deliver by Wednesday, with all cutting done to my custom spec's, of course that is within the US. I do know he ships international.



To me your planking looks great, There's nothing there that a bit of wood dust and PVA and a few dozen hours of sanding won't make look beautiful. Congrats on the 1/2 way point.

Edited by themadchemist
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Mike, still waiting for the kit, but I´ll have that in mind. Thanks for the advice. ^^

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