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The Royal Yacht Duchess of Kingston 1778 by desalgu - Vanguard Models - 1:64


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Several months ago I ordered the kit from Vanguard Models.  I knew I wouldn't be starting it for a while, but thought shipping from UK might be slow.  It was not.  The kit was delivered hardly a week after I ordered it, so it's been sitting here teasing me to get started.  The box has something I found quite amusing.  It says "not suitable for children under 36 months".  Really?  Maybe it meant 36 years!   Unfortunately, I'm over qualified age wise, but not necessarily skill wise.

 

This is my 4th build, but really my 3rd major build.  The other kits I've built were all Model Shipways, so this kit is a big step up in quality (and price).  My first impression is you get what you pay for.  For someone that's only seen Model Shipways kits, this one is kind of amazing.  And that's not meant to slam Model Shipways, because their kits, especially those designed by Chuck are good and much, much less expensive than this one.  For less expensive kits, they are excellent.  That said, I can see myself getting spoiled building kits (or maybe even a scratch build) with parts of this quality. 

 

 

Royal_Yacht_Kit_Box.JPG

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I've barely done anything, but here's some photos.  The first thing you do is built a simple cradle to hold the hull while building.  These parts are MDF, which I haven't used before.  There's no grain or warping to worry about, and they seem pretty strong.  The laser cutting was excellent.  I only had to sand smooth where the small tabs where and sand the slots a little to get the parts to slide together.

 

The same goes for the false keel and a small piece that will be the base of a mast, assume main mast.  The slot in the false keel and this piece will really help getting the mast in the right position and aligned.  I'm going slow on this right now, so you'll have to be patient for updates.

 

I'm including a photo of a page in the manual, which I'm impressed with so far.  It's printed on very nice paper and has lots of excellent photos.  As far as I'm concerned, you can't have too many photos in the instruction manual.  So far, I'm impressed!

LaserCut_MDF_Sheet.JPG

Cradle_FalseKeel.JPG

Page_of_Manual.JPG

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Posted (edited)

Those laser cut parts look amazing. I currently need to fix up some warping going on with my Confed build because of the plywood. I don't think you'll encounter any of those issues. Looking forward to this build! 

Edited by WalrusGuy
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Posted (edited)

I love the caveat that the model is not for children under 36 months old.  It could be OK for them though if mom or dad buys it for them and realizes she/he will have to build it for their child!  😁  Like that was not their plan to begin with, hmmmmm

Allan

 

Edited by allanyed
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I've made a little bit of progress.  Before assembling the basic framework, 3 bow and 3 stern bulkheads along with some bow support parts were beveled.  It is smart to do some preliminary beveling before assembly when it's easy to do.   Only problem is how much do you bevel, and to make sure you don't bevel too much.  I used the photos in the manual to estimate how much to bevel, and used a Dremel with sanding drum to do the job.  MDF parts were easy to sand with Dremel.  I got it fairly smooth with Dremel, but smoothed it some more with sanding stick and circular sanding thing (a circular sander from "perma-grit").  Tried to be real careful and not take off too much wood (MDF).

 

Bulkheads_Beveled_1.JPG

Bulkheads_Beveled_2.JPG

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Once the parts were beveled, they were assembled into the basic frame.  Slots in each part interlock together, which forces alignment, and makes it more difficult to make mistakes (parts won't fit if you do it wrong).  I was impressed that the parts slipped together easily with no extra sanding or filing.  I didn't glue anything until I had all the parts fitting together correctly.  Then I brushed thinned yellow glue over all the joints as recommended in the manual.  Since this is internal structure, I didn't worry about being very neat with glue.  

 

This is just the start of the framework.  Additional support parts still need to be added.  For example the stern bulkhead will have supports to keep it aligned, so it hasn't been glued yet.  

 

The glue wasn't even dry when I took some photos.  

Basic_Framework_1.jpg

Basic_Framework_3.jpg

Basic_Framework_5.jpg

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On 6/9/2021 at 8:57 PM, allanyed said:

I love the caveat that the model is not for children under 36 months old.  It could be OK for them though if mom or dad buys it for them and realizes she/he will have to build it for their child!  😁  Like that was not their plan to begin with, hmmmmm

Allan

 

For some European countries, modelkits are grouped under 'toys', and European regulations stipulate that with toys you should give that warning, as soon as parts under a certain size are included.

Has nothing to do with the question whether or not the toy is 'suited' for that age-category. From that point of view the text could also have been: beware, small parts included. (Yup, I agree, still a silly text on a modelkit :) )

 

Jan

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Many thanks for everyone following along.  I've had computer problems (bad disk), so haven't been able to post any updates for about a week.  Without a computer, it's amazing how much time I had to work on the boat and other projects around the house, LOL!

 

I hope I can post these in the right sequence.  After doing the basic framework, I added some supports for the lower deck.  The lower deck has laser etched "planking".  It's a little more subtle in appearance than if you plank it yourself and use a pencil along the edges.  Using this for the lower deck planking sure makes it easy.

 

Lower_Deck_Support.JPG

Lower Deck.JPG

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The next step was to put in a plywood base for the forward deck.  Manual said to bend it to get it to go over the bulwarks, and you really have to bend it.  I was surprised I had to bend it that much to get it over the top of the bulkheads.  I thought it might break, but it didn't.  There are slots in the bulkheads for it to go into, and it kind of pops into place.  Took a little fiddling to get it into all the slots.  Once in all of them, it fit nicely on top of the bulkheads.  I brushed glue on from underneath, the same way I did for the framework. There was no need to clamp.

 

There is a similar plywood base for the upper deck.  I installed it the same way, although it didn't require quite as much bending.  It fit nicely into the bulkhead slots, and I brushed glue on from underneath again.  I used tape to hold the deck on the corners instead of the little nails in the kit.  It seemed to work fine.  I've always had a hard time with the little nails, so usually find another way to hold something in place.  It's just me.

 

I've been using thinned Tightbond and guessed how much water to add.  I didn't make it too thin.  I'm guessing I added 1 part water to about 4 parts glue, but I didn't measure anything.  There was no need to be very precise about it.

Forward_Deck_Base.JPG

Lower_and_Forward_Decks.JPG

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I forgot to include photo of the upper deck base, so here it is.

 

Looking ahead, the kit provides laser etched forward and upper deck parts.  They look pretty good to me, although I've planked decks in the two previous builds.  Treenails are simulated along with planking.  When the time comes, it will certainly be easier to use these parts instead of planking the deck, although I don't mind planking.  I'm not very good going along the edges though.  

 

I'm including pictures of the laser etched parts.  Does anyone have thoughts on this?

Upper_Deck_Base.JPG

Forward_Deck_Planking.JPG

Upper_Deck_Planking.JPG

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There are some beveled fill pieces that go along the false keel to support planking this area.  I beveled these before gluing as recommended in manual.  I don't know about others, but I have more difficulties shaping and planking the stern than the bow.  When I fair the hull, these will required more shaping.

Beveled_Stern_Fills_1.JPG

Beveled_Stern_Fills_2.JPG

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It's now time to sand and fair the hull.  As I got started, it looked like I was going to open up a small gap just below the upper deck and the stern bulwark or bulkhead.  The manual said to use the upper deck as a guide for sanding the bulkheads, and if I sanded that much, there was going to be a small open area, only 1/16" at most, but I thought this needed some extras support.

 

So I added a couple of small pieces of MDF to fill in this area.  If it turns out they interfere with future pieces, I can chisel out whatever causes the problem.  First photo shows the pieces glued underneath the upper deck along the outer edges.

 

Pictures show the progress so far.  I still have a lot of sanding to do.  The stern area along the false keel has the sharpest curvature, and that's the part that I think is the most difficult.  I may end up adding a little wood filler in this area.  

 

I'm using a combination of round sanding files and a sanding block.  I've found MDF sands easily, not too different from basswood, maybe slightly harder and it doesn't have grain.  It's much easier to sand than plywood.

 

Hull_Fairing_Progress_1.JPG

Hull_Fairing_Progress_2.JPG

Hull_Fairing_Progress_3.JPG

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Thank you James H!  So far no major problems, only a couple of very minor ones hardly worth mentioning.

 

I think I have the hull faired.  It always seems to be a judgement call, but it looks ok, and I can run a strip of wood along it, and that looks ok.  One place along the edge of the deck near the bow I sanded a tad too much, but I don't think it will be a problem.  For me the stern area was the most difficult to fair, and I hope I did it right.  I tried to match the many great photos in the manual.  The photos gave me confidence that I've done things correctly.

 

I used a variety of tools to fair the hull.  For the larger areas I used a sanding block with 120 grit paper.  For concave curved areas I have a couple of sanding tubes and used both.  For the stern with tighter curvature I resorted to perma-grit files.  You have to go easy with sanding tubes and files.  They easily cut thru the MDF.  I used some 220 sand paper to clean things up in a few places.

 

I brushed on glue after assembling the frame and while sanding I got a little vibration in a few areas, usually the deck and bulkhead joints.  So I had to add a little more glue to make them solid.  I still like this method, and as I've mentioned before, I've used it when building balsa model airplane kits with similar egg-crate structures.

Hull_Fairing_Bow_1.jpg

Hull_Fairing_Bow_2.jpg

Hull_Fairing_Stern_1.jpg

Hull_Fairing_Stern_2.jpg

Hull_Fairing_Mid.jpg

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Glued on the bow pattern last night.  It was a tight fit between the two formers on the bow and even required tapping a little bit to get it in there, so only clamped it along the keel to maintain alignment.

 

The next step is to curve the plywood bulwarks.  Manual says to soak and wrap it around a can, and that's what I've seen others do in build logs.  It's about a 6" diameter, but I couldn't find a can, tube, or anything of that diameter here at the house.  But I have lots of small pieces of scrap wood, so decided to make a form.  I made a bow pattern from the forward deck piece, and used jigsaw to cut out a form with the correct curvature.  I think the scrap wood I used was popular, but not completely sure.  I had to file and sand it smooth, and  I cut the inside curvature out so I could clamp to it easily.

 

Soaked the bow part of the plywood for 30 min as manual and others recommended and clamped bulwarks around the form.  Now I'm waiting 24 hrs, and then I'll do the other side.  Hopefully I will end up with port and starboard pieces.  I've been warned enough about it, so surely I can do it right, ha, ha!   I'm known to be a slow learner when it comes to things like this though.

 

 

 

 

Bow_Pattern_1.jpg

Bulwarks_Form.jpg

Soaking_Bulwarks.jpg

Bulwarks_Clamped_to_Form.jpg

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Thanks for all the nice comments!

 

I ran into first real problem with bending the bulwarks on former.  When I did a test fit and got it fitting the bow fairly good, the bulwards curved upward and was about 3" above the deck at the stern.  If I got the bulwark piece down at the stern, it didn't fit the bow right.  Looked pretty obvious to me that it needed an edgewise bend downward at the bow, so the aft part would fit right.  But I haven't read of anyone else having this problem, so am a bit confused.  Maybe everyone else knows this from experience.

 

I know you have to put downward edgewise bends in planks, but didn't think you'd need to do it with this piece.  And it's not like plywood likes to be bent edgewise.  I soaked the piece again, and tried to put some edgewise bend in it, so will see if that works.  It didn't like getting bent like that, and I had a hard time clamping (had to get some stronger clamps), so now it's drying and I'll see what happens.  Sure hope it fits better this time.

 

If anyone has some advice on this, I'd appreciate it!  

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Well, silly me.  While playing around with the bulwarks plywood piece, I realized I wasn't holding it firmly against the bulkhead formers, especially at the top around #3 and 4.  I was holding it firmly against the hull along the deck where it's strong, but wasn't holding it against the formers at the top where the formers are weaker.  To get the plywood against the top of the former, especially #3 bulkhead, you have to twist it a little, and then like magic the aft end of bulwark plywood drops down and fits against the hull like it should.  So, much ado about nothing.   Maybe I can call it a "learning experience" instead of a senior moment.

 

I'd tried to edge bend one bulwarks piece, and of course, the wood didn't like it, so it ended with some little ripples in it I didn't like.  I just soaked both pieces again and clamped them to my form.  I decided I could do both at the same time (photo), and will give them extra time to dry, maybe 2 days.  So I've got lots of time to think about how to hold or clamp them against the hull when gluing.  

 

The manual says to use the little nails, but I've had poor experiences with them in the past.  It requires a firm grip to hold plywood against the top of #3 bulkhead, and offhand can't imagine nails holding it in position, but maybe they would.  Perhaps if you use Glenn Shelton's method of gluing to a few bulkheads at a time and working from bow to stern, it would work (I've been looking at his build log a lot, and really appreciate all the photos and notes).

 

I've got various clamps I think I'll try first, or perhaps wrapping all the way around the bulkhead with tape or velcro strip.  I'm thinking gluing to 3 or 4 bulkheads at a time is a smart way to go, so you can clamp, wrap, or nail short sections at a time.  The hard part appears to be in the area of bulkhead #3.  Once I get that little twist, or whatever you want to call it, glued in place, the rest looks simple.

 

Bulwarks_Clamped_Redo.JPG

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I'm still struggling with bulwarks plywood piece.  I think the problem is I don't have enough hands to hold it firmly against bow stem and bulkhead formers and do anything else, like mark where bulkheads are as shown in manual, clamp, tape, nail, or anything.  Tried several different methods, and every time the plywood piece would slip out of the slot in the bow stem.  So finally decided to start at the bow stem where the slot is, and glue that first.  Hopefully with that stabilized, I can then gradually work my way aft, drilling and nailing to each bulkhead former and hold it in place while glue dries.  So I'm going to go slow, letting glue dry at each step.  I think once I get the bow curvature secure around the first 4 to 5 formers, it will go much easier.

 

In the process of experimenting, I found wrapping ribbon-like velcro all the way around formers worked, but I couldn't hold everything in place and get it tight enough all at the same time.  I had the same problem using tape around the bulkheads.  So I tried the nails again.  I was able to use the nails to hold it, but the tiny nails are difficult to work with, and it came loose at the bow like all other attempts.  I don't have a nail pusher, and I think that would make putting nails in a lot easier than using pliers, but they were out of stock where I usually order small tools like that.

 

I'm assuming the nails are temporary, used just to hold the plywood piece while glue dries.  And then you remove them.  I think the nail heads would get in the way of planking.  I'm also guessing that this way of doing bulwarks is an extremely common method everyone else knows, and it's just my inexperience that's causing me problems.  I'm calling it a learning experience.

 

 

Bulwarks_Glued_Bow.JPG

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I marked lines on the ply where the bulkheads were, by lying dry first. I then drilled holes into those lines.

After soaking the ply, the part was then laid around hull again and then pinned through the drilled holes into the bulkheads.

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