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Royal Caroline by EJ_L - Panart - 1:48

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Hello all!


I have discovered a long time ago that I cannot simply build one ship at a time. As I am only working on Royal Louis right now, and am nearing the halfway point, I found myself with the itch to start a new build. I do enjoy doing things this way as it allows me to switch back and forth between builds when I get to a point where I need more research or am simply bored with what I am currently doing. I was originally going to build Sovereign of the Seas, but every store I checked was currently sold out with no expected date of restock due to global shipping conditions. The one I found was priced far higher than normal and so I passed. Thanks particularly to Doris' breathtaking build of Royal Caroline, this beautiful yacht had been at the top of my wish list for some time and so I decided to go for it. 


As usual for me, I intend to heavily bash this kit, particularly to build out the interior cabins and provide lighting to illuminate those details. Working with a far larger scale than I am usually accustomed to, 1:48 compared to my other current build of 1:90, means that I will have ample opportunity for showing those details with clarity, and far less excuses for shoddy work... 😬


So please, pull up a chair and join me if you like. I build slow, so get a big bucket of popcorn and settle in. I hope you enjoy the journey.


First off, the unboxing. I will not go into too much detail here as these are all largely the same. What is inside is typical for a Mantua brand kit. Decent laser cut parts, clean wood and fair castings, fittings and some line for rigging. Nothing spectacular but the components will make a fine model out of the box. Some stuff I use, some I do not and will be explained as the build goes on.










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Frame modification is well underway. Before modding I did square up and secure all the bulkheads that were not being altered and I nailed down the scribed decking that came with the kit. This will be covered by a second layer of planking so I am using it as an underlayment.

I started the modifications by cutting away the bulkhead in the center cabin and extending the deck aft one more bulkhead. This will provide the space for the center cabin and stair wells to the aft cabin and hold.



Next I moved to the aft cabin where the majority of the work takes place. I began by cutting down the stiffening board provided in the kit as well as the 2nd to last bulkhead and the false keel to create a new deck.





Now the main deck runs evenly the length of the ship. However, this is still not accurate. The stair well area is raised above the middle and aft cabins and the aft cabin is sunk lower in the ship than the rest of the main deck.



So, I layered some wood to make a raised area for the stairs. Nothing will be visible below this area so the elevated deck can be false here. The notches are where descending stairs will eventually go. Though it is hard to see in the photos, the aft cabin subfloor was lowered again both to achieve proper elevation and to provide room for a new full sized deck underlayment.




Moving further aft, it was time to start cutting out for the stern lights and bench seating. This has been the trickiest as the arched supports for the counter were never designed to be exposed and as such, were far overbuilt. Many hours have been spent slowly and gradually cutting them down and coming up with new supports that will not impede the interior space. A lot of the concerns with the new design also impact the deck above. To determine elevations, I had to start to reshape the upper deck beams to more appropriate thicknesses. 




I also cut out the stern lights. These are oversized right now to allow for better shape and fit of the actual window panels later. This bulkhead we become largely reduced in thickness also. The reason is to allow for better contour of the stern decorations without making the windows appear to be tunnels in an overly thick bulkhead. This thickness reduction will also take place on the sides as well where windows will be placed. 


Still lots of modifications and redesign to do. Once I am satisfied with the new cabin areas, frame fairing will take place to get the hull in final shape. there will likely be a lot of added reinforcement that will need to be faired with the frames to accommodate the changes as many weaken the original frame design. 


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Welcome aboard all!


I do plan on carving the decorations again. With the larger scale I am hopeful that I can get better results. I also plan on using a mixture of mediums to carve from. I have been getting nice results from polystyrene on Royal Louis as it is more forgiving than wood. I will likely use wood though for the large carvings such as the figure head as the larger surface is easier to handle and work with. I am thinking about giving modeling clay a try on this one as well. After seeing Doris' masterpieces and watching her videos of how she made many of her decorations, I feel that may be a good route to try. I was always better at carving in clay than wood and am always in favor of using the materials that work best for the modeler.


I have a ways to go and time to think on that however. I'm working steadily through the frame modifications and will begin fairing the hull next. This is what I call the "dirty work" of ship building as it flings saw dust everywhere, but once it is done and the hull is ready for planking, I intend to go back to Royal Louis for a while to continue working on her. She is about ready for another series of decorations to be carved and added on the bow and deck railings.

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