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King of the Mississippi by Cleat - Artesania Latina - 1:80


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I got the King of the Mississippi kit for my third build.  I’ve reviewed several build logs for this kit to prepare for my build and I referred to many when I had questions, they are helpful.  There are a lot build logs for this kit (popular kit). 

This kit includes several laser cut planks, small parts are in a plastic containers, and documentation.  The documentation is pretty good, it includes a large drawing showing the completed boat with the part numbers identified, the part numbers are referenced in the instructions which includes a parts list.  The instructions include a manual with color photographs showing various steps and a manual with text in four languages (the text is minimal but adequate when used with the pictures).

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I test fitted the frame pieces and I remembered that other build logs mentioned that frame pieces 4 & 5 were mislabeled (thanks for the heads up).  The frame pieces fit very well, they fit snug and I could press them in place by hand. 

 

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I wasn’t sure how the upper stern should be attached.  When I test fitted the upper stern to the false keel tab the upper stern it didn’t contact the bottom board.  I elongated the slot so the upper stern contacted the base board and I beveled the upper stern to fit the bottom board. In hind sight I should have followed the instructions, the manual picture shows a bevel on the bottom board and a complimentary bevel on the upper stern .

 

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I decided to bend the bulkheads before I sanded the bow knightheads, I wanted to visualize how the curve needed to be sanded.  I soaked the bow tips of the bulkheads in hot water for about 20 seconds and used a clothes iron to create the bow, then I loosely clamped them to the structure.  (My clothes iron has a steam feature and I wonder if anyone had used that feature to been thin wood). 

 

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I also sanded the first four frames to angle the edges a bit and apply a progressive bevel to the bottom board. I test fit the bulkheads to measure my sanding progress.

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Edited by Cleat
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I test fitted the bulkhead sides but when I came time to clamp it I had to use some larger clamps.  At the time I didn't notice that the frame pieces weren't completely square.  My clamps held the top in place but the bottom wasn't a tight fit.  So my lesson is that there are nothing square in a boat. 

 

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Test fitting the first deck I noticed that the lower structure isn't flat.  With the forward tab engaged I discovered the rear tab was off a couple mm.  The deck will need have a bow in it.  I'm trying to decide if I should attach the deck to the structure before adding the deck planking it or if I should plank it then mount it to the structure.

 

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I'll plank the deck before gluing it down.  I'll need to access from the bottom to open the tab slots.  Plus I read in another build that the slots should be moved so I'll look into what that is about.  I have the basswood strips too (I was referring to the laser cut panels).

 

I'm using a metal ruler to fine tune the flatness of the structure (mostly adjusting the height of the stern).  The bow bends up while most of the structure is flat.

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Nice start! Have you already glued the sides on or are you still test-fitting? If they're still loose, you might consider fully fairing the bulkheads near the bow, so that the entire edge is at an angle (i.e., when all the laser char is removed). This will give you more contact surface for gluing. Otherwise disregard. Have fun building what is, as you say, a popular model.

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I sanded the bulkheads and the bottom board to the same angle around the bow to achieve the best contact surface but I didn’t check the other bulkheads of the hull which created a few small gaps.   

I used some scrap from the laser cut panels to reinforce some of the bulkheads. 

 

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I started to plank the hull but I didn’t like how my process to apply a thin layer of glue worked.  I decided to plank the deck to work out my gluing technique.  I set up a jig and cut the 10 cm planks; I cut 26 plank strips, I got 5 planks and 1 slightly shorter plank from each 60 cm plank (I kept the last pieces separate and used them for short sections). 

 

 

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I like using the Rockler silicone gluing tools, one of the applicators worked well applying a thin coat of glue.

 

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I'm fine tuning the sternpost.  I filed the sternpost a bit and I filed out a channel for it. 

 

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I'm off center on the bottom of the hull but I registered my contact patch by filing the V of the bow bulkheads.  I'll square up the channel and fine tune it.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hindsight Tip

The gap on the #8 frame from my clamping mistake turned into a gap when planking the hull, adding ax extra plank turned into a new problem.   When I tried trimming the plank, it broke and separated which required blending a smaller piece into the hull. 

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That kind of "shingling" is natural when planks get bet into complex curves. A lot of basic kits don't account for this in their instructions or materials. The only way to avoid it is to either spile the planks (cut them into curved shapes to allow for the the 3D bend) or edge-bend them (force them into the 3D curve). Or, as you found, hope there's enough thickness to sand it out!

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Bummer

When I test fitted the first room structure, I discovered what Jeff5115 identified.  One of deck slots doesn’t align with a structure tab.  I did the other structure and it has the same problem.  It is another challenge to solve.  

 

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Hindsight Tip

Construct a structure before cutting the deck slots to determine if the slots match the tabs. 

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Don't know how I missed your build!

On 1/10/2022 at 9:24 PM, Cleat said:

 strips, I got 5 planks and 1 slightly shorter plank from each 60 cm plank (I kept the last pieces separate and used them for short sections). 

 

Good idea! Keep as much of the offcuts as possible as they will come in useful later! 🙂

@Cathead is very much an authority on these ships, and has helped me enormously with mine (still ongoing, and will get a restart in a few weeks!)

As @bobandlucy said, consult the large plans for placements, and measure your own build before cutting to ALs lengths, especially for the uprights, as I found they can be out by up to 1.5mm. (Fortunately before wasting too much wood, but the cuts fitted in elsewhere thankfully)

Keep up the good work,

Bob

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I'm making progress.  I've assembled the first deck structures and planked the exterior.  I've noticed in other builds that the vertical lines of the planks are highlighted, I'm wondering how they did that (and whether I want to do it).  I also wonder what I want to do about the empty tab slot of the forward structure.

 

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I've added the structure corner accents and a light coat of wipe on finish. 

 

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Edited by Cleat
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I'm scoping out how to make the doors. The instructions call for the planking and trim wood with the stock sizes of the kit but the pictures look like the wood used is about half the width of the wood included with the kit.  I tried cutting a piece of scrap but I don't know how to make uniform pieces (as shown in the right door).  The left door shows the stock wood width.

 

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2 hours ago, Cleat said:

I'm scoping out how to make the doors. The instructions call for the planking and trim wood with the stock sizes of the kit but the pictures look like the wood used is about half the width of the wood included with the kit.  I tried cutting a piece of scrap but I don't know how to make uniform pieces (as shown in the right door).  The left door shows the stock wood width.

Hi Cleat.

The dimensions given for the pieces are 1mm thick by 4mm wide x length. With the straight pieces glue them on with a  2mm overhang so it can be trimmed back to the door when solid, leaving you with the thin edging strip.

For the curve, it turns out I cheated and have an inner straight edge and used the door curve to give the upper profile.

 

To cover the open tab slot I chose to edge the buildings with a skirting. As a bonus this covers any gaps between the building and the deck.

Your planking looks really good! To get the dark lines people use a soft pencil or felt pen along the edge. Beware of the felt pen as the wood could soak it into the grain.

 

Cheers for now,

Bob

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On 2/15/2022 at 3:08 PM, Bob Fraser said:

With the straight pieces glue them on with a  2mm overhang so it can be trimmed back to the door when solid, leaving you with the thin edging strip.

For the curve, it turns out I cheated and have an inner straight edge and used the door curve to give the upper profile.

Thanks Bob,

Your technique worked out pretty well for me.  My pieces don't have a consistent width and others not parallel (I'm still getting used to working with small pieces).  For the curve, I used a needle file to make the inside arc with mixed results and used the overhang technique for the outside arc.  Overall I'm happy to have a result and I learned a new technique.    I also noticed that sapelli wood has different grain patterns on each side, most of the door frame pieces show the good side (something I'll pay more attention too when using it). 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

After cutting a couple hundred planks for the first deck and structures I decided to get a Chop-It tool.  I tried it out making planks for the second deck.  The tool makes cutting planks much easier than the small miter I was using.

I have four 31 mm rows so I made the calculation to determine that a 45 mm length would work.  I test fitted several pieces to see how it would work out.  It was fairly tight but it looked like 45 mm pieces would work.  But when I glued the first pieces in each row, I realized I didn’t center the first pieces exactly on the deck. 

OOOPS

I noticed some tiny gaps as I was gluing the planks and wondered how the error would add up.  That’s when I noticed that my alignment was drifting to one side, one side wasn’t clearing the edge of the deck.  I couldn’t figure out how to correct it without making the change obvious so I finished the planking of three rows.  My rows drifted about 5 mm for the length of the deck.  I cut some longer planks to finish the last row.

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Hindsight Tip

I calculated the length of the planks precisely based on my measurements but I didn’t give myself much of a margin for error.  I should have made my planks closer to 50 mm.

 

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I’m working on the doors.  I used a nutmeg stain on the traditional doors but the stain was absorbed unevenly (I should have used a pre stain).  I’ve been playing around with the color and I’m not happy with my results so far.  I don’t think I can get an even tone, I might have to paint the doors a sold color. 

I noticed the instructions show a pattern on the window, I wonder how they did that.  I found an aluminum piece from a small hole patch kit that has a pattern that might work for me (I haven't decided whether to paint it or leave it shinny).  I’m wondering if I should mount it on the back of the door (easy) or try to fit it in the opening (hard) and if should I use the clear plastic for the window. 

The double doors are undersized, I can add another set of door frame material for a nice fit.  I

 

riverboat-94.jpg.515ed158a8b20c50d249b6fbd0393e30.jpg

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Hi Cleat

Looking good!  If you've done both sides of the doors you could skin them with some scrap planks.  The doorways are quite deep compared to the doors themselves, so it would work.

I've just used Danish Oil throughout on mine, it darkened the woods slightly.

The pattern on the windows is made by scoring the plastic with a knife at 45 degrees left and right, and then wiping black paint into the lines.  Not much is provided, but the thick plastic windows on some supermarket packaging are worth salvaging just in case.

As these doors don't open the easiest way is to glue the plastic behind the opening, otherwise put some edging half way into the opening to create a frame to put the plastic into.

There's nowhere to hang the doors either, so when it comes to fitting them they'll need a backing piece inside the building to fit them to.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Building the ventilation windows was an interesting job.  I finally got to use the x-axis part of my drill press.  I bought the Vanda-Lay Acra Mill about a year ago and so far I’ve mostly used it as a fixed platform for my Dremel tool.  I made a drill press table with clamps (not knowing how I’d actually use the x-axis part).

 

My clamps worked – barely (I already have a new design in mind).  Since I had to clamp the work piece, I could only use a portion of the x-axis travel so I had to reverse the piece to continue the drill spacing.

 

I glued each ventilation window frame together to ensure my drilling aligned the top and bottom beams of the frame. 

 

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I made a couple mistakes when I had to reverse the piece to complete the drilling, it took me a couple tries to figure out my process. 

 

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Edited by Cleat
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