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Mare Nostrum by Probablynot - FINISHED - Artesania Latina - wood

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The other pic shows a rather silly error I've just noticed.  I drilled the hole for the prop shaft at the wrong angle - it looks as though the engine ought to be deep in the bilges!

The hole's only about 6mm deep, but the 2mm diameter brass shaft is held in there by superglue.  Would I cause horrible damage if I tried to give it a twist with a pair of pliers and remove it?

I think it would be too awkward to fill the hole and then try to re-drill it.  I was thinking of putting a 10° bend in the shaft such that the bend would be just  inside the hole, and putting it back.  Any other suggestions, anyone?  Please?


You've done a lovely job Brian, 


Personally with regards to the propshaft I'd try and ease it out using some carefully applied drops of acetone. When it is released, allow it to dry fully and fill the hole with a bit of wood or glue and sawdust. When dry, sand it back to shape. Will you be able to get in the gap and re-drill the hole to replace the propshaft though?  


If you're like me, you'll know it's there and it'll bug you but like PopJack I don't think it's that noticeable. perhaps the gear box has a lower output shaft.   ;)

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Hmm, the Acting Admiral might have some acetone.  She's got more pots of nail varnish than I've got bits of basswood offcuts!  I think she uses acetone to clean the stuff off.

No, I think re-drilling is out of the question without some serious dismantling in the rudder area.  I think it'll have to be my previous proposal (a hidden kink in the prop shaft).


I spent the entire day today assembling the minuscule hatchway that covers the crew's quarters.  Those little brass hinges (for the door) were a swine to create, but eventually I succeeded.  The door opens and closes.

I didn't like AL's proposed door catch, so I fitted a door knob (tiny wooden bead) onto a small bit of brass wire.  Works perfectly!  Scaled up, the door knob is about tennis-ball size, but I still think it looks better than brass wire!

Tomorrow, on to the rigging!


My Constructo kit for the 1799 USS Enterprise arrived today.  Awesome!  I daren't penetrate beyond the transparent plastic yet, but I can already tell the build will take a lot longer than this Mare Nostrum!





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I spent today assembling the trawl rig (the 'loading bridge')and fitting it to the boat.  Very fiddly work - the most fiddly of the build so far, I reckon!  Most worrying of all was drilling 1.5mm holes into the 2mm diameter supports, to take the little metal cleats!
(Actually I cheated.  I filed the lugs on the cleats down to about 0.8mm diameter. After that, the drilling wasn't all that difficult!)
I spent ages wondering how to approach the job, and eventually decided the rig had to be assembled completely in a jig (separate from the hull) that would hold everything in place while the glue dried.  I carefully measured where the four vertical/inclined supports would have to meet up with the bulwark rails, and transferred the info to my jig.  Then, I just had to make sure it all lined up.
Which, fortunately, it did.  It was then a relatively easy job to superglue the four supports, one at a time, to their appointed places on the bulwark rails.
I'll admit it worries me that the whole rig is only attached to the hull by four tiny dabs of superglue.  Thaty's where faith comes in, I suppose.

Tomorrow I'll take the mast (er, the 5mm dowel) out to my workshop, put it in the chuck of my bench drill, and assault it with various grades of sandpaper.  It has to be tapered down to 2.5mm at the masthead.

Oh, and the prop came out rather easily!  I reckon the angle looks better now.



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I like it so far.  Still, I'm wondering if that prop isn't facing just a bit too far downward?




She looks seriously good.  I keep admiring your black box labels- I wish I had done that as well.  As it it, my wife wants me to peel the white ones off.

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I see what you mean about the prop, Popjack.  I agree it looks odd in that last pic.  But it's my photography to blame, not the prop!  Looked at from beam-on, it really is just about right.
I haven't glued it back in yet though.  Maybe I'll change my mind!
Wait for the next set of pictures.

All the building work is now done.  Just the trawl lines and the rigging left to do.   And the plinth.

I've appreciated your input, everyone, throughout my build.  Everything you've said has been useful, and highly welcome, and I've tried to take on board everything that's been said.  Right now, though, I do have a couple of questions, and I would appreciate any advice that watchers feel able to pass on.

[1]  The model on the box looks as though the ratlines are glued on.  Even the first (wooden) ones.  I've made my wooden ones from 2mmx2mm walnut (instead of the prescribed 1x3), and I've drilled them ready for threading onto the stays.  Would that be right?  And should I knot the stays above and below?
I'm even prepared to knot the string ratlines onto the stays, if that would look right.

[2]  Is it usual to just rest the model on its plinth?  Or should I glue it?  My plinth will probably be a simple rectangular slab of mahogany (with routed edges), with a single 16mm long, grooved upright piece in the middle, to hold the model by its keel.

Next time I post a picture, it'll be the finished model, all strung up and on its plinth!


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Hi Brian,


Of course, everyone has his own idea how to built, but to answer your questions I show you what I have done. May be this can be of help to mae up your mind.


The lower ratlines (formed by pieces of wood) looks just glued to the shrouds, which I found to be rather odd. So I have adjusted them as can be seen below :



The ratlines themselves, I have knotted them :



The plinth as supplied in the kit as well as two wooden pieces where the keel fits in.



Best regards,


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I meant to add, Popjack (but forgot!)  The black fishbox labels were easy!

I used MS Excel.  Just select black fill, white text.  Bold makes the letters/numbers stand out better.

Print onto a bit of scrap paper first.  Check that you like the font you've chosen I chose MV Boli, font size 11.

Print onto a sheet of self-adhesive labels.  Print lots more than you think you need, because if you're like me, most of them will land on the gaps between the labels!

Or you can print onto plain paper, and use glue to attach them.

Me, I always look for the easy life ...

Edited by probablynot
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Okay, I'm certainly not an expert.  I read several books on boat building and information on this site and everthing agreed tha tthe  ratlines were supposed to be the smallest lines on a ship.  In some places I read they were 3/8 inch or so.  This made me abandon the line that came with the MS and go to a heavy thread.  Using techniques I borrowed on the site and elsewhere, I made a cardboard layout sheet and used it to guide not only where the ratlines go vertically, but also to make sure I didn't pull the "shrouds" in.  There is a photo   here about halfway down, but there are also several others on the site.

There is a great discussion here beginning around post 10 that you should check out.


My card stock sheet propped on the top of the rail and tucked in tight on the mast near where the lines attached.


I used a half hitch to hold the lines in place, putting the loose end behind the vertical lines so they weren't obvious.  I then adjusted everything so they weren't too tight or too loose. Once it looked right- no "hourglassing" no "sag" I touched the end of a toothpick with CA glue and then touched that on the half hitch to hold it.  I let everything dry and then trimmed things up with some micro-scissors. 


I drilled holes in the wood spacers (I am too lazy to get up and get their name) and ran the thread through them.  Mine sit directly on top of the serving, which gives them the angle they have on the photo on the box.

I think you can see how it came out on my "rock" photo- if not,I can make you some more if you need them.


Finally, I hate to admit it- forgive me, but I was really kidding about the prop.  I figured that it was the photo, 'cause if it weren't right- you would have fixed it!

Edited by PopJack
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I spent most of this afternoon re-acquainting myself with the big combi-tool (circ saw, planer/thicknesser, mortiser, spindle moulder) I bought 14 years ago, and which has lain unused for at least nine years.  The sawblade is still razor-sharp, but the planer blades could do with a bit of attention!
But it was OK for converting some bits of hardwood into a reasonably presentable plinth for La Petite Nella.
It was only when I screwed the two parts together that I realised I was about to perch my model on the fluke of a whale!

I've just noticed that the starboard pole of the trawl rig is about 1 or 2mm longer than the port pole!  I must have failed to push it properly into the brass 'foot' that supports it. It does show, so I shall have to do a bit of careful dismantling and shortening before I do the rigging.
I'm still hoping that my build will be complete before next weekend.  Is there some official 'topping-out' ceremony for completed build logs?



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Nice work on the plinth.  I see what you mean about the pole, one of those things that you just want to get right.


I put mine on rocks, you put yours on a giant marine mammal- I'm thinking that this boat likes to be threatened. :)


I don't know about a topping out ceremony- but if there isn't there ought to be.

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The whale-fluke plinth looks a bit better, now that it's been sanded off, varnished and waxed.

In fact, all the varnishing has now been done.  To my satisfaction anyway.

And I've corrected the trawl rig.  Now that was a fiddly job!

Just the rigging left to do now.

This evening I managed to thread up the ensign halyard and the spring stays.  I've come to the conclusion that the running rigging doesn't have to actually work - it just has to look reasonably convincingly, to any nit-picking observer, that it would work.  I hope that's the right attitude!

Tomorrow I'll do the ropes for the otterboards, and the shrouds.  And the ratlines.


No picture tonight.  But if tomorrow goes well, I'll post just one more, showing a completed La Petite Nella.  And that'll be it.  Onwards and upwards!  The Constructo "Enterprise" kit is singing siren songs to me, and unlike Ulysses I'm not lashed to the mast!

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And here she is.  La Petite Nella (aka Mare Nostrum).  Complete.  Finished.  Done.
(oh, except that I haven't painted the nav lights red and green yet!  I'm still wondering whether to use ordinary red/green enamel, or go for the transparent paint.  Maybe that's a job that will never get done?)

John, I decided to knot the ratlines too.  Fiddly, but rather more satisfying than just gluing them on.  Actually I did apply a dab ofsuperglue to eack knot (to prevent the ratlines from sliding up/down the shrouds)  And I used a nail-clipper to trim the ends away after the glue had dried.

I've really enjoyed this build.  And much of the enjoyment has come from the input you've all provided as I went on my uneducated way through the process!  Thanks everyone!

Now, on to the Constructo "Enterprise" kit!  If I get the same help while I go for it as I've been getting here, it'll be bound to be a success!






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Just as a postscript, I thought you might like to see this.  The plinth I made was thick enough to let me inset a label with some information about the model.  I think it gives enough personal info to make sure my will executors won't just consign it to the  trash bin when they go through my little Welsh cottage!


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Here's something I've only just noticed.  Artesania Latina's tame modelbuilder got it wrong when he built the Mare Nostrum for their kit box photo-shoot!  Look at the support beam for the otterboards!  He really should have read the instructions!



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  • 10 months later...

Looks great Brian!


I'm currently working on the same boat. I love your display stand! Great design! I may "borrow" your fishing box label idea. They look much nicer in black, than the AL supplied ones.

I'm not doing a build log, but I will post photos in the gallery once she is complete.





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Not a problem, Adam!

If I remember correctly, I did everything (box numbers, the bigger numbers at the bows, the name plate for the control cabin) in Excel.  Bold white with black fill.  And I varnished over them all when they were glued on.

[by the way, I just spent a while leafing through your HMS Prince log.  Impressive build!  Well done!]

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