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Rattlesnake by Kenneth Powell - FINISHED - Model Shipways - American Privateer

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I started a log with a few photos of my build on this site before the great crash - then my own computer crashed and I lost some photos myself. I've been building so I decided to take the time (we can't wait until we have enough) to start the log again. Reading the logs and responses on this site and seeing the museum quality work, I know the kind words and encouragement you all give. I also know any criticisms or suggestions is entirely for the best. So I post this log to give and receive as much help as possible.


These are some of the original pics. My gosh this kit has some fragile parts!



Now some of the gun port framing.




Ship's boat. I shifted to this to get up the nerve to start planking. Plus that, it just looked fun. This is a small 'bread and butter kit' inside the Rattlesnake kit. The instructions give a hint to glue all the layers together using the stem guides except the last one, that will make sanding the inside easier. I say stack them together, mark the lines and sand as much as you can separately, then glue them together. It's a very small space


Sorry blurry. Stapler holding down the layerspost-309-0-47768500-1379718363_thumb.jpgpost-309-0-07526200-1379718615_thumb.jpg

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On to planking:

I decided to go above the wale first. I wanted to shore-up the fragile areas of the bulkheads and the deck beams. Too many got broken!  :(

Above the wale went straight with no trimming except at the gun ports. The planking plans in the instructions lay out where to start below the wale and how many bulkheads to cover. It worked out well and gave 2 planks between seams on every run. WOW I actually followed directions and it worked!

post-309-0-93289900-1379724093_thumb.jpg repair broken deck beam


post-309-0-46500700-1379724634_thumb.jpgI did add a wider section of plank here. I got worried, but the number of runs did work out.


Now from the garboard up

Punch Plankspost-309-0-44714900-1379725001_thumb.jpg


This section took longer of course with tedious sanding and placing and correcting and replacing and checking and .......

Anyway, The length of planks the kit calls for made this run easier because they are short enough to work with yet cover a good distance.


The kit doesn't have a cabin bulkhead and the instructions don't tell when to build it. I used the plans and made my own using a piece of juniper. The timing of this piece came from watching the scratch build by Pasi.


Edited by Kenneth Powell
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Thanks Russ for loking in and the kind words

This is the photo of the cabin bulkhead

post-309-0-49772000-1379726485_thumb.jpgsorry blurry

Time for sandingpost-309-0-80376200-1379727153_thumb.jpg

and more sandingpost-309-0-85538000-1379727252_thumb.jpg

Notice the broken deck beams in the photos above. They just popped right off. I would glue them on with Titebond and move on.

More photos after the weekend. Carry on good people.

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  • 3 weeks later...

And now for some Color:






Now you guys can see what I've been up to lately (besides admiring all the builds on this site). I went into this project wanting to paint her. The models finished with stain and varnish look great, but this is what I wanted. I didn't use much filler on the hull because it is a wooden model of a wooden ship and I wanted the run of planks and end seams and other 'beauty marks' to show. I measured the water line at stem and stern from the plans and marked it with a neat marking tool my wife bought me from model expo. The trick was to keep my small level steady across the rails during the whole marking process.

I painted on primer then a few coats of each color with very light sanding between coats. Then of course back and forth with the touch-ups. The gray interior may look a little different from other models, but the instructions called for it. Let me know what you think. I will take a few more photos of different views and post them very soon.

Sport - I hope these photos of the cabin bulkhead are OK.

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Ken, thanks for that pic. Would love to see more of your transom and if it's not to much to ask, the top rail(s) where they meet at the quarter deck and forecastle. I am a little hesitant to attach my transom. The metal carving does not match up and I have tweaked it. Did you sand down the wood portion to fit the metal carving ? Or did you just leave the transom oversized ?


Your build looks great. I'll be calling on you for help.

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Thanks guys for looking in. 

Sport - If I remember correctly, the wood transom and metal carving were close in size. The metal is very soft and I bent it a little to match the wooden transom. Once I glued them together I only had to sand a little for a real good match. The metal used in the kit also sands as easily as the wood which makes gives an almost seamless result. We should have good sunlight tomorrow so I will work on those photos.


Russ - I thought about red in the beginning and now may go to it.



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Okay, Now for Red

Russ, I took your advice and I like it better than the gray.

Sport, I hope these photos help. My camera is not the best.



post-309-0-47431900-1381879047_thumb.jpg The metal and wooden transom together

post-309-0-94478800-1381879154_thumb.jpg As close as I could get without getting blurry



I also built a stand. I used a nice piece of cypress and finished with clear varnish. I plan to add felt strips once it completely dries.




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Ken, that's perfect ! I was going to paint my inner bulkheads grey as the instructions state, but that red looks great, and from what I've seen other state it's historically accurate. Gotta wonder why Grey vs red what the though process was when painting a ship back then. Was it easier to get a certain color ? And hence that's what color you ship was or was their more thought put into it ? Anyways sorry to ramble keep up the great work ken

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Your Rattlesnake is looking good, Nice look the blue in the windows.  I feel your pain on the deck beams, I lost mine the first week, finally got tired off fixing them and removed them until I was ready to cut my own.  have a look at my  Rattlesnake by Mog, we might be able to compare notes, any and all advise is always welcome, the members have helped me thru several tough spots.   I have taken a slightly different path to the original look of the ship , besides my rule of very little paint, I  tossed all precast bits into the bin and attempted to build my own . Again I like what you’re doing with the build.

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Hi Kenneth -- I've just now found your log and enjoyed catching up with your great build.  I like the paint job, and didn't even mind the grey that much, though the red does fit with history. 


It's always good to have another Rattler around!


I also have to admire your work bench -- is that butcher block your own production?  I'm envious.





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Thanks everyone for stopping by. 

Martin - The work bench is actually a chunk of an old bowling alley. I went on business travel for a few days and my wife and her friend tore out my old bench and gave me a full garage make over. Really nice but I couldn't find anything for 2 weeks!


Mog - The blue in the windows was easy; painted a sheet of paper, cut to fit and placed cellophane cut to fit over it and behind the cut-outs. I think I will stay with most of the precast items from the kit, but will not use the anchors as supplied. I am going to visit your log right now.


Next up: guns and decking.


Thanks - Kenneth

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  • 4 months later...

I had no idea I hadn't posted anything for so long! Been busy with every other thing under the sun. I did accomplish some decking. I could take some time on some evenings and do a pair or 2 of deck planks treating each one like its own model. Isn't that our motto?

Before trimming and sanding





After trimming and sanding



Say Hello to my little sanding tool



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Interesting intrupretaton of the decking there.  Must have been tough getting those planks in the center sanded so they tapper so uniformaly.  Or are my eyes playing games on me with the photo?  I like that sanding tool, think I'll call it a sanding boot.  May make one myself when I get to this step.  How did you keep the sand paper on the wood base?

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Thanks guys for looking in.

Russ - The sanding tool worked quite well. It's actually a piece of the stand I was making that broke off so I trimmed it and glued a flat bottom. It has a good shape for the job.

Scott - I used a very thin layer of wood glue to attach the sand paper. I hope it peels off the 'boot' without much trouble. The decking is very narrow. The plans call for a taper but my measurements must have been a little off.

Next up is the main deck.

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  • 4 months later...

It has been a long time since my last post but this time I have a good excuse; triple by-pass surgery with a patch. My Adrimal, the best admiral in the history of admirals, told me not to go to work but to the doctor. Like any of us men, I went to work, said all I need is rest. She then got my brother to call me at work to convince me to go to the doctor. The rest is a down hill adventure with 5 days in the hospital and 8 weeks home from work. I did manage to read 4 Patrick O'Brian novels. My Admiral was there the whole time and has never left my side. I wouldn't be here without her. Last week I felt good enough to cut deck planks and sand them to size. There was a time I couldn't even stand long enough or use my arms and chest enough to do anything.

I cut a pad from 1/16 sheet wood to mount the foward guns to cut back on the tight planking. It will be under the foward deck and no one will see it.

So here are some photos. we do need a better camera:




I bought extra guns from Model Expo. I know she probably didn't carry 20 but I thought 'What the heck' and I know there is not enough room for crew to move around. I added 1/16 strip instead if wheels to get a better glue joint.




A few photos didn't upload so I'll have to adjust and finish later.

Comments are very welcome.

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