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Rick

King of the Mississippi by Rick - FINISHED - Artesania Latina - 1:80 1st Ship Model

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I have been so impressed with the modeling on MSW that I decided to join in on the experience of building a wooden ship. I really like steamboats and saw somewhere that the AL King of the Mississippi is one of the better kits but as I am finding out they all have their problems.  My kit arrived a few days ago and I am already needing the advice found here on this site. I have enjoyed and learned a lot by reading the build logs.

 

Before stating my current problem, let me state my ambitions for my KoM. I like the exquisite models with varnish and polished brass but I want to try make it look like it has been "down the river" a few times. I love the interior lights so I am going to try that. Being familiar with 1:87 in model railroading (HO scale) I am going to shift many of the modeling details about 10% and use what is available from local model train hobby shops. And lastly, with great apprehension, I am going to motorize the paddlewheel.

 

Starting with photos the full contents of the kit, followed by a couple of shots of the hull, a close look at the bow.

 

The two side bulkheads don't want to meet a the point of the bow. More sanding seems to distort the bulkheads.

What am I doing wrong here? What do I need to do before I start the hull planking? I can knock it apart if I have to but I would rather not if there is another way to do this.

 

Any help will be appreciated,

Rick

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so far u have done nice work there at the bow  it looks like u cut it a bit short iam doing the same build make sure that u dry fit all the parts to make sure that thay will fit.  from what isee  u can add a basswood filler for that then sand it to shape it .if u look in the book wear u see the pic there is a part that goes there as well i think its the stern post make sure u look in the book page 9 ok if u need more help just ask  

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Dragzz, thanks for your reply and compliment. I did like you suggested and the bow looks so much better. It is nice and sharp like an ice breaker ship. I guess the next step is to sand it down to be more like the picture in the kit as well as like the bow of your build.

 

And Don, thank you for looking in on my build and the nice comment.

 

The next photos are of the stern of my hull. Most real steamboats have a big vertical bend both front and back. I think the bend of the AL hull needed a little more bend so I added about 3 mm at the very end of the stern. It looks like thicker bulkhead struts but they were all installed flush with the top of the original side bulkhead. I kept the curve under the deck as smooth as I could. I realize that all of the decks will be with a deeper bend, but that seems to be the way of steamboats. Look at pictures of the Natchez.

 

And the last photo is a work in progress on planking the first deck. I like how it is coming out. I hope planking the hull is this easy.

 

Rick

 

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Progress is being made. I finished planking the first deck. I like how it looks being kind of rough. I imagine that older riverboats had weathered decks something like I got.

 

I am currently working on sanding the bow after filling the small voids with wood filler. I am using Part 25 Sternpost (as AL calls it) as a pattern. By sanding straight across the bow (below waterline) I am making a simple curve that fits snuggly to the sternpost.  This is supposed to allow the strakes on planking the hull to butt into the sternpost. But it nearly impossible for strakes on the bottom edge of the side bulkhead to make that last sharp bend to meet the sternpost. The next step then is sand the lower edge of the side bulkhead so the lower strakes can twist and curve smoothly and look like what a good bow should. (does that make sense?)

 

Another problem with that %$#! sternpost is it doesn't seem long enough to reach the top of the bow. It is too short by about 5mm. Anybody have a solutions for this?

 

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Hope to have the hull planked before the next post.

 

Rick

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Looking great!  Just discovered your log and had a look at what you have done so far.. will be watching your progress. i too am building my first wooden model ship.. Your doing really well from what i can see.. :dancetl6: regards Ollie

Edited by olliechristo

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hello rick about the stern post i got a pic of mine u will what i have done i sanded the bottom its will help u are doing really well so far here a pic post-2052-0-08062500-1382947788_thumb.jpg

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It has been awhile since I have added to this build log. I tried three times to update on Halloween night and thought it was internet gremlins eating my posts. They may still be out there. I am trying a different way of signing in and out of this site to see if this works

 

Thanks Ollie for your interest in my build. I hope you continue to check in.

 

Dragzz I appreciate the photo of your sternpost. It looks like a tight fit.

 

The problem with my sternpost was it was too long where it meets the keel and too short where it meets the bottom of the first deck. I cut off the longer part of the sternpost and used the scrap to fill in the gap under the deck. It took some careful sanding and it worked by just taking my time.

 

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Laying down the hull strakes was an interesting application of weights and clamps. It came out better than I hoped. I now have an appreciation for those who plank on frames of ships with complex shaped hulls. I applied two coats of polyurethane and it looks beautiful. I hope the photos do it justice.

 

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With the first deck and the hull fully planked it seemed a good time to try a dry fit of all of the decks. It looked so cool I just had to include a photo.

 

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 It was a good thing I did this test fit. I encounter the misplaced slot in the first deck that Adreike mentioned in his build log  and was able to fixe that like, I think it was John suggested . Additionally I noticed a wall of the boiler room that would not settle right, so I widened that slot also.

 

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That's all for now.

 

 

 

 

 

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I've assembled and glued the boiler and engine rooms now that the slots have been corrected. I took some time and sanded the bottom of the walls so that they fit the curvature of the deck. This picture also shows the keel stands that I will eventually mount on a wooden plaque - both were purchased at the local craft store. The stands are actually wooden napkin rings.

 

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The second deck was dry fitted as seen on the previous post. I cut these access holes to be able to get into the engine and boiler rooms when the ship is finished. I planned to have the staterooms and top deck removable. This will leave only finger room, which I hope is enough. Some ship builders do it inside a bottle. :huh:

 

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I also plan to install lights and the access holes are a major leak between the decks. So I made up hatch covers from the cutout pieces. The original cuts were beveled - approximately 45 degrees to the center of the hatch. This was to allow the cutout piece to rest in the opening, but it did not work so well; the pieces occasionally fall in and are near impossible to get back out. Plus they still leaked light between the decks. The solution was to line the top edge of the hatch with planks to force everything flat and level. Chain and eyelets from the kit was to form a low profile handle to retrieve and replace the hatch. It seems to work well in tight places.

 

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The view from the rear of the boat shows a not so obvious cutout in the wall between the two engine rooms. It will be evident shortly how this is necessary for providing power to the paddlewheel.

 

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The last two photos attempts to show the difference of filling the edges off of the paddlewheel hub castings. the wheel on the left has been reworked. It is a lot of work and if I am the only one to notice it, so be it.

 

Additionally, the styrene shims are visible where the new shaft will fit snuggly into the wheels. The kit provided wooden shaft did not fit the wheel castings, nor the crank and not even the block holding the paddlewheel to the deck. I don't what AL was thinking. More about this in the next post.

 

Rick

 

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hello Rick

 

looking good so far

i am really looking forward to all the enhancements you are going to put in :)

 

as for making it that you can still access the insides, its not going to be easy (ask me how i know ;) ) might be easier to make the back wall and paddle wheel detachable so you can get to the inside from there

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Thanks Adrieke, for your interest and assistance in building this boat. I'll keep trying to keep you all informed, one way or another.

 

The doors on the boiler room are interesting and practical for a steamboat. I am sure they would of moved a lot of firewood through those doors as wells as a few large parts to repair the boilers. I am not to fond of the hinges; they remind me what might be found on doors in a dungeon. No offence to anyone who used them. It's my personal taste and I am the builder of this boat and I have my own specs for this project.

 

Since I do want the doors to open and the hinges are designed to work, I decided to install them on the inside of the boiler room. It took some tricky sanding of the thickness of the plywood but I think they came out alright in appearance.

 

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I modified the supports for the boards that corral the horses and livestock in the stable. I tried a more rounded pattern knowing that horses tend to scratch themselves on anything sharp. Most people won't see this detail and as a matter of fact, I can't see it either.

 

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More stuff coming soon,

 

Rick

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Edited by Rick

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I am going to explain in this post my plan to motorize the paddlewheel on my KoM kit. Some of these items I had on hand but most are available at a good hardware store or hobby shop. I wouldn't have attempted this motorizing project if AL hadn't included the quality of castings that it did. The cranks and rods looked workable and I was impressed with the paddle wheel castings, which I call them "spokes". However many of the aspects of the KoM kit just fit with about 1 millimeter to spare. Plus many parts didn't fit but I figured I could drill them out or shim them in.

 

Here in the first photo are the basic items for the drive completely unassembled. From the top is 1/8 inch diameter brass tube with a 7/8 inch diameter sprocket pressed onto the tube. The two thinner brass shafts have crank arms soldered on each end and fix nicely within the I/8 inch tube. Down from there are balsa wood blocks shaped to hold the two short tubes below them. The short tubes are the next size larger of the 1/8 inch tube and fix nicely as a sleeves or bushing. The slightly taller balsa wood blocks are the supports for the sprocket tube and bushings and hold them up half of the height of the engine room walls. Next in line is another sprocket on a larger tube. Next to it is the next size smaller tube with a slot cut in it. This was needed to couple to the flat tab on the small DC motor. It has a reduction gear built into it which results in about one revolution per second at about 1 volt. It was originally used in revolving display cases. On the bottom are larger bushings and support blocks the powered tube set.

 

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I start to assemble the components to show how they fit together. When fully assemble many pieces fit inside each other and are not visible.

 

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The third photo shows the assemblies are placed in a logical order to explain how the power gets to the paddlewheel. The plastic chain is part of the sprocket set that I ordered from Servocity.com. They deal with hobby robotics and RC stuff.

 

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The cranks and rods are critical parts to this project. The rods provided by AL just reach inside the walls from the paddlewheel. Barely good enough for a static model. I used the 1/4 inch brass strap and #72 hex head bolts to extend the rods. Measuring the effective length of the crank casting was one of the harder part of this project.

 

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In short, the paddlewheel motion will be driven by the short AL crank castings that will be connected by a pivoting pin to the AL rod which will be extended by bolting on brass straps which will be very accurately drilled for another pivoting pin to be attached to the brass cranks (they have to be exactly the same length of the cast cranks). The brass cranks are permanently fitted the small sprocket tube which will be driven the chain from the larger sprocket tube (the sprockets are the same outside diameter). The larger tube is coupled to the motor output shaft with little rotational slack but some sideways play to prevent binding.

 

Clear as mud. :mellow:

 

More, later,

 

Rick

 

 

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Some of you are waiting to see  how it looks to motorize the sternwheeler kit from Artesania Latina. The previous post shows the drivetrain mechanism but now you need to see the modifications to the paddlewheel itself.

 

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Instead of the kit provided wood shaft I pressed the spoke castings on a larger diameter tube that fit snugly to the crank castings. AL did not make it easy. The spoke castings are about 0.020 inches too big and the crank casting are about 0.010 inch too small. Drilling out the crank very carefully to a tube size and making shims from 0.010 inch styrene made the spokes stay pretty good. I figured with four spokes and 16 paddle boards locking them in place should hold it firm to the axel tube.

 

All this was laid out in the first photo with precise dimensions to position the wood blocks supporting the crank axel and the power axel.

 

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Seeing the pieces go into place was gratifying. The tube between the paddlewheel blocks is the same tube in the heart of the paddlewheel (the pictures are out of order). But this tube must spin freely in next size larger tube bushings pressed in the support blocks. Of course AL made it so it had to be drilled out first.

 

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This is a dry fit of the two axels. It is hard to see but the cranks will fit within about two millimeter clearance between the inside of the engine room walls. Thanks to Adrieke's suggestion I am making the rear wall of the engine room removable.

 

Next time, final adjustments,

 

Rick

 

 

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Moving the paddlewheel by a steam engine was simple in the old days. Pressurized steam pushed and pulled a piston in the cylinder in a back and forth motion. To change into rotating motion, they devised what is called the cross-head guide at a joint in the piston rod to follow a crank that went around an axel, which was the paddlewheel. To make this work it took two pistons, rods, cranks setups to get past top dead center. The engineering of this is called quartering, in that the cranks had to be exactly 90 degree from each other when mounted on the axel.

 

This had to be done in miniature on the KoM. It is not practical  to use a small reciprocating steam engine. Instead, I had a nice, smooth running electric motor that ran in slow rotating motion. As shown in the previous post I made a new set of cranks and extended the rods to reach from the engine room to the paddlewheel. The tricky part is now I have four cranks that needed precise quartering. In short, a very flat surface (plate glass) and a true right angle (small machinist square) with good lighting and patience got the job done. Send me an email if you need a step by step setup of the procedure. The dimensions of the support bearings and the lengths of the rods also had to be very accurate. I used hat pins to temporarily anchor the positions of everything. Without the motor and chain attached I made subtle adjustments until every thing rotated smoothly by hand. 

 

The first three pictures show the crank and rod assembly outside of the boat. The first is comparison to the full size drawing, the second without a flash and the third with a flash.

 

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This last picture is the setup where I tested the paddlewheel the first time with power from my other hobby. I was able to get a reasonable video of the test and I am working on how to get an MP4 file in my next post.

 

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Hopefully very soon,

 

Rick

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Thanks Adrieke.

 

Now that the paddlewheel is running pretty good, it's time to build the next deck. I chose weathered planking using the herring bone pattern. I knew I didn't need to plank inside the second deck staterooms so I didn't do anything to the hatch covers.

 

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I want to add lights to the end staterooms with the curved walls that could be turned on and off separately from the main staterooms. The windows in those rooms are separated by means of internal bulkheads and I didn't think its worth two bulbs for such tiny space. So cutting an opening in the bulkheads inside of the rooms lets one bulb light up two windows.

 

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Here is where HO scale comes into play. The KoM is a 1:80 kit but I am pretty sure most finished boats get HO scale figures to add life on the decks for nice pictures. HO is pretty close at 1:87 and many detail parts are manufactured commercially for scratch building structures. The window castings in the AL kit were replaced by windows made by Tichy Train Group part #8026 and the louvred shutter by Grandt Line Products #5175. The windows are a tiny bit taller than the opening but allows interior lights to shine out. I did have to trim the window frames in order to be flush with the outside edge of the wall. The shutters originally are 87 scale inches tall but when cut in half match perfectly to the windows. This photo shows the difference between the AL castings and the replacement parts. Note the ventilator grate assembly. I didn't realize there weren't enough pieces to fill in the gaps. 

 

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Planking the curved walls of the staterooms was a challenge. There are a few tapered planks that aren't very noticeable.

 

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The last photo shows the windows and shutters. The wood color of the shutter blends with the wall color and are not very visible. The ventilator grid is not done yet. The photo above shows the grating assembly which was not the right approach. I decided to frame the ventilator with sapeli and carefully rebuild the grates to fit. This wasted most of the wood AL ingeniously cut for the grates.   

 

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More, later

Rick

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Moving ahead, I glued the engine and boiler rooms onto the main deck. The photo shows the effort to get a tight joint at the base of the walls. The rooms have been sitting on the deck for weeks as I worked on getting the control and wiring figured out...

 

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The next photo shows the 'nest' (before anything is really hooked up) where the wires and the control circuit board will be. On the green pad is a sample of the LED light I am using. They came from Christmas Lights. (BTW Happy Holidays to you all    :cheers: ).

 

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Of course the DC motor to the paddle wheel needs power. I also have estimated about 22 LED to light her up. And because I am a big fan of steamboat whistles I put in the biggest speaker I could. It is the exact width of the boiler room. Also in view are three LEDs on the left side of the room. They are colored LEDs - red, yellow and amber. When power is supplied to this circuit it flickers randomly. I figure the men feeding wood to the boilers will get a nice light show.

 

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The system that controls all of this is borrowed from model trains. I am using a DCC (digital command control) sound decoder that has internal sound files for whistles, bells, steam exhaust and a big assortment of other sounds. To control the decoder, usually model railroaders use a DCC throttle that is attached to the tracks and sends a coded signal through the rails to the locomotive in which the decoder has been installed. The decoder will then turn on headlights or increase voltage to the motor and send synchronized sound files to the onboard speaker, all in response to the throttle commands. 

 

The photo shows the throttle made by North Coast Engineering and the panel plugin unit on the left that should be attached to the front of the train layout. The power supply is plug into this as well as the throttle.  The installation manual of the decoder are also in this photo.

 

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Since I am not using rails for my boat, the connecting wires (red and black) go directly into the boat though the keel stands and up through the hull to the decoder. The decoder is attached to the dividing wall between the staterooms. It is amazingly small for what it can do.

 

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And thus begins the process of connecting all the lights. More on that next time.

 

Rick

 

 

 

 

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You know Adrieke, that I have had a lot of experience with model railroads. This part come easy. Now with ship building it is a different story. It definitely is a new challenge for me. I had trouble with the bow and Dagzz had good suggestions. I have just finishing the main stairs and as everyone says it probably the hardest part of the build.

 

I appreciate your observations and encouragement. I am learning a lot with this project and hope other get new ideas from it.

 

Rick

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Here are some initial photos testing the new lights. The red flicker from the boiler room door is nice. I think I want to have them a little brighter which means changing out a resistor. Getting independent control of the lights is tougher than I thought due to programing issues. Remapping function keys is not easy to do.

 

Rick

 

 

 

 

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The main stairs for this boat are unique and seem to be a challenge for most people to build. It took me several iterations and a lot of looking at other KoM builder's logs, which helped considerably in deciding what to do.

 

 I came up with new problems not encounter during their builds. The first photo show the step assemble using methods from John 46 and Adrieke. Unfortunately, that is when I stop taking pictures until I was confident of finishing the whole assembly.

 

Something about AL's King of the Mississippi appearance from the front that I didn't like. Missing the second deck rail around the forecastle seemed to appear to me like a cleft pallet. I saw that the stairways could be swapped right and left and essentially still function as spiral staircases - just climb the steps leaning in the other direction. Plus, it shows off the step detail to the front of the boat and makes them more visible to viewers.

 

I figure I would need to do the following changes:1) Build new railing and deck across the front, 2) the railing at the top of the stairs must be modified slightly, 3) the column near the base of the stairs must be moved over slightly 4) the arch over the passageway needs to be changed, 5) the notch in the second deck for the center pole need a slight adjustment.

 

When test fitting, both in the way the instructions say and trying my new idea, the steps would come up significantly short.  The height between the surface of the main and second decks on my boat is 43 mm. Each step from the kit is 3 mm tall and 13 steps in all add up to 39 mm. I decided adding another step would help the fit between the deck and fitting extra step to the railings and the balusters would take careful placement to hide the difference. I ended up making an extra baluster out the fret material for each of the straight balusters and fabricating longer railings for that side of the stairs.

 

Getting the balusters and handrails to curl proved to be the hardest part for me. Wetting, soaking, forming slowly the spiral curve went very slowly. Not finding good ways to clamp the pieces into the new shape was difficult. I would use a cylinder the diameter of the staircase and elastic bands but this wouldn't work on the critical top and bottom edges of the balusters. The railings were harder to shape trying form twists and bends and straight sections. I ended up breaking one baluster seven times, the other one did OK. Bending a weakened piece smoothly is near impossible so it got glued back together rather warped. Towards the end I sanded off the worse bumps and re-broke several balusters to even up the spacing. I am amazed the finished photos don't look as bad as they really are.

 

 

 

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hello rick nice work so far did u change the way the stairs face in the pic its diff its looks good i just left mine the same way it was when the frist build for real dont get me wrong the way u have its looks great keep up the great work

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Hi Rick, I have just joined this web site. I am also working on the King of the Mississippi, but I do not have all the experience you and other members of this have. So, thanks for sharing and I have a simple question. How do I connect the paddle-wheel rods (part 98) to the rod arms (part 99). The instruction book says to connect them using the shaft, which is a piece of brass wire "fastened on both sides". Not sure how to do this "fastening so it will all move. 

I love your motorized paddle-wheel. Thanks. John

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Hello John,

 

Thanks for looking at my build log. As you can see I did not follow the instructions exactly as Artesania Latina (AL) wrote them. I used a cut-off iron nail that was the same size as the hole in the crank (98) and the rod (99) to make a new pin to connect the rod and crank without binding. The nail had a flat head and I fitted a ring cut from a styrene tube that fit snugly on the stub end of the nail. A very small amount of super glue keeps the ring in place. The thickness of the head had to be small in order to clear the support block of the paddle wheel shaft. Looking at some my photos shows the white ring holding the shortened nail in place when looking sideways at my paddle wheel.

 

The AL directions say to use a very short piece of the thicker brass wire as a fastener of the crank and rod but they don't say how. If I were using the wire I would try to mash one end to form sort of a flat head nail, cut it very short to fit through the crank and the rod and then carefully mash the other end flat enough not to slip back through the hole.

 

If that doesn't work try bending the very end of the wire and cut a small piece off a little longer than the thickness of the crank and rod and then bend the other end to keep it from falling out. It would work more like a cotter pin doing it this way.

 

Hope you find a way to make it work.

Rick

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If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

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Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
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