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US Brig Syren by Joef - Model Shipways

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Hi All,



Well, my log was also lost, but I was not that far in, so I feel
fortunate, as compared to the many who had magnificent builds logged. First,
let me re-introduce myself.



I have been an active RC and plastic modeler for many years and
finally decided to tackle a tall ship. I looked over the instructions of the
Syren and this was my deciding factor to make her my first try. I understand
she is not recommended for a first timer, but I am hoping my experience on
building RC and other scale will help me a bit, and I have already asked for
help on many occasions in the brief amount of time I have been building.



I am currently in Chapter 3 - gun port framing and I will add
back some of my original posts now, which will catch me up to where I actually
am at currently.



here is the first set of files, although not in original order though
- I was working on framing and fairing the hull asking if things looked OK. As some
of the images also show my first attachment of the batten to check for a good
and fair run. I also put on the sub deck and stained the planking with a
combination of MinWax natural and Oak.



For those of you ahead of me ( I.E. everyone), I will be asking
lots of questions and studying every log I can take the time to read,
especially when I have a free moment at work


This is my first post to the new site, so please excuse my images if they don't space correclty - I'll figure it out soon enough












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  • 3 months later...

Hello Joe,


You haven't posted for a while.

I know life is not just occupied by modeling only, we have family, friends, work, etc.

How are you doing? Are you well?

I hope you will be able to get back at your build soon.


Take care,



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Hi Anja

Thank you for your post. Life has indeed got in the way, but in a good way. I also build and fly Radio control and I took on much more than I normally do during the season and have been thrashing some new designs for a long time now. My Syren is sitting on its table calling me and I will soon return to her. Someone needs to sail at the end of the Armada and My Syren will bring up the rear!



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  • 4 months later...

Hi All,


Well, after a long recess I am back at my Syren – I am guarding the rear flank of the fleet, but it feels good to be back. I took a while off in the summer to fly radio control, and then some family and work issues kept me at bay. I have that stuff all resolved now, and it is back to the Syren. I also like building WWI and WWII scale planes and armor, so I will be alternating between the Syren and whatever I have on the plastic bench


I will take some images and post where I am by this weekend, but I am now into chapter 4 – working on the transom – It had been so long being away that I forgot how much I like working with wood and this vessel – Feels great to be back. One good thing about being so behind everyone else is I get lots of great build threads ahead of me to read again and note how to do things right!


Permission to come aboard captain!




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Hi All,

Well, I am now into chapter 4 - building the transom and I certainly see Chuck's warning about the starting frames being fragile. They also presented a challenge to me in that they require careful placement in multiple planes - I was careful as I can be for my skills, but it is still a challenge. I will see if my framing here is any good soon I suspect in how everything else fits.


I also show a starboard shot of the Syren showing my recently completed gun port framing. It also was a bit of a challenge for me .


I should remind all reading this build thread that I represent the type of builder that makes many mistakes and accept the fact that I won't always get everything correct.  I learned several years ago that the enjoyment for me in this hobby is the journey and not necessarily the end product of my work. I am enjoying the build and if I make it acceptable, that is icing on the cake - I think my thread will serve those like me who can sometimes be a bit intimidated by the large number of superb builders here - We mere mortals can also build.


While the transom frames glue dries, it is time to change gears and begin the Me262 plastic jet  I have waiting to build - I will be switching between these two all winter








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As a fellow "mere mortal", I understand/applaud your approach - I try to enjoy what I do each modeling day and not lose sleep over any mistakes.  If it looks good, well, that's a bonus.  I have a Syren kit on the shelf, which I hope to start after my cross-section, so will be following your build closely too.


If you have any "aha!" moments (tips, tricks, etc.) I know I will be especially interesting in hearing them.  Often I see beautiful work presented, but with minimal explanation of the techniques used to achieve it.



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Im also happy to see another Syren build in the works. I started mine about a month ago and I am just begining the framing so I am not far behind you. I must admit it is hard to find the time but I have really enjoyed what I have done so far. I am kicking around the idea of starting my  own build log. I've been taking pictures right along -  just have to find/make the time.


I'll be following closely.



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Hi all,

Well, I have completed all ten steps of Chapter 4 and completed the Transom work. I decided to use blocks for the final steps to make a bit more surface for the planking to glue to as the curvature looks pretty big in this area. I hope I have faired it well, but I frankly have zero experience in planking and of course, that is the next chapter - planking the upper hull and gun ports - time to take a deep breath and expand my skills...

I have posted a couple of images to show my complete transom and the blocks I formed under the counter. I heavily used sanding sticks on this operation and they were quite handy.  I was still in my comfort zone to this point, as shaping clocks like this is common in building RC planes, but planking is next - this should be fun!




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Hi Augie

Thanks for the reply. As I study up on planking by reading the suggested text by Chuck and everything else I can find, I was wondering if I should expect to have to spile, drop plank, or stealers above the whales.  I am not expecting to have to do drop or stealer, but should I plan on spiling any of these planks? - I certainly understand the need for them below the Whales, but initial planking as you know, starts above


Thanks for the help do far!



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You really shouldn't need any spiling above the wales.  Use the bending jig Chuck shows to get the curvature you need around the bow.  Again, take your time getting the gun ports nice, neat and sharp with that 1/32" inside relief and also the sweep ports.  As someone once said on here, treat each plank as a modeling project.


Edge bending and spiling will come into play below the wales.

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Floyd-  Technically, you could probably get by without it so long as you account for the narrowing of the space available at the bow by using drop planks?  But my feeling is you should try to do the best looking planking job possible anyway even if you're going to either copper or paint the lower hull.  It's just good policy.  Plus, the lower hull might look so nice when you're done you have the opportunity to change your mind instead of the old 'woulda, coulda, shoulda'.  Just my 2 cents.

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I agree with Augie. I considered this first model to be training for the next, so I ended up with planking that I could have left un-coppered. But since I wanted to try the copper also, I went ahead and coppered the hull. I'm glad that I did. I didn't have much success with making tic marks on the bulkhead so I came up with a transparent planking guide which allowed me to make small adjustments on each plank as I went along. it worked good for me.



Edited by Larry Van Es
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I agree with Augie. I considered this first model to be training for the next, so I ended up with planking that I could have left un-coppered. But since I wanted to try the copper also, I went ahead and coppered the hull. I'm glad that I did. I didn't have much success with making tic marks on the bulkhead so I came up with a transparent blanking guide which allowed me to make small adjustments on each plank as I went along. it worked good for me.

Is that just a transparent ruler, nut flexible to bed around the bulkheads?


Where did you find it.





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Yes. It is flexible and bends nicely around the bulkheads. I found it at a office supply. It is made to insert into a Day Runner® Planner Page Marker/Ruler. I just cut out the part that I wanted.


Edited by Larry Van Es
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi All

Well, I am near the no turning back point now. I have put two battens on the hull, per instructions in preparation for the whales. I have taken many snapshots to allow those of you with more experience and a more critical eye to help me judge if my hull is fair and true and ready to replace the two pinned battens with 5/32" whales.


I looked for the following and would appreciate additional help and suggestions

  • Each batten made solid contact at each former - no bulges, dips, or partial contact
  • Run of the batten looked good from all angles I could see - no sudden changes in direction, no dips or bulges between formers
  • Battens were symmetrical on each side - they converge at the same height at the bow and stern

Nothing is glued in place, as I wanted some feedback before I glue the whales. The whales are however ready to go, as I made a plank bending Jig as per Chuck's suggestion in the instructions.


I thought I would also share my plank soaker design. I stole an old trick from my RC days, when I had to bend many stringers to fit a long double curvature fuse. I started with a 3/4" diameter PCV tube and epoxy in a hardwood dowel at one end and let is cure overnight. On the top end, I made another plug of dowel, but tapered it so it was removable. When it was time to soak the battens and whale raw stock, I filled up the PVC tube most of the way in the sink, put the wood in and let the excess water run into the sink, then while pushing down the sticks, slid the dowel stopper on the top - I then help the whole thing vertical in my big vise for about 10-15 minutes and it worked like a charm - My original idea of borrowing one of the admiral's cookie pans was not a well thought out idea and I was ordered to stand down. I've attached a few images of my soaker -


I would greatly appreciate feedback if I have more work to do, or if she is ready to have my very first planking laid down.


Thanks to all who respond and sorry for so many images, but I don't know any other way to show all the views















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