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Charles W Morgan by Brucealanevans - FINISHED - Model Shipways

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So I've started on a Charles W Morgan build, although somewhat intimidated by the speed and or quality of the currently documented construction projects for this ship.

This model is a stretch for me, given the amount of scratch building involved and the somewhat cryptic instructions of this older MS kit.

I got interested after building the New Bedford Whaleboat, and added this kit to my "to do" stack. Having finished Picket Boat #1 to my satisfaction, decided to defer the Phildelphia Gunboat and take on a more complicated project.

I'm not retired (yet) and have many professional demands on my time, so I end up working in fits and starts and when I need the "therapy".

I decided to go ahead and build the hull superstructure before planking to allow better access for clamps for the waterway, planksheer, rail and topgallant structure. That's where I am now (pictures below). The rail structure is a bit wavy viewed end on on one side, but overall I'm relatively pleased within the envelope of my skillset. I had a few disasters in terms of inadvertant breakage of thin pieces (mainly the main rail) after installation by a misplaced hand while working on another part, but managed to overcome that adequately. I still have to do some sanding on the main rail as the strip I used was a bit wider than the rail is supposed to be - that is evident in the pictures where the rail meets the laser-cut curved rail piece forwards.

Next I'll plank between the planksheer and the mail rail to reinforce that area, and then likely add the wale and plank between the planksheer and the top of the wale.

Then I'll go on to bands A-D

The build logs and galleries on this and other sites have been a great aid.









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Hi Bruce


That's a very nice neat start to your build - bit like your shipyard. Best of luck with the build which I will follow with interest.


I do not have a keel clamp and would be interested to hear your comments on how practical it is when planking starts.





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I've had it upside down for some bulkhead faring. I also needed to know it would work in that position before building the hull superstructure since otherwise the top of the hull would have to rest directly on the working surface for planking and those structures would't last 2 minutes.

In this keel clamp the clamps can turn 90 degrees, so as long as there is space between the bulkheads and the midline structure (keelboard in this case) comes up to or near deck level the model can be securely clamped in the upside down position for planking.

I have fastened it to the work surface with 4 screws so it's rock solid, but can be rotated to almost any position and then locked securely.

This keel clamp is one of the most indespensible pieces of equipment I have! 4 stars.


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  • 2 months later...

Well, it's been awhile.

Had an unfortunate accident in the shipyard (misplaced high velocity elbow) and crunched all the stanchions on one side, along with the rails and planksheer.


Put the mess aside for a while until replacement parts and patience returned.

I have now repaired the damage and planked the works above the first wale to give everything more rigidity.

Now ready to start the hull planking bands.


It looks OK - some variation in fit. I'm always hoping the next build will be perfect. Not yet.





Edited by Bruce Evans
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Looking great Bruce.  I should be starting mine in a month or two.


Are you planning on double planking it?  The instructions say that you can plank it with 0.50mm second planking if I remember correctly.  I think I'm going to go that route, as I'm planning on using dyed pear.

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No, I'm going to paint it so I think I'll just go with the single planking.

Speaking of which, here it is with provisional planking bands marked out with artist's tape.

Still adjusting, then will mark the lines on the bulkheads and remove the pins and tape.



Edited by Bruce Evans
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  • 7 months later...

I don't plan on double planking. I think I'd only do that if I were planning on staining rather than painting. This is the most complicated planking job I've done and I'm reasonably pleased with it. Only a few spots need filler and none are major - mostly small cracks where two planks didn't snuggle up just right for a short distance. I've gotten pretty handy with the proportional dividers and at spiling and tapering planks. A sanding drum on a Dremel in a fixed stand (I use a drill press attachment) works great to rough trim the planks to measurement lines, with sandpaper finishing to fit. Each plank is a project!

8+ months of intermittent work to get to this point.

Some trouble at the stem and bow because I didn't take enough trouble with the filler blocks - not enough smooth taper leading to bulges. Won't make that mistake again.

Trying to decide whether to paint inside and out before installing deck, after adding the stern fashion piece and trim pieces. I want to use my airbrush and the deck will be left natural and would be hard to mask effectively and accurately.

Still some time before I have to decide.

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Hi Bruce, I just found your log. It's good to see another Morgan lover in the group. I've been working on mine since April 2013. I currently am starting the masting and rigging. I have a website on the Morgan model along with lots of photographs of my build, the restoration of the ship, the 38th voyage and how she looks now. I am also a Proxxon tool distributor. You might wish to check it out.




I'll be following along. Feel free to ask questions as I've already been there...lol. The reason I started to website was the marginal instructions in the kit.


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Yep, John, I have my eye on your site.

Also, lusting after some of the tools, especially the small Proxxon sander. Will undoubtably be adding to the shipyard at some point soon, as well as a resisitance soldering unit.

All set up with a dedicated shipyard including a tool bench in the lower level, so it's easy to work some, then leave things in place when real life work intrudes until another interval of leisure appears. If I had to take everything down between work sessions I'd never make any progress.

Some time today, so I'll work on some finer finishing of the hull.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've had a week with little IRL work and wife off on several travels, so I had more time than usual to work on the Morgan.


Here is the current progress.

Decided to paint at this stage since I prefer to use airbrush and since I plan to leave the deck unfinished (except for matt varnish). I didn't want to struggle with masking the deck off perfectly at  a later stage while painting the interior bulwarks. It takes me a while to work up the courage to do the paint job to a good looking unfinished hull ever since I screwed up my first attempt at staining my New Bedford Whaleboat (MS). After that disaster I put it aside as a bad job until my wife urged me to sand it down and try again, which I did with advice from Chuck about progressively finer sanding and diluting the stains. Turned out OK. The airbrush was great for those interior bulwarks with all the stanchions - I didn't want to face that with a paintbrush and multiple coats. Went with the red hull as per the restoration rather than copper just because I prefer the look.


Obviously some things will need to be added (channels, catheads, etc.) but I'd rather touch up later.


Now on the the deck.


Not really totally happy with the white striping - I find it hard to do exactly enough to stand up to close inspections. Looks good from this distance though! The hardest thing is to balance desire to do best work (if not perfect!) and OCD tendencies, which modeling brings out in me.


Working now on the positions of all deck structures that require coamings so I can temporarily install the coamings before beginning the decking.


Will post some larger/closer pictures once the deck is in place.

Who knows when that will be?

Looking at these posts, I see that I've been intermittently puttering away on this for 11 months already.


This is turning into an expensive model - I've used up my holiday equity on a bunch of new equipment for the shipyard. I don't buy stuff till I need it, but my definition of need is a low bar and requires an understanding wife - which thankfully I have in spades.




Edited by Bruce Evans
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  • 2 weeks later...

A bit more time to work the last week than I expected, so I finished laying the deck planking. Still a few raised edges to sand but basically done.

I'm not into treenailing, so I simulated on each plank before gluing by drilling small holes and filling them with slightly contrasting wood filler. I'll not be staining the deck - probably just a matt clear finish.

Now I'm consulting the plans and will be adding features that affect the hull and the inner bulwarks before beginning on the deck structures.




Edited by Bruce Evans
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Help needed!

I had a thought regarding the skylight.

Rather than painting the area under the skylight black, I thought I might substitute an image of what is actually under the skylight.

I would create this in a 3D modeling program (I'm pretty good with this program) and position the virtual "camera" to show an image from the point of view of the skylight, and apply this to the base/deck inside of the skylight. It might not show much but would be fun!

I need some information on what exactly is under the skylight (the plans say the compass is located there, but what else and how is it laid out?) - anyone with pictures of the Morgan showing this especially desired.

Can anyone help?

Edited by Bruce Evans
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Hi Bruce, looking good, my friend, it's really nice to be able to see someone else doing this ship. As for the skylight, to the best of my recollection, on the aft end near the helm is where the compass is located inside the skylight cover, then the rest of the light is over the Officer's Mess Table. There is nothing else under the skylight. The top and sides of the skylight have glass windows to keep the water out, and are hinged to open up for ventilation. Also more than half of the light is under the Hurricane House roof, and when you put in Mrs's Tempkin's Cabin and the Mizzen Mast you really can't see into the skylight. Something to think about is that you probably can't see through the skylight to see whatever you put there. I'll look in my pictures to see if I have anything showing this. Cool idea. Hope this helps.

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Bruce I found some pictures on my website Gallery, "As She is Now" pages. Here is one showing it empty. The compass was a square box about 18" on all sides with the compass "dome" on top. It sat on the crossmembers inside the skylight. Looking up from the officer's quarters, there are a couple of "racks" (beds) on one side with curtains. Not seen from above. I can't seem to upload that particular picture for you. I took some pictures of my Morgan and you can go to the website to see the ones I referencing. They are down the page under the Len Turner pictures #38 I think (if I counted correctly)Here are acouple of pictures of my model.





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