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USS Constitution by robnbill (Bill) - FINISHED - Mamoli - 1:93 kit Bashed

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January 2014 – After 21 years of sitting in a large box of packing peanuts I decided to resurrect the Mamoli Constitution. Luckily I had packed everything carefully. The ship’s hull and some of the tools were in the box, the remaining wood and parts were taped up in the original kit box. The scale of the model is 1:93.

I pulled the plans and started to review where I left the build off.

I had completed the outer hull (which is double planked on bulkheads), including the green tiles representing each of the copper plates. The main deck was not planked and the forward bulkhead while started only had one plank on one side.

I completed the forward bulkhead and proceeded to plank the deck. According to the instructions, each piece of Tanganyika needed to be cut to 80mm, then using a No.2 pencil you color the edges on both sides and the butt ends. I used white wood glue to glue the pieces down. I marked with pencil each of the deck penetrations, which were already done in the plywood. Then I carefully cut the wood and sanded/filed the edges back to the original hole size.

This is an area where I see a fairly significant difference in the Mamoli plans and the Model Shipyards. The MS builds the hull in the bow into what becomes the forward bulkhead. The Mamoli construction includes the bow in the planking and adds the forward bulkhead once the hull is complete. This also means the bow is approached differently. I will get to that later.

Once the deck was completed I put on the handrails. At this point, I decided a couple of points. First, my plan was to paint the model using the Constitution plaint set from MS and secondly, I wanted to modify the bow and the stern ornamentation to be more closely aligned with the looks of the MS model. This meant creating a method to add the scrollwork since the Mamoli did not include it other than two white metal plates to be affixed to the bow for the fiddlehead design. Secondly the stern did not have the two boards that ran from the lower stern over the windows and back down producing a nice double curve. These I created using 2x2mm walnut strips I bent with the heat bender.

As a note, I found out that adding CA to the sides of the strip before I bent it allowed me to control the splintering which the walnut was prone to do. This might have had something to do with the wood strips being over 21 years old.

Stern Galleries
The kit came with two white metal pieces for the windows in the stern galleries. One was curved almost correctly, the other was straight. Unfortunately, when trying to bend the metal for the gallery, it broke along the central vertical piece between the windows. I was afraid to heat it before I bent it. I found both of the gallery pieces required much work in sanding and shaping before they could be glued into the model. Since I was painting the ship I could use sandable epoxy putty to add to smooth the pieces to the hull. I did end up having to remove more of this than planned since I thought the top of the gallery was more curved than flat.

I used my Foredom Rotary tool, rilflers, sand paper, and dental tools to carve the gallery sides and put the modeling details back into it where I either ended up sanding them out, or they needed to be made to extend through the putty.

I then added the 2x2 walnut strips around the stern and completed the stern with the side strips running down the gallery aft sides. These I extended 2 mm to match the 2x2s I added around the windows.

The attached photo shows the Starboard Gallery. You can see the frame break on the bottom of the leftmost window. This was patched before painting.


Edited by robnbill
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I used 3x1.5mm walnut strips and 2x1.5 basswood to created beams for the bow construction. I decided to construct beams which were already U shaped so I could make the scroll work stand out. Given the smaller scale of the Mamoli kit I did not feel I could just use paint to smoothly to add the double stripes. By using the 1.5mm strips  I could construct beams  curved to fit the bow as well as straight beams that I could shape with the file for the 5 vertical beams.


The first thing I did was take the white metal fiddle plates and shaped them to fit the bow. These required significant thinning before adding to the bow. The plan called for using 9 strips walnut to create the piece that connected the fiddlehead plates to the bow. I did not like this arrangement. The instructions were also very sparse on the shape of these pieces/ Instead I took a small piece of pine and shaped two pieces that would fit the bow leaving just enough room to add walnut planking on the three exposed sides. This also allowed me to extend the top and bottom plates in a similar method as the other scrollwork.


The method worked pretty well. I was able to glue the beams to the hull using CA glue and using the bending iron to set up the glue quickly. This also allowed me to add more or less curves as I glued them to the bow. This was critical to make sure the two sides mirrored each other when viewed from the bow.





The kit only included the strakes outside the hull just below the waist and below the gun ports the full length. I added the strakes above the gunports as well based upon other models as well as a review of the available plans.


I liked the look when they were added. Since I was painting the hull, I also could use basswood (I acquired from the local RC Model shop) to make the strakes rather than matching the walnut.


On the interior, I added the strakes but choose not to follow the plan and add the 4 fittings, the belying pin racks and the line blocks on the forward bulkhead since they were to be stained. I also added the molding strip where the sides met the deck.




Placement of the forward cathead was very sketchy in the plans. I used tracing paper to sketch the angle of the cathead rom the centerline. Then I estimated the angle needed for the cathead to end up 2mm above the spar deck where it penetrated the deck. There was a shaped piece that was added under each of the catheads the mount it to the deck. The key was it needed to enter just above the coming. I used an adjustable square to catch the angle from the tracing paper. Then place the square along the centerline of the deck and marked the place it crossed the handrail. Once both sides were marked and triple checked, I used a square to mark the side hull from this mark. Then I scribed a line where the cathead needed to be when it penetrated the inner bulkhead. I used the plans to guesstimate the slope and the difference (higher) the cathead would be when it exited the hull. This was the second line I scribed above the first line. This was the bottom of the cathead. Since the cathead is a 4x4mm, the actual entry point was 2mm above the second line.


I took a very small drill and chucked it into the power drill. I know that the advice I had received was to not use a power tool, but I am very comfortable with the drill and using it allowed me to easily adjust the holes once they were drilled. Used the two marks as my guide and slowly more the hole through the hull on both sides. I added a small drop of CA to both holes to keep the walnut from splintering. The cathead came through the forward bulkhead and it was very thin. Once the glue was dry, I gradually increased the size of the holes until I could stick toothpicks into both. This allowed me to adjust each to mirror each other as well as being the correct angles.


Once I was satisfied with the placement, I continued to increase the drill diameter until the holes were slightly smaller than the 4mm required. Then I took a brand new Xacto blade (the thin pointed one) and used it to carve both the entry and exit holes square and fitted the catheads through the hull.


Lastly, I carved the small blocks that were the base of the cathead on the deck.


I performed a final review of one cathead then glued it in place with CA. Then I did a final adjustment of the second cathead to mirror the first one. The goal was to get both very close, then exactly match the placement of the second to the first. This would keep any errors from being readily apparent when viewed.


The photos below show the final position of the catheads. The bottom one showing the mounts where the catheads mount on the spar deck.









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Hull Paint Prep

Since I was painting the hull, I used spackle to smooth the hull and sanded using 220 grit. Once satisfied, I masked the hull at the waterline. Since the waterline was established when I put the faux copper plates on the hull, this was easy. I used standard masking tape at the waterline, then the blue tape to cover the rest of the hull.



I used a light pecan to stain the spar deck and left it to cure overnight.


Copper Bottom

Since this model uses a faux copper bottom I had to buy copper and green paint since these were not part of the Model Shipyards paint set for the Constitution. I took a green tile with me to the model store to match the color.


The instructions called for painting the hull below the waterline with copper paint. I airbrushed the copper on and once this dried, sanded it lightly to remove the paint in some areas to expose the wood and green paint below the copper. I used a microfiber cloth slightly dampened with Mineral Spirits to wipe the hull down. Then I airbrushed the green paint onto the hull and immediately used a soft cotton cloth to rub the green into the hull. I did this in overlapping sections since the paint needed to be wet when I rubbed it. This turned out great.


I removed the masking tape when the paint was dry then left it overnight to cure. I masked the hull below the waterline, as well as the spar deck and interior bulkheads up to, but not including the handrail.


Below is the Faux Copper bottom. The green plates have all been installed and lightly sanded on the hull.


From here on I used the model shipyards instructions on painting from their Constitution instructions. Unless otherwise noted, all paint was applied using an airbrush. I used the Model Shipways primer to paint all the exposed surfaces and lightly sanded after the second coat. Then painted the hull black. After the first coat, I cleaned up the base of the gallery where it still was a bit rough. Since I took the primer off the metal in doing this, I used a can of Tamiya primer to spot prime those areas. After a light sanding a applied two more coats of black letting the paint dry between each coat. After two coats I would let the paint cure overnight.


After the past paint cured overnight, I removed masked the hull to paint the gun port stripe. I debated priming again in that area but decided against that and chose instead to paint the white directly over the black. My current plans are to have the gun ports closed in the final model so I did not worry about white getting into the port.


With the paint curing, I used some time to take the assembled grates and sand them down to 2.5mm. When I assembled the grates I soaked them in water with wood glue. This seemed to set the grates but once I started working on thinning them I found the grates would not hold up. I used thin CA to re-glue the grates then once dried continued to sand them down to the correct thickness.


Once it dried 2 hours, I removed the masking tape on the outside of the hull. I did have to correct a bit of white overspray, but that was easy with the airbrush.




I thinned some white and black paint slightly but not as much as that needed to airbrush, the goal being to allow it to flow from a brush. I used this to paint the scrollwork on the bow with white. I used the black to correct any over brushing. This took a great deal of back and forth since my painting skills are not the best.


Once the bow was done, I painted the additional decorative details I added on the stern. This I allowed to dry overnight.



I touched up the white and black details all around.


I spent a good portion of the day removing the white metal columns, cleaning them up, priming and painting. I learned the hard way that these need to be cut from the casting armature. I broke one. The plans show the three lower stern windows have the two part plate with the cannon hole. I counted the plate pairs and there were just enough for the side cannons. However the book shows Anatomy of a Ship, shows these to be a one piece plate or at least no cannon hole with air ports at the top. There are port covers that are single covers with the ports in the top included in the plan. The plan was incorrect.


I also decided to go off plan and paint the Eagle Gold. I just think it looks great that way.

I used the sticky side of a small strip of masking tape to stick the small stars to so they could be primed and painted.


I realized after painting the stern nameplate white it needed to be black. Then after it dried I came back to paint the letters with white. Before painting I had to do quite a bit of thinning. I did this on all the white metal pieces. Otherwise they would be very bulky.


The windows in the stern are slightly large for the window plates so I thought I would glue the columns to each side of the plates prior to putting them on the stern. This did not work well and I ended up soaking them in acetone to remove the CA, then had to clean all the pieces over and repaint. I found on these pieces it was easier to use a 00 brush and paint them after they were attached to the hull.


After these were fitted and painted and the surrounding stern touched up with black, I fitted the Eagle. This required me cutting the lower of the double scrollwork above the Eagle. I looked at the photos and this is actually what seems to be on the real ship. I marked where the scroll needed to be removed and used a wood chisel to remove the portion under the Eagle. Then I painted the area black and let it dry.


The plans also called for the three port covers to be white. In reality they are black. I think it makes the columns stand out better. So I painted them black.


I fit the rudder to the hull and glued the hinges onto both. Prior to mounting the rudder on the hull I drilled the hole for the rudder chains to affix to the rudder. I dry fit the rudder then started adding the pins to the hinges from the bottom up. These proved challenging to find if they fell onto the floor (which they did several times). The hinges were the first part that I actually did not have enough to complete the assembly in the kit. I used a brass rod to make a 5th one. The ballpeen hammer and mini-anvil worked great to make a head on the pin. I touched up the faux copper bottom and the rudder hinges. Then I glued the rudder into position. After the rudder glue set, I added the chains to the stern. I still need to go back to the bow and touch up/smooth the scrollwork paint.


Okay, this gets things caught up. Only 22 years to get to this point!









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So the ship has progressed. I have tightened the port gun stripe. I also ordered some very small brushes to add the details to the bow and stern. These have helped tremendously. I have been working on the deck furniture starting at the bow and working aft. At the same time, I have been touching up the interior bulkhead paint. I found that the number of cannon balls supplied was short. I decided to add the balls to the racks prior to glueing them into position. 


I mounted the ship with two mounts the same size. I ordered a replacement mount for the bow mount since it needed to be 9mm taller in the bow. 


I also decided to try my hand at carving out the ship's boat blanks Mamoli supplied with the kit. I planned on a planked ship's boats but since I had the blanks in hand wanted to try out my new carving tools with the Foredom tool. I took the whaleboat down to 1.5 MM. Then added deck stringers, a band around the sides to mount the seats on. I also added the longitudinal bar for the mast mounts. To make the oarlocks, I drill pairs of holes and put small pieces of brass wire then after the glue set bent the wires around a mandrel. I am still not sure I like the color scheme I used. 


I did find that the plan called for wood boat mounts for the midships boat. These were not supplied, nor was the wood. They did supply 4 metal mounts, that were the correct size, although still way too thick. I found these down to the 3mm thickness required to fit into the midship assembly.


I also put the larger of the ladders together since I plan on installing the first group tomorrow. 












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Thanks. I am using Minwax light pecan stain on all the wood that is not painted. The deck is tanganyika so it already had some of the color. The thin hardwood strips are brittle. Some of this maybe just the wood but most is probably the age. I found that on pieces that I need to drill such as the belaying pin racks or the cannon ball racks, if I coat the wood with thin CA and let it dry, it allows me to do pretty much whatever I need to it without breaking or splintering. Then a light sanding allows me to stain it or paint it.

Edited by robnbill
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I painted the gun ports black today. I used masking tape to protect the white gun stripe. There was a slight bleed under the tape where the tape crossed but easily touched up with white paint and a detail brush. I also threw the whaleboat into a jar of acetone to strip the paint and fittings from the whaleboat. I was not happy with the way it turned out. The hull was carved out nicely, but it didn't look light. The paint was too thick and I want to change the fittings around a bit. I did not think the build was up to the standards of the rest of the ship. Try try again!


Anyway, I used the evening hours to set up a spreadsheet with the line sizes from the kit and compare them to the rigging sizes on the real ship. Then used scaling to see how they mapped. I ordered a couple more sizes from Model Expo to cover the ranges that were too far out. I ordered more black line. The line that came in the kit will need to be dyed. I was planning on using minwax, I will have to see how it matches to the Model Expo black.





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I added a bit of black wash to the Eagle boards this morning. I believe it adds a bit of depth to the carvings. These are metal fittings from Mamoli. In addition, I completed the main hatch today. This was more complicated than it seemed initially. Given the deck camber and the many part to be cut and fitted, it took longer but I am pleased with the results. I modified the plans for the forward ladders. I ran them fore to aft rather than side to side. This is in line with the AOS. I led the midships side to side since the deck had a large opening already cut in it to allow for that. I also decided to paint the lower decks around the stairs the bulwark green. Since these really do not show and are left un-planked, this keeps them from looking unfinished and highlights the lighter stairs which are the feature that is important. I also painted the deck black under the forward small hatch since the deckle would have shown through the grates since these were basically right on top of the deck. I still have to mount the ships boat cradles but will do this a bit later.


Again, I think the ship is in better shape than it was when I started this morning so today was a success.





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I made more progress on the deck furniture today. I built both the capstan and skylight. The skylight in the kit consisted of a square base, a 6 sided plain base and a flat metal piece with the skylights imprinted on them. I did not like this. So after shaping the base to be equal sided,  I used the rotary tool to inset the panels around the base. Then I carved the six sided top and used the rotary tool to inset where the glass would be. These I painted black.


The capstan had nothing in the plans other than a drawing with no dimensions. I pulled the Constitution plans for the capstan and used them to assist in shaping the 8 insets. The kit only supplied the spindle with the domed top and bottom. Since the real capstan has a brass top, I decided to paint mine black along with the lower band. Then the middle I stained. 


I completed the deck assembles around all the hatches and installed the stairs and platform for the capstan. Then I glued everything up. I have not yet installed the Main and Mizzen fife rails, the ships wheel and skylight (small square one), and the various cannonball holders. These should all be completed tomorrow, I hope. 


I also stained all of the blocks. After consulting the forum, I tried a number of different methods. First I tried to put the stain on a paper towel and roll the blocks in it. This was not satisfactory since it did not get the stain into the grooves. I tried dipping the blocks in the stain, then wiping them off on a towel. This worked but only for the larger blocks. The small ones would take forever to do this way and I would probably end up dropping one or more in the stain or on the floor. Finally for the small blocks, I put them all into a large spoon. Then used a dropper to add the stain. This allowed me to move the blocks around until they were all coated well. Then I raked them onto a paper towel and rubbed the excess stain off. No clean way of doing this but it is wall done.


Finally, I airbrushed a second coat of black onto all the cannon barrels. I also painted the carriages of the 24 pound bow chasers red. I planted the wheels black and glued them onto the carriages. Tomorrow, I will clean up the glue and sand the stairs and capstan where needed.


The skylight is placed but not glued in the photo. I will glue it up once I work my way back to the aft deck. One of the shots below shows a test placement of the forward cannons.


Overall, the ship was better tonight than it was this morning. A successful day. 








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I completed the deck furniture today. I went off plan for a couple of areas. First the plan showed a pastil green skylight just forward of the ship's wheel. None of the books or other modelers had this. It has a hatch, so I used a small piece of left over grating and framed in a hatch. There were no binnacles in the plan. So I built two and pined them to the deck just forward of the wheel.


The wheel in the kit was mostly metal with the center hub having two small wooden rings to make the cylinder. The holes in the wheels were not the correct size so I drilled these out. I put the wheel together last night so it was set this morning. I painted it a darker brown and added tan to the handle spokes and the center of the hubs where the star is on the ship.


I shaped the stern davits and glued them into place. I added the chain boards to each side. I did not add the outboard strip since I will need to be able to put the chains in before I add them.


After consulting with Mort Stoll, I found out the ship's kit did not include the blocks to rig the cannon. I really want to rig the cannon. So I ordered 100 ea 2.5 single and double blocks (Syren Ship Model Co) as well as a roll of brass wire so I can make the rings and hooks. I know Chuck shipped the blocks today. In the meantime, I plan on starting tapering and assembling the masts. I ordered a dowel support for my lathe. It is a full size lathe so it will be interesting trying to turn the small spindles. I did do the first section of the bow spirit and it seemed to work out well.


Attached is a photo taken from above showing the layout of the deck furniture. The extra black blocks on the side are real just the square holes in the workbench underneath. I still need to figure out a way to level the ship form side to side on the pedestals. I did get the taller pedestal installed today so the ship sits pretty level fore to aft. 


I ran out of the kit supplied cannonballs today. The additional ones are back ordered and hopefully will be in soon. 




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I leveled the hull today. I ground down the pedestals until it was level. I completed the installation of the chain boards, then touched up the painting all around. I painted the internal stairs brown. They look better than with just the stain. Since these are a soft light wood, they just did not look finished with just stain. I added the side ladders. I assembled and retouched the cannon getting them ready for the rigging. I am still missing 8 cannon balls, but they are on back order. They will be easy to install once I get them. I still want to spray the hull with a matt clear coat before I put the cannon on. This should even out any differences in gloss and make everything flat.


I plan on working on the lower gun ports next. I will have them open. Then I will spray the hull with the clear coat and move on to the rigging. 


My plan is to rig the cannon, then put the hammock racks on the rails. Then I will start with the masting.  Overall I am pleased with the progress. I see differences everyday. 










Edited by robnbill
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I painted the hinges on the gun ports and installed them along with the lower cannons today. I will have to do something on the cannons finish. I painted them several days ago and they still peeled. So touch up tomorrow. After installation, I temporarily placed the deck cannons on the deck and for the first time, the Constitution had the full set of armament on it! Yeah!


So tomorrow, I will do some final touch up in preparation for the clear coat. In the meantime, I have to set up for turning the masts and spars.




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I was able to do the first clear coat today. This made the entire model flat. The Tamiya paint that I used to the metal fittings had some gloss to it. This took that off. I still plan on doing some fine sanding on the hull tomorrow and recoating. There are still some areas where I brushed that look slightly different than the areas I airbrushed on the hull.


I started working on the masting by constructing the main mast first. This was the first time I have used the set up on my lathe. Since it is a full size lathe, I added a spindle support bracket from Grizzly. This worked very well. It allowed me to use the turning tools on the larger pieces and sandpaper on the smaller top mast. This allowed me to quickly reach the desired shapes and sizes.


I fit and glued each of the sections together and dry fit them all together. This allowed me to set the main mast (as a trial) and check the rake and fit. While it raked back a bit more than required, it was not out of the parameters so I can adjust it easily to reach the desired rake. The one thing I could not find anywhere was the size of the transverse planks for the middle tree. I used the AOS to see what it should be and made it accordingly. I did not arc them. However, I may look at adding that tomorrow. It should be easy to glue additional wood to the bars and shape them into the gentle arcs. It was nice to see the ship with a mast even if it is temporary. I will correct the trees tomorrow then paint the main. Then I will start working on the Fore and Mizzen masts.





Edited by robnbill
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I have a mast! Today I spent the day trying to develop a technique that would allow me to create and affix hoops to the lower mast. I flattened 22-gauge brass wire using a small hammer and the small anvil. Then wrapped it and shaped it using the round nose jewelers needle nose. The difficulty came with getting it to stick long enough to be able to wrap it and place it exactly where it needed to be. Finally I used the bending iron to set the superglue. Then I went back to each hoop and pressed it to the mast with the iron. This worked well.  I added the two rings to the lower part of the mast, and then coated the mast with two coats of paint. Now I am ready to proceed with the next mast.




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Hi Bill,


I misunderstood what you meant by mast hoops. I did not think to add them to my Connie,  I used thick card stock for my Snake mast hoops. Worked out very well. Others I know have used Evergreen Plastic Strips for their mast hoops and seem to like it.


All the best,


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Today I abandoned making the mast banding out of brass and used card stock instead. This proved much easier as well as looked nicer.  I was able to complete the assembly of the Fore and Mizzen masts today. The kit was missing two of the mast caps so I fabricated them. The masts look pretty good. I have put on the first coat of paint and will recoat them tomorrow. I will also start working on the bow spirit tomorrow.


I have attached photos of the masts as well as the lathe set up I am using. I have a full size lathe so I purchased a spindle support from Grizzly. This is working very well with the masts. I am looking forward to the spars.


On another note, I received the additional blocks from Chuck (Syren Ship Model Co). They look fabulous! Now I have to rig my cannons!








Edited by robnbill
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I spent the first bit of the morning working on redoing a connection in the mizzen mast. During the glue up yesterday, the joint slipped and resulted in the mast being ¼ inch shorter. I used a syringe to place small amounts of acetone directly on the joints involved then worked the joints with a #11 Xacto knife. This worked and I was able to break the joint with the pieces intact and re-glue it correctly.


Next I spent time turning the pieces for the bow spirit. The Dolphin Strikers proved to be the most challenging on the turn and required much more finesse. I broke the first two attempts which snapped off at the chuck. I ended up using 320 grit wet dry and very gently was able to get the spars down to the correct size.


I was not sure of how to make the bow spirit steps. I have seen a number of different approaches some better than others. I took a strip of 1x5 strip, marked off lines ever 4mm's. Then I used a diamond burr (small cylindrical) to carve grooves across the strip then deepened them with the burr and later with a file. To keep the steps sharp, I coated them with thin CA prior to the final shaping with the file.


By this afternoon I was able to assemble the parts and return to the previous masts for recoating of paint. I was also able to get the bow spirit coated with two coats of paint.


The masts in the photos below are just sitting in their sockets. I have not affixed them yet. They do seem to do well there though!









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Today I worked on the Spanker Mast. This required some bashing since the Mamoli Plans shows the top of the mast ending in mid-air below the fighting platform. The spanker should terminate into the platform.  I also made 9 brass hoops/sail hanks to put on the mast and used black patina to stain them dark. The kit was missing the two brass rings it called for at the main deck and the lower spanker boom. I made these out of card stock. This completes the masts.


I finished the day by installing the 4 boomkins. This completes the hull with the exception of the deck cannon and hammock racks. Next I will start on the spars. I am still waiting on a backorder of cannon balls to fill all the racks on deck.







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For the last couple of days, I have been retooling for the spars as well as performing some maintenance tasks in preparation for rigging.


I spent a number of quality hours with the plans going over the spar rigging and identifying each of the fittings, blocks, pins etc that each would require. This also showed that I was short in the kit the necessary doweling needed to complete the spars. I made a quick trip to Lowes and procured more dowels than I will need. These in Oak and Poplar. I also will be using these in working on the Oars I plan to make for the ships's boats.


 I was able to turn the first two spars yesterday. I am starting at the bow and working aft, so I started with the Bow Spirit spar. Then the Lower Fore Spar. Both are turned and painted. The Bow Spar has the first blocks attached. The Lower Fore Spar also has the center rub boards attached. I used the "S" method that Modeler12's video showed to attach the blocks to the spar. That worked well. Now I plan on working on the rope walks.


Since we are in the midst of a snow storm here in the metro DC area, I hope to get more spar work done since it is a perfect day to hole up in my shop with occasional forays out to snow blow the drive and sidewalks.

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I completed the Spirit Sail and Fore mast Lower Spars. I added the additional cleats to the fore mast that were not included in the Mamoli kit. I decided to use a small finishing nail to tie the stirrup line to create the hole. I tied it, super glued it and removed the nail then attached the stirrup to the spar. This allowed me to thread the horse through. I rubbed superglue over the thread prior to threading it to give it some body.





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Today I continued to work on the Fore Mast Spars. I completed all of them except the top one. I will complete it tomorrow. I created a new tool to help me seize the blocks. This is speeding up and improving my seizing capabilities. I have posted about this took under the tools forum. Hopefully I have not recreated the wheel, but it works great for me.


I also visited the local fabrics store today and bought more thread. Now that I have small enough thread, I can start working on rigging the cannon blocks.



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Hi Bill,


I followed the plans and was very satisfied with the result, however - as the man said - there is more than one way to skin that cat.  That does not mean the plans are 100 o/o correct.  For my Snake I am using Petersson to supplement the Caldercraft plans and could not be more pleased with the results.


Hope this helps,


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I spent the day working on the canons. After playing with the rigging last night I was not satisfied with my cannons. The spar deck cannons should have had a ring on the breech end of the barrel for the breeching rope to run through. This was not on any of the cannons. I made some small rings and used sliver solder to solder them to the cannon. This had a bit of a learning curve but I only melted on cannon.  Luckily I had two extra in the kit. Prior to soldering them I put them in a bath of acetone to remove the old paint. Then I used a wire brush in my Foredom tool to remove the remaining paint and prep it for the soldering. I also put the all the cannon carriages into the acetone to take off all of the paint and remove the CA so I could redo them all.


After completing the soldering of the rings I used the wire brush again to clean the barrels then immediately put it in the blackening solution. After 30 seconds, I would remove the barrel, wash it in water, then dry it. Then I buffed each of the barrels. This showed the areas that did not get blackened well. I put it back in the solution for about 20 seconds then repeated the cycle until the barrels were smoothly blackened after buffing.


Once the barrels were all completed, I started on the carriages with the wire brush. After disassembling and removing all the paint, I sorted the parts into those that were perfect and those that were broken in some fashion. The main issue was many of the lower carriage frames were missing one of the rings. There were almost half like this so it had to be addressed. I decided to completely remove both rings from all of them. Then I used a diamond burr to completely remove all cast marks since I had not before. I decided to add the ring. I think it will look better than stringing the blocks through the hole directly.


Then I reassembled the lower carriages (minus the barrels and capsquares , then repainted them all. I also used a flattened brass wire to make two more of the capsquares that were missing.


Tomorrow, if all goes well, I will start working on the cannon rigging. Once I get a few under my belt, then I can return to the spars.

Edited by robnbill
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