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Swift 1805 by Cannon Fodder - FINISHED - Artesania Latina - Scale 1:50 - Second ship built

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This build is coming right on the heels of the Bounty Jolly Boat. 


I decided to go with the same maker, Artesania Latina, while I was not particularly impressed with their instructions it did leave me with some creative license in the end.


I chose the Swift 1805 at 1:50 scale. I wanted increase in size and complexity, double planking and two masts.



The following is the unboxing and contents.  I noticed it was definitely bigger but not by much. Much bigger than this and I will need a bigger shipyard. Admiral?!



Some nice selection of parts. I noted 167 parts on the part list.



Here is a picture of the simplistic instructions. One picture of the completed step to be paired with a short two or three sentences on what to do. Make note here, never do they say how to do it.  But that was this forum is for, and build logs!

I really excited about the two little decks under the main deck, don't know what they might be call beyond a hold.



The plans, nice, they say 1:1, big readable, I'll have to check to make sure they are 1:1. Long part list.


Spar/mast lay out as well. A fair bit more rigging diagrams, but I have bought a reference for that since the Bounty had basically no guidance.



And here are the wood bits and pieces.  Comes with sails. And a base and mounts. (Still trying to figure out the base for the Jolly Boat)



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Its always good to see a new Swift build log. The instructions are atrocious, agreed, but that allows you to modify her quite a bit, Especially in the rig. Plus there are Swift builds a-plenty on MSW with LOTS of great ideas. I've been studying all the changes I want to make on my build for quite a while. I look forward to seeing your version of this classic develop.

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This was my first build and I learned a lot from it. I salvaged and covered up most of mistakes and it sits on my desk. I can't wait to watch your build log. Good luck.


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themadchemist- I've been studying your build and generating ideas. Hope to start soon, working in wood I like to show it off with stain. I wonder of these kits could be built in the more traditional manner with keel attached first? Vs planking then shaping to fit the keel on ...

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As the kits designed and using the kit pieces it would be tough as the keel doesn't provide enough room for carving the rabbet. Part of the design of the kit is to prevent the builder from having to do all that process, which for most is a daunting task.
I attempted to simulate the rabbet, by planking the first planking, then attaching the keel, stem and stern posts. I then carved a small 0.5 mm rabbet along the keel into the first planking for the second planking the fit into.
I completely changed the wood on my build  for the stem and keel and one could go further. If one were to go to that depth of modification on the kit though I would say scratch build it. After all there is a lot more then just the keel, which won't show, that can be modified on the Swift kit. The biggest changes being or course to the rigging.
That's one of the great things about this hobby is that you can change just about anything you want to.... and figuring out how is half the fun.
I've modified several features which have lead to other changes that were then required.
For example, to accommodate the space needed for the Prism transom inlay, I had to increase the height of the transom, which meant building an upswept stern quarter. This kinda makes it not a pilot boat anymore, but it was my build and what I wanted. By doing this, I also am forced to raise the main lower boom to clear the taller transom. Another example is by adding the pig with wings figurehead it will play a part in the placement of the bow shrouds which I'm adding, but the kit neglects all together. The bowsprit will also need lengthening to allow clearance.

I found the Cunliffe's book Pilots: Pilot schooners of North America and Great Britain an excellent resource in studying rigging a very useful resource and its available for partial viewing in google books.


Peterssons book RIGGING PERIOD SHIP MODELS: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO THE INTRICACIES OF THE SQUARE-RIG is a great source for learning the fore and aft rig. Its a great book that's all illustrations and labels.

The one thing that I can say, if you want to attempt something, DO! Spend some time researching build logs and asking questions. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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It was time to break out the keel and see if it was warped. I'm prepared with my cutlass and whiskey.post-9561-0-55844600-1394293989_thumb.jpg



Unfortunately even before starting I noticed this piece of plywood was warped. And upon putting it together, it was painfully obvious I would need extra work to get it straight. This is dry fitted.



I also noticed a serious flaw/hole in the plywood.  I am just thinking of filling it with wood filler.  Anyone have experience with this sort of thing?


Another picture of the warp.



Kind of a rough start to a project, immediately finding flaws. But I guess if this were easy it would not be as satisfying once you're done.




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Warps are the pits.  There a lot more old hands than me on this board, but I would make a couple of suggestions.  Please insert "In my humble opinion" and "You might try" in front of anything I type.


I've worked with some warped pieces and ended up with reasonable boats.


First, make yourself a mount that will help straighten and hold the backbone straight.  You can do this by tacking/ gluing a couple of wood strips on a flat piece of board with just enough space between them for the false keel.  This will get you started in holding everything straight (and be a handy mount while you're working). 


Next, I would carefully mark and pre-drill the false deck that comes with the kit.  You can mark on the bottom of the false deck where the bulkheads go as well.  Pin this in place while installing the bulkheads so you can make sure they are perpendicular to the straightened and pinned "backbone."  The deck can act as a straightener when you pin/glue it on.


I build the old version of this little boat.  The deck has a pronounced double bend, across and longways (sorry, I was raised in west texas and cool nautical terms don't come easily to me).  Be thinking now about how you will clamp the in place.  You don't want to rethink how to attach it once glue is in place.  DAMHIK!

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The top deck actually has holes in it already. I have seen the build logs with complicated jigs trying to drill the mast holes at just the right angle.


I hope the lower decks can help straighten things as well. Thanks for the advice, the jig is helping me get things straight.

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Moving along


I am now planking the false decks or lower decks. Sadly not gun decks but, deck planking none the less.

The kit has made some improvements as far as I can tell. Some wood has changed and it's hard to tell from the parts list and supplies what is what. I've noticed that only some of the photos in the instructions have been update and not all.


Having fun. This might be my favorite part of building... Assembling the hull framing and bulkheads. It went far to quickly on the Jolly boat the first boat I built. Making me think I might like a Fully Framed model project one day.



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Lower decks planked!


I am a little intimidated by the top deck and how I will need to bend/warp it to the model. Almost seems like and impossible set of bends.


Deck planking was super fun. I was thinking of trying to add some detailing to them, either caulking or treenails. I will probably apply varnish before adding the top deck.

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My first ever treenails!

Tools: #69 drill bit and pin vise

Bic mechanical pencil 0.7mm lead



I had tried with the #70 drill bit but it turned out to fit better with the #69, not to mention I broke my #70 bit in the first few holes drilled :) I also tried fitting the lead in by hand and by tweezer, it worked best right out of the pencil and just snapped off.


This is also sanded with 220 grit and treated with wipe-on poly from min wax clear satin.



A few of the holes went clear through. Oops.



I am quite pleased with the result however.

Edited by Cannon Fodder
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Top deck warping:

By wrapping the deck in soaked paper towel and two minutes in the microwave I was able to rubber-band the deck in place and let it dry.


Then I glued it and nailed it down and set it off to dry again with some rubber-bands.



The rear bulkhead suffered some slightly aggressive sanding by someone and I might have to redo it. I was trying to flatten it out to put the deck on but as you can see it is a little off.



Does anyone know if that rear deck should have the same curve as the main deck?

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Rear top deck in place and planked with caulk and treenails using the pencil along the edges and simulated nails drawn on.


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I began planking the main deck.



I cut all my planks and colored the edges with pencil in batches as I went.



I got glue all over my fingers.



I made sure I was symmetric and off the cuff with the pattern.



And am halfway done now.



I plan on simulating the treenails as I did with the rear deck sanding and staining with wipe-on.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have finished the top deck planking. Treenails to come.






I replaced the stern most bulkhead or in think it's called the transom if my new ship part internal dictionary serves me well, please correct me if I am wrong. The piece in the rear in any case or landlubards terms.






And I've started planking.



Edited by Cannon Fodder
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I've started planking but am struggling with the timber in this kit. It is thicker and narrower than the planks in the Jolly boat kit. Even soaking it overnight I have had trouble with breakage when trying to bend it about the bow. The only method I've had any success with is the plank bender crimps that I have. I've ruined enough to almost make a scale bonfire beside the ship.


Pins are tending to split the planks and or the bulkheads and clamps are of minimal usage as the lower decks are in the way. Rubber bands are being employed mostly.


Also one of my bulkheads is a bit small and I have had to shim under the planks. I'll post some pictures tonight. My stowaways and admiral have left for the week so I get some extra time down in the shipyard. :)

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What size are the planks?  are they 1.5mm thick?  I use rubbing alcohol and water to shape pieces, works better but the fumes will get you loopy if you aren't prepared.  I also make a small jig for overnight shaping.



"I drank what?" - Socrates


Current Builds:  


Finished Builds: 


Future Builds:        

  • Mamoli Golden Hind
  • Mamoli Black Prince
  • AL Swift


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I tried several things to bend those planks.  After soaking them for a while, I found a curling iron worked pretty well to shape them.  I also used a steam iron - but be careful, you're holding really close to the iron and you can get "steamed."


In the end I bought one of the electric tools that looks like a soldering iron with a round head on it.  That way I could bend planks when SWMBO was home.  :)


I have a crimper and it works, but I had a lot of issues not being able to control it and cutting planks in half.  Other people have excellent luck with them.

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Hi CF.  I didn't know you'd moved on from the Jolly boat.  This one looks like a fun build.  I read through the log and I wonder if warped wood and mis labeled parts (mostly I refer to wood that isn't the dimensions they say) is endemic to AL?  In building their Bounty I am finding these two things to be the most troublesome.  You've done the deck planking pretty much as I have been doing on Bounty.  And I agree, its fun.  I did a very simple layout, symmetrical as your's and added trenails using a 76 drill.  That size scaled up to about an inch or inch and a half nail or peg through planking that would be about 9 or 10 inches.  Trying to be accurate to the scale in this instance may not have been worth while.  The holes were too small to get anything into them so I just left them as holes and the varnish I put on filled them up.  When I was doing it I thought about pencil lead but again, the head of a sharp pencil was too big.  But I'm still using the 76 drill bit after over hundreds, maybe a 1000 holes.  I'm thinking though of going bigger on the main deck.  The AL instructions suggest simply using the sharp pencil to make a little dot.  Not good.

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I found the limewood (basswood) just needed soaking in HOT water. My wood was also very unevenly cut.


I would soak in HOT water then clamp in place on the hull. Then let dry on the hull. Once dry I'd check spring back during unclamping and in some cases re-soak and reshape. It was a slow process getting only a couple planks a day placed.


Also in your last post with pictures I noticed a couple of things. Your garboard strake (the one next to the keel) doesn't seem to fit the curve of the stem line. It also appears that you could benefit from moving the garboard placement back a bit. Otherwise this will cause crowding as you continue planking at the bow. Trying to extend the garboard to the first bulkhead puts it to far forward. I remedied this by putting balsa between the 1st and 2nd bulkheads by the keel to get extra gluing area and support for the end. This is documented in my swift log. Also here's a picture of yours which I hope explains the idea better.



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Also I found transparent tape useful for making patterns. For me it was easier then the paper or card stock. I would lay the tape over the leading edge to be planked next to making sure the tape doesn't kink. Using a pencil lead edge I would run it along the taped plank edge and emboss the tape with the edge. I would then place this tape over the next plank to be placed and use the tape pencil line for where to trim, Of course I'd pre-shape first. This is also illustrated in my swift log if interested.


Using the 2 above methods for planking, I was able to plank both sides without any dropped planks. I'd highly recommend a planking fan for marking your bulkhead plank placement so you know how much to narrow the planks also.


I find mindset also key, Think of each plank as a model unto itself and take plenty of time. Planking has become my favorite part once I slowed down and learn to focus on one plank at a time.

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Think of each plank as a model unto itself and take plenty of time.

Keith, Remco has something like this in his signature and since adopting this attitude I have been able to stay much better focused. and less worried about moving to the next steps. 


Your deck planking looks great.



Current builds  Bristol Pilot Cutter 1:8;      Skipjack 19 foot Launch 1:8;       Herreshoff Buzzards Bay 14 1:8

Other projects  Pilot Cutter 1:500 ;   Maria, 1:2  Now just a memory    

Future model Gill Smith Catboat Pauline 1:8

Finished projects  A Bassett Lowke steamship Albertic 1:100  


Anything you can imagine is possible, when you put your mind to it.

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cdogg- they are 2mm thick. Measured three times with my calipers.


I have gotten the plank bender to work some now. I believe I was impatient. It needed to get up to temperature. So I have been taking my soaked planks working the over the plank bender into a curve and clamping to the hull to dry. Once it's bent and dry I shape it and taper it.


Captain Al- I do not like the quality of the wood in the AL kits. But I am trying not to blame the wood and learn some new techniques.


themadchemist- you're probably right about the hot water, that worked well the few times I went those lengths with the jolly boat.

My garbord plank is not perfect, and you're probably right, I have studied your build log extensively. This time around I plan on filling with wood filler more my mistakes, I'm trying not to dwell on them but in my learning I don't want to undo too much. Being double planked I have that luxury.


Here are some pictures with the current state of affairs.







The last planks are not glued FYI just dry fit. One starboard and one port side.


It's good advice to slow down, and not try to do too much. Each plank a model unto itself...I'm gonna have to meditate on that one, that's deep.

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