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Astrolabe by jrozhon - Mantua - Scale 1:50


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Hello, I am new to ship modeling although I have been modeling most of my life.  I started as a child with plastic, then I got into railroading then into U-control flying model airplanes.  I scratch built several planes and won some contests.  I have always wanted to build a wooden sailing ship and now I am going to do it.  I have decided to build the Astrolabe by mantura.  I have read AEW's built several times that was posted in DDM before it went away, in fact AEW sent me the entire build by email.  I have also studied Hubert Sicard web site and he has several good ideas.  My building plan for the hull is as follows:Assemble the keel and the bulkheads.  Make sure everything is square and symmetrical.  Add the false deck. Add filler blocks at the bow and stern.  Run the first planking between the filler blocks as Hubert suggested.  Cut  the timber heads off the bulkheads as Hubert suggested.  Plank the deck following the Ulises Victoria plans.  Ad a solid bulwark, locat the gun ports, plank the inside of the bulwark.  Pre-drill the timber heads for side tackes and breeching ropes.  Then apply the second planking and finish the

hull.  I think that this metholology will produce a fine looking hull.  Please, some of you experienced ship builders, let me know what you think of my plan.  Your input would be greatly appreciated.

 

I have pictures but they are on my laptop so I will have to add them later.

 

 

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Edited by jrozhon
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In the previous picture I cut out all the bulkheads and the stern framing and made sure that all the parts fit together correctly.  I then started to glue the bulkheads to the keel.  I bought a piece of aluminum one inch angle and cut it into about 1.5 inch sections and use these to keep everything square.  I started using some small clamps that I bought but they were not strong enough so I switched to binder clips that I had and they worked very well.

 

The next challenge was to install bulkheads No. 17 which did not fit flat against the keel.  I had to use a spacer to get the angle correct.  I don't know why the space was necessary but the plans called for it, I guess,  so the bulkheads would fit in slots in the deck.  I cut and sanded a bevel on the bulkheads so the curve of the planking would conform th the correct radius.

 

I ran into a problem with the bow sprit which is suppose to terminate at the  foward mast.  I will cover the solution later.

 

The next step is to make the bow filler blocks.  I used balsa wood because I have had a lot of experience with it.  I drew the profiles of bulkheads No. 1 & 17 on adjacent faces and cut them out on my bank saw.  I cut the first side of the block then taped the fall back onto the block to provide support so I could cut the second face.  I then used a wood rasp the curve the blocks to match the curve of the deck.

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Now that I have the bow filler blocks finished I turned my attention to the stern.  In my first build I was going to follow the profiles of bulkheads 10 &16.  I then got an email from Arthur that illustrated the correct lines to follow.  Hubert Sicard made his stern filler blocks the same way.  So, my new filler blocks will follow the profile of bulkhead 10 and the aft profile will be a straight line matching the angle of the stern post. I used some spackle to fill the gaps between the blocks and the bulkheads and sanded everything smooth.

 

to fix the bow sprit I had to cut the inboard end of the sprit to fit between the  No.17 bulkheads.   I also, had to enlarge the opening in the front deck.  I plan of filling in the excess hole when I plank the deck.

 

After that repair I glued the deck in place.  I had to use all of my small clamps and some weights I took out of my ammunitions box.  It all worked very well.

 

Again I used Hubert's first jull planking plan and I have installed 5 top planks on both the port and starbord sides of the vessel.

 

This pretty much brings my build up to date after the crash.  I am planning to work on the model most of newt week.

 

Any comments any of you experienced modelers might have that will help me along, I would greatly appreciate them.

Edited by jrozhon
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Hello Jrozhon and welcome to the forum.

 

You have chosen a beautiful hull for your first ship project although your model aircraft experience will certainly be a bonus.

A hull with a lacquered finish showing the wood planks will bring its own problems as mistakes cannot be filled with big patches of filler.

So take your time with the planking and treat each plank as its own project.

I was looking at your front frames, the ones either side of the bowsprit. Most models of this design either have the frames alongside the keel or at 45 degrees to help support the planks so I cannot offer any advice unless you have the plans available. I am surprised though that you have had to cut the bowsprit.

 

Your work so far looks really good and you have had some good ideas like the aluminium angle pieces.

Keep it up and keep posting.

 

Ricky

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ricky, thanks so much for the kind reply.  The two frames you spoke of must fit into two slits in the deck.  If you look at the picture with the bow sprit installed thourgh the deck the openings are visible.  The only way to install the sprit was to drill a 10mm hole through the frames or modify the sprit which I thought would be easier.  You are absolutely right, each plank is a project unto its self.  The planks I have already installed were not too difficult I had to install some stealers.   Now, I must taper the planks to make them fit.  I started by measuring the distance remaining to be covered, which, at amid ship was 105mm.  My planks are 5mm wide so in would take 21 to cover the space.  I decided that was to much space to deal with and making a mistake would not be repairable.  I installed a batten strip at 25mm which takes 5 planks to cover the space.  I then measured the distance between the batten and the last plank installed and divided that by 5 and got the width of the plank at each bulkhead.  The only width I questioned is at bulkhead 10 at the stern.  The width if the plank is only 2mm which is over 1/2 the total palnk width of 5mm.  I don't think it will matter much since this is a first planking.  Now comes the difficult part, transferring the measurements to the plank and trying to cut it.  I tried transferring the measurements with my calipers but that did not work very well.  Next, I used my proportional dividers and that worked better.  But, I still have not fould a good way to cut the planks.  I tried a steel ruler and a razor blade but it is hard to hold the plank and the ruler still.  Any help you experts could give me on cutting planks would be greatly appreciated. 

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Well, I finished installing an additional 5 stakes on the port side.  It went pretty well but it was really tight at the stern with the stakes being only 2mm widel  I think the problem was caused by the first plank which was installed parallel to the keel to facilitate the installation of the one piece bulwark.  I believe if I had used a batten strip to locate the first plank it would have turned upward at the stern and given me more space for the remaining stakes. 

 

I also think I have a problem with my stern filler blocks.  As you can see from the picture the filler block extends outward past the gallery floor.  I believe I will need to reshape the block so it will be within the width of the galley floor. I hope that some of you that may have built this model could tell me how I should proceed with this correction if it needs to be made?  Again thanks in advance for your help. 

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Excellent and inspiring work.

 

I have just received an Astrolabe kit myself, but I am missing the instruction booklet.

 

Is there a way to get a copy of it ?

 

I would gladly pay any expenses.

 

Or , if one could point to any online download links that would also be appreciated.

 

Thank you and Thank you for the build guide !!

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Good day.

With an eye on your construction from Russia.

The same formation Astrolabe. Apologies for the computer translation.

A few interesting links:



Edited by Adamus72
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  • 1 month later...

Well, its been some time since my last post but I have been busy moving my modeling endeavor from my farm in Georgia to Florida.  I just don't have time there to work on the model.

 

The planking is going well and I have been able to add 5 more stakes to the top and bottom of both port and starboard  sides.  The use of my proportional dividers has worked very well and each stake has fit quite nicely.  I had a lot of difficulty measuring the distances on each bulkhead using tick strips made of paper so I started using bass wook strips which worked very well.  I clop the bottom with a binder clip and the mark the top or bottom, depending on which stakes I was installing, then measure the distance with a ruler.

 

I am now down the the last three stakes on each side and these will have to be fitted very precisely so the last stake will not look like a cow path through the woods. :D

 

I am still very much concerned with my stern filler blocks.  I just don't think they are correct.  As I said early, they extend outside of the gallery floor and I think the angle between the last bulkhead and the keel is too steep and should taper more toward the keel and gallery floor??

Edited by jrozhon
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  • 1 month later...

I have finely finished installing the first planking.  The last stake of each side was a project unto its self.  They were a verity of different measurements along the length of the plank so I made them in three pieces.  At the butt joints, I used a small backer board to support the joints.

 

All the stakes came together well and I had very few spaces between the planks that needed to be filled with wood filler.  I have also spent some time filing and sanding and I am going to try to get the surface as smooth as possible so I will not have as difficult a time with the seconk planking.

 

After the sanding I am going to get started planking the deck.  I bought some 4mm stock for the planking.  I ran that dimension through the scale converter and it said that it would be almost a 9 in board on a real ship using the 1:50 scale.  some picture to follow.

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  • 1 month later...

I have been getting some more work done on my model.  I have finished the preliminary sanding of the hull.  I bought a flap wheel sanding bit from Dremel and used it in my Foredum.  I ran it on slow speed and you will be surprised how precise you can be with it.  You can sand very small spots and not affect the surrounding wood.

 

I drew lines on the hull to locate the bulkheads.  I thought that they might come in handy on the second planking.  I also, reshaped my stern filler blocks so they do not extend beyound the gallery floor.

 

Now the the deck planking.  I am going to use .50 x 4mm Tanganyka for the planking and I am going to use 125mm as my plank length.  This will leave 25mm between butt joints.  I read some ware that magic marker was good for the caulking between planks, I also read that one with Archival ink is best.  I found one at an art supply store.  It is a Faber-Castell big brush artist pen.  I will let you know how it works. 

 

I am going to cut off the tops of the bulkheads because, some have said, they are in the wrong place and adversely effect the location of the gun ports.  I taped the deck to protect it from the cutting process.  I bought a flush cutter from Harbor Fright Tool Co. for $20.00 and it did a real fine job.  I drew my lines accouding to Mr. Victoria's instruction on decking.  They are a little off but I think I can correct that.  I also went to Hubert Sicard webb site and made a jig that will locate the positions of the tree nails. It is a 4mm piece of wood with pins sticking through it.  Press it on a plank and the locations will be transferred.  At least that how it is suppose to work??? 

 

I need to get started.  I will let Y'all know how it goes. 

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I also made a jig for cutting the planks from a small miter box I had, all I did was to add a stop so all the planks will be the same length and I can cut more that one at a time. 

 

Some pictures

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Edited by jrozhon
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Well, it is time for change one to plan one.  I bought some straight binder clips that I thought would apply enough pressure on the planks to paint the edges.  I was wrong, so I made the clamp on the right in the picture, and it will but pressure on the entire length of the planks.  It's just a pice of wood and some 1/8 inch by 1 inch aluminum with some slits cut into it so it will open and close.  The archival ink did not work even with the new clamp.  It bled through onto the faces as did the acrylic paint I tried.  The magic marker worked the best, and I believe it is because it dries amost instantly.  Also, the jig I made to locate the treenails did not work, I just could not make it accurately enough so I will have to find another way of marking the location of the nails.  Since I am new to ship modeling, I would be most interested in any device that some of you more experience modelers are using to locate the treenails.  Thanks you in adevance for any help you could give me.

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  • 4 weeks later...

First, I want to thank y'all for all the kind words of encouragement and the wealth of information that has been so important to a new comer like myself.  I have been working on the planking of the deck and it is coming along nicely.  As the work progressed my layout lines started to disappear under the planking so what I did was to make a second set aft of the first set.  This worked out very well.

 

The reason I have not added a post earlier is that I ran out of decking material and the only place I could find any additional was from Cornwall Model Boats in the U.K.  As you can see from the pictures, the color is lighter than my original material.  I don't think it will make a big difference since I am sure that would not have been  uncommon building the original vessel.  The only way I can think of fixing the problem is to stain the deck and I feel the difference in color would still be visible.

 

I have finished the deck planking and I have done some light sanding.  I am moving on to the installation of the treenails.  I bought a draw plate made by Stella from the internet.  It has 82 holes and seems to be well make and did not cost much, about $25.00.  The only problem I have with making the treenails is crushing the end of the bamboo with the pliers as I pull the wood through the holes, then I have to cut off the damage resulting in very short pices of wood for the nails.  I don't know of any way to pull the wood through without damage??? 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I started to install my treenails and I am disappointed with the way they are turning out.  I had on idea that it would be so difficult to keep the nails in line.  As you can see from the first picture I was able to keep them fairly straight on the planks without a butt joint, but the joints are not very well done.

 

I made several jigs  to help with the spacing and decided on the one in the second picture.  I only use two holes for the plank fields and all four for the butt joints.  By using a ruler, I can press the jig against the ruler and keep the lines fairly straight  and them I just estimate ware the holes will go for the butts.  My big problem is that the butt joints do not form a straight line from port to starboard so I have to make some adjuxtments as to ware the treenails go for the butts.

 

I guess I am just stuck with the outcome but I think it may be OK once the deck is sanded and finished.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Following Along on this one to see how your'e doing. I just recieved a couple of these and have started one. Also had to do some modification to the front. I did not angle the bulkheads #17 inward as you did but kept them parallel to the false keel. I modified the slots to lower them where they attach to the lower deck otherwise the upper deck really turned upward a lot. Also cut a slot in the front of the upper deck to fit around the false keel and will have to move the bowspirit hole forward. Definitely something off in the kit parts !

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  • 4 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

It has been a long time since my last post, I have been at my farm hunting since early September and I am looking forward to working on my model.

 

You raise a very good question the answer to which I really don't have.  Because this is my first wooden ship model, I am following the procedures stated in Hubert Sicard web site "Wooden ship modeling for dummies".I found that not running the planks all the way was easer because they are laid without constraint.  Also, his method places the timberheads in the correct position, and he constructs the bulwark out of a solid piece of wood.  I believe the bulwark would be more difficult to install if the first planking went from bow to the stern.  I will let ya'll know if it was the right approach.

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Well, for what it is worth, I have finished the deck planking of my model.  As I said early, I am disappointed with the final results.  The butt joints not being in a straight line athwartship turned out to be the big drawback of the final outcome.  Also, as I have read in the forum, that some of the treenails one can't even see and some others are very obvious as seen in the pictures.  I guess I stretched my skill level the the max, but I hope it will be acceptable when the model is finished.  Time now to move on to the bulwark installation.

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