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Karoline by wilnatp - Billings Boats - Radio - 1:15

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This is my first build log, and I currently have 3 ships in dry dock. I am working on a Hannah SIB (1/3 completed, and build log pending), MSW Fair American (still on the lofting floor), and this Billings Boats Karoline model. 


Karoline was a Dutch Potato Boat in the winter and a fishing boat in the summer. The kit consists of an ABS hull with brass and plastic fittings and cloth sails. Length: 1080mm / 42.5in     Beam: 330mm / 13in     Scale: 1/15


I picked this up this week from a local Hub Hobby in MN. The kit had been on the shelves for a LONG time. I saw it there 5 years ago and almost bought her but decided against it. I have regretted the decision, but was excited to see it still there and at discount. Not sure how long they have had it, but from what I can tell, the model is from the '80s. The factory plastic wrap was still on the box, but had some rips and moving the box produced quite a clatter of pieces inside. The helpful cashier allowed me to open the box and inspect all the pieces prior to purchase to ensure nothing was broken or obviously missing. 


Fast forward two nights. Last night, in my spare moments I decide to do a detailed inventory of the parts and instructions etc. Pretty basic instructions in the "Ikea fashion" of lots of picture with hardly any text. Shouldn't prove to be too complicated of a build; however, rigging might be a bit of an issue. As I started to work on the hull (which is molded plastic and will receive wood framing for the deck and gunwales), I noticed my first challenge. The sheet of plywood pieces is warped.



The missing pieces there are the stem and stern posts which have some torque to them as well. 


Any thoughts on how to flatten this piece of wood?


Thanks for your help.

The plan for tonight after work will be to cut the excess plastic off of the hull and wash it to have it ready for painting when the time comes. 





EDIT: Added more photos.



Edited by wilnatp
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Hi Nathan

It occurs to me that the individual pieces in that billet may have only a very minor warp? Perhaps remove all the parts and check each one individually and then flatten any offending ones. I had a warp in my keel on Fly - it was plywood too. I soaked and then weighted with steal plates on a dead flat surface for several days. The warp went away but the wood looked really bad afterwards - covered in black stains from the steel weights. That didn't matter though as it is completely covered within the hull.


Hope that helps.




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@Alistair thank you for your thoughts. There were only a few pieces which were warped and needed adjustment. These were the stem and stern posts. They flattened out well enough using your method. I placed then between two sheets of glass i had which helped prevent staining and ensured a flat surface.


After my detailed inventory, I have concluded that everything was included and to spec. except the deck planking. I am missing 42 strips of deck planking. Via a bright green sheet in the kit, Billings advised me to contact their US distributor - Great Planes Model Distributors. Considering the age of the kit, I checked Billing Boats' website as well as Google and found that Ages of Sail might be my best bet. Fired off an email, we'll see how that progresses. In the worst case, I'll make my own deck planks. 


Progress tracker:

  • Trimmed the excess plastic from the hull form. 



  • Washed the hull with soap to remove any oils etc. and prep for painting.
  • Sanded and assembled the stand for the ship
  • Flattened and then installed the stem and stern posts in the hull using Gorilla glue. The posts were too thick for the slots in the hull so i sanded them down a little. I did leave them a bit big so that the fit very snug. I used Gorilla glue because i wanted the glue to bond and fill any air space i had left due to an imperfect fit. Once i got the posts installed I held the boat in profile to the light and could see their dark shape filling the slots fully/adequately such that I was confident they were fully in place. 


  • Installed the framing strips. These run the length of the hull, 3mm from the top of each side. These strips will then hold the cross braces which will support the decking. I used epoxy to hold the strips in place. I broke on strip upon install but was able to epoxy the break and still get it all in place. The cross braces really help to provide shape to teh hull. The fit tightly into place with pressure alone. In placing them, there is noticeable movement of the hull sides, soI let them in place while the framing strips are drying to encourage proper shaping of the strips. Once those dry (i.e. while I am at work), I'll be able to glue the cross braces in place.




Edited by wilnatp
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As seen in the second photo in the post above, I had the cross braces in place while the epoxy set to hold the shape of the hull. Seen below, the braces do stretch the ABS hull a bit to get a tight fit. 


Close up here



I used epoxy to glue in the cross braces and bit of tape to keep them aligned where they needed to stay.



While I waited for that to dry, i glued up two of the three deck hatches along with the mast step.


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Now that the epoxy has dried, it is time to insert the support beams. The instructions show the beams on end it looks like. As best I can tell, they rise above the cross members. 



Due to the concave nature of the deck (stem to stern) this would put a lot of stress on the support beam to bend it in such a way. In the photo, it may look like the beam is warping away from the deck, but it is indeed straight. (Optical illusion from the camera lens.)



There is room in the slots to fit two support beams side by side, or one on its side. Anybody see a problem with laying the beam on its side? It seems to follow the curvature of the deck better and allows for a continuous surface across the cross members.


In this photo the beam on the bottom is on its side and the beam on the top of the picture is on its end. post-6922-0-85101300-1395847063_thumb.jpg


I am thinking I'll wait on placing the deck to see if hear back from the distributor on the deck planks that are missing. Additionally, I think I want to get my R/C components in or at least mapped out before making hull access harder. 


The next few days will be busy with real life and work, but I am going to try and paint the plastic blocks that were included with the kit. Any recommendations on paint? I was planning to use a indoor/outdoor spray paint to get quick, even and light coverage that'll hold up to the wet sailing environment. Something like the product below?



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I've never seen this kit before, it looks like it will be a great little craft!


As far as paint goes, I personally haven't had much luck w/ Rust-oleum products for small detail work, they tend to be engineered for maximum quick coverage for large areas, and go on very thick for small parts.  (A test piece may prove me wrong, however, I haven't used it in a while.)


I'm not sure what type of plastic the blocks are, but Tamiya makes a spray paint for polycarbonate RC bodies that's got a nice combo of durability and relatively fine application.  They  have a fairly limited range of colors, but they do have a flat topcoat. 


Of course good prep (thorough washing to rid parts of mold release, light "scuff" sanding) is one of the keys to paint durability...

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Thanks for the thoughts Hexnut. Due to the scale (1/15), most of my blocks are relatively large so super thin paint isn't a necessity; however, I test painted some Rust-oleum I had on hand. It was OK, but not was thin as I would like. I am going to look at getting some Tamiya when I get to the hobby store this weekend.  

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