Jump to content

Schooner Bluenose by DWright - Model Shipways - 1:64

Recommended Posts

Post #1

My name is Darrel Wright and I'm in the process of rekindling an old hobby I put down some 57 years ago.  To initiate this effort I've selected to model Model Shipways' Schooner Bluenose (1:64) because of its sleek and simplified hull affording simplified planking, which I look forward to, and an uncomplicated rigging scheme, which I'm somewhat intimidated by.  I realize the Bluenose is a rather blasé model, having been modeled and logged perhaps hundreds if not thousands of times. However, I plan to write this log as a beginner for beginners, highlighting all accomplishments and pitfalls in an attempt to aid all who wish to embark upon the hobby.


I'm starting a little late with the log as I'm just about ready to commence the hull planking operation.  I will attempt to briefly articulate the steps taken to date that have brought me to the planking effort.

Upon receipt of my kit from Model Expo, as instructed, I inventoried each item in the kit and found that one "open chock" and one bag of 12 "single blocks" were missing. I have contacted Model Expo for replacements, which should be forthcoming.


Next I read virtually the entire instruction manual and reviewed the six sheet plan set.  Additionally, I purchased and have reviewed the rather comprehensive practicum from Bob Hunt.


Now to construction.  Firstly, I removed the three pieces of the keel from their billet and sanded clean the billet residue.  I then dry-fit the keel and noticed a slight imperfection at the bottom line of the assembled pieces.  I concluded these minor imperfections could best be taken care of after assembly with a clean-up sanding.  Using a very straight piece of partical board as a work surface, covered with waxed paper, I applied white carpenter's glue to all edges to be joined, and then tightly fit the assembly on the board.  I then covered the keel again with waxed paper and laid a heavy 2" X 10" board on top to let the assembled keel set over night.  Upon retrieving the keel the next morning I began the delineation of the bearding and rabbit lines.  I had made full size copies of the plan sheet that contained the keel.  I precisely cut out the keel at the top line and the rabbit line.  I then placed and taped the template to the keel, and then, with the aid of an architectural French curve, (more about that later) drew in the rabbit line on both sides of the keel.  The next step was to cut the template along the bearding line and repeat the same procedure to effect the location of the bearding line on both sides.  At this point, as recommended, I glued scrap pieces of wood at the two keel join points for extra strength.

Ah, the rabbit cut!  My goal here was to effect a cut along the rabbit line no greater than a 1/16th of an inch deep so as not to cut through the keel when both rabbit lines were installed.  Using a tip provided by another member of this blog, I placed a piece of masking tape up 1/16th on an inch from the tip of my exacto knife blade, and at the approximated angle of my cut.  Again, using architectural French curves for alignment, I successfully made the rabbits cuts without disaster.


Note:  I later learned from someone on this site to use ship's curves as opposed to architectural French curves.  Much, much easier!  I have subsequently purchased a set of ship's curves on Amazon.com for $22.00 US.


Creating the rabbit via chiseling is a somewhat tedious process, and most definitely a learning experience.  The right angle, the right depth while keeping it aligned with the bearding line all come into play.  I've noticed in some photos (even the Model Shipways promotional photos) a slight bulging of the planking at the "deadwood" where it dies into the sternpost.  I assume this line should be adequately faired so as to render a smooth transition into the stern post. On my model I removed a fair amount of deadwood between the bearding line and rabbit in order to create this smooth look.

With the keel prepped it was time to fit and install the bulkheads.  Again, I cleaned them up, and then placed them on the respective plan to check for correctness.  All seemed reasonable well with respect to size and shape, and thus I began to fit them onto the keel.  With the exception of three bulkheads all fit quite well, standing at the desired 90 degree angle to the keel.  I deftly mended the slots on the three tight fitting bulkheads and proceeded to glue and install them.  For this installation I used Zap-medium CA glue, and in retrospect I would suggest using glue with a longer cure time to permit any adjustments prior to setup.  (Mistake #1)  I got quite lucky as all bulkheads came about as close to 90 degrees as possible thanks to Model Shipways accurate laser cuts.


Now to what I, and virtually all experienced modelers, consider one of the most important aspects of ship modeling, the fairing of the ship.  I vaguely remember, from my youth, not understanding the importance of this critical operation and thus wound up with lumpy, bumpy hulls.  This time, though I may have occasionally "over worked" the wood, I was determined to have every plank sit fully and naturally on each bulkhead in all locations.  I suggest using a piece of planking as a batten to constantly run up and down the bulkheads to insure compliance in all locations.  In my zeal to properly fair the ship I snapped off the very fragile stern piece at the rudder post. (Mistake #2)  After several attempts to just glue it back together (not enough wood surface to do so) I fashioned some support timbers and devised clamping system to reinstall it with the correct alignment both vertically and horizontally.  Live and learn.  Also note the three missing bulwark stations. (Mistake #3)  These were not victims of overzealous fairing, but departed due to the trimming of the stanchions to 1/8th inch as called for.  Take note that the bulkhead plywood is very fragile and crumbles when cut. I believe I can span the missing stanchions location with the bulwark planks and replace these stanchions when the false stanchions are installed.


I'm now at the point of installing the waterways and commencing the planking operation.  I've elected to do something that may not be proper procedure.  Because I desire as crisp a model as I'm able to fashion, I have elected to prepaint the waterways, bulkhead stanchions and the inside of the bulwark planks so that I don't have to 'cut-in" the white and grey paint after completing the installation.  I fully realize I will have touch up, but that's preferred to trying to cut-in paint, in a tiny hard to access location with, these aging, aching and shaky old hand.

I've enclosed some pictures for your review.






Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm adding three post on one date to bring the log current.


Log Entry #2

Planking is now nearing completion and in most respects is acceptable.  However, I did not adequately trim the last few strikes at the bow and consequently had to resort to stealers at both the bow and stern. (Mistake #4) I suggest using three or four pieces of planking held up against the area that remains to be planked when installing the last five or six strikes.  This will give an idea of how much must be trimmed from the last few strikes to accommodate a comfortable fit, and eliminate the use of stealers or partial planks at the bow.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Post 3.

The photos below show the completed hull planking.  I would say the keys to producing a good planking job begins with fairing the bulkheads adequately, and secondly, like any other phase of ship modeling, take your time.  The couple of time I hurried resulted in a “remodel”.

I used Zap-A-Gap CA glue and glued the planks spanning two bulkheads at a time, and edge glued all planks.  Where possible, I tried to use the edge of my Exacto knife blade to hold the plank in place while the glue set.  This kept me from gluing myself to the Bluenose.  Since I planned to rough sand the hull as I went, I soon discovered that scrapping the planks and high spots, with a #22 Exacto blade worked much better.  Scrapping produced a nice sharp line and brought all of the planks even.

After planking and rough scraping/sanding I applied Elmer’s wood filler to the entire hull.  I used the filler as it comes from the contained, and in retrospect, I will next time thin the filler with water to achieve a more workable product and a more even coat.  I let the hull stand for 24 hours before I began sanding.

Using #80 grit sandpaper I rough sanded the entire hull.  I then finished the sanding with 120 grit sandpaper.  Total time to sand and fine sand, about 3 to 4 hours.






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Darrel, Like you I purchase Bob Hunt's practicum and this was my first kit to actually get finished. You have done a great job with the planking. I will follow along with interest.


Also like you when I first began I was not all that interested in the Bluenose. She was just a leaning tool for me. But as time progressed she grew on me and we have had quite a love affair since.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I checked it quite closely last night and it seemed very symmetrical in all respects.  Now the nibbed foredecking is a whole nether story.  It tokk ne about 10 planks to get the hang of it.  I'll post pictures and you'll understand the source of my displeasure.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Log #4

The next step in the process is the foredeck planking.  One of the previous logs had suggested that if he had to do it over again he’d seriously consider sheathing the deck with very thin ply (1/64 inch) to facilitate the planking effort.  I second that motion!


I probably didn’t prep the bulkheads and keel properly and as a result realized some uneven planks that needed scraping to bring even with the other planks.  A close look at the foredeck pictures will reveal that plank nibbing was not initially my strong suit.  It took me about 10 nibs to begin to understand the process, but it rendered a few rather poor efforts.  The unsupported nibbing strike presented a few problems as I cracked it once requiring a slight remodel.


The next event will be the quarter deck planking, but first I must figure out how the stern/transom assembly is to be handled.  The plans and instructions are a little vague and even Bob Hunt practicum doesn’t really spell it out.  Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.








Link to comment
Share on other sites



Thanks for the kind words, and you captured my sentiments to a tee.  I sort of looked at this effort as learning how to ride a bike with training wheels.  Since the completion of the hull planking, revealing the graceful lines of the schooner, I've had a change of heart .  It's truly a beautiful ship and I'm beginning to appreciate its design, grace and class.


In some other post on this site you have alluded to a meeting of folks here in the Northwest.  I live on Lake Coeur d'Alene, ID and would very much like to attend a get-together of fellow modelers to expand my knowledge, and hopefully talants.  I'm beginning to see that practice doesn't necessarly make perfect, but it definitely does make better!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Dave!  Too kind lad.


At the start I was dubious about starting a "build log", but now I know that it has many virtues.  It keeps me motivated to do much better, and I get the best advice available. 


At 72 I was searching for something that was a challenge, other than golf and flyfishing, and landing on an old hobby.  I'm so thankful to the folks that started this blog/site as it has been a Godsend.  I think I can, with help, get through rigging!



Link to comment
Share on other sites



I've following along here and just wanted to say that I think you're doing a fine on your Bluenose model. I enjoy each update. Excellent first effort.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Bluenose Log #5.


Sorry for the extended gap in my build log.  We’ve been on holiday, with a wedding in Germany and a visit to the Holland, Belgium and Normandy.  Now back to work!


Prior to decking the quarter deck I ran into a slight dilemma.  The bulkhead extensions on the quarter deck had seen better days.  Some were gone and others were mere shadow of their former self.  I pondered for two days about how I could remove the stanchions and replace them with new 1/8 inch bulkhead extensions.  I really had no choice.


I removed all of the stanchions at the top of the bulkheads.  Obviously you can’t just glue stanchions back on without some additional support.  I reasoned that if I installed the waterway planks spaced exactly 1/8 of an inch apart and just resting on the bulkhead I might have a chance of creating enough glue area and support when I lock the stanchions in with the nibbing strike.  To my surprise it worked!  I aligned them correctly to accept the last two outside hull planks (Bulwark).  I’ve bumped them several times during the aft deck planking effort and none has given way.  I know this is almost a cardinal sin, but I got away with one.


The aft deck planking was somewhat more complicated due to the requirement to taper each plank in order to accommodate the deck taper to the stern.  I started out trying to carve the taper into the plank.  The small scale of the planking strips made it almost impossible to maintain a consistent taper.  I resorted to lining out the taper in pencil from the midpoint at the plank end up about six inches.  I then used a single edge razor blade to chop off the excess to form a consistent and true taper.  I edged each tapered plank with a soft lead pencil, but some of the simulated plank calking didn’t show up very well after much scarping and sanding.


Below you can see the decking effort about half way to completion. 






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bluenose Log #6

Next up was the completion of the transom and the installation of the last two strikes that form the bulwark. 


As mentioned before, I had trouble fully understanding both the kit instruction and what Bob Hunt was trying to convey regarding the configuration of the transom.  Someone else had the same confusion.  I pondered this for a while and eventually studied the plans and concluded, incorrectly, that the transom made a turn up to create a cockpit of sorts. 


About a day later I woke up at 2 AM and realized this rather bonehead error.  I mistook the monkey rail for the upturn in the transom.  I’ve been reading construction plans for 50 years, you’d think this would have been child’s play. I then spent the next two days agonizing over a another “remodel”, and rationalized my decision to leave it along by saying to myself;  If Bob Hunt can modify the bow with an uncalled for block, who am I to tear my boat apart again.  I’ve chalked it up to poetic license and a beginner’s goof.


Once I recovered from the transom fiasco I began on the 1/32” X 1/8” strake to complete the bulwark.  The port side went on with little aggravation.  The starboard side, for some reason, would not meet the previous plank, and in many cases left a small gap.  Unlike the other hull planks, a gap at this location, because of the cove effect (this plank was half the thickness of the previous plank), presented a ticklish problem of how to fill the gaps and not lose the desired sharp line of the cove.  To accomplish the filling of the gaps I used a #10 pointed scalpel and some Elmer’s wood filler to “stuff the holes”.  A look at the attached photos reveals this effort was partially successful.  The gaps got filled, but the crispness of the line was, in some areas, compromised.  Another rookie mistake!


Since my last post much has transpired.  The decks got completed, transom (after a fashion), bulwarks, and bow were finished, and the hull has been primed and sanded three time in preparation for painting.  I have attached some more pictures that reflect this work.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lovely work, Darrel--she's looking gorgeous! Here's how you can add text to your post photos.


Type what you'd like to share, then:


1st) select file

2nd) attach file

3rd) position your cursor where you want to insert the photo--usually looks nicer if there's a blank line between text and a photo--then click "add to post"




If you insert several photos and want to comment on each one, put your cursor between the name brackets and then hit return. All the pictures after your cursor will then go to a new line. Put a few more spaces between each photo, position your cursor & type away. You then can click preview post and see how it all looks and make fixes.




Hope this kind of helps!




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks gentlemen.  The words of encouragement mean a lot.  


Well, I embarked on the first coat of paint for the bottom hull yesterday with my new air brush.  In the You Tube videos air brushing looks like a great way to apply paint and rather simple.  I elected to use a dark copper acrylic (Tamiya) paint thinned quite a bit.  After an hour or more of fussing with the damned air brush I finally got a coat on, but I'd much rather just bought a can of good quality spray paint and gotten on with it!  It looks just fine (I'll post pictures with captions, thanks to Jay, later), but the learning curve is a little steep.  


I finally yelled "uncle" and called my daughter who has taught art at the secondary level.  She explained all variables involved in air brushing, and further explained that I was using a tricky paint with suspended solids floating around in it that further complicated the procedure.  Next time a six dollar can of spray paint will do just fine.



Link to comment
Share on other sites



Thank you for the kind words.


We just returned from Germany where we attended a wedding in Bad Wimpfen.  14 years ago we had a German foreign exchange student come live with us, in Santa Barbara, California, for a year.  His name is Nils Fischer!  We have since become lifelong friends with the whole Fischer family.


I will continue to post comments and pictures, and I look forward to any comments you may wish to make.


Darrel Wright

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Darrel,


nice to hear that you have good freinds in Ol`Germany, hope you and your wife had a pleasant stay in this Country.


I also still have an 80% completed Billing Boats Bluenose on the shelf, started at least 25 years ago, my wife always reminds me to get that one done before I begin something new. There are several good looking builds of those fabulous gloucester fisher schooners here on MSW, or here in Progress, that my fingers start itching to continue. I love the lines of These ships



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...