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A little background on this build. This is the first wooden ship I have ever built that has a chance of actually being completed. I bought it just after it was released, back in Dec. 1998. I paid $169.99 for it (I still have the invoice). Previous to this, I bought & eventually threw away Billings Vasa (in the '70s) & the Mantua/Sergal Victory (in the early '80s) that I still have. It is started but will never be completed by me since I have now bought the Caldercraft Victory. I would even be willing to give the Mantua Victory away for the price of shipping. I know all of the fittings & plans are there but not all of the wood or line. I also have a Heller plastic Victory that is complete but started. I would make the same deal.

 

When I bought this ship, digital cameras were just becoming popular. I believe most of the pictures were shot digitally. Keep in mind, this is my first actual build. I did not have internet available to answer questions so I guessed on a lot of this (& not always correctly). Since reading this forum, I can see many errors & better ways of doing things that would have made this so much easier. These are the first pictures I took of construction.

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Edited by Laxet
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Model Expo has a great policy of replacing lost or broken parts. I have availed myself of that service several times & will do again (but I'm getting better). The blocks that I carved at the bow & stern were disasters the first time I did them. So I asked for new blocks & re-carved them. They still are not that good, but passable. This picture shows the next major mistake I made, although I did not realize for for quite some time. The space at the bow for the bowsprit is too small. Once discovered I had to rebuild the bow. Ouch. Harsh lesson there, again, from inexperience.

 

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The picture below shows how the ship sat for about ten years. In the mean time, during a move, my wife picked it up by the transom & destroyed the aft end. Another letter to model Expo for more parts. Transom was rebuilt.

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I was stuck because every time I tried to bend a plank at the bow, it would break. I tried everything I could think of but could not bend the planks properly. So back on the shelf it went. In 2012, I retired from the FAA after 37 years of government service, including 5 years US Navy, 8 years at Long Beach Naval Shipyard as a Sat/comm tech & 24 years as a Comm Navaids tech in the FAA at LAX. The wife & I moved to outside Dallas TX last year.

 

One day the wife was cleaning. She has this thing called a "Shark" It is basically a steam cleaner. It sits on a counter & has a hose & generates steam under pressure. When I saw that I thought "This could be the answer I am looking for for bending planks". I confiscated it from her & took it to my room & hooked it up. It worked beautifully. I could actually tie a plank in a knot using it. Success! I got the hull planked finally. At last I will be able to finish a ship.

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I built the gratings next & made the next major mistake, but didn't discover it until the deck was planked. The mistake is that the large grating is way too wide. I went back & checked all the measurements I had written down & drawn. They were all correct & yet this monstrosity was created. It will be the mistake that will always catch my eye forever when I look at this model.

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I decided to build the masts from square stock. It just seemed easier to create the hex shapes from there. I also decided to make the mast attachment a slot instead of a hole. I did this partly because a something the designer of this kit Ben Lankford wrote. I put a block on either side of the mast cutout on the keel piece. Then I cut the bottom of the mast to create a mortise/tenon joint. Here are the mast blanks being fitted before shaping them.

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Thanks. Don't forget, this has been 16 years in the making. I don't have pics of everything that went wrong. But just since joining this forum this year, I've gotten much better after finding new ways of doing things & realizing that things don't necessarily have to be done in a particular order. As we all are, I am my harshest critic, & when I can't do things as good as the masters here it irritates me. I guess that's how we get better, isn't it?

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This is a beautiful model so far. Both hull planking and deck planking came out really nice. Both were well executed.

 

I think that making the masts out of square stock will really be a good idea in the long run. Much less chance of any nasty warps or twists showing up down the line.

 

Russ

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Here are a couple of pictures of the masts. One shows the blanks marked & the other shows them after they were carved. I tried every short cut way I could think of to form these, but in the end it just came down to grabbing a knife & cutting. One advantage to square stock is that since I chose to use a mortise/tenon for the stepping the masts, this made it much easier to keep everything aligned fore & aft. The tops will benefit from this as well.

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Here are some close-ups of the deck. I used a Sharpie to color one side of each deck plank to represent the caulking. I think it looks pretty good. Not too gaudy. I notice that not many people put the raised (reinforced) deck under the capstan. Here you can see it barely. Nothing is attached yet in these pictures except the grating. The grating was made by laying each length sideways in the coaming & gluing using diluted yellow glue. They came out way better than I expected.

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The kit supplied anchor stocks are a joke. Nothing to do with them but throw them away. Here you can see I've built new stocks. I wrapped brass strips around them, soldered them & filed them. I haven't stained the stocks or or painted the brass yet.

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I am at a point now where I need cleats. The instructions say to make them from strip material. I've tried, but they just fall apart. Does anybody know of a process or a source for cleats? This needs to be overcome before I go much farther.

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You have a very nice base here - 16 years well spent :).  I identify with the comment about procrastination.  It is hard to attempt something new and different when it comes up.  Looking forward to where you take her next.

 

Bob

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What material are you using to make the cleats? That could be one problem. I like to have the grain running along the length of the horns. That seems to provide the most strength for the cleat.

 

Russ

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Basswood is really too soft for this kind of fitting. I would suggest you could use something harder and with a tighter grain like boxwood strips or perhaps cherry. That, or look for some Britannia metal cleats in the same or similar size.

 

Russ

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I kind of always thought basswood & boxwood were the same creature. All of the wood I've bought so far says bass on it. So I guess I'll look for some boxwood. Thanks for straightening that out for me.

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Basswood is much softer and does not hold and edge nearly as well as boxwood. I would check with HobbyMill or the Lumberyard. They both sell premilled boxwood as well as many other species. You can make fittings in very small sizes using boxwood that are not possible with basswood.

 

Russ

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I've decided to make my own rope, at least for some parts, including the carronade ropes (the heavy ones). Here are some samples I made using the Model Expo rope walk. The larger ropes are made from smaller ropes I made from different sized thread. I am also making eyes & rings since the rings provided don't fit the ropes I am making, which measure to scale better than the line provided (according to the kit designers own notes). The rings were made wrapping wire around a 5/64" drill bit.

 

The next question I have is should the rudder be painted like the hull with waterline & all, or should it be all black. I've seen both ways done here.

 

I am really unhappy with the colors of the paint Model Expo sells for this ship. I bought the first set when I bought the kit (16 years ago). It was Humbrol paint in a tin. I decided to buy the current paint set thinking it would be more accurate. I don't like the red It is too orange. I used Floquil Bulwarks red instead, but it is too red (shiny to boot). The buff needs to be more brown. Who can say about the green, because I have not seen a color picture of the actual hull that shows good color. Some pictures even suggest the hull is coppered now. Still, I am using most of the colors because I paid so much for them.

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Great work so far;  now I don't feel so bad putting a build on hold for a month or two at a time... :D

 

What scale is your Mantua Victory?  I may be interested (I need another build like I need a hole in the head, but I have a problem.... :P )

 

....And a warm welcome to the Niagara Club!

 

~Bob (rfolsom)

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