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OK, joining the 'Niagra' build club. Bought the kit about 7 years ago after building a couple of simple ones (Constitution cross section, etc.), but after reading the instructions, I knew I was in over my head. So, I built a couple of kits based on Bob Hunt's practicums, learned a lot, bought some needed tools, etc. And now, I believe I can do a fairly decent job on my own (thank you, Bob). 

Started with an inventory of the ME kit components, and I found several items were shorted, including over 50 blocks. But, even though I bought the kit in the last decade, ME was very responsive, and I had my missing parts within two weeks.

I have progressed to attaching bulkheads to keel (level and square, this time - see, I'm learning from my earlier mistakes), drilled holes in keel for base attachment, shaped bow and stern filler blocks, and generally completed the stern. I did have one problem with the kit - the horn stanchions did not exactly match the inner and outer stanchions, so I will need to do a bit of surgery after the fact, to make for a smooth transom after planking. I am hoping the planks themselves will correct the problem, and time will tell.

By the way, I do plan to replace some of the bass wood with Holly deck planks and the bulwarks/ceiling probably with either pear or boxwood - for a smoother finish. Haven't decided yet about the rigging lines or blocks. 

Comments, suggestions - please send me all you have. I will likely only post once a month, and my build rate is pretty slow as I probably don't spend more than 10 hours a week on the ship.

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Just  checking in. I have been working on the waterway and plank sheer. Fit is close, but as instructions mention, a small amount of sanding is required to fit around bulkheads. While fitting the aft waterways I discovered an unrelated problem as the quarter stanchions seemed to interfere with the proper placement of the waterway. - I decided I had better check the width of the stern at the top of the quarter stanchions (where the railing will eventually be placed. Found it was a quarter inch too wide. Width at deck level was correct, so I guess I will need to remove these posts and angle them inward more severely - I will probably just make new ones. It does seem though that the gap between the quarter stanchion and the outer stanchion will be nill if I do this. Any thoughts?

 

Also, as the intro in the instructions mentions, not all the plank widths called for in the plans are shipped with the kit. For example, the arch board plans call for a dimension of 5/64 X 5/32 and I found other spots with unique dimensions. Have you folks who are farther along bothered with shaving down the wood, or did you use the next size up?

 

Lastly (not a proper English word), see enclosed photo: This sheet came with my kit, but does not seem to be part of the Niagra. I could not find them on plan sheet one, nor a place these pieces would be used. And, I was not missing any laser cut sheets based on the parts list. I think ME threw in something from another kit. Am I correct?

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Edited by milosmail
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Resolved the quarter stanchions issue with a slight amount of re-positioning and some coarse sandpaper. All fits now. I had not realized that the stern rail was not the full width, but actually sits inside the side rails which extend to the stern. 

 

Still wondering if anyone is dealing with the wood strips that are thinner than the plans call for. Are you just ignoring?

 

Anyway, back to the waterways and plank sheers. This part is going quickly. Should be able to air brush in a couple of days.

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I am sure you will get a few fellow Niagara builders to help out with your materials issue.

 

It could that the plans called for a dimension that is not readily available for the kit or they substituted some planking in your kit because they were temporarily out of a given dimension. I would also call Model Expo and see if they have an answer. If the kit is missing material they will supply it at no cost. Call and email. That is the best way to get their attention.

 

Russ

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Since you are doing the planksheer, something to watch out for. Several people have noted here, & I can confirm, that the planksheer does not go flush with the outboard edge of the frames. This will require filling with strips or else the gap will be noticeable in the gun-ports. It's not all frames, just a few, but watch for it.

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Definitely, the laser cut planksheer needs alot of tweaking to meet the bulkheads, and the bulwarks behind.  Measure, measure, measure, and then measure.  If you think the plans look funky, measure.  Don't trust the plans, but distrust yourself first. And measure. Compare from all possible angles, and with inspiration, use the inspired angles.  And measure.  I always measure in metric and english, (twice) and do the conversions on a calculator. Then I compare the measurements with one another, doing the unit conversions both ways.  What do you think I do at the end?..  measure...

 

The tolerances I can perceive with my naked eye are about 1/4 of a mm.  That is my tolerance for inaccuracies no matter what scale I'm working in.

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My computer crashed last Friday (bad memory chip corrupted the Windows kernel), so I have been busy rebuilding it. Back on the air now.

Yes, a quick check showed most of the sills were too narrow. I had already painted them in preparation for installing, so I think I will add strips of filler after they are glued in and then shape when I add exterior planking.

Is that about the right sequence?

Meanwhile, back to the knightshead....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had little time to work the past few weeks (my daughter has 7 month old twins which are a handful), but getting back to it now.

 

Has anyone deviated from the painting plans on the kit? The green interior bulkheads seem out of place (shouldn't they be red?), and the red coamings seem wrong also, at least with respect to authenticity. I think the kit is just following the color profile of the ship in Erie. In looking at painting of models vs the posted picture of the real Erie ship, I was struck that on a large scale, the red and green are much more muted. The model paints are too bright. And, I have never seen an historic painting of a war ship where coamings were painted red. Also, I noticed the cabin sides are painted on the Erie ship (for maintenance convenience?) whereas on the historic ship I would have assumed these would have been varnished.

 

Anyone have any thoughts on this? 

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I agree that the colors should be more muted. This is probably a combination of scale effect & fading as well as duller paint. I was too lazy to do anything about it, though. I've said all along I wasn't happy about the colors provided by ME for this kit, either in the past or now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well....., I was going to post pictures today (but that was before I discovered I had washed my IPhone with my other laundry - oh well, I wanted a new IPhone 6 anyways). 

Once I have the new phone, I will post some shots again. I am in the process of executing the gun port/oar framing which is not difficult. Tedious due to the planksheer needing fill to match the thickness of the bulwarks as previously mentioned. I plan to plank the external hull from the caprail down to the waterway, and then begin with the garboard strake at the keel. This is my least favorite part of construction. I enjoy making deck furniture and masting/ rigging, but not planking.

 

I am also going to try to make nibbling strakes for the edge of the deck planking. Has anyone else tried this? If so, I would love to hear your comments. Or anyone else wishing to tell me I am nuts and talk me out of it.... 

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  • 2 months later...

OK, vacations are done, visitors are gone, so I finally have time to get back to it.

 

I have been building the scaffolding round the gun and sweep ports. In the process I discovered a manufacturing error. My bulwarks for section K were not equally spaced from the center keel line (not symmetrical), and in fact the port side was 3mm narrower measured from the center keel to the inside of the bulwark. This became very apparent when I placed the cross brace from K to L at the tip of the bulwark. I went back through alignment measurements - everything was square in all 6 axis, so I measured the space left on the billet the parts came out of. Sure enough, one edge of the bulwark was closer to the center line than the other. In fact, I found none of the bulwarks on that sheet were symmetrical. Must have been a bad day for the laser cutter....

I was able to fix the problem with a shim on the exterior side and some shaving on the interior surface. I am now complete on this step, and I did not find any other significant problems.

But, it's just one more thing to watch our for in construction.

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