Jump to content

Armed Virginia Sloop by GuntherMT - FINISHED - Model Shipways - scale 1:48

Recommended Posts

Edit: Adding an index


Section 1 - Pre-planking work.

Beginning the bulkheads

Shimming the bulkheads

Cutting the Rabbet

Reinforcing the bulkheads

Fairing bulkhead tops and placing sub-decks

Shimming bulkhead extensions and fairing

Stern building issues

Stern construction

Knights heads and first planks

Waterways and transom work


Section 2 - First planking and surrounding work.

Stern windows and planking

Outer bulwark planking

Lower planking part 1

Side-bar - Reno trip

Lower planking part 2

Lower planking part 3

Lower planking part 4


Section 3 - Wales and inner bulwarks

Wales part 1

Wales part 2 and spirketing plank 1

Spirketing plank 2

Inner bulwarks

The black strake & inner bulwarks painting

Scuppers and inner bulwarks painting

Outer bulwarks 2nd planking and more painting

Outer bulwarks 2nd planking and Cap Rail

Stern cap rail and planking


Section 4 - Outer painting and 2nd planking below wales.

Bulwark painting

Lower planking part 1

Lower planking part 2

Lower planking part 3

Lower planking part 4

Lower planking part 5

Lower planking part 6

Planking time-lapse video

Lower planking completion

Sweep ports part 1

Sweep ports part 2


Section 5 - Deck & furniture

Main hatch and scuttle port


Deck planking begins

Remaking the galley hatch

Deck planking continued

Deck planking complete - tree nailing

Planking the poop deck



Rigging the Cannons - beginning

Ships wheel

Rigging the Cannons - continued

Rigging the Cannons - rope coils

Stropping a single block

Making the Catheads

Elm tree pumps

Ladders and Binnacle

Swivel gun posts and channels

Chain plates & dead-eyes


Section 6 - Masts & Standing Rigging

Bowsprit sheaves & main mast construction

Jib boom & Top mast

Gaff, boom & yards

Swivel Gun yoke jig

Swivel Gun soldering - mount, yoke, handles.

Main mast standing rigging begins

Shroud Lanyards

Mounting the Bowsprit

Bobstay & Forestay

Naming Day


Section 7 - Running Rigging

Beginning the running rigging

Sidebar - San Diego Festival of Sail trip (link to other thread)

Running rigging completed

Rope coils

Anchor buoys

End of the line



Beginning of build log:


Just starting up the log with what appears to be the traditional 'unboxing' post.  This was actually done on September 6th, but I did not see any point in opening a build log while I was still working on the Carmen, as I'm not going to attempt to do multiple builds at once yet (no room, even if I wanted to).


I took inventory using the parts list included, and everything seems to be ship-shape.  I will likely not actually begin working on this until the weekend, as I've got an idea for a display stand for the Carmen to take to my office (my not at home office), and now that I'm done building the Carmen, I want to read through the instructions and some build logs for the AVS before I begin.


Until then, here are the unboxing photo's.



Edited by GuntherMT
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for visiting gentlemen!


Alistair, your AVS is simply amazing.  Going to be quite the tough act to follow!  I notice you suggest replacing the rope (I already have Syren rope for this build) the blocks, and the deck.


The blocks in the kit really look quite nice, although my only 'live' point of reference is the blocks from the Carmen kit by Constructo that I just finished.  What do you use to determine that the blocks are 'bad' relative to Chuck's?  Here are the kit parts - the deadeyes and little round things really look good to me, the blocks are a bit uneven, so maybe worth upgrading.




By the 'deck', are you referring to the false deck, or the planking material, and what did you use?  I know I've read on some logs that replacing the false deck plywood with basswood is a good investment for fitment reasons, and of course many people seem to upgrade the deck planking to holly or some other material.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Brian

I used the kit supplied deadeyes and eyes but replaced all the other blocks. If Chuck's blocks had been around at the time I would have used them but I got mine from Warner Woods West.


I used the kit supplied false deck but replaced the decking with "Japanese Cedar" which I found in a local hobby shop. It is very similar to holly. I definitely would not use the kit supplied decking as it is too soft and furry. However I can't see any reason to replace the false deck plywood.


Hope that helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



If you don't feel like replacing the kit blocks, you can always try rounding off the corners with sandpaper or easier still, a sanding stick. This makes them look much more realistic. You can try clamping them in locking tweezers to hold them while you do that. 


Good luck with your build. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I emailed HobbyMill earlier today - Jeff is closed down until October 13th (vacation I presume), so it will be almost a month before he will even see my email to give me an ETA on wood.  I am not sure I'm patient enough to wait that long, but I haven't really read enough of the instructions to have any sort of feel for how long it will be until I get to the deck planking point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I've begun the very first bits of this build, and have already run into one problem, and a question.


The false keel appears to be very good.  There is an almost imperceptible lift when it's laid on a flat surface, as can be seen here where the bow has a tiny gap under it.  All of the bulkheads and the false keel are cut from basswood, not plywood as some people have reported in their MS kits.



When it is flipped to the other side there is no gap anywhere, it lays perfectly.  When I sight down it I can't detect any deflection at all.



First problem.  Bulkhead F is not cut correctly.



I don't understand how this could happen, as I would hope that the laser cutting is a computer controlled process, and it shouldn't be able to cut incorrectly.  I would think that every single kit would come out like this if it's a flaw in the computer control plan.  When I lay this bulkhead on the plans, it's clear that the 'high' side is correct, so I will likely have to add some material to the 'low' side to correct this, but I'm not sure how I'll approach this as the height difference isn't very large.  I may try to use some of the veneer from the Carmen kit here, or else I'll cut the thinnest piece of basswood I can, and just sand it down.


All of the bulkheads and the false keel.



So far none of the bulkheads fit into the false keel after cleaning up the burns.  Either the keel or the bulkhead, or both need to have the slot opened up more in order for them to fit.  Is this typical?



And now to my question.  I'm working on cleaning up the lasercut burns, and leveling out the surface where it's left an angle, but I can't find a good reference for 'how much' of the burn needs to be cleaned up.  Does it need to be taken down to where there is no 'brown' at all, or is what I've been doing as seen in this picture good?




Link to comment
Share on other sites


All that is typical of this kit. You just have to gently work each piece for a fit. All the char should be removed and then you shape, shim and fair until you get the right flow for the planking. It is common to many kits and particularly common for this one. Even the Amati/Victory models are not perfect in this respect but are better than most. You just have to suck it up and work those pieces. It'll be fine if you take your time.


P.S Russ jumped in while I was posting. Sure get another set from ME but I doubt it will make any difference. You just have to work it. Make sure you get these parts resolved - the entire model depends on its frame. I went back and forth on this stuff but when you get there it works...Yes, a good laser cutter with good plans would be nice but I think ME might be a bit lazy in this department. Just work it and you'll be fine.

Edited by aliluke
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks gentlemen.


I did send a note to ME, but am going to move forward as if it's not going to be corrected.


I cleaned up all the bulkheads.  I expect that almost all of these will need fairing which should clean them up further.




Then I began test fitting, and adjusting each bulkhead.  Every single one needed to be opened up slightly either on the bulkhead slot, the keel slot, or both.  A few sat slightly high at the top of the keel and needed the slot sanded a bit deeper, and one of them required about a 1/32 shim.  Overall I think they came out pretty well, but I'm concerned about two bulkheads (and probably the one ahead of these two as well) as they do not extend down far enough.




What is the best approach to fix this?  Is it easier to sand the slot down until the bottom is good, and shim the top for the deck, or am I better off adding material to the bottom of these bulkheads and then fairing them down?  I'm thinking that adding to the bottom will be more difficult, but is probably the right approach so that I don't mess up the bulkhead extension positions (although looking at the photo's, those appear to have 'high' extensions as well).


Other than those 'short' bulkheads the rest seem to be pretty good.  The Carmen was a lot easier when I had no idea I was supposed to do any of this stuff.  :)




A good number of the bulkheads do not extend down to the bearding line.  Do I need to add material to all the bulkheads that don't extend to the bearding line, or just to the ones that break the 'flow' along the bulkheads?

Edited by GuntherMT
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I concur completely with Alsitair on waiting for Hobbymill.


The boxwood I got from Jeff has been wonderful to work with, and in my case far superior to the kit planking strips. Maybe you could work on some deck furniture, guns etc... Trust me, it is worth it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input Russ & Joe.


I've sent off an order form to Jeff for both Holly and Boxwood, but I've also ordered some other woods (no Holly available) from another source - 'tallships_model_builder' on Ebay, a source I found listed here on the forum.  Ordered some other miscellaneous woods to experiment with for making furniture and stuff, so will try to keep busy with things if I get to the point of deck planking until Jeff gets back so I can see both sorts of wood and maybe make some test decking.


In the mean time, it's looking like the bulkhead shimming, and then fairing is going to take me a while if I want to do it right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So this is really much easier than I expected it to be.  I measured along the longest bulkhead from keel to deck level with a tick strip, and set my chopper to that length and cut up one of the 3/64 basswood deck planks.  This made 9 pieces of the exact same width as the bulkheads.  I threw these into water to soak for a while, and then got after it.


I started with bulkhead F, which was the one that had the bad laser cut, with one side lower than it should be.  It's also the '3rd' bulkhead in the previous photos that didn't reach the bearding line, so I shimmed the top and sanded it down, and then shimmed both sides of the bottom.




The wet basswood is really amazingly easy to bend.  All of the terrible time I had with the planks on the Carmen made me think this was going to be a giant frustrating mess, and instead, they just bend right around the bulkhead, no problem at all.  I went ahead and bottom shimmed G, and double bottom shimmed H.



Couldn't ask for anything better than the result.



Based on how easy this was, I'm going to use more of the deck planking (since I'm not going to plank the deck with it) and shim out every bulkhead that isn't touching the bearding line, even if it's very close.  That way I should have a much easier time fairing, as I'll not run into a low spot that makes me have to shim a bulkhead that is already glued to the keel.

Thoughts on extending the shims up the bulkhead extensions?  Is there any point to that, or will I just need to sand them all down like I did on bulkhead F already?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shimming the entire outer surface of the bulkhead should not make that much more work and I think it will be easier to fair things out if you have a little meat on the bone as opposed to having a lot of low spots. I always like to cut my framing a little fat and then work it down.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Gunther,


I like your thinking about how to get the bulkheads down to the bearding line.  I didn't think of cutting the grooves deeper, and shimming the deck surface, but it makes so much sense!


Couple of traps I wish I had known:

  • It's easier to cut the rabbet before gluing the keel.  I did it the other way round, thinking the rabbeted centre keel would not glue well to the keel, stem etc.
  • Unlike my first model attempt ( an Artesania Latina) this model comes with plenty of spare timber for remakes.
  • There are no plans for the slipway that is shown on the box.
  • I've just reached the stage involving "chainplates".  I searched for a long while before I noted the tiny note saying they were not available, so make your own!

Getting there is half the fun!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Brian

The kit itself is less than half the total material cost if you want to do it justice. Welcome to our madness!


That said there are a lot of "out of the box" AVS's that look perfectly fine. It is about how much you feel you need to improve it and which improvements really count. Ropes and blocks get a big tick as does the decking. Aside from that the kit serves very well in all its bits.


With your after market parts you'll make a great model. I enjoy looking at mine every day! And I'll enjoy seeing yours come about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Brett, you just made me smack my forehead, as the way you thought I was doing it might have actually made more sense than the way I actually did it.  I shimmed the bottom of every bulkhead, not the top.  I had a couple of bulkheads that also needed to be shimmed up to the deck level.


I've finished the rabbet already.  I did it the way Bob Hunt shows in his chapter 1 pdf, I cut it down about halfway, then glued on the keel (which I had to redo because the stem 'slipped' somehow after I set it up to dry), and then after the keel was on, I finished the rabbet.  I think I may have cut it too deep, as I was doing it by test fitting a section of planking (both layers), and to get it to fit like the illustration shows, took it pretty deep.  This will be fine once it's got the actual planking on it for strength, but right now I'm treading lightly on anything related to the keel.


I also managed to break a bulkhead (bulkhead "L") at the keel notch.  I clued it and clamped it in place a few hours ago.  Since it broke right at the edge of the keel, and not all the way through, I think it should be fine, as it will not only be glued to the bulkhead where it broke, but the length of the notch where it fits over the keel as well.  Again, once it's reinforced it should be solid.




Alistair - yea, I've sort of come to that realization, especially when it comes to the rigging line, as the stuff in both the Constructo and the MS kits are complete garbage (in very different ways).  I may end up doing a ropewalk if I keep this up, but I'll need to research thread sources and how to figure out how to size it and everything else if I go that route down the road.




Tony - thanks for dropping in.  I'm single with no significant other, and apparently way too much free time on my hands and I don't watch TV.  This allows me to spend far too much time with whatever my current hobby of choice is.  I don't think I'm working all that fast (at least not on the AVS, I certainly rushed the Carmen in retrospect), it's simply that I have plenty of time to spend on this. 


The bulkhead shimming, cutting the rabbet, gluing the keel, and now mounting the first 7 bulkheads has been a pretty significant time investment (no actual values, I don't keep a log), but I'm able to drop 4-6 hours an evening, and as much time as I want on the weekends, so I can move forward more easily than someone with a family and other responsibilities in their life who must spread that same amount of hobby time over 4 or 5 times as many days as I do.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Brian , looks like a real nice build you've got going on..... I had the same problem with my ME Baltimore Clipper bulkheads  , I got so frustrated with it that I put it away. One day I'll pull it back out ( maybe). Just take your time with the fairing , I think that it's probably the most important part of the build. Have fun!!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Frank!  I guess that the MS kits have issues with bulkhead alignments.  Oh well, I guess they have to make it a challenge somehow, other than including the worst rigging line in the history of the universe.  :)


Some photos to catch up with my text.


Work on pre-cutting the rabbet prior to installing the keel.



Installed the keel, stem, and sternpost.  The stem had to be done twice since it shifted when I left it to dry overnight.  The sternpost required that the slot in the keel be re-made, as it was out of position.  I've read that this seems to be a common issue with the kit.  Took some sanding to get the sternpost to fit decently.




After the keel was dried for a while, I finished the rabbet.  I did this using a suggested method of using a piece of planking made up with both the basswood inner, and walnut outer plank stuck together for sizing.  Doing this I think I have a larger rabbet than is indicated anywhere in order to make it fit right.  Guess I'll find out later how it works out.




Jpett started a thread yesterday in Wood Tips reminding me that I needed to make a build board, so I chopped up a piece of MDF shelf, and made a thing.




Finished attaching all of the shims to the bottom of the bulkheads.  After some thought I decided not to extend the shims all the way up the extensions, as I think that will make fairing more difficult, as I won't have a baseline of the extensions to work from.




And then, I began fitting bulkheads.  Started at the rear, let each bulkhead dry for 30 minutes or so (using Titebond wood glue - it sets up pretty solid in 30 minutes).




While I was waiting on the bulkheads to dry, I chopped up a piece of maple strip and made a test decking bit to see how maple might look like if I can't get Holly in a timely manner.  I need to work on my planking techniques before I get to the real thing.  Not sure what to use for the nail holes (i.e. what to fill them with) at this point.




Apparently I also need to work on getting the subject matter into the focused area of the shot!

Plugging away at the bulkhead mounting, hope to have them all finished tomorrow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking good, you may want to add some support blocks bonded between the bulkheads to stiffen up and keep the keel strait while planking, Also make sure you take plenty of time in fairing the bulkheads, seems almost everyone who builds the AVS reflect that they could or should have done more fairing.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Ken.  I am planning to place supporting blocks in between the bulkheads before I work on sanding the tops of the bulkheads for the sub-deck placement, which will be done before I work on the fairing for the planking.  I want to make the structure as rigid as possible for that work so my ham-fists don't break more bulkheads, hopefully.

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...