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USS Brig Niagara by bgarden - Model Shipways - Scale 1:64


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Hello,

 

So seeing as the Brig Niagara club seems to be the popular club to be in these days I thought that I would jump in and start a log of my own.  I first would like to introduce myself, by saying that I am a relatively new modeller. This kit will be my second wooden plank on bulkhead, and before that really nothing.  My first kit, which I am almost at the rigging stage, is the Bluenose 1:64, also by MS, and has/ is been a joy to build.  Her lines are fantastic and being a proud Canadian, she is simply a must to build.  But I thought that I would do a little multi-tasking and work in chucks between old Blue and Brig's Niagara.  Also to give a bit of context, I grew up in the Canadian side of the great lakes (in which the Niagara sailed).  About two years ago I really had nothing to do with ships and their history, but after stumbling into this web site I fell in love.  There are so many of you who post such stunning work and are so imaginative that I became inspired.  I also have found the history of the birth of the United States to be a really interesting read especially through the eyes of the early Navy.  Although, the battles between the British and the Americans on the Great Lakes were a small part of a bigger war, I think that the boats built in that area in that time were incredible.  If any of you haven't read the book Six Frigates or the book Broadsides they are really interesting reads.  Anywho, I will post a few pictures in the next day or so, depending on how busy work is, but I thought I would get the ball rolling and get this log on to it's feet.

 

Cheers,

 

Brian 

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So I am just a little further then these posts, and am catching up a bit.  Because the bottom of the keel with this kit is a separate piece I choose to take advantage of that by scribing 95% of the rabbit line with one of my favourite tools my calliper and then carved and sand the wood back being careful not to fold back too much wood with each pass of my chisel.

 

Brian,

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Hello Patrick I am glad to receive your welcome to the club.  I have seen your build and would be very happy if mine came out even half as good as yours.  I understand that you are basically on the final mile on your build... You have something truly to be proud of.  Can I ask how long have you been working on it to date?

 

Here is one more post to catch up to where I am at, at the moment....

 

Having dry fix all of the bulkhead members with the centre keel, I felt comfortable slowly glueing the basic skeleton frame together.  I chose to leave the bottom piece of the keel off just to ensure that when I faired the hull I would do no damage to it.  The last bulkhead at the stern was something that I tossed and turned on different ways to install do to the timber frames that project out (aft) of said piece.  I thought that I might want to pre-assemble the whole unit and then mount it on to the keel, but in the end I chose to mount the last bulk head and then mount each timber individually.  Having already finished that task I am still not sure which method would be better.  Oh well.  Mounting the bulkheads I took into account the deflection in the laser cut so that the slight pitch in the cut do to the lasers deflection through the wood would match the curvature of the centre keel.  

 

Keeping the bulkheads flush with the top of the keel I noticed that they sat a little low.  But I took advantage of this so that when I faired the hull I would sand very slightly heavy in order to ensure that when the hulls planks are installed they will be tight.  Once everything that I wanted was installed I ripped up some old door jam I had kicking around and used those pieces as blocking to stiffen up the whole unit.  All-in-all, the ships first bit went well.  There are a few flaws that I don't like but I hope to work them out in further stages.  

 

Brian  

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Brian, I think you took the right route with mounting the last bulkhead. That being said, this forum is all about thinking outside the box and sharing with others when a better way comes along. It's all looking straight and square and the additional spacers will add a lot of strength to keeping it that way while you are planking. I thank you for your praise and in answer to your inquiry, I have been working on my Niagara for the better part of three years.

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Hi Brian,

 

Welcome to the Niagara club. I can see from your current posts, I will follow and learn from you as also. Your build looks like it's off to an excellent start!

 

I had to edit my post just to say, "Watch out for the dreaded timberhorn game."  :) 

Edited by lb0190
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Larry, hello and thanks for your welcome.   I love that there are so many Niagara's being built at the moment.  I am sure that I will follow and learn from everyone here including your build.  And I know what you mean about those dreaded timber horns.  The ship has some subtle curves to her, while keeping those line and every thing plumb and straight is a bit of a trick.  

 

Patrick wow, three years.  What a journey!  I mean your work is stunning and you can really tell that your ship has had a lot of heart put into it.  I am a year and a half on my Bluenose which I am taking a little break from now, but when I look back on the pictures I realize how much I have learned and how much better my craft got.  I wonder if you have given any consideration as to building another model?

 

Brian

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Over the past week or so I had decided that I might work on the blocking for the gun ports and the rails.  I thought that I might take a bit of a different approach then what the kit prescribes.  I thought that it might work well to forgo the blocking between the bulkheads, but to instead drop the post on each bulkhead and install one continuous rail along the top.  I thought this would help give me a better idea as the the subtle curves the ship has and to save a bit of time.  In end it causes me to loose a bit of extra wood from the kits stock but it may give me a better platform to work from.  Also along the stern I installed the Arch board.  To do this I roughly bent a longer piece of wood and cut out the portion that most resembled the arch in the plans.  Next I glued a transom plank to it to at the angle indicated in the plans.  Doing this gave me a great starting point to make measurements off of and to stiffen the horn timbers a little better.   

 

Cheers,

 

Brian

 

  

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Brian, fear not on the wood supply. I have enough left over to scratch build a small ship. I admire the fact that Model Shipways provides enough wood for creativity and the occasional 'oops'. I have given thought (and strongly hinted to my wife and kids) about wanting to build MS's Constitution. They gave me the kit for Father's Day last year. I have been opening the box lid every other day since then to look through the contents.

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Hi Brian,

 

Adding the top rail really helped define the flowline. Your ship looks very clean and sharp. I need to slow down on mine so you can pass me up allowing me to add yours to the list of ships I follow and learn from. 

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Patrick-  First I admire your ability to receive a Cony Kit and hold off from building it for a year.  Your a better man then me.  I have been building the bluenose for a year and just decided that taking a break for a period may clear my mind a little before jumping back into it.  The Constitution is a beautiful ship, marking a really interesting part in your National history.  As for a Model shipways kit, you are bang on about the wood that is supplied.  I have been generally very happy about their standards.  And would fully endorse their kits.

 

Larry,  I thought that after fairing the outer side of the hull this left the inner side of the bulkhead posts (or stanchions as I think they are called??)  to be a little to flimsy to fair.  So it was my thinking that a good way of pulling those members in line and to stiffen them it would be better to use the extra wood and draw a false rail in the framing.  This also would give me the edge I needed to develop the hulls curve at the rails before building the gun ports.  Unfortunately I am not the fastest modeller due to work and life.  Tonight my wife is out so I thought I would catch up on some logs and maybe even do a little work....

 

Ken,  Thanks for the welcome.  The Niagara must be a magnificent boat to attract the attention of so many modellers.  I look forward to hunting down your log and seeing your build.  

 

Brian  

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So this weekend I got a few hours to put into the Niagara.  I thought that it might not be such a bad idea to pre construct the waterway and the plank sheer and assemble each sides 6 pieces into one fluid piece.  Among assembling the plank sheer and water way I keep doing minor adjustments to the top rail that was recently installed.  I figure that over the coming weeks as I work around the hull I will keep an eye on the ships lines and do what I can to adjust an improve.  But here are a few pictures of the waterways and plank sheer.  Next this week I will paint these pieces before installing them, and then next weekend install them.

 

Brian 

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 Brian - that's an interesting way to do the waterway and planksheer.  Are you test fitting to the model as you go in addition to checking against the plans?  I must say, you've gotten this ship looking like a ship faster than anyone else I have been watching.

 

BTW, I love your avatar - is that the plan for your next build?  :)

 

Bob 

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Brian,

 

Looks like you are thinking ahead about the process and what you can do to step things up a notch.  I'm not familiar with the kit to know what you've changed, but everything looks very good!

 

Regards,

Ron

 

 

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Hi Brian,

 

Your build is looking very good. I can hardly wait to hear your thoughts on this method after they are installed. Ialso  diviated from the instructions by installing each of the twelve pieces one at a time, which worked OK for me. One scarf joint did not turn out as well as I hoped but it will be pretty much hidden.

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Larry,  your waterways looked great from the pictures that I saw.  Piece by piece is perfectly acceptable method.  I guess what matters is that how ever you build it that your think ahead to the future steps on the build....  much like Ron had pointed out.

 

Ron, TIm, Patrick, David, Buck,  get to hear from you!  Thanks for checking in.

 

Bob,  my avatar is me showing you the blue prints to this build.  When done thats what she should look like... :)  and I do, do a bit of test fitting but in this case because the plank sheer is pre-notched, I will want to fit my boat to the part and not the other way around...if that makes sense. I did check though to make sure that I am not way off.  So far so good...I think  

 

 

 

Thank you everyone for stopping in and giving little encouragement's along the way!  Truly, I am grateful.  I am sure that some of my approach's to my build will be a little unconventional and in turn probably will not work out but hey,  what the heck, you only live once right!  As for some of these initial parts that I am installing, I thought that it might be good to achieve the desired shapes and curves before installing them allowing me to really check the individual parts against the plans and then when installing them I can adjust the ships framing as need be.  This idea also comes from my last model where when painting parts that were installed on the ship already, the difficulty in sanding and repainting parts became very difficult.  I am using on this model Humbrol paints which are oil based, so painting will be slow and when I will paint any given part I will want to paint it at least 3 to 4 times, sanding in between.  I think that when I got started with installing the bulkheads I had a difficult time keeping everything a 100%.  I found that as I squared one thing up another thing I would notice become out of line and so on.  I don't think that there is anything major that is at issue but as with everything when your attention is completely on one thing that thing will never be perfectly right to you unless you are one of those master ship modellers (like a few of you) of which I am jealous at your skills.  Tomorrow I will put on my third coat of red pain on the waterways (hopefully) and if I can I will take a picture.

 

Brian  

Edited by bgarden
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Hey Brian, we are all looking forward to seeing some more pictures. As for doing things differently, if we all followed the exact same path then there wouldn't be any differences in these models and therefore no point in posting more than one build log for the same ship. I like the fact that you are exploring different options in the building steps.

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So this week my assembled waterway and plank sheer went into the paint shop (my coffee table) and during the evenings I sanded and gave three coats of paint to assembly.  Today I had the time to devote to their installation :).  

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I started the installation of the assembly (waterway + plank sheer)  on the port side first because I thought that I had got the curve of the false top rail the best and most true to the plan.  

 

So the installation of the port side assembly was done by using the existing blocking and framing in conjunction with wedges (in this case opened cloths pins).  This gave me the ability to work with the assembly in relation to the false rail, keeping the two consistently parallel and true to the plans.  One area in the middle, the bulkheads were found to be too high and in the stern there were four bulkheads that I found to be slightly to low (must have sanded too much when I faired them).  After correcting any problem areas I re set the whole assembly into the perfect spot and then glued from underneath with thick CA glue.       

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Hey Ken, you caught me in mid update but they did not fit perfectly to the bulkhead but to me this was no matter because I had sanded the bulkhead posts to fit the slots of the plank sheer.  I felt that if the kit notched the plank sheer to the correct locations for the bulkhead posts then I will make it happen.  Latter if I need to re build the overly sanded bulkhead post by shimming then I will.

 

Good question.  

 

Brian

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So working on the starboard side was a little bit more of a trick.  Over the past two weeks I thought that the curves of the false top rail on the starboard side were not really what I was looking for.  They did not match the port side and I felt it was not true to the plans. So I cut free the rail from the bulkheads in the areas that I felt were not up to snuff.  This did a little bit of damage here and there to the bulkhead posts, but I am not all that concerned because they will get cover over completely.  To me, the bulkhead posts and the false top rail are really just a platform to work from.  They help me get a grip as to the shape of the ship as she is being formed. So after dry fitting the starboard side I proceeded to glue in the same manor as the port side by gluing from underneath.  

 

Brian

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Well done Brian

I dont know what you are planning to do next but could I suggest you look at

putting strips of wood in between the bulkheads where the gratings and the deck fittings are going to sit

to give you a firm base to sit them on

 

Regards

Ken

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Good call Ken, ya I think that putting those types of backing in the framing details would be really good.  I will take you advice and make sure that they are installed.  I think the next task that I might tackle is to install all the gun port and sweep port details.  After that I think that I want to do the planking on the inside of the rails, then finish any remaining framing details and finally plank the hull.  This is the game plan from what I can see at this point.  But of coarse things often change.  I am still debating a few things.

 

Brian 

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