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Friendship Sloop by DRW-FJ40 - Bluejacket - Scale 1:12


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After finishing my Dumas Snipe sailboat, I had intended to start my MS Bluenose kit but this caught my eye. I couldn't find many build logs on this particular craft but after reading about the history of it, I became enamored with it and well... here I am, staring at the box.

 

Bluejacket offers this kit in 1:24 & 1:12 and I opted for the larger size as I like large scale models not to mention easier for my eyes to see. 

 

The wood looks very nice. The laser cutting is crisp and clean. There are a few mahogany pieces & it has a nice tight grain compared to some other kits I've done. 

 

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Before I start, I'll have to say I left my camera at work and could wait to begin. So, the first few steps have been documented after the process rather than during. 

 

Inventory of parts & a little bit of sanding.

 

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The keel is interesting. It's four pieces and then has additional 1/16" laminates on either side. The outer laminates are not the full depth of the keel and form the rabbet line. The core pieces go together first and then the outside laminates. 

 

I've complete that step but need to get some pictures. 

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Yes, many Friendship sloops still out there. Mystic Seaport has Estella a. 1904. The Friendship Sloop Society has published a book on the history with an index of known surviving sloops so lot's of information to be had on the topic. 

 

I do enjoy the larger scale for all the reasons you all have mentioned. In fact, I almost opted for their 1:8 scale Muscongus Bay Lobster Smack which works out to be a nice size model.  

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So, here is the finished keel. It has 5 frames & transom. Note the notch for F5 in the second photo. 

 

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The directions called for a temporary basswood strip from bow to stern, spanning the top of the keel structure and then fit the frames using this spanner strip to line the bulkhead center lines up with. Then attach the deck. After a few tries, I found this really challenging because the keel is more like a plank on frame kit, i.e. there isn't much to square up against. And it seemed to me that it made more sense to mark the locations of the bulkheads on the deck and use the deck to align the bulkheads but I needed to mark a flat deck and my reference drawings were showing a curved deck in profile view. 

 

I used some bricks I had to force the curvature of the deck pieces over the profile drawings and then used a square to mark the bulkheads. But it was late and I decided not to glue it just yet. 

 

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Edited by DRW-FJ40
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So, the next morning I wasn't quite comfortable with my techniques so I traced the deck halves, scanned them to PDF and then referenced them into AutoCAD and then traced them in CAD. What I found is that the curve length of the deck in profile is actually 0.4" shorter than the flat deck length. 

 

So I drew the straight keel in profile, the frames in profile perpendicular to one another, the deck curve in profile and then where the frames intersected the deck curve, I measured the curve length and then transferred this length to a straight line. 

 

On the flat deck surface, I started with the edge of the cockpit opening, F3 and used the curve length measurements from the deck profile to place perpendicular frame centerlines on the deck. F3 seemed like a logical place to start since it's towards the center and needs to be flush with that opening and  the balance of the difference in curved deck length in the profile drawing (which I assembled my keel by) and flat deck length will be split roughly at either end where it can be trimmed. 

 

I'm a bit new at this. Does this logic make sense to anyone other than me?

 

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I used my template to mark the bulkhead locations. It all worked out well except the framing where it meets the deck didn't line up width wise in a few spots and I adjusted accordingly. F2 & F3 primarily and the transom is fitting wide. I plan to plank according the bulkheads and trim the deck to fit. Since the decking will be planked, these discrepancies should be fairly easy to correct.

 

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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Well... this one sat for a while but I've picked it back up. I'm almost finished with the first layer of planks. The kit only calls for one layer of planks but I'm not real happy with my planking. I had intended to paint the entire hull and thought for a while I would use filler to correct my mistakes but there are some areas that would require a lot & I would have to do a polished paint surface since some of the plank lines would be completely covered with filler. So my plan now is to focus on getting a smooth correct hull shape and then double plank so that when I paint the final hull, I can do an old weathered paint scheme. 

 

How I got the point that I was so unhappy with my hull is due to a number of things. I won't pretend that the bulk of it is due to my own inexperience but I followed the directions to a tee for trimming the planks. In retrospect, I should have used their dimensions as a general guide line and adjusted my plank trimming as I went along. As a result, some of the planks weren't lying as flat as they should & my forcing them to fit made things worse. Also, the bulk heads are pretty far apart compared to some of my others and some of planks developed flat spot between bulkheads. By the time I realized this, I had to make a choice, to bow the next plank a bit and achieve the proper hull shape or line up with the previous plank so that the edges fit against each other smoothly.

 

At this point I think my best option is fix the flat spots and get a decent smooth shape and then double plank. 

 

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DRW:

I am very fond of this workhorse of the NE that has become a sought after pleasure boat. I was taken with this vessel when Jarvis Newman of Maine ( a boat builder) did an incredible restoration of "Dictator" (Friendship) in a special Time or Life publication in the 1980's. It was inspiration for a half hull model I built using this documentation. Last year I happened to find on e-bay the Bluejacket 1/2" scale of what you are building. I must say I ran into similar problems with it. I was so disappointed in the planking results that I literally tore it down and started again. I made all new bulkheads and false keel and followed a more traditional methodology in planking than that in the instructions. I must say the results were better but not without the same problems as the kit. I should have added more bulkheads, since laying tapered planks, landing areas in the stern area were non existent. As well bulkhead widths and false deck did not meet up well. I have seen this model completed and it appears your scale version has much improvement over mine so I would not despair. Keep going I will be interested in seeing the progress.

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DRW:

I am very fond of this workhorse of the NE that has become a sought after pleasure boat. I was taken with this vessel when Jarvis Newman of Maine ( a boat builder) did an incredible restoration of "Dictator" (Friendship) in a special Time or Life publication in the 1980's. It was inspiration for a half hull model I built using this documentation. Last year I happened to find on e-bay the Bluejacket 1/2" scale of what you are building. I must say I ran into similar problems with it. I was so disappointed in the planking results that I literally tore it down and started again. I made all new bulkheads and false keel and followed a more traditional methodology in planking than that in the instructions. I must say the results were better but not without the same problems as the kit. I should have added more bulkheads, since laying tapered planks, landing areas in the stern area were non existent. As well bulkhead widths and false deck did not meet up well. I have seen this model completed and it appears your scale version has much improvement over mine so I would not despair. Keep going I will be interested in seeing the progress.

 

Yes, I didn't want to sound critical of the kit because I don't have a lot of experience to compare it to but I've done a few small midwest planked kits and I was pretty meticulous relative to laying out the keel and positioning the bulkheads and I still came up with some discrepancies, and the bulkhead alignment with the false deck was one of them. A more experienced modeler could have made wiser decisions as far as what to curves to hold & what to trim, etc. The fact the the keel slopes and the bulkheads, although parallel to one another, are not perpendicular to the keel makes it challenging as you can't slap a square on it but have to rely on the drawings for that angle. 

 

I enjoy small fishing craft, in fact this is the largest "ship" I've attempted. My others have been canoes, skiffs and a snipe sailboat. It's easy to become enamored with this sloop... an interesting evolution of design at an interesting point in history for Maine and fishing by sail. Along with this kit, I purchased "Lasting Friendships: A Century of Friendship Sloops".

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  • 2 months later...

What happened to this build? I am working on the same model and can empathize with your concerns. Seems that that most kits assume a  basic understanding of construction. However this kit's instructions fall short. They display a tapering chart without regard to bow/stern. How does one know the format? There is a big difference between one's first 3 models and the final 10. A $25 Midwest rowboat verses a  $700 USS Constitution? I say that the instructions should reflect the advertised skill level.

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This hull planking issue was what I ran up against with my Bluejacket Cape Cod cat boat. I echo what you've said about not wanting to criticize the company because quite frankly I do not have much experience. But I was struck by the thinness and lack of bulkheads upon which to plank. I really didn't want to go with their hull planking technique because quite frankly I would have had difficulty with that. So I used filler blocks, milled my own walnut planks and was pretty happy with the planking result. Anyway beautiful lines on your boat and I hope you'll finish it.

 

Best, Ian

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What happened to this build? I am working on the same model and can empathize with your concerns. Seems that that most kits assume a  basic understanding of construction. However this kit's instructions fall short. They display a tapering chart without regard to bow/stern. How does one know the format? There is a big difference between one's first 3 models and the final 10. A $25 Midwest rowboat verses a  $700 USS Constitution? I say that the instructions should reflect the advertised skill level.

 

Funny you should ask. I just picked it back up this weekend. Essentially, I'm rough sanding the initial planking with intentions of double planking with basswood. I want to paint the hull & basswood is familiar and easy to work with. The tapering chart I pretty much deduced or pieced together from the limited description in the instructions and grainy photos. I believe I figured out the intended steps but knowing what I do now I would recommend skipping this portion of the instructions and using one of many tried and true methods available on line or in books. I'm no expert but I read a few books on the topic and plan to do my final planking using the method outlined in Frank Mastini's Ship Modeling Simplified book. It just made sense to me. But that does support your argument that the instructions should reflect the skill level. Midwest kits are nice for beginners because you can follow the directions to the Tee and wind up with a decent model. I purchased this kit thinking I might stray a bit but thinking I could follow the directions verbatim if I chose to go that route and that's not been the case. 

 

This hull planking issue was what I ran up against with my Bluejacket Cape Cod cat boat. I echo what you've said about not wanting to criticize the company because quite frankly I do not have much experience. But I was struck by the thinness and lack of bulkheads upon which to plank. I really didn't want to go with their hull planking technique because quite frankly I would have had difficulty with that. So I used filler blocks, milled my own walnut planks and was pretty happy with the planking result. Anyway beautiful lines on your boat and I hope you'll finish it.

 

Best, Ian

 

Thanks Ian, I will... finish it that is. Just slow. 

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Glad to see you back, I really like the friendship sloop.  If I had access to Wolf Creek Park I would not get any ship modeling done. It looks like too much fun.

 

Bob

Thanks Bob... the RC park is fun... a bit time consuming but fun. I have a small "lake" in there that I sometimes park a 1:8 Dumas CC racer in. Most of the RC trucks are advertised as "10 scale" but in fact they are all over the place in terms of scale but most are on the larger side of 10... like 8.5 - 9 scale. So 1:8 looks more appropriate that 1:12 and I had thought long and hard when I decided on the Friendship sloop as Bluejacket has a 1:8 Muscongus Bay lobster smack... 48" model... I love big models... but that was bigger than my lake so.... 

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Here is where I'm at with the hull. I had put this project down for a while because I really didn't know how to proceed. I wasn't pleased with the hull shape and didn't want to start over at this point and it wasn't that bad... mainly, some flat spots between bulkheads. So as I said, my intention is to fill the flat spots, create a reasonably decent hull shape and then plank over it. 

 

The challenge now is getting the shape. You can see I've added a few shaped 1/32 pieces of wood in a few areas to build up the worst flat spots. I was reluctant to do this because I knew once I deviated from the framing to get the hull shape I'd have to rely on eye to get it right... I think it will be ok, just taking my time at this point. 

 

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A second planking? I say Bah! Finally tune the sanding of each plank and then apply a type of primer/sealant. Final sanding prep and then score plank lines with an X-11 blade. Your filler should be able to hold fast. Then paint. My BlueJacket Friendship does not have the curve of a 20 year old, but will have the identity of its planking for all to see (there are advantages to aging). Appreciate your sharing.

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Thanks for all the kind words of encouragement! Looking at it by myself for hours on end, I tend to only see my mistakes. 

 

I do still intend to double plank. Every boat I plank, I get a little better... learn a few tricks... so I figure I'll get a two for one deal on this one. I'm debating 1/32" or 1/16" though. Originally, I thought of the second planks as a veneer of sorts and the thinner strips would be easier to bend & shape. But I'm now thinking that could work to my disadvantage in that they would be more likely to conform to every imperfection & the thicker planks would have a greater tolerance for sanding smooth, i.e. I'm thinking the 1/32 would be too easy to sand through in the final smoothing. 

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  • 1 month later...

Well....where are we? Don't tell us you recycled the wood with the grass clippings.

 

Well... not too much further along than I was but! ... I did purchase some basswood strips. I went with 1/16" x 1/4"... and I've got a pretty good shape on the hull I think... a lot of sanding... too much sanding... I tend to overthink these things. Also, I get to these "no turning back" points and... hesitate. Is the hull shape to my liking? Once I start laying the second layer of planks is not the time to revisit the hull shape. 

 

It is funny, seems like I let some time go by & then move in the direction of picking the project back up and I get a notice that someone has replied to this thread. Last night I decided to go ahead and start laying planks and I think I mentioned that I was going to use the method outlined in Frank Mastini's book and I figured I'd brush up on that chapter first... And I can't find the book! I think I know where it is though.... Hopefully I'll be able to report some progress soon. 

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  • 1 month later...

"....report some progress soon." Time's up, its been 30 days. Show us your stuff. I want to see how others do this kit.

 

All the best,

Mr Spicer

More than 30 days now... Ok, times up. Here is my stuff. And let me just say, I'm glad I chose to redo it this way. The second layer of planks went on very straight forward and fitting each plank, although it sounds tedious, is actually not bad once you develop a little system and far less work than precutting planks that don't quite fit right. 

 

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