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U.S. Brig Syren by _SalD_ – FINISHED - 3/16" scale

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Well it was a very productive holiday break.  While the wife and daughter were out shopping I got to play.  For this post I was going to do it a little differently.  Instead of showing all the steps and then the finished product I thought I would present the finished piece first and then show all the steps for those wanting to see what I did (it is rather long).


So ‘Ta-Da’…my longboat.  The oars and rudder have not been permanently glued in yet, because I’m trying different arrangements to see which I like best.





Now the steps.  Since this was going to be my first attempt at building a boat like this I thought I would make up some cross-section templates from the drawing to help me shape the hull.  The exterior of the hull was rough sanded and shaped with a ‘mouse’ sander and the interior was done using my dremel and a high speed cutter.  The final sanding and shaping was done with the dremel using a coarse and fine abrasive buff.  The sheer profile was marked out on the exterior of the hull and shaped with a drum sander attachment on the dremel.  All finish sanding was done by hand.





Instead of installing the center keel next and then the interior ribs on either side of it I decided to leave out the keel and install the ribs for each side as one piece.  I decided to do this since the floor boards will be covering the keel and it won’t be seen. The first rib was installed approximately at the center of the boat.  Once that rib was set I used a 3/32” wide plastic zip-tie to space the remaining ribs.  I saw this method used here on MSW but for the life of me I can’t remember whose log it was.  As careful as I was I found that even after soaking the 1/32” square strips for hours with ammonia that they still kink towards the bottom.





While waiting for the glue to dry between ribs I worked on the longboat oars and the ships sweeps.  I’ll describe how I did these later on.





Next for some unknown reason, well there was a reason but that’s another long story, I install the keel, stem and stern posts.  I would not do this at this point the next time. After staining the interior of the boat the floor boards were placed as described in the instructions.  I used sewing pins for spacers between the boards.  You need to be careful not to push them through the hull.





The thwart support was added next.  I used a drafting divider to mark its location on the ribs.  Note that these pieces and the floor boards were all stained prior to gluing them in place.




Next I wanted to see how the longboat would look with red bulwarks and caprail, so I cut out a caprail using some red construction paper and….well the wife and daughter put the nix-e-do to that and I agreed.



The grating and thwarts were done next.  The grating was done per the instructions and the thwarts were dressed up a bit by scribing the edges. By some miracle most of the thwarts landed squarely between the ribs.  The thwart with the iron strap to support the mast was cut out of the scrap 1/32” thick laser cut sheet.  The iron straps were made from blackened copper foil and the belaying pins were ones left over from my Phantom kit.  The idea for adding the scribed edges and belaying pins were gotten from Chuck’s Model Shipway’s Longboat kit. So were the split rings and mast step on the floor boards.





The windlass was made per the instructions.  I tried to make the shaft octagonal but it came out more roundish.  I should have tried to make it round and then it would have come out octagonal for sure.




Moving to the exterior of the boat the caprail and molding below the rail were added next.  I used the laser cut caprail with some modifications.  The rail provided was a little short, so I needed to cut the end off and add a piece.  I apologize that I don’t have any pictures of this because my phone (camera) went dead. After gluing the caprail in place I wasn’t too happy with the outboard side so I sanded it flush to the exterior of the hull and then added a 1/32” square strip to the outside edge. The molding strip was added as per the instructions.




The oar locks, splash panels, knees, and bowsprit step were added next and then the exterior of the hull was painted.  Once the paint dried I added the gudgeons and bowsprit iron strap. I also added some pins to the bottom of the keel and the chocks on the gallow bitts to help position the boat.  The rudder and tiller were made as per the instructions.  I tried to put the pins in the pintles but they were just too small.





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I started shaping the sweeps by first sanding down the four corners.




Next I chuck the handle end on the sweep into my drill press.  Using the drill press I was able to pretty quickly shape the handle.  A word of caution:  if you do this you must support (hold onto) the sweep down by the blade.  If you don’t, and trust me I know, the sweep will break off at the chuck.



A benefit of doing this, unbeknownst to me at the time, was that the part of the handle that was in the chuck was shaped to provide a flared end.



The blade was sanded by hand using a number of different sanding sticks.



The final blades were stained and coated with some wipe on ploy.



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Don, George, Ken, Dirk, John, Joe, and Thomas thank you all so much for the kind words, it's really appreciated.  I had some reservations in the beginning if I could do justice to this little boat but I enjoyed building it and I'm happy with the way it turned out.


Thanks for all the likes too. 

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I started on the bowsprit and you will need to forgive me but I keep forgetting to recharge my phone so I don’t have many pictures of how I made it.  Making the parts for this mast is straight forward and were made pretty much per the instructions.  The hardest part for me was the fairlead.  I’d like to know if anyone who’s made this model was able to use the kit supplied piece. I ruined all three pieces trying to drill the six holes in them.  The size of the holes you need are almost as wide as the piece itself!  Anyway I finally decided to make my own.  The only scrap hard wood I had was some African pear so I tried that.  It didn’t come out too bad, just the color of the wood doesn’t match the rest.






Here’s the completed bowsprit.





The only two, well three, things I did differently than the kit were the fairlead, which I made myself, the saddle for the spritsail and the iron bands.  For the spritsail yard sling saddle I didn’t like making it out of paper as instructed in the manual and I believe they were usually made of lead so I decided to use a piece of brass painted to look like lead.  For the iron bands on the aft end of the mast I made some brass bands that were blackened instead of using the pinstripe tape provided.



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Great bowsprit Sal!


I’d like to know if anyone who’s made this model was able to use the kit supplied piece


Absolutley nope ... impossible with the Kits wood.





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Thanks Greg, Elijah and Thomas.  I'm a little nervous about mounting this on the ship all I can envision is  bumping into it and breaking it.


Thank for all the likes too.

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