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Cutty Sark by petervisser - Billing Boats - Scale 1:75

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Well with winter round the corner, it's time to hunker down and get back into the shipyard with Cutty Sark. This is a model I have always wanted to build since starting out in this hobby with Billing's Mary Ann. Thanks to Kip (aka Sawdust), I was able to acquire this second hand model which he purchased from a neighbor for 2 bottles of wine. He also sold me Nepean's book and Campbell's drawings so I have lots of info over and above what Billing supplies which isn't much. Thanks to Lou's lead, I have also purchased J.J. van Griethuysen,s drawings which are spectacular.


As you can see from the photos, this is an early Billing kit , from the 70's I would guess. Einar Billing includes a little intro with the Reader's Digest version of instructions they are known for. In them he states that the kit is intended to be built and not merely assembled. He expects the builder to exercise skill and imagination in the building of the kit. Sage advise indeed.


As with all earlier Billing kits, the hull and fittings are sold separately. Billing believed some modellers might want to create their own fittings. They also recognized that many models are never completed so why buy a bunch of fittings that might never make it onto the model which will never be used.


The majority of the wood in this kit is mahogany, which you can imagine is now rather dried out and a little warped. I have decided to replace the hull planking with obechi which I have used on previous Billing kits. It's not expensive, bends easily with a little steam and will be painted, so no need for top quality timber. As the build progresses, I will decide what other wood needs replacing.


As can be seen from the photos, the kit is already started. The original owner of the kit did get it stared but then realized he no longer wanted to continue. So I have the kit framed and with the false deck installed. The rest will be all me. He has done a first rate job, and the keel is straight so it is a good point to resume where he left off. Job one will be to bevel the bulkheads.


So here's a couple of pictures of what is to come...






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Here are a few more pictures of the model as it looks now. 


I have also downloaded the building instructions from the Billing web site that include step by step building sequence drawings. They will help.


The kit number on the box is 459 which will give some of you an idea of the age of the kit. The fittings kit is #1080.










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Hello Peter


Hot wellcome from CS fleet to experienced builder. I have just visited your gallery photos, and I am amazed . Very well job. I am sure that we have to learn a lot from you during your Cutty Sark build voyage


I just found your log, and I am very glad here is another Cutty Sark


I wish you happy modeling and great time here on MSW with other folks who build Her Majesty


I pull a chair in a first row, bring some popcorns and beer, and waiting for your show to start and continue, inpatiently.


It seems you are equiped well with sources for investigation, and there is no reason not to start 


As you ( and House Stark) said : Winter is coming !



Edited by Nenad M
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Hello Peter;  This is the exact same kit I am building;  a used Billing #459 from the early '70's.  Mine was purchased off ebay unstarted, but incomplete (the sheet with the main deck and the instructions were missing) with no fittings kit included.  It will be great to see how a more experienced builder than myself tackles this kit.


-looking forward to seeing your posts...



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Hi guys,


Thanks for the warm welcome from the Cutty Sark Club. There certainly are a fair number of Cutty Sark builds going on and I have been following along with yours from the wings.


I am currently busy with building a couple of display cases, so my build log won't truly take off for a couple more weeks. But I can't wait to get it going proper. So please be patient.





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Hi Nenad,


Actually, that article is already written. With Banyan's (Pat) help, I wrote a series of posts on building a display case. He converted it into an article on the NRG's Ship Modelling Resources page, under the Ship Modellers Database of articles, Furniture and Fittings.


Keep in mind, the display case is pretty rudimentary in its construction. The wood I used is easily accessible and inexpensive. I am no finishing carpenter and have only basic tools. But the display case is functional and it finishes up pretty well. With different woods and more refined skills, one could fiddle with the design and build a better one.


Here is a link to the article. Hope it helps.







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  • 3 weeks later...

Welcome to the Cutty Sark Group!!


Regarding cases, I used Plexiglas when I had it made 40 years ago. The plex is still clear, but I have never had it facing normal light conditions since my model languished for 40 years. I did learn you should not leave the paper on for 40 years, the adhesive dries out and it is very difficult to remove.


Again, welcome.



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hi there Peter........so glad to see you've started another build!   I just saw this same kit on E-Bay........no fittings shown.   my Nordkap was in the same packaging,  so I take it,  it is not laser cut {?}   I've been watching  'the boys'  build theirs........I'd be pleased as punch to add yours to my watch list.    if I wasn't so bogged down with other builds..................;)

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  • 1 year later...

Well, after a particularly long hiatus from model boat building, I am very glad to get back into the wood shop and make vast quantities of sawdust.


The first order of business is to build a sturdy cradle in which to hold the ship while I plank the deck. The kit had already been started by the previous owner, but it did not hold the model well. So, the cradle was built to "warm up" with some tools and skills!



The contour gauge was placed on two of the bulkheads which are meant to "cradle" the carcass, as seen in the photo.




The contour gauge was then placed on a sheet of ply and the outline traced.




The sides of the chocks were then drawn on the ply as seen in the photos.

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Very clever to make standing on time. I didn't, and now I have ... let's say ... a kind of problem which stopped me nearly two weeks


Just a thought ... If stand is small and kell is low, hull lines and ornaments on stern hardly can be seen ... If stand is higher, all thing looks much better, but you got less stabile construction when spars/mast/rigging time comes


For me ... Hmmmmm issue


Kerp on good work!

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Hi Peter,

Looking forward to your build.

I did have this kit but gave away to a good friend who wanted to attempt this with his son as I had already completed the Sergal version.


Still have the "New" A/L version tucked away but who knows when I'll get to that.... :)



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Thanks for all the encouragement gents. Yes, there are a few CS projects on the go and I have been watching a few myself. It's always nice to get ideas on different ways to skin the proverbial bird in the bush...


The next order of business is to shape the filler blocks on the stern to coax the hull planking in that area. The kit provided a pair of balsam blocks that were somewhat pre-shaped. All that was needed was a bit of glue and a few clamps to hold it in place initially. Here's how I went about it...


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post-2494-0-99559300-1451695866_thumb.jpg post-2494-0-96225000-1451695893_thumb.jpg


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Once the blocks had a chance to set overnight, I could trim off the excess. I used a coping saw to get the bulk of the excess wood off and then sanded off the rest.


Here are a few photos of the process.



This is a mistake in the making. I started sawing from the wrong direction. I should have started at the side, instead of the stern. I couldn't really see where my blade was going, and where it would end up. In essence, I removed too much of the filler block. I simply glued the wedge I sawed off back onto the model, let it set overnight and re-sawed the wedge off again. The other side went off without a hitch.





You can see the initial cut on the right with the wedge glued back on.



Here both filller blocks are sanded to shape. However, the stern timber is somewhat recessed. I didn't want to sand off any more of the balsa, so decided to fill in the gap.



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Next up, fairing the bulkheads. This is something that needs special attention in order to have a smooth looking hull. I have always used a couple of sanding blocks (a wide one and a narrow one) made by Exacto which work really well. By running the sanding block lightly the length of two bulkhead (keel to deck) it bevels the edges. I bevel two bulkheads at a time, then move on to the next one and bevel that pair. In this way every bulkhead is fair to the one immediately fore and aft of it. Using a shot piece of plank I check the beveling of three bulkheads in order to see the results.


Here's a couple of photos showing what I mean.





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I ran into an issue with one of the bulkheads. The previous owner who had started the model, sanded off a bit too much of frame #4 when he was fairing the hull. I could see this when I was checking the beveling, as seen in the following photo.




I decided to add a fillet in order to fill the gap. Here's a couple of photos showing that process...





I ran the plank along the the offending bulkhead and the adjacent ones and all is well! I will commence the hull planking when the deck is finished.



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The next big step to tackle is the decks. This is an old Billing kit and the decks consist of sheets of mahogany with the planking inked onto them. Less than ideal to say the least. So I purchased a tube of cherry strips from Lee Valley which are 1/8" wide by 24" in length.  

 I decided to experiment with them to see how they would look on a scrap piece of mahogany and how best to apply them. Here are the results...



I first attached a plank that simulated the centre plank I will use as a guide on the actual false deck of the model. There are just pin nails holding it in place.



I buttted the first cherry strips against the reference plank, and then laid a black thread against them to simulate the caulking. Then repeat as necessary.



The experiment worked and I will use this method on the model.



I then applied three coats of satin varathane on half the planks to see if it improved the appearance of the wood. I liked the richer colour and it also brought out the grain a little.


Now, onto the real thing!



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nice to see your progress peter.......nice save with the faring issue.  I've had to do that as well,  at times,  but mostly on my scratch built hulls.   I use a drywall sander.......it covers three to four ribs at a time,  depending on the scale.  I know Billing,  back in the day,  to print the decking on the deck platform....one could stain and use,  or use it as a guide to lay planking over it.   the only kit that I've done,  that was that old,  was the Nordkap.  I made the waterways and did planking that corresponded with the thickness.   in the more modern kits......some supplied Mahogany.....some supplies a wood called Annegre,  a lighter colored African wood.   it's really not a bad wood.......I used to use crayon for calking,  and sanding afterwards would blend the crayon into the wood and give it a nice hue.   I've heard of the use of thread for calking,  but never tried it.  it looks very nice  ;)


nice recovery with the stern fillers  :)

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