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Louise by Mike Dowling - FINISHED - Constructo

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Hi everyone.


Thought you might like to see my next build.


This one is to tide me over until I start another big build. Louise is a small Victorian steam launch, the kit from Constructo who I have never had anything to do with before.


The kit arrived in a nicely packed box with various bits and pieces in numbered bags that are referred to in the parts list. The build instructions are in a booklet in about a zillion languages including English accompanied by a booklet of photographs at various stages of the build. There is also a 1/1 plan sheet showing side elevations and various parts of the build including the boiler construction and that of the cabin.


The only laser cut parts are for the deck and the hull frames. The rest of the kit is various sizes of five different types of wood which seem to be of good quality.








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So, I have made a start. The hull frames are cut in half which means that each side has to be attached to the false keel separately. A rather strange and unnecessary complication to my mind and very difficult to line up squarely. Three of the frames had to be planked and varnished prior to attachment as they will show from the top of the boat and there is no access once the deck is on.


The added complication of this build is that five of the frames have to removed after planking so they are only there as guides and cannot be glued to. This has proved to bit a bit of a nightmare. Once the frames were attached a 'ribband' had to be run along the length of the hull but only attached to the non-removable frames making it hard to glue bendy pieces of wood. Anyway, once on the deck had to be cut out and glued onto the ribbands and fixed frames. The sheet containing the deck was poorly cut with the laser which had failed to cut right through the sheer so some delicate knife work was required to remove the parts.


Finally achieved the deck has now been fixed on and I have faired the hull ready for planking with 2 x 5mm sapele planks.


One rather good thing about the kit is that a set of veneer is included for those who want to double plank the hull. I think in view of the construction this may well be required but it is nice to know it's there in case.








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I always liked this particular kit. It looks like a fun project to turn into a radio controlled boat. If not mistaken, there was a representative of this model used in the movie Body Guard starring Whitney Houston. Her son in the movie was floating this boat around in their pool.




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  • 2 weeks later...

Here we are again !!


Louise now has a layer of planking on her hull. The wood used was 2 x 5mm sapele which in my humble opinion was too thick for a boat of this size. It was difficult to bend and much prefers to return to being straight. What I thought would be a problem was in as much as I couldn't glue the planks to most of the frames because they have to be removed and even trying to glue the plank edges meant missing out the areas of the frames.

Anyway she has been sanded and sealed but, if I leave her as she is she will still be sanded again and have at least two coats of clear gloss varnish eventually. I am hopeful that that would make the lines between some of the planks less noticeable.


My question is does she need planking again with veneer or is she OK as is ?











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I thought you might like to see my progress.


Louise has had her frames removed and now has her keel, her transom piece, her wales and the floor and deck have been planked.


Next stage is to put some frames back in - weird eh ?


I have also been bending the wood for the cockpit frames. Those are quite some bends to expect from 1.5 x 7mm sapele and the eagle eyed amongst you will notice that both bends split at the tightest part. I can't say I am surprised but I hope my repair will have worked  when I remove them.








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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry, I have rushed ahead somewhat without many updates but here we are. I managed to bend those cockpit surrounds and the trim to go with them and the splits I got have fortunately come out better than I expected so they are now on and varnished.


The boiler I worked on whilst waiting for the surrounds to dry. A lot of wire bending as you can see - not my favourite part as I have always preferred woodwork to metalwork but I am quite pleased with the final result.


Then the cabin had to be made from individual strips of wood, no laser cut ply backing for this ! A good lesson in marquetry I guess, not something I had tried before but I can include pictures of the making and the finished item.















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Happy New Year to all.


A big thank you to Cap'n'Bob and GuntherMT for your generous comments. All I had to do next was put the bits together, add the awning a some deck furniture and Louise is now finished.


She turned out quite well I think. I did go to the extra expense of buying some brass rod because it gives a much better result. Why do these kit manufacturers include brass wire wound up ? It is impossible to straighten properly and gives a very poor finish although I have to say I used their stuff for the boiler fittings.


Anyway, I hope you like her.










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Hello Mike!


Wow, what a quick build and a great result!  I agree with Cap'n and say that I hope you are proud of how she came out as your "Louise" looks fantastic.  Your woodwork and planking really does look so good even though you questioned it :)


I can't wait to see your next project.  Congrats again on another great build!

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A very nice build. She should fly a red ensign rather than a Union Flag at the stern (see GB03, http://www.becc.co.uk/contents/en-uk/d31.html).Flags can be made to hang more naturally if you soak them in water and bend them to the required shape. Once dry they should keep the natural hang of the flag.


Happy New Year,



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The only reason I put the Union flag on Louise is because that is what came with the kit. Also it is printed on pre-glued paper so there is no point in trying to soak it and any bend you try to put in just straightens itself out again. Anyway, I don't really feel that it detracts from the rest of the boat.

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