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Benjamin W Latham by Hog2sail - FINISHED - Model Shipways- 1:48 - 1st wood ship build

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Hi All,


Well I decided to try and do kind of a build log for the Benjamin W Latham by Model Shipways.


This will be my first wood ship build. But by no means my first wood kit build.


A little background before we get into the build. I'm a retired Design Engineer for a Civil Engineering firm. I build and fly RC Sailplanes and have built, designed and  scratch built numerous sailplanes. I love building, but I don't need anymore sailplanes or for that matter have room for them.


I wanted to build something else, and something with a bit of a challenge. I've always loved the old ships and square riggers, so I decided to build one to feed my hunger for building. I wanted something with a bit of a challenge, and with my sailplane building experience, I figured I could build an intermediate model as my first kit build. However my sailplanes have 10 foot and 11 foot wings compared to this whole ship that's only 24". So I definitely have a new challenge.


Now, I'm not trying to be a perfectionist or build this as 100% authentic. But something closer to maybe 90-95% authentic or per plans. I have made a couple changes to start with and a couple mistakes as well. So you purist out there, don't blow me out of the water.


The first and main thing I changed from the kit was the deck planking. The plans call for 1/16" wide strips for the deck planking. I've read and understand the reason the original Latham used narrower planks for the deck. But I just didn't like the looks of the narrow deck planks. So I decided to use 1/8" wide strips instead.


Also, I'm not going to build the Seine boat as part of the kit and display. But will build it separately and display it as a different kit.


I started the build a couple months ago and have been taking pictures as I go and have pretty much completed the hull, with the exception of a couple additional items that still need to be added. But basically I'm about to start with the build of the Masts and Spars. From this point on I'm totally lost as how to proceed and this is where the real challenge will begin.


Hopefully some of you out there can help me along with the rest of the build.


So I'm going to try and post pictures of what I've built so far and get you up to date before I continue building,


Any tips, ideas, suggestions, criticism etc is welcome. So please chime in. 


So my next post will be the beginning pictures of the build and I'll continue posting pictures to get you to where I am with the build to date. So here goes. Hope I can post the pictures.






Edited by Hog2sail
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For some reason I didn't take any pictures while I was planking the hull. A couple things regarding a couple of the pictures. You can see a bit of red in a couple pictures. That's auto body filler to fill in a couple low spots ( or should I say bad planking). There is also some white. That's light weight spackle to fill in some of the seams. I learned this from my sailplanes.


Dinner time, Moma is calling. I'll post more later.



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Continuing with the build. Next will be pictures of the deck structures and paint. That pretty much gets us up to date.


I'll post more pictures as I build. I'm sure I'll have questions regarding the rest of the build. Should I post questions here or somewhere else on the forum.


Thanks for looking. 



















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Thanks everyone.


I'm going to try and finish off the hull and deck prior to starting on the masts. I need to add a couple more little things to the deck, like the Iron Cat-Head and a couple cleats. Build an anchor box and add the propeller and paint the yellow stripe and scroll around the Hawse pipe. I think I'll wait until the end to paint her name on the transom. We'll see. I also need to add the chain and anchors to the Cat-Head, but I think I'll wait until it's about done before adding the anchors.


I'll post more pictures as I get farther along, as well as pictures of my mast construction and it's fixtures.


Thanks everyone for viewing and your comments.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Eddie -

Thank you for providing this build log with several LARGE pictures of your progress.  I have a Benjamin Latham kit in my closet as my next project.  Your photos help me visualize the assembly steps and finished ship model much better than the plans and directions.  Keep up the good work and keep the pictures coming...and please share any insight or tips that will help future Benjamin Latham modelers.



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Hi Gary,


I'll try and post some updated pictures later today if I get a chance. I haven't gotten a whole lot farther due to the Holidays.


Hopefully later today I can get the Mast's mounted. That's if Moma quits dragging me to the Mall.


Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas everyone.



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Well, I haven't had a chance to work on it today. I was being one of Santa's Elf's today.


I'm kind of at a stage that I'm not liking very well. I'm ready to mount the spreaders on the Mast's and installing the Mast's, then start the standing rigging.


First I'll mount the ship on it's stand and get it out of the vice. Then I'll mount the mast's and start the standing rigging. However I'm debating whether or not to do the lower Chainplates before mounting the

Mast's. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, so I'm trying to think of things I can do now that will help with my tumbling hands and fingers breaking something. Any thoughts?


I'm building this by the 3 foot rule. From 3 feet it looks really good! (eek)


Here's a few updated pictures I've taken. The Mast's are not installed and glued. I just put them in the deck holes for the pictures.


I'm not going to add the sails when it's done. However the Gaff's and Booms will be in place as if the sails were mounted and ready to sail.


I'm really not looking forward to the rigging. Both the standing and the running (however much I need without the sails). And for sure I'm not looking forward to tying the rat lines. I just hope I don't get frustrated and put it aside before I finish. Every time I do that with one of my builds It's hard to come back to.


Anyway here's some pictures as she stands now.


Thanks for looking.



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Elia, Thank you.


A little up-date.


I mounted her on the display plaque I made. I also added the spreaders to the mast's and added the spreader struts. I first made the struts out of wood but I didn't like the way it looked. So I used a piece of Piano wire that I use for my sailplanes. It's not exactly how it's suppose to be, but it serves the purpose and the average person will not know any difference.


I also added the tip of the mast's. I used a piece of Bamboo Skewer you would use to Bar-B-Q with and cut the sharp end off and glued a BB from my Red Ryder BB gun to the tip. I'll probably paint the BB later. Right now it looks like a brass ball on top of the mast.


The masts are just setting in the deck hole and not glued. Also the top mast and the Mast caps are just setting on the main mast and fore mast for a visual and to take a picture.


I'm so use to it sitting in my vice, that it looks funny to me in sitting in it's base.


Here's a couple more pictures.








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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, It's almost done. I cheated a little bit on the Rigging and used CA to make some of the connections. Remember the 3 ft. rule. I also added ghost sails. I know there isn't suppose to be a line from the aft end of the Main boom to the Main Gaff to the top of the Main Mast. But I added it to give the eye a vision of the sail. Besides anyone who comes to my house and sees it will never know. So you purist don't sink my ship!


I still have to tie the Rat Lines (eek) and add the spreader Stays as well as add some rope coils and a couple other finishing touches as well as touch up a few places of paint.


It was a fun build and for my first ship build I'm very happy with the results.






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  • 1 year later...

I bought the kit years ago but decided the model was to big for me so I reduced the plans and scratched her using the book and Chapelle's Fishing Schooners which I consider the bible for this type of boat.  And I found the transom a a nasty are to figure out.  My problem is this kit is at a scale of 1/48 and I am building her at 1/96.  Difficult to do but fun and challenging.  Keep up the great work.

David B

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