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George W. Washburn by MarkBseau - Dumas - 1:48 Scale (First build)

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I've really hesitated to start a build log...   At first it was simply because I'd started building without taking any photos for a while, so I figured it was just too late to start a log.  But later, because of all the fantastic work I've seen in other builds - you folks are some real artists! - I'm embarrased to show my efforts.


But I've browsed enough now to know that a build log is definitely the way to go, there is so much experience and help out there, it's silly to waste it.


So I'll upload what photos I do have to this point on my first ship build, and hope that you guys can help me keep my head above water from here on.  Or actually I will later tonight when I'm home.  This is just a start while I'm eating lunch at the office...

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Photos are a little hap-hazard here, I'll have to figure out how to better order them, and how to comment before/after an image...


Anyway - at the stage that these were taken, I'd made a couple of my mistakes, but not all of them yet!  Was doing alright for a while and had everything straight and square.  Then at some point I think I left things for one night with one plank on a side without gluing the same plank on the other side, and (that's what I'm choosing as the culprit, anyway) suddenly I realized that my stem was no longer straight.  (Curses!)  Am going to live with it this time, I'm way beyond doing anything about that.  You can see this in a couple of the middle photos.


I'll get some more pix up tomorrow (have to recharge the camera battery) showing where I am now.  I'm planked and awaiting my fiberglass supplies.  With those pictures, I'll have a couple questions for the experts on where I went wrong.











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Hi Mark,

Your build looks pretty. I cannot see the stern problem you mentioned, but sometimes photos make it difficult to see some details. The nice thing about the Washburn kit is ther's plenty of material thickness to sand corrections and any filler material on the hull will be covered up if you finish with fiberglass. Keep up the good work and keep in mind three steps fwd and one step back is good progress in model ship building.

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Hi Larry,


Thanks, I think it'll be OK (for a first one anyway).  But not stern , it's the stem (bow) that got off-kilter, you can see that a little bit in the photo that's looking at you dead-on.  It's not too bad, but just isn't what the better builders would accept.  It's the kind of thing that I need to learn to anticipate and prevent.


Yes, the next thing that happened to me (still haven't posted a photo of it yet) is where the upper hull planks started pulling away (expanding?)  a little from the frames!  Yikes, it was horrible.  I didn't replace them - I've braced (and glued & clamped the heck out of em) them and it looks pretty decent now. 

I'll get a photo out tonight.


Thanks for looking, I am going to start asking questions!



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A few more photos.  Here's where I am now - hull planking done, waiting for my Z-poxy and glass.  In the 3rd photo here, I think you can see the braces I glued between some of the middle frames (at their top), to bring the planking back to where it's supposed to be.  (Used epoxy, plenty of it.)  


At some point, days well after the planking was finished, I suddenly discovered the planking had separated from the frames (along the deck level).  It seemed to be expanded, was warped and wavy.  I didn't photograph it, didn't want that in any archives...  In the 2nd photo, you can see that the port side is pretty straight - the other side is less so, but not too bad now. But before my fix it was pretty awful.  This happened at some point after applying wood filler - not the first time, probably after several iterations of filling & sanding down, over several days.  Could this be because of the wood filler?  I didn't water it down at all, used it straight from the container.

Is this unusual, I hope?







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Hi Mark,

your build is looking good, I can't see the problem at the stern that you mentioned.  I think you will be glad you are doing a build log.  I was hesitant to start one for pretty much the same reasons but I am glad I finally started one,  Your model will benefit from it.  I have received some advise on my build log that surprised me that anyone knew that much!  

I will be following your build with interest and hey that is one BIG plane in the 2nd photo!  :)  

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Thanks John & Larry.


Yes, going to epoxy the interior first.  I can't wait to really get going on this - after that task I can get the deck on it and really get working!  As I browse ahead in the instructions and plans, I'm getting more and more gung-ho.


That plane is a PBY Catalina, a land/sea plane - no landing gear on it.  At one point my thought about RC'ing this Washburn was that, because I'd like to try flying the PBY from water, I could possibly have this boat along with me in case I made a less-than-happy landing out in the middle of a pond somewhere, so I could nose it back to shore.  (OK, it's 'when', not 'if'.)  I guess part of my brain is still that of a 12-year old...

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Thanks Mark. Something I forgot to mention was regarding your deck. At the time I installed my Washburn deck, I was not aware of marking the edge of the deck planks with a pencil to simulate the caulking. The deck planks fit together so well, its difficult to see the plank edges. I wish I could make that change now. Having the caulk lines (IMO) is a nice detail that's easy to do and looks very good. If your considering adding that detail and need some advice, I and many others can help. 

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After brushing some Z-Poxy on the hull's interior, I've now finished planking the deck.  That's a very satisfying piece of the process, I am really enjoying this. Don't like the mistakes I'm making, but I'm learning a lot.  The next part is fiberglassing the hull - that's a bit intimidating, but we'll get through it.


Anyway, here's my first deck, and some decking music...


Anyone have recommendations for sealing the deck?  This kit suggests simply a couple coats of Sig's Nitrate dope.  I guess that's a clear, simple finish.  Is that basically just a sanding sealer?  Will gluing deck pieces over it be a problem?












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Anyone have recommendations for sealing the deck?  This kit suggests simply a couple coats of Sig's Nitrate dope.  I guess that's a clear, simple finish.  Is that basically just a sanding sealer?  Will gluing deck pieces over it be a problem?

Good moring Mark, I would not seal the false deck. I suggest you plank the deck then seal it after your done with sanding. I do not recall what I sealed my deck with but I'll do a little research to see if figure it out, but I may have used the nitrate as suggested. Your build is coming along very well, something to be very proud of!

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Thanks Larry, the deck is already planked.  My concern is just that I don't have a handle yet on what finishes (including paint, varnish, oils, urethane, etc.) are glue-friendly and which are not.   (So I don't cause myself a problem installing deck buildings and fittings.)  I'm trying to find a good post about that, but haven't run across one yet, except for a recent find warning about a tong oil finish.

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I've used (and read in plenty places where others have also) wipe-on poly finish (I use Min-wax) at various stages in the building process, and both glued and painted over it without any issues.


That's the only one I have any personal experience with, so can't say what other finishes would work without problems.

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About your planking pulling away from the framing.  Did you sand most of the char from the lazer cuts off the edges of your frames.  Often that can impede the glue from holding by the charcoal from the lazer giving a carbon that releases from the wood and glue.  A good sanding until you get most of it off before glueing can help the hold of the parts.  I found that to be the case with some kit tools that I did earlier.  Nice job so far.  I like it. 

Walter Biles

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Mark, I used Testor lacquer paints for most of the model other than the rust colored hull which was a lacquer primer spray paint by Krylon. I have since changed to water based acrylics. Whatever you use for paints, sealers etc, the best thing you can do is make up a test piece for ease of mind. I also sprayed the entire model down with a Testors Dull Coat. It took away the shine and did a great job making the decal edges disappear.

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Thanks guys - 


Walter -

Thanks for the tip about sanding off the 'char' from the laser cuts.  In my case, I don't think that was the issue though.  It wasn't so much that the planking separated from the frames, it's that the planks (which in this case were just a really soft balsa) had actually warped, they sort of "waved" away, it's almost as if they expanded.  That's why I tend to think that water was involved.  One thing that I'd been doing was soaking the planks in water and putting them on pretty much as soon as they came out of the water.  Now I don't know how much of a mistake that is.  (Although - I didn't find them warped like the morning after, either - this mis-shaping happened many days later!)  The second thing is, I used plenty of wood filler to get this hull in shape.  I did not thin the filler at all with water (or anything), used it right out of the container.  Again, I don't know if, or how much, the filler material has anything to do with the problem.  I wish now that I'd taken some photos of the disaster and posted them, was too embarrassed at the time.


GuntherMT, and Larry -

Yes, thanks for that - exactly the kinds of thing I'm looking for.

I'll probably go with acrylic paints too.  And GMT, I was wondering about just a little stain on the deck, and probably would have tried a MinWax product, just because it's familiar stuff.  Good to hear that you glued stuff over it without problems.

But anyway - yes, I gather testing everything is the only safe way to go.


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  • 4 months later...

It's been a long time, but I have actually been working on this tug.  For a couple of weeks around Christmas I let it sit, because I'd caused an absolute train-wreck in trying to fiberglass the hull.  I have no photos of that; it was just too gruesome to publish.  I had to step away for a while, knowing I had to file/sand/grind most of down and try again...


Cutting to the chase, I did that.


NOTE to BUILDERS, if you want to try fiberglassing:

- Thin your resin till it's like water (as is recommended in all the YouTube how-to's)

- You don't have to do it all in one piece of cloth.  Go ahead and section it off and make it easy on yourself.

- You'll be able to easily feather a new section into the last section, it'll be fine.


Since the disaster, I've (slowly) been working on it, just haven't been transferring photos to the computer.

But photos coming now...



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Installing the cap rail all around.  I was concerned about how this would work out because it's made of a 2mm x 3/8" PVC strip, into which you have to introduce quite a curve laterally.  I knew you could apply heat to PVC and bend it like spaghetti, so I tried that - made a template with the right curve in it, put it on a board, and used a hair curler on it like so, see attached.


Big mistake - almost another disaster, because there is just enough of this stock to make the rail, you can't waste a long length of it.  The problem controlling the heat - this stock is thin enough that just a small amount of heat almost turned it into a pool of liquid, I was shocked.  Luckily, my one and only try at this worked out - it seemed warped for a while, but eventually straightened out (in an hour or so, I think). 


TO BUILDERS:  Don't overthink this like I did.  You can use CA glue (works well pvc-to-wood) just a short length at a time, holding it in place, and you CAN bend that wide piece of pvc around those curves.  With no waving, no banks at all.

Like the old guy in photo #3.




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Constructing the cabin...

I added some extra support inside to keep those walls straight.


On the little pilot house, YOU MUST preshape the curved piece of PVC.  You might be able to see on the underside of mine that I didn't do that enough, and it cost me.  It's a little bowed out at the top of that picture...


In the 2nd photo here, I'm just measuring the distance with the staircase that's going to go there, glad I thought of that beforehand.





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Hey, thanks Larry!  Bet you thought I'd quit...   No, I'm just a procrastinator about loading up the photos...

And I'm slow.


Cutting the stanchions that will be used (one of these days) on top of the cabin.

Here's the little jig I built to 'assembly-line' the process...



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I hope I don't end up sorry I tried this, but...

I didn't want to go with just the decals for the panels, windows, etc.


So I got some 3/16" wide strips of bass, and I'm cutting panels.  And for the windows, I have some 1/32 sq stock that I'm gluing on; I think I'm just going to try painting those a dark gray.  I've done the same for the little skylight, and the large cabin.

It's a lot of panels!  Need to work some more on the cabin, but here's a couple quick shots of the pilot house.



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