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USS Brig Syren by Robert-J-M - Model Shipways - 1:64 - 18 gun brig


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Yet ANOTHER Syren log!  After following the advise on the newbie page, and getting a nice discount, I got my kit on Friday from Model-Expo, who were nice enough to combine two orders so I could get the free shipping. I like them already.  

 

As suggested I inventoried everything against the parts list and found everything... lots of little-bitty-parts!  I confess I didn't count all the blocks and such, as I figure I'm gonna lose some anyway.  Did I mention how small some of the stuff is, WOW.

 

I decided to label the wood by wrapping each group with a sticky note, why measure everything twice (or more)?  After writing the decimals next to the fractions for quick ID with the calipers, and trying not to squish some of the smaller ones, I barely bumped the 1/32x1/32 bunch and managed to bend/break a few already.

 

With the suggested tools lists from this site, the next step was to see what tools and materials are available around town before gathering the tools from Dad, not the best time to do that since it was 3 Saturday's from Christmas.  The wife was out of town and I wasn't in a hurry so no a problem, might as well practice the patience needed for the actual construction.  Lowe's did't have much no balsa or hobby woods, Michael's did't have much either probably b/c it was half full of Christmas stuff, but full of shoppers. After that Hobby Town USA, which was a disappointment not much wood modeling stuff but I did get some x-acto blades and CA glues.  Next, a Wal-Mart with a crafts area, again not much available.  

 

Hobby Lobby was the final stop and they had a very nice selection of woods including finally the balsa I need for the bulkhead blocks, self healing cutting mat and other stuff I needed.  They had one of the rulers with handle suggested by Dirk.  Here was also the only place I found some PVA wood glue (other than Elmers with the huge spouts) called SIG-BOND, more on it later. I will be going back to Hobby Lobby often I suspect.. but other than one more stop for chisels, I'll wait until AFTER Christmas.

 

Probably the WORST afternoon to go to Hobby Lobby, 10 lines 10+ people deep.  Oh well but then ended up right next to a guy from another town who worked for the company I was swapping GIS maps with for some needed survey work after the New Year.  I hadn't met him before and managed to get a little work done, talk about coincidence.   

 

On to Dad's and his garage of modeling tools.  He had gathered up some stuff already and we proceeded to go thru 50 years of modeling tools.  Files, knives, hundreds of used blades, clamps vices, etc. many things on the list including 3 airbrushes, a scroll saw and combination disk and belt sander.  I was even given the cabinet and an unused wooden machinists style toolbox.  After dinner provided by the Fleet Admiral I headed home an unloaded my goodies.  

 

Something that is important to me is to have an organized workspace and plenty of room to move things around.  Building something is hard enough without too little room to work and having to look for tools scattered around.  I still have some organizing to do of all the stuff Dad gave me but I decided it was time to start building, not just planning and organizing to build so I cleaned up and filled the tool cabinet with some of the stuff I knew I would need right away.

 

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Edited by Robert-J-M
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Opened the book and got started cutting out the bulkhead former and a bulkhead on my shiny new cutting mat.  Started with sandpaper on the bulkhead slots but ended up with big regular files.  I decided to provide just enough play in the bulkhead to ensure I could get them square without forcing or having them spring back..  Put the rabbet in the water for 10 minutes clamped it on the BF and went for a good sailboat race on the lake while it dried.  

 

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When I got back I readied the SIG-BOND glue put it on the rabbet strip and started positioning in the middle of the BF only to realize the glue was already setting.  I managed to get it positioned and clamped but it seems there are some gaps in the glue.   I'll leave it overnight as it says in the instructions but now I'm at my first question...

 

Is the glue supposed to set this fast? As this is my first wood model I feel like I'm going to be moving parts around to ensure they are positioned right and this glue may set a little faster than I want here at first.  This was the only PVA glue I could find in town, Model-Expo only has Tite-Bond, so if there is something else that I should use I need to know where to get it?  

 

Also, do need to worry about the voids in the glue?

 

Thanks, Robert 

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I use Tite-bond myself (you should be able to get it at Lowe's or Home Depot), but preferences for CVA are all over the place, just depends on who you ask.

 

With Tite-bond, if you get a very thin layer on both pieces, and let it tack up, it sets almost like fast CA when you apply good pressure.  If you use a thicker layer of glue and don't let it tack up first, it will be workable for a long time, and you'll need to clamp it in place.  You can then wipe off the excess that squeezes out, or wait until it's partially set so that it's got a 'plastic' consistency, and trim off the excess with a razor knife.  It's one of the things I really like about the glue, I have a fair amount of control over how fast it will set depending on what I'm doing.

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First off, I'm very glad you started a build log ..... particularly on Syren.  Workshop looks good.  Glad to see a roll of wax paper!

 

Adhesives ----- I use Tite-bond for most wood glue applications.  Almost never apply it directly from the bottle but rather put some on some wax paper and transfer it with a small brush or toothpick.  Yes, it can harden fairly quickly.  But I also use CA which comes in different viscosities and setting times ..... all fast.  But sometimes, that's what's needed.  Remember, you can sand PVA ( Titebond and other 'wood' glues) but CA does not like to be sanded.  It's so tough you'll sand away your wood before you sand the glue.  So always be cautious if you use it.  What glue to use where is part of the art.  You'll come up with your own preferences.  

 

If you ever need to unglue anything (how could that possibly happen  :) ), good old rubbing alcohol from WalMart will work on PVA.  It will at least soften it enough to separate the parts.  For CA glued parts, acetone will work.  If you want something that sets controllably slow, lay in some 15 or 30 minute 2 part epoxy.  You won't use it much.  It can be removed with rubbing alcohol but only before it sets.  Enough about glue.

 

The gaps on the rabbet.  Without seeing them it's hard to say.  But keep in mind you need a strong joint here as the keel will attach there and the rabbet holds the keel to the bulkhead former.  If you do add any glue to fill the gaps, work neatly as you need that groove formed by the rabbet clean to lay in your lower garboard plank.  

 

Lastly, make sure your bulkhead former assembly is dead flat before you start adding bulkheads.  You don't want to build a banana.

 

And .......  welcome aboard !

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Lastly, make sure your bulkhead former assembly is dead flat before you start adding bulkheads.  You don't want to build a banana.

 

Not surprisingly my BF is bowed.  I looked on a few logs and the instructions say to just build the jig and glue the bulkheads in with the BF in the jig.  Would it be better to try and straighten it?  The way I would do that is soak the BF for 10 minutes (or more?), fold wax paper over it and then put it on a dead flat surface with some heavy books on top.

 

Thanks for the glue advice as well. 

 

The only very minor annoyance with the kit was the instructions were bound, with a comb binder that was too small so the book would not lay flat and the first page was torn out.  Fixed that at work this morning with a 5/8 comb binder and plastic covers.

 

More shopping today... Clamps and non critical tools from Harbor Freight, chisels and a few other tools not in Dad's stuff  from Hobby Lobby and Lowe's including hopefully a small x-acto where the barrel isn't unscrewing constantly, Dad's larger one is fine.

 

Tonite, start shaping the rabbet

Edited by Robert-J-M
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This warped BF keeps coming up.  Check out this latest thread:

 

http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/8964-straightening-ply-keels/?hl=%2Bflat+%2Bkeel

 

It's a matter of degree.  With Syren, you are going to be putting in tight fillers between the bulkheads.  If done correctly (and it's not hard) this will straighten minor bows in the BF.  But it's important to make the decision now.  The described technique of wetting one side and clamping allows for the piece to dry evenly.  If you wet the whole piece and dry it between glass or wax paper it has a tough time releasing the moisture.  

 

Keep in mind you will be making or rigging up some sort of a clamp that will firmly hold the keel straight as you move along in construction.  This, along with the fillers between the bulkheads, will usually keep things straight.  

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post-16779-0-31077900-1418269016_thumb.jpg

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Not sure if I have the bearding right but I put allot of effort into it.  The BF is so fragile on the laser scored side that it chips away at the narrowest sections, including at the stem attachment.  It also gets chippy when you get thru the softer exterior wood into the core.

 

Learned a lesson about dry fitting, completely to the planned clamping, since when I first clamped the stem piece on it bowed away from the rabbet at the keel.  I'll be more careful in the future.  Purchasing Titebond III helped as well with it's longer working time (10 Min).

 

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I had some bowing of the BF as I said before but b/c I wanted to get started building, I when ahead with the rabbet, bearding and stem attachment while gathering the parts for the jig and making it, although now I am worried that I'm going to have to start over.  As you can see I certainly have a  potential banana boat.  I wet the concave side this morning and when I unclamped it it actually seemed worse and is now about 3/16" of bow.  I am going to try the wet concave side/clamp process again but am I really going to have to resort to getting another BF as well as the rabbet and stem?

 

 

Edited by Robert-J-M
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Thats a fair degree of bow! The degree of bowing that I was dealing with with the "dampen one side" approach wasnt as much as that.

Quite frankly I think that if the kit arrived like that , I would simply ask for a replacement piece.

Do let us know if it gets any better the second time of trying.

But if you are using filler blocks then you can correct it.

Overall though it just seems wrong that effort should have to be put into correcting parts that one has paid good money for.

Edited by SpyGlass
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As we've mentioned, the fillers should handle it.  But why not order a replacement anyway?  That will give you time to think about it.  Don't upset yourself about 'do-overs'.  We all have them.  That's how we generate the often mentioned 'scrap box'.  And if you decide to start over, you can always fill the time that you're waiting for the parts by jumping ahead to something completely unrelated to what your doing.   Work on the cannons or ship's boat!

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The water method did not work but with Chucks encouragement I was going to put the keel on and move ahead.  

 

Expecting that gluing the keel to a curved surface would not be practical I clamped the BF to a 24" level.  Even then I had to clamp very close to the rabbet to get all the bow out indicating that the BF will be bowed at the bulkhead level even with the keel in a jig.  Once I got it clamped and verified the bow was all out of the BF itself, I put the straight edge along the rabbet and, not surprisingly, I did not center the rabbet strip on the curved BF and it's 1 mm bowed.  I was thinking this was the case when I was looked at the rabbet while bearding.  At this point it seems the best thing to do is get another BF, stem and rabbet and start all over sinceI can't see how I can the bulkheads square if the is BF bowed.  This is a part of the process but it's still a little discouraging to renew a hobby after all these years and have to start over on the very first steps.

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I just really didn't want to start over so figuring it couldn't get any worse I wet the BF and back-bowed it over pieces of BF cutout scrap.  I was able to get most of the bow out but not surprisingly it had some flat spots at the ends but I just persevered several more times with various clamp and scrap locations and then put it under a vase for a few days. I got it to the point it was almost straight along the top of the BF with the keel in the jig.  Some of the individual tops between the bulkheads are a little cattywampus but they should straighten out, so at this point I think that I can get it finally straight with the bulkheads and filler blocks.  The BF did swell a bit with all the water I put on it so all the bulkhead slots had to be filed open a little more.  I did most of my bulkhead filing and sanding in a small clamp-on vice with the bulkhead held in the jaws between two pieces of BF cutout board, much stiffer for sanding off the burn marks with a bastard file, especially at the bulwarks and ironically while watching Jaws on the TV 

 

duunnn dunnn... duuuunnnn duun... duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn

 

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Now on to the beveling some of which I may do in the vice as well but some of the marks are non-existent on one side (i.e. the port side) or faint so I am going to stick on cutouts of the paper bulkhead plans provided with the kit... After running a complete second set on our 36" copier at work just in case something happens, spilled wine perhaps?

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

If I could please get some help on the longboat. :(  I still haven't glued piece #5 on because it's smaller than piece #4... Is #5 (the last/top piece) supposed to be smaller?  See picture above.

 

While not working on the longboat, I've made and glued most of the bulkhead spacers.  I have a few blocks of balsa left over since on several bulkheads I got too aggressive with the disk sander and they ended up too loose.  I'll finish the bow and stern fillers soon and then some fairing.  I am also making up the lower deck.  

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Robert, I have not built the longboat myself yet, so I cannot  help you with any advice based on my own experience. But I would go back to the bulkhead profiles of the longboat in Chuck's Syren plans and compare their shape with what you are getting in your actual model. That will tell you quickly whether the top piece should be smaller or not.

 

Thomas

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It's been a long time since I built the longboat, Robert.  And that part of my build log was lost back on the old MSW.  From looking at the plans, lift #4 is wider in the stern than lift #5.  As I recall, this aids in the sanding process and leaves you room to get a nice flare back there.

 

Just to put your mind at ease, why not shoot off a PM to Chuck.  I'm sure he'll clear it up for you.

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So I finished putting in bulkhead blocks and the lower deck.  I liked using a sharpie for blackening the edges of the strips, it bled in a little and ended up uneven like the pitch between the planking would.  

post-16779-0-69235100-1421640560_thumb.jpg

 

I have have been playing with the longboat.  I'm around and looking at boats all the time, so it's kinda fun shaping one but I'm afraid I'll over-do it so I think I'll let it sit for a day or two and shape the bulwarks in preparation for moving on to Chapter 3.

 

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Edited by Robert-J-M
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I completed the gunport sills and am about to start the lintels.  Since the Modelcraft sanding blocks are not readily available in the USA, I cut my Wagner #436 wooden sanding block into 2 pieces, 1/3 length and 2/3 length.  I then went to Lowe's and bought the pieces to make a new clamping assembly for the 1/3 piece.  The block has a radius edge and a sharp/angled edge. Swapping these two blocks works fairly well sanding the inboard side of the bulwark.  I then bought another block from Walmart to have when doing the remainder of the outboard side of the bulwark. The radius side of the block also worked very well to sand the counter and stern for the longboat.  I also sanded down the retaining groove closest to the tip on the Excel Sanding Stick so it was just deep enough to hold the paper but the grit stands up so I could sand further along the stick.  I am also using Squadron sanding sticks which have a foam core so they contour with the run of the bulwarks.

 

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After all the difficulty getting the sills in place and horizontal I think I want to use blocks on the sills to set the spacing for the gunport and the lintel.  In fact,  I think I want to span the width of the model with one spacer between the bulkheads to ensure each lintel is horizontal.  I measured the plans with calipers and it looks like the gunport is .475 or less than 1/32" under 1/2".  Is there any reason I can't use 1/2" square dowel, once I make sure both ends are the same thickness, to set the gunport height?  I could sand it down to .475" but it would be very easy to over do it but to lightly sand to make sure then ends are the same thickness would be easier.  Looking at the run of the gunwale and planking it looks like about .025" oversize on the gunport won't make any difference.  Below is the idea using a spare piece for the lintel. 

 

UPDATE:  I checked the 1/2" Sq. Dowel to see if I needed to finish it and lo & behold it's actually .477"-.478" which I think will work just fine.

 

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Thanks, Robert

Edited by Robert-J-M
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Thanks a bunch Augie, great to hear from a veteran! I've browsed yours all the way thru, but this is one of those details lost in the crash.  I experimented/started on the aft most bulkheads since it is planked over.  I think I will lightly sand the sills with the spacer to make sure they are horizontal.  Since they are in the same plane across the beam, with the bulwarks this far apart I should get a nice level sill,  Positioning the sills on all 3 axis before the glue set was a... well you know what I mean.

Edited by Robert-J-M
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I have screwed up  :(.  Despite looking at several logs and carefully reading the instructions, I had complete brain failure and got in my head the 1/4" side of the sill and lintel pieces was the shorter side and have put all of the sills and lintels in wrong, 1/4" side vertical. The top of the sill is placed correctly to the top of the wales

 

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I was puzzled why the lintels were so high above the bulkheads/bulwarks and now I know why.  Seems to me the only consequence is that I will need to sand the top of the lintels more to get the correct run for the gunwale. Also since the bulwark will be less than 3/16" thick, the fact that I had the 3/16" side horizontal should not matter, I'll just have 1/16" less material to remove to get the bulwark thickness correct.  I also don't see how the fact that the sill is 1/16" long "down" the side of the bulkheads will make any difference, as long as I shape it properly for the planking.

 

Am I missing anything else that might create a problem?

 

Assuming I have not created other issues, I wonder when I should shape the top of the gunwale, before or after I put the remaining framing into the gun-ports?

 

 

 

Thanks

Edited by Robert-J-M
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Getting proper symmetry on a hull is hard and best done as early as possible.  One year as Manitowoc I saw a model of the Mayflower that looked good but odd.  After staring at i noticed that the stern was off by at least 1/8 of an inch.  This through everything off.  If you can catch everything now you will not regret it. I glad that you are double checking yourself and redoing your errors.  I think you will have a great model with that kind of attitude keep up the good work.

David B

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Thanks, guys.... Following Augie's sage advice I sent a PM to Chuck and got the following reply:

 

"No big deal at all. You should be able to sand the top down to get the correct sheer after the planking is done.   I just hope you have enough meat on the framing to get a nice curve when you thin down the bulwarks.  I think so.  If not you can just build it up in those areas.  But you probably won't have to.

Chuck."

 

​There you have it, what a relief. But I am such a knucklehead, I thought it odd when I was sanding the sills it left a lip below deck level, but, did it cause me to re-look at the orientation of the sills and lintels.... noooooo, DOH!  I went ahead and sanded down most of the lintels last night and everything is looking good, should be enough "meat" left as Chuck says; I had to stop though b/c several lintels came loose and I had to re-glue them, not surprising actually since the are sticking up above the bulkhead tops so much.  

 

No worries though since Mutiny on the Bounty was on, the 1935 version with Clark Gable, and it was keeping me in the spirit of things (along with the wine).

 

 

Robert

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Ahoy Robert,  I just came across your build and welcome to the Syren club.  It appears you're off to a great start.  I'm a bit ahead of you so if you have any questions feel free to ask, although you're probably better off asking the masters like Augie and Thomas.  I like how you're setting the gun port lintels, wish I thought of that.

 

Best of luck.

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Hey guys...lighten up.  Augie is not a 'master'.  Syren was essentially my first ship.  I just keep good notes  :)

 

It's always good to get Chuck's blessing when you get blown off course a bit.  And now we can all breath a sigh of relief.  Also heed his advice that the final sanding of those lintels comes after the planks are laid so you have some strength there.

 

I'm really glad the 'new' Syren crew is enjoying the build.  Back in the Dark Ages (MSW 1.0), we had a Syren thread and when you opened it you saw about 12 ongoing projects.....one better than the next.  Hope you've checked some of that out.  Of course we now have Dirk who keeps setting the bar higher for everyone!

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