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UpstateNY

Red Dragon by UpstateNY - FINISHED - Artesania Latina - Scale 1:60

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Hello All,

 
This is my first build log as I am returning to this hobby after many years as I was lucky enough to be given the Red Dragon as a Christmas gift. I am looking forward to building this model and will certainly appreciate any and all comments along the way!  Thanks again for all the kind welcome notes after my first post last week. 
 
Opening the box was actually a pleasant surprise as I found a neat, shrink wrapped package containing all the items, including a plastic box with all the fittings. Very different to the box mayhem that I remember from over 20 years ago when all the components were mostly left to freely roam around the box.
 
The instructions were disappointing, being nothing more than a basic listing of the build order complementing a nicely printed, but detail-limited plan sheet. On the plus side, there was a nice set of photos of the model at different build stages. Even though the box was unopened, I still did the inventory that many of you mention doing in your logs and happily I found nothing missing.  The laser cut parts seemed accurately done when I checked what I could against the plans, but keel and frames seemed rather thin. Fitting quality overall was OK. On to the build!
 
After making a build stand, the first step was to check the false keel against a straight edge and surprise (!) there was some warping. Fortunately, soaking the keel and gently clamping it for a couple of days seemed to correct the problem. The frames were pretty straight and quite symmetrical, perhaps a nice benefit of the laser cutting. As the keel was so thin, I glued bracing strips along each side to reinforce it and also increase the frame gluing areas. After cutting the frame slots in these strips, I spent a few hours sanding out the slots until the frames fit snugly. A dry fit showed things to be lining up well as far as I could see in both vertical and horizontal directions, so the next step is to glue them together.
 
Attached a few photos. Thanks for reading.
 
Nigel.

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Edited by UpstateNY

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Hi All,

 
Quick update.  Keel, frames  and deck supports are now glued and things seem pretty straight. Photos below.
 
Now reading up on hull and deck planking  from the articles posted in the Ship Model Framing and Planking section. Great list of articles...just wish I’d seen these 20 years ago!   :)
 
So after some reading, next step will be to gently sand the frames to shape before starting the planking fun.
 
Thanks,
 
Nigel.
 
 

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Nice start Guru. Like the build stand, and look forward to seeing the deck/hull take shape. Looks tough. Please share your plank bending techniques!

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Hi Simon,

 

Thanks for stopping by, but sorry there is no guru building this Red Dragon!!! Kit is a nice starter kit, I think.

 

For tips, check out the framing and planking articles posted on this site as well as the logs of the expert builders here. These articles, and the pictures in the logs, really helped me finally understand why my models from many years ago didn't work out. Main reason was I always brought the first plank next to the false keel (garboard strake?) too far up the bow. This meant I ended up with many very thin planks at the bow especially. Perhaps I can now avoid at least some of my planking sins of the past!

 

Thanks,

 

Nigel.

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Haha, pressure is on Guru.

 

Just kidding. I know from another log that this kit gets right into the planking. Look forward to it (and I'll stop bogging down your log now),

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No worries Simon..stop by any time!  :) 

 
There has been a little progress on the build. Keel and frames are now sanded down and test planks seem to follow the hull smoothly. I’ve dry fitted the deck to check the fit to the top of the frames and took the chance to also dry fit the masts. I wanted to make sure I can hit the mask angles required from the plans, the foremast is angled forward quite noticeably on this model. Dowels are a bit warped and will need straightening.
 
I am now starting to work on the planking and did some tests to try and make the garboard plank by soaking a plank and then clamping it past the needed angle.  When the pressure was released after a few hours, the plank relaxed back to give a decent 90 degree bend that actually followed the hull line reasonably well. There seems to be very little room to rabbet this plank into the false keel as some articles recommend, so I will probably just gently sand this plank to chamfer it so it butts up tightly against the keel. 
 
Thumbnails below. 
 
Thanks for reading.
 
Nigel.

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Just caught up with your log, Nigel.  Haven't followed one of these before so I'm looking forward to it.  Glad that you've started a build log and are taking advantage of some of the articles here on MSW.

 

Have a great voyage!

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Hi Augie and Carmelo,

 

Thanks for stopping by. Would appreciate any tips or thoughts you have...just don't expect fast progress as I need to learn the skills I need to perhaps do a more advanced model in the future. Finding it really relaxing after work to spend even just an hour on the model.

 

Augie,

 

The how-to articles posted on this site are extremely helpful and my thanks to the authors and moderators for posting. I'm rather enjoying reading through them, even though my current build won't need all of the info.

 

Carmelo,

 

The build clamp I made myself using off the wood at Lowes (a large do-it-yourself chain for those outside the US).  It will need some mods this weekend as I made the clamps too wide to allow the model to be held inverted with the deck supports now in place  Live and learn!

 

Thanks,

 

Nigel.

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So, I started the first planking this week. Garboards are on as well as the first 5 rows starting from the deck level on each side. Progress is a bit slow as each plank has to be sanded and chamfered individually as the planking how-to's warned! It is taking me about an hour to fit each plank right now so it's a good thing I am not in a hurry! I did need a drop strake on the bow to move from five to four rows and I expect I will need at least one more drop strake before the bow is done.

 
To get the drop strake to fit smoothly, I had to put in a joint between 3rd and 4th frames on both sides as otherwise the planks tended to split. The hull shape seems to be running smoothly, but I am wondering if I made a fairing error or possibly should have put the drop strake on row 3 rather than 4. Inputs would be welcome so I understand this properly. Fortunately, by shaping the planks, I’ve been able to avoid using any steelers at the stern so far. 
 
Hull will need a fair amount of sanding to fully smooth things out, but I'm pretty happy with the results so far.
 
Thumbnails below.
 
Thanks for reading.
 
Nigel.

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Looks to me like you are doing a bang-up good job on the planking Nigel.  I don't have any real feedback I can offer as I've only just today finished the planking on my 2nd ship, so I'm quite new at this, but from everything I've read, you just use stealers and drop planks as needed to make things work, and don't worry too much about whether that matches up with the plans or someone elses build, as long as the results are good.

 

In your case, the results are looking quite good!  Planking does seem to be one of those things that takes a good amount of time to get right, but it's also one of the most visible things on the finished model, so the time spent here is worth it.  I don't track my time in a log, but I'm sure the amount of time I spent on my planking would be scary if I did!

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Thanks for dropping by Brian. If my planking turns out as well as yours in the end, I'll be very happy!

 

The planking certainly does take a lot of time. I am hoping the time spent on the first layer will then let the second layer go smoothly. Can't be much sanding given how thin the walnut is for the second layer!  :)

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel.

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I'm with Brian 100% on this.  Drop planks and stealers are part of the game so use what you need.  Things are looking very nice for you.   And yup, use 95% of your sanding energy on the first planking and the second will fall nicely in place.

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Thanks Augie and Brian. Appreciate the inputs.

 

Got a couple more planks on the Dragon tonight and yep..another drop plank was needed. It went on more easily than the first one fortunately. Right now I'm going with what the hull is telling me it needs like you both suggest.

 

I  also did some checks and seems I need to watch the plank widths from now on to avoid needing a very thin final plank to close the hull up. 

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel.

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Nigel,

 

For the final plank, to prevent that last one to being too narrow, when you get down to 2 planks remaining, just split the difference, even if it makes that next to last plank narrower than was planned.

 

If you go with a system where you use a planking fan to transfer the plank widths in bands with a tick strip, you shouldn't run into that situation, as you'll be trimming each strake to match the marked widths.

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Looking great Nigel. My first planking is taking me forever: garboard next then 3 final planks on each side.

 

I will use your share of the wood filler because it doesn't look like you will need it!

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Hi Brian,

 

I did measure each frame to determine the number of planks needed when I worked out where the drop planks would be. I think the chamfering I did to fit each plank also narrowed them slightly leading to this potential problem.  At least I found this early enough to adjust and as you say, reducing the width of the final 2-3 planks should avoid the need for a very thin final plank. I will also look at using the planking fan method for the second layer.

 

Hi Simon,

 

Jury is still out on need for any filler over here, but fingers crossed it won't be needed! Looking forward to seeing your progress!

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel.

Edited by UpstateNY

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So planking continues on the Dragon.  It took me ages to work out how the planks needed to run and then work in the drop planks, but I finally managed to get the port side closed up. I broke a couple of planks along the way as I had to notch one plank from both above and below. As Brian suggested, I start to thin down the final planks to avoid a very thin final plank to close the hull. The final few shots show the hull after sanding. You can see a few places, especially on the bow, where some gaps opened up as I sanded so seems I need to chamfer the planks more carefully next time. Overall I am pretty happy with how the port side turned out as the hull lines seem to run smoothly from bow to stern so I am hoping I am in decent shape for the final planking. Thumbnails below.


Now, it’s back to the basement to close up the starboard side! Just hope I have enough wood left to complete the job after my breakages. Will be close!
 
Thanks for reading and of course for the replies and likes which are much appreciated. 
 
Cheers,
 
Nigel.

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Edited by UpstateNY

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Looking GOOD!  Sandpaper and elbow grease are your best friends.  Great foundation for the second layer.

 

Good luck with the coming storm.

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Thank you Augie and Theo for the kind comments. We actually dodged most of the storm up here, only got about 6 inches. Hope everyone further east in New England is doing OK.
 

So, a small milestone as the first planking is now complete and the hull sanded. Elbow grease was applied per Augie’s recommendation so things are a bit dusty in the basement right now!  There is still some work to even up the bow and stern so the second planking will flow cleanly into the walnut false keel.

 
Next step is to decide the hull and deck planking pattern. I will be using 4in long planks so perhaps a 3 or 4 shift pattern? Model is pretty small so a 5 shift pattern may not show enough repeats to make sense. I am also thinking about getting a draw plate as some treenails would be fun to do.
 
As usual, thanks for reading. 
 
Nigel.
 

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Looks like a good smooth foundation for the second layer.  Treenails eh?  You're a brave man.  Go for it!

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I spent some time planning the decking and 2nd hull planking layout. General theme in many logs is that looking ahead a few steps can help avoid problems down the road so taking that on board.

 
I like the idea of using a 4 shift pattern on the deck and hull using 4in planks. I realized the Dragon doesn’t come with frames that extend above the deck to help me set the decking pattern. I will need to add these false frames and measuring things off it seems spacing them at 1in intervals should work, while still avoiding the cutouts for the cannon’s and so on. 
 
The next question was how to transfer this frame spacing down onto the hull.  Took some trial and error, but best method I found was to transfer each frame position using the deck marks onto the top plank and the keel. I then traced the frame line along some string stretched tightly between the marks on the top plank and keel to follow the curve of the hull.  
 
I expect there is an easier way to do this (please let me know!), but the resulting lines don’t look too bad to me. They will at least let me cut each plank to the correct length. These planks will often be longer than 4in due to the hull curvature.

Thumbnails below and thanks for reading.
 
Cheers,
 
Nigel.

 

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Looks amazing Nigel! I fatigued myself with my first planking and overlooked a lot of crucial calculations. A good lesson, and nothing the second planking can't hide luckily. Look forward to more progress here.

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A short update as one side of the Dragon now has the second walnut planking layer completed and lightly sanded down. Taking my time as the walnut strips in the kit are so thin, I am worried I could sand through them if I leave any rough spots during the second planking.

 
Overall pretty happy with the results other than the planking shift pattern isn’t very visible in spite of cutting each plank from a different strip to avoid matching the grain patterns. I  am hoping a few thin coats of matt polyurethane with more sanding will give me a nice finish and hopefully show the planking pattern more clearly. 
 
Cheers,
 
Nigel.

 

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Thanks Augie.  Fingers crossed the the finish helps a bit.

 

One question I forgot to post is what wood works well with walnut for treenails?  I've read on a log somewhere that walnut can be hard to use with a draw plate so any other options would be appreciated.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel.

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Can't help you there, Nigel.  I use the 'drill and fill' method and tint the filler to what I want using acrylic paint.  

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Hi Augie,

 

Of course you helped!  I went back through your Confederacy log and looked at your treenailing work which looked great of course!

 

So adjusting plans here as I like the idea of being able to tweak the color so I can get it to stand out a little.

 

Drill and fill it is!

 

Thanks,

 

Nigel.

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Another small milestone as the second planking is now done. Hull was sanded down with 320 sandpaper and then finished with some wire wool before cleaning things up with a soft cloth which also put a bit of shine onto the hull. Planking pattern is now a bit more visible.

 

Next time I’ll use 400 sandpaper to do the finish sanding as I found the thin walnut veneer was very prone to light splintering at the edges. Not sure if this is a normal or just because the wood had been in the kit drying out for years. Anyway time for a small celebration with a large single malt as I am rather happy to have completed the planking!

 
Next steps are to attach the keel pieces and then treenail once my small drill bits arrive as my smallest 1/32in bit looks too big. Will then put a few light coats of wipe on poly on the hull to protect it during the decking work to come.
 
Anyway, so far so good and thumbnails are below. As always, thanks for reading.
 
Thanks,
 
Nigel.

 

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