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Dorade Fastnet Yacht 1931 by ortho85 - FINISHED - Amati - scale 1:20

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I was "asked" to build something pretty to put on display in our lounge room.  The usual models (i.e. warships, Nelson's Navy, and that era) were deemed unsuitable.


After eliminating most of the wooden kit types available, we settled on "modern" yachts.  The next criterion was size - had to be around 800-1000mm length.  And it had to be pretty!


Didn't leave many available to choose from.


Final choice was 'Olin Stephen's yacht Dorade', measuring 856mm long, and 1028mm high.  This is the link to Wiki - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorade_%28yacht%29


Again, options were limited for buying the model, but I had good response from Cornwall Model Boats, so ordered from them.  Delivery was very fast - ordered on 6th Jan, received on the 13th - and that's from the UK to Australia!


Box contents looked like this:






There are instructions, diagrams, and full size plans.  The instructions are translated into English, but some notations on the plans are not:















It's a simplified model, with a pre-formed ABS hull, so the packing list is quite short.  The parts all look smart:












And on to assembly, and the usual complications.  More soon.





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Thank you so much for starting this fabulous kit. Honestly, it is my favorite boat and I have delayed for a long time purchasing the kit because of the hefty price and the fact that I really do not have any time to dedicate to building. I am so glad you will describe your progress on this Blog. I will follow your progress with avid interest for many reasons:


1) There are no Build log of this kit on the Internet. You would be the first one to describe in details the various steps of assembly.

2) There are almost no pictures of the model completed. After many searches, I was able to only find a handful of them.

3) It is always refreshing to see a model which is not a warship. There have been a few J-Class yachts described here and I believe only one was done to completion. The Dorade will be a fantastic addition to this collection of Build Logs.


I can't wait to see more....




PS: Your wife (or whoever advised you) is right..... ;) excellent choice.

Edited by yvesvidal
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Thank, Yves.


So begins the construction.  Apologies for photo quality - this is a difficult model to photograph!






The first step is to test assemble the framework - without gluing them.  The problem with this is the uneven frames - so I managed to check it upside down:






The material these are made from is 4mm plywood.  A lot different to the usual bass or walnut!  These are some edges after cleaning off the laser burns:






Next step is to mark the position of the cockpit in the frame:






Then plank the cockpit floor using 3mm planks, stained 'teak' and 'mahogany':






This is now glued in to that part of the framework.  And here we hit our first problem - the laser cutting is inaccurate!  The little tongue to the left of the photo above is supposed to fit into a slot in the final frame, according to the plan.  Two things - it doesn't fit (without heavy bending!) and the frame doesn't have the point shown in the plan!


So, after much agonising, I cut that tongue back:






And glued it just below (above?) the slot:






BTW, another whinge, none of the pre-cut parts are numbered on a parts plan - you just have to figure it out.



At this point I needed to see the whole thing the right way up, so I marked and cut the box it came in to receive the irregular frames:









This disclosed the next inaccuracy - about 1mm excess height of a fore/aft support:









Sanding plywood takes forever!


Enough for today,



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Hi Brett


You've chosen a beautiful boat to model. Dorade is also one of my most favourite of all yachts; so much so, that I have built my own scratch built model. Please feel free to visit my build log (see my link below). Hopefully, my model could be of assistance.


All the best and I'm sure you'll have an absolute ball bringing your kit to life!!



Edited by Omega1234
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Hi Patrick,


I had seen your log - I think it's the only Dorade in MSW.  Just a leeetle bit smaller than mine!


However, I am so glad you replied, as I would like to elect you my resident expert, and ask your opinion. 


I will soon start the deck planking.  There are no photos to help, but the plans show the planks as one long continuous piece of timber.


They provide 600mm soft wood planks.  The longest part of the deck is over 800mm.  Here is a view of part of the plan showing uninterrupted planks:





This shows the actual plank in relation to the 1:1 plan:






So, from your research, do you think there is a right way to plank the deck?


I can do the traditional, using sections to represent shorter planks.  However, I'm thinking of following a simpler, cleaner line, using just 2 planks from fore to aft - one long, one short, alternating.


On the plan above, I drew lines to roughly show the joins if you look closely.  Here is an attempt to sketch that:






What do you think?  BTW anyone can play!






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Hi Brett


Thanks, but being your elected "expert" is bit scary! I'll try my best, however.


The owner of Dorade has his own website, http://dorade.org/photos/which has excellent detailed photos of Dorade. There are even some photos of the deck being repaired as well as many others which show the run of the planks. I've included a couple here for you. You may find referring to this site invaluable; I know because I did.


Hope this helps. I'm sure that other guys will chip in with advice, as well, but most certainly, single lengths of planks is incorrect. Your idea of shorter planks is the proper way.







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I have a small collection of pictures gathered from the Web and other places. It is always difficult to figure out how long are the planks, but I have a hard time believing that they will be 50 foot long, all in one piece. Here is what I could find:



The first picture is taken from an expensive semi-hull display made by a professional modeler. The model is at the scale of 1/20 and is probably based on the Amati kit, largely improved. You can see that the artist has used multiple planks on the deck.


The second picture is from the real boat, taken recently during one of these carribean regattas, where Dorade excels:


 You can see some of the plank ends, although the work has been extremely well done and it is hard to see the delineation.


The last picture has nothing to do with planking, but symbolizes so well the exhilaration and excitement of sailing such wonderful boat. That young lady seems to be completely into it and is having a blast.




Brett, I hope you do no mind these pictures and the "high-jacking" of your Build Log. If it is too much, let me know and I will remove them.



Edited by yvesvidal
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Thanks, Yves.  All input greatly appreciated.


The link that Patrick gave to the real boat's website showed very few joins in the planks.  It, and your photo, make me think I will stick to as few joins as possible.  And their joins are near perfect, so I will try to mirror that.


I'm due to place the first planks today.





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And so begins planking the deck.  The first bits are pre-cut centre trims.  The usual problem here - where is the true centre of any model?


So I did my best, and, as usual, it was not perfect.  The trim goes on as seen here - parts #1 first, fit around cut-outs on the deck to position them.  Then #2 and #3 complete the collection:






As I came to fit the planks, I realised that I was not dead centre:






Not critical, because the edges will be covered later, but I unglued and reglued part of the first plank.


These planks all have to be bent, but this 3mm timber is easily moulded.  Here we are with 2 planks on one side, and 1.5 on the other:






You can see a bit of the cockpit, with its "mahogany" and "teak" stained planks and sides.


Here I need advice.  I did not sand the edges of the centre trim.  When I wiped off excess PVA glue with a wet brush, the timber has stained:






Any suggestions how to remove the discolouration?  I will be staining this with a "teak" oil based stain, but I think the dirty colour will come through.





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Brett, you may want to use more luke warm water with a soft sponge and paper to pump/suck the moisture out.


Another option is to give to the kingplank, a darker coloration, which it has on the real boat (see the picture of the half-hull further up).


It is looking really good so far. I like it very much.



Edited by yvesvidal
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, as Yves suggested, I looked at the real photos, and realised the 'kingplank' (I didn't know that term) was indeed darker timber.


So I stained it with walnut stain/varnish.  Unfortunately my pencil marks kept showing through, so I may have to sand back and re-stain later.


One interesting problem, the size of the boat makes it awkward to clamp.  In the beginning I could use loads of different clamp sizes and types:






Later, I was limited to using my bigger clamps.  Here you can also see

  • The stained kingplank
  • The planking pattern I used for the outer 12 lines of planks (1 long and 1 short)
  • After 12 lines I was able to use a single plank, without joins
  • And you get a bit of an idea of the mess I am comfortable working in





These closer views show how weird the planking gets nearer the midline aft.  Also you can see how I've lathered on the walnut stain and layers of sealant!









Here you can see details of the final tiny planks needed in this area:






Now we're getting towards the finish:






By now, I only had 3 clamps that were big enough, so I had to supplement these with magnets:






At last, I was there:






Now we move on to sanding.  But first, a bit of a question.  What colour are the deck planks on the real boat?


In some photos they look natural.  See the semi-hull model above, and this:






And in others they look quite dark, as in the action photo above, and this:






I like the lighter colour, so will probably go with that.





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Hi Brett


Good question about the deck plank colour. My assumption (and knowing me, it'll probably be wrong), has always been that the darker coloured planks are only dark because the decks were wet with spray, wash, or rain. The reason I say this is because I've seen many photos where the decks appear as different shades due to some of the decks being awash, whilst other planks amidships were lighter because they were dry.


Any how, I could be wrong as I said.





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Beautiful deck Brett. Thank you for sharing.


In the sunny and dry picture the planking shows its true colors (so to speak). The action picture shows a very wet deck and thus a much darker wood. I regularly sail and have noticed that many times on teak deck.



Edited by yvesvidal
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Minor update.  I masked the kingplank, sanded the deck, then sealed it with Feast Watson Sanding Sealer.  I gave it 2 coats of sealer, and sanded between coats, finding areas still needing TLC.


Here it is after the two sealer coats:






Removed the masking tape, sanded again, and this is after a coat of Wipe-on-Poly Gloss:






Rinse, and repeat!  After  two coats of Wipe-on-Poly Gloss:






And now the deck gets put aside while I make the rudder.  Much sawdust is flying from the plywood!





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  • 3 weeks later...

So, I made the rudder, but deviated from the plans there.  They would have you installing a 'sternpost' inside the hull, and making holes through the hull to glue the rudder to this:








Almost impossible to get the holes right, so I skipped this, and (later) glued the rudder directly to the hull.


So now came the part I was dreading - gluing the deck/framework into the hull.  After several trial fits, and marking the deck line with the construction in place, it was panic time!


The instructions say to use "epossidic glue".  I interpreted this as 'epoxy', and found that all I had was 5-minute set.  Too fast for the many bits that needed glue.  Off to the hardware store for slower setting - 12 hours!


I should have enlisted help, but, like an idiot, I sailed on and spread glue everywhere, then mucked around trying to get it all together as planned.  Lots of rubber bands to hold the hull against the frame:






Do you like the classy stand I made from a shoe box?






I then painted the hull, using spray on primer, and gloss white:









The tiller you can see sticking up above the deckline broke off shortly after this, and will be reglued much later!



I then had to wait FIVE days for the paint to fully set!  Next came the hawseholes and scuppers.  These have a brass template for shape and size, but are made freehand, on a line that follows the deckline:






Problems were starting to surface:

  • The glue had oozed over both sides of the hull
  • Some sections had not bonded properly
  • The paint was not as glossy as I expected, and was being messed up by my handling
  • Areas that I assumed would be covered by some sort of trim, were not, and were standing out like the proverbial.  Here at the stern was the worst:





Some areas I re-glued, and that improved the fit (a bit).  The stern, as you will see, I decided to make my own trim - not perfect.


Trial fitting the bulwarks shows how Amati can really screw up.


They come in a bow section, stern section, and three longer sections.  Here they are blue-tacked in place:






Close up of the fit:







A gap of about 6mm !!!!  How hard would it be to make the sections a little bigger, so I could sand them down?


Now I have to sand them UP?  Or, as my father used to say, use the 'cutting on saw'?


But that's a problem for a little later.


I sanded/scraped the paint back to a better surface, then re-primed, and re-painted.  This time I used "Appliance White", as recommended on this forum.  Again, I waited 5 days for the paint to fully set.


Then I glued on the bulwarks and added a couple of small pieces each side to make up for Amati's stupidity.


Next, another scary bit - marking the waterline, and applying automotive tape at this line.  I used a variant of this idea http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/1585-homemade-waterline-markers/#entry33810


The plans call for 8mm tape, but all I could get was 6mm.  Here are shots of my SECOND go at the waterline tape:









The first attempt had a bubble, and was a bit short for some reason.  It may have been my lack of following instructions.  They said the tape has to be applied to a surface at 18C or less.


So I redid it today - and it's currently 37C outside !!!  Cranked up the aircon, and stuck the model in the beer fridge for a bit.  Hope this time works better!


So here's a shot of the current state (on the weird stand they have you make up), and then I'm off to sand and seal the bulwarks.  Then I may repaint, reglue, and drink beer - or go for a swim:









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Hi Brett


Six days for the paint to dry??? Wow, that'd test my patience for sure.


Nonetheless, I'm glad to see that you're progressing so well. Inspite of the problems that crop up, there's no doubt that you're getting through the problems and having positive results along the way.


Good to see.


All the best!



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Obviously you went through Hell with that phase of the construction. Hey, that is the beauty of working with Kits, especially kits with plastic parts.

I like how you solved the various problems and yes, going with a slow curing epoxy glue was the right thing to do.

I wish you had shown the intricacy of the bulkheads before gluing them in the hull.

Dorade will be a beautiful model and I enjoy tremendously reading your adventure with Amati (is it a Love-Hate relationship?)



Edited by yvesvidal
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Hi Yves,


As requested, some images/plans of the bulkheads:






The next plan shows you should adjust the fit into the hull, but it seemed OK.  In retrospect I should have used some sort of indicator paste (lipstick?) to refine the fit.






This was the trial assembly:






I don't have a good end-on view, just the stern:






And a side view:






Hope that gives you more info.





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I enjoy tremendously reading your adventure with Amati (is it a Love-Hate relationship?)




Yves - the term is 'schadenfreude' !


No, it's purely a Hate-Hate relationship.  I will never make another Amati model


The (pathetic) "instructions" are littered with 'but first' situations.  There was an episode of Mash, where Hawkeye was defusing a bomb, using Amati-like instructions.  He came to a part which said "cut the red wire", and the next bit said "but first ......................".


Currently I am starting on the deck 'furniture'.  Referring to the photos you linked me to is helping enormously.  The plans are then somewhat clarified.


Back to staining/sanding/swearing.





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  • 2 weeks later...

And an update on the construction of deck ornaments.  I'm using smaller images for the finer items.


First came the main mast coaming, and the belaying pin rack.  Nothing too complex there.  Here they are glued to the deck:






You can also see the brass brackets at the gunwales.  Not sure what they are for, yet.


Next was a skylight.  This caused many headaches.  The wooden frame was awkward, but came good.  


To the frame are attached various brass fittings.  Here, again, Amati falls short!


They come on a pre-formed sheet, with no key.  This mirrors their parts list, which will say "Wood strips  mm3", without any clue to numbers or lengths.


Here is a section of the sheet, the green mat has 1cm divisions:






And the really useful (NOT) part of the plans, explaining this:







This is a hinge, before trimming the hinge-pin:






And some of the parts during construction of the hinges and gratings:






Fortunately I still have some things from my practising days, such as these Jarabak pliers:






After many hours, the skylight was ready.  Here it is, just resting on the deck:









It's interesting how different the colours look in different lighting (with/without flash, respectively):








If anyone has any tips on getting the best colour, please tell me.  Otherwise I might have to do my own research!





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I try to avoid using flash when possible.  You can adjust for the light you are shooting but it could change the color a little.  I try to make sure I have alot of light.  Your skylight is great.  You are really doing a swell job with that photoetch.  

David B

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