[PROJECT] Model Shipways Bounty Launch

Discussion in 'Other Toys/Hobbies' started by Amfibius, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    This will be the third wooden ship build I am posting on OCAU. Ultimately my goal would be to build HMS Victory, but I am waiting for a new kit to come out. It has just completed the prototyping stage, and is probably about a year away from market. So I thought I would work away at some other boats to build up my skills in preparation for that!

    I have also built the HMS Bounty in 1/48, and the Viking Ship Drakkar in 1/50.

    The mutiny on the Bounty is a well known story of Fletcher Christian casting Capt. William Bligh (later Governor Bligh of NSW) adrift on a tiny boat. In a fantastic feat of seamanship, Bligh navigated the boat 6700km to Timor. You can read more of the story here. This model depicts the Launch that Bligh and 18 crewmen sailed in.

    Many years ago, when I built the HMS Bounty, I built a Launch as well. Here it is:

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    What I wish to do is build a larger model of this launch, with missing planking on the starboard side, showing off the frames, admiralty style. I also plan to ignore the paint scheme as suggested by the kit (which I find to be rather ugly) and finish the boat to my liking.

    Along the way I will be guided by some reading material:

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    Anyway, on to the model and some unboxing photos.

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    Photo of the box. The kit is made by Model Shipways, a company which is new to me. They have a reputation of making very well designed kits with excellent instructions.

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    Parts list, manual, and plans.

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    The model is built on a building jig. Make the jig, place the planks on top, then remove the jig. Sounds rather fiddly - this is going to be a challenge! Note that the building jig has a planking guide and fairing guide etched into the laser-cut parts.

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    Like the Amati Viking Ship, the planks have been pre-cut and shaped for you, so it should go on with minimum fuss.

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    More parts. Note the stupid decision by the kit designers to engrave the word TRANS onto the transom to indicate the part.

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    Accessories for the boat - rope, anchor, belaying pins, barrels, etc.

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    My pristine modelling area with my new lamp. Looks a bit like that Pixar lamp doesn't it ;) Anyway, lets get started.
     
  2. OP
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    Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    [​IMG]

    All wooden ships begin by assembly of the bulkheads or frames. It is important to make sure the bulkheads are square to the frame, hence my use of an assembly jig. The false keel is sandwiched between two right angles, and the bulkhead pushed up against it and glued in place with quick setting PVA Glue (I use Titebond I).

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    While the assembly jig is drying, I glued up the keel, which comes in 4 parts. Alignment is important - here is the keel being checked against the plans for correct alignment.

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    Once the glue on the keel has set, I cut out the rabbet line. The rabbet line is where the first plank (called the garboard plank) sits snugly into the keel, ensuring that it is watertight. On a real boat, the rabbet needs to be cut precisely, but this is a model so it's not so critical. I used a fine chisel (above) and my Japanese carving knife to carve the rabbet. Again, the kit makes it easy by clearly scribing the rabbet line for you.

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    Completed rabbet line.

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    I tested some wood stains which I bought in Bunnings for suitability. Oak and Elm were too dark, Maple was too red. In the end I ended up mixing Golden Teak and Old Baltic 50:50 to obtain the swatch shown on the right.

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    It is important to stain the planks before using them (something I learnt to my cost when I built that Viking boat). If ANY glue at all is left on the planks, it will prevent them from being stained properly. I left the planks on the sheets and stained them.
     
  3. RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    Nice. Look forward to seeing this. :thumbup:
     
  4. adz

    adz Member

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    I'd like to second that!
     
  5. OP
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    Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    Hi guys, thanks for your interest!

    With my previous build logs, there have been a number of OCAU'ers who said that they wanted to build model ships of their own. Well, where are the build logs!

    Anyway, I thought I would post a method for bending planks. This is probably one of the more tricky jobs in ship modelling that most beginners struggle with. Planks need to be bent enough so that they will hold their shape when the clamps are removed. Otherwise, the plank will try to straighten. Mount enough of these planks on a keel, and the torsion force will be enough to warp the keel.

    There are three steps to bending a plank.

    1. Soak or boil the plank. If only soaking, soak for at least 2 hours for loose grained woods like limewood, or up to 24 hours for dense woods like Walnut.

    2. Steam bend the planks using the method below.

    3. Clamp the plank in place until thoroughly dried, about 24 hours.

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    To steam bend a plank, first clamp one edge in place. Heat up a steam iron.

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    Press the hot iron against the wet plank for a few seconds. It should give easily.

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    Compress the plank between the iron and the frame.

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    As the plank bends, add more clamps to hold it in place.

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    Finished. Note how tight the plank is against the frame. Leave it for 24 hours, then remove the clamps. When I removed the clamps, the plank was held so tightly to the frame that I had to gently pry it off.

    It is VERY important for the planks to be thoroughly dry before you attempt to install them on the model. Wet planks expand. When they dry, they contract. What looks like a snug fit when they are wet will leave unsightly gaps in your planking as the planks dry. You want to be darn sure your planks are dry!

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    Anyway, all the planks have been bent and labelled appropriately. Photo shows the last few planking strakes drying on the jig. Time to start planking!
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
  6. OP
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    Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    More progress.

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    Start of the planking. This is the garboard plank being pressed into the rabbet. Note the precise fit! The laser cut rabbet definitely helped me carve it out nicely.

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    Planking continues. Planking should always be alternated between the port and starboard sides to even out the tension on the keel, and to prevent warping. Also note the clamps I am using - an ordinary paperclip with the handle of another paperclip pushing down on the planks. Very cheap to buy at Officeworks - a tub of these paperclips cost me $5.

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    Planking almost completed, but there is a problem ...

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    ... the final plank does not fit in the hull! So much for laser-cut computer designed planks which are supposed to fit, and the instructions boasting that the planks are wider than necessary!

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    The way around it is to install a stealer plank. I cut some from some spare material and shaped it to fit. It is pretty tight in there - once sanded it should look OK.

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    Rather than use #80 grit sandpaper, I tried using a spare blade from my Stanley knife as a scraper. It works really well, and does not leave deep scratches that you would get if you used sandpaper. This was followed by successively finer grades of sandpaper - #120, #180, #240, #360, #400, #800, and then #1200.

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    Once I finished sanding, the hull was as smooth as a baby's bottom!

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    With the hull finished, the next step was to pop the glue joints and get it off the frame. It was a heart stopping moment, but the boat came cleanly off the building jig!

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    Another view of the finished hull.

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    With the hull off, I installed the tween frames.

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    This picture shows most of the tween frames installed. Note that I left off some planking to show off the internal structure.
     
  7. sjp770

    sjp770 Member

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    Looking good! Thought the planks were out but you're right about the sanding, brings it all back together.
     
  8. OP
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    Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    Thanks sjp!

    Over the weekend I did more work.

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    If I were to follow the instructions from MS, I would have a couple of gaps in the bow cant frames, like this.

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    I experimented with the look of more cant frames - I temporarily taped these in place. IMO they look much better, so I installed them.

    You will also note the holes drilled in the hull. These are for treenails. Treenails are effectively wooden nails. Traditionally, a hole was bored into the ship, then a wooden dowel hammered in. The dowel was split, and a wedge driven in. Then the whole thing was sanded flat.

    I made the treenails by using a drawplate. Using a selection of drill sizes, I drilled a series of holes of successively smaller diameter in a metal plate. I then pull a bamboo skewer through the hole, which shaves it smaller and smaller until I reach the desired diameter. No pictures of that, but here is the treenailing process.

    Yes, it is as time consuming as it sounds!

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    Drill a hole through the hull, then dip the treenail in glue. Push it through the hole, rotating to distribute the glue, then cut off flush.

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    Treenailing in progress. Note my tub of stained glue - PVA with woodstain added.

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    I ran out of walnut dowel, so I had to substitute bamboo skewers from my kitchen for the last few treenails. I also thought I would experiment with an alternative (and much easier) way of simulating treenails - drill a hole, then fill it with wood filler. I elected to put the woodfilled treenails at the bottom of the hull, which will be painted over later.

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    After sanding and another coat of stain, here is a comparison of how the different treenails look. The bamboo treenails, when left unstained, are virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding wood. However, they take up the stain much more readily so end up nearly as dark as walnut.

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    IMO there is an obvious difference between the real treenails and the simulated treenails made with wood filler. The real treenails have much better definition.

    That's it for now ... more later :)
     
  9. sjp770

    sjp770 Member

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    So next update show you splitting all the treenails to add authenticity? Lol.

    The bamboo look identical to the walnut in the pics, but both real ones are far superior to the putty. Any chance of a pic of the skewer reducer you drilled up?
     
  10. OP
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    Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    Thanks sjp. I went and looked for that stupid metal plate and can't seem to find the effing thing. It must be in there somewhere, buried in the mess that is my modelling room. It looks a bit like this but of course mine doesn't look that professional!

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    How to make a neat treenail. Drill the hole, dip the treenail in PVA glue, then push it through. Snip off as flush as possible.

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    Using a sharp chisel, OFF WITH ITS HEAD!!! You are left with a nice, flush treenail that needs no further sanding.

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    Started installing the floorboards.

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    The thwart guards were also installed and treenailed. The saddle like thing is for the winch, which was not included in the kit. I might make my own.

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    I also managed to mask off the bottom and paint it white. This is progress to date.
     
  11. adz

    adz Member

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    That looks pretty damn awesome, so much detail :thumbup:
     
  12. sjp770

    sjp770 Member

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    Your work has inspired me to get a kit to try out. I ended up with an Artesania Latina kit for the RMS Titanic's Lifeboat. Hopefully it would be good enough for a beginner kit.
     
  13. OP
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    Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    Thanks adz :)

    Good to hear, sjp! Artesania kits aren't really good choices for beginners, the instructions are rather poor and the kits don't come together that well. Hopefully yours will turn out OK! Do you have a Dremel? You'll probably need one.
     
  14. sjp770

    sjp770 Member

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    Yeah I've got a dremel. Figured I'd go through all your posts to get a better idea. They sold me Titebond wood glue, any good? Anything else if need besides a good knife?
     
  15. OP
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    Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    There's Titebond I, II, and III. Which one did you get? The problem with I and III is that both dry into a yellow finish. Titebond II gives you a clear finish. IMHO Titebond is the best PVA formulation out there, PROVIDED you are meticulous with your cleanup and remove all excess glue before it sets. I keep a bunch of cotton Q-tips and a jar of water next to me when i'm gluing - after I join the pieces, I clamp them together then swab the glue line with a moistened Q-tip to get rid of excess glue. This is especially critical on the inside, because it is very difficult to sand the inside of the boat.
     
  16. sjp770

    sjp770 Member

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    It just says Titebond original wood glue. It's a custard / cream colour and says professional on the top, red sticker and cap.
     
  17. OP
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    Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    Yeah, that's Titebond I. It has a yellowish finish. It's an excellent glue, but you might want to try some normal white PVA. The Titebond sets too quickly, about 5 minutes. White PVA takes about 20 minutes or so. Sometimes you don't want a glue that sets that fast.

    Remember to use it sparingly, on BOTH sides of what you are going to glue. Use a toothpick to help spread the glue, or if you are gluing a wide surface (e.g. the edge of a plank), cut some wood to use as a spreader.
     
  18. OP
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    Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    Sorry for the lack of updates! I have made progress on this model. This picture sequence shows the creation and installation of the quarter deck.

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    First, the cross beams were temporarily installed using a tiny dab of glue to just hold them in place to get a few planks on. You can see here my spacer jig (installed between planks) to help keep the space between the planks constant.

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    Once the first few planks were installed, the whole quarterdeck was removed and transferred to a copy of the plans to get the dimensions exactly correct.

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    Here is the finished quarterdeck on the boat. It has a slightly shiny appearance because of the initial coating of Tung Oil.

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    A blue stripe was been painted across the top of the boat. Masking tape gives a nice, sharp effect.

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    My research showed that the original boat would have had a bowsprit. The kit did not include a bowsprit, so I had to make my own. First, a brass strip was bent into a circle, then it was soldered closed. I then soldered a brass rod to the strip.

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    A bit of cleaning with a Dremel produces an acceptable shape - this is halfway through the process.

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    The finished bowsprit holder with the bowsprit, testing for fit. It has yet to be painted black.

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    The kit supplies a bow grating, which I thought looked rather cheesy. Also, my research suggests that the original Bounty Launch probably did not have a bow grating ...

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    ... so I removed it and made my own :)
     
  19. OP
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    Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    [​IMG]

    These are the gunwales being installed. One of the problems every ship modeller has to solve is how to clamp pieces together whilst waiting for the glue to dry. Here I have devised a system of chopsticks and rubber bands to hold the gunwales in place while the glue dries.

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    The masts have been completed. From top to bottom - mainmast, foremast, and bowsprit.

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    Masts being installed. The rake of the mast has to be adjusted by eye, and each mast has to be parallel to each other. First, the boat is levelled with a spirit level.

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    Then the masts are installed using a suitable vertical reference (I used a square ... not pictured).

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    I then soldered more brass wire to make deadeye straps. These things are not easy to make - it is easy to burn the wooden deadeyes when applying heat to the solder and wire. The way around it is to soak some tissue paper in water, then wrap that around the deadeye. That keeps it cool, and prevents it from burning.

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    Installation and alignment of deadeyes. Tie a bit of a string to the deadeye, then tie the string to the mast and pull it tight. Glue the strap into position.

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    Rigging process for the deadeyes.

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    Two down, six to go!
     
  20. slyls1

    slyls1 Member

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    Any updates?
     

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