AL’s Independence – Starting the Build

First off, a correction about something I stated in a previous post that I thought the kit was really just a version of the colonial schooner Hallifax. I take it back. AL produced a model of the colonial schooner Hannah at one time and I would now say this is something of a cross between that and the Hallifax. Still it’s basically a generic model of small merchant schooner of that period.

So, about the middle of last month, July, I started the work on this project, beginning at the beginning with the framing.

The framing went together quite nicely. As I mentioned before, the slots fit together perfectly. Things lined up well and I didn’t have to file any of the slots and there was absolutely no play in their fit. Because of the thinness of the bulkheads, I felt it necessary to add some support pieces in between them to stiffen them up. Also fitting the decks into place also serves to stiffen them, but I felt it better to be safe.

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While the glue was still setting between the bulkheads and inner keel, I temporarily fitted the deck pieces into place using the included brass nails. Using an Amati nail driver was a little tricky due to the thinness of the bulkheads, but I got them in. The process too a little while as the inner keel piece had a slight warp in it and it took a lot of little adjustments to get it straight and to make sure that the frame was free of twists. It’s very easy to introduce a little twist into the frame and impossible to remove it later on, so spending extra time on getting the hull perfect at this stage is worth the extra effort.

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This step actually took me quite a while as I kept finding the results not quite right and  had to adjust and readjust everything multiple times. But, finally, I had something I was happy with.

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After this, the stern frames were added along with bow and stern pieces to support the planking, and then the bulwarks were beveled to adapt to the curvature of the hull planking. The beveling was actually quite easy on this model as the bulkheads are thin. The first two bulkheads at the bow required the most time.

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Something to note is that there are no filler blocks, unlike with so many ship model kits. There are some small support pieces at the bow and stern, but these appear to be only for providing a good surface to secure the ends of the first planking layer. Time will tell if this is a good thing or not, but it certainly keeps down the amount of time spent on sanding.

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