A couple weeks ago, we had another quarterly meeting of ship modelers at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum. This is the group that includes our group build of the Amati Swedish Gunboat kit. We’ve been getting a lot of rain lately, so it’s literally put a damper on ship model meeting attendance over the past couple months. But, one of the other members of the group build showed up, and it was enough to inspire me to press on with this build.
The other builder is new to ship modeling and he had questions about bending wood for the railing on the boat. This got me pushing ahead. Hopefully, other builders are continuing construction on their models. I feel a little bad about leaving anyone behind on the build, but we’ve had the kit for 8 months, and it’s a very small and simple model.
At this point, I’d like to have it done to display at the IPMS (International Plastic Modelers Society) show in San Jose in early March. That’s just about 6 weeks away. I’m not sure if I’ll have time to finish it up, as I also have my next Japanese boat models display to prepare for coming up on March 1st. But, I’d like to try.
In my last post, the basic hull was done. It was planked, the stem and keel, which I cut away early in the kit’s construction, were now replaced with a beech wood keel, the decks were planked and the thwarts installed. The next stage was the fit out the hull with the sundry details before moving on to masting and rigging.
First off, I want to mention that I’m not sure if there is adequate wood in the kit or not. I don’t keep close track of those things, as I have plenty of spare wood from other projects, plus my supply of wood I can mill as needed. But, regarding the walnut strips for detailing, I seemed to recall trying to figure out which pieces to use for what purpose and trying to be really careful at one time, trying not to waste any. But, frankly, it’s so simple to get more of the Amati wood from Ages of Sail, that I don’t really worry too much about running short.
I finished up the hull with a strip of walnut for the wales, which I carefully bent to shape using my electric plank bender. The plans called for a 3mm square stock strip, but the plans show them closer to 2mm wide strips, so that’s what I used. Next I moved on to the details inside the boat and on deck.
Starting with the easiest detail first, I realized that the plans showed little circles in the middle of each of the thwarts, the rowers seats. There are no real instructions in this kit, just a sheet of drawings, really. But, it’s enough to explain the building of a boat this small. The circles appear to be supports under the middle of each of the seats, so I cut an appropriate sized dowel into short pieces to fit. The only seat that did not receive a support was the forward most, the support for the awning pole will fit through that seat.
By the way, there is nothing that identifies what I’m calling an awning pole, but I believe that is what this feature must be. It is a horizontal pole that runs most of the length of the boat, and is supported up high above the deck by poles at either end of the deck.
The oarlocks were added according to the plans, then it was time to deal with the rails. I cut the wood for the rails and bent them to shape. I got lazy and didn’t want to go out to the garage in the rain, so I soaked the wood, wrapped them in wet paper towel, and put them in the microwave for 30 seconds. They came out steaming and pretty flexible. I then clamped them onto a board, bending them to shap in the process and left them to dry. Meanwhile, I took a pin vise and drilled out the tops of each of the walnut stanchions and inserted a piece of 24 gauge annealed steel wire.
I would later drill holes in the rail and attach the stanchions. The wire would make for a very secure rail. I picked a few key stanchions to take a piece of wire in the bottom ends as well. Then, when the rails were dry and properly bent, I drilled holes for the stanchion pins and added the stanchions.
The stern rails were similarly added, though they didn’t need bending, though I did need to make 45 degree cuts at the corners where the side and stern rails met. A stanchion fits directly under that joint, and I left that stanchion without any support pins. The corners of the rails would simply rest on top of it.
With the rails in place, I blacked the split rings and eyebolts in the kit and pieced together a quantity of ringbolts as required for the model. Drilling the deck and adding them was a simple task and really added a lot of detail to the model’s appearance.
At this point, the model seemed to be looking really good, and I was becoming impressed with how the small Amati kits can turn out. At first the model seemed a bit simple, but I’m really liking it now. It’s actually inspiring me to finish the Arrow 1812 American Gunboat kit I’ve had partially finished for so long, but that’s another story.