Building a Beginning Billing Boats Kit, Dana Fishing Boat – Part 4

Marking the waterline

I happen to have a tool that I purchased from Micromark some time ago that they market as a waterline marker. It’s apparently a repurposed toolmaker’s surface guage, but it certainly works for marking the waterline. This marker uses a metal scribe to mark the waterline, which works pretty nicely on the soft ABS plastic hull.

Most waterline markers marketed today, like Amati’s or Model Expo’s, are fitted with a pencil. Of course, if you don’t have one of these, a pencil mounted atop a block of appropriate height will do.

Amati Model’s waterline marker

In any case, the model needs to be sitting so that the waterline is parallel to the work surface. I just used the included cradle to hold the model, though it’s use resulted in a waterline that’s not quite the same as shown on the drawings, but it seemed close enough.

I used to use regular masking tape for waterline painting, then I switched to blue “painters tape”, but I’ve finally moved on to Tamiya brand masking tape, which is meant specifically for use on plastic models, and works really well. I only used the tape on the edge of the waterline, then used the cheaper wide tape to cover the rest of the hull with newspaper, or more precisely, advertisement paper, since that’s all I get anymore.

The painting of the hull bottom is pretty straight forward. I did do a little light sanding of the rudder area between the first couple coats, as that part is all wood and I wanted to minimize the wood grain.

Adding Hatch Coamings

I decided next to add the hatch coamings. The kit included a few strips of wood for this, but they are fairly thick pieces. I discovered that because I have an extra layer of thin plywood under my deck, that this extra thickness made the deck structures a little shorter. It was enough that the coaming material visually looked way too tall on my model. So, I used my table saw to cut the material to about half its original thickness. That seemed to do the trick.

Next, I cut the strips to length as needed and cut the corners at an angle, so it all looked nicely laid out when glued into place.

Adding the Propeller

The kit includes a propeller, which comes molded in a kind of gold-colored plastic. I painted this using some bronze colored paint before mounting.

Fitting the propeller into place is simple enough. There’s a wooden tab in the rudder assembly which needs to be filed or trimmed a little to fit the hole in the propeller. The mounted propeller points at a pretty steep downward angle, which doesn’t seem quite right. But, I don’t see any way to change this angle without finding a propeller with shorter blades or possibly relocating the propeller shaft slightly lower.

The model with the original propeller mounting

This is something that is ideally dealt with in an earlier step, as it’s difficult to mount a new propeller shaft once the rudder assembly is glued into place. So, it might be best to leave the assembly as is. I, however, have a hard time leaving well enough alone, so I cut a short piece of 1/16″ diameter brass rod, easily obtained at the local hobby or hardware store, and epoxied it into place. I think it looks better than it did, but I don’t know for sure that it’s more accurate.

A Few Details

So, the last thing at this point, was to add a couple details – specifically, the splash rails and the skids for the small boat. The splash rails have to be cut from strip stock and bent to the curve of the rail at the bow. Because these are painted white and sit on the rail, which is green, I waited until after painting to mount them to avoid dealing with masking.

In order to facilitate gluing, I didn’t paint the bottom edge of the rail. I also had to make sure to scrape away a little of the painted surface of the model to make sure the glue would stick. For these items, I used a very thin layer of 5 minute epoxy. This stuff will hold well, but is a bit of a hassle to use, because the glue is not tacky until it begins to set, and the part will slide out of position easily until then.

The other part I added at this stage are the skids for he boat, which sit on top of the main hatch. Again, these are simply cut from strip stock provided, painted white and glued down. The glue side of the skids were left unpainted, and I scratched the top of the oiled mahogany hatch cover to allow glue to stick. Since I’m gluing wood to wood, I just used Elmer’s carpenter’s glue.

The only other thing done at this time is the drilling of the hole in the deck for the mainmast. Nothing too special there. I didn’t drill the hole for the mizzen, because the dowel provided for that mast is pretty much the exact size, so I’m not sure what the kit designer’s expected here.

I thought about just drilling a hole in the wooden top of the aft companionway and leaving the plastic hull top intact to hold up the foot of the mast. If I don’t do that, I’ll have to buy a piece of dowel for the mast. That’s not a problem, but I’m mostly trying to build this kit straight from the box.

I’ll think on this a bit more and save the work for next time.








Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s