Daily Archives: March 5, 2019

Building the Kanrin Maru – Japan’s First Screw Steamer – Part 2

Planking the hull of the Kanrin Maru is pretty easy. The ship has a sharp bow and the run of the planks is easy, needing little bending. You might be tempted to taper the planks at the bow, but that’s not what the instructions have you do. And, if you do, you may very well run out of planking material. If you want to more authentic planking, you’ll need to supply your own additional planking material.

I chose to build the hull straight from the kit at this point, so I simply laid the planks as is, starting at the bulwarks and working towards the keel. Hinoki, or Japanese cedar, is the material used for much of the kit, and it’s a bit brittle when dry. To bend or twist planks, the wood doesn’t need to be soaked, just wet. But little bending or twisting is required for this model.

As the model is intended for painting, the planks stop abruptly at the stern bulkhead. Here, the stern shape is provided in the form of a stack of thick pieces that have to be filed down to shape.

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Building a Beginning Billing Boats Kit, Dana Fishing Boat – Part 8: More Details

Stern Platform

The stern platform is a plywood piece that fits against the bulwarks behind the tiller. Being that this is a fishing boat and that this platform is to be covered with thin wooden slats, I presume that this was used for the process of bringing aboard fishing nets. The wooden slats would allow the fisherman to stand on the platform as water drains into the channels between the slats.

The platform is a pre-cut piece of plywood, but attaching the platform is a bit problematic, as there are no grooves or anything that supports the platform. It’s supposed to be attached to the bulwarks by a simple glue joint.

Since the platform is supposed to be painted white and the wooden slats or battens are to be left a natural wood color, based on the model photos on the box and in the instruction booklet, it seemed to make the most sense to paint the platform before adding the slats. I did this before gluing the platform into place, leaving the addition of the wooden slats to be dealt with later.

Having glued the platform into place myself, I strongly advise placing a small wooden block under the platform. This can be temporarily placed or glued to the underside of the platform. In any case, trim it or sand it until the platform sits at a height and angle that will allow it to fit nicely against the stern. If this is glued on, you can probably just leave it as is or paint it a dark color, so it’s not noticeable under the platform. Another option is to add stanchions under the platform, which might be more correct.

In any case, I added mine using a technique that my old high school math teacher would refer to as “brute strength and awkwardness,” just using some tape and holding the part until the glue set. The process made enough of a mess that I had to do some paint touchup, but it worked out.

Adding the wooden slats wasn’t that hard. I simply used some contact cement, which will hold well enough given that these parts aren’t under any physical strain. I’m thinking I should touch each one also with a tiny drop of CA to lock them into place. Gluing on the painted surface of the platform isn’t ideal, but the paint is well bonded to the wood platform, and I think the glue will hold to the paint well enough.

Ideally, the wooden slats should be a lot closer together, but this is about as good as I could get given the amount of wood remaining. The biggest problem for the kit modeler here is that I’ve never seen wood of this dimension on sale from Billing Boats or elsewhere. Continue reading