Building a Beginning Billing Boats Kit, Dana Fishing Boat – Part 9: And More Details

Before going on, let me make sure to define the boat’s rig for those not familiar with some of the terms. As I mentioned before, the Dana is a ketch-rigged fishing boat. This means that it has two masts: a mainmast and a shorter mizzenmast. There are five sails shown with this kit. I’ve labeled them in the image below for those not familiar with the configuration or terms.

Making the Horses

On the Dana, the horses are  metal bars on which slide sheet blocks. There are two of these on the Dana, one for the main sheet and one for the staysail sheet. You can find these illustration in diagrams E and H in the instructions. I’ve marked them with red arrows.

The horses are made from part F39, which is 1mm brass wire. I bent these with a small pair of pliers and then used them to locate the points of the deck where holes need to be drilled to secure them.

Later, I painted them black. But, you may notice in several photos that they appear on the model, where I fit them temporarily, still unpainted brass. The main reason for not mounting them is that, at this time, I have not decided whether to use the provided blocks, as-is, or to use third party fittings for the blocks.

Companionway Hatches

There is one companionway on the forward cabin and one on the aft cabin. The doors come as laser-cut parts with door moldings etched into them. These were stained a mahogany color, as per the kit instruction’s defined color scheme.

Since the companionway doors are curved on top, the hatch covers, laser-cut parts 3 and 7, need to be bent to a curved shape to fit. Being that these are made of plywood, it takes soaking and careful bending. Some heat from a plank bender is recommended due to the plywood’s stiffness.

These took a little thought to construct, particularly as the aft companionway doors are unevenly curved, being higher on one side than the other. This is very strange and would make a lot more sense to me if they evenly curved. I suppose the idea is that the curvature is supposed to match the curvature of the cabin roof. And, because the doors are offset to one side of the cabin, the curvature of the top of the doors is supposed to be uneven. However, the cabin roof just does not curve that much – certainly not as much as the top of the doors.

The diagrams in the instructions don’t address this. My solution was to make the rails of the hatch higher on one side than the other. A little odd looking, but it seemed to work okay.

The instructions didn’t say to do so, but I used a couple small brass nails I had on-hand as nobs for the doors. It’s a simple detail to add, but the brass looks good against the mahogany color of the doors and takes away the otherwise plain appearance.


Having already cut holes in the bulwarks railing for the chainplates, it was time to glue them into place. This required that I angle them properly. This is done so that they properly take the stress of the shrouds. A string tied to the top of the mast serves as an alignment guide.

Before gluing the chainplates into place, I made sure to clean off the back of the chainplates and scratch though the paint on the hull underneath where the chainplate will fit so that the glue joint will have a good surface to fasten to. I then used thick CA glue to secure the plates.

Finally, before continuing, I added the cleats to the masts and test fit the spars – It’s definitely coming along now.

Next, I’ll have to deal with the blocks and I will consider what details I need to add to the model before I begin rigging and making the sails.


4 thoughts on “Building a Beginning Billing Boats Kit, Dana Fishing Boat – Part 9: And More Details

  1. Mike Woolson

    At Sportsman’s warehouse they have different gauges/sizes of threads in the fishing dept. I assume for the guys the people that make custom fly fishing lures. I found .008 (I think) stainless wire for aircraft brake lines in 1/48th

    1. catopower Post author

      I often take breaks from projects and, in some cases, I never get back to them. However, I’ll pick up the Dana build again in the next few weeks. Thanks for your interest and support!

  2. boatmodelnobuildyet

    Thanks! I haven’t done a ship model and this is one of the beginner that I wish to pickup. Even with an ABS hull, I might struggle with the other stuff. But when I saw this build log, I am really impressed with all the things you did. And I am hoping to follow it fully. Thanks mate!


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