I’ve turned my attention back toward the completion of the Amati Gunboat “Arrow” kit and it’s coming along. I’m ready to deal with rigging and the sails as most of the hull and deck detail is done. This is a kit that I started quite some time ago, but other things pushed it on a back burner, and I mean way back, because I started it in 2014.
I’ll post an update soon. But, I’ve written a few posts now about building this Amati kit, and mostly of the middle stages of construction. For those who are interested in building the kit, since the construction of this kit is unlike most ship model kits I’ve encountered, I thought it might be good to post some photos from the early stages of construction.
On thing in particular that makes this kit unusual is that this is a shallow draft gunboat, so it’s very wide and flat, and the lower part of the hull is built in plank-on-bulkhead fashion, but with no interlocking keel piece. Also, the upper part of the hull requires the installation of “timberheads” that on most kits are provided as extensions of the bulkheads. On this kit, they are added separately.
In any case, here’s what is mostly a photo blog of the early stages of the build. Hopefully, some modelers will find this interesting and/or helpful.
Starting the Build
I did some prep work to identify the bulkheads, as they aren’t marked. Also, it was necessary to mark the backbone piece to identify where to attach the bulkheads. There is no interlocking internal keel with this kit.
Rather than building the boat on a keel, this kit provides a kind of backbone. This needed to be marked to identify where the bulkheads and masts were to go.
This boat has an internal floor that’s visible, so it has to be planked before the hull planking is started. With the sub-deck pieces glued into place, I put my “Chopper III” to good use here. Apparently, this tool is still available. It is manufactured by NorthWest Short Line, and you can find it online here.
I’ve now moved on to using a good quality table saw for this kind of work, but this tool served me well for a while, is far less expensive that a good table saw (or even a bad one), and makes quick work of cutting uniform lengths of strip wood. As I recall, I cut these 90mm long and laid down the butts of the planks staggered by 30mm, so that there were two planks in between butts. All planks were edged with pencil before gluing into place, using ordinary Elmer’s Carpenter’s Glue.
The upper or main deck fits on top of top of timberheads. But, instead of the timberheads being part of the bulkheads that were just installed, they have to be installed separately. This seemed odd to me, and they left potential for error.
As you can see in the next two photos, I had to add shims between the ends of the timberheads and the main deck, as they didn’t make contact. Most important, was to make sure the deck created a nice smooth line or curve and that there were no awkward dips anywhere.
Finally, the deck could be planked, leaving large openings cut out for the pivot gun bases.
I’ll show the next stages in another post, in which the hull gets planked inside and out.