Category Archives: Ship Model Build Logs

Building Shipyard’s Dutch Fluit Schwarzer Rabe, 1627 – Part 5

For me, it seems that there is a danger in working on paper models. I find these things to be so engrossing that I have a hard time taking a break to do other things. I’ve been working on the Schwarzer Rabe pretty steadily for a couple weeks now. Almost a week ago, I had made a comment on that I was probably posting my last update for a while, as I get back to working on some other projects. But, I never stopped this one. Here it is, a week later, and I’m still trying to make myself shift gears and get some other needed work done. We’ll see if that happens after this post.

Continue reading

Building OcCre’s Spanish 74-gun Ship Montañes from Part Kits – Part 3

Having still not come to my senses, I continue to plan modifications to my Montañes model. More and more, I am considering modifying the cannons and gun ports. As none of the cannon parts are included in the initial parts pack (remember, I only have Pack 1 of the six available for this kit), I contacted OcCre about ordering some of the cannon barrels and parts.

I have to say that OcCre’s customer service seems to be top notch. I communicated by messaging them through their Facebook page, which is easy to do and replies are usually within 24 hours. I provided the part numbers from the kit and the quantities. Basically, I just wanted 4 of each of the cannons and carriages, which would be enough for me work with, and allow me to at least expand the number of full cannons on the upper gun deck. Anyway, the parts aren’t very expensive, but right now in particular, with Covid limitations, the shipping is the expensive part. I think it ended up costing me around $26 for these few parts. But, since I’m experimenting and writing about my build, I decided to go ahead.

It didn’t take me long to get the parts I’d ordered, giving me some idea of how I might proceed with the build. First off, I had a hunch from looking at the photos of the part packs that OcCre had changed their kit from the original design, to use cheaper materials. So, while disappointing, it came as no surprise that the cannon barrels were all cast metal parts, not the beautiful looking brass gun barrels that you see on all the model photos.

For me, it probably doesn’t make a lot of difference, as I usually prefer my cannon barrels blackened to appear more like the real ones. And, as castings go, they aren’t bad. On the larger dummy barrels, you can hardly see any mold seams.

But, as with so many kit manufacturers, the cannon barrels don’t look a whole lot like real cannon barrels. I don’t know who designed these cannon barrels, but clearly they either have no idea what a cannon barrel looks like, or they just don’t care.

Continue reading

Building Shipyard’s Dutch Fluit Schwarzer Rabe, 1627 – Part 4

Planking of the Schwarzer Rabe is coming along well. I’ve now gotten well into the planking below the waterline. Planking the lower hull seems much easier than the upper hull. With the upper hull, the treenails show, and they need to line up along the imagined frames. Also, the gun ports and other similar features have to line up properly, so a lot of attention goes into these planks.

In above photos was taken just as I was about the reach the waterline. So far, things seem to be looking okay. All planking strips are edged with brown paint to hide the edges. The individual lines of planks have been scored as well. This serves to make the planking look a little more realistic, but it also allows the planking strip to curve more easily, adapting to the shape of the hull.

I still have a little issue with the hull flattening out a little between the frames, but I did my best to minimize this by inserting a blade under the flat areas of the plank strips and pushing them back out a little. I then fill the resulting gap between the hull and the planking strip with a little extra glue for support.

At this stage, there’s really not much to say. Below the waterline, my biggest concern is keeping the hull more or less rounded. Also, I have no way to really gauge how well I’m covering the hull.  Am I going to have any gaps or any overlap at the end. Past experience has taught me that I’m certainly going to end up with one or the other.

Since I’m cutting the planking strips along the black lines with those lines mostly showing up on the edge of my planking strips, I’m guessing that I’m going to end up with a little overlap at the end. Whatever plank I end up trimming in the end may look a little odd, but it will probably look a lot better than having gaps.

But, I am thinking that once the lower hull is planked, I’ll be treating with thin CA to stiffen the planking, then sanding the hull down a little, to reduce any burrs or ridges formed from the cutting process. I expect I’ll paint the lower hull too, or at least give it a wash of paint. That should subdue those black plank lines. The printed paper is a bit pure white, so I may tone it down a little bit.

In any case, planking the hull is somewhat self motivating. I’ve gotten so much of the hull done now, I’m looking forward to finishing it up before I take any kind of break and work on something else – Remember, this is a model I started as a filler project to work on when I’m tired of working on other things. That said, it’s feeling a lot less like a filler project right now, and I’ve started prepping the parts for the stem/beakhead and the sternpost/skeg.

As a parting pic of today’s post, the above are two of the 6 pieces that will make up the beakhead. There is a kind of scrollwork that shows through here. On the top piece, I’ve carefully cut away all the black printed areas. You can see the black printed areas in the bottom piece, which I’ll “carve” next. After I finished cutting, I treated the scrollwork with some thin CA to harden it, and keep it from getting damaged later.

As soon as I can get the beakhead and the keel all done, I’ll be able to work the mounting. On my first paper model, HMS Alert, I used simple brass rods. This has a very clean and minimalist  look, which I like. But, I’ll see how things go when I come to that.

It’s a bit out of sequence, but I’m kind of itching to work on the deck area a little. Not sure what I’ll do, but you might see some details get added – at least ones that I don’t think will get in the way or get damaged while I’m working on the outer hull.

Building Shipyard’s Dutch Fluit Schwarzer Rabe, 1627 – Part 3

As you may have noticed, I’ve now officially elevated this build of Shipyard’s 1/96-scale paper model kit of the Dutch fluit Schwarzer Rabe to a full fledged project, with its own place in my Ship Model Build Logs menu.

It seems that after completing the 1/72-scale Hanse Kogge Bremen laser-cut paper model, for which I did not maintain a build log here, I was itching to keep up with the paper models. I wasn’t really sure if I had been doing a good enough job with my Dutch fluit Schwarzer Rabe, but I thought I should give it a chance. So, I continued the build this weekend, adding more details to the hull, and starting a blog on, which I will basically echo here, or vice versa.

As we last left this build…

Continue reading

Building a Kit Without the Kit – Corel’s Misticque

Having been a ship modeler for around 30 years now, I have seen many models built and have built many myself. I’ve also spent a lot of time looking at the many available kits of beautiful looking ships of all kinds, and imagining building them. But, after building so many kits, I find the desire to scratch build a model. Now, I have scratch built quite a few models, mostly Japanese traditional boats, but also a few American subjects too, pilot boat, War of 1812 privateer, various hulls, etc. But, it seemed time to take on something more significant.

Now, kits still have the appeal of having already been planned out. Plus, they include all necessary decorative components. And, kits like those produced by Corel, still build into some of the most beautiful models.

Corel’s French Xebec Misticque, 1750

Continue reading

Building OcCre’s Spanish 74-gun Ship Montañes from Part Kits – Part 2

Beginning the actual construction of the Montañes started with the marking of the parts needed for the first steps. The parts are all laser-cut, all nice and neat on their respective sheets, but they parts aren’t marked. To find the parts, you have to use the diagrams of the laser-cut sheets in the instructions.

Part numbers drawn in pencil.

Continue reading

Building OcCre’s Spanish 74-gun Ship Montañes from Part Kits – Part 1

I began writing about OcCre’s model kit of the Spanish 74-gun ship of the line Montañes a few months back, when I wrote about ordering one of several available “part kits” put out by the company. The others being the San Ildefonso, the Nuestra Señora del Pilar, and the Santisima Trinidad. I chose the Montañes because I like the type of ship, the size of the model, and the details of this particular kit the best.

I purchased the first of six Packs, as OcCre calls them, and plan on buying them as needed for the build. However, building from the packs is really no different in terms of materials, fittings, and instructions, as the full kit. You just don’t have to pay for it all at once, though it ends up costing you more, mostly due to the ship charges.

Continue reading

An Occre Part Order Follow-Up

It occurred to me recently that I’d written a post about ordering a part kit from OcCre back in December, which had a wrong laser-cut sheet in it. I’d contacted OcCre about it, but I never posted the results of that issue. So, here it is.

To recap, I ordered the first of 6 part kits, or Packs as OcCre calls them, of their Spanish 74-gun ship Montañes kit. It was a nicely packed set of laser-cut wood sheets, wood strips, and kit instructions. Unfortunately, in the process of marking the parts for identification, I discovered I’d gotten a duplicate laser-cut wood sheet and I was missing another.

Two of one sheet, with one needed sheet missing.

Continue reading

More Musings on the Amati “Arrow” Gunboat

I made some progress over the past few days on the Amati American gunboat kit, but it doesn’t really show very well. Here are photos from my last post and then from today.

It may not look much different, but there are some 116 parts that have been added since last time! That comes out to be 56 cleats and 60 ringbolts. The ringbolts had to be assembled from provided eyebolts and split rings. The cleats are cast metal and I’d already painted them months ago.

Last time, if you recall, I said there were a lot of extra cleats and eyebolts. Turns out I was absolutely wrong. I went over the plans and instructions thoroughly, and I discovered that just about every one of these cleats and ringbolts has a line attached to it, so there is a LOT more rigging on this model than it first appears in the kit photos. Don’t be fooled.

Continue reading

Building the Amati “Arrow” Gunboat

Amati Model of Italy makes a wide variety of interesting ship modelings subjects. In early 2018, I finished building their Swedish Gunboat kit. Like that one, another gunboat that has been around for as long as I can remember, and was always intrigued by, is the “Arrow” an American Gunboat from the period around the War of 1812.

The Jeffersonian era was an interesting time in American naval history in the desire to use defensive gunboats in place of large expensive warships. As a result, there were numerous gunboat designs implemented. In Howard Chapelle’s book, The History of the American Sailing Navy, several of these designs can be found. Among them is a design that Chapelle describes as a “galley gunboat showing Mediterranean influence.” Clearly, this was the drawing that inspired the Arrow gunboat kit.

Continue reading