There is a small amount of metal work required with this kit. Model Shipways provides a plentiful supply of brass wire, steel wire and brass flat strip. For the deadeye stropping mast bands, the instructions call for simple use of CA glue. I chose to silver solder these assemblies since I’ve finally been successful at making good silver solder joints.
Most of the brass, I’ve blackened using a brass blackening solution I purchased from Bluejacket Shipcrafters. This stuff has worked better for me than the more readily available stuff called “Blacken-It”. I then coated the blackened metal with satin polyurethane finish. In some cases, I’ve had to touch this up with a little black paint.
The thole pins are simple wire provided in the kit. In order to create a nice uniform spacing between those pins, I took a piece of brass strip I had on hand and drilled a pair of holes the appropriate separation. I then used this as a guide for drilling the gunwales. I’ve never been very good about making and little jigs like these, but this worked really well.
The spars are pretty easy to make. There is a bowsprit, boom, gaff and mast. The small size makes them quick to shape. The mast is probably the most difficult since the upper portion of the mast steps down in size to a pole topmast. Also, the mast require drilling and cutting to simulate 3 sheaves. One is in the thick part of the mast and the other two are in the pole topmast. This requires a lot of care to keep from snapping the mast. In fact, I managed to snap the mast right at the middle sheave, but repaired it. The repair held, even after adding all the halliards and stays, and the break cleaned up well and wasn’t noticeable.
For the blocks, I used some swiss pear blocks that I bought from Chuck Passaro’s Syren Ship Model Company. Chuck Passaro, as you may recall, is the designer of this and four other kits for Model Shipways. The blocks are excellent – just about the best you can buy.
I was actually surprised at how much rigging there is on this tiny model and how long it took to do all the rigging. It took some extra care to deal with it since the model is so small and relatively delicate. I ended up using some rigging line I had on hand instead of the stuff provided in the kit, but for no particular reason.
I managed to lose one of the belaying pins in the kit and this was one of the very few things for which Model Expo didn’t include extras. I wrote to their parts department for a couple spares and they sent me a bag of something like 20. However, in the week or so that I was waiting, I found some Amati belaying pins I had that worked fine.
The final step was to sand down the oars which come laser cut from sheet stock. It took a bit of sanding and I actually started by using a knife to whittle down the edges of the oar handles and thin down the ends of the oar blades.
I chose not to add the grappling anchor in the kit because the casting seemed a bit large for the model. Photos of the prototype show an anchor that is considerably smaller and looks good. Anyway, I can always add the anchor back on later if it seems like it’s missing.
I made the base from a sheet of cherry that I cut to size and shaped the edges on my router table. The posts that hold the model up are actually brass tubes with brass rods inside that stop short of the top. I then inserted small brass rods in the keel of the model which would fit into these tubes.
I’m really happy with the way the model turned out. It’s small, but very detailed and I had a lot of fun building it. I learned a few things in the build, and like the final model so much that I even was considering building another. However, a long line of other models are waiting to be built, so another longboat will have to wait. Ω