Slow Progress and Problems

Day 146.

I’m slowly working my way through paint touch-ups.  They are frustrating because all the touch-ups are on the white and yellow lines, so they require a lot of careful masking and hand painting.

Yellow stripe masked for touch-ups.

While I’ve been doing this, I’ve managed to get the mooring chocks installed.  A couple months ago, while I was working on hull details, I decided that I didn’t like the cast mooring chocks provided with the Model Shipways Bluenose kit.  So I made my own out of brass.

These things are tiny.  The blur in the background is the tip of an X-Acto knife.  These were cut to size using some metal cutters, then the holes were punched with a metal hole punch.  The punch gives the holes a nice ‘curve’ inward, which would be appropriate if there were pipes coming off these.

Replacement mooring chocks, made from brass.  These simulate the visible part of the chocks, but not the pipe that runs through the hull.
Installed mooring chock inside the bulwarks.
Painted interior mooring chocks.
Mooring chocks on the outside of the hull.
Painted mooring chocks on the outside of the hull.

So, those turned out fine.  (These photos are really close macro shots – the actual pieces on the ship look a lot better because our eyes don’t zoom in as much!)

As I continued to touch up the paint, I decided to start fitting the main rail.  The main rail sits on top of the bulwarks, and will really make the hull start to ‘pop’ because it covers the exposed wood tops of the stanchions.

The Model Shipways kit provides laser cut pieces for the bow and stern, and I’m supposed to cut pieces to fill in the rest.  The first step is to make sure those bow and stern pieces fit.

They don’t.

Let’s start with the fact that the bow piece does not match the plans.  The photo below shows the laser cut bow piece next to the related illustration on the plans.

The main rail piece for the bow, shown next to the plans.

You can see where the tip of the piece should line up.  But if we put the piece in place on the plans, and line up the top edge and the tip, you’ll see the bottom isn’t right.  This piece should cover the bulwarks/hawse timbers/knightheads on both sides.  They should sit in about the middle of the rail as it runs along the ship.

Instead, the rail is off the side the ship.

If we move the rail forward or backward, we can get the rail to line up with the sides of the ship, but the tip won’t be where it supposed to be.

When placed on the plans, it doesn’t fit.

So, is the piece wrong, or are the plans wrong?  Well, I built the hull according to the plans, so in theory, if I put the piece on the ship it should exhibit the same problem.

Yup.  Same problem.  My hull matches the plans, and the piece doesn’t fit.

When placed on my hull, it has the same problem. 

The piece for the stern is a little worse, but for a different reason.

If we put the stern piece on the plans, we see that it mostly lines up.

At the stern, the laser cut piece more-or-less matches the plans.

Note that the top and bottom edges are pretty well aligned with what the plan shows.  An important thing to note here…when placed according to the plan, the hole in the piece should sit so that the back edge lines up with where the deck ends.  Some rigging will go through there, so we need to have that right.

If we put this piece on the ship…

However, when placed on the ship, it doesn’t fit.  My hull is too wide at the stern.  The piece doesn’t cover the top of the hull, and the hole isn’t aligned right.

…a lot is wrong here.  You’ll notice that my stern is too wide, and the rail doesn’t cover the top of the stern, much less have the expected overhang.  Also, to make it even this close, it had to be slipped back, and now the hole doesn’t line up correctly.

If we shift it forward so the hole is in the right place, the width of the stern becomes even more problematic.

If I slide the piece to put the hole in the right spot, it really isn’t wide enough.

If we shift it further back, so it lays correctly over the bulwarks and stanchions, it is obviously wrong because it doesn’t cover the back of the ship.

If I slide the pice back to cover the width of the hull, it hangs too far of the back.

So, what now?

Obviously I’m not going to rip apart the stern to make it more narrow.  Not only would that set me back weeks, but since everything back there is finished, I doubt I could rebuild it and still have it look good.  Same issue with the bow.  Up there, since the plans exhibit the same problem, I don’t think the issue is my hull – I think the piece is the wrong size.

(Side note:  It is a somewhat common problem for either plans to be out of scale, or for a sheet of laser cut pieces to be out of scale.  When the manufacturer ‘prints’ these – laser cutting is basically printing to a laser – if the operator accidentally scales the drawing, things are off.  Since the bow and stern pieces are on the same sheet of wood, I wouldn’t be surprised if both were off by the same amount, but then they would both be off versus the plans, right?  I’m not sure how I ended up with one piece being correct and the other being off compared to the plans.)

Right now, my plan is as follows:

  • I’m going to source some 1/16″ basswood sheets from my local hobby store.  (The main rail is 1/16″ thick).  I probably need this anyway, since I need to make the rest of the rail.
  • Somehow I am going to get the actual shape/size of my hull at the bow and stern into the computer.  Not 100% sure how I’ll do this.  I need to come up with some way to transfer the exact outline of the top onto paper so it can be scanned in.
  • Once on the computer, I’ll used scanned copies of the plans (that have the shape of the parts) and the scanned outline of my hull to re-size the pieces to fit correctly.
  • Next I’ll print off the resized templates and tack it onto the basswood sheet.
  • Finally, I’ll hand-cut the new pieces at the right size using the templates.

In theory, this should give me pieces that are the same shape, but slightly resized to fit my ship.  In theory. 

Okay.  Time to get back to paint touch-ups.  Or time to grab to a drink.  Probably a drink.