Don's Santisima Trinidad by OcCre

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#1
Hello to all,
By way of an introduction, my name is Don Long. I live in Mesa, Arizona. Donnie has been after me since March to start a build log for my Santisima Trinidad by OcCre. I have been hesitant to do so for several reasons. First, I didn’t think I would have that much to offer. Second, I had major surgery to one of my lungs recently and have not gotten fully up to speed yet. Third, I wanted to get my work shop finished so I would have a decent place to build the ST. Finally, I have been doing a ton of research on the ST which has taken most of my time.

I have wanted to build a wooden model warship since I was 7. I am 66 now and finally am living the dream. I am fascinated by this ship. I have looked at many build logs, especially Donnie’s. My goal is to build the ST as she appeared last, at the Battle of Trafalgar (actually just before the battle started). That means proper colors, full sails, etc. The Spanish Naval Ministry Regulation of 1772 stated the hull was to be black with yellow bands. During my research, I found a documented account by midshipman William Badcock. Badcock was aboard the HMS Neptune when the Spanish and French ships began to develop their line the day of the battle. He was noted to say:

“At this point the enemy were forming their double line in the shape of a crescent. It was a beautiful sight when their line was completed: their broadsides turned towards us showing their iron teeth, and now and then trying the range of a shot to ascertain the distance, that they might, the moment we came within point-blank open their fire upon our van ships – no doubt with the hope of dismasting some of our leading vessels before they could close and break their line.

Some of the enemy’s ships were painted like ourselves – with double yellow sides, some with a broad single red or yellow streak, others all black, and the noble Santisima Trinidad with four distinct lines of red, with a white ribbon between them, made her seem to be a superb man-of-war… She was lying under topsails, top-gallant sails, royals, jibs, and spanker; her courses were hauled up, and her lofty, towering sails looked beautiful, peering through the smoke as she awaited the onset. The flags of France and Spain both handsome, chequered the line, waving defiance to that of Britain.”

It’s not often you hear such praise coming from someone about their enemy. At any rate, I found a drawing of the ST that seems to coincide with the midshipman’s statement.

Santisima-Trinidad-1.jpg

At the present time, I have the skeleton built and the lower deck glued in. I need to varnish it and do some painting before I glue in the main deck.

I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am to finally start this project. I look forward to sharing my successes and failures with you. Hopefully some of the information will be useful to others.
 
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catopower

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#2
Hi Don,

Welcome!

I'm glad to see you starting a build log on your Santisima Trinidad. Don't worry about what you have to offer. No matter what you do, people will get something from following your build. And already you've shared a nice bit of research work on the color scheme. She must have been quite a sight on the sea.

Have you built other ship models? This should be quite a challenge. Hope you recover quickly from your surgery!

I'll be looking forward to seeing your posts.

Clare
 
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#3
Clare,
Thanks for your comments. I have an electrical/mechanical engineering background. I have always been handy with my hands and solving problems. As a kid, I built a ton of models but all plastic. This is my first wooden model. I am fortunate in that I can visualize the finished ship. My issue is how to make these little scraps of wood in the kit look like that?

Look at the picture I found and then imagine something like that, almost the size of a football field, coming at you. I can see why Badcock was impressed even though what was coming at him wanted to destroy him. I personally like the history tied to the build. It gives it an added dimension.

The surgery was intense. Sometimes I feel it will never heal. The problem was having to separate part of my ribs to get to the lung. I feel like I have been hit by a truck... a BIG truck. The pain is not as bad as it was. My breathing is about as good as it is going to be (95%) and I don’t feel as useless as I did for the first few months.

I have found, already, building this or any wooden ship has its monotonous moments. Planking, treenails and even the research can cause you to look inward and wonder: Why did I want to do this? But I find it gentles me. Takes my mind off things like ribs, lungs and the pain. I am finishing up the lower deck. When that is done, I will take some pictures and explain what I did and why I did it.

Thanks again.
 

Donnie

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#4
Don,
such a good post. Wow, you really have done your homework. I am excited to see how this is going to turn out. I am sure without a doubt that it will be fantastic. (know you like I do).

All the folks here at SOS are fine people, eager to help.

Donnie
 
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#5
Donnie,

Thanks for your vote of confidence. I will certainly give it my best.
Any comments from the SOS folks will be greatly appreciated. I have done a year of research and reviewed many of the build logs and the plans. I do have a plan of attack and will report as I go.

Don
 
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#6
Hello mates!
I told you I would share my failures and successes. In this case, this one was a failure I turned into a success. The problem I encountered was the crossbeams that pass through nine of the frames. I could not get the beams to pass through all of the frames once they were glued in place. Not sure why this happened. Perhaps it was my lack of experience that caused the problem BUT I did dry fit and mark everything. Then I glued and trued each frame again to make sure. I also made sure the false keel was straight and well secured.

I ended up having to wet the middle frames until they were loose. At that point, I slid the crossbeams through the frames. Once I got the beams in place, I glued the frames in place again. In hindsight, I should have passed the crossbeams through each frame as they (the frames) were glued to the false keel.

The planking of the lower deck presented several interesting challenges. I don’t know how the planking strips come in other kits but the ones in this kit were buggered up on the edges. The edges were not square or had saw marks or gouges in the strip. Another issue was the caulking between the planking. During my research, there seemed to be as many ways to represent the caulking as there were strips. The same held true with the treenails. “Oh what to do… Oh what to do…”

Well this is what I did. I went to my handy hardware store and picked up two 1”x36”x1/16” aluminum strips. I clamp them to the work bench using two Quik-Grips. I spaced them apart so a plank, standing on the long edge, would fit in the gap. See the picture below.

DSC00012-1.JPG

Most of the strips I had were just a little greater than 3mm wide. Using an old X-Acto sanding block, I lightly sanded both edges the length of the strip. Obviously, care must be taken not to sand too much. Next, I took a piece of pencil lead (HB or B) and blacked the entire edge the length of the strip. I did this to both sides. The lead is the type used in a drafting pencil. It is about a 1/16th of an inch in diameter. This process corrected the edge roughness and the caulking between the planks. The benefit to this is when you sand the planks; the caulk line is still there.

Next, was the plank shifting. I used Donnie’s method of cutting across a plank to signify a plank joint. Then I darkened it with a .3mm, B lead, mechanical pencil. This is a little hard to see here but looking at plan #3 from the “Instituto De Historia Y Cultura Naval – 1983”, it shows very specifically that the planks line up on the fourth plank from the first. These drawings are easy to find on the net if you want a closer look.

Here part of the drawing blown up for you.

J.jpg

I made the assumption, most of the drawings from this time period, did not show all the details. One assumption was they did not draw in every plank seam. The drawings only show what was generally required. It was left up to the builders to implement it and make it work. The 60-40-20 shifting scheme seemed to work for this. Right or wrong, I shifted my seam marks based on 20% of the length from the first plank seam, then 40 % from the first plank and then 60% from the first plank. My planks seam marks were based on a 25’ plank. Below is what I ended up with.

DSC00013-1.JPG

Next, the treenails. I tried five or six ways to make them. I finally decided to punch a hole using the small hand press from Mircomark and a pick or probe that was about .2mm in diameter; about 1/16” up from the tip. I used a small hose clamp to limit the travel of the punch to about 1/16”. After I punched the four holes around the seam, I used a .3mm, B lead, mechanical pencil to darken the holes.

I did not want the treenails to be jet black. I also wanted the general appearance of the deck to look somewhat weathered. This is what I did to get it. I sanded the deck to get rid of the fuzzies. I used a nail file sanding stick. This one was pink, had about 1/8” of foam between the two filing sides and had a super fine grit on both sides. It is about 6” long and maybe ¾” wide. They are cheap and flexible. By sanding the deck, the treenail holes filled up with a very fine wood dust. The black lead between the planks tended to embed itself somewhat in the wood grain during sanding, giving a used look. Then I sealed it. The wood still raised some additional fibers. I allowed the sealer to dry hard and then sanded it again to remove the rest of the fuzzies and deposit more dust in the treenail holes. After a second coat of sealer… voila, a weathered deck. I used a ‘matte finish polyurethane’ to seal the deck during this process. The picture below shows the results.

DSC00016-1.JPG

I am pleased with the results as it was what I wanted the deck surface to look like. The treenails look like wood with a black ring around them that could be interrupted as tar. The planks have a used look about them but not severely weathered. I am working on the main deck now using the same process.

I am not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination but hopefully the pictures I have will give you an idea of what I am talking about. If not let me know and I will take some more.

Good day!!
 
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#8
It’s me again.

I was thinking about the deck surface for the ship. I explained how I did the seams and the treenails but I really didn’t explain the preserving of the deck. I wanted a dull, clear surface on my decks. I tried a satin but did not like it. It was too shinny and showed brush marks. What I ended up using was Rust-oleum Ultimate Polyurethane, a clear, matte finish. This product can be cleaned up with soap and water. I found due to the dryness of the wood (remember I live in Arizona where the relative humidity is usually under 10%) a water based sealer worked better than an oil or resin based one.

This is what I did. You will need to be near an overhead light (ceiling light is fine) that will shine on the deck. Make sure the deck has been sanded and is clean and free of lint, etc. For the ST, I used a 3/8” angle brush #44277 made by Plaid. You can use any manufacturer of the brush but an angle brush allows you to get right up to the edges. I also found the 3/8” worked well because you will need to work the sealer into the wood. These brushes really hold their shape well.

Dip your brush into the sealer. You really don’t want a lot of sealer on your brush. Start at one end of your deck and apply the sealer. This next step will take less than a minute to do. Try not to do more than a 1” x 3” section at a time. If all is right the overhead light should show you exactly where your sealer is. With quick, short strokes begin to smooth out the sealer, covering the entire surface in the 1” x 3” space. Brush with the grain. Continue brushing the area. As you are brushing the area, you will notice the sealer will begin to disappear. Continue to brush the sealer until there are no shinny spots shown by the light. You are now done with that section. The light is critical as it will show you every mark the brush makes. These can be smoothed out with lighter strokes. I actually used 3x magnification glasses when I did this. It allowed me to see better detail of the surface while I was sealing it.

Go to the next section, and do the same thing again. Make sure this section overlaps the one you just completed. You will find that you can blend the two sections together with no brush strokes showing and no evidence that they are two different sections.

Continue this process until the deck is done. Let it dry for several hours and then apply another cost using the same technique. Sand and clean it, if necessary, before applying the second coat. You can apply a third coat if you feel it needs it. You should end up with a beautiful, nature looking deck.

Let me say this is only one technique of sealing the deck but it is NOT the only way to do it. Depending on your experience and what you want the final finish to look like will determine your approach. I put this in for those scratching their heads wondering: How should I seal or finish the deck?

Good Day!
 
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#9
Hi Don,
I´m glad to see you overcome your health issues by keeping yourself busy with Santisima Trinidad. I like the technique you applied to the deck´s treenails. I do some thing similar but with a syringe needle. For preservation of the deck (and the rest of the hull) I´d like to use Teak Oil. The end result is this:





I´m planning to do Trinidad from scratch at 1/72 and I´ve done extensive research on her for the past 2 years so if you need some info just let me Know. I hope the following links will help you get started. Are you fluent in Spanish? if not you can ask me although I think the pictures are self explanatory:
http://modelismo-santisimatrinidad.blogspot.com.es/2009_07_01_archive.html
Also I see you want to do Santisima as it was in 1805 here is a link with her colors during the later part of the XVIII century:
http://www.todoababor.es/vida_barcos/perfiles-st.htm
The second link you probably Know but if you have time explore the web page because there is a lot useful information. The look of Santisima Trinidad in 1805 was more or less like the following model (It´s a huge 1/50 baby):
http://www.todoababor.es/maquetas/santisima_trinidad3.htm
As you can see you would need to change the stern because OcCre´s model is based on the stern from the early 1790s. Lastly, this is the model at 1/90 I like the most. The author is Rafael Berenguer Moreno de Guerra which is also the author of the plans you attached on this thread:






The pictures were taken in 1973 so the quality is not so great. Many of the Spanish ship drawings you see in the net are his.
 
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#10
Anaga,
Thank you so much for the information. At least I can see I was headed in the right direction as to the 1805 colors. The only problem I have had is who do you believe. I have the eye witness account by Midshipman Badcock stating there was a single white line between the red stripes and the Todo a Babor site shows two. I have seen paintings of it both ways also.

I was going to use Dutch oil on her at first but I think I read that the oils will dry out in time. As you know, I live in Arizona, so I though some type of varnish would be better. By the way, your 5 photos on your teak oil of the ship did not show up in the post.

I will be thrilled if I get the model built. Building one from scratch is out of my league. At least for now it is.

Is there documentation on the changes to the stern? To be honest with you, I am not that familiar with all the changes to her. I know about the deck and gun changes, the color changes but was not aware of the stern changes. I have a list of changes but have not gone through them all. It appears from the pictures, she had four guns back there and a boat. I will have to check into this. I would be interested to know why they would sling a boat off the back of her when they originally had them stacked in the middle.

I do not read or speak Spanish but have been able to translate most of what I have found using Microsoft Word. Some of it does not make sense but there are other sites that translate and I can generally figure it out. I do appriciate your offer and will keep you in mind as I move forward.

I remember some time back, there was a group called the Friends of the Santisima Trinidad (or something like that) that was building hugh ship. For whatever reason the site seems to be down or gone. There were a lot of details on that site as well as pictures.

Thank you again for the information.

Don
 
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#11
I was going to use Dutch oil on her at first but I think I read that the oils will dry out in time. As you know, I live in Arizona, so I though some type of varnish would be better. By the way, your 5 photos on your teak oil of the ship did not show up in the post.
I don,t Know why the pics don´t show up (I see only one) here is the link:
http://www.modelismonaval.com/foro/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=10710
The only problem I have had is who do you believe. I have the eye witness account by Midshipman Badcock stating there was a single white line between the red stripes and the Todo a Babor site shows two. I have seen paintings of it both ways also.
Check this artist web page. I think he´s pretty accurate on the colors in 1805:
http://carlosparrillapenagos.es/pintura-naval/
One thing you have to take into account is that by 1805 all three deckers where pretty much following a standarized set up. So it is plausible Trinidad had the same stern as Santa Ana and Principe de Asturias:

Is there documentation on the changes to the stern? To be honest with you, I am not that familiar with all the changes to her. I know about the deck and gun changes, the color changes but was not aware of the stern changes. I have a list of changes but have not gone through them all. It appears from the pictures, she had four guns back there and a boat. I will have to check into this. I would be interested to know why they would sling a boat off the back of her when they originally had them stacked in the middle.
Yes, There is documentation on the changes to the stern but I can provide you with it via e-mail to avoid copy right issues.Let me Know.
The friends of Santisima Trinidad did their model for the Naval Museum in Havana. It is a huge model but in my opinion they concentrated on what´s inside and not so much on the exterior looks. Never the less, it is an impressive work of art. An important aspect regarding the Santisima origins is that she was build as a three decker so when it left Cuba on it´s maiden voyage it had 114 gun or so.
 
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#12
Anaga,
Once again thanks for the great information on the Santisima Trinidad. The teak oil does leave an impressive finish.

As for the paintings, I agree with the artist. He said he did as much research as possible before doing the paintings and it was his expressed wish that the paintings were as representative as possible of the ship at that time.

I think the Santisima Trinidad departed from the norm (meaning the other ships including the Santa Ana and Principe de Asturias) not only by size but also when they added the forth deck and the additional guns. Even though she could not maneuver well, they continued to make modifications. This ship was special.

I would be very interested in seeing the documentation on the stern modifications. I just finished gluing the main deck. If I decide to make these changes, now would seem to be the right time to plan them.

Once again, I truly appreciate your assistance in determining how the ST may have looked during its final battle.

Don
 
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#14
You can find more at:
http://dioramadetrafalgar.blogspot.com.es/search?updated-max=2012-07-24T10:39:00%2B02:00
Also here (at 3:05):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjE1P-hkADY&feature=plcp
The professional modeller´s name is Curro and the Trafalgar diorama at 1/50 scale is for sale.
 

Donnie

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#16
That is just unbelievable.

Thanks for posting that info.

Donnie
(there you go Don, you should be all set to go now) :handgestures-thumbupleft:
 
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#17
Apparently Curro´s blog was hacked sometime ago and some of the images from the beginning are not visible anymore. Luckily, I found detailed ones of Trinidad construction at:
http://www.todoababor.es/maquetas/maq-dio-trafalgar1-50.htm
Check the three parts to see the stern and quarter gallery details. Also you can see some details of ST here (beginning at 4:40 to 7:15):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FThk189-8zc
Now is your turn to come up with a great 1805 version of ST :handgestures-salute:
I´ll be glad to be of assistance with other details such as artillery and deck details when the time comes. Meanwhile I´ll seat and watch your progress and don´t hesitate to ask if in doubt.

Have you given any thought to the types of woods for the model? or are you going to use the ones from the kit?
 
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#18
Hello to all,
I am going to the dark side of the moon for a while. I have started installing the bulwarks so I will be focusing on that task. One thing I am doing different from the instructions is installing them from bottom to top instead of top to bottom. I could be wrong but it seems starting at the 'stops' would insure the proper placement of the other bulwarks.

One other change I have made is the use of nails. The brass nails that come with the kits seems to have caused some issues with some of my fellow modelers. I decided to use wire brads. I am using a 1.0mm x 12.7mm or #19 x 1/2" steel brad for the bulwarks. I have taken one and cut the head off. Then I inserted it into a pin vice. I use this to make a pilot hole. This process makes it very easy to install a brad if needed. The other part of this is the brad has a somewhat rounded transition from the head to the shank. It is easy to countersink and leaves a better appearance. Of course this would not matter with the bulwarks since they will be covered anyway but for nails that would show, these would work nicely.

The brass ones that come with the kit seem to have almost a pan head on them. Countersinking these would not leave a clean appearance in my opinion. In the States, you can get these brads at almost any hardware store. I got mine at Ace Hardware. They also had brads smaller than #19, if required,in stock.

I will come back with an update after I get them installed.

Later,

Don
 
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#19
Greetings,

George Carlin once said, “If you nailed two pieces of wood together, someone would buy it”. I wonder what his take would be on gluing hundreds of pieces of wood together. For those that may not know; Carlin was an American comedian that made fun of human nature.

The installation of the bulwarks went better than I expected but I still had problems. I decided to do one side with wire brads and the other side with only glue. If you want fast, the wire brads is the way to go. They certainly simplify matters as far as holding things in place. Using just glue is fine also but it forces you to be a little more creative and meticulous IF you want it to look good and fit well. I realize the bulwarks will be covered but for a newbie like myself, it gave me an opportunity to play with wood bending, nailing and gluing techniques.

The end result is the glue only side looks much better than the wire brad side but is harder to do. So the choice is yours since you will be the one sitting there for hours putting these panels in place.

This is the non wire brad side.

DSC00021-1.jpg

This is the wire brad side.

DSC00022-1.jpg

One thing I did find, while many of the pieces of the kit are laser cut, the accuracy was not as good as it could be. This may account for Donnie’s gap issue he had when he installed his bulwarks. Many of the cannon ports are cockeyed or not in line with the other ports. Even the seams did not line up as I thought they should. So there were some adjustments required before the bulwarks were installed. There is no reason to believe this will not be the case throughout the entire assembly of the ship.

I did start at the bottom or the ‘stops’ and worked my way up. This led me to another discovery in the assembly order of the ship. If I had it to do over again, I would install the bulwarks first, then the main deck. It would have made the installation of the bulwarks much easier to do. This may even hold true for the second level deck also.

Shaping the bulwarks to the frame was easy. I found it worked better for me if I did not soak the piece. Instead, I brushed it with water and let it set for a few minutes. You might have to do this a few times but the wood becomes pliable fairly quickly. I used push pins to form the wood. This made the process a breeze. Speaking of breezes, after I got the wood shaped and pinned in place, I used a heat gun to dry the wood. I tried shaping the wood with the cannon blanks glued in and without them glued in. My preference for shaping is without the blanks. Once shaped, the blanks were glued in. In some cases, a blank had to be sanded on the corners or edges to get it to fit in the shaped areas. Once shaped and the blanks glued in place, the bulwark was installed.

I did not paint the cannon port blanks before installation. With the sanding that is required, I felt it would be better to paint them after all sanding was completed. All-in-all, I am pleased with the outcome of what I did. Either side (brads or no brads) is fine with me.

Since beginning this project, there are many things I have learned. I thought I would share this with those that are just beginning. Save all the scraps of wood you have. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I have used them. They come in handy for clamping on curved surfaces and filling in small gaps.

Keep your work area clean. Develop the habit of keeping tools, glue, etc. in specific places so they are in reach but not in the way.

When I glue anything, I use a small paint brush to apply the glue. Since the wood is so dry, I keep a cup of water to wet the area I want to glue, and then I apply the glue. It gives you a few minutes more to get things adjusted before the glue sets. Don’t try to glue long lengths of wood all at once. Do it in sections. The only exception to this is the deck planking. They are small enough that you can apply the glue and still have time to set it.

Something like the bulwarks is another story. Plan ahead. Have the tools available that you will need for that step. Remove the tools you will not need at that time. Keep push pins, clamps, etc where you can reach them. Take the time to spread the clamps so they are ready when you need them. Be patient and comfortable before you start. Do this during a time when there will be no interruptions. Make sure, as much as possible, that the part will fit the way you want it to fit.

Water will become your friend. Many times you can wet the wood and shape it to fit an area instead of trying to sand it. Example: I had a bulwark that had a gap about 5 inches long between it and the bulwark I was mounting it next to. Sanding did not seem to be getting me anywhere. So I wet the entire bulwark I was trying to fit. Then I clamped it to a point the gap went away. After it dried, it fit perfectly.

Many times you can shape an area after it is glued in place. These will be minor adjustments though. This wood is very forgiving when wet. I use a brush to wet the area I want to adjust. The wood does not have to be saturated to shape it. Don’t assume anything. No matter how careful you are, each side of the ship will have its own issues.

Do your homework. Check out other build logs. See what they did. These kits are not perfect as I found out. If you know there are issues; you will be better prepared to deal with them. Like Donnie’s bulwark gap issue. Seeing how diligent he was in lining up everything, it really didn’t make sense to me that he would have this problem. I ended up with the same problem but realized it was the way the bulwarks were cut. I used water and clamps to shape the wood to a better fit.

I used Titebond, Original for everything. I hate super glue as I am not good with using it. I end up glued to everything I am working on. Titebond has saved me several times when I have done something and did not like it. You can wet an area using a brush. You may have to do this several times but if you are patient, the glue will get soft and you can take that area apart. I have done this with the second level deck, the planking on the second level deck, the middle frames so I could install the brace. I am guessing if nothing was nailed together, you could disassemble the entire ship. Just stick her in water and wait for the pieces to float to the surface. Once the wood was dry, you could start over again. The reason I mention this is you have options. You are not committed even if things are glued together. For me this takes the pressure off and I can enjoy the build.

Enjoy!!

Don
 
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GaryM

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#20
That is a great post. Some of us that have built several models forget about the little details that it takes to learn this hobby. Since many of the steps are done several times within a single build, it becomes second nature and we forget that this skill was actually learned. I believe I could make a clove hitch even when I am really deep REM sleep. Such things like saving all the scraps is something that becomes what we think is common sense, but like you said, it is something we learned by making a mistake and having to fix it.
Welcome to a wonderful and rewarding hobby.
 
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