Model Shipways Sultana Schooner Build Log

Donnie

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#1
May 18, 2006

Model Shipways - Sultana Colonial Schooner - Solid Hull Kit

Built by Benjamin Hollowell in Boston in 1767, Sultana was seaworthy far beyond her size of 51 feet. The Royal Navy bought her in 1768, and she became one of Britain´s most effective weapons in the fight against smugglers.

The Sultana comes with a machine carved basswood hull that requires a little light shaping and sanding. This kit also has other wooden parts, including a ship´s boat, which is laser cut for a perfect fit. Plank-scored decking, spars, wood materials and eight cast metal swivel guns are all included. For historical accuracy, original rigging is duplicated with cotton cordage and 67 wooden blocks. Detailed plans by Ben Lankford and a 24 page instruction manual help you build an authentic replica.

This is an Entry Level Kit

Length 17 inches Height 15 inches Scale 3/16 inches = 1 ft. (1:64)

Ok, so this is going to be very obvious to some and to others it may not be so apparent. There might be some here that have never tackled a wooden ship model before. I can only say that I have had a "taste" of it, but no completions. Wooden Ships will go together will a different type of personality if you will. There are a lot of differences that go beyond the scope of this posting that I am making now. Depending on the complexity of the wooden ship depends on how much "building" is done not "putting together".
This is why I choose the Sultana is that is has a combination of "putting together" and "building". And for heavens sake I certainly hope that I do not come across any certain way by describing "putting together" and "building" as both applies to making a model. I am sure however, that some will contest my witting and my attempt to help. My time is limited right now, so I am in a bind to be less wordy about it at the moment. Now, The discussion at this moment for this build is about Adhesives I done some research about what kind of glue to use with wooden ships. Like I said, bear with me. I have found that if you use Cynoacrylate or CA (super glue) then that is ok, but one thing that some needs to think about is this: If you plan to finish your Sultana with like a natural stain or whatever (instead of painting colors), you might find that the CA glues will not allow your stain to get thru, but will "block" that stain.

If you want to stain naturally your ship, you might want to consider using some products like Titebond original, regular Carpenters Glue and or a product called Weldbond. These later glues allow for stains to be applied and they are also "sandable" whereas the CA glues will dry on the surface hard and maybe crusty depending on your expertise of applications. I am going to go with a variety of CA and some locally bought Titebond from Lowes. I think the Titebond will dry fast enough for what I want to do. My ambition here is not to get carried away with Adhesives, but just to put some thoughts out there for this project coming up. I am not going to go with a stain per say, but I think the mast might have a stain look to it. I will use the Titebond or something similar with that as it will not hinder the looks of the mast or yards. But on parts that will be hidden, then the CA will do fine. There are also some applicator tips that you can use to make sure that too much CA is not being used. I tend to be a little allergic for some reason of the CA. I found that ZAP makes a non-odor variety or non-allergic. It does cost more, but it actually works (no allergic reaction no odors).
 

Donnie

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#2
I thought I would try my best at informing everyone about the colors that I ordered as part of the package. The Model Shipways part number is MS2016 which includes 9 bottles of paint. It is actually eight colors (the 9th bottle is an extra Primer - you have two bottles of Primer).

Ok, so I tried my hand using my paint program to duplicate those colors the best that I could. Now, the deal is that I know that everyone is going to have their Computer Monitor set up a slight different. But, at least we have some type of representation of what is going on here with the paint. The paint is also 100% Acrylic Paint that comes 1 oz in a nice glass bottle. The bottles are rather larger than I would have thought. Handles nicely in the hands. Dilute with water.

So here goes the color scheme (please remember this is the best match I could get).

MS4802 Bulwarks Red


MS4803 Hull Tallow


MS4828 Iron Cannon Black


MS4829 Hull Yellow Ochre


MS4830 Hull Spar Black


MS4831 White


MS4836 Bright Green Trim


MS4839 Primer
 

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Donnie

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Tonight I have settled down and decided to get the manual out for a good intro reading and seeing what this ship is all about. I was wondering if any of you have done the same? I must admit that in reading the first few pages in "shaping the hull", I am either slightly confused or something. I don´t want to hop ahead of anyone because I think that we have one modeler left that will be getting theirs in shortly. What is every bodies impression of the kit so far of those that have it in hand? I noticed that at the beginning of reading that it says that there are different ways to make the hull and they do leave it to a modelers experience and decisions about how to do the hull. I must say that I hate making decisions like this Confused - now I don´t know if I want to plank it or just build it from plans or what the heck to do. I would like to get some opinions and advise. This is going to be interesting because I don´t think that any two Sultanas are going to be the same Make a Toast.
 

Donnie

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#4
June 02, 2006
I hope I don´t get thrown over-board for this, but I also noticed that http://www.micromark.com has some rigging line. I have not scrutinized it, but it is at least an effort to go to the site and see. If you go to the search and type in rigging, it will come up with various rigging thread. Also, I personally have found that just about any hobby store will have Bead making materials and for instance Hobby Lobby has hundreds and hundreds of various lines and threading. I know that this is not what everybody is looking for, but I found my stuff in the Jewelry making section. I am not an expert on rigging line, but I have come up with some ideas just by looking in the most unthoughtful of places.
 

papership

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#6
Howdy Donnie, this one has a special place in my heart.
While stationed @ Ft Stewart, GA. I purchased this very kit from a Hobby Shop in Savannah, GA.
Now I had plently of builds in plastic and some w/Scientific Kits, of which are solid wood hulls too.
When I got home and opened the box, my jaw dropped.
Up to this point, I had never really seen such a detailed little vessel.
So now I get to re-live those days watching you build yours.
One of the coolest ones I have seen, the guy cut the bottom half out of the hull, replaced w/scale ribs and built the ship as a opened ship on one side. The rest received a very attention to detail build.
looking forward to more of your build, I have noted your meticlus attention to the right shape, squarness and clean build style.
Back when I built this, the goal was to get built. Might have to give another a try someday :?:
Rick
 

Donnie

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#7
Be aware that the Profile template seems to be off about 1/16¨ in lenght. (too long about 1/16?). I think that someone made mention that due to repeatedly copying that is causing the template to be off just a bit.
 

Donnie

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#8
June 15th, 2006

Well, I haven#180;t heard from anyone lately, so I don´t know if that is a good sign or if everybody is scratching their heads! For me, I am sanding and staring at the plans trying to decide whats next. I have only "profiled" the hull and marked the center lines. thats it! I made a small error and sanded just a tad too much on the transom, but that was easily repaired. I am now on to trying to mark the other templates onto the side of the hull. I personally have stopped myself several times with almost making several mistakes. As they say - measure twice, cut once. But with me, I am measuring 3 to 5 times and cutting. Unless someone else is different, it is so easy to make a mistake on the hull carving.
 

Donnie

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#9
Go slowly as it is easy to carve too much before you realize it. I hope to start carving on the hull this evening. I decided to go ahead and remove my bulwarks and I am glad that I did - it does seem to make things easier, however, everyone should feel free to express their modeling taste. Also, marking the center lines can be tricky too. I bought me a center ruler or a zero center ruler. Very nifty item I must say.
 

Donnie

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#10
I make jigs not so much that I enjoy doing so, but I do it because it helps me figure things out better. It is not for everyone, and also, you can be welcome to copy any ideas that I come up with. I am sure that this goes way beyond anyone that cares to get this involved in trying to find the "center" on anything. Actually, I am not being perfectionist about this. I am engineering minded so my heart follows with the gadgets and jigs to help me do things better. At any rate, I do not want to become long winded as there are people that have other ideas that would suffice them. I made for lack of better description, a trellis as you see here to help facilitate many things. It has helped me so far in a lot of measuring. The trellis are glued with regular Titebond - no nails. I used a machinist square to make sure they are square. The other stick across the top is a feabled attempt to make a "center" ruler before I actually found one in a store. I used this jig to help me find center across the whole keel.
As far as the deck or top of the ship, I used plain dividers as the photo describes in itself. Ok, now, I found that my hull out of the box was not centered. I found that the Keel Center Line was (ok at the stern keel but off about 3/32¨ or a little more at the bow of the keel). sorry about my lack of nautical terms. (forward Keel "off" aft Keel "ok")
How did I find this out - I am trying to remember !
It seems that I had the ship in vise with deck up as I was looking down on the deck. I took the pair of dividers and I measured the "center" at 3 places. The 3 places were the 3 deck steps. Aft Step, Midship Step and fore Step. Again, I plead forgiveness of my lack of nautique. I marked the Center Line with a mechanical pencil. I then turned the ship over with the Keel facing upwards. It seems to me that I took some sanding paper wrapped around a 3/8¨ square stick and I started to lightly sand along the whole keel until I started to notice a good visible flatness of the keel. I think I measured a 4mm width and maintained that while allowing for the sanding to find the "natural" center by sanding. This worked for me, but I did have that 3/32¨ offset at the bow. However, let me say that after I drew my line down the center of the Keel , I noticed that the Center Line of the Top of the Deck LINED up with the Center Line of the Keel. So with that, I figured that by sanding the keel edge first, it sorta found its natural center. I am not sure if I am explaining myself here or not. Maybe I got lucky, who knows. Let me say it this way. Straight out of the box, I measured the Center Line on the deck. I turned the Ship over, and did not measure anything, but started sanding the keels edge. By sanding the Keels edge, the center of the Keel became more prominent and exposed enough. Then I could mark and measure the center line of the Keel from aft to fore.
 

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Donnie

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#11
June 23, 2006

Well, this is as far as I have gotten. For those that notice, no, at this time, I do not have provisions for my upper planking-on-hull "yet". I want to be fully satisfied of how the templates work as per out-of-the-box. When I am happy with the hull shaping, then I can turn my full attention to how I want to complete the sanding process to "allow" for the upper planking above the wales. I still have some areas on the overall hull that still need some shaping. I am looking for the correct hull-keel- to the top-of-deck relationship to be correct. At this point, I am entertaining the thought of using 1/64¨ basswood to do the upper planking. I have some 1/64¨ and 1/32¨ birch that I will look into for the deck. It is interesting as I mentioned in an earlier post that the birch color looks so close to the actual deck color that I am after. The discoloration that you see (one is gray and the other is dark patching), is a grey primer and wood filler. I know that the wood filler is not the same color, but this was replaced by a trip to the lowes to get a matched filler. The gray areas that you see is a simple deal of painting the transom gray so that I can actually see how smooth the transom will look and the second reason, I wanted to remark with a pencil a nice clean scribes to see where I am with the sanding process. By painting this area gray and letting it dry, I was able to see imperfections in my work. No problem about the primer as it sanded away anyway while I was removing those rough areas. The primer really helps in advertising those areas that are lackluster in shaping.
 

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Donnie

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#12
June 24, 2006

I am having problems with Station #5 alignment. I need to know what TD= _______.

It does not matter if it is in mm or inches. I think I have a measurement of 5/32¨ or about 4 mm. Something is wrong here. This is the only station that I am having problems with the Top of Deck (TD). I wish I had more time to describe what is wrong folks, but maybe later. I have included a picture below.
 

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Donnie

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#13
June 25, 2006

Station 5 is exactly in line with where the volute will be positioned. There is a small step up from the waste. I would measure the distance to the underside of the cap rail just before the volute starts to curve around. The measurement I have there is 6mm. That is from the top of the deck to the underside of the cap rail. To be safe I would calculate and use 7 or 8 mm so you have some room to adjust that height after you finish building the bulwarks. It is a lot easier to sand away excess wood than add it later.
 

Donnie

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#14
July 9, 2006

Ok, all can laugh at this one, but it works for me. I ran my plank under hot water for about 15 seconds, and slowly bent the wood a little at a time, and a little more hot water for about 10 seconds enough then to wrap around this small can. After about 30 minutes or so I remove the wood strip and apply to boat. The reason that it looks that way is that I form the arch to cup around the bow of ship.
 

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Donnie

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#16
July 22, 2006

I plan to do my decking and then lay my inside bulwarks. Again, I stripped my own decking. from a sheet of basswood 1/32¨ thick. Width is about 5/64¨ for each deck strip. Not at all finished with the upper planking, but got my own reasons / desires to start some on the deck.
 

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Donnie

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#17
July 31, 2006

Decided to go ahead and layout the decking using my 1/32¨ x 5/64¨ basswood that I stripped myself - wasn´t fun doing it that way, but I am happy with it. I then could not rest on the stain as I looked and found something I liked but could not find it locally. I settled on using some Danish Oil that I had laying around. I guess I am not too picky huh !
I used a dremel to drill out the nail holes in the deck. I can subdue then simply by sanding over them. I chose a random point kinda - not choosy on the selection of the deck nails (faux)
Now, I can move on to laying the "inside" bulwarks.
 

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Donnie

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#18
July 22, 2006

Now, I will say in honestly, I was wondering about the true spacing of all of the fastenings. Ignorance of decking is obvious here on my ship, but, I am happy to note that you chimed in so that I can investigate. No, it doesn´t take long at all to do this on the deck. Now, that I have thought about it right now, I am wondering if I should have taken a pencil and instead of making a hole, make a simulated plug using the pencil tip to make (not a hole) but a "dot" to represent the plug. However, I have found with a little extra sanding, the holes are filling up leaving or revealing a mocked up "plug" !
I will say that my models so far, I guess I strive for balance. The balance that I strive for is this formula:

Accuracy & precision vs. Time devoted to the project = my own enjoyment (satisfaction)

I guess I look at things like this to keep myself from going "nuts" over a project because I am just as perfectionist as the next modeler.

I have come to the conclusion that:

1) Who all will be looking at my model.
2) Will they know enough about the ship to make critical comments about it.
3) Am I satisfied with the work enough to realize the mistakes and the "I should have done this to it syndrome" and still be overall pleased with the final result.
4) I have found that coupled with this and the all of the great people on this forum to help, then I am VERY pleased with it all. Why, so that I will become a better modeler raising the bar to make better ships.
 

Donnie

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#19
November 2, 2006

Ok, here are some pics of the latest. I am ready to start on the brass pieces for the Rudder and start building the Transom today. I want to say that if you see some marks and some dings that is just due to accidentally breaking something or whatever that I plan to go back and touch up more as I go along. I wanted to show the detail of the rudder opening area. I got that off of a website and I will be glad to share that site, but I need to go back and look it up.
 

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Donnie

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#20
November 7, 2006

I was thinking today how fantastic it is to share our interest with each other. I was also thinking "why do I post the pictures of my ship anyway?" I guess it is a sense of "accomplishments" and to give and receive a sense that I am not the only one that is building these ships. I don´t feel like I am the only one out there racking my head over a set of manufactures plans and directions that do not seem to make much sense and that I am not alone. So when I post my pictures, it is more like, "this is what I have done and my accomplishments" not so much that I have anything to boast about. All along in building this Sultana, I have had a sense of "I am lost as to what to do"
In a way, I am almost disenchanted with the instructions and plans that came with the model. If it were not for people here and also Chucks practicum to "go by" and I use the term go by, becuase I am not out to make a model based on exact things that he did. I want my ship to personify Donnie. I also want to reemphasize that I turn to Chucks practicum when I get stuck.
It almost seems that Model Expo over sold the Sultana and saying how easy it is to build. I guess it must be me, but I guess I am used to the plastic versions that the pieces have already been molded and there is really not too much that can go wrong. However, with the Wooden ships, there is infinite amounts of decisions about what to do. How much to sand, how much to paint, what shade of paint, where do I place the plankshear, and other items and the list goes on and on.
I don´t mean to complain about model expo, but somehow, they need to come up with a model for beginners that has more TRUE hull already formed. They need to have more LASER cut parts so as to eliminate the guesswork. You know why I base this information is because several months ago, I bought the Midwest Lobster Boat for R/C control. Well, upon opening the box, I was first greeted with a instruction booklet as thick as a magazine with hundreds of steps. The steps were so elementary that it left NO guesswork what-so-ever. What to glue, where to glue and how to glue. What part goes exactly were and for what purpose. I know that the Lobster Boat cost like 3 times the other, but good greif, you know, after thinking about it, it seems that the Sultana is not for beginners. I am sorry for going on like this and it is not my purpose to discourage anyone, but you know, someone else out there might be just as much discouraged and I am here to tell you that if I can do it , you can to, and THIS is why I post my images. To let others know that even though in my opinion that this kit is ok, it can be done. I am thinking about that first modeler that has no clue about ships, how do you think they would deal with this kit? I have some experience with ship building and I am having difficulty with this model, so would someone feel that has never tackled on of these before. Well, the answer I guess lies here in this website to help and people like me having a difficult time can relate to those others that are having a difficult time as well. As a matter of fact, I am wondering right now how many of you that finally got the hull sanded down ever thought that you could muddle thru the rest of it like the thought that I had. I thought to myself "Thank goodness I made it that far even though I am not 100% for sure that I did it right." I am sending out this message to those to take heart even though you might be having problems, I know that I am, but I am trying not to get discouraged.
Pick up the ship again with a renewed interest and think that there is no one to impress but just yourself. If you are happy with your ship, then that is all that matters. I am trying to get happy with my build.

What is a fantastic model? the one that YOU are proud of !

Dont´ give up