Stem, Deck, and Stern

Following the careful adjustment of the deck slots for the right-angle positioning of each bulkhead, I proceeded to stain the visible parts of each bulkhead dark brown.   Then, I glued each bulkhead in to place one at a time using the deck sections and other bulkheads to hold everything in position.

Bulkheads glued into place and visible areas stained dark brown.

You can clearly see strong warping in the false keel below, but this will be taken out later by the lower decks as they are glued in place.

Next, I glued together the stern assembly from the 2 bulkheads and false deck, which until this point had been simply dry fitted in place.

Constructing the stern assembly.

Since portions of the interior might be visible through the rudder tiller opening, I opted to finished these interior surfaces using some thin laminate stock I had left over previously from my HMS Victory project.

View of finished interior.

Note in the above photo, the fore-side of the furthest aft bulkhead is finished with the laminate board as well.  I stained the underside of the false deck piece to further ensure that any visible surfaces would appear as part of the true ship’s interior.

Finished fore-side of stern assembly with deck beams in place.

Now that the stern assembly was in place, I could proceed to glue down the lower decks.   I started with the foremost section, carefully using a combination of T-pins and clamps to press the deck firmly against the bulkheads.

Pinning the gluing the fore-lower deck in place.

There was no need to worry about any bulkheads beyond those in contact with this first section of the deck.  In other words, the warping of the false keel would ultimately be corrected most by positioning each section of deck firmly against the next.

Pinning the gluing the remaining lower deck pieces in place.

You can see in the above photo that I drilled holes in the sections of the deck near their adjoining locations so that clamps could be used to “true-up” the false keel.  At this point, most all of the warping of the false keel has been removed.  The only warping that remains is along the bottom-most portion of the keel.  this will be corrected later by the positioning of the actual keel.

As it happened, following its construction, there was a severe twist in the stern assembly.  To correct for this, I cut the stern assembly straight down the middle as shown below so that the twist could be removed.

Stern assembly cut to remove twist.

Then, I was able to re-glue the rear of the assembly to correct the twist that had been introduced during the first pass of construction.  You can see the slight mismatch between the two stern sections in the photo below.  This won’t ultimately be visible at all in the final model.

View of re-attached stern assembly to remove twist.

You can also see in the above photo the tapering of the false keel toward the stern.  I added this so as to create a rabbit joint for the hull’s planking to come later.

Bow fill in pieces and rabbit joint stock added for future planking.

I added a piece of stock to the bottom of the false keel to create this rabbit joint.  Likewise, I added a strip to the bow as well following placement and sanding of the fill-in piece along the length of the bow.  From the above two photos, you can easily imagine how the stem and keel will be placed, leaving a notch perfectly sized notch to accommodate the ends of the hull’s planks.

Next, I finished the aft portion of the stern using stock provided with the model in “herring-bone fashion” as described in the kit’s instructions.

Finishing the stern using the stock provided in “herring-bone fashion”.

Moving on to the stem, I began by carving and shaping its various features as indicated in the plans provided.  I started with the recessed region to accommodate the gammoning of the bowsprit to come later.


Carving a recessed region in the stem to accommodate future gammoning.

There is also a taper toward the fore-end of the stem.  However, the most difficult part of the process was shaping the curvature of the stem to match the curvature of the false keel.  A proper fit would help ensure a strong glue joint between the stem and false keel later, as shown in the photo.

The finished stem attached to the false keel. Note the rabbit joint is now visible.

The rabbit joint between the keel and the stem is now visible.  This is not part of the kit’s plans, but an addition I made to specifically ease the planking process later.

Next, it was time to attach the keel.  First, I added reinforcement blocks to accommodate the screws that would later be used to attach the model to its display stand.   This is an easy step to forget, but very important to ensure a strong ship-to-stand connection later on.

The remaining keel warping is evident here.

You can also see the false keel is still a bit warped toward the bottom of the ship.  To fix this, I rigged up a straight edge placed in the rabbit joint I created between the false keel and the soon-to-be-placed keel.  This straight edge would allow me to clamp out any remaining warping in the keel.

Keel glued in place and warping removed!

Finally, the keel was glued in place using a combination of clamps, and the two future stand screws, which were certainly helpful during the gluing processes.

At this point, we are about ready to begin the long and arduous process of planking!