Every now and the I get a creative inspriation and do something.
This time I decided to build a model of one of my favorite boats.
All the credit goes to Chesapeak Marine Design as it is one of their
designs. I bought the study plans so I have a pretty good guide
as to how to build the model.
Here is a picture of the cover sheet to the study plan.
You can see the webpage for the company in the picture. Take a
look - Mr. Strambaugh has a lot of good boat designs.
For my models I get started by redrawing the study plans into a scale I
can work with. In this case - I went for 1"=1' and resketched the
shape of the boat onto grid paper that I get from Office Depot.
Then I transpose the plan view and the elevation view to establish the
3-D shape of the internal elements. In the picture below I have
cut out several of the bulkheads that define the shape of the hull.
The next step is to build a keel. The Little Island Trader 30 has
a "box" keel. I did have to build a regular stem and a stern
attached to the keel. I used 1/2" by 1" balsa for these parts.
You have to glue several pieces to gether to get the general shape of
curve elements. Later - I will sand the leading edge of the stem
to fit the shape of the hull sheathing.
The rudder shoe is on the bottom and will eventually hold the bottom of
the rudder. I glued it to the back of the keel bottom with a
slight angle. The keel rises as you move forward. I also
added the angled edge to the keel extension to make it easier to build
the transom on the hull.
Time to glue in the bulkheads onto the keel. Notice that you have
to keep track of whats angled and whats vertical.
I'm sure there are hundreds of ways to build model boats but I prefer
to add stringers that help hold everything together while you are
handling the model. The stringers also help me see where I need
to adjust the bulkhead to make the lines flow as the designer intended.
With the stringers in place - you can begin to see the shear line of
the boat. The upper edge of the stringer is the level of the deck
from stem to stern.
Now the sheathing is on. The balsa needs a little help to flow
around the shape of the lines. I use ammonia based cleaner to wet
the wood and then bend and glue (update - at this stage a problem
developed that I have been fighting... the tension of the bottom
sheathing slightly twisted the frame. I have to measure carefully
to keep the remainder of the work square).
Now you can sand the seams of the sheathing smooth. Check out
that "box" keel.
Next up is the deck. I had to join two six inch pieces of balsa
to span the beam of the model. I also tend to cut off large
chunks of excess material before fitting the part to the model.
Web Page Update from May 15, 2006
The first few pics are from earlier in the week. I cut the deck
and added the gunwales. Then I cut in the trunk cabin hole.
Here is a better shot showing the angle of the gunwales.
Next up is building the cabin. I started with the back
wall. Also notice that I have added trim around the upper edge of
After fitting the front wall I cut in the side wall.
After the side walls I worked on the roof. This is one area that
I deviated from the plan. The plans roof has some type of sun
visor that would be difficult to build in small scale with balsa - so I
just made it a simpler way.
Thats the idea.
Here is the side view with the cabin top in place.
Time to cut in the windows. Notice that I used a second piece of
trim on the roof. Makes it look thicker even though its only
thick on the edge.
I used a bit of trim along the layout of the window to make it easier
to cut. Also makes it look like a window frame.
It's coming together.
A few more hours of work and then you have the windowd on both sides as
well as the front of the cabin.
Here is a different view. Gotta work on the back wall of the
cabin and then the trunk cabin up front.
May 27, 2006 Update
I did a little more balsa wood work by adding the trunk cabin to the
Next comes the mast...
Time to paint the model.
I used two coats of grey primer and 600-grit sanding between
coats. I went with the grey primer because it will be the deck
color on the final paint scheme.
Next comes masking for the white paint that is the primary color for
Whoosh. Lots of paint on that model... two spray cans of
primer and two cans of pure white.
Next to mask it off and paint in the other colors...
The next chore was to add a mast, boom, and a little rigging.
Looking really good. Cleaned up all the paint smudges and it is
ready for display.
And so it goes. Love that green gunwale. Till next time!