Model Shipways Bounty Launch Build – Part 04

Here you can see that garboard strakes have been glued in place on both sides. You will note that the stern-most ends of each strake extend beyond the transom. All the strakes will do this and the ends will need to be sawn off and sanded down later.

Rather than beginning with the garboard strake and continuing with one plank after another until ending with the uppermost plank (or ‘Sheer Strake’), the method recommended by the plans is to add the sheer strake after the garboard strake and then work inward, finishing with the middle plank (known as the ‘Shutter Plank’). I chose to follow this recommendation, but I had cause to reflect on my choice later and wouldn’t necessarily proceed this was again.

Because of the curve near the bow, this strake (and all subsequent ones) will need being soaked and bent in order to fit into place. In this case, I only need to soak the front end as the rest of the plank, including the stern part, lies very easily along the ribs and against the transom.

Here you can see the soaked wood clamped so that the end fit into the keel groove and around the first three bulkheads. As with the ribs, the wood will need to be dried thoroughly before the plank can be glued into place.

Here you can see the second of the two sheer strakes after it has been dried and glued into position. As the garboard strakes and the sheer strakes now hold the ribs in place, all the alligator clamps have now been removed.

In this picture you can see that I have temporarily lifted my boat frame off the jig, The purpose of this is to ensure no ribs, or planks have been accidentally glued to the jig.

Since I have glued my jig to the base board trying to ‘unstick’ the hull from the jig after all the planks have been added would be nearly impossible.

Even with the jig not being fastened to the base board, trying to separate the jig from the hull can be very tricky if you not been careful avoid careless adhesions.  I have read of at least one modeller who virtually had to destroy the jig in order to separate the two, and I will be making several subsequent checks like this current one to forestall that unfortunate necessity.

Oooops … Picture Missing!

Unfortunately, I lost the relevant picture, but it was meant to show the hull at the stage where I completed all the planking except for the ‘Shutter’ plank. The process for these planks was effectively the same as the garboard and sheer strakes, and the result was generally pretty decent. Unfortunately, once I reached this point, I saw that there was a bit of a problem with the shutter planks.

The plans indicate that the shutter planks were cut wider than necessary so that they could be shaped to fit the gap they are intended to fill. That, however, was a bit of an ambitious claim.

First, the port side shutter plank was cut far, far wider than the gap. It not only needed to be narrowed considerably with a lot of sanding, but it needed a lot of tricky shaping. This problem was also compounded by the fact that I had accidentally cracked plank number 5 near the bow curve after I had soaked, shaped, and dried it, and it made fitting the edges of it with the shutter plank that much more difficult.

As for the starboard side, the curved section of the shutter plank at the bow end was actually narrower than the gap, meaning that an ‘insert’ plank, or ‘stealer’ would be necessary. This, along with the port side issues meant for some improvisation in order to make things look right.

Well, I finally got the planking completed, and I managed to get the hull off the jig without any problem. There are a lot of cosmetic issues that need to be addressed, such as a few gaps between certain planks, and accumulations of glue that had been squeezed into the inside of the hull during planking.

Completing the inner part of the hull begins with installing additional ribs, the first of which are known as the ‘Cant Frames’ because they are canted out of the same horizontal orientation as the others. These need to be cut, then soaked and bent into shape before being actually installed. Here they have been clamped into place to dry.

The remaining set of ribs to be installed are known as ‘tween frames as they will be placed in between each of the current horizontally oriented ribs. They also need to be soaked and bent to shape, but doing this over the jig bulkheads is far easier than trying to do it using the inside of the hull.

Here is the hull after the cant and ‘tween frames have ben glued into place and trimmed. I am going to proceed to doing a preliminary painting operation net, but I first want to make a couple of points having the benefit of hindsight:

  • Constructing the hull frame over a jig that is *not* glued to a work board is probably the better choice. It allows you to ensure edge placement of strakes from both the inside as well as the outside, and also lets you easily wipe away any glue that is squeezed out from between planks. and into the interior. It is easier doing this when the glue is fresh, rather than when it has dried.
  • In retrospect, I think on a future build, I would start with installing the garboard strake and then working in sequence, plank by plank, to finish with the sheer strake. Trying to close the hull with the shutter plank adds a level of unnecessary complexity in my view, and if any shaping needs to be done, it is easier to do along the gunwale edge.

After some sanding, I proceeded on and gave the hull a couple of coats of a medium-light gray acrylic paint (identified as ‘Steel Gray’ by the manufacturer of the brand I bought). This initial painting allows for any blemishes, defects, or rough spots to be identified so that some sanding can be done before the next coat.

As I mentioned near the beginning, I am not using the paint scheme suggested for this kit, but will be going a different route. I still have a couple of decisions to make (the below the waterline hull color, for instance), but I am largely settled on a general color scheme involving white, gray, and black.

I have also given the interior of the hull a couple of coats of the same ‘primer’ The difference here is that I have decided that this will be the final color for the inside of the planking and the ribs. A few other structural parts will also be gray, but the rest will be either white. Or, in a few limited spots, black.

As I mentioned at the outset, I didn’t plan to build an exact replica of the HMS Bounty’s launch. Rather I was going to depart from the configuration and color scheme of the model plans. One major departure I decided to make was to give the boat a single mast rather than two, and to step the main mast further forward than it would be in the two-mast configuration.

The kit provides pre-cut floor-boards which saves the trouble of having to shape them from plain stock wood.  However, the center of the floor is formed from two pieces which are intended to be laid down with space in between for the mast socket. Since my mast socket will be placed further towards the bow, I had to make a single center floor board by gluing in a piece of planking scrap and sanding it to maintain the curve of the floor-board itself.

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