All the thwarts are now installed. Because the thwart abutting the mast has a semi-circle cut into it to accommodate the mast itself, I used a scrap piece of dowelling in the mast socket so as to make sure the thwart is properly positioned. The mast is ‘raked’ meaning it is slanted backwards at a slight angle, so this needs to accounted for when using the dowel as well.
Before continuing on with further construction, I am going to paint the exterior of the hull. I am using red for below the waterline and have used masking tape to ensure a clean line. The waterline is marked on the plans but I drew mine just a shade lower than indicated.
I initially planned an all white hull but decided to paint the sheer strake black for some contrast. Only the strake is painted this color. It does not extend around the stern and the entire transom is white.
The kit provides laser cut pieces for the gunwales; three for each side, and an extra piece at the stern. After assembling and painting them, however, I found that they did not fit very well, especially up against the transom. I also would have had to fill the holes in the gunwales (four pair on each side) that were intended to take the ‘thole pins’ for the oars, as well as drill new ones at the new thwart positions.
Accordingly, I decided to only use the bow section of the kit gunwales, as shown above. I needed to fill a gap between the two halves once they were glued in place, and, consequence, I ended up sanding away some of the paint.
I used some spare strips of basswood to make my own gunwales from scratch. The pieces were wider than the gunwales so I just glued pieces in place for carving and sanding to shape afterwards.
The strips I used were also thinner than the gunwales are supposed to be, so I ended up doing a double layer. You can see some sections where the two halves are clamped together while the glue dries. As the double layer ended up being thicker than the gunwales, this will mean even more sanding.
Here you can see how I constructed the stern section. You may be able to make out the pencil mark on the starboard gunwale where I have ‘roughed’ out the shape of the gunwale after carving.
This the upper part of the hull after the gunwales have been carved and sanded into shape. I also have added two pieces. The first is simply a small square of wood to cover the mast indentation in the forward thwart. The semi-circular cut-out would simply look out of place given that I am not installing a fore-mast.
The other piece is a laser cut part I forgot to install earlier. This is a reinforcing section for the mast cut-out, and it provides a surface for the metal mast retainer that will be installed later.
The stern edging has been rounded at the corners, and I have also cut out a slot for the rudder. It is wide enough to allow for the rudder turn as needed.
Here you can see the thole pins I installed. The kit intended the launch to have space for four oarsmen on each side, but my model is designed for either two or four oarsmen.
The kit provided some dowelling to be used for this purpose, but they would require being sanded to a narrower diameter to be to scale and I found it easier to simply use toothpicks instead.
The hull is now completely painted, and retouched as needed after installing the gunwales. It is almost pristine at this point but, in short order, I will be scraping, gouging, stripping, and generally dirtying up the finish. Of course, this model is supposed to portray a working vessel and so it will naturally be worn, damaged and distressed. I like this part much better than the initial painting….