Seven gun ports will be sited in the first run of planking on each side of the model. It’s easier to mark their exact position now than it will be when all the first layer of planking is complete as there are more visible bulkheads to take measurements from. So I’ve done this now, before continuing with the second run of planks, then drilled a 4mm hole to mark the centre of each gun port.
I’ve fitted a plank either side, five plank widths down from the first run, measured from the centre of the hull. As before, I’ve found that the curves of the planks don’t look right in areas near the bow and stern (marked with blue arrows at the bow). It is the same on both sides. I’m using the same method to correct this as I did with the first planks of the first run, by gluing another thickness of lime planking over the top, locally, then sanding down until I get the curve I want. It’s easier to see the curve of the planks when they don’t have planks fitted either side, so I’ll continue this method from now on, so when the first layer of planking is complete I will know that every fifth or sixth plank has the curve to work to. Then I will add wood where needed between them to sand to shape. That’s the plan at the moment, but I am making it up as I go along.
The first run of planks in lime have been completed on each side. There will be some filling and sanding needed to get all the curves of the hull running smoothly, but I’ll probably leave that until I’ve completed all the first layer. Mostly there have been no problems, and my plank bending skills have improved. I did have a small problem when fitting one of the final planks, between two that had already been fitted, in that the glued joint of the plank to the bulkhead de-laminated. I hope I’ve cured this by drilling tooth-pick sized holes in the offending plank, into the bulkhead, and those either side, then reinforcing the joint with glued toothpicks (see photo). After sanding down, it seems to have worked.
I’ve found a useful hull planking instruction manual, written by J. Hatch (Captain Pugwash) on the internet:
I wish I’d read this before starting the kit, and I would recommend it to any beginner before diving in to an ambitious model boat project that involves planking a hull. There is some detail on how to cut ‘RABBET LINES’. These are grooves in the keel that accept the plank ends for a neater finish. In the case of this kit, it might have been better to cut some of these before gluing the keel together. Too late now, but I’m still confident I can achieve a good result.
My next planking will be five of six plank widths lower down. Once again, I will glue one plank in place, letting it run the way it naturally wants to run to the bow and stern, then I will complete planking in between. As before, I will replicate each plank on one side, with the same on the other side.
Before fitting the upper decks I corrected a slight warp in the area of the transom by gluing wood blocks to hold it square (see photograph). The decks were then fitted temporarily (as suggested by the kit instructions. I used very small screws.
It’s been quite easy up until now, but I will soon be time to start planking the hull.
At this stage I decided to paint matt black areas of the lower gun deck that may be less accessible later. The second half of the lower deck was fitted and the deck planking in tanganijka begun.