Well,............... So now I'll begin the build.
I'll be using photos of generic models to display my techniques, as I hadn't 6-7 years ago when I started building these moulds even heard of Model forums never mind joined them and so never took step by step builds of my models, and so will be using pics from different builds to illustrate what I mean.......please don't let me confuse you and if you need to ask questions then do ask.
Also I am always open to suggestions in order to improve my own techniques and knowledge. My way isn't the only way, but just the way I find easiest for my own buiding methods.so shout out loudly if you know a better way.
My intentions were when I designed my first lifeboat kit, was to bring a model to the public that even someone with limited experience and tools could actually built. I never expected someone to be able to diagonally plank a hull with complicated tunnels to line, or belting to construct on the bulwark edges of a classic lifeboat, nor did I expect someone to "plank" the cockpits of a classic lifeboat with thin strips of teak or mahogany to simulate those beautiful cabins, and so set about thinking how to make it easy for the modeller.
I also desided from the outset that the plans would be full exact size AND the instructions would be written by a modeller ( with the gift of the gab) for the modeller, in modelling terms.............and those concepts have remained with me to this day.......a boat easy to build with plans and instructions easy to read and understand. I hope that those concepts have born fruit, as I believe the Anne Letitia Russell (ALR as affectionally known ) is the highest selling model lifeboat on the market.....probably others will contradict, but hey ho.........I'm proud of her, and that is something that can't be taken from me.
So what did I decide about construction methods............I was going to make the hard bits from GRP and the rest of the build from good stout ply timbers and obeche'.
I had to begin somewhere and the first job was to construct a working plug of both the hull and the cabins out of some sort of material.
There have been numerous threads on forums as to what materials to use for a plug and believe me, I have probably tried all of them in my time, and will list, just for interest a couple of pro's and cons for each that I have used, but always remember that the finish you obtain on the plug, is the normally finished result on the master mould and the mouldings that go for sale to the public, and therefore if you want repetition of excellence you have to put in the time on the plug to attain this.just see here for what I mean....just astounding, but many many hours of hard work have paid off here. http://www.modelboatmayhem.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=31944.msg340701#new
1) keel and sections filled with polistyrene and skimmed with plaster of paris.........it's a quick initial method and a shape can be obtained easily, but it's messy, and I have never been able to get rid of the "ghosting" lines of the sections on the plugs and then an awfull lot of rubbing down on the master mould still leaves ghosting lines. My Interceptor 42' Pilot boat was made in this manner and the very faint lines could still be seen evenb after further work on the moulding that I took off for myself........I wouldn't use this method again.
2) solid bread and butter constructional carved hull in a timber such as obeche, samba or jelutong (balsa is far too soft a hardwood for this method in my opinion) has been used, and the finish you can get on these timbers as a plug is second to none.Modern pattern makers use these timbers now that Yellow pine ( the traditional timber for such) is virtually none existant at any reasonalbe price....last checked and it was twice the price of English Oak.I love this method on smaller hulls and the cabins, but on larger ones it becomes very unwealdy and heavy to turn around. However it is a method where the hull "stays where it is" .it doesn't twist in the process nor warp or bend and you get no distortion whilst building or carving.the only downside is that these wood's smell like old fish boxes when cut and carved....but living by the sea, that's an added bonus for me, lol. his can also be an expensive method of building
3) hollow bread and butter constructional carved hull, reasons are exactly the same as before, but less expensive if you jiggle the planks arround to get the greatest cuts from a board. Also the hull is far less heavy.heavy carving as with the method above also are tiring on the arms unless you use electric power carvers and planes to take off the vast amount of spare timber. But those two methods I strongly recomend.
4) there is a third method of this andd that is to set out on a building board the keel and frames, and then bread and butter each section, but this is a slow laborious method that I tried once, and to be honest it was a pain in the bum, and not to be recomended if you value your sanity.
5) use of MDF as a bread and butter "timber".yes, I have tried this method as well, and although some say that the dust caused can be a killer, ( literally as there are some who claim it is carsonagenic) it is the finish that is hard to achieve....No matter how many coats of varnish and sealant you put on MDF, as soon as you try to get a mirror like finish with wet and dry, used wet, the MDF soaks up the water you are using to lubricate the carborundum paper, and I found this method a pain also, and wouldn't recomend that either.
6) Every one's favorite method......POF or Plank on Frame with plenty of polyester filler to fill in the gaps.It is relatively quick and easy and I normally use obeche end blocks for the bow and stern, and this method is the one I used for the three boats I am going to build here.Because the plug isn'rt going anywhere other than the skip once you have produced the master mould from it, the planking can to some extents and purposes be as rough or as good as you want to make it, as long as you have plenty of filler to hand.It is a method that is light and easy to handle and also doesn't cost much to produce, unlike those B & B methods with Obeche and such, and for reasonable sized plugs, sop long as every thing is bolted down to a strong building board when construction is taking place to stop twisting, it is a good quick method., and usually gets my vote.
So on to the build itself.
First job is to get hold of a set of plans for the boat you want to build, including G A (general arrangement ) and line plans for the sections and keel, from which photocopies of the frame sections can then be cut and glued onto the ply wood boarding , and in this case 6mm birch faced ply.
Once cut these are mounted onto a base board to hold firm whilst planking. ( sorry but here are some generic models showing the sections and planking).