Starting the Corel Flattie Project

The building of the Flattie kit by Corel began this past Saturday at the club’s model workshop aboard the Eureka. Members Paul Reck, Tom Shea and Clare Hess started the project. This kit is part of an effort by the club to recommend some ship model kits for new builders, and to serve as an intro kit for new club members. And, while the kit is officially a recommended kit, this is based mostly on cost, simplicity of the boat’s design, and simple rig.

Paul reviews the kit contents.

We purchased the kit from Ages of Sail, which is located across the bay, but we’re working on trying to get Kingspoke, the gift shop at the entrance to the pier, to carry the kit, so we can just send people there who are interested in starting the kit for themselves.

We made sure to take some photos and got as far as assembling the framework and placing the transom piece and false deck. Of course, there were a few steps required to get there. We’ll be comparing notes and will document the process in more detail, but first we need to discuss the best way to tackle these initial steps.

Tom looks over the plans included in the kit.

We made sure to take some photos and got as far as assembling the framework and placing the transom piece and false deck. Of course, there were a few steps required to get there. We’ll be comparing notes and will document the process in more detail, but first we need to discuss the best way to tackle these initial steps.

Paul, left, test-fits frames, while Clare, right, adjusting the slots in the frames to fit.

One thing is clear with this kit, you need to make yourself a simple building board. The dimensions of the parts needed are provided in the instructions – always review the instructions – but you need to provide those pieces yourself as they are not included in the kit.

Assembling our building board.

The instructions call for a building board about 12″ long and 4″ wide. Down the center of this, two strips about 3/16″ square should be placed parallel so that the keel piece fits snugly in between. Since we were cutting our own strips on the table saw in the shop, we cut them a little low, so that the keel piece easily sits flat against the building board, even with frames installed.

If you’re purchasing basswood or other wood strips pre-dimensioned, 3/16″ x 3/32″ wood strips should do. In millimeter measurements that’s about 5 mm x 3 mm.

The Flattie’s framework test-fit on our building board.

You definitely want to test fit the framework parts to make sure they go together easily and also that things line up evenly and straight. Also, this helps you to understand where everything goes before permanently gluing parts together.

Identify the parts using the plans sheet. Some parts are birch plywood, but some are faced in mahogany veneer, and these are in different bags in the kit. The parts list in the back of the instruction book will help identify these.

During this process, we found that the slots in the bulkheads needed to be widened slightly. They also were not perfectly centered. So, we used a ruler to find the centerline of each bulkhead. We simply trimmed or sanded the slot and as it turned out, that was enough to center the overall slot in the bulkheads. Also, some slots needed to be deepened slightly so that the tops of the bulkheads would sit flush with the top of the keel piece.

Test fitting the deck and using it to help with the bulkhead alignment.

With the center keel piece glued and set up, we didn’t glue the bulkheads into position until we test fit the deck. We discovered that there is a lot of stress on this piece of plywood, as there is considerable deck sheer (curvature down the centerline of the ship), as well as deck camber (lateral curvature across the tops of the bulkheads). This led to some disagreement with how the model would go together.

One thought was that the wood would never bend in both direction, and it certainly doesn’t want to. But, it is wood, and this condition is common in ship model kits. There was also discussion on whether or not nailing would be strong enough to hold everything together while the glue dried.

Paul felt that clamping was the only way to hold things in place, while Clare felt that the nailing, as called for by the instruction would have been sufficient.

In the end, we ended up using clamps amidships, but without enough clamps to hold down the deck at every bulkhead, it was necessary to nail the deck down everywhere else. Because of the thinness of the plywood bulkheads, we pre-drilled the nail holes with a pin vise and carefully tapped the kit-supplied nails in with a small hammer. Meanwhile, small spring clamps were used to hold the transom into place.

Here are some tips to help out with construction

• Read the instructions thoroughly before beginning.

• The plans sheets are described in the instructions as 1 to 1, but they are not. The plans are slightly reduced size. You can see this yourself by comparing a pre-cut part to the drawing. Just be careful with measurements.

• Test fit all parts before gluing.

• As it’s easy to lose track of which bulkheads go in which slots, mark the slots in the keel with the number of the bulkhead that fits it.

Here are the tools you’ll need at this stage of construction

  • Hobby knife
  • Small flat file or sanding sticks (or both)
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Small hammer
  • Ruler
  • Wood glue
  • Pinvise w/assorted drill bits

Optional tools here, but you’ll want to collect these

  • Assorted clamps
    • Clothes pins, binder clips or other small spring clamps (collect these for future projects – they are always useful to have around)
    • Light-duty bar clamps – always nice to have around

 

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