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PROJECT SAN JUAN NEPOMUCENO - Build Photos
Here are some photos taken during the building of the ship.

Please click on the thumbnails to see them in bigger size.

San Juan Nepomuceno
The bulkheads.

San Juan Nepomuceno
First plankings. The lower deck. Interestingly this part will never be visible once the model is complete, but it is somehow comforting for a modeller to know that it is there!

The planking strips of this ship are much thicker than those of Bluenose. They ate a lot of my blades while cutting. It would be a good idea to use saw rather than blade.

San Juan Nepomuceno
The supports for the gunports. The guns (cannons) will rest on these supports later on.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Planking of the bow section. The excess wood will be cut to the level later. Note the remaining strips cut and waiting to be glued next to the blade.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Similar planking on the stern.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Planking of the middle deck. Again, most of these plankings wil be covered by the upper deck, but still...

San Juan Nepomuceno
I did not only glue the plankings but also nailed them. The nails may be left like this, but later I loosened them and clipped of the heads and to me hey looked much more real that way. Many modellers simply don't choose this way, instead they use pencil marks to imitate the nails. But I believe that they are no match to real nails, so I used them.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Nails on the front deck. Again, the excess wood on the front will be cut off and smoothened to fit the ship's hull.

San Juan Nepomuceno
The rear deck. Note that the nail heads have been removed here, and they look really nice!

San Juan Nepomuceno
The edge of stern. A tricky part because of the curve you have to give to the strip. In fact this kit is full of such challenges. What I did is to soak the wooden strip, then bend it kindly by hand, and then fixing it using superglue and clamps.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Gunports on the front deck.

San Juan Nepomuceno
More gunports on the rear deck.

San Juan Nepomuceno
And here are the hull plankings. Note the spaces especially on the rear. This is supposed to be like that. They are called "stealers" and are later on filled with strips shaped to the gaps. Make sure that the same spaces appear symmetrically also on the other side.

San Juan Nepomuceno
The hull planking goes so that you start from up, plank on both sides parallel to the deck until you reach the water line. This coincides 12 lines of planking strips on this kit. After that you start from the bottom, again proceeding one by one on each side, this time parallel to the bottom. Finally the planks meet on the water line. There you complete the planking by filling the stealers.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Planking on the stern side. See how the strips are bent to cover the ends. This is a real challenge and also vital if you want to build a good looking model. I broke a lot of strips trying to fit them there. Never trust on the nails or glues and force them to the place! Bend the strips using warm water, or a plank bender when necessary. A plank bender is a hand tool which looks like this. It is especially useful for sharp bendings.

San Juan Nepomuceno
A closeup to the planking on the bow section.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Looks neat! This is a good time to take the sand paper and smoothen the surfaces. You can, again, leave a little bit impurities (but not much!) to give a "handmade" look, but make sure that at least all the residues of the glues are wiped off. Some models have small copper plates which are used to cover all the area below the water line. If this is the case then you must smoothen all the area evenly! I haven't used copper plates in this model.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Secondary and tertiary plankings. They cover above the waterline, in other words, the gun ports. This is much easier than the primary planking, since now you have a surface to work on, and the strips are much thinner. You won't have trouble bending them.

Warning! Be careful when using sandpaper on this area! This is a two-color area and has to stay like that. If you use the sandpaper at the same time to both surfaces, the sandpaper will take dust from one wood and penetrate it on the other, vice versa, hence mixing the colors. Therefore cut a thin stripe of the sandpaper, glue it on a similarly narrow piece of wood, and do the sanding on one color of wood at a time!

San Juan Nepomuceno
First gunport frames are in their place. Now the metal is little by little getting involved!

San Juan Nepomuceno
Now is the time to drill the gunports. This is a long process and every step must be taken with great care, as there is rarely turning back from a mistake once you've done it. Here is how it works: First take a transparent paper (I found baking paper in the kitchen drawer and used it :) and mark the gunports on the plan. Next, cut off the ports on the paper using a knife.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Then, fix this paper on the side of the hull with tape, and then mark with pencil all the ports onto the hull. Try not to ruin the paper. The same paper (reversed, of course) will be used on the other side of the ship.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Finally, cut off the ports. Easier said than done :). You'll have to cut out some 58 holes in total, and if you don't figure out a systematical way how to do it, you may well end up getting frustrated and give up the whole thing, and it is a shame once you are already at this point. So what I did is, first drilled 8 holes for each "window" (that is a friggin 58x8=464 holes to drill, so don't even think of doing it without an electric hand-drill). Then using the knife, cut out the piece, and finally smoothen the edges with a file. Once this is finished, it is a big pleasure to glue the bronze gunport frames!

Once this is finished, it is a good time to varnish the ship.This will also protect the wood. I used glossy spray varnish.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Here are a few samples of yards. There are so many of them, similar in size, so as you see in the photo I labelled them. This helps a lot later in the assembly phase.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Well, the life boat, of course. One of my friends asked how the hell all the crew would have fit in this only life boat of the ship :) Of course this is not a passenger ship carrying tourists to the Caribbean so it would be sufficient to rescue the commander only, while the rest of the crew would simply swim. That's my thought :)

I didn't like the die-cast lifeboat which came with the kit, it was a bit distorted in the shape, so I ordered a same size lifeboat of from Amati. This was a nice one. It is a kit within itself, as well, where you plank the inside, and paint the outside.

San Juan Nepomuceno
The lifeboat is in its place, with many other details such as the cannons, balls, capstan, belaying pins, grills and stairs. Note also the windows of the gunports on the sides.

San Juan Nepomuceno
A detail on how the deadeyes are prepared. It takes a wooden deadeye, chain and a ring to prepare them. There is one problem here, that when the ring is fitted around the deadeye, then there is no space left to mount the chain. You can force it, but the result will look ugly. Hence I used the file in the photo to open a small space on the side of the deadeye where the chain can be fitted through. There are about 200 such deadeyes in this kit!

San Juan Nepomuceno
The deck and the deadeyes are complete. It is now time to start working on the yards and the masts.

San Juan Nepomuceno
The main mast (the longest), the foremast and the mizzen mast (the shortest). The most of the effort is spent on shaping all the wood. The woods come as a stick, in cylindrical shape, and what you have to do is give them shape of a cone. This is a huge job if you don't have a wood turning machine. I don't. So I used a lot of sandpaper to shape them. The result was acceptable. Then I spray vanished them and finally put the blocks for the sail rigging. It would be difficult to put them once they are asembled on the ship, so it was a good thinking to make them beforehand.

San Juan Nepomuceno
The bowspirit. Gun turrets are in their places. This is a part of the ship which will get quite busy during the rigging, therefore it is essential that you put all the blocks and holes correctly. This requires studying of the plan very well, from different angles. One missing block means big trouble in rigging phase.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Masts are in their place. Now it started to look like a ship. The yards, sails and the rigging is still the remaining part, and believe me, we are only about half way from completion.

San Juan Nepomuceno
Ratlines. An art itself to make in a model ship.

San Juan Nepomuceno
More Ratlines. Once these are done, the ship will be ready except the yards and the saisl, which are done at last. For further photos, see final views section.