Man, I can't believe it was Jan. 3 when I last posted here. Lots of Seaview
progress since then to note. Have taken a serious approach to building—every Sunday for at least five hours; all day long if I can manage it. Why the obsession? Mid-July deadline: I want the boat finished and with me when traveling in the Midwest this summer—and also for my annual fall events in Houston and San Francisco, of course. Plus I have to account for the time Steve Neill will need her for his graciously agreed-upon build participation. He'll be handling some seam work, the control surface installation and linkages, plus the paint job and trimming. That doesn't sound like it leaves much for me, but believe me, it still does: basic hull construction and much
cosmetic work—plenty of puttying and sanding—plus a whole lot of odds and ends...not to mention that Observation Room build, customized to represent the First Season of the show...meaning I can't use Merriman's wonderful same-scale latter-Seaview
Observation Room kit. Scratch-build, here I come.
Okay, on to progress pix...
When last updated, I'd just scribed in the missile deck hatches. Since then, I've trimmed the superstructure all the way around its bottom to make the depth of its sides scale to plans and photos of the eight-foot miniature. I've also scribed, rejected, filled/re-scribed, rejected, refilled/etc., ad nauseum, various panel lines on the deck intended to at least suggest
those seen on the full-size deck set. I've finally just about finished that process, thanks to Tom Kisler's wonderful suggestion to use labeling tape to finally scribe those lines in reasonably straight and close to proper alignment. Almost done with that process. Here's a shot showing it in progress. After that is a shot showing my markings to cut out openings behind Marc d'Antonio's wonderful laser-cut scale limber hole overlays so they'll be open to sea. Haven't opened these superstructure holes up yet because so much delicate deck detailing remains to do first. Marc's (FX Models) limber hole patterns are dead-on accurate—making up for the less-than-perfect ones scribed into position on the original kit piece. Marc's are shown below; the mispositioned original scribings which fall outside the intended edges of the overlays must all be filled in.
Scribing deck panel lines. You can see the ones I've already done between the missile hatches. Not great unfortunately, but the best I could do.
Marking limber hole cutouts. These "holes behind the holes" will permit superstructure flooding.
Marc d'Antonio's laser-cut limber hole overlays (1/96 scale for Teskey and deBoer hulls). Perfection.
Have also experimented—not very successfully—with making my own non-skid/safety track shown between the missile hatches on the deck set and (sorta) on the miniatures. I tried to scribe long parallel straight lines on a strip of styrene. This is much harder than it sounds, meaning I've learned I'll have to go with corrugated styrene stock from Evergreen or Plastruct. I've ordered long samples of various types similar to the short length shown below; I'm not yet exactly sure which I'll end up using.
My attempt. Not bad, but not good enough. Pencil's just for scale.
Long strips of stuff like this should work nicely.
Meanwhile, I've been endlessly Milliput-puttying and sanding the twin caddy fins—one of which has had a horrible tendency to continually disintegrate along its leading edge. Over and over I've re-built it up and sanded it smooth...and have finally tossed a first coat of primer onto both fins to look for flaws. Just a little spot putty needed now in a couple of tiny areas and we're finally there. Whew!
Fun to finally paint over the multi-colored, puttied, caddy fin mess!
Time now to tackle the access panel which will eventually allow the Observation Room module in and out of the snout for service. The First Season eight-window Seaview
had no Flying Sub, you'll recall, and therefore no Flying Sub Doors, so this access hatch will be seam-hidden as well as possible when all is said and done. Here's the panel shape marked for removal:
And here it is cut out. The semi-circular styrene piece visible on the carpet through the opening will eventually be the floor of the Observation Room. Nice, smooth cutting job on the panel, eh? I was proud of that. Started with a razor hand saw along the straight line in back; finished with as thin a blade as I could jerry-rig onto an Electro-File Reciprocating Tool (a Tom Kisler-suggested purchase, and a very useful one—thanks, Tom!).
Tack-gluing in part of the opening's lip with CA. JB Weld will be the permanent adhesive later. (See below.)
Tack-gluing in the lip at the back. These lips are just cut pieces of thick Evergreen styrene stock.
First pass at filling the seam with 30-minute Z-Poxy and microballoons. My usual sloppy work. Lots of sanding in my future!
Lip's now JB Welded in. Love this stuff.
A Sign of Things to Come. I created this label to go on the outside of Seaview's
eventual carry case. Long story there. Short version: the hard shell golf bag travel cover I'd acquired through work for this purpose has frustratingly turned out to be a little too short. (Should work great for a smaller boat in the future, though.) Now I'm working on getting a true military-grade replacement—also through work—manufactured by a rifle case company. Long enough and hardy enough is the new goal. Here's the golf case that didn't quite work out....
Some of you may recall from earlier postings that I wasn't too pleased with my first attempt at deadlights. Actually the deadlights themselves were great. It's their installation that went awry. Continual sanding to smooth the puttied window edges subtly altered the contour of the leading edge of the sail. I say subtly, but it was still enough to really bug me. So new windows have been made, and a replacement sail has now arrived. Unfortunately, the sail's molding tool was so old there were alignment problems with the final pulled piece—much apologized for by Mr. Merriman—and as you can see in the photo below, putty repair work on the new version, the green one, has already begun. If it turns out I can't fix and re-scribe the bottom of this new sail to my satisfaction, I can always try bisecting the sails at midsection and then marrying the good bottom of the old one to the good top of the new one. But let's hope that doesn't become necessary. Meanwhile, let's also hope that the second
time's the charm when it comes to deadlight installation...which I hope to attempt in another couple weeks or so.
For now, it's on to deck detail like finishing those panel lines, adding hatches and grab irons, plus attaching the boat's caddy fins—and eventually, that famous nose.
Sure writing is easy: just sit staring at a blank page until the drops of blood start forming on your forehead.