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Dec 14, 2017, 04:31 AM
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Build Log

"ALTHEA" -a 1929 38' Chris-Craft Commuter by Dumas (Kit #1273)


About 7 years ago I was surfing the web looking for some beautiful wooden Chris-Craft cruisers when I happened upon a story about "Althea". She is a 1929 38' CC Commuter, built of mahogany & teak and a "classic" wooden cruiser any way you look at her. I downloaded as many photos of her as I could, determined to one day try to build a 1/12th scale model of her. The story and the photos were taken before, during and after a major refit.

A couple of years ago when Dumas announced their intention to offer the kit, I anxiously waited for it's release. Not too long after, MACK Model Marine offered the kit at a substantial discount and not being able to wait any longer I bought one.

One thing led to another and I found myself building a number of runabouts and the kit sat on the shelf, untouched ... until now. With the Buccaneer shelved for the moment (too much sawdust in the workshop) and my Chris-Craft 20' Riviera waiting for Deck Fittings and Running gear to be delivered, I decided I could wait no longer.

So, here we go. The idea is to build her with as much of her interior as we can possibly can. Don't get any false hopes, I don't build museum quality models like so many of the experts on this forum, but this boat is SO beautiful in my mind that it just has to be built. We'll try our best to simulate her as much as my skill will allow.

The immediate aim is to have her in the water by next spring, God willing.

'till next post ...
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Dec 14, 2017, 06:47 AM
Lot of water; some gets thin
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That is a fine looking boat.
Dec 14, 2017, 08:23 AM
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Wow the old girl can hike up her skirts and move on down the road! Who would have thought it. So a nice brushless set up would not be out of place.
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Dec 14, 2017, 09:19 AM
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Althea


The Dumas model looks very nice. I am onboard and following along with your build Barry. Happy Holidays
Dec 14, 2017, 11:04 AM
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I'm signed up.
I have been looking at these style of boats of late looking for something to set my https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...port-Fisherman build apart. I had already decided that I needed a folding top over the flybridge, if I infact do use the flybridge in the build but having seen your pictures I'm thinking that perhaps I need an open cockpit with windsheild to break up that big foredeck, can I borrow the idea??

STEVE
Dec 14, 2017, 07:01 PM
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Many thanks guys for your encouragement, it is appreciated.

Yes, she is truly a Lady. I just love the lines.

I am planning to put a brushless motor in her, single screw, only need a couple of 11v LiPos (maybe only one, we'll see).

Cheers, Barry
Dec 14, 2017, 07:11 PM
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Keel


The keel has been assembled.

The Keel is made from 8 pieces of poplar ply, a pair for each of K1 (the Stem), K2, K3 & K4. Only K1, K2 & K3 are glued together after laminating the pairs, following an exact drawing of the finished Keel. The K4 pair will be attached to frame 9, rather than the first 3 parts.

'till next post ...
Dec 14, 2017, 07:21 PM
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Frames


All the frames have been assembled now.

Each Frame is built up from at least 2 halves and some with as many as 3 extra cross braces. A set of full sized exact drawings show each frame, how it is assembled and any extra braces that are required. So far, the build is "goof-proof".

'till next post ...
Dec 14, 2017, 07:41 PM
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Sheers


The sheers are now assembled and placed on the centre line of the building board.

The Sheers are composed of 9 poplar ply parts; two each of S1, S2, S3, S4 & one S5. Parts S1 to S4 have mirror opposites, S5 acts as the top of the transom. Dumas suggests stapling the parts down to the building board, but experience has shown that this would be a premature move. Up until now every part fit exactly.

As suggested though, S5 was taped down first, then the remained of the sheers' parts were assembled, making sure that the join of the 2 S1's at the bow lay exactly on the centre line of the building board. The rear parts of the sheers, actually the two S3s & S4s were the parts that didn't exactly mesh. They weren't that far off, but if we had followed Dumas' instructions blindly the two S1s would never have met at all.

After a bit of juggling the Sheers were temporarily held down while all the Frames were dry fitted into each slot. That way the Sheers could be pushed in or pulled out to ensure everything fit as it should. Don't misunderstand, the amount of "adjusting" was minimal - maybe a 1/16" at most.

When all was aligned properly, the parts of the Sheers were "tacked" together with CA, then after drying, all the joints, top & bottom were glued with Titebond III.

'till next post ...
Dec 14, 2017, 09:44 PM
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I sure like your kit. You have got a very good start on it. Still hoping maybe Santa will bring me one. Looking forward to your build.
Latest blog entry: Myrtle Corey
Dec 20, 2017, 11:37 AM
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Just order one from MACK products with the upgraded hardware kit and the brushless motor kit.
Dec 21, 2017, 04:59 AM
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Frames


Sorry for the lack of updates ... it seems like we're in some kind of celebratory holiday season !!

Quite a bit of work has been done on the hull and the cabin structure. The next set of posts will bring you up-to-date.

All the Frames on this cruiser are built at 90* to the Sheers. The use of a small square and an old gel cel battery helped get them all in place. Frames 1 - 5 were glued in place first. Then the previously assembled Keel was inserted and glued in the notches in those first 5 frames. Then Frames 6 - 8 were glued in their places into the Sheers. Finally the K4 "keel" pair were glued to the outside rear of Frame 9 and it was glued in place.

When all the frames were dry they were all given a bead of Titebond III everywhere they met with the sheers and keels. After a day of drying, the Butterfly Keel was glued in place. This keel part was made from the two 1/8" x 3/4" x 36" basswood strips cut to fit from the front of Frame 6 to the rear of Frame 9. Although the parts in this kit appear to be cut to an extraordinary level of detail and precision, it wasn't hard to notice that there was quite a gap behind Frame 6 where the two halves of the Butterfly Keel were supposed to "meet". The gap was filled and sanded to shape. After they were all dry, all the connections inside the hull were given a bead of Titebond III to strengthen everything before adding the chine and battens to the outsides of the hull.

'till next post ...
Dec 21, 2017, 05:21 AM
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Chines and Battens


The Chines and Battens have been glued in place.

Although the kit supplied 1/8" x 1/2" x 36" basswood strips for the Chines and Battens, they were replaced by balsa ones. There was no way the basswood strips were going to make the curve from Frame 1 to 3, even after following the Dumas instructions to only glue them to the first two frames.

Before any of the Chines or Battens were glued, the inside of all the notches in all the frames were sanded to match the angle that the strips were going to take, so that they all would eventually lay flat against each frame. The Chines were glued in place first, followed by the two Battens on each side. One Batten was glued to each side in turn to avoid warping the hull. The second set of Battens (called the Sheer Support Strips) were glued in place from Frame 3 (the instructions say they start at Frame 4) back through Frame 9. When all were dry a bead of Titebond III was added everywhere they contacted the frames and sheers. When all was dry again, the Chine Extensions S6 were glued in place in front of Frame 1 up against the Keel.

'till next post ...
Dec 21, 2017, 05:31 AM
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Transom - started


The prep work for the transom has completed.

Two blocks of 1/2" x 1 5/8" x 3 1/2" (3 1/16" for mine) were cut out from the supplied balsa for the Transom Corner Supports. Each was glued to the rear of Frame 9 flat against the Sheers. They were then cut to rough shape and a bead of Titebond III was added at every joint. Their final shaping will come a little later.

'till next post ...
Dec 21, 2017, 05:56 AM
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Have you decided on a power package?


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