Photo 1. The Frames Frames Assembly
Copyright © 2006, James Allen
The hull frame assembly
The key to making a good model from a kit is to make sure the hull frames are correctly aligned in the false-keel before securing with P.V.A. glue. With kit models, the frames and fals keel are usually made of cheap plywood (more about that issue further on.) The false-keel is the bulkhead aligned along the centreline of the hull frames (i.e. running fore and aft.) This form hull construction is typical of most model kits. The fore and aft aligned bulhead running down the centreline of a kit model is not a true representation of the typical internal construction of a real ship. In some kits the bottom edge extends beyond the hull planking to simulate the real keel of the ship. In this kit the keel is suppied as prefabricated wooden parts (not plywood), which will provide a more realistic finish to the model.

Having checked the that false-keel is straight and not twisted, Robine is now using an alignment gauge, which she made from some spare wood salvaged from the kit, to make sure that all the bulkhead frames are at right angles to the false-keel.

Sometimes it is worthwhile replacing the bulkheads with better quality wood. The outer edges of the frames need to provide a reasonable contact surface for gluing on the hull planking and they must also provide a firm suppport for nails or planking screws that will be inserted into the end grain of the wood. In this case the kit supplied plywood bulkheads were acceptable, although rather thin.