October 23rd
One of the most productive months yet but certainly not without it's challenges. This month I mounted one of the decks and completely altered the construction method for the aft end of the ship and the cargo bay where the mini sub is stored. This kit is an excellent design for remote control use, but for static display there is much rework that needs to be done in order to accurately construct the Calypso.
Deck Mounting
Mount the deck as the building instructions show. Once the deck is glued down using the manufacturer's instructions, reinforce the lower deck using a sturdy wood purchased from your hobby store (I chose .25" square). I glued fourteen extra supports at various key points along part # 8 after it had been glued in place. This added a great deal of strength to the hull so consider this a mandatory step. Simply cut the lengths of wood long enough to span from port to starboard, no need to be exact, then using your CA cement (I used Slo Zap) glue them firmly in place to part # 8. Hold them there firmly while the glue is setting up. Don't let them pull away from part # 8. This will give you an extremely strong and level deck. I've actually stacked a brick on the new deck without a bit of flex.

(Picture shows extra supports at various key points along part # 8. Note the cabin doors glued to toothpicks stuck into a foam block during painting.)
*Caution* Billings was thoughtful enough to provide an inked outline of where everything should be placed on the decks. However, once planked the placement references are gone. I suggest photo copying the deck panels to preserve this reference. Also (you can never have too much reference material) I suggest lightly drawing placement references onto the planking while you are placing the planking.
Deck Planking (to be installed next month)
When I get to planking this deck, I will not cut the planks where the crane and winch will set. In my photos it appears that those items rested on top of the planking, so I too will emulate that look. Also, as described below, the service bay hatchway was reconstructed so I will need to lay the planking on the additional new decking, just as it was on the real Calypso. I'm actually looking into using prebuilt planking that is already stained and caulked. Staining individual planks and caulking them would add far too much time to the construction. I will report more on this later.

Service Bay Hatchway and Hatches
Be careful about the placement of where your scratch built service bay hatchway will go. Use part #32 as a guide. I scratch built the hatchway first then placed the new decking material in place with similar, spare deck material from the box. To ensure that my replacement material fit as naturally as if the cutout in the deck never happened, I fitted small support strips along the edge and glued the material down firmly. After sanding, and once the deck material is in place, you'd never know the difference. This step brings a question to mind where an answer won't be available until later, "will I need to order more deck strips from Billing to complete my model?" Most likely the answer will be yes, but this can be ordered from Billings (http://www.billingboats.com). The most important aspect of this step is to make sure your deck is level, and sturdy. You'll be mounting hardware and another deck later that will require a strong, level deck.

(Picture shown before hatchway was painted so masking tape is still applied to the deck. Note the paper towel used to protect the finished sub bay.)

I began this phase by gluing down part # 11 (1.8mmx2mm) to part # 8 as instructed in step 3 with a slight modification, I used part # 32 as a guide for placement and shortened the forward strip placement to resemble a square opening. Since a portion of the deck is missing, it's necessary to keep this step in mind when filling in the cutout whole.

I used reference photos and material purchased from the hobby store. I tried to retain the design as closely as possible, but there are some places where creative thinking will be necessary. I glued strips of 2mmx12mm level to the inside face of part # 8 and the 1.8mmx2mm strip all the way around the opening to form the face. Putty any visible joints and sand smooth. After that I glued 1.8mmx2mm lip around the top of the outer edge of the 1.8mmx2mm bottom strip and again puttied any visible joints. For an added touch, cut small pieces of styrene and place two port and starboard, one aft and forward to create the guides used for the T-beam supports. The finished product gives an accurate hatchway.


(Click any image to get the full size graphic.)

Also, create your hatch covers by scratch building them. This step actually sent me into a research frenzy. Utilize the drawings on the plan as a guide for size and count number. The Calypso was a morphing wonder, the hatch design was no different. In the early days the hatches were built light so that the crew could easily manipulate them by hand. But later the hatches were built heavier after the hydraulic crane was installed. The hatch panels were heavy and strong enough that once in place, the covered opening to the service bay served as a resting place for the mini sub, and other ship board activities. In reference to the design and painting, I found only one modern photograph available, and it's only a glancing picture of the corner of one hatch. I have more photos available to me than most people and this was the toughest item to get right. Jacque Cousteau's Calypso is an in depth book regarding the Calypso and it didn't have but the one photo mentioned. So a little artistic interpretation is necessary. I made each of the six hatch covers of four pieces of wood. Two for representing cross supports and two for representing the plate panels. I drilled into the top plates to the cross supports with a rounded Dremel bit and glued sprue across the holes to represent handles.

Red Paint
It was at this time that I needed to decide on my paint scheme of the red-oxide that would effect all of the items above the water line that needed to be painted red-oxide. I plan to use the Rust-Oleum Red Primer #2067 (auto primer) for the hull, but I needed to find it's equivalent, if not it's replacement, for all of the deck pieces. What did I find? Testor's Model Master Enamel Rust. I couldn't believe that right out of the bottle, without mixing of any kind, the brown-red color was exactly what I wanted. Do not use the Testor's Model Master Enamel Satin Brown that is labeled in the building plans, unless you actually think the red-oxide paint was colored brown. My photo shows the underside of the hatches as white, and I can only guess that the tops are the red-oxide as the sides of the hatchway are.

(Picture of the hatches.)
Cabin Structure
There's a tremendous amount of work to be done here. The wood provided is extremely porous and needs to be sealed (or replaced), filled, and sanded before it can be primed. I have repeated the procedure three times before I was comfortable with the finished walls. I chose to glue part # 9 to the cabin structure now instead of in an earlier step (step 3) as told, as it provided extra strength while I worked with it and it didn't much make a difference when this part goes on. Since I was dry fitting my parts and everything fits nicely this was a natural step.
Dry Fitting
It is very necessary to dry fit this structure to the newly installed (and now much stronger) deck to get the right bow in the materials while gluing them together. Don't just lay the pieces on a flat table while gluing them and think they'll line up with the deck. You'll end up finding out how to use debonder if you do. I used a high tech method for weighting the top deck down while I observed the locations that needed putty, a brick! I must have dry fit the decks together twenty times, but in the end they'll fit together without a bit of problem. Plus, you'll know exactly how the upper deck will find it's place on your cabin structure for future reference. When you are completely satisfied with the dry fitting of the cabin to the decks, then glue parts # 17 to the hull. Parts # 17 will act as another guide when you place the cabins down for gluing, plus you'll be able to prime and paint them before the cabins go down permanently.

(Picture shown without cabin doors, hand railing, weathering and prior to Krystal Klear window installation)
Cabin Doors
I built all of the doors, and designed handles and hinges onto them. Don't use the clear, plastic sheet provided for windows, use Micro Krystal Klear. It creates beautiful windows that look natural. Be sure to apply Micro Krystal Klear from the inside, so do this after painting, but before gluing the structure to the boat. I've also scratch built and glued two doors to part # 9 on either side of the cabins. My research photos show this is how it was on the actual ship.
Priming and Painting
In preparation for laying the deck planking down, I have primed and painted the white portion of deck that the railings were built over. This area exists in a small area which ran the length of the deck between the wood decking and the side of the ship. For lack of a better name, I'll call this area the railing footing. This needs to be sealed, puttied, sanded, and primed before the deck planks and cabins are glued down. Beware not to plug your holes that the railing will settle into later. On the aft end of the ship, where the railing footer would be, there appeared to be a metal base which covered the deck planking. So with this in mind I'll plan to build what I see in the photos with thin sheet styrene and glue it to the deck, concealing any imperfections in plank cutting.
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