Infanta Maria Teresa (1893)


Completed in July 2010.
Primarily plastic.
1/96th scale.

For my third build I've chosen to model the Spanish Armored Cruiser Infanta Maria Teresa from the very end of the 19th Century. This 7,000 warship was notable for having been shot to pieces by the US Navy off Cuba during the Spanish-American War of 1898, just five years after she was commissioned. "Infanta" is an old Spanish monarchist term for the offspring of the crown, and essentially her name means "Princess Maria Teresa". Around my house, she's become known as daddy's new girlfriend Maria :).



As with most ships of this pre-1900 era, clear black and white photographs are quite rare, color photographs are obviously non-existent, and I've had to do a lengthy search of all my connections to find the few dozen grainy photos that I do have. Ironically, the best photos come from the American salvage party that examined the wrecked and burnt-out ship after the naval battle. I have a couple of decent line drawings and one pretty nice top-down plan, but there will still be a lot of fudging involved (my idiom...). Emails to the Spanish Navy historical agency have gone unanswered (bastards...) so I'm just going to go with what I have.

While my first two builds were either partly or entirely wood, I think I want to try one that's nearly all plastic and metal. The only wood I think I will end up using is for the deck planks, as I've mentioned before, there is no artificial substitute for real wood on decks. An all-plastic build will hopefully allow for more details, and maybe even keep the weight down some.

How big will it be? Big. The real ship was 364 feet long, and I am hoping to do it in 1/96 scale, which is the standard "museum display" scale (not that I have any plans for that). That means that the finished model will be around 45 inches long, which is pretty darn big! At almost four feet, I'm probably going to regret this...

Materials. Working at Wal-mart has its advantages, including ready access to sheets of plastic of varying sizes and shapes from old signs and shelf toppers and the like. For the load-bearing sections of my hull I will be using solid sheets of 2mm thick 4-foot long plastic, which once buttressed and the side brackets cut off, should hold up to the rigors of building. As well I have endless stocks of paper-thin plastic for deckhouses and such. All this I get free, of course, which is important as buying plastic sheets at a hobby shop or online is prohibitively and insanely expensive.



Ok, enough set-up, lets get to it!

IMT Build Day One:

Step one was to measure and draw out the plan of the vertical sides of the hull, based on my eyeballing of photos. That sucked, so I used my laser printer and MS Paint to scale up my line drawing to 1/96th (ish) and printed it out (took up eight pieces of paper). This way I could at least act like I was getting the proper size and shape right.



I then scored the lines with my Exacto knife and snapped them in half. This was actually easier than I anticipated, even if I didn't get some of the lines exactly straight and will have to sand/trim them down later. I need some sort of frame/cutter thingie in the future. As the hull extends up the amidships area gun deck, I cut out notches at measured points. The deck guns will stick out of these notches eventually. Next I cut out what will be the bottom of the hull from of a single sheet of 2mm plastic, 45 inches or so long. Later, a near identical piece cut the same shape will be the main deck, making what is essentially a box out of the hull. I'm sure I'll need some supports in there to keep it from collapsing from the weight.



Before I glue the sides onto this bottom piece, I want to poke all the holes in them that I need. A warship's hull is riddled with holes: portholes, access hatches, trash chutes, gun ports, torpedo tubes, hawsers, all that stuff, and it's easier to make them when you can lay your piece down flat and drill straight down. After some thought, I went with a 5/16th inch drill bit, which made a fantastically clean hole the right size. After some trimming and sanding, they look good, much better than I was anticipating.



The portholes on the IMT seem to be just standard circles, flush against the hull. There isn't any sort of eyebrow or rigole around the top edge, just (maybe) a brass ring inside the circumference of the circle. Not sure yet, but may I will find a way to replicate this, maybe with brass wire cut to side and glued inside the holes? Anyway, the rectangular sweeper gun ports and the oblong hawserpipes I cut out with my Exacto knife, after first drilling guide-holes. I actually drew and drilled holes for a variety of access hatches and such, but then realized that I would be modeling them closed up so I didn't need to make holes at all. Not a big deal as I was going to make watertight doors for them anyway, which will cover up the holes.



Taking a break from the sides, I put some thought into how to affix them to the flat bottom of the hull. As luck would have it, I kept the "T" shaped brackets when I cut them off the plastic signs, and these are the perfect shape. Cut and trimmed them to shape and glued them along the edges of the hull bottom. This way the sides will (hopefully) stand up a perfectly straight 90 degrees, with support from the half-inch high T-brackets. After allowing it all to dry for a while, and putting the baby to bed, I glued the vertical sides onto the hull bottom. The bow edges where they meet will eventually have to be filed/sanded down to a knife-edge, but for now they are just glued and taped. The rounded stern posed some problems as the 2mm plastic didn't want to bend that much without some serious effort, but in the end they will come together (either that or I'll break them and have to start over...).



And as I need to let all that superglue cure overnight, I'm done for today.

IMT Build Day Two:

Today I started laying the transverse bulkheads, which will (hopefully) support both the vertical sides and the weight of the main deck. I cut them out of scrap 2mm plastic, notched them at the bottom and glued them down. I had to make sure that the bulkheads didn't cross a porthole (I need to get to the back side of them still) or those places on the top deck that I'm going to cut holes through for down-ladders. I also added extra bulkheads to the stern and bow, as they need all the help they can get to keep from splitting. Almost immediately I realized that my measurements were off as the two vertical sides are not exactly the same height as they should be for this to work easily. But I fudged it some more, trimmed a bit here, cut a bit there, and I think it will work.



Detail work on the hull now, want to get it looking good before I move onto the deck levels. First up are the twelve (six per side) hatches that cover the gun ports for the small anti-small boat guns. I'm modeling them all closed, so I won't have to worry about making the little guns (yay!). The hatches are small affairs, just a few centimeters big, but made up of seven separate parts each. Three 2mm plastic pieces for the split sides and the top part, and four small 5mm long snippets of brass wire to pose as the hinges. The first one took me ten minutes to make, but now that I know the correct dimensions, I should be able to make eleven more on an assembly line without too much trouble.



And that's all I have time for today. Tomorrow I'll finish setting the gun hatches and maybe do some thinking on the round portholes.

IMT Build Day Three:

Been a while since I posted anything here, been super busy at home and work, but I found some time today to work on the Maria. First up was detailing out the portholes. I wanted to try something new on this build with the 80 portholes, something to make them stand out a bit. On the real ship, the ports were rimmed with copper (or maybe brass?) to keep them from rusting, giving them a distinctive color against the flat black hull. So I went to Lowe's and bought ten feet of solid core copper electrical wire (a mere 10 cents a foot). I then stripped the insulation off the thin copper wire inside. The then wrapped segments of it around my 5/16th inch drill bit (the same size as I used to drill the porthole holes). Slipping the coils off, I snipped them with my wire cutters, resulting in nicely formed copper circles. My original plan was to have them sit inside the cut-out holes, but the wire was both too large a gauge and the circles too large for that. So I just glued them on the outside of the hull, which actually gives it a nice 3-D effect. Looking back, I see where I went wrong, I should have wrapped the wire around a drill bit of a smaller diameter than that used to make the holes, that way they would sit inside the hole (try that next time...).



To fake the glass of the portholes, I "borrowed" from work some thin clear plastic pieces that we use to protect shelf labels in the frozen department freezers. These I cut up and scotch-taped them to the insides on the hull, so that when you look at them from the outside it appears like they have glass (pretty nifty).



With the portholes done, I finished up all the other stuff that clutters up the Maria's hull. Using various thicknesses of plastic sheet and my super thin wire, I made six ventilation hatches, four coaling hatches, and two larger breezeway doors. I also fudged up some torpedo tube hatches for both ends (need more work). The Maria, like many ships of her era, had interior torpedo tubes that fired out of ports on the bow and stern (though they were of questionable utility and were rarely, if ever, used in combat).



And finally for today I made four ladders, two big and two short, that were used to reach the coaling booms (presumably). After some experimenting, I ended up wrapping my thin wire around a strip of plastic, trying to keep the outside side turns straight. I then hammered it flat and glued them on. Once painted, I think they will look pretty convincing. That goes for all the stuff on the hull, the paint will hopefully cover up the errors. And that's all for today.



IMT Build Day Four:

More detail work today, just an hour or so free time to spend. Put hinges on the torpedo tube doors and used the same copper wire trick that I used on the portholes to ring the oblong hawser pipes on the bow. Next I ran up on a reef with the trying to make the four chaser gun hatches (at the front and rear shoulder points). In real life, they should be inset into the hull about ten degrees, but I lack the skill to do this after-the-fact, I really should have though of how to do it before I cut the hull strips. So I just decided to make the large hatches and place them over the holes, quick and dirty but effective in the end.



Next are the two coaling booms, one per side up near the barbettes, which were for hauling bags of coal from the dock to the ship. While these were wood, they, along with the rest of the hull, were painted dull black, so I decided to just use plastic paintbrush handles. I whipped up some hinge brackets for the swinging ends and tie-down shelves for the business end. Perhaps later I'll see if there's supposed to be some rope-work to extend them, but none shows up in my grainy photos (but they have to be there). Last thing for today, placed the "royal crests" on bow and stern. These will eventually be decorated with scrollwork and what looks in my blurry photos to be a portrait of the 17th Century Infanta Maria Teresa herself, but for now they are just blanks to hold their places (and, beneficially, help to keep the bow and stern ends together under the strain). Perhaps I'll draft my artistic mother to make these crests :).



All for today!

IMT Build Day Five:

Alrighty now, I think I've mangled the hull enough for now, time to move on to the deck. A few last notes on the hull, though. It still needs sanded and trimmed, especially along the waterline as there's three layers of 2mm plastic sheet down there, and on the bow and stern, as they need to be trimmed as best I can to a more "nautical angle". The ladder rungs need straightened up and a few of the hatches need trimmed, but I can do all that right before I paint. But now I want to at least start on the main deck. From work last night I got another 45 inch long piece of 2mm sheet plastic, and I cut this to fit. After some struggle, I decided to cut it into three sections for more ease in fitting and trimming. I'm not going to glue it down for now (maybe not for a long time), as I still want/need access to the interior spaces (especially if something goes wrong or I need to fix/alter something in there). Also, I cut myself for the first time doing this step.



I then gathered up all my photographs and line drawings of this ship I could find and rough-sketched out the locations of the deckhouses, turrets, and funnels and such. This will allow me to lay the decks better. On the first two builds, I laid a complete wood plank deck down and then put the deckhouses on top of the planks. On the Maria, however, I want to be more accurate, so I'm going to plank around the structures. Speaking of planks, I was in Hobby Lobby today and stumbled by accident upon the perfect (perfect!) material for planked decks. In the build-your-own dollhouse section they had packaged 18 inch long white pine strips to simulate hardwood floors in dollhouses. Unlike the crappy craft sticks and shaved-down popsicle sticks I've been using, these are perfectly straight and flawless, and they have an authentic look to them. It was $9.99 for a sheet, and I'll need about three sheets, so they are not cheap, but, as I've said before, a good wood deck will make or break a model, so it's worth the expense (I hope...).



The first task is to lay down the "margins", solid pieces around the edges of the decks where the stanchions for the railings will be affixed. In real life these margins were metal, so I cut out strips of 2mm plastic for them (coincidentally, the wood planks are about 2mm thick so they will match up perfectly). Next I cut out the bases for all the assorted structures and housings in 2mm plastic, so that I can plank around them. I will build the actual structures on top of these bases. As I'm impatient by nature, I glued down the deck next, just because I want to get it done... After lining up the bow and stern sections, I ended up with a 3mm gap between sections, but since that are will be covered by the wood planks, that's ok.



All for today! I'm on vacation this week, but I've got a lot of other stuff to do, so I'm not sure how much time I'll have for hobbies. Later.

IMT Build Day Six:

Howdy. Vacation over, so I had time to start the wooden decks. As always, this is an incredibly time consuming and tedious task, but the visual rewards are well worth it. Trying a new type of plank this time, pre-cut strips of pine made for people who make dollhouses, specifically the "hard wood floor" look. Also trying a new glue out today, plaid old Elmer's Glue-All. This should work fine as it's excellent on many surfaces, and it's dirt cheap, which is a growing consideration as the project goes on. I started at the stern this time, laying center planks and working outward towards the beams, cutting and trimming. I'm hoping to fill in any wide spots along the edges with wood filler (or something else similar). After about two hours I pretty much got everything lined up well, and hopefully the few areas that look rough will be covered up or obscured by all the stuff that will clutter the decks.



And now for a few more details. First off four "trash chutes", which are just that, hollow metal tubes that run down the hull from a hatch on the bulwark to dump refuse into the water. Ships had these up until WWII and then they started just tossing trash overboard off the stern. And yes, they still do that today, just far enough out to sea that no one can complain. The latrines, by the way, dumped out of similar vents down near the waterline (never a good thing to swim around a warship at anchor in a port...). Also added on the four sponsons for the wing guns. These are just semi-circle extensions out from the main deck to allow the wing guns to fire forward/aft a bit more. They might have been planked on the Maria, but I can't find any photographic proof so I decided against it.



And I think I'm ready to start painting the hull now! Just need to do some sanding and trimming along the edges and I should be ready to lay down the first coat tomorrow.





IMT Build Day Seven:

Painting day today! The Maria, as I'm going to model her, sported a classic Late Victorian era livery of red waterline, black hull, white upper works and brown rigging. As before I'm using plastic-friendly Testor's enamels, specifically Flat Red, Flat Black, Flat White, and (not yet purchased), Flat Brown. My Lego Stormtrooper Painters' Union crew will be hard at work soon.





First up is the Flat Black on the hull, which is going to work wonders in covering up the multitude of errors and fudges during construction. I debated keeping the copper porthole rims that color, but it just didn't look right at all so I painted over it black (next model I'll put the wire inside the hole and not around it...). I also realize now that I should have painted the hull before putting the clear plastic windows in the portholes, as it's a pain to keep them clean while I paint. All in all, though the first coat of Flat Black went sorta ok and I'm excited to see some progress after a week off. I have learned, however, that I should try spray paints for large areas like the hull, as I've seen some (oft severe) spotting and globbing in areas where the paintbrush meets an angle. Next painted a white line down at the waterline and along the top edge of the decks, which looks a lot more ragged than I'd anticipated. Also a red line at the bottom for the hull, which also looks like crap. Getting discouraged with the rotten paint job, maybe I should try acrylics next time? Or stick to wood?



IMT Build Day Eight:

Started building the deck structures today. Began with the bulwarks along the gun deck, a picket fence type of deal with the ten secondary guns poking out from the open spaces. Made them from .5mm sheet plastic (old signs from work) and my new glue. Lots of angles and points in these, but with an accurate ruler and a careful eye, they come together quickly. This was helped immensely by my fancy new E-6000 craft glue ($2.47 at Wal-mart!) which bonds steel-tight like superglue but gives me a few minutes to arrange things before it sets (can't overestimate how awesome that is).



I assume on the inside of these thingies were storage bins, or maybe even ammunition lockers for the guns (though that seems unsafe). In a couple photos of the ship after it was burnt out in 1898 the bins are open, suggesting that they were covered with either flammable wood or very flammable canvas (I'll model them solid, though). In four of them are going to be trays for the trash chutes, and in another four will be pass-through doors for the hull hatches (all to be added later).



Then started on the centerline structures (most of which I have no idea what they are for). Built the first one out of sheet, glued together at the corners, but this turned out to make a wobbly, wiggly building. That's bad as they are going to have to support the weight of various funnels and intake ventilators and the like. From the look of them, all the Maria's topside structures have to do with engine exhaust of some sort. So from the first one back (and I'll probably rebuild the first one), I made a wooden box out of basswood, and plated it with .5mm plastic, making a structure that is sturdy and firm, as well as smooth on the outside. I can't find any photos that show any sort of doors or hatches or windows on any of these buildings, but I assume they have them. I'll go in later and add any that I feel look good later.



Built six of these (of various sizes) and then set the entire thing out on the porch to dry overnight. Once they are rock solid, I'll go back over each one and sand and trim up any errors. Eventually they will be painted Flat White (with black roofs, I think), and that's why I'm not going to glue them in place yet until I paint them (learned my lesson...).



While waiting for the glue to dry on the buildings, I decided to work on the engine room ventilator banks. These are located underneath a hanging lifeboat stack and as such are barely visible in the few deck photos I have, so I have to wing it a bit. As it's a large bank, I started with a wooden frame. And then added plastic sheet on all surfaces.



I'm not totally sure the shape and size of the actual vents, be they square or round, so I decided to do both. On top of square panels I glued wire circles, made by wrapping wire around a dowel rod and snipping it (like the portholes). If I get ambitious later I'll add some wire handles and such. And with that, I'm done for today!

IMT Build Day Nine:

Moving towards the stern today, I'm going to start building the aft flying deck, where there was space for back-up command and control equipment, and fire-control and searchlight platforms. This is a large structure with a lot of curves and angles, though it's half as complicated as the forward flying bridge. I started out by tracing and cutting out on paper the outline of the bridge, and rubber cementing this onto a sheet of 1/16th inch plywood and cutting it out. This will serve as the roof so I flipped it over and built up the wing structures on each end. As before, I'll use basswood frames covered with plastic sheet. I think these were washrooms for the officers and crew (which makes sense as there were 500 or so men on this ship and you do need some sort of facilities for hygiene). The Spanish navy has not as hierarchical as, say, the Royal Navy, and there was a fair amount of mingling between officers and enlisted men. In the center of the flying bridge was a curving structure that I think was the armory (so it's noted on my blurry plan), which I suspect means small arms lockers for boarding parties and landing crews. I glued down two big chunks of basswood at angles, and hope that the plastic coverings will smooth it out later. As I've run out of plastic sheets, I'll have to stop here for today.



Here might be a good place to mention that I cannot find more than a handful of photos of the Maria's interior deck and superstructure. This might be due to the fact that she was only around for about five years (til 1898) in an era of few decent cameras. It also doesn't help that my googling skills are hampered by the Spanish language difference (much like my problems with the Russian Gilyak). Also, and most problematic, is the Maria's two sister ships, the Vizcaya and the Admiral Oquendo, were both sunk in the same battle as her. This means that there's, at best, five years when you could even take a photo of these ships, so I've had a devil of a time finding any to use. Oddly, after these three ships were smashed by the American Navy in 1898, their beached wrecks were photographed by William Randolph Hearst, and his archives have provided me with some invaluable photos of the Maria‘s decks, albeit in a demolished state. Anyway, I just wanted to mention what I have to work with here (or the lack of what I have to work with). Back to building tomorrow once I get some more scrap plastic from work tonight...

IMT Build Day Ten:

Having replenished my dwindling stock of plastic sheet (one flip-over price number sign gives me more than enough), I'm back to work. First up I finished plating the aft flying deck structure. Also added two watertight doors to the front, which are needed as this "wall", for lack of a better term, stretches all the way across the ship from beam to beam and these doors are the only way to access the forecastle. Decked the walking surfaces of it with same wood as the main deck. This operation went much smother than anticipated, which is good as I'll have to do it again on the fore platforms. Will make the railings for this whole assembly later, maybe even have to line the edges with a thin strip of plastic to cover up the rough edge.



Built the rectangular armored observation cupola next. On top is a searchlight platform to illuminate nighttime targets for the big main gun on the stern. Made it from seven little wooden chips glued together and sheeted with plastic. Decked the top of it also, railings and an access ladder to come later. Note that the flying deck extends back (towards the bow) a bit, with the support a solid block down to the deck. The photos I have show that this deck has some undefined blobs of machinery/equipment, but I've no idea what they are.



Also took some time and built some of the secondary structures that litter the top deck. These include two skylight assemblies, buggered up with clear plastic widgets and fake-looking window panes, and a big fresh water tank curving back from one of the funnel houses. With 500 men aboard, drinking water was vitally needed, and this tank was big enough to keep everyone happy (presumably). I also built a couple of small rectangular structures that i have no idea what were. They are just shadowy lines on my plan and fuzzy smears on photos, but I assume they had purposes to the crew. At least one of them might have been the kitchen for the crew, as most of these ships had a kitchen house on deck to keep the risk of fires low.



Anyway, that's all for today, the baby is waking up from his nap. On my next work day (maybe Monday), I'll work on painting what I have built and maybe staining the deck (I have some ideas...).

IMT Build Day Eleven:

Painting day (again)! First off I need to stain the decks. Wooden decked warships of this era were notoriously and permanently dirty. Coal dust, funnel soot and 500 pairs of boots, not to mention the near-constant application of oil and sealer to keep the water out, meant that wooden decks were grimy, grungy, brackish affairs, even on the best-maintained ships. So, to show this, I went out and bought a tin of Minwax wood stain in a nice antique dark walnut color. A first coat went on super easy, and I was most pleased with the randomness of the dark and light patches. In real life, the deck color would be ever-changing as old planks were replaced and new layers of soot and dust and grime were laid down and swirled around with every stiff wind. Not sure I need a second coat, but maybe tomorrow I'll add another.



Next I need to paint the deck structures and place them (so I can get on with this...). I've given up on the expensive enamel paints, as they totally suck, and am going back to my cheap Wal-mart acrylic craft paints, as they don't suck. In keeping with the Victorian livery theme, the side walls of the buildings will be white, while the roofs and bases will be black. After two coats of paint, I went ahead and glued down the structures. The big aft flying deck turned out to be a problem, as I evidently measured wrong when building it. As a result I had to glue it down off-center a bit, but I think I can cover that up with some paintwork and such. All in all a pretty good start to the color scheme, if I do say so myself.



IMT Build Day Twelve:

More work on the top deck today. Build the bottom level of the forward flying bridge first, a beam-to-beam structure similar to, but substantially larger than, the aft flying bridge that I built last week. My first task was to trace and cut out the shape and build the framework in plastic and paper. This I did in the early morning and then clamped them together until the baby's afternoon naptime. After adding the wooden planking to the top and some minor details like watertight doors on the front, I glued it down on the hull. I then had to pry it off with a screwdriver when I realized (too late) that I superglued it down upside down (sometimes I'm distracted my shiny things...). All better now, I stained the wood deck and painted the structure. It looks pretty darned good, the overall look of black and oak is as authentic as I can get it.



Just a little bit more time this afternoon, just enough to finish the two funnels (smokestacks). Each will be a cylinder 122mm high and 28mm in diameter, sitting on their own square bases (already built). Going to make them out of .5mm plastic rolled into a tube and glued together. Around the base will be a band to give it some strength, and another at the top for the same purpose. I realize now that I should have used thinner, more flexible plastic for the funnels, as even super glue struggles to keep the roll together (a surprise to me!). Perhaps I should have used PVC plumbing pipe? I can get that in all lengths at Lowe's, but that costs money ;). On the tops are cross-shaped funnel caps, which were designed to dissipate the smoke more evenly and to keep large foreign objects from falling into the boilers (it's a straight shot down the funnel to the boilers, and you don't want stuff doing that).



Along the sides are the steam pipes that run up nearly the entire length. As with the Gilyak, I used ink pen tubes for these, after first cutting them down and allowing them to drain for a few hours (ink is messy...). I made braces made from plastic sheet to hold the pipes a few millimeters away from the funnel sides. Also plan to put steam whistles on the two forward-facing pipes, though I can't find a photo of one to make more than an educated guess about what they looked like. And finally for the day I glued both funnels down on their bases and painted them. In the Victorian style, they are Light Brown with Flat Black caps and pipes, which does indeed contrast nicely with the weathered deck.



IMT Build Day Thirteen:

Worked today on the deck cowl ventilators, the largish smoking pipe looking things that were used to vent hot stuffy air and engine and kitchen exhaust out of the interior compartments. These are nearly impossible to scratch-build for me as they are such unique items. The best I can do is to cut up ink pens in various size segments and glue them together in a rough approximation of a funnel. Maybe someday in the future I'll figure out how to make latex plastic molds, I've seen kits for doing that at hobby stores but am leery of taking on that burden. I will eventually need four 50mm tall funnels, two 30mm tall, and four shorter 25mm tall.



They came together pretty well, actually, surprised even me. A coat of Light Brown paint and I can glue them down on the deck. There will also be smaller vents scattered about, but they shouldn't be as problematic.



Next I worked on the forward bridge structure again. The armored cupola came from the top of a bottle of antacid pills, it was just the perfect size, wrapped in plastic sheet and painted white. Eventually I'll put a black band around the front for the view slit. The flying bridge will sit on top of this, making a two-tier gallery structure. Built this the normal way, with plastic sheet and wooden planks stained to match. Glued it on and called it a day while everything dried.



All for today!

IMT Build Day Fourteen:

Well, after some serious consideration, I've decided to suspend construction on the Infanta Maria Teresa indefinitely. While the hull is 100% complete and the superstructure is around 65% complete, it has simply become too big a project to complete with my limited workspace and resources, plus the baby has been eating scrap plastic and the wife has put the hammer down on me (understandably).

I'm going to put her in storage for now, perhaps one day I'll be able to come back and finish her up. My consolation is that I'm still learning how to do all this, and I've learned many, many invaluable lessons with the Maria. First amongst them is that bigger is not always better, especially for a relative novice in this hobby, and my next build will definitely be much smaller. Perhaps I'll let my parents finish it ;).

Thanks to all of you have you been following this build!


One final look at the ship.


My "drydock", being my outside storage unit.

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