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Making a 75mm lifeboat

This is a short tutorial explaining how to build Master Korabel 75mm lifeboat which you can buy from our store. This small kit consists of several pear veneer and plywood sheets, a thin brass strip and a few brass nails:

MK0102 boat kit parts

You have to be really careful as the laser cut parts are very delicate and fragile. However, it is not the end of the world if you break one. Just carefuly glue it back together with a tiny drop of CA glue. 

Step 1. First you need to number all parts and draw lines on both risings. These lines are needed to help you position thwarts at a later stage. Once this is done you can bevel two center keel supports and assemble the center keel:

Master Korabel boat center keel

Step 2. Next, the instructions tell you to attach some stern pieces to the keel frame. I think it is better not to do it at this point and wait until the next step. It is really hard to align these stern pieces with the keel frame and make them perfectly perpendicular to it at the same time. Instead, skip ahead, assemble the jig and insert (but do not glue!) all the bulkheads into it. The bulkheads are very fragile and, if you are like me, you might break a couple of them while dryfitting. Simply gluing them back together with CA glue solves the problem:

Master Korabel boat jig

Master Korabel boat jig with bulkheads

Step 3. Once all the bulkheads are inserted into the jig the center keel can be attached to the bulkheads (again, you can only glue it in specific spots which are marked in the instructions!). Afterwards, the stern pieces 12 and 14 can be glued to the center keel (but not to the jig!). I find that it is much easier to align these pieces once the jig and the rest of bulkheads are installed. Finally, soak both port and starboard risings and fit them into the notches in the bulkheads (you might need to thin the risings a little bit with a sanding block). The risings can only be glued in two places to the center keel : the bow and the stern:

Master Korabel boat risings

Step 4. After that attach the transom, soak ribs and carefuly glue them as follows. The ribs in the fore can only be glued to the center keel, while the ribs in the midsection can be glued to the bottom segments of the bulkheads as well. All the ribs can be glued to the top sections of the bulkheads (above the gunwale notch). Note that the bulkheads in the aft (10-14) don't have any ribs glued to them, the planks will be glued directly to them: 

Step 5Finally, planking can begin! I suggest deviating from the instruction and gluing the planks that go above the rising first so that the transom piece is firmly supported by them. After that, you can simply plank the boat as per instructions, starting with the strake right under the rising and moving down towards the center keel. Note that there are two versions of the garboard plank - normal and wide. Depending on your planking style you might need to use the wide one:

Step 6. The manual suggests sanding and smoothing the hull after the planking is done. You can do it now or you can remove the jig and strengthen the hull with some glue on the inside. To remove the jig you can simply cut the ribs above the upper strake or you can carefully break off protruding bulkhead sections as well. This makes removal of the jig so much easier:

Step 7. You can pour some thick white glue into the stern section of the boat to reinforce the hull. This area will be covered by side benches and stern decking:

After that the stern box covers and the stern decking can be glued and the remaining ribs can be installed. You can soak them in water, slide them into the notches in the rising and push them towards the keel notches. Once they are in you can permanently attach them by adding a tiny drop of CA glue on both ends (just above the rising and at the keel notch):

Step 8. Once all the ribs are installed you can pour a lot of white glue into the bilge and glue the decking. Make sure that the glue is thick enough so it doesn't seep through the cracks in the hull:

Step 9. Finally the hull can be sanded smooth (I also suggest applying a layer of protective finish at this point):

Step 10. Now the thwarts and the grating can be assembled and glued to the boat. I suggest attaching metal mast clamps to the thwarts beforehand:

Step 11. The rest of the assembly is straightforward: install the guard rail, stern trim pieces, the inboard plank, sand protruding ends of the ribs flush with the hull and install the gunwale and the oarlocks:

Step 12. Finally attach gudgeons and pintles to the boat and to the rudder and assemble the oars:

Master Korabel MK0102 assembled boat

Finally the boat is done! Here it is, on the deck of St. Gabriel, which you can get from our store as well:

MK0102 lifeboat on deck-boat St. Gabriel

And here are some pictures of another 75mm boat on the deck of Mayflower:

MK0102 boat on deck of Mayflower

If you like this boat you can get it from our store:

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  • Steven Probelski on

    I’m glad I found your site. I have several large kits from model expo-a little intimidating as a first build. I like your tutorials and I’m ordering one of the tiny boat kits to wet my appetite. Pretty sure I’ll add one of your larger kits soon!
    Thank you,
    Steve Probelski

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