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King of the Mississippi

Updated: May 3, 2022

There's a new practicum coming. The Sophomore Course, King of the Mississippi. This practicum will be based on the Artesania Latina kit of the riverboat, King of the Mississippi.

This is an exciting kit to build, and I am going to show you all kinds of new techniques and ways to make the impossible seem like child's play. This kit is loaded with details -- more than you can imagine. Some of them prevent real challenges too, but I found ways to achieve these challenging details with easy to use techniques.

I'm currently about 85% through the full construction of the model. Here's a recent photo showing some of my progress.

The wires you see in this photo are lighting using LED's. The paddlewheel is also driven by a small 1.5 volt motor. All of these things will be hidden from view. These are just a few of the enhancements I've made to the kit.

Notice the shutters next to the windows on the second deck. The kit included photo-etched shutters that were impossible to paint (and believe me, I tried several different methods but none of them gave me good results). Well, I found a solution to that problem which will be included with the practicum.

You might be wondering why I'm classifying this as a Sophomore Course. All of my practicums have been based on masted ships, mostly square riggers. This kit is different than any other kit I've written a practicum for. It's a beautiful model when it's finished but not an easy model to build. There are no written instructions, only two PDF files which are basically photo essays of the kit's construction, and they have flaws in them.

For example, it was just at this stage of construction that I decided to look ahead in the photo essay to see what all I still had to do to finish the model. Low and behold, at nearly the final set of photos I find that the rudders are installed! What, install the rudders on the bottom of the aft hull AFTER all of the details have been added? That's crazy, and I call that a poor design of construction if you can't install the rudders early in construction before you add nearly every detail the model has on it. Fortunately I will be correcting that part of the construction in my practicum so that the rudders can be installed early and not get damaged as you build the model.

Another challenge I discovered was the construction of the photo-etched rails you see on the middle deck. These photo-etched pieces are only .26mm or about .010" in thickness. Now how are you suppose to super glue an edge that thin to the surface of a strip of basswood sandwiching it between another strip to form a rail? It's impossible, but I found a solution. And some of those rails are curved at the bow and stern which presents even more challenging construction. I will be covering all of these things in the practicum and these are reasons why I'm classifying this practicum as a Sophomore Course.

I've been working on the model daily, a few hours at a time. I estimate that the practicum will be ready for release by the end of April. The kit is available directly from Artesania Latina in Spain and they provide free shipping. Another enhancement I'm adding to the model are an optional set of metal figures and livestock, that when painted will bring the model to life.

Stay tuned. I'll add an update when I get closer to completion.


May 3, 2022 New Practicum is now available.

My new practicum for the King of the Mississippi is now available for purchase. It is available on CD or as a printed book. Just go to for options.


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