My Workbench

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Grays Harbor LightHouse Miniature

It has been several months since my last post. Life has a habit of getting in the way of one's hobbies from time to time. Over the weekend our family took a trip to Ocean Shores, Washington to visit my sister and brother-in-law, whose family owns a cottage there. We spent some time walking the beaches the first day. On the second day we took his boat out crabbing and gathered a dozen nice sized Dungeness crabs. While we were waiting for the crab pot to fill, a gray whale breached close to the boat surprising us all. Of course no one had a camera ready, but shortly we had a whole pod of whales around us. I got mostly video footage and just a few photos. My daughters got more but I haven't seen them yet.

We had a great fresh seafood feast that evening with crab, clams and oysters. Then a good game of Mexican Train to end the evening.

The next day my girls wanted to shop for souvenirs in the little harbor town so we had lunch at a fantastic authentic Irish restaurant called Galway Bay, and went shopping. At one shop I spotted a beautiful miniature of the Grays Harbor Lighthouse. It appeared to be close to 1/1200 scale and was only $3 so I grabbed it. When I got home with it I was excited to check it out against my fleets. It is perfect! 

The model is one of the Authentic Lighthouse Replicas from The Asian Pacific Imports Collection. There are eleven more lighthouses in the collection. They are for sale on ebay for $10 plus so I feel like I got a screaming deal for only $3.

So all in all it was a good trip. Good company, fresh seafood, Mexican Train, whale watching, and a lighthouse. Hard to beat that!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Navwar 40 Gun Swedish Frigate Venus

Capture of Venus
Venus was a Swedish frigate designed by Fredrik Henrik af Chapman. Launched at Karlskrona July 19, 1783, she sailed to Gothenburg where she was assigned to the local naval station, commanded by Adolf Ulrik Sheldon. Three years later she was under the command of Major Magnus Hansson and attached to the Gothenburg squadron. On June 1, 1789, Venus was patrolling just outside the Norwegian coast. Norway was ruled by Denmark and considered neutral. The day before, lookouts reported a Russian squadron of two ships of the line, two frigates and a cutter.

Commander Hansson expected to be able to stay ahead of the Russians due to the ship's excellent sailing qualities. Unfortunately the wind died off and stopped him from reaching the open sea. Cornered by the Russians, Venus took refuge in the fjord of Christiania (Oslo), expecting the protection of a neutral nation. The Russian ships followed, the cutter Merkuny starting the action. The larger ships positioned themselves to be able to fire along the length of Venus.

Hansson had placed springs on his anchor cables and used them to good effect to train his guns on the Russians, damaging the first of the arriving adversaries. But when the line of battle ships were in place and began to fire, Hansson dropped his colors. According to testimony from the Danish/Norwegian pilot, commander Hansson immediately boarded the Russian flagship claiming the attack as a crime of war.

The frigate was taken into the Russian navy and participated in the battle of Revel and in the battle of Vyborg Bay in 1790 under the command of British Admiral Roman Crown. She served in the Adriatic Sea between 1805 and 1807, and in the Agean Sea in 1807. She was sold to the Kingdom of Naples in Palermo to avoid capture by the British.

Length: 128 ft.
Beam: 32 ft.
Draft: 10 ft.
Compliment: 160
Armament: 26 x 24 pounder long guns and 14 x 6 pounders

Fregatt Venus

As you may notice, this Navwar model is the HMS Indefatigable 44 gun. I also have the Davco and Langton Indefatigable models. I chose the Davco version for the Indefatigable because it matched the Davco Agamemnon hull so closely. The Indefatigable was a cut down razeed 64 gun of the same class as the Agamemnon. In studying this Navwar hull, I realized there are only 40 guns/hatches, not the 44 of the Indefatigable. I decided to model the two Navwar Indefatigable models I have as Swedish 40 gun frigates. The photo is of one of the packs, base coats on the hull and the completed base.

American Triple Thick Brilliant Brush-On Gloss Glaze is what I use on my bases. It dries rock hard and has a nice water gloss.
The masts are my usual scratch built.
Making the ratline/shrouds.

 Sails and spars made and ready to mount.
 Mizzen mast done.
 Main course set with main stay sail.
Main top and studding sail set. Note the beginning clew line wrapped around the mast.
Clew lines attached to sail. This strengthens the attachment of the sail to the mast.
Main top gallant sail set with the start of the clew line around the mast.
Clew line tied off on the front of the mast.
Foresail and stuns'l mounted.
Fore top sail and stuns'l on.
Finished and fully rigged.

Turtle Island

Several years ago my youngest daughter, the "Artist", sculpted a sea turtle from clay in school. After they fired it she brought it home. I have had it laying around the shipyard for quite a while and have used it in games as an island. My daughter (now in High School) remarked about me keeping her old sculpture. Then she made a suggestion. Why don't I just paint it and make it an island? Why didn't I think of that? So I did.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Navwar French 74-gun third rate Duguay Trouin

This Navwar model is marketed as the HMS Implacable, which was the renamed French third rate 74-gun vessel Duguay Trouin. I have modeled it as the original French 74. As with all of the Navwar vessels I build, the ratline/shrouds, masts, spars and sails are scratch built.

The ship was named after the renowned French privateer M. Rene' Duguay-Trouin (1673-1736). The ship was designed by Jacques Noel Sane and launched at Rochefort in 1800. This ship that fought at Trafalgar should not be confused with the 74-gun Duguay Trouin that was launched in 1789. That ship was burned along with nine other vessels under Admiral Hood's orders when Toulon was evacuated in 1793.

Duguay Trouin put to sea out of Cadiz with the combined fleet on October 19, 1805. Initially she sailed in the rear division commanded by Rear Admiral Dumanoir. When the combined fleet turned north, reversing it's sailing order at 8 PM on October 21, Duguay Trouin lay fifth in line from the head of Villeneuve's fleet. Ahead lay Dumanoir's flagship Formidable (80), astern Mont Blanc, and to leeward the frigate Cornelie (40). Once the battle opened, Dumanoir's division of 10 ships became isolated from the ships brought to action by Nelson's division.With little wind to tack, six of his ships, Neptune, Scipion, Rayo, Formidable, Duguay Trouin, and Mont Blanc were unable to return and support Villeneuve's center. Some used their boats to get the ships turned back through the wind, so Dumanoir's ships eventually re-entered the battle. Duguay Trouin, following Formidable, came under raking fire from Minotaur (74) and Spartiate (74). By 4:30 PM Formidable, followed by Duguay Trouin, Mont Blanc, and Scipion sailed south of the battle, leaving the Spanish Neptuno closely engaged with Minotaur and Spartiate.

Sailing in company with Formidable, Mont Blanc and Scipion, Duguay Trouin was spotted by Phoenix (36), Captain Thomas Baker off Cape Finisterre on November 2. Baker informed Captain Sir Richard Strachan who was laying off Ferrol with his squadron of eight ships. The squadron consisted of the following ships: Caesar (80), Bellona (74), Couragious (74), Hero (74), Namur (74), Revolutionnaire (38), Santa Margarita (36), and AEolus (32). Joined by Phoenix (36), Strachan, flying his pendant in Caesar, set off in pursuit. The next afternoon Bellona, a poor sailer, parted company. By the morning of November 4 the squadron had closed to within six miles of Dumanoir's squadron. At around 11:45 AM Caesar, Courageous, and Hero formed line ahead and began running down upon the four French ships. Following orders, Duguay Trouin  took in her small sails and hauled up on a starboard tack, heading NE then formed line ahead, followed in order by Formidable, Mont Blanc, and Scipion. Signalling to Gardener in Hero that he intended to attack the center and rear of the French line, Strachen's ships commenced action at 12:15 PM, coming up on Dumanoir's windward side and opening fire from their larboard guns. At around 12:55 PM when Duguay Trouin luffed to cross and rake Caesar's bow, Strachan's ship counter-maneuvered by doing likewise. In her attempt to tack, Duguay Trouin unfortunately missed stays and losing way, for a short time came under considerable fire from Caesar and Hero. The action eased and when the French ships came onto a port tack at 1:20 PM the British gave chase. With Namur joining at 2:00 PM, battle was resumed and by 3:15 PM Formidable and Scipion had struck. Meanwhile Duguay Trouin and Mont Blanc attempted their escape but were soon overhauled by Caesar and Hero. After 20-minutes' close action both ships simultaneously struck at 3:35 PM. Total French casualties amounted to 750 killed and wounded; among her dead was Claude Touffet, Duguay Trouin's captain. British casualties were 14.8 per cent of the French. All four French ships were taken into Plymouth on November 10. Appropriately renamed Implacable and entered into the Royal Navy, the ship was laid up in the Hamoaz until 1807.
(Paraphrased from "The Ships of Trafalgar - The British, French and Spanish Fleets October 1805" by Peter Goodwin)

Stats: Length of gun deck - 181'6"; Breadth - 48'11"; Depth in hold - 22'; Tons burthen 1896.22; Complement - 670

Armament: Single broadside weight - 854 pounds, (later - 966 pounds);
Lower gun deck - 28 x 36 pounders (later 32 pounders)
Upper gun deck - 30 x 18 pounders
Quarter deck - 14 x 8 pounders (later 2 x 12 pounders & 12 x 32 pdr carronades)
Forecastle - 6 x 8 pounders (later 2 x 12 pounders & 2 x 32 pdr carronades)

Comparison - GHQ 74 (231) on the left

Comparison - Langton 74 (NS-22) on the left