My Workbench

Friday, October 14, 2016

Scratchbuilding Experiment - Halifax Schooners

My last post I talked about getting the itch to scratch build something. I wanted to see how small I could go and make it still look like a ship. The smallest plan I printed was the 58 foot Halifax schooner. At 1/1200 scale that is 9/16" for the deck.

Halifax Schooner Plans at 1/1200 scale
The next step was to cut out the deck and both left and right profiles, Since there were two sets, I decided to make two with variations. I glued the decks to 1/16" balsa then cut them out with a sharp blade. I used a small file to clean them up. I also cut out and glued a small poop deck to one of the boats. Next step was to glue the profiles to the deck sides.

After they dried I had to cut two stern plates out of some thin card stock. I made them each slightly different. I glued them to the stern of each model. After they dried I colored the hull sides with a sepia marker and painted the bulwarks, rails and decks. As an after thought I cut a coupld of cabins to add to the decks and painted them as well.

Next I built masts for one of the boats then cut sails out to fit. I built the second mast set taller than the first, mainly because I think the sails to fit the first mast set are too small, but maybe not, I'm not sure at this scale. The masts for the second boat are also one gauge size smaller.

First boat before afterthought cabin.
Once the sails were formed I attached just the after sails to see how it would look.

The sails on the left boat will be larger

Bases are 30MM x 40MM
This is as far as I've gotten and I am not sure I am going to like the results as well as with the larger vessels.  I will either add to this post as I progress or start a new post. Suggestions? Which way would be better?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Plans for My American Fleet

I haven't done much in the shipyard for the last few months, it was a busy summer. But now the air is changing and we can feel winter approaching. That means more time indoors. Over the several rainy days we had this past week I started thinking about an American fleet. I have four built American ships and four unbuilt.

1) Essex 32 gun (Langton)
2) Anaconda 18 gun brigantine (Navwar)
3) Baltimore Clipper 10 gun (GHQ)
4) Cutter 14 gun (Navwar)

1) Constitution 44 gun (Langton)
2) Constellation 38 gun (GHQ)
3) Congress 36 gun (Langton)
4) Adams 28 gun (Langton)

I know I should just concentrate on building the last four, but I'm just not feeling it. What I have been itching to do is another scratch built ship, one that no one manufactures so you can't purchase anywhere. I have put together two 1/1200 scaled sheets with plans for seven different ships (two are the same sister ships, but one of them is in the original six Humphreys frigates.) They are:

1) United States 44 gun
2) Chesapeake 38 gun
3) Philadelphia 36-38 gun
4) Boston 32 gun
5) Raleigh 24 gun (1776)
6) Rattlesnake Massachusetts Privateer 20 gun
7) a typical Halifax schooner

I am not sure when I will start on one of these but at least now, when I get the itch, I will have the plan ready to go. My apologies for not being more prolific with this blog. 

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.