My Workbench

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Langton French 74 Gun Algésiras

Since I am laid up with this back brace I have been able to spend a lot of time in the shop. I decided to build some more French ships. This one is Langton's French 74 gun model built as the Algésiras. I used GHQ sails and a Navwar jib sail set I had.

The Algésiras was Téméraire class 74-gun ship of the line built at Lorient in 1804. In 1805 she took part in the Battle of Trafalgar under Rear Admiral Charles Magon. She was engaged at point blank range by HMS Tonnant. Magon attempted a boarding but the entire boarding party was wiped out by British fire except one who was made a prisoner. Admiral Magon was killed. The fight continued for another hour with Tonnant's starboard guns dueling with Algésiras, her port battery with Pluton, and her forward guns aimed at the San Juan Nepomuceno. Algésiras finally surrendered to Tonnant around 14:30. During the storm after the battle, her crew rose up in rebellion against the British prize crew and recaptured the ship. They sailed her into Cadiz harbor flying French colors.

On June 14, 1808 Algésiras was captured by the Spanish, along with all of the other French ships in Cadiz.

Length at gun deck = 181'6"
Beam = 48'11"
Depth of Hold = 21'10"
Displacement = 1896 tons burthen
Compliment = 670

Lower Gun Deck - 28 x 36 pounders
Upper Gun Deck - 30 x 18 pounders
Quarter Deck - 14 x 8 pounders
Forecastle - 6 x 8 pounders
Single Broadside Weight = 854 pounds

Inspirational Picture
GHQ sail/mast set with lower masts cut away and replaced with .060 music wire. Base blank cut and coated with varnish. Hull drilled and primed.

Davco jib sail and sprit set. Bowsprit replaced with music wire. Dolphin striker and sprit sail with yard added.

If I do this again I will cut the sails apart so they say with the stay lines better.

This was a nice one to build

Friday, April 13, 2018

Making Sails for Wargaming Ship Models

I am going to divide this post into three parts

I: Making & Dressing Ship Sails
II: Making Brass Sails
III: Making Sails for a Cutter

The most important tool I use for starting scratch built masts or sails is the Mast Log I created.

In this Mast log I have recorded the lengths of masts from every size and type of ship I have purchased. In addition I have traced most of the sail sets from Langton Miniatures, GHQ and several from Davco.

When I want to make a set of sails I flip the log open to the sails for the size ship I want and use a small sheet of old fashioned carbon paper to trace the sails onto a sheet of heavy bond sketch paper.

I: Making & Dressing Ship Sails

For full sail rigs I like to cut the sails out in blocks so I can keep them straight. Sometimes, when I have to stop working and come back later, I will store them in small zip-lock  bags marked with what mast they go to.

Next step is cut the sails out then give them the proper shape. I do this by applying Elmers white glue (PVA) to a smooth surface cylindrical object like a marker pen or Xacto knife handle then press the sail onto the glue in the proper orientation to form a curve.

After the sails and glue dry they will pop off fairly easy as long as the marker surface was clean. And this is what you get:

At this point I measure across the top of the sails plus a bit of overhang on each side then mark it out on a length .015 or .020 gauge music wire I purchase at Hobby Lobby.

Super glue does a good job of affixing the new spars to the new sails. After the sails have been painted and dried, single rows of window screen mesh are cut and glued to the larger sails for reef points.

Then I start tying on the leech lines. These will be used later to tie onto the masts.

Sometimes I will just use a colored pen to add in the reefs and leeches. I will do it that way when I make single piece sail sets like the picture below.

After painting the spars it is time to attach the sails to the masts. I always start with the mizzen mast, working bottom to top, then forward to the next mast.

As shown the leech lines are wrapped around the mast and tied with a drop of super glue.

Ship with full sail compliment

II: Making Brass Sails

I use thin brass shim sheeting you can buy in rolls for about $4 to $6 just about anywhere from Walmart to Lowes. A little more expensive at auto shops. The sails are traced out the same way as with the paper, then cut out.

After shaping the sails over a marble, details like the reef points are added the same way with single rows of window screen.

Prime with black primer, measure and cut spars. Attach with super glue.

A finished ship with scratch brass sails

III: Making Sails for a Cutter

Sails traced for two cutters

Shaping the sails

Dressing the sails. Adding the reef points

That is all there is to it