My Workbench

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Two Navwar 1:1200 50 Gun Ships

(I note that this post gets viewed frequently so I want to point out that the rigging is incorrect, done before I had a good reference to go by.)

Here I present the completed Navwar Dutch 4th rate 50 gun ships Rotterdam and Batavier.

The Rotterdam was launched in 1761. Her dimensions were Length 136'; Beam 39'; Depth 15'; 937 tons.  Her compliment was 350 men and boys.
24 x 18 pounders
24 x 12 pounders
8 x 8 pounders
She was captured in 1781 by the British.

The Batavier was launched in 1779. Her dimensions were Length 144'; Beam 40'; Depth 16'; 1048 tons. Her complimen was 300 men and boys.
22 x 24 pounders
24 x 12 pounders
8 x 6 pounders
She was captured in 1799 by the British.

These ships are typical for Navwar, taking a considerable amount of work. New masts, sprit and jib boom had to be built for both ships. I use two methods for sails for these ships. For the Rotterdam I cut new sails out of thin brass sheet, attached clew lines and yards, then painted them. For the Batavier I cut the Navwar sails off of the spindly masts and reshaped them using a small sanding drum attached to my Dremel tool. Then I attached clew lines and yards to the modified sails and painted them.

In the photos below the Batavier is on the left and the Rotterdam is on the right. I would sincerely appreciate comments or votes on which sail set looks the best, the modified sails on Batavier or the scratch-built brass sails on the Rotterdam.

Thank you for looking and don't forget to vote for wich sails look best - the modified molded sails on the left, or the scratch-built brass sails on the right.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Scratch Building 1:1200 Ship Masts

I find myself scratch building replacement masts for every ship model manufacturer except Rod Langton's ships. GHQ's masts are featureless, soft and flimsy; Davco's are as flimsy as GHQ masts but are as detailed as Langton's; Navwar masts are featurless and run from relatively stiff to extremely flimsy, but the sails are so bad and yardless that even with sturdy masts I would still want to redo them. So here is a short tutorial on how I create masts that look close to Davco and Langton masts.

I am going to start with a 50 gun Dutch Navwar ship for an example.

The first thing I do is take measurements of the masts that came with the model. I measure the lower mast, top mast, and top gallant mast for each of the three masts. I also measure the bowsprit and jib boom.

I use music wire bought at Hobby Lobby. Sizes: .047 for the lower masts, .039 for the top masts, and .032 for the top galant masts.
I measure and mark the wire, then cut the pieces with a pair of small dykes.

The ends have burrs and can be very sharp so I grind them smooth with a silicate grinding wheel attached to my Dremel tool.
Or you can just use a file to accomplish the same thing.

For the fighting tops you can use any type of card. I have used thin paper card, plastic coated tags, old credit cards, etc. For this examply I am using an expired plastic insurance card.

I measure the fighting top on the model's mast and cut a strip the same width with a pair of scissors. Measure slightly more than the width of the topmast wire from the end of the strip and mark with a pen. With a small drill bit the same size as the lower mast wire, drill a hole through the mark.
Now I cut the fighting top to size and round the corners off of the top mast side. I run the lower mast through the hole in the fighting top leaving just about 1/8" extending through the card. I use just a small drop of superglue to glue the top mast to the lower mast and fighting top.
Next I cut two pieces of black thread and tie them around the joint and add just a dab of superglue to the knot to hold them.
Next glue the top gallant mast to the top mast and tie with two pieces of thread the same way.

I glue up the bow sprit and jib boom the same way.

When the glue is dry, clipp off the tie ends with a clipper or xacto knife.

The mostly finished masts and sprit:

Some times I make up masts for two or more ships at the same time if they are around the same size.

And painted up:

I start the process again for more ships.

Here I am adding a little extra detail to make the masts look even better. I cut narrow strips of thin paper card stock and cut them into 10MM lengths. Then I glue them to oposite sides of the lower mast just beneath the fighting top platform.
Cut three lengths of black thread and tie them around the strips and mast.

Here are comparison shots of Davco's masts and my scratch built masts.

Here are the masts going on the ships:

And masts waiting for two more ships:
I hope this provides some help to a fellow modeler. Thank you for looking.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Davco 1:1200 HMS Temeraire, 2nd Rate, 98 Guns

(I note that this post gets viewed frequently so I want to point out that the rigging is incorrect, done before I had a good reference to go by.)

This is the Davco 1:1200 2nd rate, 98 gun ship of the line HMS Temeraire. She was one of  three ships of the Neptune Class, all of which took part in the battle of Trafalgar. Her two sister ships were the Neptune and the Dreadnought. Temeraire was launched in 1798, with a displacement of 2121 tons. She had a complement of 738 men and boys.
Gun Deck: 28 x 32 pounders
Middle Deck: 30 x 18 pounders
Upper Deck: 30 x 18 pounders
Quarter Deck 8 x 12 pounders
Forcastle: 2 x 12 pounders

The 98-gun Temeraire was one of the key ships that took part in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Britain was bracing itself against the possibility of invasion by Napoleon. Napoleon had succeeded in bringing together fleets from France and Spain, in order to ravage British interests. The Battle of Trafalgar was to sow the seeds of British colonial power for many years, as well as decisively destroying the Napoleonic threat.
Admiral Lord Nelson was the genius commander behind the British tactics in the battle: a master tactician, and already a national hero. The French fleet was commanded by Admiral Villeneuve. He had 33 ships, compared with the British 22. By dawn of the 21-Oct-1805, the two fleets were visible to one another. Nelson arranged his fleet into two columns, to pierce the enemy line head on. Nelson's Victory ploughed straight through the line, taking terrible damage, before opening fire. The Victory smashed the French flagship the Bucentaure, with Admiral Villeneuve, the only man left standing on the quarter deck.
Then the Victory's progress was blocked by the Redoutable. The Temeraire, captained by Sir Eliab Harvey, flanked the Redoutable on the other side, and the Victory and Temeraire smashed their foes with shattering broadsides at point blank range.
Captain Jean-Jacques Lucas of the Redoubtable said: "It would be difficult to describe the horrible carnage caused by the murderous broadside. More than 200 of our brave lads were killed or wounded. I was wounded at the same instant, but not so seriously as to prevent me from remaining at my post ... A little later a third ship [HMS Temeraire] came up and stationed herself astern of the Redoubtable and fired into us at pistol range; in less than half an hour our ship was so riddled that she seemed to be no more than a mass of wreckage. In this state the Temeraire hailed us to strike, and not prolong a useless resistance. I ordered several soldiers who were near me to answer this summons with musket-shots, which was performed with the greatest zeal. At the very same minute the mainmast fell on board the Redoubtable. The entire stern was absolutely stove-in, rudder-stock, tiller, and two tiller-sweeps, sternpost, wing transoms, and transom knees were in general shot to pieces."
The ships behind Victory engaged the Franco-Spanish fleet as they came through. A musket shot from the Redoubtable hit Nelson and knocked him down, breaking his back: he was taken below and missed the battle as it climaxed towards British victory, although he was kept informed at all times. The Temeraire continued to fight the Redoutable and managed to smash the French ship Fougueux in the process. The tactic of piercing the Franco-Spanish line was successful, and during the storm which blew up later that day, many of the crippled vessels were finally destroyed. Nelson died in the course of the battle, and was given a state funeral.
Thus the Temeraire acquired its legendary place in British naval history.

Now the sunset breezes shiver
Temeraire! Temeraire!
And she's fading down the river.
Temeraire! Temeraire!
Now the sunset Breezes shiver
And she's fading down the river,
But in England's song for ever
She's the Fighting Temeraire.

Henry Newbolt, 'The Fighting Temeraire', 1898

Like the Davco HMS Agamemnon, this model required new masts, yards, jib & sprit, and the fore staysail//fore topmast staysail/flying jib. It turned out to be a very nice model.

Here are a couple of comparison shots with GHQ's HMS Victory on the left and Davco's HMS Temeraire on the right. I think they will look OK on the gaming table together.

I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed building it.