My Workbench

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Sails of Glory Commission

Recently I took on a commission from an old hobby friend in Arizona. Several years ago I kit bashed two SOG ships for Gunner (refer to the Ares label on my home page). He paid me a great compliment the other day and asked if I would be willing to do four more specific ships for him. The package arrived last Saturday. Opening this package was like opening every other package I have ever recieved from Gunner,  Christmas! To backtrack a bit, all of the Davco and Navwar, plus many of the GHQ hulls I have, arrived in packages from Gunner. This package was no different. In it was the four commission ships:

HMS Agamemnon 

USS Constitution 

Bonhomme Richard

Ville de Varsovie 

In addition the package contained Gunner's generous idea of payment: Another SOG Constitution, an as yet unidentified SOG third rate, several small bags of 1/1200 scale buildings and a few Langton ancient ships. But the main candy was the two large bags. One contained 20 plus packs of Langton Napoleonic ships and the other large bag was full of Langton sail sets, several of which were the older discontinued studding and full sail white metal sets. A small bag of various etched brass sail sets and two packs of Davco frigate sails were also there. 

Wow! I was in mini ship heaven! Haha, like I really need more unbuilt ships! But you can never have too many minis! Right? Help me out here!

The first ship Gunner wants is the Ville de Varsovie.

Note the spanker and jib/stay sails are blowing in the opposite directions. Of the four ships, only the Constitution is correct.

So it appears there will be a bit of a delay  for the rest of the Black Seas ships while I knock these SOG ships out for Gunner.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Black Seas American Brig

I moved on to one of the brigs in the Black Seas US Squadron pack. The modifications I made are:
1) Cut the spars away from the masts and dress the masts.
2) Cut the two pieces of the furled main course sail away from the plastic spar remnants.
3) Cut and dress new spars using 0.32 music wire.
4) Glued the two pieces of the furled sail to the new main course spar. Filled the gap with green stuff putty and sculpted it to match the rest of the sail.
5) Cut two gun hatches in a piece of 60# card, fitted and glued it to the inside of the taff rail at the stern. (As it turned out this detail really wasn't necessary since the driver and all the rigging make it difficult to see anyway.)
6) Cut out two card hatch covers and glued them to the outside of the stern, matching the inside hatch locations.
7) Mounted a fife rail aft of the main mast base to tie off the brace lines from the foremast spars. (Next one I will do the same at the foremast.)
8) Extended all of the fighting tops
9) Made the ratlines with the new jig

Heading into the Mediterranean 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Black Seas Frigate Chesapeake Finished

I finally finished this 1/700 scale ship! It wouldn't normally have taken so long but I have only been able to work about a half hour per evening in the hobby room for the last month. This one is pretty much stock with just a few embellishments. The next one will have some modifications.

You can see the winged angel figurehead

Good shot of the aft and quarter davits with boats

Shown with my scratch built 1/1200 Chesapeake

I think I'm going to have fun with these Black Seas ships

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Black Seas Critique Continued

The plastic sprues come with three different generic sterns and three different stems with figurehead.

Since this is supposed to be the US fleet, there is also a bag with three named sterns: Chesapeake, Constellation and Congress; and four specific metal figurehead stems.

As I said in the last post, they got the figurehead for the Chesapeake right, a winged angel with left arm draped over exposed right breast. I haven't researched enouh of the other two ships to know what they got right or wrong yet, except the Constellation stern. The rounded stern they provide is the 1853 stern from the sloop Constellation. Rounded sterns weren't developed during the Napoleonic period. So the stern Warlord provides for the USS Constellation is out of period with the other ships in the pack. And I am at a loss why there are four stems for 3 ships.

The next thing I want to complain about is that Warlord cast the spars flush with the masts!

Spars set in front of the mast, always! The way they are cast the ships can only be modelled with a following wind from directly astern. A very inefficient sailing configuration. And by casting the spars flush, they can't even be separated and repositioned on the mast without destroying either the spars or the masts.

The next thing I don't care for is the paper backed clear acetate ratlines. You just can't get rid of the glare, shine and reflection on them.

So I have been experimenting with jigs to make ratlines for the frigate. I came up with two jigs. The first one I made can produce the whole lower mast ratline set at one time. But this proved time consuming and difficult to thread.

I used these for the lower masts.

The second jig I made is much simpler and faster to thread, but only does one ratline set at a time.

After mounting the ratlines I worked the rest of the standing rigging.

While doing so I discovered the predrilled holes for the formast, mainmast and mizzenmast stays are too far forward, just inside the aft end of the chains/channels so the stays don't show behind the ratlines. I will be drilling new holes farther aft on the remaining ships.

Also something to note: There are two resin 44 gun large frigate packs in the box, the USS President and USS United States. All of the Humphreys frigates had flush single gun decks. The exception was United States which had a notorious aft block house. This block house was blamed for her being such a poor sailer. The United States resin model has a raised poop deck, not a block house.

It is also interesting that the only boat davits in the squadron box were on the sprue in the United States bag. They don't fit on the quarters of this model because of the raised poop deck. But they fit perfectly on the quarters of the flush decked President.

All US frigates carried quarter and stern boat davits. Since there were none on the plastic frigate sprues, I made davits for the frigate which can be seen in the photos above.

While I may be whining alot, overall I am enjoying the challenges to make a decent model with this first ship. As I work through it, ideas for modifying the next one come to mind and I know I should write them down because I'm old and might forget! And there are all of those extra stems and sterns........hmmm