molasses

Cruizer-class Brig-Sloops of the Royal Navy

149 posts in this topic

I was curious about the number of plans for the Cruizer class (and variations) available at the National Maritime Museum. I found 79 plans of which 19 are downloadable (low resolution, 1280 pixels horizontal).

 

Here they are as of 24 December 2013:

 

Cruizer Class Plans at NMM.pdf

 

If you know of any others please let me know and I'll add them to the list and update this file.

donfarr, trippwj and Cywolfe like this

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Found this thread while doing a little digging around for my next possible build.

 

I'd like to build one of the Cruizer-class brig sloops and am just trying to get some ideas here. I like the look of the fore and aft platforms as on the Snake, but with more possible build options by going with one of the brig sloops, rather than the much less numerous ship sloops. I've perused some of the links and those plans available online at the NMM, but just can't get a handle on which of the brig sloop versions would have had the fore and aft platforms. I don't necessarily have to build one of the more "famous" vessels like Reindeer, Grasshopper, Frolic etc..., just want something a bit different; there are certainly enough name choices! 

 

As to which kit, I'm thinking of buying the Snake since it is all set up for the platforms  and also comes with carronades, as opposed to the long 6's in the Cruizer kit. I'd have to re-work the channels and make new mast steps in the keel, but still think it may be the smarter route than starting with the Cruizer kit. I might also have to get a hold of the Caldercraft Cruizer plans for the masts/spars, general rigging arrangement. Deck layout changes I can get from the NMM plans most likely.

 

Thoughts???

 

Just a great thread Dave, and everyone else who has contributed. Thanks for the research.

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Hi Joe,

 

I just looked at the inboard profile of the Snake, and I see a full berth deck, not fore and aft platforms. By definition, all brig-rigged sloops of war had a full deck below the gundeck. If a brig was equipped with only platforms, then she was termed a "gun brig". HMS Boxer, which fought the USS Enterprize in 1813, was a gun brig. The numerous Cruisers were very large for brigs, at nearly 400-tons, so there was room and displacement aplenty to allow a full berth deck as befitting a proper British Man of War.

 

Perhaps you were looking at the smaller, 12-gun, 235-ton Cherokee/Cadmus/Rolla Class, of which Boxer was one of the hundred or so of the "Coffin Brigs" built. But even some of them were fitted with berth decks.

CharlieZardoz likes this

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It just occurred to me that maybe you were talking about the "top-gallant forecastle" deck above the forecastle, and the "poop deck" above the quarterdeck? The Cruisers Brigs had the former, but not the latter. Man of war brigs rarely, if ever, sported poop decks after the American Revolutionary period.

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Exactly, the raised platforms above the deck.

 

I had read that some of the Cruzier class brigs had both platforms as per the photo of the model below. Just trying to figure out how to determine which ones, and what the best route would be to take to model using either the Caldercraft Snake or Crusier as a starting point. 

post-11003-0-03474400-1397604642_thumb.jpg

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I don't think there are any rules to the class, HMS Pelorus is a classic example.  Initially brig rigged, she was converted to ship rig (a la Snake) in 1826.  The pictures below clearly show both fore and aft platforms on her in 1840 (back brig rigged!).  Having studied my own build at length during building (!!) the fore and aft platforms seems so be a big improvement (additional clear deck space for and aft) that I can't believe any ship wouldn't add.

 

It  would probably make more sense to buy the Snake kit and adjust for the brig rig than vice-versa, but either would work.  The head rail detailing is a little different on each kit.

 

HMS_Pelorus_%281808%29_aground_at_low_wa

Stanley3.jpg

jwvolz, uss frolick, Cywolfe and 1 other like this

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I would say that a battery of long guns on the above Cruiser model is just wrong. The model maker didn't have carronades. Quarter boats did not appear on ship-rigged sloops-of-war until the 1820s, let alone brigs, and I suspect the same applies to the aft platform.  I read a letter dated October, 1812, written by Captain Jacob Jones, USN, commander of the first US Sloop-of-War Wasp, warning that only British Frigates and Ships of the Line carried quarter-boats, so if one sees quarter boats on an approaching foe, it's best to make a run for it.

 

Dr. Maturin referred to an East Indiaman's poop deck in Patrick O'Brian's "The Mauritius Command" as a "subsidiary posterior deck, or platform " :)

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Here's the profile plan of the Gannet/Belette(2nd of that name) which seems to show the bow platform, but not the one at the stern. The more digging I do, the more confusing this is...

post-11003-0-67611100-1397607259_thumb.jpg

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Joe: there are several ways to go to build something a little different presented here in no particular order except for the kit that I think presents the least scratch building. All ships mentioned have plans at NMM.

 

1) Cruizer kit.   As near as I can tell, without doing a lot of digging, is that 50 to 70 or more Cruizers were built with the fore and aft platforms, and that guess is based on the plans that list the brigs built from those plans, but it doesn't guarantee that those individual brigs were built with platforms. This route would require upgrading 16 cannons with 16 x 32 pound carronades. I've been following most of the Snake builds (no Cruizers right now) and all those builders were unhappy with the carronades in the kit and bought the upgrades from Caldercraft which would be expensive. Chuck (w/Syren) has been promising carronades but he doesn't list them yet (at the time I'm writing this) and his carronades may be cheaper and of even better quality.

 

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Alert (1813)

 

2) Cruizer kit.   Some of the plans at NMM show a few of the later-built brigs without the platforms (Alert of 1813 for one). Others show them with a pair of small enclosed heads on deck at the aft corners (Redwing, Eclair, Sparrowhawk in about 1806).

 

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Redwing (1806), Eclair, Sparrowhawk

 

3) Cruizer kit.   Bellette and Gannett, both built in 1814, had the aft two heads, like in 2), but with a larger forward platform that covered the chase ports and 6 pounders. This platform almost butted to the fore mast and was set higher than the usual platform to give working room under it, but not much.

 

post-70-0-08333500-1397605984_thumb.jpg

Bellette and Gannett (1814)

 

4) Snake kit.   Beginning in about 1822 many of the remaining Cruizers were refit as ship-sloops (Fly 2, Grasshopper 2, Arachne, Thracian). The forward platform was enlarged around the fore mast and raised with a bulwark and the aft platform extended almost to the mizzen and raised so the helmsmen were under cover. This platform was not intended as a deck, just a cover, and is without ladders. The two aft enclosed heads were under this cover as were two more enclosed heads under the forward platform. The transom also appears to have been reset to a bit more vertical position. The tiller may have been raised to above this platform and rigged to eliminate the tiller rigging under the cover.  Mast locations appear to be slightly different on many of these refits

 

post-70-0-02666000-1397606237_thumb.jpg

 

post-70-0-43641700-1397606238_thumb.jpg

 

Fly and Grasshopper of 1813, both were the second Cruizer class brig with the name.

 

5) Snake kit.   In 1830 Arachne was again refit with a different foremast location and change in the size of the bulwarks on the forward platform.

 

post-70-0-88564500-1397606234_thumb.jpg

Arachne as refit in 1830 showing the earlier refit in about 1823.

 

 

I don't know if any of this helps you or just adds to the confusion, but it's something I wanted to point out as options for building something different.

jwvolz and JerseyCity Frankie like this

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Well Dave...Maybe I am more confused now. :unsure:

 

Really though, that info does help, and does square with some of the things I have been researching. OK, let's narrow it down then: among the Frolic, Reindeer, Avon, Epervier, Peacock, Penguin, you know, the "famous" ones, is it known if any of those had either the fore platform or the stern one or both? 

 

I'll gladly build one of those, if I can verify some of these pesky facts. 

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Reindeer and Frolic both had the fore platforms, as mention is specifically made of them having had their 12-pounder launch carronades mounted on them during their famous actions.

jwvolz likes this

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Joe:

Of those you mention I cannot confirm that any of them had the aft platform. The forward platform is mentioned in the accounts of the actions for Frolic, Peacock, Epervier, Reindeer and Penguin. I had made an assumption that the brigs with a forward platform also had the aft platform but am coming to realize that may not be true. Of course, Epervier could be modeled as either Royal Navy or US Navy. In the US Navy Epervier was armed with 18 x 32 pounder carronades. Her appearance in the US Navy is documented in Howard I Chapelle's The History of the American Sailing Navy. Please review the armaments as listed in the individual articles, they varied widely, e.g. Peacock and Reindeer were armed with 16 x 24 pounder carronades instead of the 32s and Epervier when captured had 2 x 18 pounder boat guns instead of the 6 pounder cannons.

Good luck

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I do have the NMM draughts of the lovely Hermes, 20 guns, built in 1810 from the draught of the ex-French Bonne Citoyenne (spelling). She is flush decked, but has Maturin's 'subsidiary, posterior platform',  or poop. Her tiller is on the gun deck too, like the Cruisers. The numerous 20-gun Levant Class of 1812, which were fir built Hermes's, did not have them.

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I'm starting to lean toward HMS Grasshopper. I'm saying this based on the brig Irene (ex-Grasshopper) model in the Naval Academy Museum, which shows both the fore and aft platforms. I doubt the Batavians would have gone to the trouble of adding those after her capture...

 

I forget who built that beautiful model, but I'm assuming they did their homework. I'll need to stop back in there and get some better photos next time I'm down that way. 

 

 

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If you go, the Naval Academy Museum has just acquired a contemporary Cruiser class model, fully rigged. Can't get much better than that, except that it's missing the wheel and capstan. Why? The new ivory import restrictions in the US prohibited its entry, even though it was clearly antique ivory! So, those parts had to be stripped off before it left England. These new regulations affect musicians (their instrument bows, for example). They don't dare go abroad to play now, because their instruments won't be allowed back into the USA.

uss frolick and jwvolz like this

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Interesting druxey, thanks for that. Is it a specific brig or a generic representation of the Cruizer class? 

 

Main level or upstairs with the ship model collection?

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I'm not certain when it goes on display, as it was only delivered a few weeks ago, Joe. The Museum could give you more precise details about the model. I only got a brief sneak peek at it when visiting. 

jwvolz likes this

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Hi all,this is a realy interesting right up,when i have completed endeavour this will be my next build, thinking of using caldercraft snake,i think as said in previouse posts it would probebley be a better starting point than the cruiser,one thing i hope someone can tell me is,the photo on page 5 of the cruiser, what shade of stain  or wood has been used,just love that coulor, cheers Ross.

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Whew! I am so glad that Providence led me across this page! Thank you guys for all of the research that you are talking about! Man. 

I wrote a fantasy pirate book that has a brig-sloop in it. Even though it is fantasy, I want it to be grounded in reality. I wrote into the book(already published) that it had a small prow platform and poop, based on the image of the HMS Pelorus. Then my editor and I went to go back and update my book and I came across so many descriptions of cruiser class brig-sloops that were without the platforms.

 

Regardless, thank you all so much. I can rest now that I know that I am not completely off base.

mtaylor, druxey, Canute and 1 other like this

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Does anyone have a set of rigging plans I could purchase?  I am building the Julia which is a brig sloop of the seagull class which appears very similar to the cruiser class and when I purchased the plans from the admiralty they did not come with rigging plans.

Chapman likes this

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The HMS Julia launched in 1806. Everything you need can be found in The Elements & Practice of Rigging & Seamanship" by David Steel 1794.

It is online for free at

http://www.hnsa.org/resources/manuals-documents/age-of-sail/the-elements-and-practice-of-rigging-and-seamanship/

 

If you work your way methodically through, you can reconstruct the rig fairly well

Edited by michaelpsutton2
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See if you can get a hold of the Caldercraft plans for the Cruzier. Maybe check with Cornwall Model Boats. They might sell just those. Druxey's idea is good. I have the book and it's quite helpful.

 

There were standards for these things, based on vessel size, so the use of Steel's is also good advise. 

mtaylor and Canute like this

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Thank you for the great suggestions.  I was thinking of contacting Caldrcraft but opted to purchase the Irene book off amazon.  The elements and practice of rigging- all I can say is wow.  That is going to take time to digest- i'm sure it is worth it but wow is my first impression.

Canute, jwvolz, trippwj and 3 others like this

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Good luck with the build and start a build log so we can follow along.  What scale is your build?

 

Hopefully your book comes with the full-sized plans. I bought mine from a used dealer on Amazon and it did not. It's OK though, Irene was a bit different than mine anyway...

mtaylor and Canute like this

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Thank you for the great suggestions.  I was thinking of contacting Caldrcraft but opted to purchase the Irene book off amazon.  The elements and practice of rigging- all I can say is wow.  That is going to take time to digest- i'm sure it is worth it but wow is my first impression.

 

You may want to consider downloading in PDF a slightly abridged version of Steel (note that the plates are missing from this, however they can be pulled from the link provided above).

 

STEEL, D. 1806. The Art of Rigging ... The Second Edition, Considerably Enlarged and Improved; with Additional Tables, Expressly Adapted for Merchant-Shipping. https://books.google.com/books?id=Cq1WAAAAcAAJ.

 

Biddlecombe also has a good resource (some claim it is a reprint of Steel, others that Steel and Biddlecombe used the same original sources.  Note that Steel was a publisher, not a mariner.  Biddlecombe was a mariner).  Biddlecombe is also available for either download or as a Dover reprint.

 

Biddlecombe, G. 1848. The Art of Rigging. http://books.google.com/books?id=9RkEAAAAQAAJ.

 

 

Last one to look at would be Darcy Lever.

 

Lever, D. 1819. The Young Sea Officer’s Sheet Anchor, Or, A Key to the Leading of Rigging, and to Practical Seamanship. Dover ed. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.

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