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Blue Ensign

HM Cutter Cheerful 1806 by Blue Ensign - 1:48 scale

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11 hours ago, Blue Ensign said:

Thanks Wallace,

This is my blackening kit, during the gun blackening process on my previous build.



I use the metal black for brass diluted by around 20%

As you will know the greatest part of success is having a chemically clean  metal to work on.






Thanks B.E. As I have already said, a wealth of knowledge to be assimilated. Much appreciated. 

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Post 51

 Getting down to decking.

I have glued into place the side tackle eyebolts for the guns, and ensured the ring bolts will slide easily into their holes later on.

The deck beam positions have been marked on the false deck and the centre line fittings glued into place.

I spent a fair amount of time staring at the deck plan and noting  the  reference details. It has been over seven years since I last planked a deck, one year into my previous Pegasus build, and I'm feeling somewhat ring rusty.

The long planks outside of those between the centre line fittings range between 32 - 35' scale feet, and there is a four shift butt pattern.( 3 plank widths between butts across a beam.)

The provided plan shows a joggled layout but Chuck has opted for a  curved plank arrangement with hooded planks. I last used this arrangement on the Fo'csle deck of Pegasus, but they were much shorter lengths and far fewer in number.

The process starts with the centre line planks and the narrative indicates that the first is placed right down the centre of the deck. The plan shows the centre two planks joining along the centre line.



I played around with both arrangements to see which provided the better outcome when I came to fitting the adjacent full length planks either side.



 I eventually settled on the 'Chuck' arrangement but either way I would need to cut wider planks for the outside run to avoid  slivers of planking alongside the centre line fittings.


The section around the Bread room scuttle at the stern required cutting from some 3/64" x 9/32" strip.



Tricky little patterns to cut but they do make for an interesting layout.



With the planks in place the scuttle was sanded flush with the deck.





So another milestone reached which is also twelve months from the start of the build.

I now need to do some working out of the remaining deck layout before I move on to complete the planking.




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Thanks guys for your support🙂

I am getting down to the deck planking but having applied the taped lines to establish the curve it appears that the taper at the bow end would in particular results in far too narrow plank ends.



Any less curve would result in barely any 'curve' at all.



In this shot the two plank runs outside of the centre line planks are in process of being fitted to accommodate the tabs around the hatches. They have not been tapered at this point.


My question is did other Cheerful builders have any issues with this, and how wide did the six tapered planks of the first belt end up on their builds.

Your thoughts would be much appreciated.






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Hi BE,can't help you there as I planked the deck as shown on the plans. However,in Chucks' practicum you can see the 3 outer plank strakes are hooded at the ends. Perhaps that may solve your dilemma and give you the required space for the first 6. Just a thought in case you haven't noticed that. Hope this makes sense.




Dave :dancetl6:

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There is very little curve there actually and you would be surprised how much it will still show when done.   So I would use very little curve up there.  You show so much more than is needed.  See below.






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Thanks Chuck for the quick response, you have settled the issue in my mind. I was concerned that a curve wouldn't show up if I moved the line outwards.


Thanks for the photo Paul, it is reassuring to see that I have similar shapes  to the planks adjacent to the centre line set as on your build. 🙂

A nice shot of your butt shift pattern as well.


Thanks Dave, until Chuck resolved the matter for me, I was beginning to think why don't I revert to the 'joggled' plank arrangement!


Once again, thanks for your help guys.



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Post 52

 Decking continues.

With a little help from my friends 👍 issues with getting the curve right for the bandings are resolved and I can move on.

The way my centre line planks worked out there is a requirement for  a wider plank with tabs and cut outs immediately adjacent either side.



These were tricky to form as there are double tabs and cut outs on each of the two planks that form the run. A two plank run falls within the overall acceptable scale lengths and avoids a butt joint at an inconvenient point.



These planks were formed first without any consideration of tapering or bending.



The inner band of planking now defined by an adjusted and less acute tape line, and the individual plank lines re-marked.



The two plank lines adjacent to the centre section are now glued into place and braced during the gluing process.

The next thing to work out is the shift pattern.

On British ships  a three or four plank spacing is usual between any butts across a single beam

On the Cheerful plan a four butt shift is shown.

I couldn't follow the deck plan layout exactly as I opted to use just two planks for the run immediately outside the centre planks, with the first butt just aft of the main hatch.



 I tweaked the plan arrangement to take into account the butt joint of these first planks.

Using a photo of the model I take the precaution of marking these out on the plan before I start.

Planking of the inner belt then becomes simply a matter of length and taper matched to the tick marks laid out on the false deck.

For caulking I use a Pilot broad chisel point waterproof marker which dries instantly and doesn't run. This is applied to one plank edge only.







The inner belt completed, minimal cleaning up at this stage as I prefer to wait until the deck is completed.

Moving onto the outer belt with its four strakes and interesting hooded planks.




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Thanks Thomas🙂


Post 53

Completing the decking.

The last four strakes include hooded planks where otherwise the planks would taper too narrowly.

I rather enjoy making hooded planks and they make for an interesting feature, a change from the more familiar 'joggled' arrangement.

7/32" and 9/32" wide strips were used to form the hoods, a fairly painless process.

The final strakes against the margin plank also require 9/32" strips.

To form these I use a Tamiya tape pattern to form a template to produce these final planks.



The final plank marked for spiling.




A process of scraping the decks now ensues, I don't sand decks. I will use Admiralty Flat Matt Varnish to seal the surface.

Some photo's to record the twelve month point of this build so far.









The eagle eyed will notice that I have cut out holes in the Main hatch grating to allow passage of the anchor cables.



This marks  completion of this major milestone in the build.

Fitting the rudder beckons....





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As usual BE your work is exceptional.  


Here is a ridiculous question.  Were the hoked planks always "hooked" toward the outside as you have them?  I think  the way you have done this looks correct but for some reason I think I remember someone here on the site having the outboard plank hooked to the inside.  Probably faulty memory/early onset dementia on my part but just wondering.

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Cheers Guys for your support.

@ Michael

An interesting question Michael that I can't really answer.

I had used this arrangement on my Pegasus build as indicated in the Swan series books, and also it was the arrangement Chuck used on his Cheerful build.

I can't find any clear examples of the curved /hooded planks layouts in any of my modelling books, apart from mentioned above, they all seem to show the 'joggled' arrangement.

I wonder if you have in your mind the strakes of top and butt planking that were commonly placed against the margin for four strakes or so, certainly on larger vessels of the time.




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I find myself reading and re-reading these posts here BE. I do not have the experience to add any technical input to the build but I do sit back and soak up what is given here. It is a pleasure to follow and glean valuable knowledge from those with all that necessary experience. 

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That planking is utterly fascinating, BE.  And your anniversary photos show a handsome build -- so if it's all fun stuff here on out, as Chuck says, I hope it has results as compelling as what you've done so far.




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Kind words, thank you Wallace and Martin. 🙂

Post 54

A question lavatorial

I now turn my attention to the stern area to fit the platform containing the 'seats of ease'

Chuck has used 1/32" sheet to form the construction parts, as have I.



A trial and error (mostly error) job this with multiple tweaks to get it anywhere near right.



Fitting these surely does mess up the paintwork at the stern, re-finishing will be required.



Chuck has included two 'seats of ease'  at the stern of Cheerful; seems quite generous considering that a first rate only had six for the whole crew, excluding officers.

I had wondered about the prominent position of these  'facilities' at the stern as modelled, but these items as shown on the Upper deck plan of Cheerful, appear to be 'seats of ease'


Upper deck of Cheerful.


The holes on the model plan initially looked quite large to my eye, but they are only  a scale 7.5" diameter. As for position on the platform I requested the Commander to check that their location provided a practical seating position.



He seems quite at ease.

Apparently in naval circles  it was considered  good manners to use the Lee side seat of easement if at all possible.

Anyway I digress,

I wonder if in reality  these small platforms would have been planked rather than solid sheet?

I also wonder if in practice they would really have been painted, presumably being scrubbed down and also used for access to the Taffrail, or a height advantage point on the cutter.

All speculation of course , but examples of cutters I have seen with small aft platforms all were planked and in some cases used to mount Stern chasers.



Purely for my own amusement I planked over the card template I used to make the platform using thin boxwood strip, to see what it looked like before I committed to the real thing.

Once again obsessing over minutiae, to paint or not to paint, to plank or not to plank, one hole or two.

There is such scant information on the subject, particularly for small vessels.





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Once again I marvel at your attention to detail. As you stated, it does seem odd that there were two "seats" on a vessel this size. No matter, you have done a stellar job on installing them. 

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Good evening BE,


One interesting point re the "facilities" comes to mind. There are no discharge pipes/chutes for them shown on the plan as I'm sure there must have been. I missed this earlier so I will now run a small drill down the "hole" and through the lower counter planking. Can then open it out to a suitable size for a piece of tubing.


I would imagine that the area below each "facility" compartment must have been lead lined to prevent rotting of the lower counter planks. Not that we need to bother about that though. On the other hand,maybe only buckets were there and "naughty" sailors were given "latrine detail" instead of the cat :D Sorry,couldn't resist saying that.


Regards,and keep up your excellent work.


Dave :dancetl6:


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I would agree that the two heads are a bit much but if you take a look at the contemporary model for Surly it does show two heads at the stern.  This is what I used for my model.  Its not a locker because it has a hole just like the Starboard side which would make for messy stuff keep in there if it was meant to be a locker.  Those two other features you highlighted on the plan were also a mystery to me.   But they are not the heads.  I originally thought they might be for a portable mast that could be set up on either side of the boom.  That they were wooden crutches with iron straps to hold the mast back there in position.....But thats just my guess.  They would stretch across the two stern frames adjacent to the heads.  I opted to just not show this feature.  But they are also visible on the inboard sheer draft.  There are quite a few unidentifiable weird things going on and depicted at the stern on this draft.  I chose instead to duplicate the Surly contemporary model rather than guess what is going on back there.  Check ot the other features........some crazy stuff.




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