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Blue Ensign

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

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Cheers Seventynet and Martin, your encouragement is much appreciated. 🙂


Post 32

Mark, drill, awl, mark again, fill, and scrape.

The monotony begins.



To help guide me I used a length of  flexible 7mm  x 0.6mm strip to mark the  presumed frame lines for the treenails down the hull.



Five strakes per day is as much as my patience will tolerate.

This equates to around 450 treenails.



I'm reasonably satisfied that the completed  strakes are sufficiently muted.

Two strakes show the holes drilled and blackened ready for filling.

There are in excess of 1900 holes to drill each side below the wale which means a total of around eight days to complete the job at current rate of progress.

Feels like a lifetime, but until this is done I cannot move forward.🙄








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Hi, B.E. quite challenging. But I'm confident as your commitment to this hobby is as huge as the support you'll receive from many MSW-members.

Keep up the good work !

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Five strakes a day is about 4 1/2 more than my patience could handle.  Those guiding marks you made adhere to your usual high standard -- and that's not a superfluous compliment, because following that curve at the stern is tricky.





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Post 33

Treenail completion

So after nearly three weeks the hull treenailing is completed, having drilled several thousand holes and got thro' twelve 0.45mm drill bits.



I still think on balance the drill and fill method is the least hard on the fingers and gives a result I am happy with.



It doesn't look too spotty, to my eye at least.



The next suggested stage is to add the  topside mouldings, but I am going to digress and first  move onto the inboard bulwarks.

I intend to plank inboard between the bulkheads and use this a guide to then thin them down to suit.






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Post 34

A spot of wiping and a bit of scribing.

I had intended to start  lining the bulwarks today but  CMB have sent me 1.5 x 1.0mm strip rather than 5mm stuff I ordered, so while I wait for the correct stuff to arrive I turn my attention to scribing a pattern into the moulding strips.

Before I start  I gave the hull  the wipe-on-poly treatment to protect the surface.





It surely does enhance the look and I am now starting to feel a little better about the hull finish.


So onto the moulding strips.

Looks simple enough to cut a pattern into a bit of thin metal and draw it across the strip to impart the design.

Well maybe...

I am using Boxwood strip 3/64"x 1/16" (1.19 x 1.59mm)

The first problem is the pattern is incredibly small and has to be contained within only 1.59mm width.



I chose to use a  single edged safety razor blade as the medium, and the fine edge of a needle file to cut the simple pattern.

At this size a simple groove along the centre of the strip is about the most I can achieve, and the secret is to use light passes along the strip; press too hard and the groove goes off line.

The lower strip has a continuous run from aft of the first port to the stern and is ideally scribed in a single run.



To avoid flexing during the process I used double sided tape to secure the strip and keep it true.



The system seems to work.





So this is the look with the strip temporarily secured to the hull.

I think I can live with that. 🙂




B.E. 21/08/2018


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Thank you Chuck, I surely am enjoying the project, testing as it is at times.

Your well thought out plans and instructions, excellent materials and great fittings combine to make your kits such a joy to build.🙂



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Thanks Peter and Jason, the safety razor blade does make for a stable  scraper, and I'm pleased with the outcome. A simple profile but one I think that is appropriate for a humble Cutter.


I agree Jason, a model is more than the sum of its parts and the eye is drawn to the overall effect. The eye registers that the moulding has a profile detail, which really is sufficient at this size of model at this scale. Once completed we don't spend our time looking at it thro' a macro lens. 🙂


Post 35

Moving inboard - lining the bulwarks.

I am planking between the bulkhead extensions with 1.5 x 5mm Lime wood strip, and will then reduce the extensions to be flush.

I don't really trust myself to get going with the Dremel without this sort of guide.

Straightforward but tedious stuff this, measure, chop and fit, from just below deck level to bulwark top.



The addition of this inner layer does firm up the outer  bulwark planking particularly along the top and in the stern area where the top edges may be vulnerable to splitting.



So to start with the Dremel, I drew guide lines across the top of the bulwarks and got to work.



The Dremel can only go so far down to the deck level so there is some chisel work to be done.



Working at low revs  the Dremel soon reduced the excess and I went as close as I dare.





At this stage the bulwarks have been reduced to a tad over 1.5mm (excluding the outer planking).





Some fine adjustments and tidying up now required before I return to fixing the decorative mouldings along the topsides.






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Post 36

Fixing the decorative mouldings.

These went on without too much trouble, but at the bow end an extension of the moulding onto the stem, referred to as 'ears', is required to be scratched.

I couldn't find a drawing of these items on the plans to use as a working template so it was a case of trial and error.

The ear extends to the fore end of the stem and is shaped to run into the fancy moulding running back to the fore side of the bow port.

The hawse plate governs the length of the ear onto the hull; I firstly drew the ear shape onto card freehand using the hawse plate length and stem width as reference points.



 Once happy with the shape and fit, it was transferred onto 1/16th" Boxwood  sheet,(I made several copies) cut out on the jig saw, and given the final shape using scalpel and sandpaper.



The latter stages need soft hands as the stems are quite delicate where they extend back to meet the other moulding, and I did snap one just as I neared completion.



The last job was to scrape the profile into the outer edge.

The macro image is not very flattering.



Positioning the ears is a little tricky, they have a slightly upwards angle as they run across the stem, it took me three goes to get them to look right to my eye.

They came off ok with water but with the high risk of snapping the tail off the 'ear'



With the ears glued into place the lower moulding strip can be completed.











I've yet to decide whether to paint the counter or not, I quite like the natural look, and it is a large expanse of red.



I will leave the outer hull now for a while to concentrate on the inner works, but I will return to do a final fettlin' on the outer works before I install the false deck.





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Good evening BE. You're doing an excellent job there,very nice indeed. I didn't like the red counter,I painted my model in the blue colour as in the pic Chuck posted in his practicum. Fitted and rigged my Bowsprit today,lower mast tomorrow as all its standing rigging is already attached. Had to make a new Forestay deadeye,the one that came with the plans 3 years ago had the grooves for the Lanyard cut in the wrong direction. C'est la vie.


kind regards.


Dave :dancetl6:

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This looks really beautiful! I always love the additional texture which treenails bring to a model. Of course treenails are also a 'little bit' of extra work ☺️



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Cheers Dave, I have more or less decided to restrict the paintwork to the wale and inboard .

I enjoy the rigging and fitting element of a build far more than basic building stages, do you have any photo's of your progress to date?

Thanks, Bob, Thomas, and Al,  I'd almost forgotten the mind numbing hours of treenailing, but I have to admit I am quite pleased with the look. 🙂


Post 37

Tidying up inboard and installing the false deck.

This involves final smoothing down inside the bulwarks and fairing the deck beams prior to  getting the deck down.



All this handling, sanding and chiseling has taken its toll on the paintwork, both the inner surfaces of the ports, and the already re-painted wales.

I will leave all red paintwork now until I line the inner bulwarks.



I have got the thickness of the inner bulwarks close to finish.

Almost forgot the outer stern frames also need fining down.



Using Limewood strip to check the clean run of planking along the bulwarks.



Limewood strips also used to check the fairing of the bulkhead tops.


The False deck

To aid alignment of the template I fitted a length of dowel in the mast hole which also helps to hold it position. Weights were also used to keep it in position while I added Tamiya tape around the edges.



For the false deck I am using (2) 1.5mm x 100mm sheets temporarily  held together down the centre line.



Reference lines extended across boards.



Transfer completed.



Fitting the False deck; I found it useful to cut out the mast hole and Skylight opening to assist aligning the two halves.



Trial fitting completed, a five hour job to get the fit.



Before I install the deck I will return to the outer hull  to complete  the finish.







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Good evening BE,

Very nice treenailing job there,I didn't do this as at that time my eyesight was pretty bad. Didn't think I'd be able to do a decent job. I don't have any pix of my build but when I finish I'll get the Admiral to take a couple and post them on the MSW facebook page. Have you bought all Chucks' minikits or will be you doing some scratch building of the deck furniture ? I had a great deal of pleasure making all of mine,blocks etc excluding the Windlass. I bought that with the plans,had no mill then. I laid my false deck in one piece,using epoxy after ensuring it was a good all round fit first.


Incidentally,the dimensions of the yards on my older plans are wrong. Chuck posted an amendment in ch.14 of his practitum giving the correct lengths. Guess who had made his yards before this :( New yards made,job done. 


No modelling for the next 2 weeks,we're off house sitting tomorrow for her son. Quite boring for me but they have a fairly large garden so I expect that will keep me somewhat occupied. I'll still be watching though,my Laptop goes with me,must have my daily"fix".


Kind regards,


Dave :dancetl6:



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Ahoy BE!  Great looking hull -- the treenails accentuate the nice lines.  And I'll bet those ears (which I believe correspond to the cheeks on Swan builds) truly were delicate.  When I put the Fly versions in, I found I pretty much either had to laminate to avoid the weak grain or to scarph in some short pieces.  Laminating made scratching a moulding pattern tricky (and sort of sloppy looking in the end).  Your hands are obviously steadier than mine.




Martin (El Tremblor)

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Thanks Guys for your comments and likes. much appreciated. 🙂

@ Dave - I'm not averse to a bit of scratch building but if one of Chuck's mini marvels will do the job I am more than happy to go with that; I do have the set.

                 Thanks for the heads up on the yard dimensions, not sure yet if I am going to fully rig her (space issues) but that decision is a way off yet.

@ Martin - I do have steady hands, it's the eye sight that's my issue, but with this sort of item gentle hands are certainly required.


Post 38

A check around the exterior hull.

The wale has again been recoated using Admiralty Metal Black, hopefully for the last time.







A very light sanding to the hull followed, and a further coat of wipe-on poly applied.



The Horse shoe and Keel plates were added to complete my action on the outer hull for the present.



Still having thoughts about the counter and whether to paint it.

The older I get the more  indecisive I seem to get! 🙄

I wonder how the real Cheerful would have been painted. Built post Trafalgar with the war grinding on, navy under pressure with patrol and blockade duties, and now in an era of austerity where elaborate decoration had given way to plain paintwork .

By 1780 the 'approved' colour for British Naval ships was Black wales, yellow painted sides, with a black ground to the topsides. Inboard Red Ochre was the order of the day, had been since 1715 but shortly after the start of the new century yellow ochre which had been used unofficially for some years became officially approved.

My own inclination is that Cheerful would have had painted yellow sides, black wales with the counter and capping rails painted black, and red inboard works throughout.

She may also have had her topsides painted black.

Cheerful was a small unrated vessel and as such I doubt  any Commander would have put his hand in pocket to 'personalise' the scheme.

In naval circles of the time to be appointed to the Cutter Service was not something to be particularly desired especially by those with ambition.

Still I am not trying to reproduce a working appearance, otherwise I would have painted or coppered her bottom and there was a fair bit of licence taken by even model makers of the day when it came to decoration.

I don't want an excess of paint to cover the natural wood but I have come to feel that the expanse of the counter did require something.

To my conservative eye Red was too much, and Blue too fancy for this small working vessel.



I overlaid the counter with some black planks to gauge the look, and know what I like it.

So decision made black it is.



Not particularly obvious on this shot I was also concerned that the plank lines showed thro' the paint I'm not really a fan of the solid sheet look.



Thinned coats of Admiralty Metal Black were applied with sanding between coats.



Moving on...………….






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I ask kindness to board!

I am following your build from the very beginning and enjoy the progress very much. Thus far I am building my models by heavily modifying the commercially available kits. This leads me to try my next project as a scratch build.  Multiple NRG/MSW Cheerful logs helped me to decide on my next project. :)


Here is my question in regards to the false deck:  By prepping of the false deck first, will you plan assemble\glue all of the deck planks first and then glue the false deck? Or you are planning to glue false deck first and then deck planks? 


best regards,


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Thank you Jim for taking an interest in my build. 🙂

I will glue the false deck first and then plank. I really don't think this build lends itself to pre planking, appealing as that may first appear, with clear access to the deck for marking and fitting.

There is the issue of the deck camber, and  getting the margin plank relationship correct, let alone accurate  cutting around the centre line fittings.


I think Chuck's approach is the way to go.





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Post 39

A return to the inboard - Fitting the False Deck

The False Deck has been formed as detailed in Post 37, but before fitting it is useful to mark the deck beam positions which of course don't follow the bulkheads but relate closely to the centre line fittings where in reality carlings' ledges, and framing would be involved.



I have taken the 'beam' positions from the kit deck plan where they are marked.



They follow fairly closely the deck beams as shown on the Admiralty plans for Cheerful.



You will note they do not butt to the edges of the centre line fittings template marks but allow for the coamings etc.



A final bit of tweaking to ensure both halves fitted together without buckling and that the reference lines matched.



But before gluing into place...

One of my little foibles is that I like to have a realistic view below decks where lights or openings are concerned.

I made a small modification below the skylight to give the impression of a lower deck.


The bulkhead was cut away to form  false deck beams and create a space.

A false deck was fitted which was then planked over.



I followed this up with a similar modification for the Ladder way; I am thinking of having the lid cover/doors open.



I will probably end up also creating space beneath the gratings, I don't really like sticking them on solid board.

A short break now while I adjourn to enjoy the delights of Dorsetshire. 🙂



William also looks like he's ready for a break from the shipyard.







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William show what all that work leads to.


Great work, BE.  That's a (characteristically) nice addition of putting in the ladderway & the lower deck.  Having a way for the eye to continue as though into a greater space is always compelling, and very much in keeping with Georgian designs.





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