HMS Atalanta by tlevine - 1775 - 1:48 scale - from TFFM plans

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It has been a while since my last posting, not for lack of working on Atalanta but for a lack of acceptable results.  The next items to make were the rails surrounding the stairway.  There are four iron stanchions supporting a rail on three sides.  The aft two are shorter to compensate for the angle of the quarter deck.  My first thought was to turn the stanchions.  There is a ball top and a flared base.  Sounds simple enough...  I tried every imaginable rpm and feed rate and universally the piece snapped off before completion.  I looked at Dan's Vulture log and he stated that he was able to turn the stanchions.  Suffice to say, after way too many hours of frustration, I gave up.  On to Plan B.  I used segments of brass tubing threaded on to the correct diameter brass wire for the ball and flare, silver soldering them in place.  Then I hand-filed the appropriate shapes.  Two of the stanchions have a single eye soldered on to them and the other two have a figure of 8 so two rails could attach to them.  All told, this deceptively simple part took almost 8 hours (otherwise known as an entire weekend).  


The upper capstan is temporarily positioned and the cleats have been installed.







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I agree that those stanchions are very tricky to make. I found trying to solder two eyes on the two stanchions that required them the worst part of the job. However, you've achieved an excellent end result, Toni.

Jack12477, Martin W, BANYAN and 2 others like this

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The plans do not show a binnacle but the contemporary model does.  I decided to build one.  The binnacle was made out of pear and is glazed with mica.  I toyed with the idea of putting a compass and lantern inside but for the time being I have left it empty.  The "sliding" door on the back is tack-glued so I can remove it later if I decide to make them.  The binnacle will eventually be attached to the deck with ropes via two eyebolts in the deck.  I have shown it in the correct position just abaft the mizzen mast.  The chimney is turned brass and will be kept bright.  The tiller has also been reinstalled...correctly.









AON, hexnut, capnharv2 and 31 others like this

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G'day Toni 

First this first, I've spent many enjoyable hours reading and digesting you marvelous log.

I havta echo everyone's comments, there is only 1 thing I can add: bloody brilliant!

Secondly I'm sorry for being away so long.I had some personal problems and I'm slowly getting back to read all the incredible logs. 

This model is a credit not only to you, but a great source of information for all of us here. Thank you so much.



Richard Griffith and mtaylor like this

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Hi Toni,


Excellent work on both the stanchions and the Binnacle.  Turning very thin brass is a chore.  I've been told, that the grade of the brass, and its hardness can be very big factors.  The women from Sheerline that was at the last NRG Conference can be a help.  She gave me a few very good pointers on turning very thin wooden stanchions.  In ant case, the alternate method looks great.  I bet that the prototype wasn't turned from one piece but made up of several pieces as you have done.  The good thing about this is that you keep trying until you find something that works for you.


Regarding the Binnacle; I made one for my 1:96 Liverpool, also from Swiss pear.  I will post one or two photos another time.  I modeled it from the Binnacle on the Victory and in the Anatomy of HMS Pandora with two compasses flanking a central lantern.  For the lantern, I used a plastic bead of the appropriate size with a brass ring as a base.  The lanterns are printed compass roses that I downloaded from open source pictures on the internet.  I simply copied them and reduced to the appropriate size.  All of that is barely visible, but it is visible.  Just put "compass" into your search engine.


to you all, I've seen this model in person, and it is a gem!


All the best,


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The next item on the agenda was the quarter deck rail.  All told, this took me about 20 hours to fabricate and install.  There are no construction photos but I will do my best to describe the process.


There are five stanchions and a double rail at the break of the quarter deck. The stanchions are morticed into the breast rail inferiorly and the upper rail superiorly.  They pass through the lower rail.  The rails have a beading scraped into them but the thickess is so small, 0.065", that the beading is barely notable.  The stanchions were made as follows:   The profile of the central portion of the stanchion was cut into brass sheet stock as both a template and final shaper.  (I use very thin dental cut-off discs for this operation.)  Square stock slightly larger than the finished dimension was chocked into the lathe. The central portion of the stanchion was then turned just enough to remove all the edges.   Then the profile was roughly shaped by eye.  Finally, the template was used as a scraper to provide the final shape.  Slots were drilled and cleaned up for the sheaves.  These are simple discs, turned with a Dremel and sandpaper to the correct diameter and then center-bored before cutting off to prevent splintering.




The rails were shaped by placing them in a moist paper towel in the microwave...low power  and 10 second bursts.  They were then clamped to a curved chair back to dry.  It is very fiddly to get everything plumb and square, especially when the deck and the rails curve.  My sequence was to first insert the stancions into the breast rail mortices.   When the glue was set but not dry I inserted the lower rail and glued it into position.  After that was set I added the top rail and clamped everything to dry.  In the picture above, I still have to remove escess glue.  It really looks better than the photo would suggest; on my computer screen this is 5X magnification.  It looks better in the next photo.  It also looks like I have a ring bolt to replace!












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On ‎2‎/‎26‎/‎2017 at 7:56 AM, tlevine said:

The plans do not show a binnacle but the contemporary model does.  I decided to build one.  

The ship would most certainly have a binnacle when underway.  It's possible that the plans did not include it because; (a) ATALANTA had GPS or (b) it was not included because the binnacle was not built as part of the ship.  It was a removable piece of 'furniture'.  I suspect (b).

mtaylor, dvm27, druxey and 2 others like this

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