RMC

HMS Vanguard by RMC - Amati/Victory Models - scale 1:72

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I have just made two unpleasant  discoveries regarding the fore- and main masts.

 

1. The rings for the boarding pikes do not fit over the lowest wolding on the foremast.  I will have to take it off and redo the wolding after the upper ing is fitted.  I suggest anyone who has not begun the masts keep this in mind.

 

2. Worse, the 12mm dowel for the main mast is very slightly over size. I did known this but as the difference in size was (I thought) trivial  I simply gave it a final sanding and proceeded to put 3 coats of paint on it  - before I realised there may be a problem (in fact two problems).  Naturally ignoring the oversize has come back to bite me: the rings do not fit.  Again, make sure the rings will fit after painting. In the case of the main mast at least, the rings do not need to go over the wolding.

 

Turning the main mast to the correct specification is going to be a bit of a problem as it is already shaped at the top: ie a square section. One solution is to turn the mast to the correct dimension to the point where the upper ring fits, and leave the rest of the mast as is.  The difference should be disguised as it will be covered by the boarding pikes.  Anyway, I'll see how that goes before further panicking.

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Bob,

 

Somebody didn't read their Manual instructions (10 lashes) (Masts - section 8 on page 8).  :)

I am guilty of not reading these instructions, as well, therefore would have probably made the same mistake.

Very grateful for the heads up.

 

PS after writing this I noticed that you sent this warning out on our build logs also (me, Arthur, and Mitsuaki).  That was an especially thoughtful thing to do for us, therefore I'm rescinding the 10 lashes.

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Len:  I had thought of taking the 5th.  But I thought an early guilty plea may bring clemency.  I can only stand so much pain.

 

Bob

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I have just begun  the gun port lids - have cut them out and began their painting - as a quick job before going away tomorrow. 

 

Parts 64 and 65 - the backing for the lids - are not long enough to take account of the material lost in the process of cutting the segments into their correct lengths.  It's rather annoying, but there is sufficient scrap ply to make up the shortfall.

 

Once the lids were cut to size I lined up all the lids on masking tape (no gaps between them) and painted their fronts black all in one go.  It worked a treat and has given them all a really good finish. I will do the same with the red specified for the back of the lids.

 

Here are the lower lids lined up ready for painting.

post-823-0-81396600-1376378335_thumb.jpg

 

and here , after 3 coats of paint.  A 4th coat  was added after this picture was taken. A couple of coats of Estapol matt will fininish them off nicely.

post-823-0-04894600-1376378367_thumb.jpg

 

Back in about 3 weeks to begin the coppering - something I am dreading.

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Bob: I've now reached the stage you were describing for the foremast.

 

The first comment is that you said you'd received a 500mm long 12mm dowel rather than the 800mm length. My parts list also said 1 x 800mm but I received 2 x 560mm lengths.

 

Like you, I can make no sense whatsoever of the cross sections shown on plan 5. The two vertical lines on the upper section imply that it's across the ship and the outer pieces are the hounds or cheeks, but the square is larger than the dowel supplied for the mast! If it is a side to side section, the section below it makes even less sense. It's too wide to be the dowel so why aren't the hounds shown? And why the flats fore and aft?.

I'm going to plane down the sides until it fits through the trestle trees and see how it looks with the hounds and cheeks in place.

 

I'll do as you did and make a new mast cap with a square hole, but I can't see anything to say it should be in two pieces. If that was the case, how would it be held together? Iron bands apparently weren't introduced until 1820.

 

What do you make of the drawing of the two fiddle blocks (T) shown above the mast? (Not 'sister blocks'; sister blocks fit between the shrouds). It looks as though they're supposed to be strapped across the cap.

 

Do you have any pictures of your completed mast showing the hounds and cheeks?

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Arthur:  lucky you on receiving two lengths of dowel - not that I'm bitter.

 

The cross-sections certainly make no sense at all.  Aside from anything else, if you compare the corresponding cross-sections for the foremast and the main mast, they are identical.

 

The caps for the foremast and the main mast provided in the kit are both in two parts and I have just followed their example (it also makes it easier to make a nice, clean, square hole).  I had assumed the two piece setup would make it easier to fit the topmasts - but now that I look, the cap for the mizzen is a single piece....

 

The blocks (T) are a complete mystery to me too.  The master master is Blue Ensign (BE) and he may be able to help.

 

On the preceding page there are some pictures of my (almost) complete foremast - with cheeks, but so far, no hounds.  I ignored the cross-sections on the plan. I made the flat portions of the mast to receive the cheeks by tracing the outline of the cheeks on the mast, then used the same method  of making saw cuts to the appropriate depths, chiselling out the cuts and filing the rough to finish. (The tops of the cheeks have the same measurement are the square section of the masts above them (8mm in the case of the foremast)). The method is the same as I have shown in creating  the square sections of the mast. If a closer picture of the fitted cheeks would help you, let me know.

 

I have delayed fitting the hounds as I would like to get an idea of the the rake (if any) of the masts - as the crosstrees have to be parallel to the waterline.

 

Finally, I cannot see why the square sections at the bottom of the topmasts are completed with a square section of 5x1mm walnut.  Why not simply square the dowel to the appropriate dimension?  I suspect all of this is part of a cunning plan to drive us all mad.  As far as I am concerned, so far it's working a treat, though my wife has just suggested (somewhat unkindly I think), that I already had a good start.

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Bob: After an exchange of PMs with Len, I now know what all the blocks are on the fore top. Reading outwards from the mast (ignoring the staysail block and eyelet) they are lines 77, 78, 61, 62 & 63 on the front cross piece. On the fore top, but not the main top, the blocks are duplicated on the aft cross piece.

 

I've shaped the mast to fit the cheeks and hounds and it looks OK, but there is no taper on the mast whatsoever.

The largest square section you can make out of a 10mm dowel is 7.07 mm. I've squared mine to 7.5mm and accepted the slightly rounded corners that leaves.

The smallest transverse gap you can leave in the fore top is 8.5mm so that's what I planed the mast down to at the top of the cheeks.

 

Like you, I don't understand the foot of the fore topmast, although possibly for different reasons!

It's made from an 8mm dowel and looks to be about 6mm diameter where it goes through the cap, However, the foot is shown as about 6..7mm square (the inset diagram implies it should be 7mm) so that's presumably why it's built up. However, that won't go through the hole in the cap. There's an 8mm section at the top so that end won't go through the cap either. That explains the two piece cap!

What I don't understand is what it sits in. The hole in the fore top is larger than the mast and there's no mention of framing the hole, though I think that's what's required.

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Arthur: it's amazing what 3 weeks or so away will do - I did realise that the topmast would not fit though without the two-piece cap, but it had slipped my mind.  Jet lag of course, though age may have something to do with it.

 

I won't have much time to play with it until some time next week (I have some heavy duty gardening to do), but will try to make sense of it when I get a chance.

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Bob: I took the two piece cap supplied and squared the hole for the mast. I managed to get it just under 6mm square which is smaller than the top section of the mast so I thought I'd sorted things. I squared up the top 5mm of mast to match and the cap fitted perfectly.

However, when I test fitted everything, the hole in the cap for the top mast didn't look as though it was going to line up with the hole in the top. Looking at the drawing there should be a 2mm gap between the foremast and the fore top mast below the cap. As near as i can measure it I think the centres of the holes in the cap should be 9.2mm apart.but they're actually 11.2mm apart.

I've now made a new cap to those dimensions and things seem to line up OK.

(And in the process, I've put the original cap down somewhere and I can't find it - so I can't post a picture for comparison!)

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I have just lost a couple of paragraphs.  Presumably they are in the ether somewhere.  It's VERY annoying.

 

I have finally received the extra bed for my Proxxon lathe. It increases the length of the bed from 250 to 500mm, though the full 500mm is not really usable.

 

With it, I have rectified the problem with the over-diameter main mast (see above).  I reduced the diameter below the top boarding pike ring by a little less than 1mm.  That ring now fits snuggly up to a very small step in the diameter of the mast.  The difference in the two diameters above and below the ring is obscured by the ring itself, and will be completely unnoticeable once the pikes are in place.

 

The length of the mast is 455mm and this, I suggest, is the extreme length that could be handled by the extended bed - and only because of the thickness of the dowel (12mm), the use of the slowest speed of the lathe, and the work area being close to the chuck (which gave the dowel good support).  For most purposes about 320mm would see it out.

 

At the moment my camera has been pirated by a certain member of my family and I won't have it back for a couple of weeks.

 

If anyone is interested in the lathe setup, or what the mast now looks like, I will post a few photos when the camera returns.

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I have finally started coppering.   So far it has gone well - which of course is likely to be an invitation to future disaster. 

 

I have followed Mitsuaki's method of overlapping the plates where stealers are necessary.  The results are very good indeed.  Incidentally I have followed the orientation of the plates according to the kit instructions.  I contacted Chris Watton regarding the issue, and he was adamant that the line of 'rivets' should be at the bottom and the verticals should face the front.

 

Wherever possible I have applied the plates in strips rather than individually - using gel CA. Acetone takes off any unwanted glue easily. Laying the plates over the transition from the curved part of the hull to the stem has turned out to be the most difficult. Getting the correct curvatures to the plates is essential.  Here is the procedure I used.

 

First,  the transition plates were trimmed to approximate curvature (one on the hull; one on the stem), so that when the plates were bent, there was a slight overlap of each plate between the curved part of the hull and the flat of the stem.

 

Second, CA was applied to a part of each plate that did not need to be bent. 

 

Third, the partially glued plates were stuck on to the appropriate places. The first one on the hull; the second on the stem. Partially sticking them on meant that when doing the bending, the plate would not move, and the bending could be done 'on site' with accuracy.  I used the sharp end of a bamboo meat skewer to apply pressure to make the bends - worked a treat.  Once both plates were bent to the correct curvature (the plate on the stem to very slightly overlap the plate on the hull), ordinary thin CA was applied so that it would seep under the unglued parts of both plates, securing them both.  Any unwanted CA on the plates was cleaned off with acetone.  The result (so) far has been a nice, cleanly defined curve.

 

Describing the procedure has proved more difficult than I thought.  I hope it makes sense and is helpful.  All going well I will retrieve my camera my camera next week and will try to illustrate the description.

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Bob: Interesting that Chris confirms the diagram in the instruction book to be correct. If so, mine are on wrong!

If the plates were fitted starting at the stern and working upwards, the line of rivets would be visible along the stern edge of the plates.

The joints in this picture of the Cutty Sark's copper sheathing are quite hard to make out, but the plates on the row between the XVI and XVII levels are definitely that way round.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0e/CuttySarkRomNum.jpg

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Arthur: it is quite difficult to see just what is happening on the Cutty Sark photo.  It does seem to me that the line of plates XIX does have  the ' Watton orientation', but the rest of it looks like a bit of a dog's breakfast.  I suspect that whoever did the rivets did it whichever way seemed to do the job. You just can't get good help these days ....

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I copied the picture and enlarged the plate on row XIX. I think there's just a hint of an edge to the stern of the right hand column of nails, but I wouldn't bet money on it!

The left hand edge of that plate's easier to make out, but it doesn't seem to have any nails up that edge at all. Probably fitted by the junior apprentice?

What that picture does show is that the nail heads are actually pretty inconspicuous.

I'll claim I did mine to match Cutty Sark and you can claim you did yours by the book; that way we both have a good excuse. :)

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I have made fair progress on the coppering.  As I earlier wrote, wherever possible I have attached a strip of plates rather than singles.  I was concerned however, that the strips would be damaged in the process of breaking. The following method worked quite well. The strips were broken off using two pieces of balsa: one on top of the set of plates; the other applying pressure to the strip to be broken off.

 

post-823-0-62166800-1381127133_thumb.jpg

 

Here are some pictures of progress.

 

post-823-0-68884200-1381127223_thumb.jpg

post-823-0-20975400-1381127279_thumb.jpg

 

Like Mitsuaki, I have overlapped the plates where stealers are necessary.  This shows some trimmed plates that were later overlapped by a full strip of seven plates.

post-823-0-49167300-1381127318_thumb.jpg

 

I have concentrated on the bow which I have found so far to be far more difficult than the stern.

post-823-0-36655200-1381127459_thumb.jpg

 

post-823-0-10393800-1381127538_thumb.jpg

 

The apparent gap shown in the photograph below between one of the plates on the hull and the corresponding plate on the stem is just a reflection.  Photographing the shiny plates without reflections turned out to be a bit difficult.

 

post-823-0-41484100-1381127576_thumb.jpg

post-823-0-30763800-1381127634_thumb.jpg

 

post-823-0-29750500-1381127726_thumb.jpg

post-823-0-45744500-1381127781_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bob: I didn't overlap the plates for the stealers as I thought the step would'nt  look right. Instead, I cut the plates to fit in the gap.

Looking at your plating, I think your (and Mitsuaki's) method works better.

 

Very nice finish.

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Brian and Arthur: thanks for the kind comments.

 

As you can probably see, as the process went on I got a bit better at it.  The temptation is to redo a few bits, but fortunately I think I can resist.  If I ever do another coppering at least I will have learned a few lessons.

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That coppering looks great RMC, I think the Amati copper plates are the best on the market in terms of authentic look and flat profile which allows the stealers to overlap (a look I like better as well).  Looks to be an interesting option to be able to install them in strips, is that an approach you'd recommend again vs single tiles?  I can imagine it would save a quite a bit of time and help with the alignment.

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Jason: thanks for the comments.

 

Yes, the strips work well, and I certainly recommend their use.  I began laying the full strips of seven plates from the centre of the hull and worked forward and backward from there.

 

For the stealers, as I approached the stem (in particular) it was sometimes necessary to correct for the curvature of the hull by laying strips of fewer than seven (I tried to lay as many as possible in a single strip) and at the stem I generally laid only a single plate to obtain the correct curvature.  I used a pair of sharp, heavy scissors to approximate the curve and filed it to final shape using a dremel abrasive wheel.  It may not be obvious, but where there is curvature and two strips had to be joined, I filed the edge of the new strip to minimise the gap between the two strips. As well, it was sometimes necessary to file (using the dremel again) a tiny fraction off the lower middle of a plate to make sure the new set of plates fitted snugly to line of plates below it.

 

Once the stealers were in place, I overlayed them with full, seven-plate strips to the stem and to the stern post. And then started the whole process again ....

 

I used Selleys Quick fix CA gel. It stays where you put it and is 'repositionable' - though you still have to be quick.  I found ZAP gel just a bit too quick.

 

I hope this helps.

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I have found an excellent concoction for getting rid of the tarnish on the copper.  Despite misgivings regarding the use of salt, I tried the following mixture.  Lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda, and (a little) salt.  Rub on with a soft cloth, wipe off with a wet cloth and the copper come up beautifully, leaving the etched rivets unaffected.

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Bob, the salt lemon juice mix is good for copper cleaning but may not remove stubborn traces of c.a. which will show up and marr  the finish.

 

For this I have found Acetone removes the marks, applied by fine wire wool if necessary, although your plating looks remarkably clean in the photos. :)

 

B.E.

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BE:

I have been cleaning off the CA with acetone, more or less as I go, though I am sure I have missed a few spots.  Once I finish the coppering I will go over the entire job to pick up any survivors.  I have found that in a couple of instances where the CA is stubborn, a drop of CA debonder does the trick.

 

The CA I am using stays in place and in the main, doesn't end up where you don't want it.

 

Bob

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I hope that the hard part has been done now that the plates have been laid to the waterline at the stem.  My theory is that when I get to the waterline at the sternpost all the rest of the plates in between will fall into place.  Well that's the theory anyway.

 

post-823-0-59860000-1381473944_thumb.jpg

 

post-823-0-80778900-1381474035_thumb.jpg

post-823-0-19812800-1381474079_thumb.jpg

post-823-0-49754200-1381474114_thumb.jpg

 

post-823-0-22679300-1381474191_thumb.jpg

The marks on the next two photos are reflections and the apparent gap shown in the last of these pictures is also non-existent.

post-823-0-84139600-1381474223_thumb.jpg

post-823-0-25627800-1381474258_thumb.jpg

post-823-0-44146700-1381474289_thumb.jpg

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Chris: unfortunately I don't have a polarizer, but I have started using the "beach" and "snow" settings on the camera.  Both seen to make some difference.

 

Bob

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I have finished the stealers at the stern I hope.  In the following photos I have tried to show how I have gone about it.  The following two photos show laying the first of the rows of stealers which will then be overlaid with a full seven-plate strip.

 

post-823-0-95681700-1381727407_thumb.jpg

post-823-0-28259200-1381727448_thumb.jpg

Here is the overlay applied.

post-823-0-10891800-1381727480_thumb.jpg

post-823-0-46702400-1381727510_thumb.jpg

Now the next four rows of stealers.

post-823-0-84683600-1381727541_thumb.jpg

 

This is the way I have applied the CA to the seven-plate strip.  It ensurers the edges are covered.

post-823-0-72740200-1381727571_thumb.jpg

 

The strip applied.

post-823-0-28314700-1381727599_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

 

post-823-0-52276200-1381727844_thumb.jpg

 

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Nice bling!

Are you going to weather the copper a bit, in order to get a less shiny appearance, or are you just waiting for the elements do do their job?

 

Jan

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I also have the same question. Are you going to weather it, and if so could you tell us how you do it.

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