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Tomculb

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    Spokane, Washington
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    In addition to model ship building . . . bicycling, kayaking, hiking, pickleball, sailing, travel, reading

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  1. Thanks for your observations Jon; definitely appreciated. I too wanted to show the handles in action position rather than stowed, but as you said they can't be attached to the ends of the rocker arms with the fittings as supplied as would have been done on the real ship. And even if I could to that, they would have extended way too far outward, over the cannon carriages. So I figured that stacked with handles outward was the only option, even though not historically accurate. As you say, most observers won't ever notice. All of which is easy to rationalize after the fact. Had I realized how out of scale the fittings are at the time of asembly, maybe I could have come up with a creative solution. Your scratch built ones are really outstanding. I don't think I have the skills or patience for that.
  2. The plans and the photos in the instructions show the handles for the pumps folded back on themselves in some fashion, obviously for storage. Less obvious is exactly how this is done in real life, and stacking them as I did in the first photo below (dry fit) just didn’t look right to me. Nor did it make sense to me why one handle (on the single pump) would be inside the bits coming down from above and the other would be on the outside. I had not yet seen the great Google Maps tour of the Constitution Tom (usedtosail) so kindly alerted us to above. Looking at the second picture below I now realize that the handles on the ship slide onto the ends of the handle arms (or rocker arms as I described them previously) when in use, and they are indeed stacked on top of those arms when stored. Part of what made this look awkward to me is the bulge at the inboard end of the handle arms. Didn’t look right (IMHO) so I ground one side off so the handles can lie flat on top of the arms, and glued them in place as shown below. Actually I’m not sure I would have done differently even if I had seen the virtual tour of the real thing before glueing the handles in place. Looking at the photos above, I’ve come to think the whole pump assemblies may be a little too large. Had I been able to slide the handle parts onto the ends of the handle arms as appears to be done on the real ship, the handles themselves would have been above the cannon carriages (especially the cannons stored inboard), leaving no good place to stand while working the pumps. Also the whole things as assembled come close to the height of the beams for the deck above, meaning they would have been at maybe face level relative to an average height man, which certainly doesn’t look very ergonomically efficient. A flaw, though, that is not likely to be noticed by anyone not building the model. Not relevant to any of this, but I have mentioned previously that the laser cut wood parts are very well cut. As an example, the bits referred to above have a couple of tiny sheaves above decks that would be very difficult to cut with a hobby knife. But upon slicing the tabs that hold the bits to the sheets they come attached to, they dropped very neatly onto my work bench without any hang up on the outboard sheave. Nice work Model Shipways. Finally, assembling the aft stairs went well, using the jig I posted a picture of back at the end of May. When I installed the gun deck framing more recently, there was some discussion about whether a small section of one of the beams would need to be removed to make room for the stairs. That proved to be the case for me. A combination of Xacto knives with a conventional blade and a saw blade, along with some small sanding implements, got the job done. The stairs then fit nicely into place. It may be a few weeks before I post again . . . houseguests coming, a little travel, a very minor medical procedure, and a few projects that need to be completed before cold weather settles in. But perhaps most of all, I need to do some thinking about exactly how I am going to cut the starboard spar deck framing and planking pieces so as to best show the gun deck below while giving a hint at the framing that underlies all these decks. It will be fun.
  3. Hey Bob, glad to see you're getting back into the model shipyard. And happy birthday! Hope you have a great trip to the City. I grew up as a Giants fan and remember (barely) watching them at Seals Stadium before Candlestick was built. But baseball doesn't interest me much any more (maybe because the nearest MLB team is the Mariners ☹️), but that's OK, I watch Sounders and some international soccer, grand slam tennis, Tour de France and of course Gonzaga basketball. Nice thing about being our age is that we have much greater freedom to do what pleases us, including stepping out of the shipyard for a while and pursuing other passions. Kudos for doing that.
  4. Thank you for the link Tom. What a great resource. This reminds me of a morning quite a few years ago when I picked up the paper and read an article that began with a warning that read something like "Don't read this if you are at the office and needing to get some work done." That described my situation exactly, but I of course read on anyway, about a new fangled program or site called Google Earth. And as was predicted my work day was delayed by an hour or two. Same thing with this site, difference being I'm semi-retired, working from home, and can afford enjoyable distriactions like this. And distracted I was. 😊 Thanks again.
  5. Jon and Bob, thank you both for your kind offers. Given where I am in the build, I've probably done what damage I can do without having the benefit of photos, but maybe when I get up on the spar deck (I keep thinking of it as the sunshine deck😎), I'll think of something I want to take a look at. Jon, I couldn't agree more with your observation about seeing Boston from a car, and I would apply that to just about any major metropolitan area. We have been fortunate enough to travel to several large cities around the globe, and there is nothing I enjoy more than exploring them on foot. About the only time I've spent driving in a large unfamiliar city is picking up a rental car to get out of town (and the reverse coming into town), and usually I find the experience to be at best inconvenient and more frequently frightening.
  6. Thank you Bob and Jon. Jon, I spent the last hour or so reading your log from the pumps onward; I guess that's almost a year's worth of amazing work. Your scratch built detail is extraordinary; a pay grade or three (or more) above my abilities. Your log is now on my follow list. I bought my kit mid-summer last year (when it was on sale), and it's too bad you weren't aware of it when you could have canabalized a bunch of parts. I see you have a bunch of pictures of the real thing, especially below decks. Did you take those? I looked on the internet a bit for photos like that but didn't find much; only exteriors. My wife and I had some vague plans to go to Boston last month, but like so many other travel plans these days, they never materialized. Thanks for your great log.
  7. On most models where you would be working on an open deck, assembling and installing the pumps would probably be pretty straightforward. Much less so here as there is almost always something in the way of what you’re trying to do. First thing is installing the metal flanges onto the lower part of the six metal pump assemblies, which occurs between the berthing deck and the gun deck. Quality tweezers are a big help; nevertheless I bet I dropped a flange more than a dozen times. I applied some medium thick CA to the pump assembly shaft where the flange would be, carefully lowered the shaft through the hole in the gun deck, then slid the flange onto that shaft and slid it up to the glue. Unfortunately some of the glue is visible in the first picture below, but hardly visible to the naked eye in normal light. Then I glued the assemblies in place, with a drop of the same CA applied to the bottom of the pump assembly shaft and to the underside of the assembly where it rests on the gun deck. You definitely want to start with the middle pair, so the ones closer to the end are not in the way. In fact I fully installed the four assemblies which are part of the aft double pumps before doing anything with the forward single pumps. The pump handle assemblies consist of triangular “pump base frames” on either end, “pump arms” attached to a shaft or axle which rotates (on the real thing only) in the base frames, “pump handles” which are pretty much what you would expect, and on the double pump, a pair of “center linkage arms” which go through the deck to operate the pumps you installed a while ago on the berthing deck. No way the shafts for the latter link with these "linkage arms" on the model, but the gap is well hidden by the gun deck and framing. Oddly there are two double and two single pump arms supplied when only one of each is needed, and there are six linkage arms when only two are needed. “Rocker arms” sounds more descriptive to me so I will use that term instead of "pump arms". I started with the double pump, thinking installing it on the rods coming out of the top of the installed pumps would be pretty straightforward. Until I tried dry fitting it in place. . . As you can see every piece has to be bent and placed perfectly for things to fit, and the ends of the axle need to be cut slightly shorter. And of course bending these things mars the paint, which I decided not to touch up until everything was installed. At this point I decided to do the simpler, single pumps first. After doing a lot of dry fitting, I decided to glue the base frames onto the rocker arm axle ends first, then glue the assembly to the deck and the pump rods. That went quite well. Back to the double pumps and another problem. There is simply no room for the aft base frame to fit between the aft pumps and the stairway frame combing. After giving the situation a lot of thought, I tried thinning the base of the "frame base" with a dremel tool, trying to get the base down to the thickness of the frame. That went remarkably well. For good measure I carved away part of the combing too, which was much harder to do and looks pretty messy. Fortunately that part will be well hidden when this is all finished. With that fit issue (and all other ones) resolved, and having determined that the “center linkage arms” could be installed later, I slid the slimmed down aft pump frame onto the aft rocker arm axle but did not glue it, applied CA to the bottom of the frame and to the brackets on top of the pump rods, put everything into place, then added a drop of CA to the rocker arm axel, and heaved a sigh of relief. With that all dry, I then slid the forward frame onto the forward end of the rocker arm axle, and glued it in place. To my surprise, the frame ended up hanging about a millimeter above the deck, because I had not pushed the rocker arms far enough down into the brackets which hold them. Fortunately an almost invisible flaw. I then dry fit the 2 center linkage arms in place that I had painted and discovered the rod on one was too short. I glued the one that fit in place and took the following picture. After I had painted another linkage arm (thank goodness for the spares), glued that in place, did some touch up of the paint, and took this picture, feeling pretty good about the end result. As suggested in the instructions I dry fit the laser cut bit posts into the holes they will rest in in the deck. I also put the mast surround in place to see how it fits. Bottom line is this deck is getting very crowded, and more than once working on it reminded me of one of my favorite Gary Larson cartoons. My now-retired dentist had it pasted on the ceiling, the first thing you saw as he reclined the operatory chair.😁 Next up . . . pump handles.
  8. The knees are finished and installed. Lots of carving, sanding, shaping and painting. And then gluing in place, perhaps the most challenging part of all, given the cramped space to work in. I still think I made the right decision by finishing the guns first, but there were times I questioned the wisdom of doing so. The first issue I encountered concerned the aft knees, which fit under the aft beam. But they don’t fit, for two reasons. First, there is a bump that is part of the joint where the beam meets the rib. I first tried to cut a notch in the knee to accommodate the bump, but that didn’t go very well. Cutting and filing the bump away worked better. Second, the side wall twists some as it comes aft, with the result that the knee doesn’t angle up slightly as the beam does. Fortunately there are several extra diagonal knees, which have a lot more wood on them to work with. With some shaving and sanding I got them to fit reasonably well. The middle knee has the same problem, but to a lesser degree. Next challenge came when I was using some long, heavy tweezers to fit one of the diagonal knees in place. When I dropped the tweezers (as was inevitable), I broke loose one of the gun tackles from its hook in the sidewall. On closer examination I realized that there was no way I was going to get that hook out, rig a new tackle, and hook it back in place. Instead I gently disengaged the carriage hook, keeping the tackle as intact as possible (a big help was the diluted white glue I had applied to all the thread after it was installed). Somehow I then tied the orphan block back onto its embedded hook, hooked the other end back onto the carriage, and it all looked good as new (right cannon in the photos below). I was less happy with how the knees on that side looked when glued. They look a little sloppy, but fortunately will be largely hidden by the deck above. I mentioned previously that I have decided to cut away most of the starboard side spar deck and deck framing, to make at least some of the gun deck visible from above. Consistent with that decision, I cut the horizontal arms of those knees back to ½”. A stub of that arm will extend a little bit beyond the waterway and a narrow bit of deck and deck framing. This time I did a better job of shaping the knees, and these more visible knees look better than the more hidden ones on the other side. Pumps are next . . . .
  9. So now all four cannons are fully rigged and glued in place. First thing I did was to pull the train tackle eyebolts out of the deck and move them about 3 millimeters inboard, as far as I could given the location of the bits which extend down from the spar deck above. The blocks are still a little too close together on the inboard cannons, but it’s the best I can do. At least the old holes in the deck are pretty well hidden. Since the train tackles are pulled in fully on those cannons, the falls are longer and I made coils for them. Since by contrast the gun tackles are fully extended, I just cut the falls short. Everything just the opposite with regard to the battle ready cannons on the other side. Next I replaced the train tackle on the cannon I installed first; I think it looks better now. Note that I set things up so that on the train tackles, men would be facing the cannon while pulling it toward them, contrary to what the plans show, which would have men pulling it toward them while they faced inward, with the cannon at their backs. Somehow that just made more sense. Finally, I realized that all the breeching lines on the newer cannons are just a tad too short, meaning that the aft inboard cannon sticks out a little too far. I doubt that many will notice. Next up, knees, pumps and stairs. And something like three poles. As can be seen in the final photo above, the knees and pumps are patiently waiting . . .
  10. The gun deck cannons are now complete, and an important decision has been made! I learned a few things assembling and installing the first cannon, and the next three went more smoothly. I found some slightly more pliable thread for the breeching line (or maybe I was just in a glass-is-half-full mood) and whipped hooks onto either end so that the line was 3½“ long. 2 out of 3 times I remembered to slip a couple of split ring/eye bolt assemblies on to the thread first. Then as shown below, I used a mini clamp to hold the gun barrel upside down, wrapped the breaching line tightly around the protrusion at the back of the barrel, and applied a small drop of medium thickness CA. Worked like a charm. Next I bent six trammels from the supplied strip of brass, then after the photo below, trimmed them to proper length and blackened them. As I did with the first cannon, I glued the barrells to the carriage, and glued the breeching line split ring/eyebolts in place, taking care to assure that the front end of the barrels was the appropriate height. Then I glued the trammels to both the carriage and the cannon axles or trunnions. Next I rigged three train tackles, and hooked each to the eyebolt at the back of the carriage, applying a tiny drop of thin CA to where the hook meets the eyebolt. With that all done, I finally glued the quoins in place, leaving that for last since I did not want to have to try to hook the train tackles to the carriage eyebolts below the protruding quoin above. Incidently the instructions have you build a jig for holding blocks in place when rigging, a jig with two short stubs of wire, affized to the end of a piece of wood, to put through the hole(s) in the block. The "jig" I've always used is a lot easier to assemble, works with any size block, and is recycleable! 😊 I finally made the big decision (discussed several times in previous posts): I am going to cut away the spar deck and some of the framing on the starboard side (left side in the photo below) to make some of this gun deck work more visible. And I will show the cannons on that side of the gun deck in their stowed position, with the gun port lids closed. In the photo below these three cannons are dry fit in place (the first cannon is glued in, on the upper right). Some things to be addressed when these three cannons are glued in place. The breeching line for the cannon in the upper left is a little too short to allow the cannon to be pulled inboard as far as it should be. I like Bob Garcia’s “Measure once, cuss twice” advice, and I admire his restraint when it comes to the only “twice” part of it. 😊 Hopefully easily remedied by putting that cannon on the other side of the ship. Also note that I managed to dislodge one of the split ring/eyebolts on that cannon. Then there are the deck eyebolts for the train tackle, which need to be closer to the ship’s center line for the tackles to pull the cannons far enough inboard for stowage. And finally, I think I’ll try to do something about that train tackle on the first cannon. All addressed in my next post.
  11. With some difficulty I secured the infamous loop in the breeching line by stretching the two parts of the breeching line taught (dislodging one of the eyebolt/split rings in the process) and applying a drop of thin CA. That worked well in terms of securing the loop, but the glue is so thin that it wicked into the breeching line at least ¼” in each direction, making the line as stiff as a board and considerably harder to work with. For the other three guns, I will use medium CA and try to use a drop that is tiny enough that it shouldn’t wick and won’t be seen. The instructions have you bend and darken brass strips to create the trammels which hold the gun barrel axel (trunnions), then glue the trammels to the carriage taking care to assure that the glue does not prevent the barrel trunnions from rotating. The idea is that the angle of the barrel will be adjusted after the whole assembly is in place, to assure that the barrel is where you want it to be relative to the gun port. That barrel angle is then secured by gluing the quoin in place. For me, that’s making things unnecessarily difficult. I dry fit the cannon back on deck and measured the distance from the deck to the properly placed barrel. Then back on my work bench I glued the barrel to the carriage with the barrel the appropriate height above my bench. I then bent the supplied brass strip with some small needle nose pliers, as can be seen below. The photo reveals how imprecise the bending was, but hopefully I will get better with practice. Once blackened and glued to the carriage and the trunnions, they didn’t look too bad (bare spots on the trammels have been touched up post photo). On to the rigging. I found a great post about rigging cannons here, and used a number of things I learned. Gotta love these forums. The gun tackle, also known as the outhaul, is used to hold the cannon in an outward position until immediately before firing, and upon firing the friction of the line running through the blocks helps absorb the recoil so that it isn’t absorbed solely by the breeching line. The gun tackle can also be used to adjust the sideways aim of the cannon, so it isn’t limited to firing strictly perpendicular to the centerline of the ship. The train tackle, or inhaul, pulls and holds the cannon inward, so the gun port lids can close, as would be the case during the days, weeks and longer when the ship is not in battle. I’m thinking I will rig one side prepared for battle, and one side inboard, as I’ll discuss in a later post. In either event, the free end of the line (the falls) would not likely be neatly coiled in a circle as found on so many ship models, but would likely be cleated (or otherwise secured) and loosely coiled, or simply loosely coiled (the outhaul immediately before firing). So with all of this in mind, I rigged three tackles for my first, recently assembled, cannon. Like the breeching line, the end of each tackle is hooked, rather than more permanently secured, to an eyebolt. The kit’s photo-etched hooks come in two sizes, and the instructions said to use the large size for the breeching lines. It does not say anything about the hooks attached to the tackles. The hooks as shown on the plans all appear to be the same size, but if I used the large hooks for the tackles as well, there would be only two left over, which wouldn’t leave enough to do anything with the guns on the spar deck. So I decided to use the smaller hooks, and leave the larger ones for the breeching lines topside. I did a word search in the pdf version of the instructions, and large hooks are referred to only one other place (a pair of shrouds), so there will be more than enough large hooks left over for that purpose. Almost everywhere in the instructions hooks are referred to without reference to size. The instructions suggest using beige thread to tie the hooks and blocks together. Other kits I have seen have you use blackened wire to strop blocks. I have always used black thread, and I have usually used some very strong fly tying thread I found in my wife’s stash of thread (she did a bunch of fly fishing decades ago, pre-me). I have always assumed that sailing ship blocks are stropped with cable or metal, so black looks better to me than beige. The last thing before cutting the loose ends is to put a drop of diluted white school glue on every knot. Above, I hooked one end of one of the tackles I rigged to the eyebolt at the back of the carriage, and secured it with the tiniest drop of thin CA possible. Then I glued the quoin in place. With everything thus secured, I put a small drop of wood glue on the bottom of each wheel and glued the whole assembly to the deck. I then hooked the back end of the train tackle to the eyebolt previously glued into the deck. With the cannon in the outward direction, the train tackle was at full extension, so I figured the falls should be pretty short. I tied three half hitches around the rest of the tackle, figuring that would be a reliable way to secure it, then cut the line off there. Unfortunately I was unable to make the half hitches look at all realistic, and the train tackle aesthetically is kind of a mess. Finally I hooked both ends of the breeching line to their respective eyebolts. Next I hooked both gun tackles to the eyebolts in the sidewall and to the eyebolts in the gun carriage, and pulled the line relatively tight. That sounds easy, but in the process I managed to loosen the cannon from its carriage once and detach the whole assembly from the deck twice. This was a couple of evenings ago, after a glass of wine, and being a committed morning person, I should have known that working at that hour on this tricky a part of the build was a bad idea.😊 I cut the loose end of the gun tackles short, then made a couple of loose coils which I glued (diluted white glue) to the deck, hiding the short loose end of the tackle. I found making the coils to be pretty straightforward -- I’m fortunate enough to have done quite a bit of sailing in an earlier life, and if you know how to give rope a half twist with each coil, the same thing works with thread. I simply held the growing coil between two fingers and applied diluted white glue to the whole coil once completed. Of course I haven’t figured out how to do that while taking a picture. Below, the coil on the starboard side is, IMHO, too large, and I like better the one I made second, on the port side. Overall I’m not particularly pleased with this cannon rigging. Both the breeching line thread, and the thinner tackle thread, are too stiff and do not fall naturally. Also, the blocks look too big. The parts list shows the smallest and most numerous blocks to be 3mm, but in fact they are 4mm, the same length as the handful of blocks identified as being 4mm, except that the latter are slightly thicker. Also I’m concerned that the train tackle is too short to pull the cannon all the way in if I do in fact choose to display one side that way. I will have to do some experimenting with different thread, perhaps find some smaller blocks, and if the result is materially better, maybe tear this cannon out and do it over (perish the thought). Or maybe I'll decide that I have to stop looking at close up photos of my work and view it as I would from a distance without magnification.
  12. Thanks Gary. The instructions refer to those as trammels, and I'm working on a fairly lengthy post (probably to be posted tomorrow morning) that provides my take on those pieces and on rigging the cannons. In all the pictures above, the barrel is not yet glued to the carriage and the wheels are not yet glued to the deck. With regard to wetting and drying rigging thread before using it, I read about that trick a year or so ago (and wondered why I hadn't learned about it sooner). I have used it ever since and have found it to do an excellent job of getting rid of the creases and curles thread has when it comes off of whatever it is wrapped around. But other than that, I haven't found that it makes the thread less stiff or easier to work with. Earlier today I took your use of the word "soak" to heart, and let some thread sit in water for 15 minutes or so, but at least with the thread I tried, that didn't seem to make much difference. Should I soak it longer?
  13. Below I have glued the long gun carriages together, and painted them, the guns and the wheels. I glued the wheels on, dry fit the guns, the carriages and the quoins, and placed (but not glued) them on the deck. Looking at the pictures I can see that some touch up painting is needed. After taking these pictures, I did some paint work and glued in the eyebolts for the gun tackle and the train tackle. I did not glue in the eyebolt/split ring assemblies just yet. Rigging these things will be the next challenge. First a word or two about rigging thread. My humble opinion, but I find Model Shipways tan thread to be too light in color and too shiny. Admittedly the MS rope texture is superior. For some reason the picture below makes the color and shininess look better than it really is. And in this case, the designated thread for the breeching line is too thick and stiff for me to work with, especially where it is supposed to wrap around the back end of the cannon. I have some Amati thread I like better (wrapped around the red tube), and I found some online and ordered a bunch for this build. Each end of the breeching line is secured to the sidewall with a hook, photo-etched brass and needing to be blackened. I used some smaller thread to secure a hook to one end of the line, slipped a couple of eyebolt/split ring assemblies onto the line, then secured another hook to the other end. A drop or two of diluted white glue was applied to each lashing. I then cut the eyebolt stems shorter, and glued them in place on each side of the carriage. Then I tried to loop the line around the knob at the back end of the cannon, which proved to be a challenge. As you can see below, I tied some thread around the looped part of the breeching line in an effort to make it a tight loop. I then hooked the hooks into the eyebolts on the sidewall. None of it is glued in place yet, and my next task will be to unhook the ends of the line from the sidewall and bring the gun assembly back down to my work bench where it will be easier to work with. I suspect some diluted white glue will do the trick with regard to that loop. For the other three guns, I think I will get that loop done the way I want it before gluing the eyebolt/split rings in place. The good news is that I got the length of the breeching line just right (and measured it), so the gun can be displayed battle-ready (front wheels against the waterways and barrel sticking out the gun port) or back far enough to enable the gun port hatches to close.
  14. Very well done, and you have every reason to be proud. No need to focus on the occasional minor hiccup. I sometimes use photos to check something out that my eyes may not be good enough see well, but the risk is I'll discover something I'd just as soon not be aware of. It's all part of the hobby. Keep up the good work. Tom
  15. Jan is right, you can get close ups simply by zooming with the camera, but the article I read about the method described above says that you can zoom in closer using the magnifier tool. I fooled around with my phone a bit and there is no question, you can get a closer detail photo with that tool. You can get close enough that it becomes difficult to hold the phone still enough. Why you can zoom closer with the magnifier than you can with the camera makes no sense to me, but it certainly appears to be the case. So going forward, I intend to try to get as close as I want with the camera, and if that isn't enough, I'll use the magnifier tool. With all of that having been said, the iPhone does not have a true macro lens. All you're doing is taking a small portion of the picture and blowing it up, with the result that the resolution gets lower and lower the closer you zoom in. Inadequate for professional purposes, but good enough in my view for pictures of tiny parts and small detail on a model.
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