It has been some time since I have posted. I have, however been at work on the lower masts during this time. No postings have been made before because I was not sure that the ideas I had about how to do them would work, and there is no sense in posting something that did not work. Being satisfied that what has been achieved is the best I can do for now, so I might as well make some posts on the matter.
I did manage to find some dowels of the right size that were not warped, so these masts are based on those. Here goes...
1. Using an electric drill and some 120 sandpaper taped to my table, I tapered the mast.
2. The top was then marked as shown as a guide to the squaring of the mast head.
3. Using an electric disc sander, I squared the mast heads. As you might imagine, the squaring got better as I did more masts. I started with the main mast as it is the largest, and, presumably the easiest to detail in scale.
I decided to make two of them and choose the better one. Was that ever a good idea!!
1. Rotating the mast with the drill, marks were made where the mast hoops will go.
2. The bluejacket instructions suggest using either card stock or copper coated strips from the coppering sprue. Remembering the dire warnings about using copper, and because I wanted to use PVA glue rather than CA, I opted for 110 lb card stock. Using a steel ruler and sharp knife, I cut strips as close to the indicated 1/32" width as I could. The hoops meet where the paunch will go, and so, will be invisible.
Several options as to the design of the paunch and cheeks presented themselves. The ship presently has the paunch and cheeks integrated into one structure with the hoops passing underneath. The instruction manual has a photo on page 58 in which the paunch and cheeks are separate, and the hoops pass under both the paunch and the cheeks. The Revell model has separate paunch and cheeks, with the paunch extending all the way down to the gun deck, and the hoops over both paunch and cheeks. The Marquardt AOS shows paunch and cheeks abutting but not integrated, and the hoops passing over the cheeks then under the paunch. Also, the cheeks extend about halfway between the tops of the hounds/bibs and the spar deck both in the AOS and the present day ship. I opted for separate paunch and and cheeks, the cheeks extending down halfway to the spar deck, and the paunch extending down to the mast boots on the spar deck. Here is how I elected to construct these.
1. This illustration is scanned from the downloaded MS Constitution manual.
2. Card stock is added between the mast hoops so that they would not have to take the full stress of having the strips glued over them.
3. 1/16" x 1/16" basswood stock was glued and clamped.
4. Wood strips in place.
5. Elmer's wood filler added then the whole sanded down to size. Several applications of filler were needed, as it tended to shrink when drying.
6. Not having a lot of confidence in my ability to cut neat grooves in the undersides of the strips, I opted to fill the gap with Elmer's.
Then came construction of the hounds/bibs, cheeks, and jeer bits.
I learned that working with these masts on a soft cushy surface was a way to avoid beating up the cardboard mast hoops, as you can see in photo 6.
1. The hounds and bibs were made from one piece using the kit's plans. They were fashioned from two pieces glued together with rubber cement to insure uniformity.
2. Not having the confidence to make the hounds and bibs separately then scarph them together neatly while maintaining strength, I cut groove with a chisel just deep enough to look like a seam.
3. Gluing them onto the dowel with Titebond III while keeping them aligned was very tricky. Elmer's wood filler was used to fill in the gap. Again, several applications were need, with the first done with diluted filler so
that proper penetration into the joint was assured.
4. Hounds/bibs in place, front view.
5.- 6. Cheeks constructed using the same procedure as was used for the paunch.
7.- 8. Jeer bits installed.
9. Foremast constructed just as the main mast was. AOS shows no paunch or cheeks on the mizzen mast, and there will be a spider ring installed, so I opted to omit them.
Painting is always a Day of Judgment for me as every infinitessimal irregularity becomes a flashing neon sign.
I am now working on the boarding pikes and racks. BJ Connie builders, be advised that the Britannia metal pikes do not fit through the holes in the upper photo etched brass racks. Not even close! I tried filing down the one of the pikes which made a mess, and tried to enlarge the holes in the upper racks which made a bigger mess. I ordered replacements for these from Bluejacket. I await delivery of 20 size straight pins to use for pikes.
Let's see how that works.