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Navis Factorem

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About Navis Factorem

  • Birthday 11/27/1948

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    Naremburn New South Wales Australia

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  1. I have achieved a significant milestone in the fitout, I have installed the quarter davits so finally all the ship's boats can be put in place. Also, the gangway railings and gun port lids are complete. Again, there were plenty of alternatives for these details but they were clearly shown on the Admiralty drawings in Lavery and Hunt's great book so confusion was avoided. The only odd thing about this drawing is the two piece gun port lids. This is the only place I have seen this detail and I have installed single piece lids. To complete the ships boats the oars need to be made. The rudders will be removed and stored inside the boats and the boats will be lashed into position as one of the last things to do. Next the anchors and the parts of the running rig that I have left to last and some small items. I'm not too sure what to do about the stern lanterns, they seem to be fitted and removed as needed, sometimes a single central lantern, some time two or even three across the stern. I can't find any in premade kit form and they look very fiddly to make. Cheers, David.
  2. Now that the rig is almost complete ( I am leaving some of the lower level bits to complete later as they would make it hard to work on deck fittings) more of the details can be added. Something I had to consider long and hard was what to do about the hammock storage on the bulwarks. I have noticed that some models don't include these. I can understand why, whether to show the frames and netting without hammocks, or to show what I think they might look like with hammocks and covers is a vexing question. From my understanding the routine for British men of war of this period was that they greeted each dawn at full readiness in case an enemy ship had appeared during the night and a battle might occur. Also a normal part of the daily routine was for the hammocks to be rolled up and put in the nettings with covers over the lot. I considered building the netting cranes and netting until I tried to fabricate the cranes and discovered making up the number required out of brass wire was a difficult job and, for me, impossible to make look convincing. The netting was a whole other problem which I decided I could do without. That left making up hammocks and the covers as an option. Fortunately my current read, one of Dudley Pope's Ramage books, described that the hammocks were enclosed in covers which must have covered the cranes and netting. I realized including this detail was going to be a pretty drastic step as these covers ar going to be a very strong element in the overall appearance of the model. I had the sails left over from my Bounty build so had fabric which I considered could make acceptable covers. I searched through various sources looking for images of the cranes, netting and covers. The size, shape and extent of the covers varied considerably so it was one of those situations where I considered what looks most convincing and thinking about the function determined what I would build. These are images of hammock covers and what I built:
  3. Fitting of yards and running rigging is going well, all the sticks are now fitted and the majority of the rig complete. I can now start on some more detail bits like the hammock netting and brackets, I haven't quite worked out how to do these yet, brass wire and I will need to try a bit of soldering. Gun port lids, cutter davits, and lots of rope coils all need to be done. In these trying times of social distancing a good hobby comes into it's own. Keep well. Cheers, David.
  4. I use chemical blackening for much of the brasswork. The product is Birchwood Casey Brass Black Metal Finish which I bought from a local gun shop.


  5. Rigging update. The foremast running rigging is almost complete, now for the mainmast. As more of the lines are fitted threading additional ropes gets trickier. I have had to unthread some as the initial route taken sometimes doesn't run clear and fouls those existing. Getting there. Cheers, David.
  6. The rig is based on drawings in the Brian Lavery and Geoff Hunt book "The Frigate Surprise" which has both the original and the Patrick O'Brian masting with the 36 gun frigate main mast. My build includes the larger main mast. The layout in the book also increases the mizzen mast size to be almost the height of the foremast. I am no expert but I assume this is needed to balance the increased power generated by the larger sail area on the main mast. Any clarification would be appreciated. Cheers, David.
  7. Fitting of yards started, foreyard first then upward and towards the stern. The fore sheet, tack and cluelines will be fitted further down the track, it's hard enough getting to the rig attachment points as it is, these lines would make it much more difficult. Cheers, David.
  8. Quite a bit of water has passed under the keel since my last post, visits to families living in Brisbane and Beijing have taken up quite a bit of time. Summer weather is starting to develop and, as a Scot who arrived in Australia at 4 years of age, over the last 66 years I never really seemed to have adapted to the hot Australian summers which I find exhausting, particularly as they seem to be getting hotter. So the coming months are good ship building days for me as I can huddle in my man cave basement and work away. Some months ago when I had completed the yards I thought I would be attaching them to the masts in the near future but then I consulted the rigging oracle and realised how many blocks needed to be attached to the yards and that this was going to be much easier before the yards were fixed to the masts. The next challenge was the number and sizes of blocks required. I had purchased quite a number of blocks when I started the build but my initial count was never going to be enough. So a block making program was started. I had never made many blocks before so there was a bit of a learning curve. First the type of wood to use. I have a good stock of off cuts as I don't throw away any small pieces, I just pop them into a container working on the time honoured principle that "this will come in handy some time in the future". And my collection of walnut bits and pieces has certainly come in handy for block making. Up to now I have probably made about 150. The hardest part of the process has been drilling the 0.8-1.0 mm holes through 2.0-2.5 mm thick stock for the lines to pass through. I initially tried this by hand with my Dremel but found it very difficult to get the holes even on both sides. I thought I would try my fairly large bench drill and firstly found to my amazement that the chuck would grip a 0.8 mm bit, then that I could reduce the speed so that the bit didn't instantly snap, and that it was accurate enough to drill pretty centrally through the stock. This made block making much easier. There are about 100 blocks of 5 or 6 different sizes attached to the yards. Yard construction has NOW reached the point where I can start attaching them to the masts and install the running rigging.
  9. Hi, I just came across this post. It explains why I decided to scratch build Surprise. 6 years ago I had just finished reading Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series and decided to build the ship. I searched for a decent kit to either build or use as a starting point for a kit bash but decided all the kits I could find were inaccurate as they seemed to be based on a model of something else and had serious flaws, right down to the basic hull/deck shape. So a scratch build it was. It has been an interesting 6 years, much learning! Cheers, David
  10. Shrouds, ratlines and stays completed to all masts. I'm very glad the ratlines are finished. Now I can start fitting yards and their tackle. Cheers, David
  11. Rigging, the next part. Shrouds, ratlines and stays to the fore, main and mizzen masts complete. I am very glad to see the end of the main extent of the ratlines. That was a LOT of clove hitches! The top and topgallant mast shrouds and ratlines should progress a bit more quickly. Cheers, David.
  12. Rigging Part 2 (of many!) Mainmast shrouds, ratlines and stays complete. I'm glad to have finished these, doubtless the most time consuming part of the rig. Mizzen next, only half as many shrouds. Cheers, David.
  13. Now that the figurehead has been completed and fitted I can get on with the rigging. The bowsprit and foremast stays shrouds and ratlines have been done. Next the mainmast. On my Bounty build I made the mistake of not progressively doing the ratlines and almost went crazy doing them all in one hit. Never again! Cheers.
  14. Another hurdle to clear before I can start the rigging. The figurehead! I intend to start the rig at the bow and work towards the stern so the bowsprit is the first work area. I can't start on the bowsprit rig until the figurehead is installed. I have been putting this off for too long but the time has come and I can no longer avoid this part of the build. Unfortunately my 3d people shape modelling skills are zero so this is going to be a steep learning curve and I don't have great confidence in the likely result. The first challenge was to work out what medium to use. Do I build up a shape using some sort of modelling medium or do I carve from a block of something? I have some timber a friend gave me that he said was good for carving so I thought I would have a go at this first. The next challenge was the shape of the figurehead. The Surprise carries the goddess Athena but she has many manifestations ranging from the elaborate metal look item on the replica used in Master and Commander to much more mundane items on other models. I decided to go for the mundane. After much searching I found a model which had a fairly simple Athena and I decided this would be the example I would attempt to build. I feel I can justify a fairly simple approach as Surprise was very much a working frigate and as the figurehead would most likely be damaged in any major sea battle fought repairs would need to be made by the ship's carpenter with timber to hand. The process and result are in the pictures. I am happy with the result, my first attempt at wood carving.
  15. Hi All, I haven't had too many opportunities to progress construction what with end of year, visiting grand children and all the other distractions that keep me away from building. Yard construction has progressed and they are now completed apart from fitting of the blocks. After a frustrating time making the foot ropes for Bounty from fine cord and having a lot of trouble keeping the required shapes I decided to try a different approach and use fine copper wire spun into rope of the right size. Once fitted to the yards they were blackened with a chemical treatment. This was much easier to work with and I am happy with the result. The studding sail boom irons were again made with paper clip wire. I find that I can hammer the required lengths flat to make the rings the booms pass through and as the wire is quite malleable to start with I can still shape it into the required circles. Starting the rig is getting ever closer and I am quite looking forward to this part of the process. Cheers, David.

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