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Anchor Hoy / Water Tanker c. 1814 -1825 Designed and built by Francis Grice in the Norfolk Navy Yard. Grice designed and built many ships for the US Navy and was appointed Chief Naval Constructor in 1847. He headed the Naval Construction Department until his death in 1859. Grice is among the few who have left tracings and papers describing work boats. They were preserved by the national government in the Office of Naval Records and Library and were subsequently transferred to the National Archives. They were reproduced in part in Grimwood's American Ship Models. Grant Walker at the Naval Academy Museum referred me to a source for the plans. Anchor hoys were designed to carry and recover huge anchors and many had large water tanks to service ships in the harbors. This boat has a length between PP of 56' 9” and a breadth of 20'. At a scale of 1:48, overall length of a model (with spars) will be less than 24”. Some of the reasons for choosing this vessel were the sloop rig, double capstan and gearing system used to hoist the anchors, the running rigging of the shrouds and the shroud supports for the main mast supporting the weight of the anchors. There is little known about the actual construction of these boats, so the frame and spacing is conjectural. After reviewing the series Shipyard and Service Craft: A Portfolio of Plans by Robert Cairo in the Nautical Research Journal from June, 1976 through September. 1979 (eight installments), one can extrapolate many dimensions of various parts and Scantlings of Royal Navy Ships 1719 – 1805 by Allan Yedlinsky provided many particulars even though it does not directly address work boats such as this anchor hoy. While the water tank can be seen in the profile drawing, there is nothing that indicates its width. The plans I acquired were conjectural so I used them along with copies of the original Grice drawings to start to loft a more complete set for the 1:48 scale I have chosen to use. This will be a plank on frame model with partial planking to expose the details of the framing and the gears attached to the capstans. That process involves using a CAD program. While I have drawn house and furniture plans, I have never tackled ship plans before. There is an article on this site by Wayne Kempson titled Drafting Ship Plans in CAD. http://modelshipworldforum.com/ship-model-plans-and-research.php While I am only partially into the lofting process, that report has been invaluable. The skills I've acquired on several POF models I've build over the years and particularly the recently completed Echo Section from Admiralty Models have emboldened me to take on this new challenge. Pictures of the Grice drawings from the National Archives follow:
I am determined to see this to some sort of completion. I have modeled now for 30 years however this is my first ever wooden ship from scratch. I choose the Anchor Hoy for a few reasons. 1. Looks Strange. 2. Easy to Build, (I hope.) 3. This little ship has more meaning than just being a ship. Think about it. All the Clippers, Men-O-War, Whalers all rely on the unsung small boats that day in and day out did and still do most of the work. 4. I wanted to see if a quality model can be made in small scale. I have seen in kit instructions and other places where something is "too small to be considered do-able." I also wanted this project to show that a nice looking wooden ship model can be produced for under $50. I am using the plans from AMERICAN SHIP MODELS AND HOW TO BUILD THEM. I began by transferring the profile and station lines to tracing paper and the n using transfer paper, I drew the lines for the hull on a 8"X6"X2" basswood block. The station lines were drawn on thick plastic stock and cut using a #11 Blade. With the lines drawn I sawed the profile on my small band saw. Once that was done I remarked the station lines and carved and sanded the hull to shape using the plastic templates I made. Careful if you are building tiny models. One little slip of the file or even sandpaper means lots of "Do it Again." I attempted to add the Keel, Stem and Rudderpost using thin bass wood. Well that was a disaster as the thin weak wood went to pieces if you looked at it wrong. I tried about every wood I had, but it either broke to easy or I could not bring myself to painting fine wood. So, I have used plastic card for the stem, and keel. Not my favorite option, but now I have some strength in this important part. I now used the same thin basswood sheet to make the deck. Boy did I sweat this one! I drew the deck out and then scribed the lines. Holy Cow! That process took forever and by the end I was exhausted. I looked at my work and went "I sure did a great job. Too bad you can't see the lines. So I read through the forums and consulted books on how to make the lines visible and accurate. In a moment of "Oh well what have I got lose," I sprinkled Vallejo Burnt Umber Pigment on the deck and rubbed it in. Hoping against hope I brushed the excess off and then with 0000 steel wool rubbed out the rest. I was very impressed. As this is a working vessel doing work with greasy chains, mud, tar, and whatever else I made the deck used and dirty. I then went over the entire with three light coats of Danish Oil which was then buffed with the same 0000 steel wool. I made hatch covers and coming in basswood and they look 100% US Grade A Terrible. So they had to go and will be replaced by hatches of plastic card. The companion way is made of reclaimed cherry, and still needs a bit of detailing done. The transom and support knees are right from the plans and made of basswood and card. The one thing I most dreaded were the low Bulwarks. I cut my 2mm strips of basswood and boiled those for 5 minutes. I then wrapped them around a can and secured them with rubber bands. When dry I was surprised that they fit perfectly and glued in with not one bit of trouble. I have given the hull a Yellow Ochre coat to find any flaws. Oh and I found a bunch that need some attention. So, onward I march. More later shipmates. Don Author of OF ICE AND STEEL and EPITAPH