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  1. I have been struggling with the first planking on my Golden Hinde build and to be honest I have been lacking the motivation to do any real ship building lately. I noticed that Chris Watton had a "lockdown" sale on his model kits, so I had a read through the instruction manual of the Fifie and thought it might help me recover my enthusiasm. I also had an email "chat" with someone that had built this boat on a British forum and decided to go ahead and order one. It arrived several days later and I was immediately impressed by the quality of the whole kit. I quite often put myself under pressure to keep posting updates and to rush things but in this case I am going to take my time and enjoy the build. Whenever I read a build log I like to see what's in the box rather than having to search to see the contents, so here's what you get, The Instruction Book is one of the best I've seen, clear written text and photos, I like the smaller Plans on seperate sheets, much easier to read than one big Plan with information all over the place and as you may have noticed I bought the separate Sails which are really well made. Cheers Andy
  2. Several months ago I ordered the kit from Vanguard Models. I knew I wouldn't be starting it for a while, but thought shipping from UK might be slow. It was not. The kit was delivered hardly a week after I ordered it, so it's been sitting here teasing me to get started. The box has something I found quite amusing. It says "not suitable for children under 36 months". Really? Maybe it meant 36 years! Unfortunately, I'm over qualified age wise, but not necessarily skill wise. This is my 4th build, but really my 3rd major build. The other kits I've built were all Model Shipways, so this kit is a big step up in quality (and price). My first impression is you get what you pay for. For someone that's only seen Model Shipways kits, this one is kind of amazing. And that's not meant to slam Model Shipways, because their kits, especially those designed by Chuck are good and much, much less expensive than this one. For less expensive kits, they are excellent. That said, I can see myself getting spoiled building kits (or maybe even a scratch build) with parts of this quality.
  3. After receiving the new HMS Speedy kit from Vanguard Models as a Christmas present I was determined to leave it in its box until I’d finished off at least one of the other two model projects currently on the stocks. However as soon as I opened the box I knew I was going to have a hard time resisting the temptation. Chris Watton has done a great job in producing this, the second ship in his new range. I went for the limited edition Model Shipwright version, with boxwood second planking and a host of other goodies. There’s a wealth of information on the kit and its development elsewhere on the forum (Vanguard Models news), and in the first Speedy build log Vane has summarised information about Thomas Cochrane and his famous ship (Vane's Speedy log) so I won’t repeat all that here. Suffice to say, everything about the kit oozes quality. Everything was well packaged and labelled, and supported by ten sheets of plans and a full colour build manual. The sheer number of parts was eye-opening, especially for such a comparatively small vessel. The parts list itemises nearly 1,000 individual photo-etch components - 1,433 if you include the copper plates. Plus of course hundreds of other metal, wood and resin items. The first sign that my determination to be patient was crumbling was when I decided to knock up a building board just to be ready when I needed it. Needless to say, the sight of the building board sitting there on my workbench asking to be used quickly eroded further resistance, and I started construction yesterday. I quickly realised that the building board was more or less redundant. The frames were all a good fit on the false keel with zero sanding, and once the lower deck and the various longitudinal beams were added, the whole structure was perfectly straight, square and rigid. Once the lower deck is fitted, the next task is to attach the last few frames at the bow and stern. At first I was a bit dubious about Chris's advice on these, which is to do the initial bevelling off the model. However in practice this seems to work well, particularly on the half dozen filler pieces which would have been difficult to fair in situ. Today I’m going to crack on with the upper deck and various tricky timbers in the stern. Derek
  4. I have just ordered the HM Alert (V2) from Vanguard Models and I am looking forward to receiving the kit next week (UPS delivery scheduled for Tuesday 6th April). I am currently rigging the Duchess of Kingston (Vanguard Models) which should be completed in a few weeks time. I choose the Alert for my next build as I think it will fit the gap between the completion of the DOK build and the release of the Sphinx kit from Vanguard Models release in few months time.
  5. Well, my bench has been idle for long enough... HMS Sphinx is the next major release from Vanguard Models, and as per the previous 4 main kit releases and the 8 ship's boats, I'll be building up the production prototype and creating the instruction manual. Just a little 'ye potted historie' of Sphinx: She was a 20-gun sixth rate launched in 1775. Captured by the French in September 1779, she was recaptured by HMS Prosperpine on 29 November 1779. Sphinx was finally broken up in 1811. Onwards... One thing you'll note if you buy the completed kit is that there's quite a weight. Chris shipped me two complete sets of wooden parts (and some fittings), and that pack, minus any plans, heavy manual or the numerous sets of photo-etch, came in at a whopping 7kg. Factor in around half that weight, plus those missing items, and you'll see it's a bumper pack. There are over thirty sheets of laser cut material, also incorporating the three ship's boats (a good number of different thicknesses). Apart from the MDF sheets which comprise the Sphinx's skeleton, a ply sheet with the lower deck etc, laser-engraved maple decks, the rest of the material is pearwood. Two bundles of strip wood are included; the obligatory lime for first planking, and some 0.8mm thick pear for second planking. The colour is this really is very nice. There are numerous changes between the first test hull Chris built and featured on MSW, and this version, with deleted parts, new parts, and things which have been improved further to make building even more enjoyable. I now have a few days of acquainting myself with the original reference build pics before I can start this, probably this coming weekend. Cannon are in black resin and nigh on ready to use. They look really nice, and the cannon balls are in black plastic, so no painting. Boat beam brackets are in very strong resin, and there is a sheet of laser-cut acetate for the stern/quarter windows. The stern fascia is cast in resin and also looks seriously nice. The figurehead is beautifully detailed and 3D printed. Stern lanterns will be from PE and resin. The colours on this will be very similar to the Duchess of Kingston, but with red inner bulwarks. Whilst my build will be strictly 'out of box', the scope for extra detailing the cabin at the stern, will be more than a temptation for some, with that engraved, chequered floor and engraved doors to the quarter galleries. As there will undoubtedly be questions I can't answer, feel free to use this log to also ask Chris questions that are specific to this release. I'm sure he'll chime in with any extra contents details I missed here. Wish me luck ☘️
  6. New Log for Speedy.... PREVIOUSLY - I started building Speedy January 2020 while in temporary accommodation and then moving into a new house - didn’t go well . Though fixable it seemed better to start afresh - so I asked Chris Watton to supply some hull parts which he did at a very reasonable charge I decided that old log was very messy and it would be best to start anew.
  7. This will be my first wooden ship, so I plan to follow the excellent instruction book provided by Vanguard Models and draw heavily on the build logs from Blue Ensign and VTHokiEE. To start things off I felt a picture of what is in the box was appropriate. As this is my first kit I cannot comment on the quality of wood and parts as I have nothing to reference them against, but everything is well packed in sealed plastic bags marked up with numbers for easy reference. For a detailed review of the parts I would refer you to the excellent kit review by James H The instructions indicate that you should mark up the parts with their reference numbers before removal from the host sheet, so I did that for the bulkheads and keel then did a quick dry run to gauge the fit. The Bulkheads fit very snugly onto the false keel so combined with the lower deck should ensure a nice square build. I dug out my French curves and drew the bearding line onto the false keel. It is recommended to sand this area down to 1.5mm thick to allow for the thickness of the planking. In this version of the kit the sternpost is added after the planking allowing it to sit flush against the planking once it has been sanded down. I took a tip from Blue Ensigns log and used some paper strip on the false keel to gauge the depth to which the keel should be sanded back to. Then realising I was going to need a way of supporting the model I put together a temporary building board to support things during the early stages of the build. Next, I chamfered bulkhead 10 to the correct angle to match the top of the false keel. The bulkheads were then slid into place and the lower deck slotted over them before adding glue to secure everything. Next the bow patterns were chamfered and glued in place followed by the securing patterns 12 and 14. I have deliberately left bulkhead 10 and the transom frames off for now as others have had breakages with these. As the structure is now very sturdy, I am considering starting the fairing of the bulkheads and then adding the deck and transom frames before completing the fairing at the stern.
  8. Hi all, After finishing VM's Lady Eleanor Fifie the other day I wanted some downtime. But by the next day the Flirt box had somehow found it's way into the shipyard, opened itself and started assembling parts...strange! Truthfully, I just couldn't stop myself. I haven't even read through the manual once or even looked at the plans. So that needs to be rectified over the next few days before further building continues (he says). I have read through the excellent Flirt builds on MSW and will take notes from them to supplement VM's instructions. Having built VM's Lady Eleanor I'm now a bit more familiar with the excellent layout style of the manual, the plans and how they relate to each other. I don't expect the Flirt instructions to be any different. Having experience of a company's way of conveying instructions shortens the learning curve. So here's a couple of pics to get started.... Below - manual, box cover and cradle. I think I actually prefer the wooden cradle to the plastic version. It's stronger and more rigid - I might try to paint/varnish the wooden version when all is done and use it as Flirt's permanent display cradle - we'll see. And some parts have already been dry fitted together.... The build should gather momentum once I've spent time reading the instructions and cribbing from MSW Flirt builds. And that's all for now, catch you soon, Richard
  9. Having just finished Granado I am now starting HMS Speedy, Lord Cochrane's brig. He assumed command in 1800 and is the model for the fictional Jack Aubrey in Patrick O'Brian's wonderful series of books.
  10. I have already pre ordered this new model kit from Vanguard Models which is due to be released tomorrow. I plan to take my time with this build and it will start as a low priority side project whilst I complete by current project (Robert E Lee Paddlewheel Steamboat). I will start the build log in earnest after receipt of the kit. The build log of the prototype build by James Hatch was very informative and made the decision the buy this kit very easy. Also I was very impressed with Chris Watton's design, quality of materials and the standard of the build manual and plans with Speedy and I believe he has gone to another level with this kit.
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