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Introduction It’s time to attempt something I’ve been wanting to have a go at for a long time. A frigate of the napoleonic era. Having spent a lot of time looking round, I decided that I had neither the tools, the time, nor the expertise currently to complete a fully-framed scratch build. I was drawn by Chuck Passaro’s HMS Winchelsea, not least because I am sure the instructions when they are released will be utterly brilliant and the builds look beautiful so far, however at the time of writing the prototype is not yet completed. Given these factors, added to the expense and difficulty in sourcing good quality wood in the UK, I came back to model kits. I hope to keep on dabbling in scratch building though, and I have a cross-section of Triton underway for that purpose. I wanted to build a model in 1:64, partly because it would give a good contrast to the boats I already have in the house, which are of the same scale. I looked at Victory Models, however, though there Pegasus and Fly models are very handsome in their own rights, I could not reconcile that they were not quite Frigate enough in my mind to fit the bill. Having built two of Caldercraft’s models in the past (HM Schooner Pickle and HM Cutter Sherbourne), I was keen to come back to the same manufacturer, as I have found their models to be rewarding to build, and to have a level of detail that is manageable, but results in great looking models. Sadly, HMS Surprise, though prototyped, has not been released by Caldercraft so that was not an option, though I am a great fan of the Aubrey / Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. However, Caldercraft do have another Frigate already in their line-up. HMS Diana. An Artois-class Heavy Frigate of 38 guns. Having seen other builds of sister-ships on ModelShipWorld.com, and since I am married to a Classicist, my interest was piqued by the other boats in the class, and I settled on Ethalion – built in 1797. In part because I didn’t really want a scantily clad woman glued to the front of the boat when I finished it, and Ethalion brings the possibility of a dolphin. Once that was decided, it was time to break out google and a some books, and try and track down firstly, who Ethalion was, and secondly some of the history of this particular HMS Ethalion.
As I'm slowly approaching the end (or at least the beginning of the end) on HMS Snake, I gratefully received what will be my next installment for my birthday. Don't expect much progress as I want to keep working on HMS Snake as time permits, but I wanted to have the kit in my hands so I can start to do some planning ahead, and most importantly, get my order in for some upgraded wood. I also want to take advantage of the warm weather to get the larger sanding jobs done outside if I can. I plan to take the first planking slowly to avoid repeating errors and to hopefully ensure I can get the lines as close as possible to the plans. I had a great experience with my Caldercraft Snake, and after trying to evaluate other kits out there, decided to stay in the family due to the expected kit quality, interest in the subject matter and availability of aftermarket items. I've been vacillating between HMS Agamemnon and HMS Diana for some time, but what finally swayed me was getting a copy of the AOTS Diana book which I'd like to follow as closely as possible as skills permit. Initial thoughts on the kit and approach: I'm going to build her as HMS Jason, the 5th of the 9 built Artois-class frigates. Don't think this will mean any significant deviations, but I have downloaded the plans from NMM, and there is of course the narcissistic additional interest for me . This will require me to change the figurehead, I have thought through options. While not quite a beautiful as the Diana admiralty models with open quarterdeck rails, I do plan to build her as she was when completed with the build up quarterdeck bulwarks. My reading indicates that most, if not all, would have had this feature when actually launched as it was back in fashion. Wood - The supplied walnut does not look great, not a surprise and this seems to be a (sadly) common factor in CC kits. I have decided to upgrade/change the wood, and will probably go with boxwood for the external hull, and maple for the deck as I'll try to replicate the decking in the AOTS book which Ray so successfully handled on his build. I'll keep the walnut below the waterline where possible to save on cost as this will be coppered . Instructions - Poor, but as expected. I hope this won't present too many challenges, and hope my initial experience on Snake will get me through OK. Copper plates - The CC plates get a bad rap, and I don't think they are as bad as commonly perceived when looking at a completed hull. That being said, I would like to try to replace them with Amati ones which look very authentic if finances allow (on a "cost per year" basis, this is easier to justify given my slow pace) Armament - The HMS Jason plans show her with 6 identical ports on her quarterdeck, suggesting the original 9lb'er configuration. The kit provides a mix between carronades and cannons with differences in the gun port configuration and size. I may change this but we'll see. Quality - Overall, I do like the quality of the kit, CC do provide some high quality parts that are correct scale. Where I know the kit provided items will not be up to it, I'll replace/upgrade those (pumps, blocks, rigging line etc). The keel and bulkheads are very solid. I have plenty more thoughts, but will keep those to myself for now. Onwards and upwards! The box, manuals and part identification Frames and pre-cut parts The wood strips Photo-etch All of the really small bits still in box until inventoried
I am in the beginning research stages for the restoration of a 38-gun Artois-class fifth rate frigate of the Royal Navy. It is similar to HMS Diana. It has great detail but it is a wreck. The figurehead (see picture) is of a man/god waving a mace-like weapon, wearing what appears to be a flowing robe. Can anyone identify the ship from the figurehead or venture a guess as to the figurehead? Thanks, Frank