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  1. A few years ago, I was looking at some of the models posted on the RMG website and came across Swallow 1779. I instantly was attracted to her overall appearance and the fact that she was clinker-planked. The model is listed as SLR0540 and the plans are ZAZ4719. Swallow did not have a long career. According to Rif Winfield, in his book “British Warships in the Age of Sail 1714-1792”, she was purchased on the stocks in 1779 and was originally designed to be a cutter. On the sheer plan one can see where the original mast (located at the dead flat) was erased from the plan. She was registered as a sloop and originally carried fourteen 4pdr guns. The following year, four 18pdr carronades were added. There is no mention of swivel guns, although the plan shows mountings for twenty-two of them. With Lively, Swallow captured the US privateer Black Prince in 1779. She was coppered in 1780 and on August 26, 1781,, Swallow was run ashore and burnt to avoid capture by US privateers off Long Island. The first order of business was to develop a set of plans. Comparing the plans with the model revealed several inconsistencies. Starting at the bow, the model has a much larger stem with cheeks, rails, a false rail and a figurehead. The bowsprit come out of the hull in the midline. The plans show a simple stem and the bowsprit exits the hull to the port side of the stem. The model shows the capstan at midships but the plan has it aft of the main mast. The locations of the various hatch covers also differ between the model and the plan. There is a difference in the deadeye configurations and the swivel guns are not modeled. Finally, although the gold detailing is stunning, this little boat certainly would have never been decorated in other but the simplest schema. To make things even more confusing, in small print on the plan is the following..."a copy of this was given to Mr. Ladd for finishing two cutters the Board bought of him when half built 9 Feb? 1779". And, yes, the question mark was in the sentence as written. So the plan is actually the proposal for finishing and not as-finished. I had to decide whether I was going to model a model or model a ship. Because the model is most likely a presentation piece, I decided to use the plans layout rather than the model's. This still left me with concerns. The biggest one was whether to model the swivels. Since the model does not show them and Winfield does not mention them, I decided to leave them off. There is also no "proper" access to the lower deck on the plan but a companionway is visible on the model. I have added a ladder and companionway. If any of you have additional information or insights to the contrary, please let me know. Things are easy to change at this point. This was going to be a plank on bulkhead model. My reason for this construction style was that the beauty of this ship will be in the clinker planking; therefore, both sides of the hull will be completely planked. I will be installing the lower deck and its associated fittings in the mid-ships area as I plan on making the hatch covers removable. Plans were developed using the tutorial written by Wayne Kempson which is found in the Modeler’s Database. http://modelshipworldforum.com/resources/plans_and_research/DraftingShipPlansInCADwayne.pdf TurboCAD 18 was my CAD program. Once the plans were developed I made a half hull in 1:96 scale to make sure that I did not have any glaring errors in my rendering.
  2. I've tried building boats in the house, but I don't have the room, and the models (and I) just get in the way. So, late last summer, I turned this fairly fresh patch of concrete: Into this: ...which is becoming an absolute joy. A bit narrow (5') but long enough (14') for anything. LED lighting, tonnes of sockets, a radio: I'm good to go! And, with a love of the works of Arthur Ransome, and a commission for a dinghy, I started using my workshop just before Christmas: This is the start of a one-eighth scale lugsail dinghy, clinker built, sitting on its molds. Pine and lime wood throughout. Lands cut on the planks using the specialist tools (!), and geralding commences... I am in clamp heaven! One-eighth scale is a great size. RW techniques (well, were it a modern epoxy-glued dinghy!) in miniature. Storming along, now Winter's almost over and I have double-digit Celsius again! Lots of work to do, internally - and breaking work on the hull (glue-drying time) to complete some of the other bits and bobs. Rudder... ... yard, boom and mast ... ...More to come!
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