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Found 17 results

  1. HMS Speedy – 5th build I got too many kits in the shipyard, but I have been really curious on Chris Watton's new line of model kits. I also very much wants to support the establishment of Vanguard Models so when I got the opportunity to order one of the first boxes of the HMS Speedy I didnt hesitate. It will come in 3 different version and I picked the "no compromise" edition called Master Shipwright which is limited to 20 kits. https://vanguardmodels.co.uk/ . The HMS Speedy will make a very nice addition to my other ships from the "Nelson era". History According to Chris Watton, HMS Speedy was a 14-gun small brig and one of the first generations of new naval brigs, and her lines were more of a hybrid between a sleek cutter and brig. She was a small vessel for her class, but what she lacked in size and raw gunpower, she more than made up for in character. Speedy had a very active history, being captured in 1794 by French frigates and then recaptured in March the following year. After Cochrane lost her (in an unwinnable battle), Speedy was renamed Saint Pierre and presented to the pope by Napoleon himself. It is while commanding Speedy that Cochrane made his name. This was his first command, and the combination of this aggressive commander and Speedy ensured that they would be a thorn in the side of the French and Spanish navies, culminating in the remarkable exploit of taking the Spanish 32-gun frigate Gamo (with xebec hull and rig form). Cochrane led 48 of his crew (almost all of them) up the sides of the frigate, which had over 300 men and eventually took the ship. The kit The first impression of this kit is simply "wow"! Everything packed very nicely and protected. Other kits I have bought has been quickly packed with sawdust and manuals with folded paper etc. Here you can really see that someone has made an effort in protection and layout. I have just briefly looked at all the wood and the parts and its simply way beyond what I have worked with previously. Only problem is that if I get used to this level of quality I wont be able to go back to my other kits. This particular version includes Laser cut MDF, 0.8mm ply and pearwood parts and high-quality boxwood strip for second planking. Machined pearwood block and deadeyes The book Cochrane the Dauntless: The Life and Adventures of Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 1775-1860 More details on the kit will come soon.
  2. Well even though I am still not in my new house yet, I could no longer resist the urge to have a tinker with the kit. All looks lovely . My first step is always to do work on the keel and bulkhead ply sections. A major part of the work for me is to arrange the fitting for the pedestal stand fastenings that I prefer. See Pickle example HERE Immediately first problem - I am not used to mdf and the keel is only 3mm thick so drilling holes to take mounting bolts or threaded rod is going to be a bit of a challenge. So a bit of practice on scrap seems in order. And selecting the position for those mounting points is also troubling me . So a pause till tomorrow - i want to dry fit the basic hull to see how it comes together and suitable places where I can strengthen the keel against the drill points/ I just wonder that in this case i may have to give up on pedestals
  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. Building a Fifie Well Chris has done it again, he does have a knack of producing very appealing kits. When I saw Chris’s kit of this iconic Fishing vessel of North East Scotland, it seemed to meet a particular need I have at this moment. In the present covid 19 situation I have been feeling a little restless, a little unsettled, with a reluctance to commit to a more involved project such as my Royal Barge kit, as I had intended, following completion of the Alert Cutter build. The Fifie fits the bill. A model of moderate size that won’t require casing. Straightforward construction unlikely to present me with excess brain ache or worry. A relatively short build-time project. A project allowing me to research a vessel type I’ve little knowledge of and an excuse to buy more books – already arrived. and finally a change from the naval vessels I have been building over the past many years to date. I did wonder about doing a build log on the Fifie, given that James H has mostly detailed the kit both in his kit preview and build log. However, writing about a model as I build it is something I have got used to doing, and it will also fill in time during our current lockdown situation. The kit arrived today, securely packaged. First impressions are very good, a beautifully presented manual, and clear plans together with great materials. Two things that particularly caught my eye. The maple veneer laser cut deck, nice colour and layout; I doubt I will bother individually planking the deck on this one. The sail set; I’ve never been a fan of cloth provided sails on models invariably too thick and coarse. The sails provided with the Fifie (albeit at extra cost) are altogether different. The material is fine and soft, the stitching and bolt ropes beautifully done, and I’m pleased I invested in this ‘extra’ So to work, I don’t anticipate going ‘off piste’ too much with this build, but there may be little tweaks here and there as I proceed, and these I will mention as I go along, but it is likely to be a fairly short log. B.E. 12/05/2020
  5. I finally succumbed and started work on my Christmas present, the second version of the HM Alert 1777 by Vanguard Models. I also picked up my first foray into the Anatomy of the Ship series, The Naval Cutter Alert 1777 by Peter Goodwin. I'm not certain how much I will stray from the kit (certainly not as much as Blue Ensign) but I think that it will be a useful guide and will hopefully help resolve any questions that I have as they arise. I think I might need a bigger workbench to fit that beautiful manual on. I started by removing the false keel and the bulkheads and here you can notice one of the differences between the initial release and this second edition. The false keel and the rudder post are not keyed together anymore. This allows the rudder post to be added after (at least, I don't have the errata sheet in front of me) the initial planking. After a dry fit (bulkhead 10 is installed incorrectly here 😬), I added a bearding line to help with sanding down the false keel. Working on the half hull planking kit from the NRG helped me understand exactly what I was doing in this step. After sanding down the keep I sanded down the last bulkhead to get the proper angle. Dry fitted the false deck (I hope I'm not messing up my terminology) and gently rested the ship in my new building slip (and wow is this building slip overkill for this model). There are a few questions that I have to ponder since the manual still reflects the initial release instead of the second version (with the keyless rudder post) so I have to consider when to install bulkhead 10. I'll probably finish up my half hull before continuing too far on the Alert, but I had the day off and the half hull was in a different location so I couldn't resist starting.
  6. After deciding to try out this hobby I made my first mistake. I selected a ship that had poor instructions and did not have a single build log on this site. I have put that model on the shelf for now and decided to look for a model more fitting to be built by a newcomer. After seeing and reading the build logs by James H and BE I was very interested in building the Lady Eleanor for my first ship build. The Vanguard model site had the complete manual for this kit available for reading. That convinced me that between the other build logs and the very complete instructions that this was a good kit for a total newbies first build. The model is extremely well built and the directions take a beginner thru the steps assuming you know very little about ship building and terminology. I really appreciate the instruction detail and there are plenty of photos to help visually with the build. The initial building of the bulkheads on to the false keel was very easy. The bulkheads fit snugly into the keel and required no squaring. Here is the ship assembled with the bulkhead and sub structure put together.
  7. The Cutter Alert Build log The Alert kit arrived at a very opportune time for me as I'm fresh from my knowledge of cutters from my recent Cheerful build. Ever since I acquired (1991) the Peter Goodwin book The Naval Cutter Alert 1777. in the Anatomy of the Ship series, published by Conway Maritime press, I have long wished to make a model of Alert. Chris Watton has now made that possible, without having to scratch build everything myself. Before I start however, there are already things buzzing around my head, and points to ponder. Clinker or carvel planking below the Main wale? The kit indicates Carvel whereas Goodwin shows Clinker in his book but goes on to state that Alert was sheathed with copper at Deptford on 30 July 1777. How would this work, I've never heard of coppered clinker, can this be right? However, I'm tempted to look at clinker planking, but I've absolutely no experience of it or even how to begin, so it would be quite a challenge for me. If I do opt for Clinker I imagine one has to start from the Garboard plank and work upward to the wale. Should I go for a carvel base planking and clinker over the top, or go straight for a single planked job as with Cheerful. I may well think it's all too difficult, and build her carvel, but these are all questions I need to resolve before I reach that stage. In the meantime I have to get my build plan organised, which may be some time. B.E. 20/06/2019
  8. Hi, new member here. I wasn't planning on starting a log initially, but I've lately ran across some issues that I could use a second opinion on, so I thought why not. This is my first proper build after introducing myself to the hobby by building the Bounty's jolly boat by Artesania Latina. I'll try to keep the updates regular, but most of the time I'm forgetting to take pictures of the different stages. First planking and initial sanding done. I just could not get the slot in the front stem to work as intended, so I have no room in it for the second planking, but I don't think it'll be much of a problem. And after proper sanding. Even managed a pretty nice stealer plank, too bad it's going to be covered pretty soon. I'm super happy and relieved how my first proper planking job turned out and I sure learned a lot! After sanding I planked the stern bulkhead and attached the stern counter pattern. Turned out even better than I expected. I still have a slight gap under the inner most planks and I'm unsure if I should cover it with diagonal planking or to sand the first planking flush with the rudder post. In addition, I misunderstood the instructions and sanded the whole rudder post to the thickness of 1,5mm. I was thinking of hiding this mistake by tapering the rudder slightly to match the thickness at the post, but I'm not sure how it'll affect the final look of the model.
  9. Dear modeller colleages, first of all, I'd like to say a HUUUUUGE T H A N K Y O U ! to Chris Watton, for creating this wonderful kit! I've seen quite a lot other kits over the years and most of them are quite bad. Chris' kit is of exceptionally good quality! I have seldom seen such a complete kit, together with such high quality materials. - Even though the ship itself is only small in size (and so will the finished model be), the kit consists of many, many parts and thus is quite worth the money! Also the building manual is very nice and complete. Many coloured pictures make life easier, as well as the many printed plan pages. They have a reasonable size and are printed only on one side, which is very good, because you don't have to turn them over and over again - which is expected to happen quite often during building phase and surely stresses the plans. Many very nicely details are included, like the etched copper plates or the lasered parts. So, from my point of view, if I would build a model straight OOB, then this should be almost a 'walk in the park', thanks to Chris' good work! But, those few, who know me well enough, know that I'm unable to build something OOB. I always find details, which I want to have a bit different. Mostly I want to show even more detail. So I already have a list of things, that I hope, I can improve for my kit. I'm already convinced, that in the end, it will look quite different from an OOB version. I don't want to spoil the fun and tell you all that I plan to do different. If you are going to accompany me on my trip with this kit, you are welcome and will get to know, soon enough. One example I'll give: I'm planning to replace the plastic gun barrels with brass ones, which I plan to turn on my lathe. Some other things I would like to tell you, are: First of all another huuuuuge THANK YOU!!! goes to my wife! - She just ordered the kit for me, after I told her, I would like to have it. OK, that is as a birthday and Xmas present in one go, but since my birthday is in December, it is very generous of her, to allow me, to start with it already now! Another thing is: Why do I wanted this kit? First of all, I'm a big fan of "Lucky Jack Aubrey" from Patrick O'Brians books. After I got to know, that Sir Thomas Cochrane was the blueprint for this character and what he achieved in real life, I started to admire him. And since the day I understood, that in this case fact and fiction is very close and that the facts came first, I wanted to build HMS Speedy. At that time, there was no kit available. - So I ordered myself a copy of the original plans from the NMM. For a long, long time I thought about building it POF in 1/48. - Which is nice in size, but not really fully compatible with the space I can afford in my living room. Or building it POF, without rigging and spars in the scale of the NMM plans. In the end I understood, it would be better to build it POB in 1/64, for now. - And then there was Chris with this great kit, so I couldn't stand it. Most of my modifications will be based on the plans from the NMM. There is even some more information behind all this, but I think I'll tell everything, once I'm at that point in the building log. Otherwise this intro would become even more lengthy. My first steps will be: - Clean up the workshop and make room for the new project - (still) have to check if all parts of the kit are complete and arrived in good condition (I'm sure they are, but I only want to be sure not to miss a part at a Saturday Afternoon, when I want to start to build the next step of the kit) - Remove all required parts for the first step from the wood and then my first modification will start to happen! My idea is, to highly detail the lower deck of Speedy. I know, it's almost nonsensical, because nobody will be able to have a look at those details later, but ... we will see that later. In order to show more detail in the lower deck, I have to replace the bulkheads partially with some other wood. Deck spars also have to be replaced. And even more. Fortunately, I'm in the position to throw in some (I can choose, which...) Pear, Boxwood or Service Tree and I can "deliver" my own stuff to me. No need to buy something, somewhere. I already own the required machinery and bought the wood years ago. So, my first steps will be, to mark and cut off the parts of the bulkheads, which I will modify. Pictures will follow, as soon as I have started. Hope you all will enjoy this building log! Best regards, Herbert
  10. Hello all. This is my first attempt at a ship model of this complexity, and coincidentally my first build log. I recently completed Model Shipways' 18th Century Longboat in 1:48 (I still need to take some proper photos and get those posted), had a really great time with it, and started looking around for my next project. I had read lots of reviews and some other build logs about Vanguard Models' HMS Speedy kit in 1:64, and everyone seemed to agree that it was a very well designed kit. That sounded ideal for a relative beginner like me, and then there was the matter of the actual size of the model. I live in an apartment in Union City, NJ with under 1000 square feet (and a wife and a cat), and doing something even the size of a little brig or ship sloop in 1:48 seemed impractical. It was a question of Speedy or HMS Pegasus, and in the end Speedy won because she seemed a little bit simpler. Well, Vanguard shipped the model extremely quickly, and it was with me in only about 4 days I think. Speedy indeed. I've been very impressed with the look of the fittings, and it seems that the kit has undergone a few waves of improvement, which is nice to see. For example, I had seen pictures of an older version of the photo engraved deck sheet that had some inconsistent burn marks. This version is dated only to May I think, and looks like a significant improvement. Some delicate parts that were originally supplied in MDF are now supplied in stronger plywood. That sort of thing. The instruction book looks very detailed, and has a great many pictures to illustrate the process. The mdf frames fit together so well that the first steps of the model have gone much faster than I had anticipated, so I am starting this build log slightly ahead of where I had intended to. I've gotten as far as attaching the stern pieces, and am going to start fairing the bulkheads tomorrow. As I say, this is the first time I've done a kit of this complexity, so if you see me doing something wrong, or are just spontaneously moved to offer advice, please don't keep it to yourself! -James
  11. Hi everybody. My name is Goemon. I am new to this site, and, as you can see, new to the process of posting build logs. I bought the "Alert" because I was attracted by the word "premium version" which is limited to the first time. Production started in April.First of all, I will introduce the production record for 2 months divided into several times. Since this first edition frame has a loose fit, I removed False Keel in an inverted state, applied adhesive to 3 Bulkheads, inserted False Keel, and repeated the adhesion every 3 sheets. Keel was limewood, so I remade it with Pear Wood. The bulkhead is a 3 mm thick MDF with a filler of falcata material inserted. I glued the main deck and stern. Although it is the first edition, Stern's MDF has been added. The first plank was glued from a position where it could be fixed with a pushpin 4mm lower than the designated position. The second planking is done with clinker, so I practiced from the bottom of the hull for the third and subsequent exercises. I am not an English-speaking person, so please refrain from reading strange English. Even if I study for 10 years, I don't use it everyday
  12. Aaaand we’re off. My first sailing ship model in 40 years, and my first wood ship/boat model in 30 years. This is will be an experience, no doubt. I slaved away for a grueling 45 minutes and achieved his:
  13. I have order the Vanguard Model HM Brig Sloop Speedy. I am looking forward to receiving the kit and starting work on this Chris Watton design.
  14. Hi all, so starting off the build I'd like to say this is my very first build to go with. Some of you may have read my introduction post in the new members section and I said I had chosen a mamoli kit, well the kit was incomplete and was sent back. Long story short I saw James H's review of the alert kit and his statement about if you had a bit of an engineers mind it's not a bad first kit. And so here we are, any suggestions or tips are most welcome along the way as well as corrections on incorrect terminology. To start things off I did a complete inventory, numbered all the parts and started dry fitting the bulkheads to the false keel. (and no my kitchen bench is not my final workspace, this was done late at night and I was a tad over excited to start)
  15. Evening all! Well, I wasn't going to post a log of this until it was either quite advanced or finished. However, I figured that I could well have some serious free time coming my way courtesy of coronavirus, so I may as well spend some time and get this online. This model is a production prototype of Chris Watton's forthcoming 1:64 Zulu-class herring fisher, 'Lady Isabella'. From Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_east_coast_fishery) Here are some of Chris's photos of these very parts: Here is my recent preview of this model, as the kit I received wasn't a finished product (no box, manual, sails, rig blocks and cord etc) Ok, on with the show... First of all, all MDF parts were removed from the two sheets. All parts are laser-engraved with numbers and some writing, so they are easy to identify. You'll also note some engraved bevelling lines on some bulkheads too. You'll tend to find that the tags that hold the parts to their sheets, are positioned in unobtrusive positions, such as the top of the bulkheads which will eventually be cut away. With all parts removed I did a quick test fit of the main parts. Before any work starts, the superstructure needs to be assembled. To do this, it needs to be put together and glued while sat on top of the false lower deck. This is only to make sure everything is square, and it must not be glued to that part. Note some parts have engraved labels to help orientate them. I mostly use Titebond glue for my work. It was now the turn of the bulkheads to be paid a little attention. Those which have a more acute bevel are engraved as such. Using a Dremel, I removed all the excess material from them on a sedate 9000RPM speed. The Dremel is also used to grind the MDF to the bearding lines on the infilled parts. All bulkheads are now glued into position on the false keel, but this time I use white glue (Evo Stick PVA) as this dries more slowly than Titebond, and allows me some wiggle room until all parts are in place. The kit is made so tolerances are reasonably tight, so you can't really get anything wrong here. The false lower deck has text on it to define the upper side. Chris has selected birch ply for the main deck lower surface. This makes it quite pliable. This is important because you need to be able to flex it slightly at this stage. Each bulkhead has the temporary timberheads notched. The deck slides into these to there's no reason to pin it at the edges. The deck just snaps into position perfectly and site perfectly across the top of the bulkheads. I didn't do a test fit of that deck. I figured that once in place, it wasn't coming out again to easily, so I decided to paint some Titebond around the joints from the underside. I almost forgot to add the reinforcement pieces 7a to either side of bulkhead 7. It didn't matter too much though as fitting them afterwards meant that I could slide them right in underneath the deck and bang into the perfect position. More soon!
  16. 1:64 H.M. Cutter Alert 1777 Vanguard Models Catalogue # VM-01 Available from Vanguard Models for £180 The Alert, built in Dover by Henry Ladd and launched on 24th June 1777, was the largest class of cutter in the Royal Navy. Alert originally carried ten four-pounder carriage guns and six to twelve half-pounder swivel guns. She was one of fifteen cutters built for the Royal navy between 1777 and 1778. Smaller cutters were often purchased or built by private yards and then purchased by the Navy, but Alert was purpose built from the keel up. In February 1778, Alert docked at Plymouth for an overhaul, to which some alterations were made to her hull and the ten four pounder carriage guns were replaced with twelve six pounder guns, raising her broadside weight by 30%. The guns were changed because six-pounder shot was more commonly available and, of course, they were more effective. Because of the increase in ordnance, the crew of the Alert was increased from sixty to eighty men, and recommissioned under a new commander, Lieutenant William George Fairfax. In May 1778, Fairfax was promoted to Commander and Alert was re-classed as a sloop to comply with Admiralty requirements. (Although always remained cutter rigged) On 17th June 1778, the Alert, in company with the frigate Arethusa, spotted and intercepted the French frigate Belle Poule and the armed lugger Coureur, with the latter overhauled by the Alert and surrendered, returning to Spithead after the action with her prize. On 8th July of the same year, whilst on an independent deployment, searching for the enemy fleet, Alert was taken by surprise and captured by the French frigate Junon. Alert is reported as lost without trace on 15th December 1779. Alerts sister, Rattlesnake lasted a little longer, being wrecked on the island of Trinidad on 11th October 1781. The model kit of the Alert is depicted after her refit with twelve six-pounder guns and a full complement of twelve half-pounder swivel guns, giving an ordnance total of twenty-four guns. Although not stated in the records when researching, it is possible that the upper bulwarks were fully planked, rather than having the open drift. The decoration that adorns the upper sides and stern is optional, as it is unlikely that the original vessel, when in service, would have had such decoration. This is inspired by the two paintings of the vessel by Joseph Marshall, which formed part of the George III collection of ship model paintings. It is possible the decoration would have been painted on during launch day, or if a prominent (Royal) figure visited to review the fleet. The kit H.M. Cutter Alert 1777 is the very first kit from Chris Watton’s own brand label, ‘Vanguard Models’. Of course, you will have heard of Chris’s name from kits released under the Amati (Victory Models) and Caldercraft/JoTika companies, as well as some magazine part-work stuff etc. I’ve bbeen watching this project come together both on and off Model Ship World, and the sort of effort that goes into producing a model kit. Vanguard’s new kit comes in a reasonably large box which is adorned with photos of the completed model, and some profile illustration too. Guess what? I got kit #001!! I’ll not claim any preferential treatment though! Lifting the lid and the first layer of bubble-wrap reveals a personalised customer letter and also a MASSIVE A3-size instruction manual which is spiral bound. We’ll look at this again a little later. Fittings A neat little labelled box contains all of the fittings for Alert, carefully kept in one place, and very professional-looking too. Cutting the tape tab reveals a series of labelled bags. Everything in this kit is also labelled in the same way and easily cross referenced against both the parts inventory and during construction. It really does appear to have been made as intuitive and easy to follow as humanly possible. The fittings are generally a mix of either resin or white metal. In the first pack we have the large winch which is cast in resin. This was originally intended to be white metal, but the quality of the parts was poor, so a new part was 3D designed and cast in light grey resin. Only a little clean-up is required to push this into service on Alert. Also in resin is the smaller windlass for the topsail bitts. The anchors are cast in white metal, and these look great. Very little preparation will be needed before they can be used. More white metal fittings are supplied for the twelve 6-pounder cannon and the twelve half-pounder swivel guns. I would give these a clean-up with a file and some steel wool. Another pouch is supplied for the cannon shot. One of the next packs contain steel pins for assisting with the first layer of planking. These look very nicely made and are sharp, with nothing malformed. It could be an idea to pilot drill the plank before using these, so as not to split any of the MDF frames or the planks themselves. The next two packs contain deadeyes and deadeye sheaves. The quality of these is very good, and definitely some of the nicest I’ve seen recently. Three more packets contain two sizes of single block and one size of double block. Again, quality is evident here. In the last three packets in the fittings box, you’ll find triple blocks, parrel beads and also the mainstay ‘mouse’. Rigging A zip-lock wallet contains six spools of very high-quality rigging cord in natural and black colours, as well as a sleeve of thicker natural thread which I think is for the anchor cables. This latter is handmade by Syren in the US, so you can be assured of its standards. Also note how each spool is labelled and inventoried so you won’t accidentally use the wrong cord when rigging. Timber strip Onto the timber strip. This initial release of Alert contains boxwood for the deck planking and pearwood for the hull. This sort of timber isn’t normally found in kits, with the recent exception of Master Korabel’s Avos kit’s XS Edition. It certainly is very welcome to see, and the standard of timber is excellent. I do believe that Chris will be releasing a slightly cheaper version of Alert with Tanganyika instead of pearwood and boxwood. Chris hopes this will retail for around £155 and is actually the same as he used in the prototype model you can see on the box lid and the photos in this review. All timber strip is packed into thick, sealed plastic sleeves, and clearly labelled so you can cross reference with the inventory to make sure you are indeed using the correct wood for the specific task. Timber standards are high with a nice uniform colour per batch, no coarse grain or split ends and fuzziness. Sail cloth is supplied too, just in case you do indeed want to display in this manner. The material is provided as sheet, and you will need to use the drawings to draw out the shapes on the cloth and cut/sew. Sails aren’t really for me, but the option is there, should you want to display her in all her sheets to the wind glory! Sheet material Now we come to the sheet material. There are two thick, clear sleeves containing laser-cut material. This first sleeve holds all of the main constructional elements plus something rather unusual for a kit like this, and that’s a clear acrylic display base! The base is a simple but attractive slot-together affair whose parts just need to be gently removed from the sheet. They are also covered in a protective film that makes it look dull in my photo. Rest assured that the material underneath is crystal clear. To assemble this, you could either use an acrylic cement such as Tensol, or an epoxy that will also dry clear. One such product that comes to mind is from HpH Models in the Czech Republic. You can of course use Cyano glue, but make sure it’s the odourless variety so it won’t cloud the clear plastic. The constructional stuff here comes in two sheets of 3mm MDF and one sheet of 2mm timber, all nice and warp-free. On the MDF, you’ll find the false keel, bulkheads, inner and outer bow patterns, stern planking and securing patterns, and the ship’s stove flue. The timber sheet contains the lower deck pattern (constructional element), and stern frames (middle, inner, outer). Laser-cutting is nice and neat with almost no localised scorching. It wouldn’t really matter either way though as these parts will be either hidden or bevelled. Our second sleeve of parts are all laser-cut from timber, with no MDF. Here, we have a combination of 3mm, 1.5mm and 1mm sheet material, containing parts for absolutely everything else timber-related on Alert, from gun carriages, hatch coamings, keep parts, cap rails, transom rails, tiller arm, trestle trees etc. You name it, it’s here. There are a few parts on the 1mm sheet which are hanging by only a few tabs due to the relative fragility of the tabs on a thin sheet, but all parts are perfectly fine. This material isn’t too rigid either, so those parts that need to be curved, such as the transom, will do so without any problem whatsoever. Photo-etch The inclusion of photo-etch in models these days is almost de rigueur, and Alert is no exception. Three frets are included in 0.2mm, 0,4mm, and 0.6mm bare brass, and all as good as any such material that I’ve used in any of my magazine and book work over the last 10yrs. As well as the obvious and intricate outer hull scrollwork embellishments, you’ll find metalwork here for the bowsprit and masting, cleats, windlass parts, stanchions, rudder gudgeon and pintle brace, eyebolt rings, deck grating, anchor ring, rigging components, and even a neat nameplate for the clear acrylic stand. All parts should be nice and easy to remove with them being held with thin, narrow tabs. A jeweller’s file will be needed to clean up any nibs remaining from the tabs. Instruction book This is epic in size! Printed in colour on thick paper stock in A3 size, the manual us spiral-bound instead of just being stapled. This means it will be easy to turn pages over, and the size is good for the eyes for those of us of whose youth has long since slipped away. The manual is 56 pages and begins with a side and upper elevation drawing of Alert, followed by a history and building tips/suggested tools and materials list. A full inventory is then supplied, along with images of the various sheets and PE frets. As the timber elements aren’t numbered on the sheets, you are advised to number each yourself before removal from the sheet. Construction sequences are given in photographic form with crystal clear English explaining everything along the way. All illustrations are also clearly annotated where required. The photographs are interspersed with more drawings of the vessel in various profiles, clearly showing the task at hand. A good example of how comprehensive the instructions are is the inclusion of a deck plank showing the planking format and the shift between the planks. When it comes to masting, drawings are supplied for this with accompanying dimensions and diameters. As I always find masting the most frustrating task, the drawings are a big help and clearly mark out the plan of attack. Excellent rigging illustrations are also supplied, showing everything clearly, including seizing, ratlines etc. A guide to exactly which rigging block to use is also provided. No guessing like on many of the legacy kits that got so many of us started in this hobby. As also mentioned, sail plans are supplied so you can make and add these from the cloth that’s provided. Conclusion What a great start to Chris’s new venture, Vanguard Models. He does keep telling me that he’s learnt so much from this that he will change in future releases, but he does sell himself short, dramatically. If you know of Chris’s work from his previous designs with Amati and Caldercraft, then you will know his own personal style comes through in attention to detail and design approach. This is a gorgeous kit that will present many hours of fulfilling bench time. Materials quality is what what we have come to expect from high-end kits. All in all, a fantastic package! My sincere thanks to Chris Watton for getting this out so quickly for me to feature as a review here on Model Ship World. To purchase directly, click this link at the top of the article.
  17. Not a race or anything - but here we go ! Kit arrived - in good condition. I am unfortunately not going to be able to do much - because I am actually packing to move house. But I couldnt resist having a trial fit of the keel and BHs. This is the first MDF kit I have really tried so it was interesting from that point of view. The wee bit of a surprise was how small and delicate the bits are - oh dear that going to be a challenge for my clumsy hands. Anyway it all assembled "just right" not tightly rigid so things had to be forced nor sloppy - everything just sat neatly in the right place. Wonderful start - Now I shall have to pack it all up again and allow other builders to streak past But Thanks Chris !!

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