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Cruizer class brig by Timmo - 1:36 scale Radio - Finished

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After a month of work on my new project it's at the stage where I suspect it might turn into something worth continuing so here it is...






A Cruizer class brig in 1:36 scale which is (hopefully) destined to be a working RC square rigged sailer.

I've kicked this project off before finishing the rigging on my current Granado build after seeing a few build logs and being filled with inspiration and a reckless confidence to simply have a go. It's a good vessel to practice on as it's relatively simple with flush decks, only two masts and little decoration. I can experiment with the rc servos, ballast keel and sail operation once the hull and masts are done and if it works then move on to the nice to have items like head rails, carronades and deck fittings.


The cruizer was a possibility for my next scratch build originally planned at 1/64 but I'd helped my father build the 1:20 scale Valdivia schooner kit from Robbe a few years back and being so taken with sailing it that I wanted one of my own.

I'd love a 1:24 scale RC Surprise or cruizer from Steel Chapman and Hutchinson Ltd http://www.modelsailingships.com/ships/grasshopper.html

But it's out of my price range once freight etc is taken into account, hence an effort to scratch build, especially after seeing the very informative logs from Jerry Todd for his Macedonian, Constitution and others.


1:36 was chosen as it's large enough to look the part and have some sailing ability and be easily managed with a length of 84cm on the gun deck.


If successful with the brig the ultimate goal is a frigate and at 1:36 scale a large vessel like an Artois class frigate of 146 feet on the gun deck would be just manageable for transport and launch at roughly 120cm. But that's pretty optimistic at this stage and I've got a lot to learn yet.


The plans for this vessel are those included in EW Petrejus' fine book 'modelling the brig of war Irene' scaled up with bulkhead widths and deadwood for building purposes etc drawn in.




Using relatively cheap materials was a must for this project as there's still an element of doubt over if it will work. If it doesn't I don't want to feel like it's been a huge investment that fails.

As such the brig will be built from 9mm plywood for the framing with the keel and planking from matai - a New Zealand native timber which is moderately hard enough to hold detail at this scale while still easy to work and has a nice tone although the brig will be painted anyway.

The matai is in the form of old tongue and groove floorboards from a demolition yard that are going for about $6/metre for short lengths that are pretty much unusable for anything else. I can mill these on my table saw and with a home built thickness sander.


The hull will be built upside down on a building board for stability and will be cut loose once planked. A base line parallel to the keel a few cms above the max height of the sheer line was drawn on the plans to provide a point from which to measure from. All the bulkheads were drawn with this line as a top (or bottom once upside down on the board) square edge to ensure they would all sit at the correct height from the board and provide a level run for the keel to attach to.



A test run of bulkheads on the board.



To avoid installing deck beams later these were drawn onto the bulkheads using the camber indicated in Petrejus. The bulkheads were then cut down to ribbing size. In hindsight I should have left the bulwarks above deck ticker to account for the reduction from subsequent sanding but it's nothing major.



Most of the framing on the build board here. The keel and stem is matai ripped on a bandsaw and run through my drill powere thickness sander (thanks to MSW member Snowmans for his fine instructions on making one) down to 9mm. The stem was then cut in one piece on the bandsaw and gammoning and bob stay holes/slots drilled.


Edited by Timmo
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The deadwood was cut from ply and designed to interlock with and to square up the aft-most frames. Here you can also see the frame positions drawn on the building board as per the frame location lines on the plans and support blocks to help square up the frames.




The deadwood was sanded down with a beard line to take account of the planking width to come and the keel had also been given a rabbet with a combination of files, dremel and table saw earlier.


The wing transom looks simple but has both a camber across the top and laterally. This was cut from ply and sander in. A slot in the deadwood holds it in and the stern post will lock it into position later.




The aftmost frame had slots for the stern supports cut in and the supports added. Like many brigs The cruizer had distinctive chase ports and the supports frame these on one side to help with positioning.




The stern was cut from 2mm ply and bent to shape before being epoxied into place.




Filler blocks of balsa have been added at the bow and stern and are being shaped as the frames are being sanded in preparation for planking. The stern post is visible in the foreground of the stern pic. It'll be installed when the planking is finished.



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Great stuff, have been waiting for this!  I'm hooked.


Yep, me too! I still hanker after the good ole days when I used to sail my scale RC yachts. But, I can live those memories through the current RC build logs on MSW, eg this one, Jerry Todd's, Qwerty's (Lextin) Benside and others.


Count me in!





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Thanks Jason -I still long to build an Artois as per your build. In the meantime I'll be pillaging your snake build for reference.


Jerry, it might have to be a virtual armada on MSW for the time being.

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Wow, I'd wondered what you'd been up to... 


This is going to be fantastic to watch develop Wayne, best of luck on this, she looks great so far. The Cruizer class is one of my favorites as I've mentioned and was a consideration for my next build, and now I can steal great ideas from you again when I get to it!! 


Give your Granado a little visit now an then too though...

Joe Volz



Current build:

Model Shipways "Benjamin W. Latham"



Completed  builds on MSW:

Caldercraft HMS "Cruizer   Caldercraft HMBV "Granado"   Model Shipways "Prince De Neufchatel"





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It's a lovely start.  This should be fun to watch.  I'm with Patrick, I don't build RC anymore.  I have to get my thrills from watching.



Every build is a learning experience.


Current build:  SS_ Mariefred


Completed builds:  US Coast Guard Pequot   Friendship-sloop,  Schooner Lettie-G.-Howard,   Spray,   Grand-Banks-dory

                                                a gaff rigged yawl,  HOGA (YT-146),  Int'l Dragon Class II,   Two Edwardian Launches 


In the Gallery:   Catboat,   International-Dragon-Class,   Spray

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Thanks Joe and Bob. Granado will get some attention when I reach the disheartening bits on this. It'll be too much seeing her sitting there just missing spars.

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First of the planking on with the lower counter and wing transom planked.

Rather than bending them laterally straight planks were used on the counter with shaped planks at top and bottom.



Finished counter. There's a small lip of about .8mm att the top of the transom (bottom in the pic) from the thicker planks that will allow a decorative moulding to sit along the edge later on.

A slot was cut for the stern post, which is unfixed still. The rudder hole will be cut later. The port filler blok was a bit short so has been replaced with another yet to be shaped.



Wales are next. Petrejus says three strakes for the wales but the plans show two in anchor stock pattern.

Helpfully, in the appendices is a reprint of the builder's contract for the brig Raven of 1804. This details two main stakes of 4 1/2 inches with a single stake of thick stuff of 3 1/2 inches above these and below with the lower thinned into the rest of the planking.

I'll try this when I get a moment in the shipyard.


Edited by Timmo
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I like the way you keyed the after frame into the stern frames.  Did you build a box for the rudder post up to well above the water line, so you can keep the water from entering the hull around the rudder from following seas or wave action?  I've seen that somewhere on this site and thought it a good idea.

Edited by Walter Biles
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Hi Walter, the stern post and rudder won't enter the hollow section of the hull itself as the post is attached directly to the ply deadwood and run up that to above the decking line. Anything that comes in would go straight onto the single deck. It's open on the deck side until that's installed so I can alway add more from that end later. I have wondered about following seas and was considering a rudder coat of some sort.

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Hi Timmo,  I too am working my way through scale model sailing construction.  My primary focus is how to get the controls on the sails right.  I love the framing style you have used.  I am using a similar style, but the stern keyed framing, is one I had not thought about.  Remember most less expensive plywood needs sealed or it will absorb water and delaminate leaving your planking pressing in on non-supported mush.  

Walt Bile

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Thanks Walter. Water resistance and sail handling are my biggest fears. The whole lot is destined for a dousing in epoxy resin and possibly glass fibre on the exterior

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  • 2 weeks later...

Planking is proceeding with about a quarter of the strakes below the wales on.

I had hoped to master the cut, pre-bend and fix method demonstrated by chuck and other luminaries on MSW but the results aren't quite up to their standard.

The hull was measured off on each frame point with the use of a planking fan to break the distance into even amounts.



According to the original planking plan in Petrejus from the wales to the first contact with the stern post is 13 planks with 25 all up on each side.

There's one drop plank at the bow.

The wales will be made up of two layers for ease of bending and fitting. The bottom two strakes are wales about 1.6mm thick and are the lower ones (upper when the vessel is righted) seen here. The shadow from the lamp shows how they are thinner than the ones above. The upper second layer of anchor stock wales over top will be about the same thickness again to make them sit out from the rest of the planking, which is about 1.7mm thick.


The planking isn't totally flush as the overhead lighting illustrates but it's nothing a decent sand won't fix.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Satisfying moment with one side completed. I abandoned the very tidy planking plan and went for speed, hence the strange shape of the last plank.






The other side has a few left to finish then a bit of filling and sanding.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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  • 2 weeks later...

The first gunport sills have been placed. Timber 4mm in width is being used here and will also provide the lower sills for the sweep ports.

You can also see some rough filling here. It'll be tidied up later.


The level of the sills is measured from the red base line at top drawn on the plans which corresponds with the level of the building board. A plank is pushed against the sills and frames from the outer hull to get them flush with where the hull planking above the wales will eventually sit.


The wales have also been finished using an anchor stock pattern on the final layer to bring them to thickness. They are as yet unsanded.post-271-0-58015400-1437291038_thumb.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

The boxing for the bulwarks and frames outlining gun and sweep ports is underway. The framing is 4.5mm timber which should be fairly strong by the time it is planked on both sides and glassed.


The cruizer will be cut free from its board once the central sections of both sides are framed and rigid. This will give better access to the bow section with its curved bulwark.


Edited by Timmo
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The cruizer has been cut free from its building board. It's surprisingly light but feels fairly strong and fibreglass will still be needed.

Framing for the bow and stern bulwarks next.

I'm liking those lines and think in hindsight I probably should have gone for a slightly larger scale. I'm sure it'll be fine.




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  • 2 weeks later...

The bow section of the the bulwark framing is complete. It was cut from the deck plan on a bandsaw and sanded to fit. Upright supports were added and the whole lot epoxied in place.


. post-271-0-19937200-1439887319_thumb.jpg


The bulwarks where the hawse holes will be were filled in to provide a solid section to drill through. It's a bit rough on the inside but it'll all be covered with planking. Nice to see the full sheer line now.




The rudder slot is roughed out to test the fit. I'll have to sort out the mounting of the rudder with resulting functional pintles and gudgeons before much further progress. The rudder will likely be mounted with a brass plate and screw/pin from the keel at the foot of the rudder for stability.



The final piece of bulwark railing at rear will be added once the inside of the stern counter is filled out and tidied.

Edited by Timmo
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Looks great Wayne, some nice lines appearing there, must be very satisfying.


"Which it will be ready when it is ready!"
In the shipyard:

HMS Jason (c.1794: Artois Class 38 gun frigate)

Queen Anne Royal Barge (c.1700)


HMS Snake (c.1797: Cruizer Class, ship rigged sloop)

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I wanted to sort the rudder mounting before moving much further as I've still got the stern post unattached.

I was thinking of a simplified rudder mounting with a top and bottom rod and tube but after a bit of experimentation I'll try the sort of gudgeon and pintle arrangement on the original and if it doesn't work simplify from there.


The key would seem to be getting the rod and tube making the hinge to sit squarely so a jig was knocked up from timber the same width as the rudder and stern with a just-under 1mm strip glued down the centre to allow a tolerance for the width of the brass strip.

The rudder has also been beveled on the forward edge to allow for a decent 45 degree turn.




The rod was wired down to the jig and the brass strip bent to shape and laid over top and clamped down nice and square for soldering.



I was quite pleased with my first attempt soldering anything bigger than stereo wiring. A butane torch was used to flow the solder into the joint. The rod/tube was cut free when set and the resulting piece cleaned up with a file.


That's a couple done and it provides a nice strong, yet free moving joint.

The only concern is there might be too little tolerance in the tight fitting tube and rod to account for my inaccurate squaring and soldering but I'll keep going and see how it turns out.


Edited by Timmo
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