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Revenge by Emelbe - Amati/Victory Models - 1/64 scale

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At last, the long awaited release of the Amati/Victory Models ‘Revenge’ is here, and I’m sure this will be one of many build logs of this vessel coming in the near future.


Firstly let me introduce myself, my name is Martin (the emelbe  are merely my initials), and I live in St Helier, Jersey.  This is my first ever build log, in fact it’s my first ever posting on any forum. I’ve been modelling off and on for many years so I’m not new to the hobby and have completed probably 8 or 9 model ships over the years (I’ve probably started a lot more!).  My latest models are HM Brig Supply, Amati Xebec, Amati New Bedford Whaler and the Amati Wells Fargo Stagecoach.

I had decided over six months ago that the Revenge was a ‘must have’ after seeing the photographs of Chris Watton’s prototype, and have been keeping a watchful eye out for its release ever since.  It was just by chance I logged in to the Cornwall Model Boats website to see the announcement on their home page ‘Revenge now in stock’. No brainer for me, out with the debit card, announce to the missus in my best authoritative voice “I’ve bought another model” (take the flack before you start building) and four days later here it is in all its crowning glory.  At this point I would like to take the opportunity to give Cornwall Model Boats full credit, every time I have used them, their service is second to none.


Anyway enough about me, what about the model, what exactly do you get for your money?


To start with a healthy 8.2 kilo of glossy box, beautifully illustrated, usual Amati, and for once they haven’t gone to the great trouble of neatly packaging ‘fresh air’ as in some of their kits (big box with not a lot inside).  The whole thing smacks of quality.





On opening the box you can see how much pride Amati have taken to ensure everything is well protected from damage, and there’s not a great deal of spare space in there. 




The firs thing that grabs you is the plastic bag containing all the 20 sheets of plans, the sheet of

flags, the ‘precious paper’ decorations and the instruction manual.  The manual is in itself a masterpiece, beautifully finished, lavishly illustrated step by step instructions, and the added bonus of the primary language is English. The whole thing is like having one of those DeAgostini part works but without having to pay ten times the price for the kit.  I did chuckle at the introduction when it stated they estimated around 200 to 250 hours of building, yeah right….and the rest!.


The plans are extremely comprehensive and are as follows:


3 Part identification.

2 Ship profiles and decorations

3 Sails

5 Masts and Yards

7 Rigging (scary)


I was intrigued as to what ‘precious paper’ decorations were, but I suppose it speaks for itself, very good quality paper, very nicely printed with the hull decorations.








The fittings are packaged in three stout boxes which include all the rigging thread, blocks, cannons (wooden carriages thankfully), sail cloth and the etched brass sheets.




There appears to be plenty of wood for planking etc. these being Tanganikya for the decks Lime for first planking and, I think it’s basswood for secondary. The rest of the wood is made up of Walnut strips of varying sizes.


The sheet wood is mainly MDF for hull construction and Dibetou (African Walnut) for the rest of the parts, all nicely laser cut.  The masts and Yards are Walnut.


One really nice touch is the inclusion of a base with what appears to be brass pedestals, why don't more manufacturers do that?







Overall the kit exudes quality, it seems the manufacturers have gone to great lengths to take the model kit to the next level.  I a immensely looking forward to this build (perhaps not the rigging so much, but I’m sure I’ll get plenty of advice if I need it).  So ‘once more into the breech’ or something like that, study the plans and dry fit so I get a feel for the model.  Here goes.

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Hi Jan, it is


My first job is to identify the parts and remove them from their sheets to test fit.  The plans make this simple and checking them against the drawings the parts are very accurate.  I’ve dry fit all the bulkheads and deck sections from the MDF  sheets, again no problems at all.  The frames fit easily but with enough play to allow for plenty of glue, and with the decks fitted the hull is very much self aligning. 




Looking at the general alignment from bow to stern the lines look pretty good so I don't anticipate any great problems profiling the frames ready for planking.  Another consideration will be to take into account the plank thickness at the stern, the false keel is 4mm thick and the stern post is 5mm, so I’ll lose some thickness by tapering the stern.  The actual bow, keel and stern post are fitted after first planking and the fit of the bulkheads create enough of a rabbet.






It is my intention to follow the steps laid out in the manual as much as possible (it took me years to realise that when manufacturers provide instructions they generally have a good idea of what they are talking about) so my next step will be to plank the lower deck and rough profile the bulkheads before I start glueing.  




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Wow - that really looks like a great kit and one that will be a pleasure to assemble.  Good job with your unpacking post, too.  Chris truly has established himself as a master of the designer's art, and I'm sure his next design will raise the bar further still.



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Time to make a start, nothing too taxing to begin with, so I’ve decided to plank some of the lower decks.


I think it’s a case of what looks right for the model and decided that a length of 100mm is a good size to work with, laid out in a four butt shift pattern (I think that’s what you call it).



First job is to mark where the planks will butt together, and just for interest I do this by lining up two strips of graph paper along the deck and marking every 20mm across. Keeps everything nicely at 90 degrees to the centre line. 







With regard to the caulking, I like to keep decks fairly subtle, so I simply run a medium pencil along the edges.  The full length planks I cut in small batches, and with my Unimat and a jig I made to square the ends, sanding them to length checking with my ‘high tech’ measuring device. The sanding jig also has a 45 degree fence for mitre joints, I’ve included a photo so you can get the idea if interested.








I lay the planks starting at the centreline and work outwards, the joints being a mirror pattern. Not sure if that’s how the Elizabethan shipwrights did it but it looks alright (to me anyway) when finished.



Once the planks are laid I scrape them flat with an old Stanley blade and then seal with several coats of Shellac Sanding Sealer.  I apply this with a cloth, much the way as in French Polishing, the idea being to squeeze the sealer between any small gaps and uneven surfaces. I allow 30 minutes between coats and sand lightly using progressively finer grades of wet and dry, every second coat, until I get an nice smooth, even finish.  I then finish off with 2 to 3 coats of thinned matt varnish.






Now we come to the first of my own personal criticisms, and it is my own personal preference and in no way a criticism of the kit.  The etched brass gratings provided….. I really don’t like them. I think I know why they went for brass rather than the traditional wooden ones (scale thickness when displayed open) but the holes aren’t square, and they don’t look right (to me anyway, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all that). The design certainly simplifies the deck hatches, the frames being one piece laser cut so as to fit above the deck openings leaving a lip for the gratings to sit in, but call me old fashioned, I like to see the hatches properly lined when open.  It’s not a big deal, it just means there will need to be a little doctoring when I come to the upper decks. (Sorry Chris)






So now I’ve broken the ice its time to turn my attention to the keel and frames.



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Hi All 


Thanks for your comments so far.  


In answer to Malcolm's question about fittings etc.  the rigging blocks look pretty much standard Amati, lots of very small ones which look a bit daunting, there's the odd casting or two which look unique to the model, but all very good quality.  The Cannons are very good castings and the carriages are made from a one piece milled wood rather than the cast ones Amati seem to use a lot.  It's early days to comment too much more but I'll certainly be posting my thoughts as work progresses.  Overall I haven't changed my opinion on the quality and accuracy of the kit.  


Will be posting again within the next day or two when the frames and gun deck has been fitted, but so far so good.





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Hi All,


Once again many thanks for your comments.  


I’ve set to work on building the keel and bulkheads.  The first job was to check the fit of the bow, and keel pieces which, as expected, were perfect.  Another little job was to make an aid for planking the bow, which is simply to cut out the area of the bow from the MDF sheet, glue two pieces either side which slightly overlap the curve of the bow forming a slight lip, which will then be temporarily screwed to the bow to form a rabbet for planking.  Hopefully this will cut out the need for using small nails to hold the planks in place.  I’ve added a couple of images as a picture tells a thousand words.  







So it’s on to the trusty old building board, nothing fancy, just a side from an old MDF unit with four ‘L’ brackets.  Bye the way, if anyone’s interested the two strips are for holding stripwood while sanding their edges.



When fitting bulkheads I always start amidships and work forward and aft checking for square as I go.  As I mentioned earlier the whole hull is fairly self aligning so no great problems there.  Before I glue the bulkheads in place I roughly profile them using my Dremel.(I’ve yet to fit the three stern ones)




The main gun-deck required a little tweaking to sit properly, which I think was due to Frame 4 (from the bow) being too low.  Fortunately I spotted this and took a measurement from the drawings and set its height from there. There being a lesson learned, fortunately in time, the manual is so self explanatory I almost forgot the drawings.  They’re now pinned up on the wall so I can’t miss them!


The gun deck is in two halves and the manual indicates planking off the model and then fitting, but the pictures of the deck in situ show quite a distinct irregularity, for want of a better word, where they are joined once the decks are fitted.  I know you can’t see much of the gun-deck once the upper deck is in place, but this would drive me mad (it’s a personal thing).  Anyway, for that reason I fitted the gun-deck and then planked it after.  




Now, I don’t think this has ever  happened to me before, the planks ended up absolutely symmetrical about the centre line, this is not a testimony to my planking, but to the accuracy of the laser cut parts included in this kit, I’m not sure if you can see it in the photograph below.




So, for the time being I’m all planked out, time for some respite and on with the deck hatch framing and ladders. 







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Back again with a quick update.


As I mentioned earlier in this log I aren’t really keen on the deck hatches and gratings, so I’ve decided to make my own as I’m leaning towards displaying the hatches without gratings so part of the lower decks can be seen.  It’s not a massive job, but I think it’s worthwhile as it (in my opinion) enhances the appearance.


To do this I made a simple jig for setting the framing, especially as there is another the same size on the upper deck.  To do this I set it out in SketchUp (3D CAD package) and printed it out. I then glued the drawing on to a piece of scrap board and framed around it using some spare strip.  It’s just a matter then of building the hatch.






Before fitting I removed the beams which cross the opening and I added four support posts, which were a bit fiddly to position. I don't know if you can see them in the photo.  



The ladders are pre milled and the treads are pre-cut to length, I’m not sure what wood they are but look nice when put together.






Next step is to glue the aft decks in place and then start work on the bow.  I’ve actually got to page 9 in the manual now, only another 76 to go.





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A quick update on progress so far.  Started working on the bow which is a matter of setting out ready for planking the deck. Again the manual indicates planking off the model but the deck takes quite a lot of flexing to position, so I decided to plank with the deck fitted.  When it came to sanding I did keep an eye on Bulkheads 3 and 4, they are very thin, a disaster waiting to happen.




I don’t know if you’ve noticed the mini clothes pegs in the photo, I picked them up in an art shop, I think they’re designed for Xmas cards etc. but they’re brilliant for small work and rigging, I think they’re £4 GBP for about 50.


While at this stage I checked the fit of the masts and bowsprit, I don’t want any nasty surprises later.




I’ve fitted the deck beams towards the stern, I did notice the two beams nearest the stern were quite a sloppy fit so I had to pack them so they were the right height.


The last job was to make up the capstan, the staggered holes were quite tricky, it too me twice as long to set up my Unimat with the dividing head than it did to drill them, i did try to do it by eye but after scrapping a couple thought better of it.




So its onwards and upwards figuratively speaking. I’m going to be working on the stern and whip staff assembly. I think this is where things get interesting as it entails setting up the stern galley and side patterns, lots of dry fitting me thinks.


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We are all very pleased to see your review and Build Log of this fantastic ship. We followed Chris Watton for a few years, during the design of it (that was the MSW #1 from before the flood/crash) and it is great to see to which extent Amati went to make this kit a "high-tech" kit, with new techniques, new materials and an incredible packaging and documentation.


I will be following with a lot of interest.



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Hi Yves


Thanks for your post.  This is definitely a very well thought out kit, it's a pity a lot of information was lost when the site crashed, it would be an education to see how Chris designs his models.  What I do like is the fact he build his prototypes with 'no frills', which gives the average modeller confidence that they can achieve what they see on the box, and yet there is still plenty of scope for enhancements for those who want to go the 'extra mile' with their build.  Thoroughly enjoying building this, definitely 10/10 so far.





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Hi Martin,


Perhaps you have seen this, but in case not, here is the link to where Chris posted extensive updates as he worked on his prototype of his Victory and other builds for Amati. 




Enjoying watching your Revenge come to life...looks like a really fun kit to build.  :)





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Like the way you have adapted issues like planking in situ rather than off the ship (referring to planking of the deck). What were or are the risks in your opinion with following the instructions (to the letter) to plank decks prior to fitting?


Very much like what you have done with the hatches. Looks really good. Terrific enhancement.  


I'm going to buy this kit, just looking for a bit more positive reinforcement before I pull the Visa trigger. At this point how good do you rate this kit??   




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Hi Malcolm


In answer to your question regarding decks. I think every deck apart from the main gun deck and forecastle lower deck can be planked off the model without any issues of fitting to the model afterwards. The problem I had with the lower gun deck was that it was two parts and no matter how careful you are, may have left a visible join down the centre of the deck.  Unfortunately I'm one of these people who's eyes would have been automatically drawn to this every time I looked at the model (can be a bit of a curse sometimes).  The forecastle lower deck needs quite a lot of flexing to fit in position and just seemed more practical.  It's no real problem, just a bit tight around the bulkheads when sanding.

As I said in my last post, it's a really well thought out kit and Chris seems to have gone to great pains to illustrate how he built the model, being a mere mortal who am I to argue.  

In answer to the last part of the question, it's a definite thumbs up.

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Another update,  as much as I would like to crack on, it’s Friday evening, the boss has just come home from work, so what better way to kill a few minutes while she gets ready to go out.



I’ve completed the whipstaff assembly and planked the stern lower decking.  I’ve also planked the two bulkheads that fit either side of the helmsman’s cabin (or whatever its called).  The manual says to just stain these but for the amount of time it takes why not?  I’ve also made up the ladder hatch just behind the mizzen mast.








The next step is to plank the stern gallery which involves setting up the side patterns so I didn’t really want to start that this evening, tomorrows another day (besides the pub’s calling).





Edited by Emelbe
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Planking the stern gallery is pretty straightforward, the two side patterns and stern window bulkhead are pinned temporarily in position.  Starting with the cross section, the planks are laid butting up to these.  One thing I do, rather than pin these parts, is use double sided sticky tape.  I hate putting holes in things unnecessarily, and I’m still not sure how confident I am pinning to MDF.


The fit of the side patterns looks pretty good, I’m not going to do any minor tweaking at this stage, I’ll worry about that when it comes to setting them up prior to planking (not too far away now).







Another small modification I made was to make the four upper deck support posts from wood rather than use the MDF ones.  I simply cut off a 4mm strip from one of the dibetou sheets and used that.




I’ve also test-fit all the decks and enlarged the hole for the main deck hatch to fit my custom frame.


Time to finish sand the bulkhead profiles and set up all the side patterns ready for planking the hull.  The whip staff bulkheads and helmsman platform I’ll glue later, there are four doors to fit to them, but I’m waiting for some Birchwood Casey Brass Black to be delivered from Amazon to use on the etched brass fittings.  I’ve never used it before so it will be interesting.






Just for your interest I reckon I’ve spent around 70 hours so far, doesn’t time fly when your having fun!


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Setting up the side patterns for the planking isn’t particularly difficult, and I think it would take a lot of determination to get it totally wrong, but it’s worth investing quite a bit of time checking and double checking the positioning before glueing.  It is also worth reinforcing the bulkheads where the patterns join, MDF isn’t very forgiving to pins and can easily split.  






Before glueing the patterns I made up the cannon carriages which need to be glued into position first.  The carriages are milled from one piece, and don’t look too bad, I’m not sure about their historical accuracy, but they’re certainly good enough for the lower decks.  I might do a little bit of research before I fit the ones to the upper deck.




Another job is to fit the gunport surrounds which I suppose can be done anytime, but I did say I’m going to try and stick to the manual.


All that remains is to screw my planking gizmo to the bow and a-planking we will go.  A quick reminder to myself…don’t forget to put Sellotape on the gizmo so it don’t stick!!!!








I'll update as planking progresses, I do normally make a start on masts and yards at this stage when I'm all planked out and need some respite, wish me luck





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I'm pretty sure those are off-the-shelf cannons, as they look exactly like the ones included in the HMS Fly kit.  If you want more period-correct guns, you're going to have to look for after-market parts or make them yourself.  Or who knows -- maybe they're correct for Revenge.  I know they weren't for Fly.  Good luck!

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Hi Chris


Know what you mean, I've had a quick look on the net for Elizabethan ships cannons but not a lot out there.  I'm sure if I do more digging something will turn up.  Still, it's quite a way off yet, so in the meantime I'm concentrating on getting the hull right, then I can tweak things a necessary.





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Your build looks great so far! Very neat!


I thought I would comment on here as I am of Jersey decent. My father was born on the Island, and lived in Trinity, and St. John, before moving to the mainland at 16 to take on a sailmaking apprenticeship. I was recently on the Island, and wondered who made the models in the Maritime Museum (I know some are antiques)? My grandfather made all of the sail/rope displays and a few of the boatbuilding/boat displays that are there, and he couldn't remember who the models came from.




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Hi Jonny


Nice to hear from someone closer to home.  I'm actually not Jersey, I'm a true Yorkie born and bred from Leeds, I just happened to come over for a season teaching diving 17 years ago and never bothered leaving.  I'm not sure who built the models in the museum, I haven't been there in a while, must take a look.  Thanks for your comments, I like the one about neat, you should see the state of my workbench!!!

Will let you know if I find out more about the models





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Well, that’s the first planking completed, always a milestone!  In honesty it wasn’t really that painful, just the bow to concentrate on as the stern took pretty much care of itself not having any counter to worry about.  It’s just a matter of steaming a curve at one end of the plank for about 50-60 mm, I soak the wood at one end for a couple of minutes and use an old travel steam iron to form the curve over a suitable template (the edge of my workbench).  I pin the plank in place and use the next one down to mark where to taper it.  As long as you let the planks fall naturally along the hull, making sure theres full contact with each bulkhead, there’s no problem.





One thing I did make, was a stand for holding the hull upside down for planking and sanding, those upper bulkheads are pretty fragile and I didn’t want any nasty accidents.  




I did have my reservations regarding MDF but found it made the whole operation easier, you can push dressmakers pin in easily, and also get them out without any problems associated with nails. I use slow drying cyano for the bow and stern and PVA for the rest, running thinned PVA between the planks.








I did say earlier that I normally make a start on the masts/yards etc. at this stage, but once I got started planking I kept going.  It must have taken around 12 hours or so over three sessions, because I put on an audio book when I started, and finished both around the same time.


So where next?  According to the manual it’s setting the lower whale position and then on with the second planking downwards.  All being well there shouldn’t be any problems there, most of the planking is below the waterline and painted afterwards.

Edited by Emelbe
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