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Henry Grace a Dieu (Great Harry) by Louie da fly - Scale 1:200 - Repaired after over 50 yrs of neglect

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Well, I've done some more planking. It's a long process, and I sorry to say I find it rather tedious.








Slowly getting there . . . I've done a few dropped planks here and there  to follow the shape of the hull (e.g. there's one from frame 6 aft in the second row down.)




I was getting more and more disillusioned with the look of the planking, and worrying that it wouldn't look any good when it was all finished. So I sanded the planks on the starboard side (except for the top two or three runs) to see how it would look. Turned out much better than I'd expected. So my confidence is restored.




When I get bored with planking I've started making things that will come into use later. At various places the ship is to have shields with the cross of St George (England's patron Saint) lining the sides - the waist and the fighting tops. It used to have the full set, but many have got lost over the years. So I've had to make replacements. I rounded the edges of these lengths of wood a little, to suggest the curve in the shape of the shields. After the dromon, you'd think I wouldn't get involved in making shields ever again - must be a glutton for punishment.


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Also, the maintop and foretop are to have railings around them. Again, the ship used to have them but they've been broken over the years. So I've been making a replacement railing for the maintop (I won't do the foretop till later - as I can't remove it from the ship, adding a fragile railing would be a bad idea at this stage).


I'm amazed that I was able to make something that fine and fiddly when I was 17 - a case of beginner's luck, I think - or perhaps ignorance is bliss; I didn't realise it was supposed to be difficult so I just barged ahead and did it. But how I got all those uprights to sit vertically when they were just butt-jointed to the edge of the top I really don't know. Perhaps the fact that they were sitting in a thick bath of PVC glue had something to do with it - I had to lift off all this thick layer of glue before I put in the new ones. Still butt-jointed, and getting them all to sit vertical and then attach the circular top rail to them and have it sit properly was a bit of a trial and error job.


Here's the railing before bending, plus another piece to be cut into lengths for the balusters




And the maintop with the balusters (roughly) in place. You can see that when I first built the model I got up to the point of adding the ratlines to one set of main shrouds but not the other. Same with the foremast. I even made a couple of deadeyes and fixed them to the shrouds - not the correct way at all, but I intend to do it the same way now as I did then.


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And the railing. It needed a fair bit of tweaking to get it to sit correctly, and there's still a bit of room for improvement, but I'm confident that in the end it will look ok.




And here it is with the shields in place. 




So, more to come in due course. It would be nice to think I'd have all the planking finished by the time I'm ready to post again, but we'll see how that goes.







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Thanks, Druxey. To be honest, I'm pretty amazed myself that I was able to do that back then. I really don't remember how I did it, but it certainly seems to have worked. Here's a photo which gives some idea of the remnants of the railing before I pulled it all to bits for the rebuild:



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Thanks for the likes and for the positive comments. They're much appreciated.


I'm still planking - not finished yet, but I've reached the last guiding piece of cotton on one side and half a plank away on the other - so I'm on the homeward run.






It can be a bit shambolic at times. I had to re-make this plank three times - the first three snapped when I tried to bend them to shape - I finally decided it was the sheet of wood that was at fault and made the fourth plank from a different bit, which worked.


And this is the third attempt at this plank - the first two turned out just that bit too short (like about 1/32" - just too much for me to decide "that's close enough - I can use a bit of filler there"). Third time lucky. I've just glued the forward end and when the glue is dry I bend it fully to shape and glue the rest. I usually just hold it in place with my fingers till the glue is dry.




More in due course . . .

Edited by Louie da fly
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Nice planking job.  You will repeat till it’s right.

Your postings give the rest of us reassurance that perseverance wins out in the end


I vote that the completed ship will need some figures.  Perhaps just ‘Enery on the poop deck and a nimble matelot in the fore top. I’m not cruel, heh heh. 

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

The Great Harry planking has been a real trial for me, but I must say I'm glad I decided to make it a learning process rather than try for perfection. I've made quite a lot of mistakes - the planking of the two sides isn't equal and as it's effectively POB (i.e. there were only a small number of "frames") I could only have the planking shift repeat every three rows, not the four I'd hoped for. And I kept losing track of the planking shifts - another lesson to learn, particularly when the arrangement was affected by drop planks. Still, unless you're really looking for the mistakes they're not obvious, and once I've sanded the planking I think it'll look pretty good.




















Note the lack of symmetry between the planking of the port and starboard sides. But who's going to notice except me? And in future models I'll take much more care to keep it even. Lots of excess messy glue but the sanding will take care of that.


And here's the planking of the port side finished:




Ever since I heard the Flanders and Swann song Have Some Madeira M'dear I've wanted to use the word antepenultimate (the posh way of saying "third last") in a sentence.



And I've finally got my chance.


Here is the antepenultimate plank in place . . . going. . .






Going . . .










And now for the sanding . . .





Edited by Louie da fly
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Nice work Steven.  I think that you have copied her look nicely.  The Mary Rose and the 120 years later (give or take) Red Bay Galleon are really still the lower “boat shaped hull” with separate fore and after castles built atop.  Your model clearly shows this.


BTW:  I wish that I had your model building skills when I was at the age that you were when you started this.  Your model started so many years ago was clearly worth restoring and completing.



Edited by Roger Pellett
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Posted (edited)

Thank you, Roger. When I first built her I had the lines at the stern completely wrong - the bilge was almost down to keel level. in fact it wasn't until I was making the new frames for the rebuild that I realised that with a flat stern the bottom of the hull shouldn't go all the way down - it should end near the waterline so the water could flow past it and reach the rudder. And that was one of the main things I had to change with the rebuild. One of the big advantages (apart from increased accuracy)  is the much more beautiful underwater lines at the stern.


image.png.7786d7660e05aa138d626108eb1a497a.png   image.png.3455354a3185375b140176539f2a288c.png 


Looking back on it I myself am amazed at what I was able to achieve at that age. I'd previously done two pretty basic solid hull waterline models (a brig and a frigate), I'd made two fair-sized plastic models of the Victory (Revell and Airfix) and I'd built a (probably very inaccurate) balsa model of an excursion ferry called the Zephyr that plied across to Rottnest Island from Perth in Western Australia where I lived. (I think it must have been POB - I don't remember).




Some of the things on the Great Harry model - to be honest I have no idea how I did them back then. But I agree - despite having to replace/rebuild much more than I'd expected, I believe she was definitely worth restoring. Because of the difference in wood colours, it's pretty obvious which bits are original and which are new - but though I didn't like it to start with I now think that's a good thing. 



Edited by Louie da fly
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7 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

Note the lack of symmetry between the planking of the port and starboard sides. But who's going to notice except me?

Verry good planking Steven.


If anyone comments on this.
Just say.  This way of planking is historically much more correct and it was very difficult to do  ;)

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On 12/2/2020 at 8:33 AM, liteflight said:

I vote that the completed ship will need some figures.  Perhaps just ‘Enery on the poop deck and a nimble matelot in the fore top. I’m not cruel, heh heh. 


Is that a challenge? (Note the extra gigantic match stick . . . 9 metres long :P)














He's 9.4mm (just under 0.4 inches) tall. That's 188 cm (6'2") in real life - Henry was very tall for the time. Looks better to the naked eye than he does in the photo (possibly because with the naked eye it's all blurry to me).


And I've done some sanding of the planks:










Starting to look much nicer, and most of those ugly inequalities in the planking that were preying on my mind are vanishing.


I do love that beautiful curve at the stern.




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Planking (and revised lines) looking very good


Our ‘enery looking very good as well!  It wasn’t really a challenge!


The manifest will probably include several casks of Madeira.  
Did we know that Stephanie Flanders; the former BBC Economic Editor, was Michael Flanders daughter?  He contracted polio in his 30s I believe

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Andrew and Jeff. I think I need to tone down the whiteness of his shoes (even though the Breugel Holbein painting shows them that colour) - it makes his pedal extremities look colossal (his feet's too big) 






Edited by Louie da fly
Corrected attribution for Henry VIII painting
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Here are a couple more photos -


Waterways added to the aftercastle deck (absolutely vital -  to cover up gaps at the edge of the decking which you can see through down to the gunports below).





masts and bowsprit dry fitted. Still sanding the underwater planking.








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