Jump to content

RATTLESNAKE by RiverRat - Mamoli - 1:64, Massachusetts privateer, about 1780


Recommended Posts

Ha! The midshipman has lost the log and reel in the stormy digital sea!

 

After a long hiatus due to "personal issues", I was about to get back to working on the Rattlesnake and then I find much has been lost in the software change. I thought I'd go ahead and repost some info/pictures before I actually got into it in earnest.

 

I had been wanting to build a replica of an 1870s Ohio River steamboat my ancestors owned and operated, found this site looking for tips, fell in love with some of the builds here, found a great deal on a Rattlesnake kit on eBay, and picked up this infernal shipmodelling disease.

 

I had kept my MSW Rattlesnake log photos in a separate folder on my computer so they're all set to be reproduced.

 

Here's the box picture of the Rattlesnake...

post-289-0-11301600-1360984684_thumb.jpg

Handsome ain't she?

 

The metal parts provided for the transom, quarter lights ( I used to call these windows until I got a little nawdikal ejukashun), and other areas made me cringe, so I thought I'd replace them with wood or other appropriate medium. Here is the supplied transom decoration and window frames and the supplied transom base with the window area excised...

post-289-0-81367200-1360985653.jpg

Here are the original pieces dry-fitted/taped.

post-289-0-24321700-1360987186_thumb.jpg

The #12 bulkhead is located at the position of the quarter lights, and the horizontal piece, #22, cuts into the cabin space, so I will modify that area to add the quarter lights and open up the cabin to approximate its fullness, as I will be making the lights (windows) clear instead of the blue paper simulated glass.

 

Part of #12 cut away.

post-289-0-33887800-1360988929_thumb.jpg

Pseudo-framing of transom....

post-289-0-48273700-1360989112_thumb.jpg

Quarter light frames (very fragile at this point!) made and stern "bench" from #22 piece.... 

post-289-0-48166600-1360989463_thumb.jpg

I think this shows the template for adding the structure/frame above the light frames (hey, forgive me, it's been a while....)

post-289-0-32879100-1360989865_thumb.jpg

Here's the rough-shaped transom, balsa filler and the supplied beechwood pieces at the outer ends. The beech was surprisingly easy to shape; could have used it for the whole thing , as designed, without much heartache.

post-289-0-75199800-1360990182_thumb.jpg

Most of the main deck planking done, with a scale Captain Clarke (hey! looks like John Paul Jones....)

post-289-0-45973000-1360990545_thumb.jpg

Gunports and framing, fore- and quarterdeck supports, and fake bowsprit root in case that area is visible....

post-289-0-27344900-1360991074_thumb.jpg

I had grandiose visions of outfitting the captains quarters, adding quite a bit of fine detail, but I've decided it would not likely be too visible anyway, so I'll keep it simple and move on. With what I have, I'll add rings, rig/secure these cabin cannons for sea, add a couple benches, and move on to finish the stern pieces, decks, and then the dreaded planking........ :wacko:

post-289-0-69135500-1360991784_thumb.jpg

post-289-0-85327000-1360991864_thumb.jpg

 

I may not get to this right away, but the intention is there....stay tuned.

 

Edited by RiverRat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks all.

I edited the log title to fit the forum's conventions/guidelines; saves the admin a little work.

 

@hamilton --- I started as "RiverRat" when I originally signed up here thinking of building a riverboat (still in my mind). Kept the name in re-signing up, after the crash, for continuity. I usually sign off.......

 

Brian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ahoy, Brian  :D

 

Thanks for posting. I love the detail. Always nice to see another Rattlesnake build.

 

I am currently planking the Model Expo take on this same ship. I find it interesting to see how different manufacturers handle the construction and what they prioritize in a build.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While contemplating/planning after having been away from this so long, and wanting to try silver-soldering to make better rings, etc (encouraged by the tutorial here at MSW), I had ordered a book that I knew contained Rattlesnake's figurehead from the Admiralty drawings. It's "Shipcarvers of North America", Brewington. I had seen a poor copy of it online somewhere on someones research paper, and hoped to find a better image in the book. What the heck, it was 10-cents plus shipping at Amazon!

 

Here are the pieces from the kit. The figurehead looks like a Roman soldier with a short sword, not the described Indian.

 

post-289-0-18650200-1361576707_thumb.jpg

 

And here's the drawing scanned from the book:

 

post-289-0-37421800-1361576759_thumb.jpg

 

I hope I can manage to carve resembling the drawing when the time comes. That's further down the road....

 

Some of my research:

 

I had ordered a Nautical Research Guild reprint of Harold M. Hahn's article "Rattlesnake, a 20-gun Privateer" text, photographs and drawings. Vol 39 No.1, Mar 1994. I'm not doing a POF of course, but the article has a lot of interesting information.

 

The manual for the Model Shipways Rattlesnake is available online. Has some details that Mamoli's ignores. Free. Worth looking at.

http://naturecoast.com/hobby/ms2028.pdf

 

Besides some of the great scratch and kit builds that were here, here are some other completed Rattlesnakes, Mamoli and Model Shipways, worth looking at for ideas....

 

http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery/misc/sail/privateer-pb/rattlesnake-index.html

And

http://www.bishophobbies.com/2009/05/18/privateer-rattlesnake-211-model-shipways-1-64/


http://www.modelexpo-online.com/album.asp?a=HarryBelflower

 

http://www.shipmodel.com/models/rattlesnake-privateer

 

http://shipsofscale.com/gallery/mmacdonald/rattlesnake/index.html

 

http://homepage3.nifty.com/modelshipbuilder/rattlesnake2.htm

 

http://homepage3.nifty.com/modelshipbuilder/rattlesnake.htm

 

http://www.guzmanshipmodels.com/

 

Brian

 

Ooops! Forgot about:

Howard I. Chapelle's The History of American Sailing Ships, with Rattlesnake lines, profile, and sail plan. Good stuff. It's lines are also in his The Search for Speed Under Sail 1700-1855.

Edited by RiverRat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Brian -- The best tutorial / practicum for carving is the one by Bill Short, "The New Carving Ornamentation for Ship Models."  You can order it from this site:  http://carvingbook.weebly.com/contact-me.htm  I used it to carve the figure head and the stern decorations, and it REALLY helped.  I went from just wishing and dreaming I could actually carve something resembling a recognizable form to actually getting something I'm proud of. 

 

And it's always good to do research.  The 2 Chapelle books, along with Hahn's book, plans, and photos (on CD) have not only been interesting for their information, but also have guided me countless times in figuring out how details fit together or how they're actually supposed to look.

 

Cheers,

 

Martin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A little update. Finished all I'll be doing as far as furnishing the cabin. Benches for the table, some rigging for the cannons. Learned some lessons on the rigging to be incorporated on the more viewable deck cannons later.

 

I'd originally intended the cannons to be in the housed position, with all the lashings and such, but left them a little simplified.

The supplied carriages had a thick bottom and the barrel couldn't be elevated much for housing. I carved out a bit, but it could have used more. The Mamoli instructions don't address rigging them and doesn't even provide enough extra blocks for doing so. I bought some 3mm single blocks at the local hobby shop (the smallest in the kit are also 3mm) and made a reasonable facsimile of cannon tackle. They still look too huge. I would want smaller in the future. I've think I've seen 2mm for sale a couple places. I added hooks (half also with eyebolts) to the blocks. The strops(?) around these blocks are from a fine-point Sharpie. ;)  The provided straps for the trunions are too long for the wood they are to sit on (I shortened them) and are much too thick. I may make the rest from brass sheet stock when I get to that stage.

 

post-289-0-49445000-1362358713_thumb.jpg

 

Probably can't tell from the picture, but the cannons are a dark antique bronze finish. Good looking, actually, but I might try blackening some to see if I'll go that route. All 20 won't be used/visible.

 

Now on to adding the quarter- and fore- sub-decks and transom, perhaps some minor detail corrections, and then hull planking.

 

Martin - I remember before thinking I might want the carving book. Thanks for the reminder. Your link doesn't work for me, but it happens to be one of the ads on MSWs home page.

Edited by RiverRat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi RiverRat,

 

The cabin looks very nice with all the details you have made. And I just realized that the cabin is indeed small; did you make yours extra small as the instructions show that the cabin should hold at least six cannons...

 

Also, nice that you added the rigging on the cannons. The Mamoli instructions do not mention this but I think one should really add this detail (at least on the visible cannons) to get a more realistic feel to the whole model.

 

Keep up the good work and let me know if I can assist with anything, seeing that we are building the same ship from the same brand.

 

Best,

Dominik

Edited by Dominik
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Hi RiverRat,

.... And I just realized that the cabin is indeed small; did you make yours extra small as the instructions show that the cabin should hold at least six cannons...

Dominik

............................................

The wall I put in with the doors (I assume would actually be a removable bulkhead) splits the area under the quarterdeck in two just ahead of the mizzenmast (the dowel stub in the picture). This is shown in Hahn's drawings so I opted to put it in. Two cannons behind in this captains cabin, and four in front of it (the 'officers mess' maybe?). I had taken out a chunk of the kit's stern area to make the interior space closer to what it should be. If the sequence of the bashing in my first post isn't clear, I can try to explain better. Where the black chairs are in my cabin, the kit has a solid bulkhead which I removed. I'd guess this cabin is actually roomy (except for height) for a ship of this size.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have copies of Chappelle's drawings, looking too good for me to have scanned from the book. I found where I got them:

 

http://www.awiatsea.com/Privateers/R/Rattlesnake%20Massachusetts%20Ship%20%5BClark%5D.html

 

Right click the pic, "save as" where you want it. Here's one, for example:

 

post-289-0-54892000-1362514321_thumb.jpg

 

This also shows the cabin wall mentioned earlier.

 

Brian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Here's a bit of an update. I had intended to wait until I got a little further, but we need more 'snake stuff here! So while some glue dries........

 

I've installed the false quarter- and fore-decks and the transom and have done the 1st planking between the gun ports. Sooo...tips and tidbits for Mami RS builders and some baring of my boo-boos :(

 

The false decks and transom piece (these are thin mahogany) should be soaked, formed over a curved surface approximating the camber, taped down and allowed to dry, I guess overnight would be good; my q-deck was taped down several months during my hiatus from building!

 

Many months ago, looking ahead at the instructions, I read one is to "6) Glue....the halfdeck 30 [quarterdeck], the stern strips 31 and the transom 32."  At the time, I pictured having to do these all at once, rigging some fancy clamping, and applying just too much pressure and having it explode apart.......... Silly me. I managed to do each of the three separately, in that order. However, the tabs at the aft of the q-deck, ended up slightly lower than the mating slots in the transom. So DO use the transom or other placeholder to keep the end of the deck up. I ended up removing the tabs and leaving it as it lay. Too little difference to fret over.

 

Oooooh, almost forgot...

The quarterdeck has not only camber ( a side-to-side curve), but it's long enough to have a sheer curve (front to back). The middle, between the mizzen-mast hole and the hatch, needs to be clamped/held down to the bulkhead underneath when gluing.

 

 

post-289-0-73628000-1364085879.jpg

 

 

The slots in the false deck that fit around the bulkhead extensions may need adjusting, from poor manufacturing, misplacement of bulkheads, or both. NO problem. Feel free to open up the slots as required to fit all the bulkheads AND to center the deck. I had to adjust several. Any gaps will be planked over or other wise covered later.

 

The corner notches in the two decks for the stern posts/strips (31) will likely need to be opened up to fit. Angle the bottom of 31 and bevel that end (it angles inward) for a better glue joint.

 

post-289-0-62110000-1364086833_thumb.jpg

 

After installing the transom ply piece, I noticed it was a hair off-center. Should have eye-balled the trial fit for that aspect of alignment and adjusted the tab-in-notch fit. Again, I'll just make little adjustments to compensate; no problem.

 

post-289-0-49293000-1364087528.jpg

 

THAT completes sheet 1 of twelve sheets of instructions! (Two sheets on each large fold-out). 1-4 are hull, fittings, etc; 5-9 are rigging; 10 is parts templates and dimensions; Table "A" is views; "B" is masting and the rigging thereof.

 

Earlier, the first layer of planking was initiated in installing the ports. Apply one row of planking (5x1.5mm), its lower edge lined up with the lower edge of the false deck. Use the metal gunports themselves to give the spacing for the line of planking just above them. At the stern, I was not careful to keep this lower edge to lower edge alignment on one side, so the aft-most ports aren't quite level port-to-starboard. Not noticable unless you look at the stern and rock your head back-and-forth ( so DON'T DO THAT!!). I've added a wedge/sliver of planking to the higher side to make both sides nearly level for the upcoming 1st planking of the hull.

 

The drawings conveniently show that two first-layer (5mm) planks fit neatly to fill between the gunports. At Dominik's Rattlesnake build, it looks as that is so. HOWEVER!!! my ports seem to be 11.5 mm, and I've had to add some narrow strips to make up the difference.

 

post-289-0-34620300-1364092543.jpg

 

I've done that, and am doing the first layer of planking on the quarterdeck rail. THEN, I'll do the first layer of hull planking, trying to use 2nd-layer planking technique for practice, having never ever ever having done this stuff before. I have access to a number of planking tutorials/books,...

 

Blessings to MSW and and its vast collective knowledge.............

 

Regards,

Brian

Edited by RiverRat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems I keep telling you all I'm on the verge of getting to the (first) hull planking. But another (hopefully small) delay.....

 

I had finished the last planks for the quarterdeck rail/bulkhead/whatever. Thought they were sitting pretty; bent well in three dimensions. Unclamping the next day showed the starboard side had a shallow "S" curve rather than a smooth sweeping curve aft.

 

post-289-0-48559900-1364435519.jpg

 

Apparently the bulkhead at that point wasn't properly faired (shimmed in this case) though I had gone over everything a couple times and it looked good (I thought) as the plank was drying in place :(

I thought using a wide area of filler would offend my sensibilities so I considered other fixes.

 

I sliced off the offending bulkhead extension close to the planks and along the deck. This has to be done anyway(!), so no concern. Also continued the lower deck-flush cut to completely sever it from the rest of the bulkhead below. This actually relieved some of the "S". Encouraging. (The first picture is after that cutting.)

 

post-289-0-59734100-1364436264_thumb.jpg

 

I've clamped the rail against a curved piece of balsa and am letting it sit, hopefully to conform and stay in that position.

 

post-289-0-73873700-1364436490_thumb.jpg

 

Not sure this will work this way (dry). I'd want to do this wet, but I expected that would loosen glue joints (yes/no?). Suggestions welcome!!

 

To cut the bulkhead hunk out, I used an X-acto saw blade piece that I've cut from a stock saw. I don't recall how I made it. Probably cut with tin-snips and the cut edges cleaned up with a file. Really really really (REALLY!) handy. Flexible. Makes nice flush cuts, etc. Here are a couple pieces.

 

post-289-0-16626800-1364437128_thumb.jpg

 

Regards,

Brian

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ahoy Brian :D

 

The extra effort you have made to document sources in your posts has become a wealth of information for me on my build and I am sure others. Thank you :)

 

I do not see why you could not go with the water. Worst case the glue fails and the problematic wood comes off. Best case, it softens up both the wood and the glue and they dry in the proper shape.

 

On my side build, I used paper towels soaked in warm water to correct planks that did not conform. I use the original Titebond, which is not waterproof. I had no issues with them ungluing completely or coming apart. On my Ratt, I have used water to remove planks but also had to apply heat. It is my belief that it was the heat gun, which actually allowed me to remove the planks, not the water. I think that water alone might have worked, but only after a considerable amount of time soaking. Something measured in days.

 

PS: Consider distilled water. I use filtered water but have noticed some staining.

 

Looking forward to seeing the planking stage

Edited by JPett
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ahoy Brian :D

 

The extra effort you have made to document sources in your posts has become a wealth of information for me on my build and I am sure others. Thank you :)

 

I do not see why you could not go with the water. Worst case the glue fails and the problematic wood comes off. Best case, it softens up both the wood and the glue and they dry in the proper shape.

 

On my side build, I used paper towels soaked in warm water to correct planks that did not conform. I use the original Titebond, which is not waterproof. I had no issues with them ungluing completely or coming apart. On my Ratt, I have used water to remove planks but also had to apply heat. It is my belief that it was the heat gun, which actually allowed me to remove the planks, not the water. I think that water alone might have worked, but only after a considerable amount of time soaking. Something measured in days.

 

PS: Consider distilled water. I use filtered water but have noticed some staining.

 

Looking forward to seeing the planking stage

  A VERY NICE EXPLAINATION THER JP!!!!!!

 

a VERY NICE START N PROGRESS TO YOUR RATTLESNAKE bRIAN......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks JP for sharing your experience.

 

As expected, the dry clamping didn't work and I decided to try the water soaking. Rather than clamping, I found I could push the assembly from inside to get a good shape. I used a piece of scrap balsa cut to fit from the opposite bulkhead to its mate.

 

post-289-0-00073600-1364599784_thumb.jpg

 

I used a water-soaked cotton swab to wet the area ( 3 planks ), inboard and outboard, avoiding wetting the bulkhead afore and the corner joint aft. I re-wet the area numerous times throughout the evening. You can probably see some of the wetness in the above picture. I could see and feel that the glue was softening and worried about the joint between the planks opening up, I added some weight to maintain contact.

 

post-289-0-73528300-1364600286_thumb.jpg

 

So this evening I took off the weights and removed the patented balsa plank-tensioning device. Hey! It worked pretty well! Not perfect, perhaps only some slight sanding to fair it rather than massive filling. Such a relief. :rolleyes:

 

Here's a view of the wee frigate ready to move on.

 

post-289-0-73487500-1364600884_thumb.jpg

 

Ignore the shortened stem. I had repaired it after one of our cats used it to gnaw on. I recently snapped it off by accident (will pin/dowel it next time) and may leave it off for the time being.

 

Cheers,

Brian

 

post-289-0-40562300-1364601233.jpg

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

A MAJOR milestone! I told meself that I'd post an update when I got the first planking installed.

 

Soooooooo..................

 

I originally thought I'd do this first layer without filling the bows with balsa, but I wised up and did the filler and a little bit on the lower part of the next space between bulkheads.

 

The Mamoli drawings of the stern are cartoonish and vague and I had originally had the bottom of the counter (the undercut part under the transom proper) fairly rounded like their drawing, but after seeing better drawings, I reshaped the bottom so that it was mostly horizontal as is more correct.

 

The first-planking strips are 1.5 x 5 mm basswood/lime (I assume), though the instructions call for "LG", the abbreviation for tanganyika in their key, same as the deck planking. These should be indicated as "LT", their abbreviation for lime. The lime is whitish, coarse-grained, easily split, and some of the fibers tend to buckle or separate when bending, even when minimally soaked. Difficult to bring to a nice point, as with the fore of the garboard plank. Quite irritating to deal with, but...........  

 

A poetic interlude .............

 

"Hey! It's the first planking,

What the hell.

Fill it, fair it,

All is well!"

 

I measured each bulkhead length from keel to the already-applied plank below the gunports. The maximum length allowed slightly less than fifteen of the 5mm planks. I then divided each bulkhead into three equal bands, which would have five planks (theoretically!) each. "Good" planking set up would be a bit different, with likely 4 bands marked by battens, but I figured this would do in a pinch. I used these numbers to figure out how much to taper at the bows. I left them full at the stern, but should have put some taper in the area just before the stern on all or most of the planks and with about a third to go, I had to put in some severe tapers. I had intended to try a stealer, but decided to stay with the tapering: they didn't get below half the original plank width.

 

post-289-0-81426400-1367270365_thumb.jpg

 

While trimming off a loose shaving, it fell into the void. Turning it over and trying to shake it out, I heard this annoying clunking. One of the cannon carriages in the cabin had come loose! Not enough diluted glue, I guess. I levered it in place with a plank and a tensioning device (tape to a dowel in the tiller hole), practiced my entry with a dry toothpick, and then applied some medium CA glue to the two wheels I could reach. OK.

 

post-289-0-79198900-1367270448_thumb.jpg

 

Before this, I had decided to do another alteration.

 

WHEREAS, the provided metal stern decoration is an abomination to Us, and

WHEREAS, We intend to produce Our own ornamentation and associated support, and

THEREFORE, the ears of the transom becoming superfluous,

RESOLVED, that We smite off the offending ears and send them to the Deep (or that container of little scrap bits that might be useful someday....)

 

I made a leap of faith that I could learn to do some proper carving! I kinda like the looks of the earless stern (no I won't leave it like that) and it'll make the planking ends easier to do neatly.

 

Here 'tis, some rough sanding done to knock off the fuzzies and such.

 

post-289-0-19774900-1367271668_thumb.jpg post-289-0-30064200-1367271713_thumb.jpg

 

post-289-0-50913000-1367355062_thumb.jpg post-289-0-67339200-1367355151_thumb.jpg

 

 

The kit doesn't use a bearding line and rabbet. I didn't even know of such things on a ship when I began the build. The bare plywood stem, keel, and stern are to be "sheathed" with strips. I suppose if their edges abutting the hull planking are beveled and fit close, they form a pretend rabbet :o . 

 

 

Besides fillin' and fairin' prior to the actual planking, I need to check plans/drawings to see that the quarterdeck bulwark is the right height. Looks OK, but per the instructions...

 

"...sheath the upper part, setting some millimetres over the end of the frames."

 

:huh:

 

Regards,

Brian

 

(edit: last 2 photos higher resolution)

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by RiverRat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks all! I replaced the last two photos with a bit higher resolution; more rattiness to see than before!

 

@ J. Pett --- do you mean amazing I've actually got this far :D  Adequate and acceptable maybe!

 

Forgot to add this before....At the stern, I've seen some builds where the filler (or framing in POF models) is a bit more full than what I ended up with, with the planking sweeping up more. Or maybe it's just my imagination (running away with me). Anyway, whether its correct or not, I'm happy with it so far and I think she'll have a nice shapely bum in the end (or stern)!

 

Brian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Brian -- I'd formally like to second your resolution to take on some carving.  Go for it!  The higher resolution photo shows the nice even lines of your planking, which in my book (poetic or otherwise) signals Success.

 

And I also second your opinion of the Mamoli plans that are most often confusing.  You might consider investing in the beautifully drafted plans by Harold Hahn, which show lots of details (including the carving) with clarity.

 

As for the filler blocks, I'm not quite sure I get your concern -- do you mean that the shape of your bow looks off?  I think it looks about right.

 

Keep at it -- I'll be looking forward to your progress as one Ratt builder to another!

 

Martin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...