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HMS Sophie from Cruizer kit by jwvolz (Joe V.) - FINISHED - Caldercraft - 1:64 - kitbash

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Well I've been working on the Cruizer from Caldercraft for a while now as you can see from the photos attached. I've had some personal computer issues that have prevented me from starting the log until now. 


I plan to make some modifications and changes to the kit to try to make it more accurate. Some of the planned changes:


  • Copper plate bottom
  • Replace supplied long guns with carronades
  • Change some wood including maple for deck, and various other boxwood pieces, more for work-ability than show as most things will be painted.
  • Revise deck fitting/structure plan and head structure
  • Come to some type of conclusion on raised fore and aft platforms as were seen on many of the class
  • Change the name-there are lots to choose from in this class!
  • Replace line and blocks with Syren products

There is a fair amount of information, and a great thread here on MSW about the class:




It has been a bit of a challenge determining some of the things I want to do with regard to the above changes, mostly due to lack of documentation, so that will make the journey interesting. I'll have to make a name decision shortly, as it may have bearing on some of the modifications I wish to make. 


So...without further ado this is where things stand currently. She is planked all around and bulwarks have been primed. You may be able to notice that there is a wide variety of wood on the hull. As usual, the Caldercarft walnut outer planking was very splintery. I thought it would be fine, as it would all be painted, but that was not the case. I actually used the kit Tanganyika deck planks below the wale, which worked quite well surprisingly. Way down towards the keel I had to use some 3mm wide walnut as i didn't have enough of the Tanganyika. Again no biggie, it will all be under paint and copper. I used the same 3mm wide walnut above the wales. I can't remember where it came from, but it's actually good quality. The transom and wales were done in boxwood, as was the stern trim. 





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Welcome to the Cruizer class Joe.

They sure are endearing vessels and given the start you've made I'll be expecting you to overtake me yet again with another fine result and I'm looking forward to it.


Good move on replacing the long guns with carronades. It would be nice if Caldercraft gave the option of switching armament.


Have you got a copy of Petrejus' 'The Brig Irene'? It's well worth it's there are plans of the Grasshopper as Irene and also the original Cruizer, which is what I'm going off, with some minor alterations on deck furniture.



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Glad to be aboard Wayne. It sure looks like I'm following you around build-wise.  :) Rest assured I've had this build in my head for a long time, but I'm envying watching your build log immensely!


I don't have the Brig Irene book. It's difficult to source one for a reasonable price, particularity one with the plans still in place. I know it would be quite useful... I'm trying to piece together as many resources as possible, but am finding a good deal of disagreement and interpretation. I suspect there was a lot of free reign by the commanders of these vessels to make changes as they saw fit, as evidenced by some of the action reports from the War of 1812 that detail the differences in some of the class involved in the battles. It's nailing down any one particular vessel that's a challenge.


Are you putting the raised forecastle and/or poop decks on your build? That seems like one of the more difficult aspects to nail down. The very nice Grasshopper/Irene model at the United States Naval Academy has both. It also has the bulwarks raised on both ends, and seemingly they are lower amidships. On that model the cap-rail sits directly on top of those mid-ship gun ports, which doesn't mesh with what I've seen on other plans, including the Caldercraft ones, which shows them higher. 



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You're right about the lack of specifics of individual ships Joe.


I would have liked to model Pelorus as she did a lot of charting work on the NZ coast late in her career but I couldn't have been confident of details. After1810 higher bulwarks, built up head rails and more metalwork in the rigging seem to become more common. You see this in the war of 1812 vessels but these individuals have more of a record given the notable single ship actions.


I went with an early vessel like Harrier (1804) as it doesn't feel wrong using the 1797 Cruizer plans in Petrejus which have the very simple lines without raised anything.


Plus I liked the name and her role in the 1806 Java campaign where she got a mention in the Gazette for an action alongside a frigate where she raked a Dutch frigate and chased down some merchant vessels.


It will likely be no fore and aft platforms on Harrier as I didn't want to complicate things with a lack of access to the rudder and headsail fairleads given she's a working RC model. Now the rudder is largely sorted and I'm not far off servo installation I think they could be added later if I want. We'll see.


I'm at the stage where I can do without The Petrejus book for a while so if you want to borrow it let me know and I can put it in the post. It's better to have the detail early in the build. Flick me a PM if you are interested.


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Joe, lucky I saw this in your signature or could have sneaked by.  Great start, love these ships and think the detailing on the Cruizer is slightly nicer than the Snake kit.  Are you going to enlarge the gun ports if you're switching to the carronades? Hard to tell from the photos whether you did that already.

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Thanks Jason. I hadn't enlarged the gun ports. That's something that may be an issue based on where I am at this point. In fact I haven't even gotten around to ordering the carronades yet... I should be able to manipulate the slides if necessary to make any adjustments to accomodate. I'm expecting my Building the Brig of War Irene book in the mail today, so we'll see how the plans there jive with the Caldercraft ones. 


If you have your Snake plans handy could you get me the size of the ports? It'd be interesting to compare to the Caldercraft.Cruizer plans.

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I've spent the last couple weeks working on the coppering. Since the Cruizer kit does not come with copper plates I used Model Expo's copper tape.


To simulate the nails I made a jig (several actually, depending upon pattern) and stamped individual plates. A few years back, a member of our model club had given out a large supply of hypodermic tubing in various sizes. I had used it for gun barrels on plastic aircraft but thought in this case it would make the perfect nail simulator. The tubing was cut with a dremel and cut-off wheel and CA'd into a piece of boxwood which had the pattern drilled into it. This was backed with another piece of boxwood and a solid rap with a hammer produced a nice plate.  I think the hollow tubing does a great job simulating an actual nail dimple.  


Copper is hard to photograph...








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Joe, really great coppering!  Very nice job!


Just out of curiosity, what did you think of the tape?  It has a different look than the copper plates in my Pegasus kit, which I think are individual plates that are pre-marked with rivets.  The two also differ in terms of the copper hue - the ME tape looks more like the copper you see in copper wires, while the Amati plates are more maybe pinkish in color.  I've been thinking about upgrading the copper in my Morgan kit, but your work makes me think the tape works very nicely.

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Thanks guys.


Mike: I like it. I've used it four times now on builds. The nice thing is since it is so thin you can gently manipulate some stretch and curve to it which helps keep rows looking neat. Also, the overlap is prototypical, and the tape helps keep the thickness in scale when you do that. It goes quickly, there is no glue to worry about and I have a build that is approaching 20 years old that shows no issues with adhesion of the copper tape. I think the stamp has made it look pretty convincing. We'll see how my weathering turns out next. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks guys.


Not a big update, but I've weathered the copper plating. I used the "bodily fluid" :rolleyes:  method mentioned elsewhere on the site, and it worked out quite well. It took a few applications to even out due to some initial beading up that occurred. 


I have used the salt/water/vinegar method in the past on Model Expo tape, and tried it initially this time, but it didn't work properly. I think there is some type of coating on the copper, which is difficult to remove. 


I sealed the copper with Testor's Dullcote lacquer, applied with my airbrush. 


I am a bit further ahead than this, but need to catch up on photos. 




Edited by Joe V.
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Thanks guys.


Jason: Do you have your Snake plans handy? I'd be curious to know the difference in the port size vs. the Cruizer plans. I know I could dig through you log, but did you increase the port size on your build?  Thanks.

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