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HM Schooner Pickle by JRB9019 - Caldercraft - Scale 1:64

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The Building Log of the H.M. Schooner Pickle by JoTiKa.


The first half of this log is a copy of the original log that was lost from the Forum. Luckily, I had always used Word to write my log before I had added the text to the Build Log so I still have the original text - and the same terrible photo's!!



There are many newcomers to this hobby including myself. I have therefore included details in this building log which the newcomer or less experienced modeller may find of use.


Modelling Background


My modelling started as for so many of us as a child back in the good old days of Airfix models. Funnily enough, even then, as all my mates were building planes, cars and tanks etc. I almost always only built sailing ships (or tried to!).


25 years ago, I started again and bought the plastic model Gorch Foch from Heller - a fantastic model and quite complex with full rigging and the like. Hmmm, then we started a family and it wasn't until 20 years later when both my "little ones" had departed for University to study (well, that's the official version!!) that I found time on my hands and my thoughts came back to starting again with modelling.


However, in the meantime during many jealous hours spent browsing in model shops (for my son's remote control cars and the like - not for me, of course!!) that I found wooden model ship kits. After a long search, and lots of investigations, I finally decided for JoTiKa and H.M. Pickle.


Starting out


Needing a helping hand in this new hobby, I carried out some research on the various Web-sites out there and found the Model Ship World site: www.modelshipworld.com.

Not only have I posted this building log there but have been inundated with help and tips and tricks. Additionally, I have found lots of postings and links to other sites and publications that have been really useful, some of which are mentioned throughout this log.


OK, so my model arrived and then I found what tools I needed - a full list required for this model will follow. Following various helpful postings on the Model Ship World forum, I ordered the Squires Catalogue. Browsing through there is even more confusing as there are 20 types and makes of just about everything!!


From my DIY days, I have my Stanley knife, lots of sandpaper, wood-glue, rules, etc. etc. and with a trip to my local (very good) art shop, I will furnish myself with the appropriate brushes etc. However, I will wait and hopefully pick up my "specialised tools (tweezers, needle files, Pin vice and drill bits) from a Model show / exhibition.

Reading / Reference Books Library


It must be said that the excellent instruction manual that comes with the kit, together with the full-sized detailed plans are without doubt enough to be getting started with building this kit. Indeed, I saw no reason why I could not used the very detailed instructions to complete the kit. However, I thought it was always useful to have additional background information (which has indeed been the case) and so I bought the following:


- Keith Julier's Period Ship Kit builder's manual which I shall read as appropriate as I begin a new section of the build,

           - Lennarth Petersson's Rigging Period Ship Models.

Finally, for interest and future reference, after some research I borrowed the following books from my local library which I intend to purchase at a later date.

- Peter Goodwin's The Ships of Trafalgar: The British, French and Spanish Fleets, 21 October 1805,


            - James Lees The Masting and Rigging of English Ships of War, 1625-1860.


Finally, for reference the Simple Hull Planking Techniques for Beginners was downloaded from the Model Ship World forum.


Background to H.M. Pickle


For those who are interested, a bit of background to Pickle.


Forever associated with Admiral Nelson’s final and most historic victory, the Battle of Trafalgar 1805, Pickle was chosen to carry the News of Nelson’s victory and death back to England. Commanded by Lieutenant John Richards Lapenotiere, Pickle was not directly involved in the Battle of Trafalgar but was permanently busy rescuing both friend and foe from a watery death. By 6pm the muster list for Pickle showed a total of 160 prisoners taken on board, the majority of these coming from the burning French Achille. Given the size of Pickle and the fact that she had a crew of just 40 it is remarkable that Lapenotiere was not only able to rescue so many but that they were then able to prevent the prisoners from taking Pickle as their own.

After the battle, with Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood now in command, every ship, including Pickle, was required to maintain the blockade of Cadiz. Between the 22 and 25 of October, Lapenotiere continued rescuing seaman and prisoners and began offloading them to other ships, including Dreadnought, Euryalus, Revenge and Victory, all the while battling to survive the storm that was blowing in from the south west.

On the morning of the 26 October 1805, Lapenotiere was signalled to come aboard Euryalus where he received written orders from Collingwood to sail for Plymouth with the dispatches. Knowing that the bearer of dispatches would receive a promotion, it was customary to choose a favoured officer for the task and Collingwood’s choice of Lapenotiere is often attributed to an act of gratitude.


It is said that, while Lapenotiere was a passenger onboard a ship also conveying Lord Collingwood, an order was given on deck to the man at the wheel. Lapenotiere, realising that if the order were obeyed the ship would be on the rocks, immediately gave another order and saved the ship. Collingwood thanked Lapenotiere saying “If ever I have the opportunity I will do you a service.” It is also said that on receipt of his orders Collingwood reminded Lapenotiere of this promise saying “Now take these dispatches to England; you will receive £500 and your commander’s commission. Now I have kept my word.”


Unfortunately no evidence of either of these events exists and Collingwood’s choice of Lapenotiere is better explained by the fact that Pickle was probably the only ship that Collingwood could afford to spare given his current circumstance. This is also backed up by Collingwood’s letter to William Marsden stating “dispatches containing the account of the Action of the 21st Inst, and detailing the proceedings of the Fleet to the 24th will be delivered to you by Lieut Lapenotiere, commanding the Pickle Schooner … having no means of speedier, or safer Conveyance with me at present.”

At noon the same day, Lapenotiere and Pickle departed for England but his voyage was to be challenging to say the least. For the next seven days Pickle battled through stormy seas and, with her pumps blocked, the crew were reduced to forming a human chain in order to bale with buckets. On October 31st, with continuing gale force winds Lapenotiere ordered four of his 12 pounder carronades to be thrown overboard in an attempt to keep the schooner from being swallowed by the sea. November 2nd brought weather of the opposite extreme, but still no rest for the crew. With calm seas and no wind the sweeps had to be employed just to keep Pickle heading toward England.


On 4th November 1805, Pickle finally reached Falmouth where Lapenotiere landed at shore in Pickle’s boat. From this point, Lapenotiere set off on his now famous post chaise using at least 21 changes of horses to travel more than 270 miles in 37 hours and costing £46.19s.1d, more than six months wages for a Lieutenant. Lapenotiere reached his goal of the Admiralty at round 1am on the 6th November and announced to William Marsden, First Secretary to the Admiralty, “Sir, we have gained a great victory, but we have lost Lord Nelson”.


On 28 July 1808, Pickle was finally lost, while again carrying dispatches, under the command of Lieutenant Moses Cannadey. During her approach to Cadiz, she was grounded off Cape Santa Maria on the Chipiona Shoal. Pickle quickly sank but all of her crew were saved.


The Kit

And so to the actual kit which includes the following:

Please note - if you want to look at photo's of the kit, please go to Blue Ensign's Pickle Log as they are much clearer than mine!


  • Double plank on bulkhead construction in lime and walnut;
  • all decking in high quality Tanganyika strip;
  • 6 x 12pdr turned brass carronades, fully rigged and complete with walnut carriage assemblies;
  • detailed brass etched components;
  • over 500 copper plates;
  • ship's boats in high quality resin with walnut components and brass fittings including oars, grapnels and boat hooks;
  • precision CNC cut and profiled walnut and ply components;
  • brass nameplate;
  • all required blocks,
  • black & natural hemp rigging;
  • high quality birch dowel for the masting;
  • fully detailed actual scale plans;
  • two comprehensive step by step colour instruction manuals including constructional photos of the prototype and technical drawings.

Recommended Tool List

  • Craft knife;
  • A selection of needle files;
  • Razor saw;
  • Small wood plane;
  • Pin vice or small electric drill (the latter is the more recommended item);
  • Selection of drill bitts from 0.5mm to 3mm;
  • Selection of abrasive paper and sanding block;
  • Selection of good quality paint brushes;
  • Long nose pliers and wire cutters/snips;
  • Good quality tweezers;
  • Dividers or compass;
  • Steel rule (300mm);
  • Clothes pegs or crocodile clips;
  • Set-Square;
  • Good quality pencil or Edding pen;
  • Masking tape;
  • Good quality sharp pair of small scissors;

Scalpel with selection of blades;


Paints, Stains and Adhesives


N.B. The paint, stain and adhesives listed below include the appropriate part numbers as supplied by JoTiKa.


  • White PVA wood glue;
  • Walnut wood stain for masts & booms (Admiralty Stains: Walnut, AS9105):
  • Cyanoacrylate (super glue) thick and medium viscosity (Admiralty Glues,
    Thick (AG9103) & Medium (AG9102);
  • Walnut wood filler;
  • White spirit;
  • Varnish to seal all unpainted wooden parts (Admiralty Varnishes: Matt, AV9110);
  • Black paint for 'woodwork' (Admiralty Paints: Dull Black, AP9105);
  • Black paint for 'ironwork' (Admiralty Paints: Matt (Metal) Black, AP9106);
  • White paint (Admiralty Paints: Matt White, AP9111);
  • Yellow ochre paint for ship's boats (Admiralty Paints: Yellow Ochre, AP9115);
  • Red ochre paint (Admiralty Paints: Red Ochre, AP9116);
  • Copper paint (Admiralty Paints: Copper, AP9125);
  • Brown (wood/leather) paint (Admiralty Paints: Wood (Walnut) Brown, AP9119);
  • Metal primer for etched metal parts.
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The build (at last)


The Keel


Firstly, as instructed, I checked out my box of goodies and wondered what the heck I had got myself in to. Wow, these parts are so small!!!!


Eventually, I took the plunge and started with the keel (hey, you’ve got to start somewhere). Having found the main keel assembly, I started by gluing the Stem, using a set of Rubber bands to hold it in place.




Once the Stem has set, I glued the false keel into position. Next I had to work out what on earth a bearding line was, what to do with it and where to put it. Eventually, I solved the puzzle.




Then followed the 9 bulkheads which were carefully sanded and fitted. So far, so good. There follows a few pictures, please excuse the quality!.



Post Glueing from the Bow



Post Glueing overhead



Post Glueing from the Stern



Post Glueing from the Stern Starboard side

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The Gun-port patterns


The manual told me that the next step was to add the gunport patterns and attach these to the bulkheads.

However, I had already decided that I was going to plank the False-Deck and with my lack of experience, decided to do this before I fitted the gun-port patterns, therefore loosing me space to work in. I’m glad that I did as it was quite cramped below decks – even though I didn’t have any sides to contend with.


I also decided to try out my 3-but shift as I will be using this on the main deck, so practice makes perfect !!


False Deck Decking


So, trying to be a ‘professional model maker’ (stop laughing please!), I had been influenced by many of the build logs that I have read where creating a template for just about anything seems to be the norm, So, I tried my hand at making my own template. Glad I did – it works really well. Sorry, the picture is a little blurred but you should be able to make out the idea.



My first template


Easy really, a stop on the left hand-side (Set square of course) – along the top another piece of wood set at a “triple-checked” 90 degrees. I left this a little short as I can then use this for other pieces later on. So to finish off, I glued the upright set to the correct measurement.


After that, I can cut my decking lengths easily – purists will swoon at this stage, but I actually found that using a very sharp chisel held against the template enables me to make a very clean – and more importantly straight cut.


These two pictures show the first decking planks fitted – and the completed job and you should just about be able to make out the 3-butt system used – and before you ask, the false deck is not meant to be totally covered !!! I also left the gaps between the planks on purpose (honest!!) so as to represent caulking once it’s finished……


I am trying out a couple of finishes to the decking before finally deciding what to use.



The first planks are laid . . .



. . . and a few more


Sanding Tools


Having fitted the decking, I had to sand it down. Not having any tools at this point made me improvise as you can see in the picture to make a clothes-peg sander.

It works really well – unclip and move the sandpaper along as it wears out…..


post-2632-0-60972200-1364575836_thumb.jpg post-2632-0-84283000-1364575854_thumb.jpg

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False Gun-ports


So, there was nothing for it. The next step was to fit the false gun-ports. As you will see, I used clothes-pegs for clamps which worked very well. I soaked the wood for 10 minutes or so which gave me plenty of flexibility.



False Gun-ports set in place to dry


Once the gun-ports were dry, I laid the first plank.



First plank fixed as seen from the Bow . . .



. . . and from the Stern

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First Planking


Now here is where the real fun began !!

As you know, this is my first build. I decided to try and do the planking as if I was only having one layer and therefore to try and make it as good as possible – again, training for the second planking later on.


I did find paper-clips to be a great help. Soaking the wood for 10 minutes and then using the clip to hold the wood in position enabled me to create the right curves without any problems, so no fancy tools needed!!.



Planking gets tentativley underway


As planking progressed, I began to think that I wasn’t doing this right – I read and re-read the instructions – and the planking guide and carried on.





This isn't quite right somehow!



Finally, planking was completed for the first side. The photo shows the stern looking very untidy, but I haven’t trimmed up yet, which happens when I start to fit the stern counter later on. I have also already sanded down the bearding line before this photo was taken….



first side done - sort of



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First Planking Problems


So, here you see the finished side – and it doesn’t look too bad at first glance.



Looks OK - but . . .


However, if you look towards the bow, you should see that all is not well. (Well you could if the phote wasn't so terrible).


Looking directly above the first gun-port (not fully opened at this stage), you will see that that there is a distinct angle appearing between the horizontal planks directly below the false gun-port and the remaining planks.



. . . looking at the Bow - Hmmmmm



Trying another method


I am now continuing with planking the port side – and using a slightly different method – i.e. as you will see, I have also started to lay planks from the keel which I will do up to the already laid planks –complete with stealers and hopefully it turns out better.



Trying a different approach


I think that one of the problems lays with the fact that I have removed too much from the bulkheads which therefore gives me this result.


Once the second side is completed – hopefully giving me a good shape, I will then return to the first side and add sanded and fitted planks over the originals to match the shape of the second side. OK, I could use filler – but I think that I won’t get it right that way……



Planking in a right state...



How not to plank!!



After sorting a few things out



I have since seen builds where balsa filler is used in the Bow sections. This really appears to help, both with ensuring that the lines work, but at the same time there is a guide there to help when forming the bulkheads. A pity this isn't mentioned in the build manual or that appropriate Balsa wood isn't provided. Still lesson learnt - it won't happen again!!!


Onwards and upwards...



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After a break to recover from the terrible first planking . . . .


So, finally the Pickles build was back on.


Lots of problems of late which have meant that I had not done anything for ages and I lost the motivation to carry on.

I decided to sort myself out and started to read various logs to get myself motivated again to carry on. I found and read the really great log from GOGS on his HMS Fly build and then finally found the log of HMS Badger from TORCHY. Reading his log and seeing his excellent progress on a build not unlike mine finally gave me the motivation that I needed – so thanks Torchy for that….



First Planking Completed


OK. Last time I posted anything I was just finishing the 1st planking - well sort of,,.

This planking was duly completed and the stern counter fitted.


Slight problem here – the holes for the stern-counter supports are cut slightly too large and it was therefore very difficult to get an accurate fit – only time will tell if I’ve got it at the right angles.


Once the stern-counter was fitted I then had to plank the underside – not too difficult but I’m worried that the whole thing won’t match up once I complete the 2nd planking, but that’s a job for another day.


So, a few pictures for you.



A shot from the bow showing the completed 1st planking


The stern doesn’t look too bad here although it does look messy under the stern - this will be trimmed at a later stage.



A shot from the stern showing the completed 1st planking


The Problem that I described before in my previous posting can be seen here.

From the Stern all looks OK,,,



All is well - from the Stern


But looking forward - the curve is just not right and something that I will have to address later.



But the bow??


And finally another shot of the stern after I had tidied up the Stern-Counter a little.




So, first planking done.


On to the brave new world of 2nd planking !!!!  







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Second Planking Starts


Following the instructions (a sensible idea really), I carefully marked out the position of the 1st second plank just below the gun-ports. As suggested, a soaking for 10 minutes or so left the walnut strips pliable enough to bend. I actually used the top of the gun-port patterns as my 'former' and pegged the strips around the Gun-port pattern, bending as I went and left then to dry. After 10-15 minutes I was able to use the pre-bent strips quite easily and using medium super glue was able to attach the strips without any problems.


Following the fitting of the second plank below, additional planks were then fitted over the top of the first two, thereby forming the Wale and Black Strake. From then on , the manual kindly requested that I simply continue to plank downwards, simply butting up to the previous plank – easy, so I thought!!!! 


A shot from the Starboard Bow showing the first 10 planks laid. You should also just about be able to make out the Black Strake planking.



Starboard Bow showing the first 10 planks laid


A shot from the Port Bow again, showing the first 10 planks laid. You should also just about be able to make out the Black Strake planking.





Port Bow, showing the first 10 planks laid


Second Planking Problems


So, my problems and errors from even before my 1st planking started to come to haunt me. As I had not formed the bulk-heads correctly, the 1st planking was a bit of a mess as can be seen. However, things really became apparent now. There was no way that the 2nd planking was going to run straight as had been suggested in the instructions. If I tried, then the wood bowed outwards towards the bow leaving a gap and therefore obviously not sticking to the 1st planking.


Again, referring to my shots of the completed 1st planking the problem is obvious to see. I decided to add some additional 1st planks around the bow area and finally sand back thereby giving a better shape. At this stage it was actually easier to do because I had the previously fitted 2nd planking acting as a guideline and template. You should be able to see the newly fitted planks in the following shot.



The repair job



Second Planking Completed


So, after a lot of messing around, I finally completed the 2nd planking. As described above, I could not get the planks to lay correctly. The instructions only mentioned that I would have to insert one stealer after the 12th plank, therefore I assume that all other planks would have been able to lay straight and following the first planks all the way to the keel. In the end, I had to improvise just so that I could finish the job, especially as I knew that I would be covering all my sins with copper plating, I thought it best to finish the job as best I could. Once again, I’m sure that the problem arises from the incorrect shaping of the bulkheads right at the beginning of the build but can’t be too sure. Any comments would be gratefully accepted.


Pictures aren’t too good again, but you will be able to see my problem from this bow-shot as the lower planks do not follow the upper ones.



2nd Planking completed as seen from the Port Bow


The following picture shows the problem even better. However after sanding down up to 600 grade, I feel that the overall hull shape is not too bad considering all the problems that I had.


You will also see that I have completed the decking up to rail height and have also cur away the gun-ports.



2nd Planking completed as seen from the Starboard Bow


So finally, a shot from the stern. You can see that the stern-post is now fitted and the planking tidied up ready to start fitting the stern facia later on.

If you remember I mentioned that I wasn’t too happy with the planking around the stern-counter. Sure enough, even though I had sanded back to the bearding line prior to starting the 2nd planking, things just weren’t looking right. So again, a little improvisation on my part (just don’t tell anyone!!). I planked the Stern-Counter for a second time and then sanded everything back and ended up with a good fit. Just a small gap left towards the top, which if you look closely you will see tha I have used filler here. All this area gets painted black so it shouldn’t be too bad in the end.



2nd Planking completed as seen from the Stern


Time for a cuppa me thinks!!!




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Copper Plating Starts


Before starting the plating, I had to draw the waterline. I used the instructions and the jig provided with the kit to raise the bow slightly and I now had the waterline.

This shot also shows the completed Stern-Counter as described above and you can also see the small area that I had to use filler for. 



The Waterline


I was not looking forward to the next part – i.e. the copper plating, as it seemed like a big slow job. Actually, once I had worked out what to do, it was easy. I used thick standard super-glue and had one side done within 2 hours (excluding the shaping of any filler tiles that I needed near the bow or the water-line).

As you will see, I added small cut-offs shaped with a fine metal file to complete the curve around the stern.

If you look to the centre of the ship, you will see that the plates run straight. The actual waterline curve runs about 2mm above these plates and I am wondering if I should spend hours and hours filing tiny slivers of copper to make the curve. The instructions state that I can also use copper paint to complete this, but I’m wondering if I should just leave things as they are……



Plating completed - looking from the Bow


I now completed the bow plating and got so carried away with the process that I didn’t notice that I had gone way over the waterline. It wasn’t until a plate didn’t lie correctly as it was now half over the black strake that I realised what I had done !!! Thank goodness for the Black Strake is all I can say. The way I was going I would have ended plating halfway up the mast before I had noticed !!


So, I removed the excess tiles quickly before the glue really set. If you look closely, you can still see the glue marks where I had to remove the plates. Duuuhh !! So, hopefully those marks will be removed by a little sanding prior to painting.



Plating completed - looking from the Stern





Warnings about using Super-Glues


In finishing, I would mention one warning to any new modellers out there.


You will come across warnings to use masks when using the super-glues. The warnings will tell you that the super-glues can affect your breathing/lungs etc. You may think – yes, right health and safety gone mad again - and ignore the warnings.


Please don’t ignore the warnings and get a mask!!


After the first 20 or so tiles I finished for the evening and I ended up with a really tight chest and really bad cough the next morning. So, I found my mask, and used it all the next day and even so, my chest wasn’t too good and I was really quite breathless and coughing again the next morning. So the mask that I used was actually a dust protector one, such as to be worn when doing a lot of sanding etc. etc. and I thought that this would have been good enough. WRONG AGAIN.


So now I have to find a shop that sells the correct masks – any ideas of masks out there?? Has anyone else had these problems? Funny thing is, I did use standard super-glue when fixing the 2nd planking and didn’t have any reaction what so ever. It must be this thick super-glue that’s the problem, and of course you can’t small anything so don’t realise what you are actually breathing in….          


Next Steps


Once I get my mask, I will finish the tiling of course and then I make a start on the upper-deck. This means a lot of cutting away of the original tops of the bulkheads which should be real fun!!



Copper Plating Completed


The Copper Plating is finally completed. As you will see, the finishing line is not good, but a little fine-tuning with a file and once the hull painting is complete it should be OK.


The finish is quite difficult, especially as you end up having to glue tiny pieces of copper to fill any gaps and it doesn’t look too clever – oh well!!



Plating complete looking from the Port Bow



Plating complete looking from the Port Stern

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Fitting the Deck


After marking the centre-line the deck was fitted, no problems here - for a change.



Deck Top view from the Bow



Deck Top view from the Stern



View from the Stern


Preparing for Decking


I firstly needed to make a couple of decisions.

- What system was I going to use to lay the decking?

- Was I going to deck in full length strips, or was I going to cut them into proper    lengths?

- How, if at all was I going to make caulking lines?

- How, if at all was I going to show decking fittings?


Firstly, I decided to use the “Three Butt Shift System” and so I needed to cut the decking into the correct lengths, so using the jig that I made right at the beginning of this project, I cut the decking timber.


I also decided to show the deck fixings – I’m not good enough to use the professional methods that are described in other logs, so an imitation was needed. Using my faithful jig as a guide, I therefore drilled two holes at either end of each plank and did this for about ¾ of all my planks. The rest I would do later once the decking was laid.


Finally the prepared timber arrived on site and was stacked on deck ready for the workers to begin decking!!




The timber is stacked on deck ready for the workers to begin decking tomorrow

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The Decking


So, using the Three Butt Shift System, I completed the decking, leaving a small space between each plank.

I then finished off my “imitation” fittings by drilling the appropriate holes.


Finally to the finish. Based upon a recommendation by a Forum member, I made up a batch of plaster filler and coloured it with black acrylic paint


I had tried this method on the lower deck – and perhaps because of the confines of the space hadn’t been too happy with the amount of colouring left behind. So, I lost my nerve and only coloured to a mid-grey !!


Using various tools, I applied the mix and ensured that all the gaps were filled both between the planks and my imitation fitting holes.


Quickly moving on, I cleaned and scraped the deck and finally sanded the whole lot down with fine sand-paper and finished off with 600 grade. Once all was smooth, a quick wipe-off and then a couple of coats of protective non-gloss varnish.


Normally in the past, when I have used varnish before, the varnish has really brought out the colours of the wood.


However, this varnish didn’t do that and so therefore the contrast between my caulking lines and “fittings” are somewhat lost. Still, not too bad for a first attempt!!


You can see the decking in the following picture and will also note that the transom is already fitted – I’ve described the transom fitting below.



Deck Planking complete looking from above the Bow


The Inner Bulwark planking


The Inner Bulwark planking was then laid followed by a lot of trimming and sanding around the gunports. Finally the tops were planed and sanded back to the appropriate height.


The Transom


If you have read my log before, you will have noticed that I was not too happy with the way the transom was taking shape – and I was correct!!


Having cleaned the ends of both the decking and the 1st,  2nd planking and inner Bulwark planking, I tried to fit the transom piece. I found that it didn’t fit, in fact there was a least a 1 cm gap. So using a waste piece, I spent ages shaping a filler piece. Once fitted then quite a lot of sanding and filing to make things look ship-shape (excuse the pun!!).


In the picture you will see the darker piece of wood at the bottom of the transom which is my filler..



The Transom is finally complete






Finishing off


With the transom finally fitter, I then had to plank the inside of the transom. With that done it was time to paint the inner bulwarks. I must admit that I did for once make life easy for myself here as I painted the planks before fitting them. Now, it was just a case of touching up here and there and also painting the gun-port sills.



The Inner bulwarks are completed




Painting and finishing the Hull


So, with the carpenters gone for the moment it was time to get in the painters.


Whilst the painters were busy, I used masking tape and copper paint to try and “straighten up” the water-line at the edge of the copper-plating. Not too bad I think, this is now actually starting to look like a real ship!!!



Hull painting complete - looking from above



Hull painting complete - looking from Starboard Bow



The ship is named


And so it came about that on this day after a lot of painting and layout work, the good ship Pickle had her name put in place – and the ship builders left in good spirits for a cup of tea !!!



Hull painting complete - the Stern view and name

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  • 2 years later...

Back again at last


Lots of time has passed since my last posting - but life gets in the way sometimes!


In the meantime, I've upgraded my Library, being lucky enough to be given The Global Schooner and Eighteenth Century Rigs and Rigging by Karl Heinz Marquardt for Christmas.


I then found Longridge's The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships which I picked up for an absolute bargain at a local book fair.


Finally, I have found John Harland's excellent Seamanship in the age of Sail in my local library so will having that out on loan until I can find another copy elsewhere.


I've moved to a more permanent modelling workplace, meaning I don't have to unpack and then clear up again every time I want to do some work. This is a huge step fowards and I have already done more work in the last two weeks than I did in the last 12 months!!


Anyway, I retrieved Pickle from hibernation and got to work again.



Phase 4


The Inner Bulwark fittings


Before starting with the fittings, the manual states that I had to fit the capping rails, which made sense as some of the cleats to be used in the next step were actually fitted to the capping rails, so it would have been difficult to fix the cleats if the capping rails weren’t fitted!!


However, after reading through the instructions I decided to drill the holes and fit the carronade rigging eyelets before fitting the Capping Rails. The reason for this was that it was easier for me to get to the Bulwarks for measuring, drilling and fitting without the Capping rails fitted and it also meant that they wouldn’t be scratched by my drill vice in the process.


Cleats and Carronade fittings


So, firstly I had to identify and paint 64 brass eyelets and 8 small cleats. Following the strict guidelines from the manual, I measured and drilled the holes and positioned the eyelets around the gun-ports (to be used later to rig the Carronades).


After messing around with the first few measurements using all sorts of devices, I came across the idea of making a template. I took a piece of waste planking and measured, marked and finally drilled holes for all four of the required positions (i.e. 2 each side of each gun-port). It was then easy to simply place my template against each gun-port side and drill/mark the position for each hole through my pre-drilled template. I then removed the template and completed the hole drilling using a drill vice. Finally, I cut to length and using super-glue fitted all the eyelets around the gun-ports.



Capping Rails


Time to fit the Capping Rails. Here was the moment of truth. As the Capping Rails were pre-cut and shaped, if my build hadn’t been done correctly or the frame had warped during the build, then as soon as I offered the Capping Rails to be fitted, the errors would show up and I hadn’t a clue what to do next!!


As it was, the Capping rails followed the Bulwarks and Bow exactly – great news…


There were some minor imperfections around the height of some of the Bulwark planking as it appears that I had trimmed too much in some places earlier on. However, I used some waste planking to fill the gaps and sanded these down accordingly.


Finally, I was ready and glued and fitted the Rails (which I had pre-painted). The only slight difficulty here was keeping them in place long enough for the glue to set so using all my fingers and toes it all came together in the end. At last with the Capping Rails in place, Pickle really looked like a real ship!!


Carronade Deck Blocks


I fitted 16 deck blocks. Only six will be used for Carronades which is correct, according to the sources.


Deck Fittings


Time for a spot of woodwork again!! Using the supplied grating strips, I made up the appropriate sized hatches for the forward, middle and after hatch assemblies. I then formed the hatch linings and glued them around the gratings and finally sanded each piece before giving then a coat of varnish before gluing them in place.


For the main hatch assembly, I had to create both ledges and hatch linings. These were all glued together and finally the hatch covers cut, sanded varnished and fitted.


Oh yes, before I fitted the hatch covers, I had to build and fit the 12 ringbolts. Each of these was made up of 2 individual copper eyelets. One eyelet had to be opened, a second ring slotted in and the original eyelet closed again. Then they all had to be painted black (without filling all the eyelet holes!!!!).


So, time again for a few photos. The first shows the deck from the Stern . Here the newly fitted Capping Rails and hatches can be clearly seen together with the Carronade Sliding beds.


The next photo shows the Deck Hatches in more detail, firstly on the forward deck.


Thirdly, the main hatch. I have let 2 of the main-hatch covers off to show the decking below. Once I finally decide if I will keep it like this, I will of course glue them in place, but for the moment they are not fixed.


The Deck Hatches from the Stern




Now the deck hatches were complete, there was no longer a reason to avoid the issue, so it was time to face the building of the Carronades……






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Phase 5

Building and installing the carronades


Carronade Sliding Beds


The building and rigging of the carronades was going to take me a lot of time and patience (Thanks goodness there are only six of them!). So, I decided to build them in stages and do something else in between.


Here’s a quick photo of all the parts needed to make up the Carronade (from right to left), the Sliding Bed, the base fitting, the fitting pin, the carriage. For each carriage I will need; the four carronade rigging eyelets, two trunnions, two trunnion bearings and spigot, and the carronade itself, all shown at the top left-half of the picture. Finally, the copper wire and copper rod shown at the bottom of the picture.




Firstly came the sliding beds, each made up of a pre-formed base, a second piece of walnut fixed to the base and sanded into shape and a length of brass rod painted black.


Finally these six sliding beds were placed (using the brass rod pin) into the previously fitted deck blocks. 



Carronade Build


I eventually managed to assemble my first carronade, using the “lets thread everything onto a wire” method – as opposed to the very professional “first, build a template” method as shown by Blue Ensign in his build. Believe me, I tried the template method and couldn’t get it to work!


Holes were bored for the eyelets, the eyelets fitted and finally a test deck placing carried out.


All looked well, so I managed to complete the rest and fitted them in place.




Oh yes, I can finally post half-decent photographs here!! Christmas had been and gone and I was given a new camera. At last I can take some photos!! No super-macro work, but a lot better than it used to be, that’s for sure!



Fixing the tackle-blocks


I was still without a decent magnification system and things were getting quite hard. To help me along, I purchased one of those little helping hand and magnifying glass things.


I put this to use straight away to help me tie and secure the blocks on to the carronade base.


Securing the blocks


post-2632-0-93072200-1446479653_thumb.jpeg post-2632-0-07812600-1446479705_thumb.jpg





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Fitting the gun tackle


Having managed to somehow secure the blocks to the eyelets, these were then fitted in to the inner bulwarks before making a start on the Breech rope.


Before then, I finally purchased a proper Magnifier and LED light. Thanks to Tony (TK11) for the suggestion. 

Here it is, fitted to my new work-place. It’s awesome, I can actually see what I am doing!!!!





The Breech Ropes


I made a start fitting the Breech Ropes. Initially, I had taken the carronade off the deck to try and fit the Breech-rope as I couldn’t see what I was doing. Now, though, I was able to leave everything in place and was able to complete the task.

This picture shows two carronades completed with the Breech Ropes ready to be made fast to the inner bulwark rings.


Starting to fit the Breech Ropes




1st Breech Rope and tackle completed




Finally, all carronades were completed, the Breech Ropes tied and the gun tackle rigged.

As can be seen, I had also decided to not use Cheeses but rather tie the tackle up.





All done and time for the next phase








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Phase 6


Deck fittings


Additional deck fittings are completed.


The Windlass and Pawl Bitts assemblies are correctly situated, the dome-head pins fitted, marked and the appropriate sighting holes drilled.


The two small cleats and seven eyelets are found, holes drilled and pieces fitted.




Making the Channels


I cut out and sanded the four channels then had lots of fun painstakingly drilling the holes into the inboard sides. I fitted the pins, market their position on the hull and carefully drilled the positioning holes.


Of course, each channel is slightly different so I was careful to mark which one was which (Main-Starboard etc.). I then decided to paint the channels before fixing the Deadeye Strops, but of course that was tricky as they were already free standing. Improvisation called for, I used the fixing pins to place the channels on to a piece of cardboard, marked the relevant name and then completed the painting.


Before anyone questions my shoddy workmanship, I have purposely not painted the front edge so that I have a better surface for fixing the facing boards once the Deadeye Strops are in place.




Deadeye Strops


Assembly started on the Deadeye Strops. All went well until I started to read the instructions.


Ah yes, "Spring the 'nubs' of the strop, with deadeye, into the locating slot". Help!!

Luckily Flyer was on hand to provide some sanity and a translation into layman’s English.


I had previously carefully primed and painted the Strops while they were still attached to the brass sheet. Clever move (I thought). However by the time the Strops were clipped and the ends filed smoothly, of course all my black paint had disappeared.


So now I had the free-standing Strops to paint. Hmmm. Well, this cardboard idea that I used with the channels seemed to work, so I cut another piece, drilled 16 holes, pushed the Strops through, clipped the cardboard on to my trusty little helping hand and voila – ready to prime and paint again!





Making the channel knees


So, decision time. I had noticed that the channels provided with the kit had no supports – other than the Strops of course.


I used my new copy of Karl Heinz Marquardt’s The Global Schooner and found out about Standard and Support Knees, studied the excellent build logs from Blue Ensign and Flyer and decided to branch out into the new world of ‘making it myself’!!


First things first, I found some spare wood on the provided 1.5mm Walnut sheet that has included the four channels. I cut out my first support knee, realised I would have to do a bit more work by removing a section so that the Knee would fit snug against the hull and the Black Strake. First one done – and I was so pleased that I took a photo!!




Seven more to go and then I need to decide if I am to go the whole hog and craft eight Standard Knees for the top of the Channel as well.



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So, I completed my 8 home-made Channel Support Knees.


Lots of careful cutting and filing - I have just about managed to take all the skin off my fingers! Trying to hold such tiny pieces whilst filing away is not easy!


Here's a picture of the process




And here are the completed pieces




Looking at the photo I can see that I need to a little tidying up.





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Now back to my Deadeye Strops Assembly. As I wrote previously, alll went well until I started to read the "Spring the 'nubs' of the strop, with deadeye, into the locating slot" instructions.


Having completed the repaint, I was ready to try the assembly again.


Despite Flyer's valient attempts, my brain just doesn't seem to be functioning with this!


OK, so I tried again............. SNAP oops


So I tried again and have managed to get the first Strop into the Channel.

However, I have left the lower 'nub' under the Channel - just hoping that is OK. I guess it will at least help stop the Strop being pulled through the hole in the Channel......... which I suppose will be quite hard anyway as I have used Caldercraft's medium glue to seat the Strop.


Here's a photo of the first Strop in it's Channel hole. Ifyou look closely, you will clearly see the nub underneath the Channel. It looks as if the Nub is outside the hole, but it is actually underneath. Oh, and I know I have to straighten things up as well!




Any comments from you professionals out there before I carry on???





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  • 4 weeks later...

Update on my Channel Strops attempts!!


I continued in the same way I had explained previously, but by the time I had completed one Channel of four strops, I had snapped so many strops that I hadn’t enough to continue. So, I called Jotika and placed an order for more. They also promised to send me additional instructions - that will be interesting to see.


So, I put the Channels to one side for a while and moved on to having a look at the Rudder...

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Phase 8


Plating the Rudder


The rudder build comprises of plating the rudder up to the water line, painting the rest of the rudder black, then cutting a notch in the rudder above decks to take the tiller itself.


But first, on with plating the rudder. This was a lot harder than I thought it would be and, as it turns out, I enjoyed it so much that I did it twice – but more of that later.


I started by marking out the rudder with the vertical lines for a guide to fix the copper plates.




I found that cutting the plates correctly and then trying to position them exactly without getting adhesive everywhere was a nightmare.


So, I started fixing the plates without cutting them to size, then turning the rudder over and cutting the excess off with a knife.


I then finished the plates off using a file to get a smooth flush finish.




Half-way through, things were not looking good – not helped by the fact that the top came off the adhesive bottle and glue flew everywhere – mainly all over the rudder. By the time I finished cleaning everything, the workers went out on strike and the health and safety department put a stop to the proceedings due to the chemical spillage…..


By now, the rudder looked a real mess as you can see below.







By now my moral was down, not helped by the fact that I was following the Pickle builds of Blue Ensign and Flyer. When I saw their completed rudders, I knew that something had to be done to get anywhere near such standards.



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Plating the Rudder - Part 2



After looking at my ruined Rudder I wondered what I was to do.


Hmmm, I carefully counted up my remaining copper plates, did some calculations and realised that if I was very, very careful and made no mistakes, I had just enough plates left to start again. Out came the knife and chisel - and off came the plates (wow, they were stuck on really well!!!). Using my files, I carefully removed the remains of the adhesive, remarked the rudder with my guidelines and started again.


This time, I started with the front (keel side) and plated the three curved rudder cut-outs. With those out of the way I plated the rudder again on both sides and finished with inboard and outboard sides. Finally, I painted the top part in black.





So that looked better - almost proud of the results! Time for a trial fit............




With the rudder temporarily in place, I checked the tiller.




All looked well.


Now there was more work to do on the rudder and so it was time for the workers to have a tea break before tackling the Pintles and Gudgeons - oh I can't wait. Having read other Pickle logs, it sounds like its going to be lots of fun......


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Thanks Rick


Always glad to be of service!


I've just finished adding the Pintles, Gudgeons and straps to the rudder - wow, that was fun!!


My rudder now hangs unaided, so something must be right!!


I will post some photo's later today.


All I can say is - read the instructions VERY carefully - follow them EXACTLY and you should be fine.



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Pintles and Gudgeons


So, I finally have the rudder more or less completed, and for now, another step acomplished. When I read Blue-Ensign's comments "An afternoons work to secure these, a little fiddly getting the pintles and gudgeons to meet up" I knew there were interesting times ahead.


First step was to fit the Pintles to the Rudder - hey, at least I got it the right way round - progress indeed.


Hmmm, trying to centre the straps was quite fiddly so I had the idea of drilling a pilot hole in the percieved currect place, then using a dome-head pin to keep the straps more or less in the right place before starting to glue them down.


Great idea....... if you're an octopus - I'm not, so resorted to my 'helping-hand' to help me out.... that worked well.




A word of warning. As the strap's centre now has a hole drilled through it, it makes the strap very delicate indeed. On my first strap, I managed to glue the first side to the rudder OK, but as I bent the second side........... it snapped. Not too much of an issue as I could simply glue the part on - and the join can't be seen.... Note to self, "I must be more careful".....


I finished the straps the carefully drilled the holes out to accept the pins which by now were shortened and bent to the correct 90 Degree angle. Trouble was, I then realised that the downward pin section was too long and if I had fitted it I wouldn't be able to hook it to the Gudgeon later on. Luckily I hadn't glued in the pin so pulled it out and did a little snipping .......... and of course dropped the pin into the black void that surrounds the modeller, never to be seen again.


Three pins later, I got it about right (so I thought) and finished off the rudder.


Then as per instructions, I positioned the rudder and, using masking tape, fixed the rudder in place. I then worked out where to fit the Gudgeon straps and marked up accordingly.


Off with the rudder, drilled the holes, added the Gudgeon pins, removed the pins and messed around for a while as I glued the straps and Gudgeons in place.


And there you have it (sort of).






The beedy eyed ones among you will possibly (how could you not!!) notice that the top Gudgeon doesn't line up correctly and that I seem to have made the Pintels just a little too short. Still, it's too late now as everything is glued into place.


I will be adding rudder chains, 'leather' covers deck-side and below the Transom and finally 'metal support straps' to the tiller arm when I make the final fit in due course. I'm sure that my Rudder chains will distract from the imperfection......... that will be a "Yes of course it will" then!!


Next, it's time to drill various holes around the ship and add various eyelets, gammoning rings and the like..



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  • 2 weeks later...

The Build – Phase 9


The Elm Tree Pumps – Part One


Time to do some more building. I looked at the instructions and saw that the next phase was the Elm Tree pumps. Great, that looked easy.


As suggested, and in the modelling time honoured tradition, I located, identified and removed all the required parts for the Pumps. WOW are they tiny!!! OK, so this isn’t going to be as easy as I thought….


So, for a reference for future new builders, I have created the following step by step guide to creating these Pumps. I hope they are of some use to someone in future



Anyway, I cut the 2mm and 4mm dowels to the required length and lined up the parts.


So we have, left to right, 1) a section of 0.70mm Brass Rod, 2) a piece of 2mm dowel, to be used as the pump outlet, 3) a piece of 4mm dowel as the main pump body, 4) the brake handle and 5) two yokes





So the first problem arose when I had to glue the two halves of the yoke together. Believe me, this really was no Yoke at all (sorry, I couldn’t resist!). The problem that presented itself was that gluing wasn’t simply a case of putting the two pieces together – difficult enough when I almost needed a radio telescope to see the two halves. No, we now have to only glue the bottom half of the yoke as the top half needs be kept separated so that the brake handle can slot in between,,,,


This first picture hopefully shows how tiny the yokes are:




If you look carefully, this picture shows the top third (on the left) of the Yoke that must NOT be joined (Sorry it's a little blurred).




I tried putting these pieces together dry, and it wasn't working. My method was certainly not going to work and the whole piece would end up distorted and glued together - not a good idea.


And then I had an idea!


I placed one Yoke on a piece of card, and carefully secured the Yoke with a piece of masking tape – thus covering the area not to be glued. Genius!!




And then, after a few dry runs, I glued the second piece on top.




And after leaving to dry – I was delighted with the result




Finally, I added the Brake Handle, slotting it in between the two Yoke sections.





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The Build – Phase 9


The Elm Tree Pumps – Part Two


So far, so good, but now things started to get a little tricky. Despite the wonderful instructions telling me that the small lip on the yolk would help me to position it correctly, I had great difficulty placing the completed Yoke on the Pump, whilst at the same time making sure it was vertical – and this was the dry run before I started trying to glue things together….


Hmmmm, then I had another idea. I found one of my modelling files and cut a small notch in the side of the pump




And that seemed to work well. With the Yoke in place, I then formed the top of the brass rod in to a loop, introduced the brake handle and attached the brake handle through the two sections of the Yoke.

Happy days, that seems to look OK




Next, whilst sitting there having a well-earned tea-break, I suddenly remembered seeing some enhancements that Blue Ensign made to the pumps, so off I went for a look. Yes, I certainly liked the idea of adding some iron bands top and bottom and I thought it would be good modelling practice for me, so I, as Blue Ensign did, found the 0.3mm brass eyelets and set to work removing a part of the moulding to use for my bands.


I spent a rather frustrating time trying to bend the bands correctly, but eventually managed and was finally able to fix them in place.







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The Build – Phase 9


The Elm Tree Pumps – Part Three


Having built my pump, the last step was to make and fix the pump's outlet pipe.

I tried to shape and attach the pump outlet, however, no matter how many times I tried to shape the piece of dowelling, it broke into pieces. (Thought for the day, is the dowelling bad quality - if so, need I worry when I get to the mast builds??).


Anyway, after four or five tries at this, I had another idea. I had managed to shape the top and bottom bands out of scrap brass – so why couldn’t I do the same for the pump outlet? I had a search around the kit and found one a suitable looking piece that I would be able to use.




I cut out a piece of brass and formed an outlet pipe. I then filed the front section at 45 degrees and it was ready for fixing.


I drilled quite a large area in to the pump ready to take my new outlet pipe…….




……. and then fixed the outlet in to the hole




And finally, a test fitting on to the deck. Next, I have to prime all the metal work and once dry, paint everything in black matt. I have noticed through my photograph that somehow my circular pipe seems to have been turned in to a triangular one – I will try and re-round (is that a word??) the pipe before I paint.


On reflection, perhaps the outlet pipe is a little large, but I didn’t really notice until I had fitted it and don’t want to spend hours filing away, possibly damaging the pump in the process, so it may stay as it is - unless I can find the hacksaw that I used to have???????????….....





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So, I had another look at my attempt at the Elmtree Pump outlet pipe and decided that it really wasn't good enough.


Here's the old version.....




I started again and created a new version. Now that's better (say's me!!)






It's almost a pity that I'm going to paint over the gleaming brass!!!


Now all I have to do is finish the second pump!!

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If anyone is out there, I have a question.


I am starting with the Skylights and Companion way. Of all the Pickle builds I have seen, I noticed that none appeared to have a 'Seal' line around the items. On a modern ship, I would expect to see some sort of coving around the base ot these structures and not just flush with the deck.


So my question is: how was this done in Pickle's day - and therefore for this build? Was the join simply tarred or??????


Many thanks 

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Caulked like all the other joints. But there was sometimes a bit of fancy framing in the era . 

But remember Pickle was a tiny working boat - no money on fancy work in general.


I have sailed  on a couple of working old vessels of the same size and they did have a bit of coving.  And varnish !!


But  my bet would be Pickle didnt.


 BUT as they say you are the skipper - I dont think either would be wrong.


Thanks for that.


I think I will try a little coving around the bottom - assuming of course that I can find some wood to do it in the first place. I think my local DIY store's coving would be just a little in the large side ...... time to get a little inventive!

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After contemplating my shiny Brass Pumps from the previous picture, I knew they needed painting, So, as needs must,I completed the painting, I purposely left the inside of the outlet pipe in grey as a contrast. Looks OK to me.


I fixed everything and repositioned the Pumps on the deck, when I realised that one of the Pumps has been assembled the wrong way round. Still, I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.


As suggested in other builds, I haven’t fixed the Pumps in place yet and will wait until later in the build.


Still, another section completed and now I move on to the Skylights and Companion Way….




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