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HMS Mercury by owend - CARD - Shipyard - 1:96

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I've started this kit, which was a Christmas present to me from the First Mate (although she's not terribly enthused!). It's similar to the Enterprize kit also by Shiptard, but the Mercury version is slightly more expensive and includes a laser-cut skeleton although otherwise identical as far as I know; laser parts are available as extra for the Enterprize and there are extra kits of masts and of pre-made sails for both kits. I'm intending this as a hull-only model, loosely based on Admiralty models.


I've previously done mainly wood kits, but also HMS Saumarez and Consul Pust in paper/card. This kit is considerably more complex and definitely not for beginners. It's 1/96 scale, and the skeleton is about 390mm with the kit claiming 660mm for the completed model


It's an impressive kit: 15 pages of printed parts (1 x A4, 14 x A3) well-printed on good quality paper, 3 A3 sheets of laser-cut skeleton, 11 A3 sheets of instructions and photos and a sheet of flags. It includes printed parts for the 1779 original (decorative) and post-1795 (Nelsonic black-and-ochre), although the choice doesn't have to made for a while. The printing looks good and sharp, and the laser-cut parts (on 1mm card) are beautifully precise; my only minor gripe is that the card on the coarse side and needs a bit of care to avoid delaminating. I didn't have to make any adjustments to the skeleton to get things to fit, which is commendable.


The instructions are non-verbal, with a series of photos of the kit being bullt and the instruction to add parts in the sequence shown, which is fairly clear with care, although the parts are clearly numbered but aren't in number order on the sheets so a lot of time is spent searching! Some also have to be doubled onto card of 0.5. 1.0 or 2.0mm.


I started after Christmas and I am expecting it to take me well past Summer.


Some photos: firstly the kit as unpacked (and I think keeping track of all the bits will be a major exercise in itself).

Secondly the spine, which is two thicknesses of the 1mm card, with a substantial overlap. Thirdly, I've cut in two brass tube for a mount later - I may not use them but they need to go in now just in case; not very neat as they will be hidden inside. Lastly for now the skeleton ready for plating. Note how small the horns are on frames I and II, and the fiddly small pieces for the stern framework. The instructions say to build this off the ship and attach when done, which I haven't got to, but again they look fragile. 


PS I started this as a simple kit review last week, in the Card and paper models section, but it's going to be a buildlog, so I've re-started it here.





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I also went out of sequence to add the "plating" to the upper part of the bows, so that the horns were again protected. Also in the interests of safeguarding delicate bits I haven't attached the transom yet, it'll go on after the plating/planking is on.


I have done the plating slightly off-instruction, by leaving a tab on one side of each plate so that they are in effect vertically clinker-built, and not cutting to precisely deck level until after attachment. When the glue has fully set I'll knife and sand the joins smooth and remove the above-deck pieces. A bit labour-intensive but easier for me as my card skills are less than perfect. The instructions suggest using "putty" after the "longitudinal planking" is on - I'm not sure if this is the second, decorative, layer or this white underlayer (more likely), which suggests they expect some unevenness. We'll see!


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Hi Owen,


Great progress so far; I look forward to following your build.


I agree about the laser cut forms, they are worth their weight in gold!!  I have used a few different ones now and they always fitted perfectly.  They are such a great time saver and set you up with a nice accurate hull to move forward with.




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A bit more done, and the first quality problem arises. As Clare (catopower) has noted on his buildlog, the knees (bulkhead extensions? bulwark supporters?) seem to be different sizes for port and starboard. They are also strange sizes - for instance part 31 is either 17mm or 22mm, whereas the height of the inner bulwark parts 65 and 66 which should be supported by knee 31 is 16.5mm. As the  knees are all about the same shape and will be partially obscured under the spar deck, and the bulwarks are 16-16.5mm, I'm going to scratch some at 16mm high, but using at least the outboard profile of each pair as they are slightly different. I'll try the shorter of the two options of the printed profiles, they LOOK more accurate.


I would guess that in the typesetting, someone copied one set on knees and pasted for the second pair, and somewhere the image was stretched.


PeteW, as Captain Slog says, the laser-cut hull skeleton is worth paying extra for, which comes with Mercury. I think for Enterprise the price is lower but without laser-cut parts; the laser-cut extra pack will nearly double the price and it's otherwise the same, as far as I know.




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