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HMS Ethalion 1797 by robdurant - FINISHED - Modified from Caldercraft 1:64 HMS Diana 1794

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Thanks Jason, and to everyone who's spurred this project on with likes and encouragement!


The boats have taken a bit of a pause, but I do have a little progress to report.


  • The mainmast ratlines are complete *he pauses to celebrate!* - given how much my arms were aching, I may need to move the model down a little (or get a taller chair!) before I get too much stuck into the topmast ratlines!

  • I've also spent a fair bit of time putting all the fittings and detail onto the the yards, along with the rigging blocks. I'm about half way through, but the most detailed yards - the main and fore mainyards are complete. I used black card on the studding sail booms, as this seemed more to scale than the chunky white metal rings. They were fiddly little blighters to get fixed in place, but I'm pleased with the end result. 







The stirrups are made out of jewellery wire. I've used it before, and it seems to do a nice job, and needs no painting afterwards, which prevents me making a goof-up.


Here's a final shot of how she stands as of yesterday evening... the captain wouldn't be pleased - the yards are just pinned, and are all ahoo (made worse with the wide angle) - but once the lifts get added, that'll improve a lot, I'm sure :)




Happy building, all!




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  • 1 month later...

Hi all,


Well, it's been almost two months since I posted, so here's a little post to show I haven't given up on Ethalion or simply disappeared. That said, I haven't been posting all the time firstly because I haven't got a huge amount done, and secondly because what I've done is a little on the repetitive side... But, here are a few pictures of progress. I've finished the futtock shrouds on the masts, and moved on to rigging the topmast shrouds and ratlines.


I have a workspace that wraps round the wall, and I've found this invaluable with all the turning round of the model - this is not a ship that can be built in a tiny space! And that's without the boom on the mizzen!










Thanks as always for the likes and encouragement, and I hope you're having a blessed advent-time!



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Oh, decisions decisions.... Well, I've settled on my next build. Barque Stefano by MarisStella. I've been admiring this model for a while now, and with Ethalion drawing to a close, it was time to work out what next. 


I hope Zoran won't mind me putting up one of the photos of his fine kit here.... 




So. I'll need to finish Ethalion first (for the space at my build desk if nothing else...), but then I shall be starting a new build log.  And I'd just like to say thank you to Zoran and HeronGuy for being more than helpful with the questions I asked. I'm sure there will be many more as I proceed.


Now... back to those ratlines!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had to pause and think for a bit here... I tend not to follow the instructions very closely. I'll read them through, then look at the other build logs, think about how I've done it before in other similar builds (i.e. Royal Yacht Caroline in this case) and then gingerly pick my way through. So, it was onto the standing rigging.


I proceeded in the following order:

  • Add shroud cleats to every fore shroud and the rear two mizzen shrouds, 12mm above the deadeyes.
  • Add shroud cleats to the front two main and front two mizzen shrouds, directly above the deadeyes.
  • Mizzen mast stay
  • Main mast preventer stay
  • Main mast stay
  • Fore mast preventer stay
  • Main mast stay
  • Bobstays.

And that's as far as I've got so far. Now, it wasn't clear on the plans, but I feel I may have got the hearts muddled up... I've used the two larger on the main mast, and the two smaller on the fore, but I suspect it should actually be larger for the main stays and smaller for the preventer stays? I don't know for sure, but it's done now, and I'm going to live with it.


The mouse on each stay was made by tying .25mm thread round the rope, and then wrapping it around to effectively seize the rope back and fore, then carefully tying a couple of reef knots to secure. I used pva to help as I went.


Here are some photos of the work done.


Shroud cleats:

I found that tying a knot round the shroud cleat in the upper notch first, then tying this round the shroud, and then tying another knot round the lower notch provided a reasonable amount of stability. This worked better on the main and fore shrouds where the shroud is thicker. PVA helped to secure.




Attaching the mizzen stay to the main mast:

The deadeye was attached to the mast by first attaching the deadeye to a length of 1.25mm rope, then looping that round the mast and seizing it in the same fashion... Careful handling meant it turned out reasonable. I made the mistake of simply knotting this to the mast on Royal Yacht Caroline, and I'm much happer with this result.




Attaching the stays to the tops... 

A loop has to be made, by putting the rope through a loop at it's own end... the mouse stops the loop from tightening right up to the mast... Here are the loop (a simply seized loop on the end of the rope) and the mouse close-up.





And here are a few photos of the stay in situ...










And an overall shot of progress (just before I tightened up the fore shroud. I hadn't fitted the bobstay at this point.)




Hopefully this may be some help to others who find themselves rigging a frigate :)



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Thanks Tim,


Yes, the knots are clove hitches. At first I always have the following picture next to me while I'm tying them otherwise I get confused. By the time I'm half way up the first shroud, I pretty much have it under my belt again and I can get into the rhythm. When it's right, you get one line across the front, and two across the back. It looks really nice :) Tweezers are a must, and after each row, I put on watered down PVA. I go up the sections from bottom to top, every other line, and then go back the next day and fill in the other lines. As I go, I watch to see if the shrouds are being pulled out of line (using pencil marks on the paper behind, made when i put in the guides), and then gently pull the lines (which at that point still have some spare on either end) to fix it. Once the whole shroud is done, that's when I go back and cut off the 5mm or so I've left on each end of each line. I've learned to leave that little bit, as on Pickle, I didn't, and occasionally I'd undo work I'd done earlier, much to my frustration.



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More stays, a martingale, and some backstays...


Once the lower stays are in place, it's time to move onto the backstays. These are set up much like the lower stays, except that the foretopmast stay and the foretopgallant stay go through the holes in the bees on either side of the jib boom. They attach to eyelets in the bow on either side of the jib boom, where they're seized.








These photos are warts and all, but hopefully it allows you to see how I've gone ahead and done things.


I rigged the martingale next... This is the rope that goes from the tip of the jib boom, under the dolphin striker (that points down from the joint between the jib boom and bowsprit) and to the bow.








Foretopgallant stay


This goes from the hounds of the foretopgallant mast down to the block on the tip of the jibboom and then runs back along the jib boom to tie off on the starboard deadeye on the foremost ring of deadeyes on the bowsprit.








The main and mizzen topgallant stays and royal stays, go to the mast in front where they pass through blocks and down. The top gallant stays go to the deck where they are fixed with blocks... the royals, are tied off to the back of the main shroud. For some reason I didn't take pictures of this, so I'll try and get some and add a post.


All of this may not be entirely accurate to the period, but it's how I'd gone about it based on my understanding of the plans and Lennarth Petersson's book. Hope it's helpful.




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Okay - so just looking back at what I did yesterday, I'm still getting confused myself... Here's what I did, using the mizzen mast as the example (the main mast is the same)


1. Mizzentopmast stay.

Goes to the block just below the mainmast top, then passes down to the deck where it is secured as shown.




2. Mizzentopmast preventer stay.

The same, but goes to the block above the mainmast top.




3. Mizzentopgallantmast stay.

Goes from the hounds of the topgallant to the block on the maintopmast just above the crosstrees, then passes down to the top where it is seized to an eyelet.




4. Mizzentop royal stay.

Goes from the tip of the topgallant to the block seized round the hounds of the maintopgallant mast, then down to be tied off on the mainmast main shroud behind the mast.






Then rinse and repeat for the main mast, tying off to the fore mast in the respective positions.


As always, hope this helps :)


Next post will be on the (somewhat confusing) array of backstays that can be fitted...


Happy building



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On 12/29/2020 at 10:39 AM, robdurant said:

Oh yes, and a picture of progress so far.... (with the yards temporarily fixed to see how it looked :) )




And one with just the rigging...



Rob:  I note the 4 Caldercraft moulded boats in the photo.  Did you ever make them up?  I am not as confident about making these boats, to a reasonable quality,  from scratch so have hedged my bets and bought two of the plastic hulls and will attempt to make two from the kit. Barbosa has a good thread on making the kit boats. P

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Hi Peter


You spotted them :) They were a gift from santa... I really struggle making the wooden little boats so I now have the resin hull set sold separately. I spent a happy few hours yesterday evening putting paper onto them as per Jason's (beef wellington) build to make them look clinkered.  Having put them in place I now realise it will leave almost nothing showing on the gundeck so I'll probably display them along the front of the model with perhaps one in place. We'll see. 


Here's the progress so far.







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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Rob, Your Ethalion is  beautiful ship with some great attention to detail. I'm just starting out on my build of Diana so I hope that you won't mind if I pick up on some of your ideas to help me through. Thanks also for developing your picture resizer app which has made starting my first log so much easier.



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Hi David,


Many of the ideas are from other builds on this great forum, so I can't claim them for my own, but please do take whatever you find helpful and use to your heart's content. I'm very glad to hear that the software is proving a help as well.  I look forward to seeing lots of updates as you progress. Diana makes up into a stunning and very impressive model!





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I've just completed the main mast stays - topmast, topgallant, and royal stays, as per the fore mast. And in doing so I ran out of .5mm natural thread.... again... but not before I got all of the yards attached to the masts, and the spritsail yard attached too with their trusses and parrel beads as appropriate.


Here's what I did (although I'm aware that in various places it may be a little unorthodox - not least because I forgot to put the cleats on the masts, and it's way too late to start at this stage! Lesson learned!


The bits that hold the yards up (trusses, parrel beads, and halyards?)


Main yards and cross jack


The main, fore and cross jack yards (those that are lowest on the masts) are fixed with trusses. I formed these by tying two lengths round the yards with loops in the ends at the yard. This was done off the model. Then the yards were put back in place, and the opposite ends passed through the loops and then down to the deck and fixed tied off to a double 3mm block opposite a single block hooked into the eyelet on the deck just behind the mast with a lanyard which ends on the cleat on the mast (or on the bitts if you've forgotten them!). There's a good illustration of this in the instructions, and an even better picture in Lennarth Petersson's book... but here's my attempt.








Parrel beads (top / topgt yards)


The maintop, maintopgallant, foremaintop, and foremaintopgallant yards have parrel beads in two rows with parrel bead separators between them. These are noted as being castings in my instructions, but were in fact brass etched. They need blackening / painting before you begin. Then you have to start the tortuous needs-five-hands-at-least task of getting them rigged. 

To make this easier, I did as much as I could off the model.


.5mm rope was looped round the yard through the footropes, where it would finally end up, and parrel beads were threaded onto the rope, interspersed with the spacers - currently only on one rope (paying attention to which way round the spacers are - the curved edge will face out from the mast when fixed). Then, the other end of the rope was passed through the other hole in the spacers.


The picture will make it more clear, hopefully...





Once done, masking tape is applied to the loose ends to stop it all falling off...




...and the yard is then attached to the mast (it's pinned). Then the loose ends can be passed round the mast on the inner side of any rigging, ensuring that it isn't above or below any blocks that it shouldn't be... and fastened with a knot into a loop in as inconspicuous fashion as possible.


I'll admit, I'm not great at this... but it's done for another model!


I've seen others put extra layers on from this point to go round the middle of the parrel beads, but I call it a day at this point... or my head hurts too much!


Here's an end shot.






The fore and aft booms on the mizzen mast are secured with a single thread with parrel beads on it, but no spacers.


Spritsail yard


This is placed in a sling as shown below... A loop is tied round the bowsprit, and then another round the spritsail yard. It's all tied off in the middle.






The spritsail yard stay can then be rigged...










Finally, the heavy loops that support the weight of the yards, and are formed with suitably heavy rope along with the big 7mm blocks which were rigged and pass down to the deck to be rigged to the eyelets just fore of the mast being tied off on the bitts.




So far so good. The gaps to fit one's hands in are growing smaller... but we're getting there.



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Hi Jason,


It's been a productive month or so :)


I've attached my calculations below which are based on AOTS. The first page shows mast dimensions (with long, proper and stump additional measurements for topgallant (add the first column "height o/a" to the stump / long / proper)). These measurements are shown 1:1 in feet and inches, 1:1 in metres, and then 1:64 in cm. I opted for the long, but I have to say, it does add quite a lot to the height of a case!... It looks really smart, though, and gives the masts a sense of really gracefully stretching out above the hull.


Please do check these yourself before you start cutting wood, because my mind's a little foggy on how I went about this, and I wouldn't want to steer you off course :) 


If you download this pdf, the second and third pages are all of the yard dimensions from AOTS.


Spar dimensions at scale.pdf




I drew all of these out in CAD and used those as the basis for making the spars. Unfortunately I lost those drawings with some computer troubles, otherwise I'd share them here. Hence not being quite as sure as I would have been as to what I decided.


The rigging is all roughly per the kit, but looking at Lennarth Petersson's book to help me get it right... Those are the places where I used deadeyes instead of the special blocks Caldercraft provides.... (fiddle blocks?). Altogether I think they're pretty similar. My model is not going to be a completely accurate rendition as I've already realised that I missed out a shroud on the main mast, which has been repurposed as a topmast shroud so that the deadeye is occupied. And I missed the cleats on the masts, so the belaying points are being reworked a little. But I'm satisfied the overall effect will be sufficiently accurate to look workable.


Thanks to all for the encouragement and interest shown.



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On 12/31/2020 at 7:45 PM, robdurant said:

Hi Peter


You spotted them :) They were a gift from santa... I really struggle making the wooden little boats so I now have the resin hull set sold separately. I spent a happy few hours yesterday evening putting paper onto them as per Jason's (beef wellington) build to make them look clinkered.  Having put them in place I now realise it will leave almost nothing showing on the gundeck so I'll probably display them along the front of the model with perhaps one in place. We'll see. 


Here's the progress so far.







Rob: looks very good - I will be following in your wake. P


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  • 1 month later...

Okay- the rigging is complete. I'm waiting for a case to be made, so Ethalion's under a cardboard frame with a plastic dust cover over her at the moment - not her best look.


I shall take some better photos and post them when she re-emerges. I shall add (at least some of) the ship's boats around the model rather than on the skids as they hide so much of the deck beneath. But for now I'm going to call this one finished :). Thanks so much to everyone for your encouragement, interest, wisdom, likes, ideas, etc...  Especially Barbossa, Ray, Beef Wellington... I've taken so much inspiration from your builds!


Here's just a few photos...










She's in much need of a nicer stand, but that will happen when the case arrives :)


Thanks again.





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