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

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I've finished the starboard gallery now. I decided to mimic the decoration from the builder's model on the Greenwich collection here using painted paper... this meant I could design and print out the pattern and then cut it out, paint it, and stick it to the model because it _should_ form to the upper part of the gallery... At the moment the pva has made it rather glossy, but I'm hopeful that a coat of matt varnish will flatten it and make it look more in place with the rest of the gallery decoration. The "verticals" were added between the windows adding an extra element of depth, and the decorations added as per the stern. The close-up's brutal, but it looks rather nicer in person...

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I've also started attaching the deck furniture and adding the cross beams. (I still need to remember to add the cleats! MUST NOT FORGET!)...

 

Yesterday evening I scratch built a couple of elm-tree pumps... The support for the handle supplied for the kit is the same width as the 1:24 diagram - that wouldn't do, so I used some spare photo-etch (chains from HM Schooner Pickle) to fashion a more fitting support for the handle. The pump links are Pickle photo-etch eyelets. Here they are with some of the kit parts in front of them...

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And in place... (the chain pumps are still waiting to be finished off an attached.)

 

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In the meantime my daughter and I have been doing some card modelling :)

 

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Not bad for a ten year old! :)

 

Happy building

 

Rob

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Oh yes, and I've been working on the sheer rails on the starboard side (mental note, must catch up on port side!). The scrolls were scratch built rather than use the walnut in the kit - those parts are reasonable wood, but seem to me to be slightly the wrong shape...

 

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Happy building

 

Rob

 

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The chain pump's fixed in place, and the cleats on the bulwarks are finally there (I scratched them out of box)! A couple of stanchions to go, and I want to get the channel supports in place before I put the top deck on. Not far to go on the gun deck now! Feels like a major milestone! (Someone needs to get a broom out by the looks of it!)

 

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Test fitting the quarter deck / foredeck and gangways.

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Rob

 

 

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Hi all,

 

Thanks as always for the likes and encouragement.

 

The upper deck is glued in place and drying as we speak, so my thoughts have been on how to plank it... I didn't want to do the same style as the gun deck, but instead wondered whether I could manage the tapered planks that are seen on contemporary models and in the AOTS Diana.

 

So... to QCAD... I'll add a longer update soon, but at the moment I thought I'd share the design I've ended up with... (Note I haven't marked the plank endings on this version, but it does give the taper...

 

The file can be downloaded here as a PDF to be printed on A3. (It's based on the Caldercraft deck, and not the AOTS deck shape, so that it fits with the kit I'm building. Measurements are all in millimetres, and the outermost plank is the waterway. Each plank should be equal length, and although the outer planks will be slightly longer, it shouldn't be noticeable if I make them all identical - at least, that's the plan! I'll shape them all together, and then cut them to length as I lay them according to the pattern in AOTS. There are 21 planks per side. So - I've got strips of 4mmx0.5mm maple (to match the wood I used for the gun deck) from Cornwall Model Boats, who were wonderfully prompt as always! Thanks guys :)

 

Here's the cad file.  ethaliondeck.20190222.pdf

Just as a point to note, on my model, the deck will actually run slightly further back than the false deck, as my transom finishes slightly further back. But that will probably vary model by model.

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Happy building

 

Rob

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Hi Rob,

 

Looking forward to your progress on this (side)-project.

I went for a rather "straighforward" approach and the way both you and Jason manage things are lessons learned for me.

 

Keep up the good work !

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Hi Christian,

 

It may have been a straightforward approach, but your Diana looks absolutely amazing - I've been back many times to look at the build photos and see how you've done things to help me along the way, so thank you! I particularly like the white columns between the windows on your build - they look really good! It's great the way we set out with the same kit but end up with unique models - each a reflection of its maker.

 

Rob

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You're always welcome, Rob

 

And I 100 % agree : this kit offers a lot of possibilities/opportunities.

Regarding the columns : the AoTS inspired me, the first pages show different (lookalike?) Diana's with columns

 

Besides, this is what's MSW all about : by different approaches, exchanging ideas and trying to improve yourself (myself ) for the next build

 

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As I'm uploading the photos to my gallery, a brief update on how the planking on the quarter deck is going... It's been a learning curve, but for a first attempt I'm quite happy so far. The curve gets some way towards matching the shape of the quarter deck, but not all the way there. In the future, I think I'd spend a bit more time building a jig and really getting the planks the right width straight out. That said, the idea of shaping the planks all together seemed to work fairly well. They were shaped in one length, and then each had the joins marked on. That avoided the need to shape each individual plank separately, and led to nice sharp lines for each run. The joins were cut and edged with black sharpie before being stuck down. The first plank laid at the centre line was marked on both sides, and each plank laid after that was only "caulked" on the outside in the hope that the join would be somewhat less bold. 

 

Carpenters glue (Aliphatic resin, or PVA on speed, as I prefer to call it) was used throughout. It allows time to reposition, wipes off easily when it oozes out, doesn't cause me breathing problems, and grabs quickly enough that I don't go mad waiting for it to set... it also sets hard enough that I can trust it not to let go at inconvenient moments... 

 

Here's are a couple of photos...  The gratings are just laid out roughly in place, and I have yet to complete the outside run on the starboard side and five or six runs on the port side... but it gives some idea of the overall effect.

 

In retrospect, I'd provide more support down the outside edges of the false deck if I were doing this again... it has a bit of flex, and as I added the starboard planking, I inadvertently pushed it down a bit, leading to a wavy edge for five centimetres or so around the rear channel area... It's only a couple of mm up and down, but it's going to irritate me. That said, it'd be a nasty job to lift it all now, and my attempt to pull the deck up was a dead end - I was going to make a terrible mess of things, so I'm going to have to live with it. Once you're a cm or so away from the edge, it's all even again... Hopefully it'll be less evident once the bulwark is planked on the inside... (hopefully!), especially once the guns are in place, and the standing rigging takes the attention away. Also, a little support right at the rear of the false deck on each side would have been a sensible addition. Lesson learned - and I'll be older and hopefully wiser next time!

 

On the plus side, the extra hole where I'd moved the mizzen has been covered up - that was a nice milestone. I've marked in pencil where the capstan should go, but I'm not going to bother putting a hole in the deck - who'd know?!? The mast stubs fit beautifully which was a huge sigh of relief!

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Happy building!

 

Rob

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Well, the quarterdeck is planked and the starboard gangway. I've also managed to tidy up the edge of the deck where it meets the hull side at the waist. Really pleased with how that worked out. Not sure whether it needs a yellow ochre trim... I can add that later if I want to.

 

The gangway planking is wider than the quarter deck planking, as per AOTS.

 

On the bottom photo you can see a box strip laid tranversely in front of the gangway planking - I'm still not sure whether I like this effect. I may revert to a narrower maple strip to match the rest of the planking as the contrast is too great. Something needs to go across the deck there, though.

 

Happy building

 

Rob

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Posted (edited)

Hi all,

 

A short update. I've completed planking the forecastle, gangways and quarterdeck. The next task was to plank the bulkheads, which were pre-painted red ochre. These could have been yellow ochre, but I figure light levels aren't an issue on an open deck, and I like the contrast.

 

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I planked the bulwarks on the quarterdeck, which was simple enough, but when I reached the foc'sle I realised that I'd cut down the hull too far. A good while has been spent building this up again so that the sheer rails look right next to the rail at the top.  I think I'm nearly there, but it's tedious, fiddly and time-consuming... I'd work harder to avoid this in the future. Thankfully it's on an area of the hull that's painted.

 

To break the tedium I decided to add the channel supports. As others have noted, there are 22 supplied, and _at least_ 26 are required according to the Caldercraft planks. I reused some of the rudder hinges (which I'd replaced with black card because they seemed too bulky for that) for this purpose. Even then, I reduced the six supports on the main channel to five so there were enough to go round. (One could buy another set of the Diana photo-etch, but at £95 it's a bit steep for 6 channel support brackets!

 

The brackets were blackened first. The channels themselves aren't glued onto the hull yet, so they were removed and the brackets stuck to the bottoms, then the channels temporarily reinstalled. These will need gluing on soon, and once glued on, then I'll drill the holes to pin the brackets to the hull sides. (After a good sleep, and when I'm feeling confident I won't leave the hull looking like a swiss cheese!)

 

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I'm very pleased with the results so far.

 

All comments welcome, and all likes appreciated.

 

Rob

 

Edited by robdurant
Changed "area that's planked" to "area that's painted"

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Hi all,

 

I've been spending a little more time transcribing the master's logs for Ethalion. It's a fascinating process... Lots of it is repetitive but then you find passages where the entire rig of the ship is taken down and set up again... As others have speculated in the past, it is clear that lots of knowledge was simply assumed - the passage below logged when Ethalion was moored in Hamoaze demonstrating that nicely...

 

 

Tuesday
18th December 1798

Varble

NNW

Light Winds & Cloudy, fitted the Bobstays and set them up. Riggd the foretopmast and Mizen Mast, Sway’d up the fore & main top Masts and set up the fore and Main stays &c. &c. AM Modt and Cloudy, Got the top sail Yards across & Rattled Down the Fore & Main Rigging, Recd 354 Pounds of Fresh Beef Recd also Boatswains stores.

 

It's nice to see the humanity of the Master (James Duckworth) creeping in too... (Not quite a month of Sundays, but seemingly a week with two Thursdays!) . The error continues to the end of the page (with Saturday rather than Sunday) and then suddenly skips back to the correct day... but perhaps the error was never spotted? There have been a few places where that happened. A sign of the similarity of days aboard a ship of war?

 

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I found myself writing about putting on the dead eyes on the same day I've been starting to set these up on my build. A pleasing coincidence!

 

For those who would like to read more about the order in which the ship was re-rigged (having had considerable amounts of the rigging condemned), you can find it in the December 1798 entries in the following PDF (a work in progress).

 

LogTranscription.James_Ducker_Masters_ Log17980701-17990630.ADM-52-2983.20190325.pdf

 

More on the build soon.

 

Rob

     

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Hi all,

 

First of all, thanks very much for the likes :)

 

Just a little update. I've been working on the channels and chain links that pass the pull from the stays and deadeyes down to the hull sides.

 

The first job was to get the plates at the base of these links in place. So I put the stub masts in, clamped a 30cm ruler to it them and used cotton thread to show the line the stays would follow. The thread was weighted down with small bulldog clips and passed through the notches in the channels. Masking tape on the hull side allowed me to mark the locations of the pins, and then drill them without marking the hull sides.

 

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These are fiddly blighters. I blackened all the photo-etch parts, and now I've made up the brass wire links that complete the links I'm ready to blacken those. Just the 5mm deadeyes on the fore and main channels done so far and dry fitted. To strengthen the parts, I soldered the parts surrounding the dead eyes to make them a closed loop. So far, so good... none of the chains, lined up to follow the lines of the stays, obstruct the gun ports! 😅

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And in other news, I had a surprise on Saturday. I turned 40 a few days ago, and my wife had organised a surprise party... in Bristol... a harbour trip on the Matthew (the replica of John Cabot's caravel from 1497)...  they even let me steer! (brave of them!)

 

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Not something I ever thought I'd do, but a nice way to start a new decade!

 

Rob

 

 

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Today I managed to add the decoration onto the port gallery so that it matched the starboard. I've also added the capping rails onto the forecastle. I added walnut strip to the edge of the capping strip to widen it before pre-painting it and then fixing it onto the hull.

 

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12 hours ago, captain_hook said:

Very good work. I especially like the authentic colour scheme. If you don’t mind me asking a question - what sort of blue colour do you use for decoration?

Hi. Thanks very much. I borrowed the idea for the blue from Jason (Beef Wellington). It's Tamiya XF-18 acrylic - "Medium Blue".

 

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It's been a while since I posted an update.. that's for a few reasons. Firstly, I've been agonising over the deadeye strops. The kit includes some pre-bent wire, which can be soldered shut - the problem being that the joint ends up at the bottom, where the chains connect... It may be my soldering, but I found that the joint was coming loose, and that meant the chain just fell loose. That was irritating at this stage, but I didn't want to start the standing rigging and find deadeyes were coming loose, and I guess they're going to have a fair amount of tension on them by the time they're rigged. So... I scratched my head... and waited while I thought about it.

 

The second reason was that I went away for a few days, and took a model with me, and I still haven't finished it :) I haven't put a build log on here, becuase it's just for fun and I'm chucking it together. It's a 1/350 Tamiya Prince of Wales with _some_ photo-etch from Eduard on it and a wooden deck. Those of you who know the ship well, or know the photo-etch kit, or know pretty much anything about plastic / photo-etch builds, will see a myriad of problems ... and I don't care ;) it was just for fun!

 

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I had a bit of a play making a seascape for it, to make it a waterline model... and here's the current state of it. I'm going to finish it off so I have my boat building desk back to get on with Ethalion. It should be done in the next week or so.

 

Back to the deadeye strops, and I've found a solution. Caldercraft sell them as photo-etch sets separately, so I've ordered a bunch, and that should take the cork out of the creative bottle as they say!

 

I'll let you know how I get on.

 

Rob

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Yep. The photo-etch deadeye strops from caldercraft are perfect. Now the slow and steady task of replacing them begins.

 

I wanted to make the chain between the strop and the hull as strong as possible, so decided to solder the links rather than simply bending them over. That was no problem, but meant the links couldn't be blackened before fitting, which resulted in the chains looking somewhat bling! Fine for a Royal Yacht but not so good for a working Frigate.

 

I tried all sorts of different wires - black enamelled jewellery making wire was much too soft and couldn't be soldered easily. 0.5mm Steel "piano" wire was much too hard to bend - the risk of damaging the ship was too great. Brass wire, as mentioned before, was far too garish, and every slight patch of uncovered wire would stick out like a sore thumb if I tried to blacken them later.

 

In the end some plastic coated gardeners wire came to the rescue. The plastic coating could be stripped off easily revealing what I imagine is some form of mild steel? It bends easily enough (similar to brass), solders really easily, and looks tarnished grey out of the box. With a little extra effort, I'm confident I can dull it down to merge in with the blackened fittings - or at least to the point where it doesn't look too out of place. So. That's the plan. Loop round the strop, and soldier. Place onto channel... Measure and fit other end to fit bracket on hull, and pre-bend... Fit in place, complete bending onto bottom bracket, and solder that end.  Time consuming, but I'm moving ahead with confidence that it will be strong enough to resist the pull of the stays, which is the main thing.

 

Once the strops are in place and fully fitted, the gap they sit in is plugged on the outer edge with some scrap box, which is then sanded down to match the edge of the channel. You can see the strops at varying stages of completion on the photo below...

 

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Thanks for all the likes.

 

Rob

 

 

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Time for another small update. Small because of late I've found myself sitting staring at the model when I get a little time to work on it, and not achieving much beyond that.  Oh well, the ship's patient with me!

 

Anyway... For a break in the channels, I've been looking at the head rails. The top rail needs to be made up before you can see where the other rail, and all of the parts that sit on top of the beakhead go.

 

I wanted to make these parts up so they reflected the AOTS / NMM plans shapes more closely than the kits parts. To that end, I stretched the plans (which started at 1:64) around the bow by 114% on the x-axis, which by my calculations allows for the angle the rails are at on the plans. Then I printed them out, made a card mockup to trial it, and then pritt-sticked them onto some cherry (in two parts so that the grain was running along each part) and cut them out.

 

And here are the results...  (roughly taped in position for a trial)

 

The redeeming feature of these headrails is that they're straight when you look at them from the top. It won't be so easy for the middle rail, which seems to bend in every direction possible. This will at least give a good reference point for starting out making that part!

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Been a little absent, but very enjoyable to catch up on your wonderful progress Rob, must feel good to have the upper deck on and planked.  How did you actually taper the planks to the right shape (sanding, cutting,...?) - you achieved a very nice curve.

 

Will certainly be picking your brains going forward.  The headwork are honestly a head scratcher to me and I've been mulling that over for many months as I think many parts will need to be scratched to get a pleasing look.  As you point out, the kit supplied parts are not the right shape, and the ply is just horrible quality (at least mine were).  I'm trying to decide whether the grating s should be a series of flat sections, or one continuous curve as I've seen on some models, the latter obviously being rather more challenging.

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On 6/21/2019 at 10:31 PM, Beef Wellington said:

How did you actually taper the planks to the right shape

Hi Jason, I worked out the dimensions at 5 cm intervals, and then planed, then sanded some 5mm square strip to those widths (they were only shaped on one side, so completely flat on the other. Those were used as the templates on either side of the strips, which were laid down edge down in between those strips. Once held tightly in place with masking tape, they were sanded down with a sanding strip. It took a while, but once done they were all done in one go. The hardest thing was handling all of the strips and getting them lined up and fixed down in the first place. It was an exercise in patience. I've tried to draw the process below... 

 

QuarterdeckPlanks.pdf

 

I've also attached the plan I made of the deck based on measurements from my model... (I wouldn't recommend relying on these measurements for yours too much, as I know I could have done a better job with the fairing of some of the bulkheads, so I have a little bit of a bulge on my model, but it gives an idea.)

 

ethaliondeck.20190222.pdf

 

On 6/21/2019 at 10:31 PM, Beef Wellington said:

Been a little absent, but very enjoyable to catch up on your wonderful progress Rob, must feel good to have the upper deck on and planked.  How did you actually taper the planks to the right shape (sanding, cutting,...?) - you achieved a very nice curve.

 

Will certainly be picking your brains going forward.  The headwork are honestly a head scratcher to me and I've been mulling that over for many months as I think many parts will need to be scratched to get a pleasing look.  As you point out, the kit supplied parts are not the right shape, and the ply is just horrible quality (at least mine were).  I'm trying to decide whether the grating s should be a series of flat sections, or one continuous curve as I've seen on some models, the latter obviously being rather more challenging.

Yes, this really is one of (if not the) most challenging bits of the model. I haven't worked it out yet either, but I'm relying on lots of card templates, eyeball 1.0, and plugging away bit by bit. I  figured if I got the rails in place, I could start thinking about the gratings. Curved gratings? That does sound like a massive challenge. I think I may go for a number of flat sections... perhaps if the turns were gentle enough a curve could be sanded / scraped in (using a template with sandpaper over the top, or a curved scraped used across, rather than fore and aft) rather than building it curved? Just thinking out loud. I may use the kit supplied parts as a starting point and see what they look like. 

 

I haven't made the vanity rail yet, so that's the next challenge. Also, I need to work out how to scrape a nice profile on the head rail as it changes width... and thin it down a bit. 

 

Anyway - those are my thoughts so far :) A few deadeyes to secure on the channels first. Starboard finished, but port still to go.i.thumb.jpeg.439964b338f4ac468648ad9096e8a2e0.jpeg

Happy building

 

Rob

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Well, I couldn't resist :) - The stump masts were looking a little.... stumpy?

 

So I sat down and worked out what lengths I thought the masts ought to be... AOTS has them as being significantly shorter than the Jotika plans - two to three centimetres. 

 

This is what I came up with...

 

pic1.jpg.9d216bf75cdbbcb3d76a52d0eab3cd38.jpg

 

So the measurements are taken from the bottom of the mast to the upper deck (marked "B") - this was measured from the stump masts, I'd already made. Then the second measurement was taken from AOTS diagram F1/5, F1/6 and F2/1 from the upper deck braces to the top of the mast. By working out the distance between the upper (gun deck) and the fore / quarter deck above it (which turned out to be approx 3cm) I could then work out the entire length of the mast from mast step to top. As I said, this ended up 419mm for the main mast, 345 for the foremast, and 239 for the mizzen. Top and TGt masts were also calculated using the AOTS diagrams F1/3, F1/4, F1/5.

 

And here it is, with some scrap left at the top of each mast for when I put it into the lathe to turn it down... 

 

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In other news, I also attached the channels on the port side today, and drilled the holes for the chain plates to attach to the hull.  

 

As always, thanks so much for the likes, and here's to happy building!

 

Rob

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Amazing to see and thanks for sharing. Diana is top on my wishlist if I ever finish my current builds. Just a question which you might have some knowledge about since you decided to convert Diana. As i understand they built 9 frigattes in the same style: Artios, Diana, Clyde, Tamar,  Jason, Seahorse, Diamond, Apollo and this one. Do you know the major differences between these ships and do you recommend trying to do one of the others instead of sticking with the Diana version? I have already seen another building the Jason also, and it got me curious. 

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Posted (edited)

Hi Vane,

 

Thanks for your encouragement :) The Anatomy of the Ship on HMS Diana note nine ships as you mentioned. Of these the seventh and eigth (Clyde and Tamar) were built out of fir rather than oak (the latter being in short supply by that point in the Revolutionary Wars. The final, Ethalion, was built out of oak again.

 

You can look up the plans for each of the ships on the Maritime museum's website, and that's where I began my search when I was thinking about building Ethalion instead of Diana. As it turns out, the differences between the sister ships are somewhat lesser than the differences between the kit and the actual frigates. These differences include the width of the stern, and so the layout of the gallery and stern lights, etc..., the layout of the gun ports, and the layout of the channels to name but a few. The more you look, the more you'll see subtle differences.

 

The following is a side-by-side comparison of Ethalion, Artois, and Jason (from the RMG plans) compared to the Anatomy of the Ship plans for Diana to give you an idea of some of the subtle differences. If you look at the mizzen channels for Jason and Artois you'll notice they're split, whereas Ethalion (and Diana from AOTS) are the same. That has a bearing on where the chainplates land around the gunports towards the stern, but the hull shape remains unchanged.

 

One of the more noticable differences as well is the bulkheads on the quarter deck... on Ethalion here. they're open - vertical pillars with a rail on top. On Jason and Diana below, they're enclosed (as the kit Diana depicts)... I've chosen to build them open - a decision I may regret when I get there! but I believe Ethalion's rails were enclosed in a refit. Also Ethalion's rails terminate at the fore end in a vertical... the others are more ornamental.

artois_class_comparison.thumb.png.d42a7b7519f173ba38509e25f5cca0eb.png

The diagram above is comprised of pictures from the following links from the Royal Museums Greenwich website:

http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/82225.html  (Ethalion)

http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/82174.html   (Artois)
http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/82195.html  (Jason)

 

Also, the profile from diagram A1/1 by David White in Anatomy of The Ship - The Frigate Diana. For comparison purposes only.

I trust having cited these there will be no copyright issue, but please advise me if this is incorrect as I will happily remove the image.

 

Having said all this, my primary desire was to build a ship that hadn't been built before. One must be careful when doing this not to accidentally end up using plans of other ships that had the same name (i.e. Ethalion 1802). I found following the historical trail of the ship fascinating, and it really did feel like I was treading on scarce travelled paths in doing so. I was able to go into the National Archives and read the master's and captain's logs which was a true privilege.

 

The Diana kit is a great challenge, and a tremendous kit... it's not only big, but about as beautiful as shipbuilding got. I wish you every success should you follow me and others building these frigates. Do make a build log! It'll show me where I could have done better :)

Edited by robdurant

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Sorry for hijacking here, but just to add Rob's excellent summary above.  The other factor to be aware of is what the ship plans show, they could be as designed, as built, as refitted etc.  Its possible to purchase the Diana plans at full scale and it amazing the amount of additional detail that can be seen, and notated on other plans (for example, the Diana plan indicates that the Jason's and Diamonds foremast was moved forward 6 1/4 inches), suggesting that specifically identified plans per the NMM may not be unique to a ship, but more to a class.  Regarding the open bulwark topic, the fashion was shifting at exactly the time these were designed and built.  Armament carried is a similar situation.

 

Bottom line, even for specific ships, there is latitude to build how you would like and still be 'historically accurate' - just look at the debate that goes on about the configuration of HMS Victory at Trafalgar, and she's still in existence!  I'd recommend buying the Diana AOTS book, in the historical preamble there is lots of context to the above points.

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Thanks all for your great knowledge in this. I already have the AOTS Victory and will certainly look for more books in this series. I will also follow both your alternative builds. They are amazing and far beyond my skills. But at the same time you give me great inspire 

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