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HM Schooner Pickle by Skippy - FINISHED - Caldercraft - 1:64,

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Firstly - Apologies if my nautical parlance is not up to scratch but this ship modelling is a steep learning curve.  :D 


HM Schooner Pickle is my second pob build, and I have decided to post a build log for a couple of reasons:

Looking through MSW as a first timer was a constant source of help and ideas, the Build logs, downloadable files, and topics on the help forum got me past many hiccoughs (& mistakes on my behalf) and got me to the end of HM Cutter Sherbourne with a model that, though I constantly wish I had done "that" different etc, I am proud of.

Secondly it has been mentioned by many people that lots of content has been lost since the "great crash" so hopefully my contribution could help fill the void - and though I am still very much a beginner, I will be  pointing out things that I do differently this time around - possibly helping other starters.


HM Schooner Pickle

On recieving the long awaited parcel (3 whole days) I curbed my instinct to get "stuck in" ,and as well as the obligatory examination of all the wonders enclosed (Brass turned carronades, copper plates et,al) I took the time to completely read the two manuals (far better than those included with Sherbourne)and look over the plans thoroughly. So far so good no unpleasant surprises.

First things first, I removed and cleaned up the edges of all nine frames & the Keel, and dry fitted them - no problems there. Next step was to taper the keel from the bearding line to the stern, this was surprisingly easy to do with a chisel bladed hobby knife and sandpaper, continuously checking the measurements with a vernier - this is also not something mentioned in the Sherbourne manuals and plans and would make a world of difference.

 The next step is hopefully where I will simplify my efforts compared with Sherbourne: Being a newcomer I did not understand the importance of bevelling the bulkheads to follow the curve of the hull. The result was a first planked hull that needed  at least 4 hours with sandpaper and about  2lb's of filler, and even then the second planking was difficult due to very flimsy sections to attach to. Perseverance, and initial enthusiasm was all that got the second planking completed. With this in mind I am starting with a trick I believe will help (I am not sure after so many hours on the internet where this one was from, but whoever you were THANKS in advance) The idea is quite simple (once someone else has had it); to get a strong smooth first planking the bulkheads need to be bevelled to continue the shape of the hull, and give the greatest surface area to glue to, but the furthest outside point of the bulkhead needs to be kept to keep the hull lines correct. The idea is that you colour the edges of the bulkhead with something such as a black permanent marker, then start bevelling the bulkheads as per the kits instructions - or the guides on msw - but allways leaving some black showing from top to bottom on each bulkhead. I will let you all know how this went for me after the weekend - the boss requires heavy sanding to be done outside and it's rain till sunday!!








Edited by Skippy
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I am half-way through building Pickle as a first-build myself.

So, I've made all the mistakes that you hopefully won't!!


At this stage of the build I would highly recommend inserting balsa blocks in the first two (Bow end) bulkheads and shape them accordingly.

Why, you may ask? Having this extra form will help when you lay the planking later on - otherwise you could end up with a flat-spot which you won't notice until you start trying to lay the second planking.....


I suggest you have a look at Blue Ensigns Pickle log for details....


Good luck with the build

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Thanks jrb, I inserted balsa between 2 and 3, andit is certainly helping( Iam half way through the first planking I just have not had time to post.


Btw, Blue Ensign's log is a Constant source of reference,,,,,, simply superb.

Edited by Skippy
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Thanks jrb, I inserted balsa between 2 and 3, andit is certainly helping( Iam half way through the first planking I just have not had time to post.


Btw, Blue Ensign's log is a Constant source of reference,,,,,, simply superb.


Skippy - you can also use my log as a 'Let's learn how not to do things' session !!

Having said that, I slowly get better as I go along.



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Initial Build 

I glued and fitted all the bulkheads and dry fitted the lower deck, this was easy all the pieces were a good fit and the operation was a "goodun"  :P





Beveling and first Planking.


So rain has stopped and dust can be produced!


I beveled the edges of those bulkheads that needed it - being sure to leave a continuous line of black on each bulkhead - and inserted balsa between bulkheads 1 and 2 to aid in planking.



One point to note: I originally dry fitted and bevelled the planking guide - BE careful the guide comes too low and is a B*%$h to bevel by hand. I eventually ripped it off and just went with the balsa.





Finally the beveling was complete and we can move on to the gunports and first planking.



Fitting the gunports was again easy, but on reading the instructions, and other build logs it is very important to fit it correctly. The supplied former for the gunport pattern sits a lot higher than the bulkheads.... The gunport pattern sits to the height of the bulkheads NOT THE FORMER.




Next instalment - Planking, and probably loads of filler and sanding.  :D

Edited by Skippy
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Planking begins


I hoped that this time around my first planking would be of a better quality than my first ship. Sherbourne took me a few hours to plank but  what seemed days to fill and sand. Things did go better but not perfectly as the following photo's show:




After 4 or so planks  were attached each side, the problems started, so with a brave heart I progressed to,,,,,,, starting at the other end (keel)




This did seem to help and the overall finish was better than Sherbourne, but by no means perfect.




Filler was applied and sanded and in a very short time, the cheeses grater effect was removed.






There looks to be a LOT of filler, and there is but not as much as it seems - Honest! - the brand I am using seems to have a paint like effect where applied,and when sanding leaves a residue like a primer Good/Bad?? I am unsure. 

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I wanted a break from the planking and decided to start a project I had been looking forward to, which was to try a new (for me) method for deck planking. My previous effort on Sherbourne was with Indelible pen caulking and treenails, and though it looked ok from a distance,,,,, Pickle deserved something better (hopefully):


Sherbournes deck:




The new method was based on a number of ideas from build logs and help files on MSW, and is as follows:


Planking is laid with a sliver of cartridge paper between the joints:




The paper is then cut back with a scalpel, and .65mm holes drilled for the treenails:





Bamboo cocktail sticks (£1 for 400, at the Tesco shipwrights) are then pva'd in:




After cutting back the coctail sticks with a SHARP knife the deck is scraped with a razor blades edge:




Then just a couple of coats of satin varnish and the deck can be fitted into the hull:









The final effect is -to my mind - a vast improvement on my first attempt, but I am not sure if it quite the effect I was looking for?!


Oh well I have put the second planking off for long enough,,,,,, wish me luck




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Second Planking, Waterline & Paint


So ahead with the Second Plank, I had decided that the planks above the whale were going to be in plain wood - with all the work we do with planking I wanted some showing, and as this wood should be Yellow Ochre, I decided that a pale wood varnished would be nice. The planking went ahead with few problems, except I followed the instructions and forgot some of the advice on this site. JoTika/Caldercraft state that the wood should be soaked to aid in bending, and then glued damp to the hull with CA, this is all well and good but their supplied walnut SHRINKS after soaking leaving gaps - admitedly this is only my second effort at planking and chamfering could be some of the cause, but definitely not all.






But overall, as this whole area would be painted & filler could therefore be used, not a total shambles, and so a strip of plasticard was added at the waterline to mark the edge of the plating as per Blue Ensigns build, and the help topic on plating.......






along with the mentioned filler, which also helped where my initial fairing of the bulkheads was not upto scratch (must try harder, as my next build choices all have large unpainted/unplated areas)




Then it was an easy task to mask and spray the whole thing in Satin black:








Three things I have come to understand is that whether the instructions are good - as per Pickle - or scarce - as per Sherbourne - it is a good idea to dilute them with a good pinch of MSW advice!

  • You can not spend too much time in preparing the bulkheads etc ! - though you can obviously oversand!
  • Soak and pre-shape planks, then allow to dry thoroughly before fitting!
  • Think,,,,,,,, Think,,,,,,, then do!
Edited by Skippy
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  • 3 weeks later...

I have been unable to upload pictures to my pc, hence the delay in posting.


Planking above the Black Strake


The next step was to plank the area designated for yellow ochre paint, as mentioned before I have decided to use a light wood rather than paint, and some Maple was sourced for this. First the planks were cut to length and clamped wet to the hull - following my earlier problems these were left on the hull until perfectly dry:




I then used pencil caulking and glued into place, then using holes drilled through from the inside I marked and cut the gun ports:








Next the treenails were drilled and the coctail sticks were brought in:




Lastly the treenails were cut back and sanded and the job was finished:








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Thanks guys,


I have been inspired by the all the logs on the site - love your scratch built launch Tony, and your Pickle BE is special and a great source of reference for me.

Pickle is looking better than I hoped at  point, though as you will see as I catch up, a few problems do develop quite soon  :huh:!!

Edited by Skippy
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Due to a few problems the next few posts are a bit out of sync, as I moved from job to job whilst awaiting supplies.


Plating and Shipmate


Firstly I am going to follow a growing trend that I have seen on a couple of other logs and introduce my building partner Billy:




Now for the model: the plating went very well and I am very pleased with the initial results:










But for some reason there were not enough plates provided. As this was my first venture in to coppering there were obviously a few mistakes, and I did scrap about 15 or so plates, but I estimate that I am at least 50 - 60 short.


I first checked other build logs and found that in general Caldercraft seemed to supply ample plates, so I set about checking my measurements. After 3 tries, I have decided that my waterline is correct  -I used the supplied jig for lifting the front of the keel and a 50mm height is what I seem to have. I am completely at a loss and have decided to leave it as is and order some new plates. so until then I will get on with the many other Jobs awaiting me and Billy.



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I wonder if Jotika sent you the right amount of plates Skippy, I've just checked back on my original log and I had around 110 plates left over, and I also scrapped a few due to mis cuts and spoiling with glue.The waterline level looks fine on the photos.


... and hello to Billy, it's always good to have a canine assistant, always supportive, never judgemental :)



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Skippy, lovely build you have going there, especially like your use of the maple.  I'd have to agree with BE on the copper plates, you look to be well short and I suspect that a call to Jotika would be in order, they may send to you for free.  On my Snake I certainly had more than 15 mistakes and was still able to complete it just fine.  A break from the coppering while waiting may not be a bad thing!

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Thanks Guys for your comments. 


Beef, yes I was pleased with the maple - at last a good choice by me!!!"  :D


Catch up


I am going to run through all of the jobs I have done since the last update - because of my pc problems I am a fair bit ahead, and because of the plating and decking problems (to be revealed) I have a fair few bits done, but out of sequence.




As I mentioned early on, I wanted a different effect on the decking than the Sherbourne, and went ahead with the Cartridge paper caulking. Unfortunately though the effect was exactly what I wanted in places, it was very varied.




So I ordered some .5mm tanganyka from CMB and re-laid it (on top of the previous) with HB caulking on both sides of the planks:




This picture was taken later as in my frustration I forgot to take any pictures - I am very pleased with the effect, and using 3mm 4mm & 6mm planks worked well, though I wish I had bought the 6mm in a different wood to frame the inner and outer decking better.


Deck Fittings


I built up the deck fittings as per the instructions, but with four additions/changes:

As per many other modellers, I exchanged the multi-part windlass for a 6mm walnut rod, planed (succesfully-ish) to an octogon.

I added cannon ball holders either side of the gratings, and along the back of the main hatch.

I replaced the rear grating with a glazed (humbrol clearfix) 4 pane window affair.

And finally the walnut "Chimney" was replaced with a chemically blackened brass one (Carr's - superb stuff, and easy to use too. I had mixed results with the Krick stuff):






And this is the Pickle as she stands today:







Ps. I spoke to caldercraft today and they are sending a pack of 100 plates foc..... though I did get the impression they did not believe me completely  :huh:

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She's looking good skippy, and some nice modifications, Pickle is an excellent kit to play around with and add little personal touches. The windlass is a great improvement, I couldn't do anything to get those irritating octagonal sections to look good.


Glad Caldercraft are continuing with their good customer service, hardly worth upsetting a customer over a few copper plates. :)





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  • 3 weeks later...

Plating Finished and Deck furnishings installed


With the arrival of the extra copper plates work continued andthe Plating was finally finished:






I am reasonably happy with the plating, though on close inspection it is rough in a few areas, but as a first effort it is not an embarrassment :P


My next build is not plated, but I think that the next time I need to plate I will try either the Amati etched plates or even go the whole hog and try the copper tape that the Model Shipways builders use.


After the plating was completed I made up the Bowsprit and mounted it along with the final fixing of the deck furniture:






You may notice that The Carronades are fitted but I have not described their build.........


Simple "They are an absolute %#~@*!!!!"


The instructions, the quality of the parts and the final impression is superb. The size of the things is absurd: the overall finished item is app. 1.5 inches long and about .75 high (guesstimate) and has a grand total of .... wait for it.... 18 pieces: 4 wood, 5 brass etched pieces, 4 etched eyelets, 4 pieces of brass wire and the barrel itself. They take about an hour each (without the rigging, and on a good day) and would try the patience of a saint! my finished articles are ok for "stand-off" viewing but that is about it:



For a better narrative of building them it would be better to look elsewhere on this site, as there are a number of superb examples that far outrank mine LOL.  :(  ;)








Next up is the building of the masts, and then Pickle can go "Vertical"





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You may notice that The Carronades are fitted but I have not described their build.........


Simple "They are an absolute %#~@*!!!!"


The instructions, the quality of the parts and the final impression is superb. The size of the things is absurd: the overall finished item is app. 1.5 inches long and about .75 high (guesstimate) and has a grand total of .... wait for it.... 18 pieces: 4 wood, 5 brass etched pieces, 4 etched eyelets, 4 pieces of brass wire and the barrel itself. They take about an hour each (without the rigging, and on a good day) and would try the patience of a saint! my finished articles are ok for "stand-off" viewing but that is about it:


Skippy, looking very nice!  I'm with you on the carronades, I'm currently working through building 16 of the things (albeit the larger 32lb're) so I definitely recognize the work you've put into these.  If you've got it down to an hour I take my hat off to you, they're looking great.  :)  Look forward to seeing more.

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Cheers Jason. The hour was only the assembly part, that did not include painting/blackening.

The photo is if the best one by far and I refuse point blank to post close-ups of any of the others lol.

Kudos on doing that many for your Snake.

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Those bijou carronades are an exercise in pure frustration, but that's the worst over now, you can relax and enjoy the rest of the build. You're right about the plating, Amati have the edge over Caldercraft by a long way on appearance, and if I were doing Pickle again, or any other Caldercraft kit for that matter, I would ditch their plates in favour of Amati.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Masts and Standing Rigging


So the next step was to manufacture the masts and crack on with the standing rigging. The masts were made as per the instructions, from square stock and dowel joined with brass pins:




These were then painted (as the supplied wood did not stain very well) Yellow Ochre and Black, and stepped into position:






Then the standing rigging was added, as per the instructions. First the shrouds, and main/fore tackle:








Then the back stays:




Followed by everyones favourites;;;;;; the Ratlines:




These were stained with indian ink and our favourite job is finished.






I did deviate from the kit in two areas: In BE's Pickle log, he pointed out that the instructions stated that the fourth shroud on each mast was in fact a "Backstay" and as such would not be included in the ratlines. His pictures showed that this was visually awkward with the ratlines across only three shrouds giving little room for the crew to clamber aloft, and he eventually decided to link all four "Shrouds" with ratlines - with pleasing results compared with the instructions. I decided to go a slightly different route, according to Petersson's "rigging fore and aft craft" the Fore mast has all four shrouds "ratted" and the main is linked only across the first three shrouds - the gap between shrouds 2 and 3 being wider to admit the gunport, giving a wider expanse over just the three shrouds and therefore more room for the crew to climb. and this is the way I went.... mmmm??:




My second deviation - also from Petersson - was to add the finishing touches to the Fore and Main tackles. this was achieved by inserting an eyebolt at either end of the channel and running a rig through the dangling pendants on each mast using 2 single and a double block on each.






Well after adding the rest of the stays, the standing rigging is done. Just booms, spars, running rigging, ships boat/s and finishing,,,,,, loads yet eh!!

Edited by Skippy
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A short deviation from the main build:


Whilst in a local hobby shop I acme across some larger section planking going cheap (app 1.5mm x 8mm) and this gave me an idea for the display stand:


I cut the strips to size and laid them with a butt shift:






I then drilled for the treenails and inserted these with pva:








Then .5mm black cord caulking, a walnut border and some coats of semi gloss varnish and here we are:




It mirrors the Pickles' deck and I think looks ok.

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