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HMS Fly by Padeen - Victory Models - WOOD - 1:64 (second model)

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Here is the build log of my second model ship. This build was started in winter 2011 during the sail-making of Le Camaret... and may take a few years till completion as my building time is quite reduced for the moment.
The first part of the build log (until August 2012) was done on the old MSW: I recreate it here more or less as it was then, hopefully with some improvements, putting the date of the original posts as I go along.


I have been talking of a build log coming soon for months now but here it is at last. :D Welcome to my second build and first attempt at a Man-of-War from the late 18th century!
My motivation for this built is that I love ships from this period more than any others and it was the desire to have such a ship at home rather than in the museums that brought me to model ship building two years ago. As I particularly like the lines of small ships like cutters, sloops and frigates compared to ships of the line (and as it is still hard to find a three-decker at 1:64 scale...), I decided for HMS Fly. I hesitated a while with HMS Pegasus but my local modelling shop had only HMS Fly available and I did not want to copper the hull. This will be a fully rigged model with sails hopefully: they are not included with the kit but I think that with the help of David Antscherl's 4th volume on the Sawn class it will be feasible... and that's not for the near future anyway! ^_^
There are already many kits and scratch build logs about the Swan class sloops here so I will have plenty of information to help me on this particular build. I also have the four volumes of the Swan class books by David Antscherl and Greg Herbert which may come in handy. 
So, now for the kit itself: the box was heavy! There are about ten A1 sheets of plans at 1:64 (half of which are about the rigging: good point!), an instruction booklet with a list of parts and some additional lower scale plans to explain planking and deck fittings in more details. Everything is written both in English and in Italian. Most wood parts are made from very clean laser cut plywood or walnut sheets. There is lime and walnut for the hull planking, tanganyka for the deck planking and ramin for the masts. The rest of the kit is made of brass photo-etched parts, copper gun barrels and carriages, castings for the decorations and an impressive number of wooden blocks of different size. :o (Well, I guess three masts are three masts, whatever the number of guns!) The thread for the rigging is also provided in different size and colour. I look forward to the rigging: this will be fun! :P




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I bought the box about a year ago, put the stand together almost at once and began gluing the prow, keel and rudder post, dry fitting the bulkheads and decks, and playing with the cannons during last winter to escape from the boring sail making step on Le Camaret... :blush:





Trying the bowsprit, I noticed that the hole in the foremost bulkhead was not wide enough so I corrected it with a file:





I also cut a rabbet all along the false keel edge. I hope it will help me fit the planking more easily:






For the moment, I am bevelling the bulkheads before gluing them on the keel. It is rather a long job with a file but I am not confident enough with the Dremel I got for Christmas to use it on the model yet. I only roughly bevelled the three aft and the three foremost bulkheads off keel as it was easier seeing the amount of angle needed there (with Le Camaret, I sanded everything after gluing and I found it quite difficult, plus I've already glued the stem and stern posts and I might have damaged them with the file). I first thought everything could be done off keel but the bulkheads had too lose a fit in the keel slots to have accurate squaring. So I am now gluing them all to the keel and I will then improve the bevelling with the help of some plank strips to check the curves.
All the bulkheads are glued, together with the lower deck. This deck is a nice feature when it comes to square the bulkheads... B)
Next step: finish bevelling the bulkhead and plank the lower deck under the companionway and hatchways openings of the gun deck (and try a caulking method...).


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I've made a little progress: the lower deck has been planked under the openings where it will be visible. The planking material in the kit consists of 3 mm wide Tanganyika strips which I find a bit more fragile than the Mukaly I had for Le Camaret. I decided for 9 cm long planks and a three planks pattern. (I did not plank the entire lower deck: only the three areas where it might be visible under the gun deck. After measuring my planking material, I saw that I had more than enough of it to plank the three main decks so I thought a little practice on the lower deck would do no harm! ;))
For caulking, any method involving gluing paper or thread would drive me crazy so I tried to run a black pen on the planks edges but I found it hard not to deviate and not to mark the plank surface as well... plus, it's too black and cold to my liking. (As Dan Vadas suggested, I could also have tried using the pen from the back side of the planks, before gluing them: thus there would have been no risk of staining the visible surface of the plank... Maybe I'll try this another time.)
So I came back to what I did with Le Camaret: I draw a dark brown pencil along the plank edges when the planks are glued and then sand and varnish. It is not that regular but I like it. I will just try to leave a slightly larger spacing between planks on the other decks so as to better guide the pencil motion.
I've also had a go at faking treenails: according to David Antscherl, the treenails at the butts of planks would be 7/8" which is 0.35 mm at 1:64 so I decided to just drill such small holes with the tip of a safety pin. One will have to look close to see them but I don't want to have them show up too much anyway. ;)










And last, I've glued the gun deck into place and painted the bulkheads above deck (vermillion acrylics). I still have to finish fairing the bulkheads and false keel.


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I've just spotted a problem (that Arthur also experienced with his HMS Vanguard and was kind enough to point out to me...): dry fitting the quarter deck I realized that the two outer pieces of the stern counter patterns were misaligned! :wacko::angry: I did not see any word of caution in the instructions and glued them square to the bulkhead last winter! But of course they must be glued with an angle to follow the line of the quarter deck... I had to remove them and glue them again with the proper angle!
I managed to fix this stern counter problem using the quater deck as a guide. It turned out easier than I feared... :D
- Before:


- After bandaging the joints with paper soaked in water for half an hour, the culprits came off gently (I am using PVA glue...):

- After (I waited for the wood to dry before gluing them again...):





I also began planking the gun deck. I actually changed my mind about the three planking areas on the gun deck that are proposed in the instruction booklet: at first I thought it was related to cabin bulkheads position but it seems not. A look in the Swan Class books comforted me: there is no reason to have three distinct sections other than prevent ruining the planking when tearing off the three bulkhead tops in the waist. I will simply not complete planking on the "cut" areas before the gunport pattern is in place but all the rest can be done now on the whole length of the deck. I love this construction step! B) I chose to put a master plank (although I am not sure there should be one on this deck) as I thought it would help secure the joint between the two sides of the ply false deck... I find it adds to the symmetry too and I might do the same on the quarter deck and forecastle. This plank is a left over Manzonia 5 mm wide plank from Le Camaret...


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I painted the copper gun carriages with two coats of vermilion and a mars black acrylic addition on the wheels (the carriages are not so shiny nor the red so light in reality... must be a bad combination of CCD sensibility + artificial light):



My first attempt at blackening the barrels was a fiasco: only maybe one third of the surface was blackened... :( It does not look so bad after all but they will turn green in time and I'm not sure I want that happening! I guess water cleaning is not enough because of copper oxide. I'll have to try again after sanding.





I blackened again my gun barrels after scratching them with fine sand paper (Arthur suggested using a fiber glass pen but I have no such thing) and then cleaning them in water: it works! The main problem is that the paper dies very rapidly in the process... :D




There are no caps to secure the barrel "arms" on the carriages... I search for them in vain and will have to make some myself it seems!... or maybe there were no such caps on Fly... :huh:
I also wondered at the tips that emerge on the top of the carriages... looking at a picture I had taken of a gun from Brest castle: they look like bolts to me, to secure the different wood parts that make the carriage flanks. (...and there are no caps...)


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My trip to the US last week prevented me to do it before but I've now begun fitting the gunport patterns. I've soaked them around half an hour in hot water and "dry"-fitted them with plenty of clamps (you can never have too much of them!). After a few hours, the ply had dried and shaped to the ship and could be glued and clamped again. Larboard is done, starboard to go soon (I don't possess enough clamps to do both sides at the same time). The alignment is quite easy: the wood must be level with all bulkhead tops and the fore rest on the foremost filling piece #18. I think there will be some minor waves along the bottom edge but nothing a fine sanding won't erase.
The bulkhead tops of the waist (bulkheads #5, 6 and 7) are just there to help have the right shape for the hull ("S" shape) and will then be removed. I precut them a little to hopefully guide their breaking later and I'll also try not to overglue the gun port pattern on them.
My first dry fittings puts the jigsaw just behind bulkhead #9 which seems to be the case for most Fly/Pegasus kit builders... I'll have to glue some false bulkhead there.










The gunport pattern has been glued successfully and the "S" shape of the hull is indeed visible:






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I began putting together the deck fittings: they are made from laser cut walnut ply and/or walnut beams and I painted them with the same vermillion red acrylics paint as the bulkheads. I only dry fitted them on the deck: they will not be glued before the planking is finished.













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The hull planking (first layer) began. This time I decided to think before diving in: I measured the surface length of each bulkhead from the bottom of the gunport pattern to the keel and calculated the required plank width at each bulkhead, with full width planks (5 mm) at the main bulkhead (#6). I found thus that I had to reduce the width of each plank on bulkheads #1 to 4.
I proceed in the following manner, one plank each side at a time:
- mark the emplacement of each bulkhead on the planking strip, butting it in the rabbet at the prow,
- shape the plank to the required width profile,
- soak the plank in hot water for ten minutes (the first planking is 1.5 mm thick lime wood) and "dry" fit it at its place on the hull,
- when it has dried, glue it in place with PVA.












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As the hull planking is slow (only two planks at a time + drying times...), I continued with the deck fittings and made some capstan bars out of tooth picks, using David Antscherl's book as a reference and my home made conversion ruler for peace of mind (Mr Antscherl and other maritime authorities unfortunately speak in inches and feets while I speak in metrics and have already enough trouble with scale conversion... :rolleyes:):


I'm not sure exactly where the bars will be stored but we will see to that later...
As I did not brought my tools nor HMS Fly with me in Rome, I'm not going to update this log before the summer when I get a chance to finish the first planking (hopefully). But of course questions, comments and/or suggestions are welcome anytime.
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Wow Adeline!  You've chosen quite the ship for your second build, and you've got her looking great already!


Sounds like you're doing quite a bit of traveling -- for fun vs. work I hope :) -- but I'll be looking forward to your next updates for sure.




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Thanks Andy,

Rewriting this log made want to fly back to Fly... but I'll enjoy it all the more when I finally have some modelling time!



Thank you for the encouragement. In fact I'm in Rome for work but fortunately it is also a lot of fun: this is a wonderful city and spring here is greatly enjoyable.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Adeline,


I bring my own popcorn and I see that there is a seat available next to Andy.

Nice kit you've got there!

And I also see that you are using the Dremel workbench as a standard for your ship  :D

Very handy tool isn't it?

I will follow you further on.

And by the time you are on the ratlines, you can take a look at the Mirage how it works.

Or do you also want the gnomes?

Question…..can you post a picture of the Fly?( not a real one but from the box)

I see that you live in Rome or are you Italian?

My grandmother comes from Italy, so I'm a part Italian :D 



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Welcome here Sjors!

Yes this workbench is very usefull, this is a Christmas present I greatly appreciated!


Here is the asked for pic:



At the time I began this log on old MSW there were so many Swan builds that I did not bother to put a picture of the box... In fact HMS Fly is a sister ship to HMS Pegasus and I believe the two kits are very similar.


Well... I think I won't need your gnomes for another couple of years seeing my present building rate! But I'll keep that in mind just in case !  :D


And nope... I'm French. I have been living in Rome since the beginning of this year for work.

Edited by Padeen
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Good Morning Adeline.

I just finished going through your Le Camaret build log and this one. I really enjoyed your build of the little Lobster boat. I still need to sort out what you have already done on the "simple" rigging. An Now your new build is coming together nicely. All you have learned on the first will be foundation for this one. I will follow along.



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Thanks to both of you Michael and Tim!

I would love to post more build progress but my model is currently a few thousands of kilometers away from me so this will have to wait till my holidays...

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Hi ofencer,

thank you for the comments and the link.


Hello MSW,
At last something new to add to my log: I've had a chance to make some progress on Fly during the holidays! :D  The first planking is now complete and I've added the stern counter pattern. The hull has been sanded and is rather smooth, though it still needs some wood filler corrections before I can start the second planking. And... that's not going to happen before Christmas...





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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Adeline

Your first planking looks really good.


I'm a bit behind you but we might stay on the same track for a Fly build. Having just made cannons with aftermarket barrels and carriages I would seriously recommend that you ditch the kit versions and look elsewhere - Chuck Passaro is doing them through is Syren Ship Model company for instance. The kit ones are way too big - both the barrel and the carriage. I know getting new ones costs but it seems little to me in the overall context of the building process and the time invested.


I look forward to your updates.




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