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Blue Ensign

HM Cutter Cheerful 1806 by Blue Ensign - 1:48 scale

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Post 78

Arming Cheerful

With the breeching ropes fitted to the guns it is at last time to fix the guns in position on the deck.



 A spot of pva on the wheels is sufficient to hold the guns in place at the ports and allow forming the shape of the ropes, and later fitting of the side tackles.



Still in a state of indecision about the positioning of the Portside long gun, and why were the two forward second ports left free of guns?


Whereas the Breeching rope attachment is a fairly straightforward procedure particularly if you follow Chuck's fine example, making up the side tackles by comparison is a bit of a pain.

There are two single blocks each with a hook and the standing end of the lanyard spliced into the bulwark block.

I am using Chuck's now discontinued 3mm black plastic hooks and 3mm Boxwood blocks. For the lanyards I am using Syren .012" (0.3mm ø line.)



A further modification to the gun jig is required to assist rigging the tackles before they are transferred to the gun.

The main issue with side tackles is getting them to look in scale both in relation to the carriages, and the breeching ropes.



The 0.3mm ø line equates to a 2" circumference line which is the upper end of the rope size for guns of this calibre, and there is a sufficient visual difference on the model with the breeching lines.

0.25mm ø line equivalent to 1½" circ  would also be fine and provide an even greater contrast with the breechings.

Personally I wouldn't go with any greater line size, not least because fitting it thro' the 3mm block sheaves would prove testy.

The first side tackles are fitted but I'm not sure I like the effect.







Probably to do with getting the lanyards to hang naturally.



 Not that this example on a twelve pounder on Victory is anything to write home about.



I have to wait for a supply of blocks from Chuck so I'll have a play  with the side tackles in the meantime.



Completing the guns is probably one of the longest exercises of the build. I actually started the process in early January.





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Good evening B.E.

My side tackles look just like your example. I too think mine don't look very nice either. As regarding the #1 port gunport,I don't think a gun could be served there properly,not enough space for the recoil nor reload. None of the NMM and the Science museum models have guns in the forward gunports. You might get away with a Carronade though in the Port gunport if you so fancy. I think my 4 swivel guns look fine in the forward area :D


Finally got round to making the ropework for the served Anchor buoys. A most onerous task,believe me when I say I'd rather rig a 1000 ratlines :huh: Made the rings for the ropes by winding thread 7 or 8 times around a drill shank glueing as I did so,looks ok. Then it was just a case of adding the 4 ropes to each one then threading them under the other then siezing. All done in dark brown thread so no tarry paint needed.




Dave :dancetl6:


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Posted (edited)

Superb work, as always. 


Looking at the photo of Victory's cannon , the tackles 'sag' quite a bit and hang down over the wheel, maybe recreating that would help with the look of them? (and I'm sure your crew would make sure they are tidied a bit better that Victory's!)

Edited by vulcanbomber
spelling mistake

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Hi BE -- That look of the side-tackles is something that bothered me on the guns for Fly, and the problem, in my view, is that the blocks are either too big, or they have to come up too closely together.  In the end, I used smaller blocks, no hooks, and I frapped the rope around some wire that enabled me (at least in the better instances) to get a decent curve.  Tedious work, needless to say, but it seemed effective.  One advantage to having a quarterdeck & fo'c'sle, however, is that at least some of the guns get covered -- and invariably, those are the ones that get knocked loose.  :angry:





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Posted (edited)

Thanks Dave, Caroline, and Martin, I will eventually get something that suits my eye, trouble is that what is fudgeable at 1:64 scale is not so easy at 1:48 scale on a fully open deck.

Now a break from guns.

Post 79

Thinking about the Bowsprit

At this point I am looking at the Bowsprit because it ultimately determines the position of the Bowsprit step and the Windlass.

I am using 5/16" Boxwood square stock and the process starts by drilling three mortices in the inboard end and the sheave hole at the Bowsprit outboard end.

The stick will be put in the lathe for tapering and I have followed the proportions given in Steel.

The length is quartered from the broadest point (8mm) and tapers in the proportions:'

1st Qtr         2nd Qtr       3rd Qtr     End

60/61           11/12          4/5          5/9

The results are pretty close to the dimensions drawn in the Syren plans.



To check progress during the tapering process the quarters and diameters are marked on a card.



The lathe extension bed is required to take the length of the Bowsprit.



The taper was produced using just sandpaper and constant checking of the quarter diameters.



The next stage is getting the fit thro' the Bowsprit port and trialling the Bowsprit step set up.



I have departed from the Syren instructions by having the retaining fid pass thro' the Bowsprit and standards.

Came into my mind whether these were originally wood or iron. To my mind iron would make more sense for this important job of retaining the Bowsprit.



By the same token it crossed my mind whether there would have been an iron Bowsprit retaining ring attached to the stem.



 The spare fid holes were punched with a square section needle file and finished off with a micro chisel.




Seeing the Bowsprit in place  indicates what the overall size of the model will be, representing a 51'6" length overall.

I haven't decided yet whether I am going to rig Cheerful  or have her as a hull model with stub mast and sprit, so it is important to me to have a removeable Bowsprit, hence not following Chuck's example for fitting between the Bowsprit Step standards.



With the sprit in place the standards are glued and pinned to the deck.




Once dry the fids can be withdrawn and the sprit can be removed.

The Starboard side long gun is secured in its port.

I can now reurn to fiddling with the side tackles whilst Chuck makes a supply of 3mm blocks to complete the job.




Edited by Blue Ensign
posted before completion

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No bowsprit ring would have been used at the stem.  This was only used when the bowsprit was NOT well contained under the cap rail.  Because the bowsprit is very secure between the frames and cap rail no ring would have been needed.  I had it originally but removed it after this info came to light.


Looks good!!!

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Good evening B.E.


Nice job on the Bowsprit. I also fitted the fid all the way through,one of those tiny files I sent you did the job. Currently re-rigging the Bobstay tackle,caught the damned Bobstay earlier and have to replace the tackle rope :angry: I'll also have to re-do some ratlines,dropped a pair of tweezers which hit their target and of course a few ratlines look like a dogs hind leg now. Oh well,nuff said.


I do hope you will be masting and rigging her. After the super job you made of your HMS Pegasus it should be a doddle for you. Only one Mast :D:D




Dave :dancetl6:

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Cheers Michael and Dave.

It's not the rigging of her that's the problem Dave.

Apart from Cheerful there are eleven other ship models displayed around the house, three of them large and fully rigged, it's really a question of space. Even if I don't mast and rig her I will make the masts and spars and display them in the case.

Hope your rigging snags remain few and simple. 🤞 I can see that that a lot of care is required with that long Bowsprit on Cheerful when turning the model about, an island workbench  would be ideal for the masting and rigging of models.



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Post 80

Back to the gun tackles.

Putting my mind to the side tackles a further modification to the gun jig is again required adding a mocked up gun port.



The as yet unplaced Portside long gun was used as a test bed to rig tackles.



My own preference eventually settled on using a slightly longer sagged tackle frapped with the excess loosely coiled alongside the gun.

All the tackles were made on the test gun and then transferred.





I decided to leave for the present the aftermost carronade tackles unfrapped.



The  coils representing the excess line were made separately and pva'd to the deck.



The Starboard side tackles will have to wait until block supplies arrive from over the pond.


In the meantime I will have a think about the display base for Cheerful.





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If your space problem for displaying and rigging is because of the length of the model with bowsprit, you could show the model with the bowsprit unshipped and slid on deck as would have been done in a rough sea apparently, to stop it catching a wave and dragging the bow down

That will give you some more room😁

Regards Paul 

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Cheers Guys for your responses.

@ Wallace - I'm a big fan of jigs, they may be a bit rough and ready but they reduce frustration in working small parts and do improve the production process. 🙂

@ Martin - I suppose you may say that I have dabbled in gun rigging previously. 😉

@ Paul - Hadn't thought about that, could be a possibility but I've  some time before the crunch decision has to be made.🤔



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Such clean and precise work.  The gun rigging looks great.  Any thought on whether or not a train tackle was used on these or are the guns small enough to not need those?

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Thank you Ferit, Caroline, and Michael.

@ Michael - the deck ring bolts are in place that would suggest use of training tackles, but there is no loop indicated in the rear axletree of the gun carriage that would usually be the attachment point for the tackle. I did wonder if this was an oversight.

I don't usually fit training tackles so I haven't pressed the issue.



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23 minutes ago, Blue Ensign said:

I don't usually fit training tackles so I haven't pressed the issue.

It was a significant pain in the butt to do it on my cutter, not least of which is that on LN the rings are too close to the carriages so I had to simplify the rigging. But in the end I think it looks pretty good, maybe you shouldn't give up on the idea just yet ;)


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Hi Vossie, my own preference is for a clearer deck look, and I don't think training tackles would be in place unless action was imminent, but I can see why modellers fit them to show the working operation of the gun.

ps. thanks for the link to your build, you're producing a fine cutter  there.🙂



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Post 81

A base for Cheerful

Whilst I wait for more blocks to arrive I turn my attention to making a more stylish base for Cheerful.



For the base I have an old drawer front made of American oak, already shaped and profiled.



The hull supports are made from some 1/8" Boxwood sheet and slots are cut into some 7mm Walnut square stock to take the support tabs.








This will suffice for now but I may add keel blocks along the hull as I did with Pegasus.

Taking a break for a week now, and hopefully when I return my rigging blocks will have arrived.🙂







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Post 82

The agony of indecision

I have now rigged all the guns, bar the portside bow chaser.

I have flipflopped between fitting it at the bow port or the second port, but the decision now has to be made.



Having the port gun at the second port position but the starboard gun at the bow gives the model an unbalanced look, and having no guns at the bow with those large open ports empty doesn't look good aesthetically to my eye.

 I still think it's odd having those two large openings without any protection from an incoming sea.



Gromit seems as confused as I am, but I can't deny the irrefutable evidence of the plans.



The notation that the windlass be moved two feet back to give more room to work the portside chase gun.



The plan appearing to show the revised position of the windlass.

But the most important factor Mrs W agreed  the bow position looked the best, even if it raises issues of practicality.



So bow position it is with all its apparent difficulty of working the gun.

I can now fix the gun and Windlass and complete the other deck fittings.




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 It certainly looks better than the asymmetrical placement however it still looks so crowded.  Your work as always is exceptional 

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Good evening B.E.

The problem with the Port Bowchaser is that it also will smash into the Bowsprit on recoil. Not a good idea I would say,I checked this out just to see. Moving the Windlass aft would certainly not prevent this occuring. However,I agree it is aesthetically pleasing to have a gun in the chase port.


I ordered an Ensign last week for my model from CMB,the packet arrived yesterday. They'd sent the wrong size,20mm and the invoice for the size I'd ordered. Not a happy bunny :angry: I only have to make up rope coils and fit the Ensign when the correct replacement arrives then my model is finished after three and a half years work , Have to still make a stand for it though. 


11 models displayed and Cheerful will be #12,no wonder you're thinking of not rigging her :D Mine is only my second build and first scratch build. I got into this hobby rather late in life (67). I rather fancy building David Antscherl and Greg Herberts Speedwell next,their book has 3 plans at 1:48th. I'd build the POB version as I don't have enough experience to do POF.




Dave :dancetl6:

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