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Blue Ensign

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

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Hi Dave, I did have a quick look for 1.5mm ply in the UK, but nothing immediately came up. I suppose the advantage of Lime wood / Basswood is that it’s easy to cut.


Best wishes for a successful op in March and a speedy return to your build.





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Hi BE,if you are interested have a look at this website. www.massiv-holz-werkstatt.de 


He has a large selection of timbers at good prices, eg a 1000mm x 200mm x 1.5 mm plank of Linde (Limewood) would cost €7.30 +p&p.

I bought all the Pearwood for my Cheerful build from him,excellent quality it is too. He says he will cut wood to any size you wish,so

I guess he would do Imperial sizes if you asked. He does speak English,however his website is in German. I did my order by email and

bank transfer.

On his homepage click on Produkte,then scroll down to Brettchen (planks) all are from .5mm to 50mm thick x 1000 x 100 mm.

I've no connection to his company just a happy customer. My order arrived within a few days of payment.


Kind regards and thank you for your good wishes, 


Dave :dancetl6:

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Post 14

Deciding on the paint colour

There is a fair amount of paint on this build, more so than my previous builds, so I was concerned to get a shade that both suited my eye but reflected the more subdued tones of the early 19th c.

I had mixed paints for the Pinnace and Long boat builds that gave a brighter shade than the Admiralty brand Red Ochre (as I used on Pegasus) but I was hoping to find a ready mixed paint that suited. I am not too fussed about whether the paint is enamel(as with Humbrol) or water based.

The paints I am trialling are:

Humbrol 14ml Matt Scarlet enamel paint # 60

Caldercroft Admiralty water based Vermillion

Vallejo 031 17ml Flat Red Acrylic  Paint # 957

Vallejo 029 17ml Dark Vermillion Acrylic Paint # 947

Windsor and Newton Indian Red oils.


I made up paint samples on a Boxwood strip for comparison purposes.



Taken outside, bright daylight.



outside close -up



indoors natural light



Indoors  natural light/warm white leds.


The W&N oil was too dark and has the disadvantage of taking a long time to dry.

The Admiralty Vermillion, and Vallejo Dark Vermillion were too bright and altogether the wrong shade of red.

The choice came down to Vallejo Acrylic Flat Red and Humbrol  matt scarlet enamel.



Vallejo on the left, Humbrol on the right.


Colour of course comes down to individual perception, varying light, and monitor differences, but on balance I have decided to go with the Vallejo acrylic flat red.


It is slightly darker than the Humbrol and has the advantage of quicker drying and water clean up. It feels better to me, and small amounts can be delivered into a pot for use.


I can now proceed.







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Your color choice of Vallejo flat red looks great. Just as  side note, have you tried Windsor & Newton acrylics? They have some nice colors, go on smooth and cover great without the long dry time of oils.

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I've been following your Cheerful build.  I've been meaning to compliment you on your progress.  My build is in dry dock currently while I wait for the time and mental space before I resume work again.  It's been a joy following the progress of the other Cheerful builders though.  Yours is coming along nicely! 


Regarding the color of red you're using.  I too decided to use Vallejo Flat Red #957.  I knew from past experience that Vallejo paints are high quality and easy to brush paint with minimal streaks.  I think you won't regret your choice.  To see how the Vallejo flat red looks farther along in the build process, just check out the most recent photos of my build.


Keep up the good work!  . . .  and keep the photos coming. 



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Thank you Erik, I have been using your excellent build as a reference work, and I think it was your log that alerted me to the Vallejo paints. The flat red does give a nice tone and finish that looks right for the build, and I was able to download some very useful articles on how to hand brush with Vallejo paint.

look forward to seeing your build restart. :)




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Well, we are no longer at the same place. I decided to “deconstruct” all of the planking. I had used wood that a member of my club gave me because he wasn’t happy with it, now I know why. Besides that the planking wasn’t tight enough too much daylight showing. On the up side Jason at Crown Timberyard will be reopening for business in the middle of March, so I can finally have some decent wood. I just need to be patient. Also this was the first time I used CA for planking and it seems to come apart a lot easier than PVA. 



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Sign of a good modeller to remove and restart Kurt,  but personally I don't favour using ca for planking, it's high quality pva for me. (Non waterproof type of course.)


You really should start a log Kurt detailing the trials and tribulations of a Cheerful build, I'm sure the membership would find it useful. :)



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B.E.   I had 3 pieces of good boxwood in my stash from Hobbymill before he closed up shop, real quality stuff. So I spent the day reducing it to 3/64 inch for Cheerful planking. I should have done this from the beginning. I have to figure out if it will adhere to the bulkheads where I previously used CA or will need to be worked on to bond with PVA. I really like this model so there’s no hurry. So now I’m trailing behind you and can take full advantage of your interpretation of the Cheerful. I really like the approach you take to your models, both historically correct and very artistic at the same time. I’m looking forward to your next update.



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Post 15

Preparing for planking

The ports have now been painted,

A tip for those who may not have thought of it; those little pill organiser boxes you can get from the chemists make very nice paint mixing boxes.



Very useful using Vallejo paint where small quantities and some dilution is required. The lid keeps the paint useable for a while and dust free.

Fixing the moulding strip below the ports is next up.

The requirement is that the rail should lay 1/64" below the sill. That's (0.397mm) the thickness of a fine pencil lead!

I was far from sure I could get that close without it looking more like error than intention. I think I will have to gauge this by eye,with 0.5mm about as close as I can practically get and to give a clearly defined rebate.

Starting on the Starboard side I positioned the moulding at the centre port of the hull having marked the point along from the Bow rabbet, and fixed it in position using pva and many clamps.

However once it was done I could see one or two bulges at port sill level where my fairing was not quite enough, so off it came again along the area of the hull affected.

This is quite easy to do with pva, a slight wetting and away it comes. I much prefer to use pva for the woodwork than ca which tends to make the wood brittle, and mark it. Acetone is also required to remove ca. much less friendly than water.

After two or three goes I eventually got a look I could live with although I have not taken it as close as 1/64".







I was keen that the mouldings appeared level on each side, and fortunately this appears to be the case.








The first planking above the wale now beckons.



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B.E.  I like your idea of assuring the moldings are both at the same height at the stern. I'll definitely do that this time around. Some solutions are so obvious once you see it done. I found the molding at the first gun port a nuisance the first time. This time I'll make in a single piece and remove the gun port section afterwards. I also thought the 1/64" rabbit was a little too small. After all that red paint covered over. I'll probably go a hair wider.


I'm wondering how to treat the wales final thickness. It tapers in thickness until it's flush with the normal planking at the bow. I think Chuck realised it after in was in place and then sanded it to shape. I wonder if both the first and second layer should both be tapered or, just the first or the second. I sort of don't like the idea of the top layer feathering to nothing.



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I like your shade of red B.E. very nice indeed. Kurt,I made my wales at the full thickness,easy enough to bend with no worries about a second layer being feathered down to nothing at the rebate.


Dave :dancetl6:

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Hey B.E.   I'm enjoying your Cheerful build log and have already learned a few things. 

The Admiralty model of the Cheerful/Surly is here in the US at the museum of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.  I took these photos on a recent visit there.  Thought you would enjoy them.




The back of the case is a mirror - there aren't two models in the photo.


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Thank you Ken,


Post 16

Planking above the Wale

The first plank above the wale is done using 3/16"wide  x 3/64" thick strip.(4.7625mm x 1.2mm)

There is a taper required both fore and aft on the first plank to even out the widths with the second plank.

I started my fore taper just aft of the second port, and the aft taper just past the third port from aft. These were quite shallow tapers.

With the tapers done I clamped the first plank in place and gave it the heat treatment to impart a little curve memory around the bow.

Trialling the fit some tweaking was required to get the strip to lie  flush to the rail, a couple of high/low spots on the bulkheads.





It was then a question of gluing progressively along the hull clamping it both to the bulkheads and the Wale. I initially glued to the first six bulkheads, then worked aft at three at a time.





I fitted the lower strip on both sides before moving on.


Looking at photo's of Chuck's prototype build there are three butt joints along the first plank. 1 just aft of the first port a 2nd just aft of port 3, and a third just forward of port 6.

Strangely on the plans (Plan 1) only two butt joints are shown?

I didn't cut the planks into scale lengths, but replicated the 'joint'  with a shallow micro saw cut, and then marked it with a pencil lead.

The second plank above the wale was done using 7/32" wide by 3/64" thick strip (5.56mm x1.2mm)

This strake to fill in up to the moulding rail required some fettlin' with tapers both fore and aft.



I used Tamiya 10mm tape to give me a template along the hull for the shape of the upper plank which gave me the rough top line of the plank beneath the moulding rail.

It was then a question of using a scalpel blade to pare the strake down progressively to fit. As it turned out it was more of a spile than a simple taper.

I use a Pilot broad chisel waterproof marker to represent the tar line between planks.



Fixing the upper strake in place.



Got a little fettlin' to do around the fore port sill line.


Moving on now to working out a strategy for the planking between the ports.




Edited by Blue Ensign

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Neat work, there, BE.  I always like seeing the hull shape that emerges as the planking goes on.  And Cheerful is a lovely little thing, isn't she?





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Thank you Thomas and Martin.

'Lovely little thing' is a relative term for me at the moment.:rolleyes:

This is my least favourite part of a build Martin, always looks untidy to me, made worse by looking at Chuck's build photo's, they really should carry a warning 'Looking at these photo's can seriously damage your build confidence'  ;) Hopefully once it's all been sanded I'll feel happier about it.

Not heard much from the prairie of late, hope you and yours are ok and that you are making some progress on Fly.





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Post 17

Planking between the ports.

I have scratched my head over the best approach (for me)  to tackle this job.

The problem seems to be getting a constant narrow line each side of the ports to form the rebate, and getting the plank ends angled correctly given the slight sheer of the moulding rail against which the first plank must adhere.

To begin the process I wetted and heat treated a full length of 5/32nd strip along the hull to impart the curve.



The section between each port was then marked on the plank, and the laborious process of cutting and fitting began.



Each section was cut roughly to size, clamped into place and given the heat treatment again.



The ends were then cut using a scalpel, and pva'd into place.

I found this to be slow and testy work.



Getting  there.





Starboard side completed, or rather planked; there is a lot of tweaking and cleaning up to do.


One area that caused me some confusion was fitting the last two strakes aft of the last port running up to the stern post.



These were both tapered in accordance with the instructions and to the plan dimensions, but unlike Chuck's photo's in the relevant section,(Chapter 3, page3) the last strake did not run to the top of the outer stern frame. :huh:


Into panic mode, fingers crossed the outer strakes are reduced in height to form the transom curve, otherwise I'm in trouble.:o

Onto the Port side.






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