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Hi All,


I'm currently building my first ship (Caldercraft HM Schooner Pickle) and have a question about copper plating. The instructions suggest that the 18x5.5(x0.15) [mm] plates should be aligned like this (with edges sitting against each other):


I find this peculiar and was considering doing this (sides lying on top of neighbouring plate):


But this makes the plates look a bit narrow. Could I ask for your opinions on this?


I was also wondering about the rivet pattern - is it a technically accurate representation? Should I have a look at different plates? I can see that Cornwall Moedl Boats has a bunch of other ones:


- Option I (these are the ones that I have)

- Option II

- Option III

- Option IV


However the photos aren't all that helpfull. Can anyone post a picture of these and/or provide me with some advice?

Edited by Peter Y.
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Hi Peter

While building my Pickle one of the alterations I made to the kit was changing the copper plates. I used those from Amati which are designed to put on overlapping as it should be according to different sources. Those from Caldercraft have - in my opinion - much too prominent nail heads giving the hull an rather badly shaved appearance. I think the nail heads had to be rather flat to reduce water resistance.

Your Pickle looks fine. Have fun!


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Copper sheathing was attached to ships’ hulls with copper nails, not rivets.  At a scale of 1:64 a 1/2in nail head would scale less than .01in diameter (less than .25mm) and the head would barely protrude from the surface of the plate.  The embossed nail heads on the plates that you show above are way over scale.  At this scale, I would question to show fastenings at all.



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I am involved with the building of the HMS Victory (a memory to the owner's father).  When researching the copper plates I found that the fitting patter is overlapping top/bottem, as well as side to side.  Another detail is that unlike a brick wall (where individual brick rest equally on 2 underlying bricks) with copper plates the overlap is 1/3 vs 2/3 - i.e. on one tile the overlap to the lower row is 1/3rd of the tyle, on the adjacent (lower row) tyle it is 2/3rd.


I have been told that pictures of the ship are on facebook group Library North Ayrshire, Scotland.


Hope this info is of use to you.


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2 hours ago, mtaylor said:

at 1:64 and with the method of installing (flush), nails aren't really visible. 

Have to agree.  If you look at ships in dry dock even in the close ups of the bottom the nail heads are hard to see. I would guess that at just about any scale that you want to build in the nail heads would be very hard to see.  This is especially true if the ship is shown in service.  The oxidation of the copper would tend to blend in the nail heads with the copper plates as far as the observer would see.  This link goes to some pics of USS Constitution in dry dock.  You can see the copper plating very clearly in some of them.  http://gcaptain.com/ship-photos-of-the-day-uss-constitution-enters-dry-dock/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_campaign=0&utm_content=261222#.VYRYhkbz63M

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Whichever plates you choose, I probably wouldn’t overlap them. I think it would be very difficult to get a neat and tidy finish.  I’ve done 3 models using your option 1 - I bulk ordered the plates from Cornwall Models and they were a bit too expensive to bin. While not completely satisfied with the size of the rivets/dimples on the plates, I was happy with the overall effect. If I was choosing again, I would probably go something with much smaller rivets but I still wouldn’t overlap. Below is my current build - HMAT Bounty with option 1 plates attached. 


Edited by hornet
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Hi Peter, 


I also recommend taking a look at Chuck's instructions for a copper plate building jig.  I overlapped mine (below), and have been happy with the result.   I do like the "nails" to show, even though they are larger than they should be.  I think they make the model look more interesting from a distance (bottom photo), than if the copper was just smooth...








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Thanks everyone for all your answers and opinions - very helpful stuff!


At this point I'm pretty sure that I'll go with the 1:64 Amati plates. I don't think that I'm ready to try the tape - it's only my first build.


Many of you said that the Caldercraft nails are just plain too big. Although I appreciate that the Amati ones are also not 100% to scale they seem way better than the kit-provided versions, the nail pattern itself is also more realistic and adapted for overlaps - which should also look better since the plates are thinner (0.1 mm vs. 0.15 mm).

Edited by Peter Y.
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This topic has been discussed already several times on this forum and I apologise for posting again the two pictures below that show what the coppering really looks like (albeit reconstructed):








Two observations:

- plates overlap top-down and fore-aft, meaning that the process started at the keel and worked upward, and back to forward

- the nailing causes depression - there are no protruding nail-heads; the reason is that the plates were fastened on a layer of felt soaked in tar.


Assuming that they are pressed/stamped, you can improve those plates from the kit by gently rubbing them on the side with the protrusions with a piece of round hardwood on a cutting mat. This pushes the protrusions back and leaves slight dimples. One has to play a bit with the amount rubbing and the pressure applied. They are then to be fastened with the side that showed the protrusions inside, i.e. the other way around from what most people would do.


Incidentally, the copper-green colour, as shown on the second picture, only appears when the ship is in dry-dock for prolonged periods. The 'service colour' is a dull copper-brown, as on the first picture.


Edited by wefalck
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