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HMS Serapis by Casper1961 - Aeropiccola - 1/60 scale


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Hello All! 

 

Time I started to be more involved in this forum. I started the HMS Serapis back in the late 1980's. A few of you may not even have been born yet!  I had just finished building the Charles W. Morgan whaling ship and wanted another ship model to work on at boat shows to help attract attention to my booth. I loved the story of the Serapis which is what brought me to purchase this kit.

 

Here is that story: 

 

The Battle of Flamborough Head was fought September 23, 1779, between the American privateer Bonhomme Richard and the Royal Navy HMS Serapis and was part of the American Revolution  (1775-1783). The HMS Serapis was a 44-gun 2-decked Roebuck-class fifth rate "frigate" captained by Richard Pearson. The Bonhomme Richard was lesser armed with only 32 guns and her captain was John Paul Jones. Serapis was named after the Greek & Egyptian God Serapis.

 

These two ships clashed at Flamborough Head, England,  on Septermber 23, 1779 during the American Revolutionary War. The ships traded heavy gun fire at which point the Bonhomme Richard lost most of her firepower but did manage to grapple the Serapis and bind the two ships together. Captain Pearson seeing that the Bonhomme Richard was sinking, he hailed the Bonhomme Richard and asked for her surrender, the famous quote by Captain John Paul Jones "I have not yet begun to fight" was his response. The battle raged on for another 3 hours giving time for the Alliance ( a frigate in Jone's squadron of ships) came upon the 2 ships and began firing at both. With the Bonhomme Richard sinking and being bound and tangled to her and unable to turn her own guns on the Alliance in defense  Captain Pearson surrendered the Serapis. The American's captured her and transferred her to the French who commissioned her as a privateer until she was lost off Madagascar in 1781 to a fire. Although and embarrassing event for the British, Captain Pearson was decorated for his defense of the convoy that she was tasked to defend.

 

 

The kit itself is as you can see over 30 years old. So no laser cut pieces. The frames were pre-cut as was the keel and that is it. Several sheets of printed plywood, pre-cut cannon bases, sanded blocks for the rigging, 5 different bundles of rigging, 5 sheets of instructions and a very small instruction page. The planking is double plank on bulkhead, with basswood for the first planking and walnut for the 2nd planking. Materials are of decent quality. A unique feature to Aeropiccolla kits of this time were pressed wood-fibre molded pieces for the stern decorations and lifeboats.

 

I have included at the start a photo of the finished product that came with the kit. My hopes are that I will end up with something somewhere near as nice!

 

Here is the first set of photos. 

 

Cheers

Steve

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello Steve,

I also have a HMS SERAPIS. I started the build around 1985. But I never finished her.

It's true, the material is generally excellent. And she is  a very very nice ship.

But my major concern was the fact that the drawings contain to many anachronical errors. So I tried to correct them whenever possible.

May be that I continue the construction in a near future, but now I am in my HMS Agamemnon from Caldercraft.

I come later back on the "anachronical" mistake and I shal also post some pictures of my ship.

Regards

Pierre

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Hey Pierre, thanks for stopping in, I can understand putting this kit aside way back when as the cutting of all those pieces from the plywood is SO daunting. This is the main reason mine has sat so long. Well that and life got in the way! I think she is worth enough to plug away at the scroll saw work finally get er done!

 

Hi John, nope, no laser-cut pieces by Aeropiccolla back then but yes I think she should build up into a nice ship when done.

 

Hey Brian, you are right Aeropiccolla is no longer in business in Italy but I understand  Nature Coast Hobbies, Inc. out of Homosassa, Florida is carrying on with the newer versions of the old Aeropiccolla kits. 

 

This is going to be a slow build as I have several other projects on the go at the same time but I will try to post as I have new work to show.

 

Thanks for stopping in!

 

Cheers

Steve

Edited by casper1961
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Hi Steve,

I am very fortunate because I cutted all the pieces before stopping. The issue now is to find them all...

I wonder about the scale of the model. I never found a  clear indication neither on the box neither in the drawings. After comparision with similar ships (like the HMS Roebuck) I concluded that the scale of the model was 1/64. Do you have other informations?

 

Pierre

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Steve,

I did an Aeropiccola version of the frigate Essex back in the late 80's. It was very similar to what Pierre has mentioned: hard to determine scale; and, as you've pointed out, the head rails and stern detail were all pressed wood. I would encourage you to throw those parts away and build those areas up on your own. It's not that difficult, and there's a lot of help here. You will be happier with the result. Anyway, go to it! we're all cheering you on!

 

Also, you've got a good start with a smooth looking hull!

 

Tom

Edited by TBlack
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Hello! Here are the rest of the pictures of the HMS Serapis as she sits in dry dock right now.

 

In these pictures you can see a mock-up of a canon to help ensure the gunports are at the proper height.

 

Some of the pencil marks show my alignment of the gun ports and transfer lines from side to side. Also you can see the gun ports filler pieces. In a few case the hole that I originally cut was too large and needed a little more filling so 2 planks were added. All this will not be seen once the 2nd planking goes on. BTW, the 2nd planking should be cut back to the edge of the gun port filler pieces leaving a reveal of the filler pieces inside the gunwale.

 

 

You will also note that the main deck has a bulge and crack which seems to be a result of moisture expansion. I will need to cut out the decking and fix the sub deck and reinforce it, then reapply the walnut decking.

 

You will also note the bulkheads showing up in the openings in the deck. These should have been cut back earlier in the construction process which now will need a little dremel help. No a big issue but something that will show unless taken care of. 

 

Thanks

Steve

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Great build log.  I am so glad to see a kit by this company posted.  I have been building their Endeavor on and off for a few years.  Instructions???? If I could read Italian, or is it Portugese?   And the drawings are pretty generic.  But overall it has been a good build despite no detail (great practice for scratchbuilding)  and the use of pressed sawdust and resin bow and stern sections. 

 

I also have the book "Building Period Ship Models" put out by Aeropiccolla that has all these kits shown in it.  Two models I have always been intrigued with were the Serapis and the Essex.

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Hey Sherry

 

Thanks for finding this build log. I would link it to my signature if I knew how?

 

This weekend I will see about finishing all the cuts to open all the gun ports and to start again at framing the sides of those same openings.

 

SG

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Hey Runner63 

 

Thanks for the compliments! Now if only all the scroll saw work would magically finish itself that would be wonderful! LOL

 

I hope to work on the gun ports a bit this weekend, and maybe see about fixing the damaged main deck. It would be nice to move past this stage as it has sat this way for years! Last summer I actually started lining up the gun ports and cutting them, now I need to keep at it and finish that step! :)

 

SG

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Hi Scott

 

Are from you from Kansas by chance? The lack of good English instructions is not a problem. Having built the Charles W. Morgan ahead of this build I have a pretty good idea how to go about building this one, instructions or not. Now, I have to thank the inventors of the internet and Google for providing the free translation tool. It has been great. I have translated most of the "ITALIAN" notes on the sheets. The biggest drawback to this and the Essex old kits was that the plywood pieces were neither stamped or laser-cut, only printed. Which is a real pain in the bottom side! I did see that Nature Coast Hobbies is or was carrying Aeropiccolla kits and that these were the last version of them which had laser-cut plywood pieces. A huge improvement. The pressed wood pieces doesn't bother me, I think they look nice enough and will give them a try, if for any reason, to help speed up the build. My Bonhomme Richard kit is also an Aeropiccolla kit and it is the last version of it with laser-cut pieces and looks very nice. It will definitely complement the Serapis in a display!

 

Steve

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Yes Steve, Kansas it is.

 

I am a draftsman by trade so the instructions and plans had enough for me to get by and kinda made it fun in a demented sort.  The kit was just like the old Comet airplane kits except the parts were printed on 3 ply instead of balsa.  I wore out a few jigsaw blades cutting the kit.  Many of the kit parts just ended up being used as patterns to fabricate new parts from solid hard wood.  I think I am about at the same stage you are at so I may start a log so we can compare notes.  I am impressed, the Serapis is a much more traditional build than the Endeavor.  The Endeavor was more an entry level kit and really is just a shape that needs a lot of scratch building in order to represent a decent finished model.  I think it will look  nice with a second planking of hardwood, say Cherry.  I cannot wait to see your Bonhomme Richard.

 

I did inquire at Nature Coast awhile back and the Essex was no more. I continue to check around for an Essex kit but the ones I have seen for sale are priced much more than I can pay, or am willing to pay, for a kit of this quality, especially with a new Blue Jacket Essex just around the corner.

 

Regards,

Scott

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Hi Steve. Follow these steps to link your build to your signature:

 

Go to the "my profile" (top left)

Then to "edit my profile" (top right)
Then "Signature" (list on left)
Highlight your "HMS Serapis - Aeropiccola 1/60"
Click on the link icon (seen in photo attachment below)

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A small pop-up window appears - paste your build address:

http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/1858-hms-serapis-aeropiccolla-kit-160-scale/ in the box marked URL

Click OK

Save Changes and you're done. :)

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Hi Scott

 

I too am a draftsman...well Architectural Technologist to be exact...doing more site inspections and report writing now than CAD work.

 

The USS Essex is a nice looking ship, be it Aeropiccolla or the Blue Jacket kit. Isn't the Endeavour a barque (bark) rigged ship? I think she has a very similar look to her as the Charles W. Morgan except she had a higher poop deck than the Morgan though. 

 

From what I understand the Bonhomme Richard kit is unverified and possibly a fictitious design, but still I think a very nice looking ship. My build of the Serapis is 20 years in the making. I am not setting any speed records for sure on this one and I doubt I ever will. But once I get into the build in earnest I'm sure she will progress decently.

 

Steve

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Yes, the Endavor was a Barque rig in later years but was ship rigged under Capt. Cook,  She has slightly raised prowl and poop.  Designed as a collier with a blunt bow and shallow draft, not a real pretty ship is you ask me.

Here is it in need to some future attention.  I plan to start back on it after the Constitution is done.

 

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Steve,

 

Not to worry about how long it takes to complete the kit.  I think these old kits require one to take time off from them and come back later.  I am glad it is taking the time it is because if I rushed a kit like this, it would have been in the trash long ago.  I found I must really think through each step, which has been a great learning tool.

 

Scott

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Hello Steve,

 

You have your buildlog up and running. Thanks for sharing.

It will be great watching this one grow.

 

The contents of the box looks indeed very nice and of good quality. But how is quality of the wood? Isn't it dried out after 30 years?

 

Looking forward to your progress,

 

Take care,

 

Anja

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