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La Chaloupe Armée / 42ft Armed Longboat of 1834 by tkay11 – scale 1:36 - plans by M. Delacroix - FINISHED

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Thanks, Moab. A nice compliment and it's appreciated. Thanks for pointing me to the Panart Armed Launch. I hadn't thought of looking out for those builds as I hadn't realised they were rigged for sailing as well, so I'll now do so.


Luckily in terms of the rigging I already have the complete set of sail and rigging plans, including the most detailed drawings of every metal and wooden component as well as of their exact placement. These plans are not part of the normal booklet (which just is of the basic boat and armament), but have to be purchased separately. Mine came for free with the plans and booklet for 'Le Rochefort' which is also produced by M. Delacroix.


Interestingly the rigging plans show the boat without the cannon or its rails, although the posts for the swivel guns are included. So I have a feeling that it is expected that the armament is left out for the fully rigged boat.



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Thanks a lot, Hellmuht. I would not worry about your results, as yours are already much better that I could expect for my own. I particularly admire the weathering effect you have achieved, as well as the really neat construction. Do you have a build log on another site, as I would really like to see how you have achieved your excellent results? What wood have you been using?


I really like your build of the Bounty, by the way. I had not seen it before, but your post made me look up your other builds. You should put a link to your builds in your signature so that others are alerted to your skills.


As to the cannon, I have already turned a few cannon on a lathe for my previous models, and I find them uninteresting as well as rather ugly. So given the fact that in future I hope to concentrate only on unarmed boats it makes my decision not to put one on this build more likely. However, I'm still thinking about it!



Edited by tkay11
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I don't have any log outside, because this is my first scratch model.  So I did not know what the result would be 😊.  But the result is not that bad.  But nevertheless, I do have the photos with the process that I can share with you in any matter you could be interested in.





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I think it would be an excellent idea for you to open a build log. You can post a series of photos for each stage that you think appropriate and perhaps add comments about how you achieved the results -- especially of the weathering -- along with any difficulties or challenges that you faced. It is the provision of such comments that makes logs most interesting to others. All modellers continue to learn (from themselves as well as from others) throughout their lives, and those who are just beginning are grateful for any clues at all as to how to overcome difficulties or to try different methods. There is, after all, no single 'correct' way to build a model, and every way has its own interest.


I'll be looking out for your photos and words of wisdom and experience!




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Thanks very much, Keith. I have enjoyed following your builds of Germania and Altair and admired not only the building skills but also your drafting -- all way beyond my level at the moment but I surely am glad to develop in that direction. Even better: you reinforce my appreciation of boats without guns!



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53 minutes ago, bricklayer said:

In Mr. Dealcroix`s drawings those beams pearce the hull.

You're quite right, Michael. It's great that you ask this kind of question as the discussion might just reveal to me how to do it. That's one of the great benefits of doing a log so people can ask questions, criticise and offer advice to those who err or are just learning.


The beams are supposed to pierce the hull. I decided I would not risk ruining the hull with a botched job, just as I decided not to insert treenails at any part. Once my level of skill is up to that sort of thing I'll consider it, but for the moment I want models that do not distract by grossly obvious blunders. There are already too many smaller blunders that I can just about live with.


The problem with the hoisting beams is ensuring the illusion of piercing the hull is perfect. If I were to follow M. Delacroix' guidance, I would have to drill 3mm holes in the beams themselves, drill a corresponding square hole in each side of the hull at exactly the right place, cut corresponding beam ends for the outside with tenons to match mortices in the inner beams and shaping the square sections of the false ends to the curve of the hull, and finally shaping the butts outside to project a short distance above the surface of the planking. I have a feeling that even small discrepancies in placing of the false ends on the hull would destroy the illusion and draw attention to them.


I simply couldn't see each of these steps with sufficient clarity to do it (in terms of making jigs that would provide me with the exact markings on the outside of the hull). Of course I could just shape a butt end and glue it to the hull with a nail to fix it, but I thought even that would be too risky.


If you've achieved this trick (or if anyone else who has built this model has achieved it), then I'd be grateful for an explanation of the steps of detail of how to do the measurements. There's still a possibility that I might make them as I think I might just be suffering from a lack of imagination about the blindingly obvious!



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Just to clarify my concerns about the hoisting beams. Along with the measurement for their positioning (which I probably could get my head round) I was worried about shaping the false external beams so that they fit the hull while at the same time being perfectly in line with the beams inside the hull. Anyway, you can see I'm still thinking about it!



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Yet I haven`t built the chaloupe armee. I bought the folder years ago at the annual modeler`s fair in Dortmund. I thought it was a tiny boat and tiny things are quite easy to build. Then I took a close look at each drawing and the manual. It seemed to be too tricky for a beginner like me. I do remember lots of details that made me decide not to build this one as the first model. Currently I´m building "Glad Tidings" by Model Expo. It`s big enough for the clumsy hands of a bricklayer. I don`t dare to start a build log. Let`s see whether and how it grows, first.

I noticed few imperfections at the hull of your chaloupe. Some planks don`t lay dead flat to the ribs (bent frames). They`re tilted a bit. I think it`s due to insufficient edge bending. The stress of the wood fibres wasn`t entirely released, when being attached. But who cares? It`s good as is.

I assemble things in my imagination, too, before I do the physical assembly. It prevents me from making mistakes, that can`t be undone.

Let me have a look at my drawings of the chaloupe again. I may find a fool-proof way to build authentic hoisting beams.

Let`s not argue about nails. I think that the timberwork itself counts more.



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More on the hoisting beams


Thanks, Michael. You're right about the imperfections. There's lots more and I try to bring out all of them as I go along. Anyway, you'll be interested to see that I took up your challenge and worked out a way of doing the false beam ends. It's not perfect at all, but it was at least fun to work at it.


After my reply that I was reluctant to work on making the false external parts of the hoisting beams, I thought I’d experiment a bit with cutting a 3mm square in a piece of scrap wood. This started to reveal to me the geometry of the fixing. In order to place a square piece of wood at an angle to a surface, the hole of course cannot be square. It has to be oblong. It is this that had confused me when I had first contemplated the job: I had been thinking of shaping the wood to fit a square hole as suggested in the leaflet with the plans.


I had also perversely misread the guide. I had thought that the external portion of the beam was full size, whereas a fresh reading showed that only a 3mm square section extended through the planking. This set my mind more at ease about the visual appearance of the extension.


So I decided I would take up the challenge of putting in these hoisting beam extensions.


The first thing was to position them. Luckily the tops of the beams lie immediately against the bottom of the rubbing strake, so the vertical height was established. I found the horizontal markings by laying a piece of the same dimensions as the beam on top of it and overlapping the edge of the rubbing strake.


I then checked the visual appearance and positioning of the full size beam.


I used the full size spare beam to mark its dimensions on the external planking and drilled a 0.5mm hole in the centre to act as a marker for further cutting out of the hole.


I then used this point to drill a 2.1mm hole which would provide the reference centre for chiselling out the rectangle for the 3mm square beam end.


It’s wonderful how taking up wooden pieces and fiddling with them on the model provides a much better understanding of the geometry. Once I had realised that I no longer needed to cut a square 3mm against the face of the plank but a rectangle to receive a 3mm square, all I had to do was use a 3mm chisel which I had made previously to mark out the edges. To work out the size of the rectangle it was a simple matter to hold the external beam in line with the internal beam and chisel away until it fitted against the hull.


Of course you’ll notice that my chiselling is not perfect, but now I have the idea the future beams should be easier to cut.


Finally I marked out the place where I had to cut the external beam by holding the 3mm square piece which will provide the beam end in the cut rectangle and using the edge of the rubbing strake as a line against which to pencil the mark.


After gluing the false beam end into the rectangle, it was then just a question of sanding the cut edge and applying varnish.


Phew! That made me get over my nervousness about trying something completely new in terms of technique. It also is a real lesson in not trying too hard to think it all out in advance: that surely needs to be done, but fiddling with the bits and looking at the practical geometry sure does help a lot!



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Thanks very much, Hellmuht, and thanks to all who've been giving me the thumbs up! I have to agree that the model does gain by it, but my wife didn't notice it at all. For most people who aren't into modelling it's probably a bit like a wort on a nice skin!



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On 1/20/2019 at 3:55 PM, tkay11 said:




I've been following this build with great interest. I appreciate the way you explain your thinking and planning processes. 


May I ask, what vise are you using in that picture. I’ve been looking for a little toolmakers vise with a nice knob like that. 

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Thanks, Griphos. It's the Proxxon Precision Steel Vice PM40 catalogue number 24260. It has a jaw width of 46mm, clamping capacity 34mm, total length 70mm. There is also a very nice slightly larger one, the PM60, with jaw width 60mm, clamping capacity 42mm, total length 100mm, catalogue number 24255. I think there's a nicer version of the PM40 in the USA, but I can't find a picture or catalogue number.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Thwart supports


I experimented with making the thwart supports using a metal lathe, but in the end found that my Proxxon woodworker’s lathe was better suited. I also found that 3mm square stock was far easier to handle than 2mm square stock.


In order to achieve a constant initial width I used a very wide sanding stick with 120 grit paper. If you’re wondering what the board is, it’s a zero tolerance insert for my bench saw that was discarded.


When making the supports, I left plenty of head room  top and bottom so that I could easily adjust the support to the correct height.


It was great to see the thwart supports all lined up in a row, ready for the thwarts. I drilled a 2mm hole in the centre underneath each of the relevant thwarts (not all the thwarts have pillar supports) and then gradually sanded down the tops of the supports until they fitted snugly.


Swivel gun stocks


The swivel gun stocks turned out to be slightly easier to make than I expected. Even though I am still thinking whether or not to arm the boat, it would be very difficult to fit the swivel stocks should I decide to arm them later.


The first stage is to drill in the stock the central hole for the swivel gun. I then cut the square stock to the shape of the bulwark. In my first attempt I had cut the squares into octagons before doing this and it ended up unsuccessfully as very fiddly. This way round (the way suggested in the guide) worked well. Lesson learned.


One thing you have to watch out for when preparing the stock is to ensure that the stock will fit against the strake that covers the frames, so I used a small section of 1mm thick planking to check the depth.


Cutting the octagon needed a little more care as not all the sides are cut to the full length. The side facing the bulwark only has an octagonal shape above the rubbing strake.


I used a jig from a previous model to cut the first phases of the octagon, together with a template to mark the cuts from the top. The very first cuts were with a miniature block plane, but the finishing was done with a sanding stick and a fine metal file.


The difficulty when cutting the octagon is ensuring the faces are straight. I just checked visually that the sides were kept parallel, and that seemed to work well enough.




By the way, I have not made mention of the fitting of the thwarts themselves, so this is just to note the importance of using a template to scrape a rounded edge to the correct dimensions on the front and rear edges of the thwarts.



Note that the front swivel stock has to have a notch cut to take the thwart stringer as the planks below are thinner than the stringer. This is not the case at the rear where the planks used to hold the stocks are the same thickness as the stringer.



Mast collars


The mast collars took me quite a bit of time as I have not worked with brass for a long time, so I had to re-learn some of the skills: notably cutting straight strips!


The first stage was to make the holding plates for the collars. These have four holes for the nails (or bolts) that fix them to the thwarts. I used a template first to determine the position of the holes on the brass strips. In the following pictures I demonstrate the use of the templates with strips that have already been drilled, but you should get the idea.


I also used a paper clip to hold the strips to the wood strip while marking where the holes should go.



Having marked the position of the holes in one direction, I scribed a straight line down the centre of the strip and then drilled the holes accordingly.


I used a handheld pin vice to drill these holes at first, but later on I changed to drilling them with an electric drill as it took such a long time by hand. All the same, even with the drill, I still started the holes with the pin vice as it is so much easier to determine the position by hand.


I then drilled the holes for the pins that would hold the mast collar to the holding plates. On my first try I had stupidly placed the nails in the holding plates forgetting that this would make the drilling of the pin holes very difficult, no, impossible. So I had to start all over again.


I also learned, after completing the main mast collar, that in order for it to lie flush to the thwart it would be a good idea to cut grooves for the holding plates.


The holding pins themselves turned out fairly easy to make. I took a piece of 1mm brass rod and flattened one end with a file. I then drilled a 05.mm hole in it for the forelock bolts.


The pin was then shaped to a conical form using the Proxxon drill and a file as well as a sanding stick.


The following shows the plate and holding pin in position, without the forelock bolt.


And now here’s the complete assembly, forelock bolts and all. You’ll notice I have not blackened the brass. The reason is simple: I haven’t yet found a way of blackening it and then assembling all the blackened bits without damaging the blackening. Mostly I end up with a rather blotchy effect if I do. Given the positioning of the collars, any imperfections will be glaringly obvious. So I’m making do with just the imperfections of the construction being glaringly obvious.


Perhaps one day I’ll learn the trick.





I’m lucky that I managed to squeeze in these few steps before my surgery next week. I’ll see what I can do before then, but I doubt very much I’ll be posting results for quite a while as I have a feeling that the lodging knees will be quite complex to make and fit correctly (the next step). All the same, keep a lookout if you're still interested in following!

With thanks again to all those who've given me comments, advice and the thumbs up. It's always motivating and very helpful.



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Ha ha! Druxey. I really laughed at that, but thanks for the compliment. I'll add that to the mention that I'm a doctor -- which always prompts a little flurry of solicitude and more exact discussion of procedures and possible outcomes. Thanks also to Dirk, Paul, Grandpa Phil and G.L.for the 'likes'.



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At least I know where that septic worktop comes from ...


So far I've enjoyed your build tremendously (got the drawings in my "retirement" stash), and your build will be one I will certainly return to for guidance.


Take care with the operation, and wish you a speedy recovery

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Thanks for the good wishes, as well as the compliments. Both are much appreciated.


When I told my wife of druxey's comment about showing the surgeons the pictures to promote accuracy, she said "Be careful with the comparison. Unlike modellers they can't re-do the bits that go wrong".


We're a down to earth family.



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Tony, I wondered whether you installed the rear hoisting beam, too. In post #55 I found the answer.

You work pretty fast and the things you do look good. I think, you machined the brass parts flawlessly.

I cross my fingers for the surgery and your recovery. Don`t let us wait too long to follow your "tutorial" again.

Indeed you explained the essential steps of the build in detail. A guideline for everyone, who intends to build

the same or a similar boat.

About piercing the hull. It`s the projection of an object on a surface. Whenever the object, that pierces a surface, isn`t perpendicular to it,

use trigonometry. Lay a tangent on the surface, measure the angle between the tangent and the longitudinal line, vertical line, too, in case of a compound angle. One side of the triangle is given. It`s the width of the pearcing object. Two angles are given. One is a right angle and the other

one is the angle between the tangent on the surface and the longitudinal or vertical line. 


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Thanks, Michael. I agree about the trig. I liked Dirk's comment about 'tutorial style', as it is just a style and not quite a tutorial (if that is taken as anything definitive). The style is to explain in detail the steps I personally took to approach each stage of the build which other novice builders like myself may also find puzzling. 


I remember your earlier comment that you "took a close look at each drawing and the manual. It seemed to be too tricky for a beginner like me". It's exactly because there are a lot of people who feel the same that I try to show that if you break the task down to individual components or steps, then it may not be as difficult as it first looks. There's a nice saying in Chichewa which says "the wingless grasshopper covered the whole country just by hopping" (it's a bit more poetic in Chichewa!).


Before kits came to the mass market, building boats from plans and guides was quite the norm for beginners. It's true that kits are a good entry point for getting your eye in (I started with the Sherbourne kit) and lots of people then find that they start modifying the parts that came with the kit (which gives them the confidence to building from plans and guides), but it's not necessary.


There are many ways, materials and tools one can use when approaching each stage of building a model, and I just illustrate my own methods. People with more experience may well see more efficient ways of doing these things. I base my own approach on seeing how others have tackled the various similar types of difficulty by following the logs on this forum, reading lots of articles and books, and gradually understanding the 'language' of model building that they evince. However, learning by doing, by making mistakes, and by playing with pieces in your hands provides another equally important role in learning and thinking how to do things using the tools and materials at hand and your preferred methods of working things out.


This is all by way of saying I hope I don't come across as being definitive, more to stimulate people to look at problems for themselves, have a look at what others (like myself) have done, and then think about whether those particular approaches suit you or whether you can see a better way through for yourself. That way your own experiences will become learning points for others as well as for yourself. Writing a build log is an excellent way of learning, as I continue to find. Don't forget: it was you who stimulated me into putting in those hoisting beam extensions. Without that stimulus I wouldn't have learned how to do it!



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