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H.M. Cutter Alert by Blue Ensign - Vanguard Models - 1:64 scale

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The deck plan and profile drawings held by the NMM refer to both Alert and Rattlesnake of 1777.

These were sister ships designed by John Williams to the same specification and both launched within a week of each other. 

 

There are other layout differences in the Cole model; he has switched the positions of the Main ladder-way and the glazed Companion-way over the Captain's cabin, this he seems to have taken from the layout of the Hawke model in the NMM. Incidentally the Hawke model has the fore hatch on the centre line.

 

I think I will stick with the layout as per the kit and the Goodwin book.

 

Regards,

 

B.E.

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BE,

It would be interesting to know how closely plans were actually followed in those days and how much leeway the builder had in carrying out the actual construction. In the end we’ll never know. The models could have been built before the actual ship was and have quite a few differences from the real ship. What really does matter is what satisfies you.

 

Kurt

 

 

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Post 5

That fairing business.

With the underside of the deck strengthened I can now proceed to fairing the bulkheads.

This is one of my least favourite ship modelling jobs, and I never seem to achieve full satisfaction with my efforts. It is however so important as a basis to get the subsequent planking right.

These are fairly thin bulkheads so a reasonably gentle approach is required, no bashing away with a coarse sanding stick. These are a fraction of the size of the Cheerful bulkheads and there are less of them.

I did wonder if an additional bulkhead might have been appropriate between bulkheads 4 and 5 just forward of the mast hole. I may resort to filling this area along with bow and stern fillers.

The first plank of 1.5mm x 5mm lime-wood runs along 4mm below the tops of the bulkhead extensions.

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In practice this is quite a tricky plank to fit; it needs to be both edge bent to follow the sheer, and have a curve at the bow end to fit into the rabbet slot.

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This first planking is quite substantial and I used water and heat to induce the necessary shape.

The induced curve for the bow rabbet is particularly necessary due to the inherent weakness of the stem piece, specifically at the top end of the rabbet /slot. Failure to take sufficient spring out of the bend around the bow will stress the stem and any flex may result in a  split along the horizontal grain of the 3mm wood.

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To counter this I added 0.5mm Boxwood strips to the inner sides of the stem above the deck.

 In my view it would have been better if the stem slot were a true rabbet, or the stem made of better quality timber, but kits have compromises. On reflection I should have re-cut the stem out of Boxwood sheet.

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With the plank pre- shaped  pegs are sufficient to hold it against the bulkhead, only one pin required at the aft end.

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Attaching the Port side upper strake.

A strip of wood is inserted between the plank and the stem in the slot to hold it hard against the after edge while the glue dries. It also protects the slot for the second planking.

The second strake below also requires the heat and water treatment to take the stress out of the bow curve and sheer. Pinning as well as glue are necessary for this strake.

During fitting, as feared, the stem did give way along the grain line on the inboard  side at the top of the slot.

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I re-glued it but now a clamp is attached to hold it in position during strake fitting.

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I did not taper these first strakes.

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With the first two strakes in place the hull is now quite rigid, but be careful with that stem piece folks.

 

B.E.

02/07/2019

 

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I haven’t worked on my kit in several days but that’s good to know about the stem, though not good for you. I’ll probably  preclamp my stem when I get there. I might put something in the area where an extra bulkhead should be. If you can’t get the proper shape to the hull the entire project really suffers. I know you’ll over come it.

 

Kurt

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Looking very good BE. It seems to be a real challenge which will keep you on your toes

and me when I get to it. They are big spaces between those bulkheads I think i will

be putting an extra bulkhead or 2 in.

Cheers Chris

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I have just had an email back for the laser cut people. The 2mm was specified by me as MDF (non grain) parts, but they arrived to me in 2mm limewood.

 

I am having these parts (17, 18 and 19) re-cut in the material I originally specified. When I receive them, please let me know if you would like these as replacements, and I will send them out.

 

Thank you,

 

Chris

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Thank you Chris, my stern frames are now fitted, it's the stem piece (21) that's giving me some concern.

 

Regards,

 

B.E.

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BE - can I just check - your part 21 broke "vertically" down the grain if I understand you correctly.

The grain on my bit runs the other way  - horizontally ! I just took out the "slot" and checked .

I love it but this wood stuff isnt half difficult. One can see the advantages of ply and MDF !

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Hi Steve, 

No, the grain runs horizontally across the stem. The weak point is the small section aft of the slot, that is glued atop the false deck. 

Any pressure put on the stem by the first two planks during fitting will find the fault lines in that area.

In the absence of a quality wood like box I think  MDF would be a preferred option.

 

B. E.

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Good evenjng Maurice,

She looks very nice,her lovely lines are showing already. Rapid progress indeed. How do you find it working with 3mm MDF ? I've heard/read that the dust from it is very toxic due to the resin used in its manufacture.

 

I have the bulkheads,false keel and the pear for the keel,stem and sternpost cut for my Speedwell but all have still to be sized correctly etc. Messy  work which I do on the balcony as the missus would have a fit if I did it indoors.

Regards,

 

Dave :dancetl6:

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Fortunately Dave there is not a lot of dust involved, just from the fairing of the bulkheads, I  do wear a mask tho'.

It's the cutting out of all the basic parts from sheet stock that I prefer not to do, you'll no doubt be relieved when you have all the parts ready for construction.

 

Cheers,

 

B.E.

 

 

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21 hours ago, Blue Ensign said:

Thank you Chris, my stern frames are now fitted, it's the stem piece (21) that's giving me some concern.

 

Regards,

 

B.E.

Sorry to read that, I guess I cannot send another stem post as it is glued in place? If you want another piece, I will happily send another.

 

I did actually build the hull twice, as I do with all new developments, and I was happy with the slot. I had no problems with it on both hulls I tested, and I am intentionally heavy handed when it comes to parts like this. My impression of the limewood, despite my initial reservations, was that the grain was just as good as other decent woods.

 

I did toy with using MDF for the stem and keel parts, but I know that more people than not would have hated that, I do not like using MDF for any parts that are shown when the model is complete.

 

 

 

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Perhaps it's me then Chris, 🤔,or perhaps my particular stem piece had a grain line in just the wrong place.

As far as medium choice is concerned  I do generally agree with you that mdf would restrict those who prefer to varnish rather than paint. I intend to paint this one, (I have Cheerful as an unpainted Boxwood model)

My worry was that the stem would break at a point of no return with some of the planking in place. I  do have three strakes in place now and I think the further down the stem I go the less stress on it there will be.

It is clear to see even at this stage she does have very nice lines.🙂

 

Regards,

 

B.E.

 

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41 minutes ago, Blue Ensign said:

Perhaps it's me then Chris, 🤔,or perhaps my particular stem piece had a grain line in just the wrong place.

As far as medium choice is concerned  I do generally agree with you that mdf would restrict those who prefer to varnish rather than paint. I intend to paint this one, (I have Cheerful as an unpainted Boxwood model)

My worry was that the stem would break at a point of no return with some of the planking in place. I  do have three strakes in place now and I think the further down the stem I go the less stress on it there will be.

It is clear to see even at this stage she does have very nice lines.🙂

 

Regards,

 

B.E.

 

Maybe I should have added extra tabs along the slot length like Speedy's (have attached a pic to show that part). What I did do with Alert was to put the front of the planks into the 3mm MDF pattern (parts 11), leaving enough of a slot for the 1mm outer planking. By the time I got to the second planking, the slot was very secure, due to the glue from the first planking.

Speedy parts 2.JPG

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Chris, Maybe you should have 1 or 2 other people build the kits as a trial first to see what problems arise.  You already know how you intended it to go together, it’s a little bit different when someone else attempts it. Like BE had said earlier about the stern frames, in the instructions they appear different. Two are shorter. If the builder is a real newbie, or not a member of a forum like this. It could discourage them as far as the hobby goes. Some people just cannot visualize things, although I can’t imagine someone like that lasting very long in this hobby.

 

Kurt

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2 hours ago, chris watton said:

Maybe I should have added extra tabs along the slot length like Speedy's (have attached a pic to show that part). What I did do with Alert was to put the front of the planks into the 3mm MDF pattern (parts 11), leaving enough of a slot for the 1mm outer planking. By the time I got to the second planking, the slot was very secure, due to the glue from the first planking.

 

The instructions indicate that the front of the plank is fitted into the slot in the bow pattern which is what I did having pre-bent the plank to fit around the bow,  with the ends 50% into the slot each side. I did cut a small rebate in the plank end  to reduce the thickness at this point.  I still found that I needed to brace the plank against the aft edge of the pattern by inserting a  strip between it and the forward edge of the pattern, until the glue set; otherwise the natural inclination of the plank is to hold against the forward edge of the bow slot.

 

B.E.

 

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Post 6

Planking continues

I have inserted a balsa filler in the lower hull between bulkheads 4 and 5 which has the greatest space, but I don't think fillers are necessary elsewhere.

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I planked the hull down to the lower deck level,  using a rule of thumb taper and bend method.

Below this where planking gets tighter I lined off the hull into two bands, the upper of five strakes and the lower of six planks.

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I used the tick strip method to determine the required tapers.

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Once tapered water and heat was used to form the necessary edge bend and bow curve.

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I have given up on trying to leave a space for the second planking in the stem slot, it just doesn't work for me.

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I will work the remaining strakes up from the Garboard plank which will probably leave me with a spiled plank on the underside of the hull.

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As with all such builds it is the bow area that is the trickiest, the run of planks to the stern is fairly straightforward.

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This is the state after a light sanding, one or two lumps and dinks to fettle but I'll leave that until the planking is complete.

 

The quality of the Lime-wood planks is good, and they take a tapering cut very well.

 

I have twelve strakes left to complete and there will be three full lengths of first planking left when I've finished, barring any mishaps.

 I have scrapped a couple of lengths which snapped during the bow bending operation and another couple due to mis-cuts, but I am left with a small pile of shorter lengths which would come in if push came to shove.

 

I rarely enjoy this first stage of a build, but I know from experience that it will come right once the sanding is  completed.

 

On the subject of first planking it is refreshing to see that Chris has chosen to show in the build manual, the hull in all its roughness with ridges and hollows and clinkering, the point at which many new builders look and think Blimey, will this ever look right? - yes it will with careful finishing.

 

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The shipyard is now closing for a week whilst we head up to North Yorkshire, looking forward to those fish and chips at the Cod and Lobster in Staithes.

 

B.E.

11/07/2019

 

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Oh what would I give for real british Fish and Chips now ... nice progress BE! Have fun the week!

 

Dirk

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Love me some fish & chips -- the U.S. deep south version with catfish and hushpuppies is pretty good, too. Have fun on your trip!

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Good evening Maurice,

Looking good as usual. Enjoy your holiday and the Fish and Chips,something I really do miss living here. I'd give my eye teeth for a plate of fresh caught battered Cod and chunky Chips with brown sauce and vinegar. Steak and Kidney pie would also go down a treat.

 

Dave :dancetl6: 

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Hi BE,

 

Enjoy Staithes, if you haven’t done so before look in to the Captain Cook museum in Staithes, also I’d recommend Panart Park Museum down the road at Whitby they have some nice Napoleonic bone warship models as well as a good whaling section.

 

Gary

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30 minutes ago, mcpwilk said:

Looking good. I tend to plank clinker hulls in a single layer.

 

Mike

Perhaps you could share how you go about clinker planking for those of us on the forum who have never attempted this.

 

Gary

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Good question Gary 😃

 

I haven't  firmed up my approach as yet, but it will have to be done from the keel up, and certainly for a novice like me I think having a solid plank base to work off will assist the process.

 

B.E.

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Hope you had a pleasant vacation. It’s good to have some time away from a project. Coming back with a fresh point of view can make a major difference. Things you didn’t notice before all of a sudden become so obvious. That’s one of my problems , knowing when put things down and walk away. That seems to be an American problem, supposedly more than half of us don’t take the full amount of vacation we’re entitled too. Not sure if Canadians suffer from the same quirk, but I doubt it.

 

Anyway we missed the BE magic show.

 

Kurt

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Thank you Kurt, North Yorkshire was wonderful and the weather was kind to us.

Being retired, life is one long vacation for us, I am happy to say.☺️

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.... and the Fish and Chips at the Cod and Lobster in Staithes were delicious.

Glad we didn't order the large portion!

 

Back to the Boatyard.

 

B.E.

 

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Post 7

Moving onto the Garboard Plank

Back in the Boatyard I now invert the hull to start with the Garboard plank.

On this kit with two plank layers it's not really necessary as the purpose of the first planking is to provide a solid and properly shaped hull form onto which the second layer is glued.

However, the second layer will need to be properly planked for good effect so it does no harm to employ some of the techniques on the soon to be hidden first layer.

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The position of the Garboard plank at the forward end involves a little bit of best estimation. Because I have no rabbet the plank tapers to a near point at the bow end; I have it just forward of Bulkhead two and aft of the bottom end of the keel slot.

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The rest of the plank I have left at full width, but inducing  some twist towards the aft end to allow it to lie flat against the false keel and stern post.

If nothing else, fitting a specific Garboard plank will allow the correct position to be confirmed, and if it's a little out - well it will be covered up.

I also bevelled the plank back edge where it meets the keel, and thinned it down a little on the back face where it runs into the stern post.

Even so, a fair bit of thinning down will be necessary , basically down to nothing, to allow for the second planking.

 

With the Garboard planks in place the adjoining plank is fitted.

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This quite a tricky one as there is a  tight lateral curve at the forward end where it goes around the Garboard plank and into the stem slot. There is quite an acute  angle to the plank end.

I then add a third strake also requiring lateral bending at the bow end.

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 To achieve the required bends the curve has to be formed at least a third along the length of a strip to get the required purchase. The Lime wood did not lend itself easily to the lateral bending process with breaks occurring at fault lines along the grain.

 I did suffer quite an attrition rate of breaking strips, a problem not experienced with hardwoods such as Box. This resulted in several of the strakes being made up of two planks butt joined.

The final strip of a very irregular shape lies beneath the curve of the hull and was spiled to fit.

Using the provided strip of all one width makes avoiding  stealers almost impossible, but as a first layer  base this is not really an issue.

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At the end of the first planking I am left with a pile of off-cuts.

There is sufficient strip to do the job, particularly if you follow the suggested kit method of planking.

 

So here is the completed first planking in all it's rough glory.

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The sanding process now begins, there are a few hollows and ridges to sort out before I move on.

Then comes the really interesting bit.

 

B.E.

28/07/2019

 

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