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HMS Speedy by Vane - Vanguard Models - Scale 1:64 - Master Shipwright (limited edition)

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HMS Speedy – 5th build

I got too many kits in the shipyard, but I have been really curious on Chris Watton's new line of model kits.  I also very much wants to support the establishment of Vanguard Models so when I got the opportunity to order one of the first boxes of the HMS Speedy I didnt hesitate. It will come in 3 different version and I picked the "no compromise" edition called Master Shipwright which is limited to 20 kits. https://vanguardmodels.co.uk/ .  

The HMS Speedy will make a very nice addition to my other ships from the "Nelson era".






According to Chris Watton, HMS Speedy was a 14-gun small brig and one of the first generations of new naval brigs, and her lines were more of a hybrid between a sleek cutter and brig. She was a small vessel for her class, but what she lacked in size and raw gunpower, she more than made up for in character. Speedy had a very active history, being captured in 1794 by French frigates and then recaptured in March the following year. After Cochrane lost her (in an unwinnable battle), Speedy was renamed Saint Pierre and presented to the pope by Napoleon himself. It is while commanding Speedy that Cochrane made his name. This was his first command, and the combination of this aggressive commander and Speedy ensured that they would be a thorn in the side of the French and Spanish navies, culminating in the remarkable exploit of taking the Spanish 32-gun frigate Gamo (with xebec hull and rig form). Cochrane led 48 of his crew (almost all of them) up the sides of the frigate, which had over 300 men and eventually took the ship.





The kit

The first impression of this kit is simply "wow"! Everything packed very nicely and protected. Other kits I have bought has been quickly packed with sawdust and manuals with folded paper etc. Here you can really see that someone has made an effort in protection and layout. I have just briefly looked at all the wood and the parts and its simply way beyond what I have worked with previously. Only problem is that if I get used to this level of quality I wont be able to go back to my other kits. This particular version includes

  • Laser cut MDF, 0.8mm ply and pearwood parts and high-quality boxwood strip for second planking.
  • Machined pearwood block and deadeyes
  • The book Cochrane the Dauntless: The Life and Adventures of Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 1775-1860


More details on the kit will come soon.


Edited by Vane
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I am not really sure where to begin when describing this kit. I am not that experienced kitbuilder but its very different from my previous builds from Caldercraft and Corel. Even though I know Chris has designed many of my other kits, this definitely something else. So far I think my Granado from Caldercraft is the most welldesigned kit i come across, but Speedy outperforms her in many ways.  Plans, instructions, material and also in design. 


One thing that might surprise you when seeing it in reality is that even though its in 1:64 scale its a small boat. Quite smaller than the Granado and compared to a Victory in the same scale it would almost look like a lifeboat.... but its very detailed.


Edited by Vane
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The first step is quite easy so i wont describe everything. Just cut out the skeleton from 3 sheets and glue it together. It just took me a couple of hours.  Its in MDF and very precisely lasercut. I am used to work with ply so MDF is completely new to me. You dont need to trim anything. Its like laying a puzzle. Just be careful since MDF is not that strong and you dont want to break anything.



Edited by Vane
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10 minutes ago, Bobbuild said:

I ordered the Speedy also! Great that you are doing a log. Looking good.

Just wondering where you got the pins you are using on your 1st planking?

I would honestly use the extra thin ones that come with the kit. These are Amati special pins and are perfect to hold the first planking to the MDF bulkheads without splitting any materials.

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Old habbits... I always use these when I do the first planking. They are sharper than any pins i have came across. Bought them over 20 years ago in a local hobby shop that dont exist any more. 



For the first planking i am not so accurate: pins, pva, water, whatever works quickly. But for the 2nd layer i will not use any pins. Instead its CA, sanding, and the "Chuck method" prebending in the wrong direction with my heatgun.  

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15 minutes ago, SpyGlass said:

C A == wow thats brave !!!  Far too messy for me and I HATE being stuck to the ship !!

White glue and a lot of ingenious clampy !  But yes  i do like a bit of sideways bending !!

I always use thick CA for second planking, and planking decks!

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@SpyGlass Dont care what all you neat workers say - I keep a damp cloth to hand and I can wipe off white glue when I spread it everywhere .

CA just attachs itself to me and everything else - but never just where I want it !


I know what you mean😲😤

@Vane great start !! As soon as I've got enough pennies saved I will get Speedy 

Edited by Edwardkenway
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First planking done and I have just had the kit abit more than a week. What I like about Speedy is that Chris have made many new design solutions that really make it easier and faster to build. A few observations so far:

1) Pre-made rabbit to support the first planking. 

2) Laser cut holes from "the wrong side" so you dont need to measure

3) The precut walls comes in 2 pieces 

4) MDF skeleton with many very close bulkheads

5) Only identified weakness so far are these 4 very fragile pieces that easily break during assembly. The would perhaps be made in a different mtrl than MDF?


Now its time to start with the 2nd planking in boxwood. Here he has also clear markings on where the first board should be placed so nothing to measure... 🙂


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Looking good Vane!


Those fragile stern frames were a headache for me. I didn't want to make them so thick that they would draw the eye from the rest of the model, but also needed to be robust enough to take the stern and side patterns. I could not use any kind of wood due to grain problems, they would break even easier and more often. This is why they are MDF, and also why I made sure in the instructions to tell the modeller to glue the stern patterns to the frames ASAP. The original designs for the 4 stern frames was a lot more robust, but found their oversized protrusions too out of kilter with the general fidelity and scale of the model overall - kind of like putting a 48th scale capstan on a 64th scale kit.. But, they are fragile, but just on the right side of acceptably so, I think.

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