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HMS Speedy by Delf - Vanguard Models - Scale 1:64 - Master Shipwright edition

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  • 3 weeks later...

Bowsprit Rigging


I've finished all the initial rigging to the bowsprit, bar tying off and belaying lanyards etc. I haven't kept up the log as well as I would have liked, although I believe I've already described all the techniques used. I'll just show the results, then mention one or two items that might be of interest to other Speedy builders.




I didn't fit flemish horses to the spritsail yard. Although Chris shows them on the plans, they weren't fitted on ships of this period (at least according to Lees). Stirrups weren't fitted either but I didn't read that until after I'd fitted them, and I'm not sufficiently wedded to historical accuracy to remove them!


One other point where I departed from the plans was at the end of the flying jibboom, where Chris suggests cutting a groove to accommodate the fore royal stay. I can't imagine that would ever have featured in a real ship, so I decided to drill a hole to simulate a sheave. Unfortunately I hadn't spotted this requirement when I was making the spar so it was with a fair degree of trepidation that I approached the 2mm timber with an 0.8mm drill bit. Fortunately I managed not to ruin it:



Another point on that photo is the clove hitch to attach the guy pendants. This allowed me to use a single length of line to make both pendants, and to minimise the clutter on the end of the jibboom.


I previously described using CA to create rings in the lines used to strop blocks - rings that wouldn't lose their shape under tension. I've been trying to cut down my use of CA - for health reasons - and found that fly tying cement works just as well:


Given the small size of the blocks - mostly 3mm - I've used fly tying silk for most of the seizings. One exception was on the bowsprit stays where I used DMC thread. I covered this in post #471, where I also described darkening the seizing slightly. However once the stays were rigged on the model and the seizings had dried, it was clear they were still too bright. I toned them down further with some more dye made from van dyck crystals, applied with a small brush. Hopefully the difference is clear in these two shots:

IMG_2864.thumb.JPG.d46155bec910636dac953b7f466ef0c6.JPG IMG_2902_edited-1.thumb.JPG.7243677f37560414803901dd23348f2b.JPG


A final point to mention is the group of five ringbolts visible in the hull on the left hand edge of the second photo. These are unblackened, and are there purely as place markers so I don't forget how the holes are arranged. I find it much easier to seize lines to ringbolts off the model, then glue them in place. 



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Thanks as always for the kind comments and likes - much appreciated 🙂.


Starting the shrouds


Moving on from the bowsprit I decided to make a start on the fore shrouds. As I've said before, I'm regretting my earlier decision to glue the complete masts together, which prevents me making up the shrouds off the model and just slipping them over the masthead. I'm following @VTHokiEE(Tim)'s advice and rigging the shrouds on the masts before fitting the masts to the ship. 


I've decided to serve the shrouds where appropriate and so dug out my trusty Serve-o-matic from Syren. The centre of each shroud pair would have been served for about eight feet either side of the centre point, ensuring that the bight round the masthead was well protected. In addition, the foremost shroud on each side of each mast would have been served along its whole length, to protect it from wear by the courses. At scale, I worked out that I would need 400mm of line for each shroud pair, with the centre 76mm served. For the first pair on each side, the serving would cover the whole of one half of the pair, as well as the centre section.


Chris suggests using 1mm line for the lower mast shrouds. I felt that was too heavy, especially when served, and that 0.75mm would be more  in scale. I started by using a chinagraph pencil to mark where the  serving would end:



In this case 238mm from the end - 200mm for the fully served first shroud of the pair and 38mm for the served top part of the second shroud. 


On to the serving machine, clamped firmly to the workbench and a couple of points to note. First, the end of the line has to feed through the left hand side and wind round the pins. I don't like wasting rope (OK, I'm tight 🤑!) so I tie a length of spare line to the stuff I'm serving to avoid losing the first six inches or so. Also, I'm using the finest Gutermann cotton thread which works well for serving. It comes on big bobbins with 800m of thread, which lasts forever.



To start the thread off I sew it through the rope once, then back again at right angles. Before serving I rub PVA along the first few millimetres of rope.  Probably overkill as I'm sure the sewing will prevent any chance of the thread unravelling, but it doesn't do any harm and it makes me feel better:



The actual serving is a doddle once you get used to it, and with practice it doesn't take more than a few minutes to get from one end of the machine to the other. Keeping the hand guiding the thread angled slightly to the left ensures that the serving will be nice and tight. If you angle too much the thread will start winding back over the served portion, but it's easy to rectify by rewinding a few turns and starting again.


IMG_2949.thumb.JPG.8d3b8d300dd77b5ebd3c4dec50172c4f.JPG On this shroud the serving can't be done all in one go, so it's necessary to shift the rope to the left until the chinagraph mark is visible. To stop the serving unravelling while I do this, I clamp a large clip on the thread and the weight keeps it in place. When not in use the clip clamps on the top brass bar to keep it handy.



Once I've served close to the chinagraph mark it's a repeat of the starting procedure - glue the final few mils and sew through the rope:



Next it's on to the mast, held in the trusty quadhands. Before threading the shroud around the masthead I tied a piece of white cotton round the midpoint so I knew exactly where to form the bight:


To seize the bight I used the same method for creating round turns that I described in a previous post. Here, I've used light coloured thread so I could see what I was doing and then stained it when it was done:


I've left off the handrail and stanchions on the foretop to avoid breakage. One slight hiccup - I was so engrossed in the seizing work that I neglected to check the order I was doing the shrouds in. The foremost starboard pair is supposed to go on first, but I fitted the port. Fortunately I realised before I did the starboard side, so I was able to lift the port pair out of the way and seize the first starboard shrouds underneath in their proper position. Not the first time I've not thought through the proper order of work on this build!


I won't rig the deadeyes until all the lower shrouds are fitted. The serving and fitting will take some time so I'll avoid pointless repetition until I've finished all the lower shrouds. In the meantime I might do some more work on the ship's boat, which the eagle eyed might have spotted on the quadhands base.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Lower shrouds rigged


I've finally got all the lower shrouds set up with their deadeyes and lanyards, although not yet fully adjusted:



I've not yet decided whether to darken the seizings (they don't look nearly as white as they do in this photo). I'm sure on real ships the seizings would have been tarred like the shrouds, but they took quite a lot of work so it seems a shame to hide them. I experimented with dark seizings and you lose the detail:


I'd be interested in others' views.


Btw, I didn't glue the masts in place as I prefer to set them up by getting the tension on shrouds and stays right.


I'll follow on with a quick note on how I rigged the deadeyes.



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Wonderful work. About the seizings : the eternal debate between historical accuracy and aesthetics, I'm afraid.

I'd settle for the white approach : superb contrast.

Probably, you are aware or perhaps other members already drew your attention whenever it comes to the ratlines : it's recommendable to progress with an interval of 5 positions and later on fill up the gaps to avoid any deformation.


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Rigging deadeyes


As promised, a quick note on deadeyes. 


I used the tried and tested pins-in-a-plank method to try to make sure the deadeyes were all at the same level:


I tied a piece of white thread on the shroud to mark the bottom of the deadeye. This helped me to ensure that I formed the loop that will hold the deadeye in the right place.


I formed the loop round a 4.7mm drill bit. As the deadeye is just over 5mm this means I had to squeeze quite hard to get it into the loop, but then the shroud sat snuggly in the deadeye groove.



In the second photo I've pushed a threaded needle through both parts of the shroud where they cross to form the loop. It was then a simple job to take the thread round the crossing point a couple of times to form the cross seizing, tie it off, glue and trim.


I repeated this with white thread just to show how this forms the loop, with the crossing point opposite the original marker thread:


That's one of the fully served shrouds btw, and here it is with the proper thread and the deadeye fitted:


Next job was to seize the free end of the shroud. For this I used fine Gutermann sewing thread to do modified round seizings. I decided proper round seizings would be too bulky so I left off the riding turns and also slightly modified the starting moves to make it easier to handle at this scale. The first step was to tie a short 6"/150mm length to the shroud with a simple overhand knot. I made the knot on the inboard side of the shroud and held the left hand end in a quadhands clip to keep it out of the way (out of shot):



Then I took the right hand end of the line round the shroud...


...and after the fifth turn I brought the end up between the two parts of the shroud:


I then took the left hand end and passed it up through the two parts of the shroud, at the opposite side of the loops to the RH end:


Next, I crossed the two ends over and down between the two parts of the shroud:


I finished the seizings by tying them off with a reef knot, then gluing and trimming in the usual way.  This will be on the inboard side of the shroud and so virtually invisible. I repeated for the second seizing, but here I had to use a needle to thread the seizing as there was less room:


That served shroud has snuck in again!  I'm just not very good at organising my camera work :rolleyes:.


When I put a dab of glue on the seizing knots, I also put a drop of thin CA on shroud where it would be trimmed. This is especially important on the served shrouds to prevent the serving unravelling. Once trimmed, the final job before reeving the lanyards was put a dab of raw sienna acrylic paint on the trimmed end of the shroud to represent the leather cap:




My wife and I have decided we're not stressed enough, so we've got the builders coming on Monday to remove an old conservatory and construct a new extension. Deep joy. Supervising that lot will probably further limit modelling time. Having said that I'm still really enjoying Speedy and any time I get to spend on her is a bonus.




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30 minutes ago, Barbossa said:

Wonderful work.

Thanks Barbossa, I appreciate your kind words and feedback. If you have seen my first log (here) and earlier entries in this log you will know that I am often torn between historical accuracy and aesthetics - aesthetics usually wins!  Thank you also for your advice on ratlines. I tried that method on my last fully rigged ship and it worked very well, so I shall certainly use it again. However I am sure many members are not aware of the method (I only found it relatively recently, in The Fully Framed Model) so you are quite right to draw attention to it.





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1 hour ago, DelF said:

but they took quite a lot of work so it seems a shame to hide them. I experimented with dark seizings and you lose the detail

Awesome shroud work!


I was torn with that decision as well but decided to go with dark seizings. Historical accuracy aside I started feeling like the seizings would create too much contrast and become a focal point (also I’m not certain mine are quite good enough for that). 

Either way yours will look great so it sounds like you should show them off!

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Great detail and tutorials as always, once again posts for the reference file. Those are the nicest seizing I’ve ever seen.  

I always rig everything I can to the masts before stepping them, so much easier than later.i use a paper grid behind the shrouds with both properly spaced horizontal lines and vertical ones to stay on track with rat lines. The paper background has the advantage of my not going cross eyed by removing everything behind the shrouds. 

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Thanks for the kind comments and 'likes' - they're much appreciated.


16 hours ago, VTHokiEE said:

Awesome shroud work!

I was torn with that decision as well but decided to go with dark seizings. 

Either way yours will look great so it sounds like you should show them off!

Thanks Tim. I'm still in two minds. I'll wait till later in the build to judge the overall effect. I may end up just slightly darkening them to make them stand out a bit less but not hide the detail.


13 hours ago, glbarlow said:

Those are the nicest seizing I’ve ever seen.  

Thanks Glenn - considering the number of fine modellers on this forum I take that as a great compliment. The truth is I had to work out the seizing method again from scratch, having forgotten how I did it on my last fully rigged ship. Proves the value of keeping a log! I like the method because at 1:64 scale it looks reasonably authentic without being too bulky. Yet again the Quadhands proved its value, allowing me to hold several lines simultaneously just where I wanted them.


I'll certainly use a  paper grid when I rattle down the shrouds, combined with the every-5th-shroud-first technique discussed earlier. Building work permitting 🔨😬 ⛏️



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21 hours ago, DelF said:

I used the tried and tested pins-in-a-plank method to try to make sure the deadeyes were all at the same level:

Hello Derek

As always I have found your post(s) very informative and full of plenty of great advice and detailed methods. I have always used a jig to set the distance between the deadeyes but never seem to have a level set of deadeyes once rigged. The problem I have is setting the same amount of tension to each lanyard line. Do you have any tips? I have an idea on my current build to use a small weighted item (e.g. my normally closed tweezers) to the lanyards so each line so I know each line will have the same tension applied. I can then to use your method of using a white thread to mark the position at the bottom of the deadeye.

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Hi Glenn


Thanks. Glad you find the log helpful. However there's not a great deal of further advice I can offer on levelling deadeyes. I just try to hold the shroud tight on the jig while I move the marker thread to the bottom of the loop. No matter how careful I am I usually find one or two deadeyes are slightly out of line when I first rig the lanyards. Most times, I can level things up by extra tightening the lanyards on deadeyes that are sitting too high. Occasionally (and it happened once on Speedy's main shrouds) a deadeye will end up too low and there's no alternative but to unpick the seizing and redo it. To that end, I only do the cross seizing during the levelling process, not the round seizings. That way, if I do have to redo a shroud, I've only got one seizing to unpick. The downside is that once I've got everything level I have to unreeve all the lanyards so I can put the round seizings on.


I found a picture illustrating this stage:



Hope that helps.



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Lower mast stays


I thought I'd fit these before tackling with the ratlines:



I used 1.3mm line for the main and fore stays, and 1.0mm for their preventers. Each was served from the eye down to a point about 6' (30mm) below the mouse. To serve the eye I used a method I'd read in TFFM but not tried before. Unfortunately I didn't film it all, but basically I left about 12mm/0.5" unserved at the eye end of the line, and when I threaded the serving line through the stay to start the serving I left a good long length spare. When finished serving, I used a scalpel blade to cut the unserved rope at an angle. With PVA applied, I brought the cut end round to form the eye and clamped it whilst it dried. Hopefully this shot will make the description clearer:


When the glue had dried I wound the spare thread  round the join to cover it:


I put a half hitch in the final loop, applied a drop of dilute PVA and trimmed.


Next I had a bit of fun with the mice (mouses?). The kit supplies two sizes of black beads for these which look fine from a distance but I thought I'd make my own. I didn't want to go as far as full size practice and start weaving mice, so I again followed TFFM and made them from wood on the lathe. I started with a hole large enough to accommodate the served stays:



Then set the top slide at a 20 degree angle to cut a taper:



I parted the mouse with the cutter at an angle to bevel the other end. The mouse should be three times the diameter of the stay, so this told me where to part the mouse. The resulting mice I think are a slightly more realistic shape than a round bead, especially when painted to match the stay:



Finally, I seized 5mm deadeyes into the other end of each stay, using slightly darker thread than I did on the shrouds to preserve the detail better. And the lanyards are not bright white in real life, honest!


Next job will be preparing for ratlines. I'll probably do the futtock staves first, and practice my clove hitches. Having said that I'm tempted to try half hitches which might be less bulky at this scale. I'll experiment.




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Thanks everyone, much appreciated.

16 hours ago, glennard2523 said:

Your attention to detail and workmanship is amazing

Very kind of you to say so Glenn, but I'm still learning like the rest of us. And that's not false modesty - when I look at the work of some of the true masters on the forum, people like Marsalv and Doris for example, I feel like I'm still a novice.


9 hours ago, glbarlow said:

So many nautical terms, I don’t know what you’re saying in most of this post 🤣😂

Haven't you got that nautical dictionary yet Glenn :rolleyes:?


9 hours ago, VTHokiEE said:

A lathe seems like a fun toy...

...and fun toy is right. I don't really need the metal working lathe for ship modelling, but it's good fun for little projects like this. If you ever decide to go for a lathe a wood working version like the Proxxon DB 250 I use would be much more useful (and a lot cheaper).  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ratlines & ships' boat


Steady but slow progress on the ratlines. I don't hate this part of the build as much as some folk seem to, but I do get frustrated at my inability to produce good, consistent work. This is despite practicing on cupboard door handles! :rolleyes:



Pretty good at that scale! Anyway, I've finished the lower starboard shrouds and have just started on the port:



To break up the rattling I've done some more work on the ship's boat. I'm certainly glad I went for the boxwood option when I see the result so far. The kit supplied boxwood strips for the boat's hull planking, and there was enough left over to replace the pearwood thwarts as well. I departed from the manual slightly by fashioning a little platform in the bow to hide part of the MDF structure that would otherwise show:


 Without the platform:


Platform fitted:



I haven't yet decided whether or not to paint the hull. It seems a shame to cover up the boxwood, and with a bit of tidying up and a couple of stealers it might look OK bare - especially when it's sitting in a cradle on the deck.



Back to the ratlines!



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Looking great! I may borrow that idea for covering the mdf on the ship's boat.


1 hour ago, DelF said:

I don't hate this part of the build as much as some folk seem to,

I have currently decided that, to me, the worst part of the build is making belayed rope coils (other coils are okay). Maybe its my jig, but it is probably me...

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Not only is the model looking beautiful, your practice ratlines should make it much easier to reach things on top of your kitchen cabinets! 


I will also be stealing your idea of the little platform at the bow of the boat to cover the MDF. That's a nice solution. I think the boat will look great whether you paint it below the waterline or leave it bare. 


I'm a little bit caught in the doldrums as I struggle through my second planking, so looking at your wonderful results is a nice bit of inspiration to push on. 



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7 hours ago, DelF said:

whether or not to paint the hull.

I think you should copper it😁🤣


Although it’s pretty boxwood it’s more how it looks as a ship accessory on display so in my opinion I’d paint it, at least below the waterline. 

I’m sure it will look great either way. Congrats on the ratlines. I have an actual boat at our Lakehouse. I’m pretty good at full scale clove hitches at that scale. It’s the tedium of one after another that gets to me, and the forced labor of Just..,Do...One...More...😩

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