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

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Thanks everyone, and thanks for all the likes.


19 hours ago, VTHokiEE said:

to me, the worst part of the build is making belayed rope coils


Not my favourite either Tim, so I do a few occasionally throughout the build just to break it up a bit. Makes me more inclined to experiment with different methods. 


17 hours ago, whitejamest said:

I'm a little bit caught in the doldrums as I struggle through my second planking,

I often 'freewheel' for a bit if I'm not feeling up to spending all my free time on a model. It's a hobby after all, not a race to finish. Having said that, I really enjoyed the time last year when I had Speedy and the English Pinnace on the go at the same time, each providing a break from the other when needed. Have you tried making up some of the deck furniture and/or masts to give yourself a break from planking?


13 hours ago, glbarlow said:

I think you should copper it😁🤣


Another great idea! I've got some spare copper left over from the main hull....

I'm also inclined to agree with you about painting.


13 hours ago, glbarlow said:

I have an actual boat at our Lakehouse

So have I - see my profile picture on the left. :rolleyes:



Edited by DelF
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Ships Boat (aka anything but ratlines!)


I wasn't too keen on the way the rowlocks were fashioned in the kit boat, from holes cut in the wash strake:



I was especially dubious about my ability to glue the wash strake edge on above the wale, especially as I had followed the kit instructions and cut the ribs off below the wash strake. Without thinking about it I also copied the kit boat in not fitting ribs in the stern section. I note that the revised 18 foot cutter Chris now offers has put this right:



I got the revised cutter from Chris with half a mind to start again, but as the original boat was already quite far advanced I thought I'd try a different approach. With the wale fitted I felt I had enough width at the top edge of the hull to have a go at fitting cap rails and more conventional rowlocks. I started by thinning a small sheet of boxwood down to 0.75mm then holding it against the top of the boat to trace each side in turn. After cutting the two halves of the cap rail on the scroll saw and sanding as close to the proper shape as I could I CA'd them in place and tried to even them up with a tad more sanding. 


I made the rowlocks using the same method I employed on the English Pinnace so I won't repeat that here. Here's the link to post #47 of that log with the details. Of course this boat is only 3/8ths the size of the pinnace so the rowlocks were cut from a strip of 1 X 1.5mm boxwood. For ease of handling I kept each one on the strip until I'd finished shaping it:



Here they are rounded off and tried on for size:



I'm not entirely happy with the cap rails. They're not as symmetrical as I'd like, but I've decided not to stress about it. I'll see what it looks like finished and fitted to Speedy. If I don't like it at that stage then plan B is to make up the revised boat kit.


Btw, I've just noticed the thwarts aren't straight but fortunately they're not glued in yet.


Back to ratlines. Whoopee!



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6 hours ago, clogger said:

Your Cutter looks stunning

Thanks Clogger! Whilst the kit makes a great model right out of the box, I enjoy adding a few little tweaks of my own.




P.S.  I see you live in a beautiful part of the world. I've fond memories of a slow drive from Perth to Margaret River a few years ago, taking in several vineyards and great seafood restaurants along the way!

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On 8/23/2020 at 10:57 AM, Edwardkenway said:

Great but of kit Derek and it's only gone up £1 to £15.75 including VAT, I'll order one before they disappear.

I just checked them out on Amazon USA. Note that they are around $33.50 but this is just for the adaptor alone. It doesn't include the chuck. There's a "package deal," including a Chiwanese chuck for $43.50 at the bottom of the page under "Frequently bought together."



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Hi Eric


Progress is a bit slow at the moment as we’re in the middle of some building work at home. However I’m making some progress on the rigging, and am hoping to finish the ship’s boat soon. I had intended to wait until I’d finished the lower shrouds before posting an update, but I’ll try to do a quick interim report. 

In the meantime I’m enjoying following your build, which is bringing back fond memories of my own pinnace  last year!



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Many thanks as always for the 'likes' and kind comments.


Ship's boat & ratlines


The last internal fittings to do on the boat were the little knees on the thwarts. The kit supplies tiny pieces in pearwood, but I wanted to use box to match the thwarts. I started by shaping a piece of 2.5 X 3.5 mm box using the Proxxon mill and a selection of files to get the right profile. Then it was on to the Preac saw with the finest blade (0.010"; ).25mm) to slice off the required number of pieces:




The next step was to trim the back edge of each knee to match the slope of the hull. I used a razor blade in a safety holder:




The thwarts fitted:



Just the rudder to fit, plus equipment such as oars, anchors and boathooks, then a final decision on painting (or not).




Meanwhile work on the lower mast rigging continues. I'll not say much about ratlines other than to confirm I'm still rubbish at them. It's not a matter of practice; even if Speedy had four masts I'm convinced the fourth's ratlines would still be just as poor as the first's. I did all the recommended stuff - ruled card behind the shrouds; complete every fifth ratline first to avoid the hourglass effect, and so forth. My problem is I just can't get the ratlines to hang naturally. No matter how hard I try I end up with some that sag too much and some that take on an 'S' shape, and others that insist on defying gravity by bending upwards, despite efforts with pva to persuade them otherwise.  :default_wallbash:


Here's the lower ratlines finished. I'm trying not to look too closely.


IMG_3210.thumb.JPG.8cda1271f49c7eb58a1e58d6408e9b85.JPG Futtock staves


The kit supplies 1mm brass rod for the staves but I found this tricky to lash to the shrouds. I substituted some 1mm dowel left from another job and this worked fine. 




Chris suggests using line to represent the catharpins. I found it difficult to tie lines between the futtock staves. Also, there's a lot going on in a very small space and I was concerned the whole area would look very clunky if I wasn't careful. For example, on the fore mast the futtock staves are only about 10mm long. Within that space you have to make room for lashings to seize the stave to the shrouds, the catharpins to the staves, and for the four futtock shrouds to loop round the staves and seize to the shrouds. To minimise the clutter I decided to use thin brass wire for the catharpins, with loops formed in the ends that could be seized to the futtock staves with the thinnest fly tying thread.



I should note that the rake of the masts limits the number of catharpins that can be fitted. I just fitted two per mast, but that was sufficient to apply the required tension to the shrouds.


Futtock shrouds


The kit uses 0.75mm line which I felt somewhat heavy, especially bearing in mind the point about how cluttered this space is. Lees suggests 3.5" line for 6th rate vessels, which equates to just under 0.5mm at this scale. The kit provides very nice PE hooks, to which I seized the line using black fly tying thread:



That close-up surprised me, because with the naked eye that hook looks a nice dull grey metal having been treated with Brass Black. The camera seems to bring the brass colour back out, but I think I'll stick with what my eye tells me.


I've just started fitting the futtock shrouds. So much work goes into the seizings I decided to make them visible (without being too obtrusive) by using brown fly tying thread:



It's worth pointing out that this thread is the same diameter as a human hair. Note also the serving on the first shroud, and the stays in the top right of the photo, curtesy of my Syren serving machine.


Building work on the house is about to go quiet as we wait for doors and windows to be delivered, so I'm hoping I might be able to get more time in the shipyard.


In other news, I've just had my first covid jab 🙂. I suspect I must be one of the first healthy, under 70s to get the vaccine in the UK (apart from health care and other priority workers) for which I'm very grateful.






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2 hours ago, glennard2523 said:

I would love to see a side on picture of your wire catherpins

Here you go Glenn:





P.S.  I can see I've got some more ratline staining to do! I started off using light-coloured line to help with visibility whilst I was rigging, then dyeing the ratlines in situ. However after a couple of goes I decided this was more trouble than it was worth and started using dark line to start with.



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I’ve never understood the purpose of using white line then staining it with India Ink, a disaster waiting to happen.  I always use dark line to start with.


For what it’s worth I’ll never be good at tying rat lines, it is not the highlight of my modeling.  

Nice details in the rigging, you always add that extra something. Meanwhile I’m spending days on channels and strops.

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Thanks for the likes and comments, they're much appreciated as always.


19 hours ago, glennard2523 said:

I have found the fly tying thread a really improvement for my seizing

I won't go back to using ordinary thread for small scale stuff.


7 hours ago, glbarlow said:

For what it’s worth I’ll never be good at tying rat lines,

Reassuring it's not just me! If anyone knows how to tie perfect ratlines, I wish they would let us into the secret. Btw, I've gone with your suggestion and painted the ship's boat.

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  • 2 weeks later...



I decided to fit these before the ship got too cluttered with yards and so forth. Crowsfeet are one of my favourite parts of the rigging - I just think they add interest and visual appeal. However they can be tricky to get right, particular problems being making sure the lines look straight and even, and that the crowsfeet don't pull the stays they are attached to out of line. The crowsfeet are identical on the fore and main masts, so I'll describe how I tackled the latter.



For the crowsfeet themselves I used 0.1mm line. 1200mm for each mast gave me enough for the job with about 200mm to spare. I didn't want them to stand out too much, so I darkened the off-white line slightly using very dilute van dyke crystals. I found it was also very helpful to run the line through a block of beeswax, both to lay the fibres down but also to aid in pulling the line through lots of very small holes. Stiffening one end with CA was essential.



I had several 2mm single blocks left over from rigging the guns and these were ideal for the crowsfeet tackle.

The first job was to seize a block to the main preventer stay about six feet below the mouse - this worked out at 28mm on the model. Nothing fancy, I just tied some fine black Gutermann sewing thread round the block with a single overhand knot, applied a tiny dab of CA, then tied the thread round the stay with a reef knot and more CA, then trimmed. To handle the tiny block I dug out the little jig I used when rigging the guns:



Next came the euphroe block. I did consider making my own out of boxwood as I had for Royal Caroline, but that was hard enough at 1:48 scale so in the end I decided to use the photo-etch from the kit, which I think turned out fine once blackened. The other 2mm single block for the tackle is seized to one end of the euphroe block. Before fitting the strop round the 2mm block I seized the 0.1mm tackle line to it, using brown fly tying thread:



Used the jig again to tie the strop round the block:


Then seized the block to the euphroe. The final job was to seize the crowsfeet line to the other end of the euphroe block, again using brown fly tying thread.


IMG_3245.thumb.JPG.9e0a42665bb3e8455fd14b102c2bf421.JPG Here's the completed tackle ready to fit to the model:




The next picture shows the start of the rigging process, with the crowsfoot line fed down through the central hole in the top rim and the tackle set up at the lower end of the euphroe. After reeving the tackle line through the block on the stay and back up through the block on the euphroe, I fastened the running end temporarily to the stay with a half hitch. I kept tension on the tackle whilst I did this with a clip on the crowsfoot as shown.


The rigging from then on was relatively straightforward but needed some concentration to get the sequence right and keep proper tension on the line. From the position shown above, the crowsfoot line goes up through the next hole to port of the central hole, from the underside of the rim, then down to the first free hole in the euphroe (ie not the one the crowsfoot line is seized to). The line goes through the euphroe from port to starboard then down through the first hole to starboard of the central hole, back up through the next hole to starboard, down to the next hole in the euphroe, and so forth. 



If everything had worked out the sequence should have ended when the line came down through the single hole remaining on the port side, from where it would have been hitched to an adjacent loop of line under the rim. It was at this stage I realised something was amiss - I had a hole left over in the rim! A spare one on the starboard side. My understanding was that the number of holes in the rim should be twice the number in the euphroe block plus one. There are eight holes in the euphroe block so I assumed there would have been 17 in the rim; there are actually 18 in both tops. However, checking in James Lees' Masting & Rigging I found several diagrams of tops with even numbers of holes. Although Lees' description of rigging crowsfeet matches mine (his example has 11 euphroe holes and 23 rim holes) I reasoned that there must be a method that utilises an even number of holes in the rim. In the absence of any information on historical practice I decided the easiest and neatest solution would be lead the line down from the final port side hole, through the bottom hole in the euphroe (the one the 2mm block is seized to) down through the 'spare' hole on the starboard side of the rim, then hitch it to the adjacent loop under the rim.


The last pictures show the stage immediately before this - ie before I'd worked out what to do!



I'll post an update when I've rigged the crowsfeet on the foremast and tensioned the tackles and stays properly.





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The Crowsfeet look good at this stage Derek, they really are tricky beasts to get the tension right without distorting the stays.

Thinking back to my Pegasus build I  think  I resorted to stiffening them with diluted pva to stop them running off line.

I still like them as a feature on models tho'.




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Those look great, like BE I did them for my Pegasus, mine are still looking good after all these years.  Like most rigging I discovered getting the right tension without being too tight was the key - that and gentle tugs a line at a time to get it right.  As always a nice tutorial!

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Many thanks Glenn, Glenn, B.E., James and Theodosius for your kind comments, and for the likes.


23 hours ago, Blue Ensign said:

The Crowsfeet look good at this stage Derek, they really are tricky beasts to get the tension right without distorting the stays.  Thinking back to my Pegasus build

I read your Pegasus log before attempting the crowsfeet on Royal Caroline, and took note of your advice on distorting the stays. I found it impossible to avoid completely, but with care it can be mnimised.


13 hours ago, glbarlow said:

Like most rigging I discovered getting the right tension without being too tight was the key

Completely agree - a fine balance to achieve but worth it for a part of the rigging I find interesting and visually attractive. 


I'll post a final update on the crowsfeet shortly.



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Crowsfeet contd.


Finished rigging the crowsfeet this morning. I think they've turned out reasonably well, and without pulling the stays out of line too much - to my eye at least.



After they passed down through the last starboard hole in the tops, the crowsfoot lines were tied off to their adjacent loops under the rims. In the photo the spare ends of the lines are awaiting trimming. The crowsfoot tackle was tied off with a couple of half hitches below the block on the stay, and the free end seized to the stay with fly tying thread:



I tried to keep the crowsfoot line in reasonable tension as I wove it through the holes in the top and the euphroe block, but that wasn't easy as the line was coated in beeswax and tended to slip back through the holes. One trick I found helpful was to pinch the line between my fingers each time I passed it through the euphroe. This imparted a sharp 'V' shape to the line which tended to hold (presumably because of the beeswax) and prevented the line slipping back through:



The beeswax caused one minor problem, part of which can be seen round some of the rim holes in the previous photo. It tended to scrape off, leaving a deposit on the top and also on some of the line itself. This was easily fixed using a hot air gun on its lowest setting (a hot air gun designed for craft projects, not paint stripping!) which melted the loose beeswax back into the line and rendered it invisible.


One final point worth sharing, partly to plug my favourite extra-hands tool but also to emphasise how careful you need to be when threading the line. On the foremast crowsfeet I managed to damage the line by catching it on a tool I'd carelessly left lying nearby. Needless to say you need to avoid catching the line on the ship as well - I found it very easy to snag guns, channels and other protrusions when I let my concentration slip. Anyway, I had to attach a new line to the euphroe block, and thanks to good old quadhands I was able to do this without removing the block and its tackle from the stay:


And yes, I know my rigging looks a mess but that's because I don't like to finally tension up lanyards until all the relevant elements are in place and I can make sure all the forces and counterforces in the rigging are balanced, hence the spare lines all over the place. It'll all come good in the end, I hope😬


Topmast shrouds next, I think.



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1 hour ago, Sailor1234567890 said:

Nice work. I have a question about Crows feet and euphroes. Anyone know what purpose they serve? 

Thanks Sailor. The crowsfeet protected the stays from being rubbed and damaged by the lower edges of the topsails, and prevented the lower edges of the sails from getting caught up in the rims of the tops. The euphroe is just a specialised block to get the correct tension on the crowsfoot line. Somewhere earlier in the log is a discussion about the origin of the word - basically it stems from the Dutch for 'young woman'. The mind boggles

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Topmast shrouds


Thanks for all the likes and kind comments.


It's been some time since my last update, with jobs around the house and garden eating into shipyard time. It seems to have taken ages to rig the topmast shrouds, and I haven't got round to futtock staves, ratlines etc yet. Still, I've enjoyed trying to improve my techniques, and I think I've finally got (slightly) better at getting the deadeyes reasonably level. 


I started by departing slightly from the kit instructions by using 0.5mm line for the shrouds rather than 0.75mm. I felt the latter looked slightly too heavy. When I checked the tables in Lees' Masting & Rigging for a 6th rate of Speedy's size and date (a reasonable equivalent, I think) the main topmast shrouds were given as 3.4 inches in circumference which equates to a shade under 0.5mm diameter at scale. 


I started by serving the shrouds in exactly the same way as the lower shrouds - the centre portion of each shroud pair down to roughly level with the hounds, and the whole length of the first shroud on each side. The next job was to seize each shroud pair round the topmast heads. I did this in the dust cabinet I made and there wasn't room for the quadhands base, but as the individual arms are magnetic it was easy to put them on a smaller metal plate:



To rig the deadeyes I used the usual pins-in-a-plank method, and as with the lower shrouds I tied white thread to the shroud to mark the lowest point. Here's a photo from earlier in the log as it's easier to see what's going on with the larger deadeyes:



With the lower shrouds I used a drill bit to form the loop. Working higher and with smaller deadeyes the drill bit method proved too fiddly, so I used a length of dowel instead (a slight variation on  @glennard2523's method). I turned the end of the dowel down to 3.4mm - about 0.2mm less than the diameter of a deadeye - so the resulting loop would sit snuggly in the deadeye groove:



Before using the dowel, I tied a length of 0.10mm seizing line round the shroud end to form a loose loop:



Next, I wrapped the shroud tightly round the dowel, ensuring the seizing was directly opposite the white line marking the lower end of the loop:



The seizing tied off with a reef knot and trimmed, the deadeye was a tight squeeze into the loop, but the result was neat:



From there on everything was a repeat of the lower shrouds - two modified round seizings, raw sienna acrylic to represent the leather cap, and 0.25mm line for the lanyards (details here). I pulled the lanyard line through a beeswax block to make it run easier and to lay the 'fuzz'. Here's one set of shrouds before and after final tightening and trimming of the lanyards:




Two things I did differently this time. First, looking at examples of shrouds on real ships such as Victory it's clear that lanyards were not wrapped round as neatly as I'd tried to do on the lower shrouds. Hopefully the topmast lanyards are more realistic. On the lower shrouds I didn't glue deadeyes in position, preferring to leave them loose in case I needed to revolve any of them slightly in order to make the lanyards look right. This worked OK(ish) for the bigger deadeyes, but I soon found the topmast versions were too small and fiddly and I spent forever trying to rotate them back to the correct orientation. I quickly reached for the glue!


Next, on to the ratlines etc.



Edited by DelF
Correction - seizing line was 0.10mm, not 0.25mm
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