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Dan Vadas

HMS Vulture 1776 by Dan Vadas - 1:48 scale - 16 gun "Swan" class sloop from TFFM plans - Finished

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Mast Wedges


Masts were not bolted to any part of the hull or deck framing - this would have put far too much pressure on individual components, not to mention weakening the mast itself. Instead, Wedges were used around the mast at each Partner to hold it in position.


Rather than attempt to make individual wedges, which would be impossible to fit on a model for the lower decks, I turned up wedge "rings" on the lathe. The individual wedges are simulated with an Xacto blade and are enhanced with a pencil :



Mast Wedges 003.jpg


Mast Wedges 005.jpg


Mast Wedges 006.jpg


Mast Wedges 010.jpg



Note that the "mast" in these pics is only a dummy for alignment purposes - I haven't made the "real things" yet.

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Main Mast Partners


HMS Vulture has a very different style of Main Mast Partner on the Upper Deck to most other ships. Whether this was an experiment that was not used again because there was no benefit is unknown. However, the NMM plans clearly show this method of use (2nd pic). The more "normal" type of main mast partner is shown in the TFFM plan in pic 1. I had to do my own interpretation of how the various components of the partner would have fitted together :



Main Mast Partners 001.jpg


Main Mast Partners 002.jpg


Main Mast Partners 010.jpg



The two main pieces of the partner were rebated together - I used a fillet as the final join looks the same :



Main Mast Partners 012.jpg


Main Mast Partners 013.jpg


Main Mast Partners Angled Cross-Chocks 002.jpg


Main Mast Partners Angled Cross-Chocks 003.jpg


Main Mast Partners Angled Cross-Chocks 007.jpg

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Mizzen and Foremast Partners


The Mizzen Mast Partners are of a simple type - made from two 17" wide planks dovetail jointed together :



Mizzen Mast Partners 001.jpg


Mizzen Mast Partners 002.jpg



The Foremast Partner is a "normal" rectangular version of the Main Mast Partner. All the steps and rebates were done using the Byrnes saw :



Fore Mast Partners 005.jpg


Fore Mast Partners 007.jpg


Fore Mast Partners 009.jpg


Fore Mast Partners 012.jpg


Fore Mast Partners 014.jpg

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Main Topsail Sheet Bitts part 1


As I did with the Riding Bitts earlier I made up the Main Topsail Sheet Bitt Pins to enable me to cut their seats before too much else got in the way. They will be finished off at a later stage :



Main Topsail Sheet Bitts 001.jpg


Main Topsail Sheet Bitts 002.jpg

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Capstan Step


The Capstan Step is made from three pieces of timber with faked "dovetail" joints :



Capstan Step 001.jpg



Another notable variation from the "norm" for Vulture - on most other "Swan class" ships it is a rectangle with a rounded fore edge. The NMM plans show it quite differently :



Capstan Step 003.jpg



The top of the Step is horizontal to the waterline in both fore-aft and athwartships directions as the ship has Capstans on both the Upper Deck and the Quarterdeck, so a common base plane is needed to connect the two. The Step is about 2" thicker on the fore edge compared to the aft edge to allow for the slope of the deck from the vertical.



Capstan Step 004.jpg


Capstan Step 006.jpg


Capstan Step 007.jpg



The Aft Ladderway Coaming has been fitted :



Aft Ladderway Coaming.jpg

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Upper Deck Planking


The same construction methods used in the Lower Deck Planking apply to the Upper Deck :



King Plank 001.jpg


King Plank 003.jpg


Binding Strake 001.jpg



Note the small "hook" in the planking near the capstan step :



Binding Strake 002.jpg



Another hook where the line of the Aft Ladderway is narrower than the Aft Hatch :



Binding Strake 003.jpg


Binding Strake 004.jpg



The planking cut out for the port Riding Bitts Standard :



Bitt Standard Cutout 004.jpg

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Counter Timbers


And now for something more interesting - the Counter Timbers. These are the timbers that go between the Stern Lights (windows).


They are each made from two pieces of timber scarph jointed together and taper toward the top both fore-aft and athwartships. They also converge toward the top to "meet" at a point at about the height of the Mizzen Crosstrees :



Counter Timbers 001.jpg


Counter Timbers 002.jpg



They are supported near their tops by the Quarterdeck Transom, which has a rebate in it's front edge to accept the quarterdeck planking. At this stage the transom still needs to be faired on it's lower outside edge :



Counter Timbers Re-do 001.jpg


Counter Timbers Re-do 003.jpg


Counter Timbers Re-do 006.jpg

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String in the Waist


This is the uppermost inside plank at the height of the frames in the Waist, which is the area between the Forecastle and Quarterdeck. They are all hook-scarphed together and the ends of the String are scarph jointed into the Clamps for both those decks, and is continuous with the Forecastle Clamp and the Lower Quarterdeck Clamp. It is 3" thick :



String in the Waist 002.jpg


String in the Waist 003.jpg


String in the Waist 006.jpg


String in the Waist 007.jpg


String in the Waist 008.jpg

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Quarterdeck Clamp and Transom


The Quarterdeck Clamp sits atop the Lower clamp - the extension of the String in the Waist. Note the extension piece above the Quarter Light :



Quarterdeck Clamp 001.jpg


Quarterdeck  Clamp 002.jpg



These pics are out of sequence from the Counter Timbers post. This is the Quarterdeck Transom - the quarterdeck has a significant roundup of 6" at it's widest point and the transom follows this roundup although it's obviously not as high over it's length :



Quarterdeck Transom 004.jpg


Quarterdeck Transom 005.jpg

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Ebony Wales and "Dummy" Treenails


This is my first attempt at using Ebony - a VERY dirty and difficult timber to work with.


The Wales are the thick planks just above the waterline - they are 4 1/2" thick. Bending Ebony of the required thickness without cracking it took a LOT of soaking - up to 4 hours per plank near the bow - and even longer to let them dry on the hull after clamping before actually gluing them on :



Wales 002.jpg


Wales 005.jpg


Wales 008.jpg


Wales 018.jpg



Treenails were simulated in the ebony with a piece of sharpened 0.5mm ID brass tubing held in a Pinvice. Blackened brass "bolts" were later fitted at the butt joins :



Wale Nails 002.jpg


Wale Nails 003.jpg


Twisted Aft Wale 002.jpg


Twisted Aft Wale 003.jpg

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"Black" Strake


The "Black Strake" isn't black in colour in a Swan Class - it's the general term for the strake above the Wales that is just below deck level and contains the Scuppers.



Black Strake 001.jpg


Black Strake 002.jpg


Black Strake 003.jpg

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Topside Planking


Below is a description of the External Planking from the Wales up, and the Internal Planking from the Upper Deck Clamp with the thickness of each :



                   1.      Wales        4 ½”

                   2.      Black Strake        3 ½”

                   3.      Stuff of the Topside     3 ½” thinning to 2” at the top

                   4.      Sheer Strake       3”

                   5.      Plank upon the Drifts    2”


                   6.      Upper Deck Clamp      4” thinning to 3” at the bottom of the Lower Clamp

                   7.      Upper Deck Spirketting         3”

                   8.      Quickwork           2”

                   9.      String in the Waist        3”

                  10, 11.       Quarterdeck Bulwark Planking        2 ½”         



Upper Timbers.jpg



Where a strake would be less than 5” wide at a Port the lower strake is “worked” up to the lower sill of the port :



Worked Timbers 001.jpg


Worked Timbers 002.jpg



Trimming of the Gun and Sweep ports begins with a razor saw cut in each side of the port :



Trimming Ports 001.jpg



The bulk of the waste is removed by carving it out from the centre with an Xacto knife :



Trimming Ports 002.jpg



A long sanding stick is used to level the planking at the bottom of the port sill. This stick reaches across to the starboard port to ensure the correct level :



Trimming Ports 005.jpg


Trimming Ports 007.jpg



The Sheer Strake is “worked” above the Ports in similar fashion to the lower strake :



Quarterdeck Topside 002.jpg


Bow Planking Redo 006.jpg

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Port Stops and Sweep Ports


The upper planking at midships. A scarph joint in the Sheer Strake can be seen, also the Fixed Block below the sheer strake :



Sweep Ports 001.jpg



1 ½” thick Port Stops are fitted to both sides and the bottom of the Gun Ports :



Port Stops 002.jpg



The Sweep Port Stops are 1” thick :



Port Stops 003.jpg


Port Stops 005.jpg



The inside edges of the Stops are first trimmed with a chisel-point Xacto :



Inside Port Stops 001.jpg



and finished off with a Riffler File :



Inside Port Stops 002.jpg


Inside Port Stops 003.jpg

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Spirketting, Quickwork and Inside Sweep Ports Trimming


 Note the steps between the Spirketting above the Waterway and the Quickwork above it, and also the one above the quickwork where it meets the String in the Waist. There is a chamfer on both steps :



Spirketting and Quickwork 001.jpg



The Fixed Block is flush with the String but stands proud of the Quickwork :



Spirketting and Quickwork 002.jpg


Sweep Ports 001.jpg



Trimming the top of a Sweep Port with the long sanding stick :



Sweep Ports 002.jpg


Sweep Ports 003.jpg


Sweep Ports 004.jpg

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Helm Port


To work on the Helm Port the ship was removed from it’s work base and inverted on a board covered with expanded foam for protection :



Upside Down Base 003.jpg



The two inboard pieces of the Helm Port were cut roughly to shape using a Mylar template, spot-glued into the framing and marked out for their final shape against the frames :



Helm Port 001.jpg


Helm Port 002.jpg



They were removed again and sanded to the marks :



Helm Port 003.jpg



The outboard piece of the helm port was made in similar fashion, glued into place and final sanded :



Helm Port 004.jpg


Helm Port 005.jpg


Helm Port 006.jpg


Helm Port 007.jpg

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Garboard Strake


 The Garboard Strake is the first to be fitted when planking the lower part of the hull :



Garboard Strake 001.jpg


Garboard Strake 002.jpg



The forward end of the Garboard Strake ends just after the point where the keel starts to rise. It’s upper edge is virtually straight, with the edge that sits in the keel rabbet tapered to follow the rabbet :



Garboard Strake 003.jpg


Garboard Strake 004.jpg

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Top and Butt Planking


The first six strakes of planking beneath the Wales are worked in Top and Butt fashion :



Top and Butt Planks 010.jpg


Top and Butt Planks 008.jpg



The aftmost plank beneath the Wales has a very sharp bend and is also wider than most other planks to fit around the end of the lower wale. The card template alongside it was used to get it’s shape :



Top and Butt Planks 003.jpg


Top and Butt Planks 005.jpg


Top and Butt Planks 009.jpg


Top and Butt Finished 004.jpg


Top and Butt Finished 003.jpg

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Starboard Sheer Strake


There is very little planking to be done on the Starboard side, but the Sheer Strake is one of them. It continues to the stern :



Starboard Sheer Strake 002.jpg


Starboard Sheer Strake 003.jpg



The Plank upon the Drifts is also fitted to both Forecastle and Quarterdeck :



Starboard Sheer Strake 004.jpg


Starboard Sheer Strake 005.jpg



Another “worked” part of the Sheer Strake above the aft Gunport :



Starboard Sheer Strake 006.jpg

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The Scuppers drain the upper deck. They are cut into the Waterway and angle down outwards to exit through the Black Strake :



Scuppers 001.jpg


Scuppers 002.jpg


Scuppers 003.jpg



To simulate the Lead scupper Linings I used "Evergreen" polystyrene tubing - 2mm for most, and 2.5mm for the Hawse and Pump Dale scuppers. I heated the end of the tubing gently over a gas flame and then pushed it onto a cold piece of brass sheet to make the flange. These were done in two pieces meeting in the middle :



Scupper Linings 003.jpg


Scupper Linings 004.jpg



After fitting all the scupper linings I painted them Lead Grey :



Scupper Linings 010.jpg


Scupper Linings 014.jpg


Scupper Linings 015.jpg

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