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Spanish Galleon by Jeff T - Revell - 1:96 - PLASTIC - with modifications

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12 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

Beautiful job, Jeff. Not only the paint job under the waterline (which looks really good to me), but the rest of the hull as well. A seriously attractive model.

Thanks, Steven!

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  • 3 weeks later...

The kit includes parts for a windlass which would be assembled, painted black, and placed on the main deck:




I decided not to use it for my galleon.  At the Maritime Museum of San Diego, the replica of a mid-sixteenth century Spanish galleon, San Salvador, was well-researched and is supposed to be as authentic as possible for a galleon of its time period, so I oftentimes look to it for ideas.  It has a capstan instead of a windlass:




Here is the size of the capstan with respect to the size of a person:




I see that in Peter Kirsch's book The Galleon:  The Great Ships of the Armada Era (Naval Institute Press, 1990), in Figure 84 on page 140, there is a capstan with a similar shape on a cross-sectional drawing of a reconstruction of an early seventeenth century galleon from Stockholm, Sweden (see number 73):




So I wanted to have a capstan that looks like San Salvador's capstan.  It would need to be the right size when compared with the size of my sailor figures that were included with the kit.  Online, I found a capstan whose advertised picture has a similar appearance and whose height is approximately correct.  I ordered it:





What arrived, however, although it had the correct height, did not look like that picture:





Also, at least one of the whelps did not fit snugly:





It would have been costly and time-consuming to return the item, and I am not sure if I would have been able to find one with the shape I was looking for in the appropriate size.  Therefore, I decided to modify the capstan to get it to look more like San Salvador's.

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I attached a temporary stand to the base of the capstan and set it up on my hand drill held in place with a vise:




When I had spun it with the drill, sanding it down with a makeshift "sanding block", it looked like this:




I also modified the whelps a bit:




After I marked and drilled the holes for the capstan bars (which I will not mount or include, since the ship will be at sail and the anchors will be up), I squared off the round holes the best that I could:






After the whelps were glued to the capstan, I sanded them some more to try to get the tops of the whelps closer to the drum as uniformly as I could:




I filled some of the open spaces with "molten" styrene (as described earlier in the log for fixing the hole on the main deck):




After puttying and sanding, the capstan was ready to paint:



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Here it is after the base color and the holes for the capstan bars were painted:




I used the same type of paint (Testors enamel) that I often use for plastic parts in the kit, so in order to apply one of the same enamel "washes" that I have used previously for weathering, I first needed to apply an acrylic isolation coat (a clear gloss):




Here it is after the weathering:




Pictured next to one of the sailors (yet to be painted):




I think the scale is reasonably close.  I know that the proportions of the whelps and drum on this modified capstan are not exactly like those of San Salvador's capstan, but I think it covers the basic idea.  Also, it won't be so shiny after it is covered with a clear mat varnish.

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8 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

You've done a beautiful job of modifying the capstan Jeff.Looks really good - a bit shiny at the moment, but the matt varnish should take care of that.


12 hours ago, Backer said:

Nice capstan.

Much more correct than that of the kit and that of Corel


Thank you for your kind comments.  Making these modifications takes extra time and fuss, but I think it is worth it.

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  • 1 month later...

When following Backer's log on his scratch-built Golden Hind 1/45 scale,


I wondered how I would also solve the problem of the mainstay coming down to the beakhead, because the rigging instructions by Revell do not do it that way, and I wanted to follow a plan more like that outlined by Peter Kirsch in his Galleon book, referenced previously in this log.  So I did a crude preliminary test, but keep in mind, doing anything concrete with the rigging will still be a long way off for me:








Fortunately, it looks like I will likely be able to run the mainstay under the railing at the front of the forecastle and loop it around the the bowsprit at the stempost.  And, rather than making it go to one side or the other of the foremast, I will most likely have two limbs of the mainstay loop around either side of it. 

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  • 1 month later...

I decided to take a break from painting for a while, and looked ahead to the masts and spars. 


The plastic in this kit is a bit pliable, with an almost "waxy" texture to it when handled.  (I remember styrene in kits that I built in my youth being more rigid, and maybe even brittle at times).  Since this plastic bends, the spars and upper masts may be a little difficult to manage when rigging is applied with a little tension.  Even the lower masts and bowsprit are thin and may bend.  Other members on this forum have used wood on the inside to strengthen them.  What I decided to do is make my own spars and upper masts from walnut dowels (I will do this later on in the build).   I will use the plastic lower masts (foremast, mainmast, mizzenmast) and bowsprit that were supplied with the kit, and I have already worked with them quite a bit to strengthen them and try to eliminate the seams as much as I could.  I could have also made these from wood, but I want a good styrene-to-styrene bond at the partners, and I want them to have the intended rake, which is already there in the plastic masts.


Here is how they looked on the sprues -- the halves have fairly thin walls:





I also am using interior supports, but I decided to go with aluminum rather than wood:




I sanded the aluminum rods down so that they fit in the masts and bowsprit, but also had to sand out any plastic fitting pins within them:




I used 30 minute epoxy to set the supports into the masts and bowsprit (the white stuff in the foremast is epoxy putty where I had made the rod too short):




I set the free halve over the ones with the rods with epoxy and later glued the seams with Tamiya Extra Thin Cement:




Unfortunately, the seams did not match up very well, because the walls are of varying thickness on the same mast, and the inner rods would not let me slide the masts halves slightly across each other to line them up (you can see where the seams mismatch below):




By the way, I also removed the "rings" around the masts and bowsprit that I think were supposed to be wooldings.  I want to make my own wooldings out of rigging line.  Also notice above that the cheeks on the mizzenmast (third from the left) are gone.  I removed them, because I do not want a "top" on my mizzenmast.  Rather, it will be something like this, without a topmast (although I may put a flagstaff on top):







Edited by Jeff T
picture posted twice
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In addition to the problem where the seams did not line up correctly, there were a lot of variations in the contour or "roundness" of the masts and bowsprit (although they really are not completely round anyway -- more like "oval").  I wanted to make them as consistent as possible, so this required a lot of work.  I used a steel-filled epoxy (J-B Weld) and also Bondo Glazing & Spot Putty to smooth things out:




The brass rods that you see protruding from them (glued in place with steel-filled epoxy) will later be shortened and used to hold the spars up to the masts and bowsprit so that it will be easier to do the rigging.  The two squares on the bowsprit (far left) are to expose styrene under the putty in order to attach a couple of styrene pieces with solvent glue (more on that later).

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I made some cleats to mount on the foremast, mainmast and bowsprit.  These will eventually be used to belay certain rigging lines.  Since the kit is plastic, I used polystyrene strips to make the cleats, since there would be a good, strong bond between the cleat and the mast, which could handle some tension.




I first filed down a strip with a round file so that the undersurface of the cleats would be concave.  This helps it conform to the "roundness" of the mast or bowsprit:IMG_7468.thumb.jpg.0426d63243040bde47cb28148c0a75ce.jpg


Here is how the undersurface appears after filing:




Then I made measurements on the strip for the cleats, marking with a pencil:




I wrapped a piece of 150 grit sandpaper, with double-sided tape on the back of it, around a remnant aluminum rod piece:




Using the markings on the strip as a guide, I sanded the strip against the sandpapered rod to make "arches" in between the attachment points of the soon-to-be cleats:









With each arch held over the aluminum rod for support, I separated the cleats with a knife:





Below is a sample of a cleat.  Each cleat is small -- only 6 mm long, 2 mm wide, and less than 2 mm high:





I know that these cleats do not have a stylized appearance with tapered "horns" as you may see on sailing ships, but to try doing that by carving these tiny plastic parts may cause them to look less symmetric and/or consistent.  It would also be rather difficult to hold them in place to carve them -- they move easily when whittled, even when grasped with tweezers.  Despite the shape, my version will be very functional for belaying rigging.




Edited by Jeff T
Last image was posted twice.
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Here is how the bowsprit and masts look with the cleats attached (from left to right:  mizzenmast, bowsprit, mainmast, foremast):






The square areas of exposed plastic within the reddish putty on the bowsprit in the photograph in my second post from November 14th were made to allow the solvent cement to make strong bonds with the polystyrene cleats.


Eventually, after the topmasts are made and attached and after the spars are made, I will spray them all brown and then "weather" them.


For rigging, my plan will be to belay the spritsail lifts (port and starboard) to the fore cleats on the bowsprit, and the spritsail braces will be belayed to the aft cleats, like this:



(On the port side, the orange arrow points to the fore cleat, which would correspond to my model's fore cleat and you can see that the spritsail lift is belayed there.  The green arrow points to the aft cleat, to which the spritsail brace is belayed.  There are other cleats on the bowsprit of this replica galleon in the above photograph, but I will not place them on my model -- the rigging may differ a little, and I may instead use the pinrails in the beakhead.)



On the same replica galleon, the cleats on the mainmast appear in the photographs below (port view):






On my model's masts (mainmast and foremast), I have placed corresponding cleats port and starboard, and these will be used to belay buntlines, which is described in Peter Kirsch's book The Galleon:  The Great Ships of the Armada Era  (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1990), p. 151.



(Starboard view, left to right:  mainmast, foremast.  Cleats are higher up on the foremast because of the forecastle will be right below them, and the mast will go down through the forecastle to the main deck.)

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