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HMS Cheerful by Bill Brown - FINISHED - 1:48 - Syren Ship Model Company

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I actually started this build in April 2018 having had a few sidetracks along the way.   Fortunately I had taken some build progress photos at various stages, as I am currently at the point of finishing the deck fittings, but that will be for a future post.   This is my first attempt at a plank on frame model having only built solid hull kits from either Model Shipways or Bluejacket in the past.    I consider myself a novice, at best, but I am extremely fortunate to be a member of the Ship Model Society of New Jersey and have had much help and guidance from the members along the way.   Special thanks to Stuntflyer, TomShipModel, Kurt Johnson, and Chuck for there everlasting patience with a novice.   With that said, here goes nothing ...


Using the laser cut out as a template for the bend, 2027329262_PhotoApr2631337PM.thumb.jpg.fe1776164abc96822ea597091fe94133.jpg


I have a glass sheet that I use for insuring things are flat, the log wedges were the heaviest thing I had around at the time.   


You can't have enough of these small bar clamps in my opinion


The peg board above was made to help with bends.   The pegs are removable and can be positioned in various positions to get a desired bend.   (I ended up using a very different method when it came to making plank bends.)



I stole this cradle design from Kurt J. who was also building Cheerful.   His is much cleaner and precise.    


Photo Apr 25, 2 40 23 PM (1).jpg

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Thanks folks!   


Glenn, I have seen your Cheerful from your log and you are doing a great job!   


So one of the disadvantages of starting a build log of a project that actually commenced 2 years ago is that I cannot solicit nor incorporate real-time comments at these early stages.    It is what it is so to speak, errors and all.   


What I can do is have an in hindsight section for things I wished I did differently.    I will try to do this as much as possible until I catch up with where I am today on the build.   


Fairing the bulkheads:




In preparation for the fairing process I used some scrap pieces of wood that formed a tight fit between the bulkheads to minimize lateral movement which helped in the sanding process.





Note some of my sanding tools.   On the left is a sanding stick that I made up and on the right is another sanding tool made from a thin piece of plywood and a spare 1x30 sanding belt.    The plywood is cut slightly longer than the belt forming a bow effect.    This was a tip I got from TomShipModel who I think got it from another member of our Ship Model Society of New Jersey Club.    Stuntflyer gave me the tip on the sanding sticks.    Here is my full sanding arsenal.  The black one on the right is actually used by nail salons.   






In hindsight:   I can't emphasize enough the importance of this step in the build process.   If you don't fair the bulkheads properly, it will come back to haunt you in the future.     You should really take your time and use battens to make sure you have a good flow from bow to stern at all angles.   Don't be afraid to put down your sand paper and use a very sharp chisel in the areas like the bow that have more dramatic fairing needs.   There were a few spots where I did not fair enough and a few where I over did it.     In the latter, I used some thin pieces of material to serve as shims in order to get the geometry I ultimately needed.


A brief note on ship model clubs.   In my opinion, a good ship model club is by far your best tool in the workshop.     As a novice, I would not have attempted a project like this without the support of fellow club members.    I don't think you can find a better set of plans and instructions out there than Syren's but there is no substitute to having experienced fellow club members offer real-time advice and hands-on workshops.  (Especially when one of the members is the kit developer ;  ) 

So fellow modelers, I strongly recommend a ship model club.   I travel almost 2 hours to mine but its well worth it.    With today's Covid19 restrictions, many clubs have temporarily gone to virtual meetings.  Although there is no substitute to face to face meetings, one advantage of a virtual meeting is that you can join from a distance.   Some clubs may even consider continuing to have virtual meeting access as part of their face to face gatherings in the future.  Be well and stay safe...


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The stern frames are installed as are the stern ports.   The ports are all painted now as it is easier to do now than later as Chuck points out in his build notes.   




The first layer of wales are placed as is the molding strip that sits just below the gun ports.   This will define the planking runs above the wales.   


The blue mat you see in some of my photos is something I got from Rockler Woodworking.    It limits the movement of what is placed on top of it and does not allow glue to adhere well, so it can be easily cleaned.   I not only find it very useful while model building (especially for sanding) but also when I am in need of transporting a model to a club meeting or event.   






The transom piece is fitted as is some filler wood at the stern.    The photo also shows the first stern plank being fitted.     


In hindsight:   I was not happy with the dents in the stern plank which I caused by my handling and clamping and I think I ended up replacing this one sometime afterwards or I may have been able to sand them out,  just not sure.   


Yellow Cedar is a wonderful wood for ship modeling, it bends well, sands well, is cost effective, has a nice color, has a wonderful smell, BUT IT IS SOFT.   Next time around I need to take much more care in handling the wood especially while clamping.    You should always use some sort of clamp protection with this wood or it will mark and sometimes mark deep enough where you can't effectively sand it out.   




Photo Jan 27, 10 25 32 AM.jpg

Photo Jan 27, 10 25 32 AM.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Planking the hull.        


Above the Wales the planking is pretty straight forward.    In hindsight:  I wish I took more care in sizing the plank lengths that ran between the gun ports.   A lot of cleanup was necessary to get it into a somewhat presentable form.   


Its below the Wales that require a bit more planning, bending in multiple dimensions, and shaping.     I followed Chuck Passaro's method of spiling which has been well documented on the NRG site.   You need to line the hull and this was done by creating tick strips for each section and marking the plank locations with a very sharp pencil.    I also used artist tape to form the sectors of planking from bow to stern.    As Chuck describes in the Cheerful documentation, the planks will narrow down as they approach the bow.   You will need to make a drop plank as well in this area.    At the stern they can widen a bit.   


My plank bending set up which I learned from Chuck:


This is a small jig that is the same thickness as your planks and has a built in curve to provide a bending form.    






To help the bending process I use a small cup of water to add some moisture to the plank and a small travel iron that provides the heat.   The clamps are used to help define the bend required.



Its a pretty simple method that is extremely effective in my opinion.   





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  • 3 weeks later...

The hull planking complete, now it just needs a good sanding.   



In hindsight:  This was my first time planking a bulkhead hull and although it went better than I thought it would, it did underscore the importance of properly fairing the bulkheads prior to laying any planking.  In my next project, much more care will be taken in that step.




The hull has been sanded and given a coat of wipe-on satin poly.      I also painted the stern.    This is also a good shot of the square tuck.   This was challenging but Chuck's Practicum really provided a nice guideline for its construction.    In general, the guidelines for the Cheerful project are superior in my opinion.   This is especially true for the novice builder like me.    It is well though out, complete, and provides the modeler with techniques that make the most daunting tasks workable.         


In my next post I will move to the interior and lay the false floor.    Until then happy modeling ..


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  • 5 weeks later...

With the planking finally complete, I now moved to the interior of the ship.


The inner frames are taken down to their final thickness.   This was scary.      I used a Z blade Xacto #17 as well as a Dremel with drum sander attachment in certain areas.   You have to watch the drum sander, as you can get in to trouble quickly.   The false floor was laid in place using the template from the plans.   




Once the false floor was in place I started to plank the interior bulwarks.


When the interior bulkhead planking was completed, I painted them red and added the cap rails which I painted flat black.    The lower bulkheads get reinforced planking (spirketing) .   I believe this was necessary to handle the ships armament.   




The next step was adding the scarf jointed margin planks.   I found these to be extremely challenging in getting everything to fit just right.    





At this point there are certain deck structures that need to be placed prior to the general planked floor installation.     One of them was the companionway.




The others are the gratings and the skylight.   I used Syren's kit for the skylight as well as the grating tool and kit.    These are well engineered and go together very nicely.   





In hindsight:  I struggled with the margin planking, having to redo them several times before I finally found them to be acceptable to me.    These scarf jointed planks are such a prominent and beautiful feature on a model that you want to try to get them to look as best you can.    They are far from perfect but I am glad I spent some extra time here.  But, they still don't come close to others who have build logs of this ship on this forum.  These folks have my utmost respect for their talents and craftmanship.   



Up next time will be the floor install and the completion of the remaining deck structures.    Until then, stay safe and be well,      oh yeah and happy modeling!

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The Windlass and Seats


Syren has a very nice Windlass Sub Kit that I purchased for Cheerful.     There are many pieces that make up this piece of gear and it is very well engineered in my opinion.    You need to bevel the pieces for a tight fix and I used a small sanding stick to accomplish this task.   Having a glass work top helps with assembly of small parts like this as it provides a nice flat surface and excess glue can easily be removed with a sharp scraper.  








Once you have all the sub pieces assembled you can put them all together along the square axis strip provided as shown:



And finally a coat of Insignia Red and Flat Black paint to complete the Windlass Assembly.




For all the metal parts that were painted Flat Black, I added some rust powder to simulate what a salt water environment does all so well to metal.  




The seats were then tackled at the stern of the ship.   





Next time,   the Armament.    This boat for its size was heavily armed.     Till then,  be well          Bill

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Thanks Bossman for your kind words.    As I stated in the beginning of my log, my postings have been retrospective as I am currently at the point where I have completed all the rigging and just have the anchors and flag to make and she is complete.  I will continue to post my progress up to this point trying to highlight some of the things I wished I did differently.   I hope this provides some assistance, especially to the novice builder like me, of this beautiful ship.   


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5 hours ago, Bill Brown said:

Thanks Bossman for your kind words.    As I stated in the beginning of my log, my postings have been retrospective as I am currently at the point where I have completed all the rigging and just have the anchors and flag to make and she is complete.  I will continue to post my progress up to this point trying to highlight some of the things I wished I did differently.   I hope this provides some assistance, especially to the novice builder like me, of this beautiful ship.   


'Novice Builder', your kidding aren't you. I had to back track to see if this was a scratch build! Awesome build, I wish i had half this skill.

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 Baydreamer,     I use Model Master Acrylic Paint.    The red is their “Insignia Red” which I apply slightly watered down with a good quality artist brush.   These paints are readily available at your local Hobby Store or online.      

Thunder,   I very much appreciate your comments.     I say novice as this was my first attempt at a plank on bulkhead project.   Previous builds were all kits comprised of solid hulls.   With that said as a member of the Ship Model Society of New Jersey, which includes several members that have already built this very ship as well as the kit’s designer and supplier, I certainly have an advantage.    These folks all served as a mentor to me.    Helping me when I struggled with things or made mistakes that needed fixing.    I can’t recommend joining a club enough.   A lot of clubs are meeting virtually these days which has removed some of the geographical limitations of members.   

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2 hours ago, Bill Brown said:

my first attempt at a plank on bulkhead project.  

Mine too, Not just that but scratch building all the parts and milling the wood are all new to me despite it being my 9th model.  As we both know it’s very different, even with the expert direction and sub assemblies from Chuck. Your work is very nicely done.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Armament  


There are 10 Carronade that have to be made for the Cheerful so you need to set up an assembly line.

I purchased the mini kits from Syren for all my armament.


First I had to set up my high end lathe (tongue in cheek) to help make the axles:




This is just your basic Dremel with a $10  3 jaw check attachment.      I use a sanding stick and needle file as the rounding tools.


Second, you need a jig as this is repetitious.




From here on its turning them out one by one.    IMG_2524.thumb.JPG.dddf2806c657ec43f721ca1890cccc22.JPG


I then set up my high end painting station,  Tongue in Cheek again 






I used a spray can of flat black for painting the brass.   I would later add some rust powder to simulate metal in a salt environment.


Once the sub assemblies are completed with the various rings and bolts and simulated hinges you can rig them in place on deck.




And finally you have all 10 in place.   Time for an adult beverage.




Until next time.   Be well folks.



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