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HM Brig Badger by captain_hook - Scale 1/48 - Modified from Caldercraft plans

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This is my first semi-scratch build and it is more like an experiment, which may possibly end in an epic fail. I bought a Caldercraft Badger and Granado kit from eBay (from a guy who probably gave up this hobby) some years ago for a reasonable price and the Badger had been already started but with some mistakes. I kept both kits in storage and did some easier builds instead. A friend of me had recently bought a simple CNC laser engraving machine (to cut ribs for RC-Planes) and I had the idea to build a bigger version of the Badger instead of fixing the already started kit. I also would like to add some extra details and make some changes to the hull and structure according to the NMM plans. There has been a discussion about this before to prepare that build.


I decided to enlarge the plans to 1/48 scale, redraw the bulkheads with Corel Draw to add a rabbit, redesigned the center plywood piece as two parts instead of one (because the machine’s working area is restricted to 30cm x 40cm) and create dxf-files to let him cut the parts. After some trial parts he was able to cut all the bulkheads, the false keel, plywood deck and gun pattern for me. Although the engraving machine was not designed to cut 5mm plywood, the parts are usable. So I started to build a 1:48 version of the Badger, which will be approximately 80 cm long and 70 cm high. I will mainly use the supplied Caldercraft plans but enhance the build with the NMM plans that I will also use for reference. 


The Badger is a small brig (former US merchant vessel Defence) that allows me to do some custom work and will be a nice addition to the AVS as both ships have a lot of similarities and are build in same scale. Also it allows me to stay with 1/48 scale some more time. I made a start already, building a rack to put the model on during construction, gluing all bulkheads together and adding some balsa fillers to give the first planking more gluing surface. Bevelled all bulkheads,  sanded the filler blocks to shape and already prepared the 1,5mm x 5mm basswood strips for the first planking. 








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Installed the subdeck, not glued yet. It is planked with 3/16‘‘ boxwood stripes. I think about adding some fake walls to cover the sides of the bulkhead and the filler blocks but they won‘t probably be visible through the hatch. Maybe I will just paint that black before the false deck is attached. I will also skip the treenails on the subdeck because they won‘t be seen there too.



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Finished the first planking today. As my stock of basswood stripes depleted during the planking process I had to improvise a little, so the planks vary in colour and size. Already sanded the hull with 80 grit sandpaper. The 1,5mm basswood is thick enough to be sanded to shape without the need of using wood filler and I can glue the second planking directly onto the sanded hull with white glue. Will give it another sanding with finer paper and some tuning of the basswood later and add the rabbit.







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Thank you mugje. After some final sanding the first planking is now complete. I glued some pre-bend basswood stripes inside the hull to strengthen the planking (although the basswood stripes are still solid) and to fix the gunport pattern in place as I’m going to remove the bulkhead extensions next to test fit the false deck. I will plank the inside before the outside to secure both bulkwards are of equal height and the guns will later center the gunports. But first I have to build all keel parts next. As the weather gets better every day - some outside shots this time.




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  • 2 weeks later...

The use of gunport pattern might not have been the best idea. Should have planked that area with basswood stripes instead. As the plywood gunport pattern is more than 2 cm wide and 1,2mm thick it is not very flexible and the upper edge has the tendency to warp towards the outside at the bow when bend around the first two bulkheads. So I had to fill that area with small basswood stripes to compensate. These fillers are beveled so they are 1,5 mm at the top and almost as thin as a hair at the bottom. They are glued inside the plywood to strengthen the plywood and to form a new first planking so I can sand down the plywood without the risk of weakening the structure too much. So the bulkwards at the bow are now almost orthogonal to the deck. The bulkhead extensions have been removed and I reinforced the plywood with 1,2mm basswood stripes so it will hold its shape and to make the bulkwards a little stronger. Sanded them down to 0,8mm. Still have to sand down the outside bow areas.




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Thank you barkeater. I have sanded the bulkwards to shape at the bow. This project will be a challenge. The gunports are way off compared to the NMM plans so I will ignore the cutouts and cut new ones by hand. Have added the rabbit and drawn the keel parts with Corel Draw. Printed them on adhesive paper to cut them out of boxwood sheet later.




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Thank you for the nice comments and the likes. The original kit supplied a simple 2-part keel for the Badger as it is supposed to be painted later. The NMM-plan shows a more complex multi-piece keel and I’m going to prepare both options to choose the final one later and gain more experience for future builds. For the multi-piece solution I first printed all parts on adhesive paper and glued them on 7/32“ boxwood sheets. Then roughly cut the parts with a scroll-saw and sanded them to shape with a Proxxon disc sander.



The final sanding to snug fit was done with sanding blocks I made of different wooden blocks. The sanding paper is attached to the blocks with double-adhesive tape and the bottom of the blocks is sanded with the disc-sander so the attached sanding paper is orthogonal to the bottom of the blocks to secure no sloping will occur during sanding the keel parts.





As the paper templates are still on I have to use some needles for a test fit. 




For the tarred joints I might try the paper method dvm27 explained pretty well in his Speedwell log. But before gluing all parts together I still have to find out how to taper the keel correctly. As this is my last day at home working in my workshop might slow down a bit during the next weeks.

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Thank you barkeater, I agree to that. I have finished all eight keel pieces and dry-fitted them. Got some 80 gsm and 120 gsm black acid free paper and I will try the simulated tarred joints on some scrap parts first.

Anyone has a suggestion how to taper the „knee of the head“? I have only seen that on some bigger ships before but these ships’s had a different shape. The Speedwell and the Fair American seem to have a similar KOTH, maybe I should use them for reference.





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Sorry, I have no great suggestions on keel tapering other than sanding. On tarred joints I lightly run a black indelible marker along edges. You may want to try that on scrap. It is quick and I like the look. You do not have to cover the surfaces completelly if you do both of the two adjacent planks.

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I made two test-joints with scrap. The one in the back is made with black paper (80 gsm), the one in the front is made with black single-sheet cellulose (maybe 30 gsm) I „borrought“ from my daughters desk. Both look very similar but the one in the front looks more discrete. Nitrocellulose-lacquer was used as varnish.



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  • 1 month later...

Some weeks have passed and I finally was able to spend more time in the workshop. For simulating tarred joints I first glued the paper on one of the two parts that are joined later. I use two different paper weights (80 gsm and 20 gsm) to simulate different strength of joints. As I haven’t found enough information about all keel parts and how it was build I finally decided to paint the hull white below the waterline so I only have to build the knee. It is exactly shown on the NMM plan. For the keel I will use a single part.




Holes were drilled into the paper so the glue can penetrate the wood on the opposite parts.



Both parts were then glued together to form a joint.




Both sections were then glued together to form the knee. Another layer of paper was used to separate both sections.




The keel was added at last.




Dry-fit on the model. I still have to taper the knee and cut the gunports before the keel will be glued on. 



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  • 2 weeks later...

Building time is limited these days so before I start more work on the hull I wanted to do a little side project, the ship‘s oven. As a reference I used a picture I found on MSW in another thread. It was rescaled to match the scale of the build.




The original kit supplied one is just a box made of britannia casting and the chimney is attached to it. I started with building the basic structure made of wood. The assembly is basically made of boxwood sheets with some brass parts attached to it with epoxy. 



Then the brass parts were attached. Put the whole assembly in my electrical stove after attaching the parts to each side and heated it for 10 min. (100 C Celsius) to reduce the cure time of epoxy.



Instead of an angular chimney I decided to use a rounded one to match the one in my plans.


The whole assembly with all parts attached to it but without paint.




... and after painting it with oxid black acrylic. Will add some clear vanish just before final installation.











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