Jump to content

1:48 H.M.S. Alert 1777 - Trident Model

James H

Recommended Posts

1:48 H.M.S. Alert 1777
Trident Model

Available from Trident Model





HMS Alert was a 10-gun cutter launched at Dover in 1777 and was converted to a sloop in the same year. On 19 September 1777, during the American War of Independence, Alert caught and engaged the American 16-gun brigantine Lexington in the English Channel. After two hours fighting, Lexington damaged Alert's rigging, and broke off the action, but Alert's crew quickly managed to repair the ship and caught up with Lexington, which was now virtually out of ammunition and unable to reply to Alert's fire. After a further one and a half hours bombardment by Alert, Lexington struck her colours, surrendering to Alert. Lexington had lost 7 men killed with 11 wounded, while Alert had two killed and 3 wounded. During the Action of 17 June 1778, Alert engaged the French 10-gun Lugger Coureur, and after 90 minutes, forced Coureur to strike. Alert was captured in the Channel by the Junon on 17 July 1778, and foundered December 1779 off the coast of America. French records show her serving as Alerte, a cutter of fourteen 4-pounder guns.


The kit
Alert is packaged into quite a large and heavy box, as befits the quantity of timber and fittings within. The box itself is sturdy and plain, except for the Trident logo and motto in the bottom right corner. When opened, you will see that the parts are broken down into different packages, labelled A, B, C and D. Each pack is protected with layers of bubble-wrap and all other parts within the box are also protected with infills of more bubble-wrap and foam. 




Cradle Pack
As you’d imagine, this pack contains all parts to build the complex building cradle that a model like this really needs. In fact, this is probably the most unusual looking cradle I’ve seen for a POF model, but I don’t get out much really! 





Most parts in here are in thin MDF and are generally very flat. You will need to take exceptional care in making sure the cradle is 110% accurate as you work. A quick test of a frame sheet into a frame slot showed it to be very tight. I recommend you perhaps scrape away the laser char to make things better, but still snug. In my test, that worked for me. All the subsequent frame sheets from the other packs seem to be of consistent thickness, but you’ll need to assess each frame/slot in turn.





Unlike convention, the individual frames aren’t built over a drawing. Instead, they are built within a series of MDF jigs which have plugs to stop the jigs from splaying outwards when the parts are inserted. This will keep everything tightly together whilst the glue sets. There is a risk of accidentally gluing the frames to the jigs, so I would use some clingfilm, as it used for wrapping sandwiches, and lay it over the jig before you fit the components in.


As with many POF models, the frames are taller than they should be, to help with construction. These need to be cut to length later in the build. This kit provides a template which fits to the cradle, and this gives the height of every frame so you can just mark the hull with a pencil before committing to the saw. Another jig is also included into which you will assemble the keel stern prow and deadwood timbers. This should ensure you get things absolutely correct before you progress to the many frames.







Pack A

Each of the timber packs is labelled with the pack number, but also on the label are the numbers for the individual sheets, which is a nice touch. You can see from this one that Pack A contains 10 sheets of timber. All of these are in cherry wood. Some of the sheets in this packet vary a little in grade with regards to colour. More on that in a moment. The first thing you’ll note when opening is that all sheets are packed with cutting debris from the CNC router. A lot of this in my example is highly compacted and it takes far more than teasing it out to clean the sheets up. This material is substantial too, with both packs having enough debris to quarter-fill a small shopping carrier bag.





Now, the sheet colours can vary across individual sheets and here is where I found a problem in debris removal. Where the sheets are uniform and slightly darker, the material came out fairly easily, although still time consuming. Where the wood was lighter, the debris was very difficult to remove and the edges of the machined parts were rough, and in my opinion, needed replacing as it’s likely some of that roughness wouldn’t all be sanded away during construction.








One sheet in particular took a full afternoon to remove the debris, and the results highlighted lots of rough machining. As some sheets also had darker bands of timber, that is where the debris removal was quite easy, so the roughness generally seems to be limited to the lighter sheets or those with lighter bands on them. Of course, with CNC parts, whilst you get nice, sharp external corners, you do get rounded internal corners which then need to be cleaned up and the corner cut manually. 


You can see on these photos the rough surface to some of the part edges, some of it very jagged indeed:




Aside from debris and the four aforementioned sheets, the CNC cuttings is actually very good, and each frame is constructed from around five timbers, plus chocks. 



Pack B


A further ten sheets of cherry wood are included in this pack, again, all CNC-cut. As with the other pack, these parts, which make up more of the hull’s framing and the rest of the main construction, are simply removed from the sheets by cutting through the thin web of material that’s left from machining. A small number of parts actually dropped from the sheets as I tapped them on the bench to remove the last traces of debris from the CNC process, so I taped those back in place to protect them until build time.










To contrast this, one part I removed from the sheet had a web of 1mm to cut through, so this varies. On the reverse of some sheets, there is more CNC machining for slots and channels etc. Timber grade seems to be very good, with a general consistency in the colour of timber and its finesse. All sheets are machined with the sheet number, making referral to the instruction parts plans, very simple.


Packs C & D

I could be wrong, but I’m fairly sure that the internals and barrels supplied with this kit (classed here as Pack D) are not standard, but for fairness, I’ve included them here as I see them as being integral to the kit review. If someone knows otherwise, I’m happy to correct this article. Both packs are wrapped into a single bubble-wrap covering, but with both labels denoting contents. Whilst C label has a list of materials, ‘D’ simply says ‘Compartment partition, Deck).



For ‘C’, you will find all other constructional elements such as beams, knees, etc. Many parts have extensive slot routing as before, with the only real clean up being to square off the internal corners cut by the CNC router. Also of interest is the bowsprit. This is supplied on a flat sheet but milled roughly to shape. You need to fold the sheet and glue together before fully shaping the part to create the bowsprit. I admit that I’ve never quite seen anything like that before. Whether it saves time instead of just supplying quare timber stock that needs rounding, I guess I’ll find out. Another unusual feature are the pump tube casings. These are supplied on flat sheets and routed. You just need to cut along the outside edges and then fold into shape. I don’t know how well that will work, especially with the metal hoops. 











Not all parts in this pack are CNC cut. We have a number of laser-cut parts too, and some on walnut as well as cherry. Laser cut parts include the gratings, cannon cart pieces. Note how the gratings are also curved, as they should be. I have noticed how the wheels of the gun carts are devoid of any nail/bolt detail as I have seen on some of Trident’s own images. Looks like some sets were sent out without those details.











Pack D holds two cheery sheets which contain various interior walls, all laser-cut and engraved. As I say, there are no instructions to help me with this and my emails to Trident haven’t been fruitful. A small number of barrels are included as their own kit, complete with photo-etch for the hoops. Another sheet of PE is included for the interior



Strip Wood
A small quantity of strip and dowel is included. The strip also appears to be cherry and is laser cut. The dowel looks like lime or Ramin. Some brass rod is also included in the dowel bundle. Materials quality can’t be faulted.








A single box holds all of the various metal fittings, plus some laser/CNC cut parts too. The various fittings are bagged separately in clear sleeves.  The timber parts include a mast base, winch gears and a stern piece. There is a little raggedness on the mast base. That is quite deep so it may need replacing.



Rope quality is very good with no fuzziness.



Castings are generally very good too, as seen here with the anchor and cannon. Details on the cannon are nice and defined. Many parts are provided on a casting block and will need to be removed from that before use.



Some parts don’t have as good a definition as others, as can be seen by the swivel guns. 








Ignore the dirty appearance of the stove parts, as these are cast reasonably well and should be more than useable. 



Other fittings include copper eyelets, belaying pins, and deadeyes.



Instructions and plans
One large plan sheet is included with all the required elevations and details, including some part numbering too. This is printed full size to the model. A spiral-bound instruction manual is included which shows the various stages in line drawing format. The accompanying text is useable if not a little confusing. It definitely could’ve benefited from being proofread by someone who can speak English. 





An unusual addition is a sticker sheet with parts drawn on it. These are applied to the respective parts and the hashed areas are used as your guide to bevel these parts. In the absence of a multi-axis cutting machine at Trident, these will serve the job pretty well.


Trident have produced a really nice model here, with extensive use of CNC routing and innovations that aim to make this as easy to assemble as possible. That CNC does come at the cost of the bag full of waste material you need to remove from around each part, of which there are many. On my example, sheets were severely impacted with waste material, and dental picks etc. still struggled to remove it. When the material was eventually cleaned out, four of these sheets exhibited rough/jagged machining which damaged the surface edges of many parts. Despite several repeated requests to replace these sheets for this review, Trident haven’t answered emails for around 7 weeks now, and I have sent quite a few. PMs to them here on MSW also haven’t been answered. The remainder of the parts are superbly made, which is a real shame. When it comes to fittings, again, these are very, very good, being nicely cast metal parts such as the cannon and anchors, plus numerous other fittings. A small number of these are perhaps not as good as other, such as the swivel guns which look a little messy.


In all, for the money, and providing you aren’t unlucky enough to get some rough parts sheets, Alert could well be a nice project to guide you into your first POF model. I’m led to believe that the interior parts and barrels aren’t included as standard, meaning another purchase. Those parts also don’t feature on any instructions, and to date, there are none I can talk of. Of course, H.M.S. Alert makes a great stablemate for CAF Model’s Le Coureur. However, if you wanted to choose between one or the other, then my money would be on the CAF Model kit, with its complete mast rig and interior. CAF, unlike Trident, also seem to be responsive to queries and correct any mistakes.


My thanks to Trident Model for the sample reviewed here on MSW. To date, there is no website through which to order. When I know of one, I’ll amend this article.






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for this superb kit review. I’m not ready to build a model like this but I’m sure your review will help others who are. Again, thank you...Moab

Completed Builds:

Virginia Armed Sloop...Model Shipways


Louise Steam Launch...Constructo

Hansa Kogge...Dusek

Yankee Hero...BlueJacket


26’ Long Boat...Model Shipways

Under Construction:

Emma C. Berry...Model Shipways


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...