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And as a special extra, some months early, I checked the display stand fits. I what to install it permanently at the point when inverting the gull becomes too risky.  And as it happens I manage to spring one of the cathead by inverting it to install the bow cheeks.  Fixed that with a little thin CA, and can protect them easily enough, so will revert to the cradle until the gunwales are on.  But this looks pretty sweet I think:





The slots in the columns were just under 5 mm wide, and the copper-coated keel just on 6 mm, so I had to file 1 mm of brass out of the columns.  Filing parallel slots with a small file is beyond my skills, but turned out fine, and with a spirit level the pitch of the deck is exactly horizontal at the main mast, and the mast itself (or the place-holder dowel) dead plumb athwart-ships.  Those following closely will recall I left two captive nuts under the copper and keel.  Two 50 mm bolts come up through the stand and the columns to engage the nuts.  Just as sweet as can be.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A little bit of blackening.

I'm moving onto the deck furniture now, and thought I  would start by installing the ringbolts (largely for the guns, but in other places too) while nothing else was in the way.  There are 200 of these provided, in nice shiny copper.  So that's 200 tiny pieces to be painted black.  And there are 4 eyebolts and then 5 little photo-etched (PE) brass pieces for each gun.  So the guns alone have 162 tiny pieces to be painted black.  I also need to decide what to do with the gun barrels.  So I thought I would try some chemical blackening of the kind described here.


To stop the small pieces drifting off on their own I tied them onto small loops of fishing line.  The supports for the guns need to fit in slots pre-machined in the gun carriages.  Joy-oh-joy every piece of brass is alittle over-size so needed to be filed down fore and aft



I set up in the laundry.  Across the back you can see: (a) pH minus ie sodium hydrogen carbonate, (b) sodium bicarbonate, (c) water and (d) John Wardle black antiquing solution.  Across the front: the columns for the display board, the small parts for the guns, the guns themselves, two sheets of PE, a pair of wooden tongs (most metals are a bad idea in one or more of acid/bas/blackening solution), and a measuring spoon (about 3 table spoons  - 45 ml - in 250 ml of water is about right for both acid and base.  Blackening is a 10-fold dilution)



And how did it go?  Great at first on the small gun parts:



But the guns, no so much:



You can just see in the middle one of the guns came out solid black, but most have only a few spots of black acne.  This matches the descriptions on the blackening page ,linked above, of lacquer coating on the brass.  So after soaking in iso-propanol (acetone is not readily available in the UK, it seems) I scrubbed them with steel wool and gave them some extended acid treatment.  After neutralising and washing, I then painted on neat blackener and then dumped them in the dilute solution.  For about 15 of the guns the results were good.  The others needed a repeat.



And here is everything that's fit to show:




The PE worked perfectly.  The brass columns not at all - including on the parts that had been extensively filed, so not a lacquer problem.  This being a selenium solution, that reacts with the  copper in the brass (see @bartley's post here) I wonder if this is a particularly low copper brass.  I did get a little bit of antiquing, which I think I quite like.


As also explained in the links I've given, the blackening is microscopic selenium metal particles that are not chemically bonded in place.  I messed around for quite a while exploring rigging options handling one of he guns extensively.  As the following shows, it doesn't look so black anymore:



I picked the least impressive of the 18, and perhaps bronze would be ok.  I will give this one another bath in the solutions.  Of the fittings, only the eyebolts in the bulwarks were blackened all the other parts were painted from an earlier mock-up.  They look fine to me.


The kit recommends 0.75 mm neutral thread, which looked too skimpy.  Lavery in "The ship of the line vol 2" quotes 7" circumference for breeching on a 32 lb (long) gun, which would be 0.88 mm diameter at 1:64.  I  didn't have any 1 mm neutral so tried black for size - I've ordered some 1 mm neutral.  Because the cascabel does not have a loop for the breeching (as was quite common with carronades) I'm going to imitate a (ahem) cut splice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Working on the deck fittings.


The gratings were fiddly, but fun.   Sadly the supplied walnut strip for the framing was split, and the replacement I ordered was very pale, essentially the same colour as the deck.  So I stained it a kind of teak colour, that makes sanding to fit and end-grains difficult, so I mitred the corners.  I have also added a galley flue and rearranged the path of the cable.  The flue is solid, though, as has been remarked elsewhere, it usually sported a cap when not in use; I imagined my cap being of sheet copper





Next, the companionway, wheel, a possible binnacle (from Vanguard Models, badly stained, but a decent colour match) and the capstan.  Petrejus tells me that capstan heads were often covered in brass sheet - so mine is painted to look that way. I was not convinced by the PE wheels, or that Snake would have had a double wheel.  So I glued the two together, back to back, making something more substantial and also allowing me to paint it and keep a brass hub and rim showing





Here they are roughly in place





Finally, pinrails and belaying pins installed.  Again Petrejus reports that the rails were often edged in brass to protect from wear and add some decoration - so mine are.  I read in Steel that belaying pins were 16" long, or 1/4" at 1:64 ie 6mm, so the kit-supplied materials are not ridiculously small, though they are somewhat over diameter. I have seen pictures of pinrails bolted to the bulwarks, so I have borrowed from that by using round-headed black pins instead of hidden wire to give strength.







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