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Double Capstan Kit For HMS Winchelsea 1764 - Syren Ship Model Co.

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Posted (edited)

I recently reviewed this kit over in the Reviews forum:  1:48 Double Capstan for HMS Winchelsea

I discussed it with Chuck, and he felt this forum would be the best place to put my build log.


First, a little background about why I am building this capstan even though I don't foresee  building Winchelsea.


Back in June of last year I posted an item about the capstan I built from scratch, for my Corel kit Resolution.




I thought it was pretty decent and as good or better than a lot of kit provided or third party parts.

( I had actually upsized the 1:72 kit from Master Korabel )


I'm glad Chuck looked in on my log, because he pointed out how kits rarely get the relative size ( thickness ) of the various parts;

whelps, chocks and etc. of a capstan correct, if even close.


It requires several thicknesses of wood, and therefore drives up the cost of the kit/part..


He showed me a picture of this model:



...And I decided at that point, that my model would never launch with the sub-par capstan that had been delivered by the contractor.


Fast forward six months and Chuck unveils the capstan mini-kit for the Winchelsea project.




I knew right away that Chuck had saved me the trouble of designing my own new capstan.


I waited a couple of weeks to order my kit/s so that the Winchelsea project participants would have first option to get their kits.




The packaging is typical of Syren mini kits, and the detailed instructions are available for download at Syren.





This is the Cherry version.  It will fit in with my Resolution.  I also ordered the Alaskan yellow cedar version for another project I have in mind.


The kit has 7 different thicknesses of wood as well as some black monofilament and black laser board pieces for detailing.


I recommend keeping the various parts in their sheets until called for in the instructions.  Many are similar and i know I would be scrambling to find the right part if I had removed them all early on.




The first step calls for building the central column of the lower capstan.


The instruction are very precise in describing which parts are needed for each step and which sheet to find them on.


Glue one ¼” thick column section along with three 3/16” Column sections together after sliding all of them onto the 1/16” strip. These column sections look like five sided pieces.
The ¼” piece can be found on sheet A. The 3/16” pieces can be found on sheet B.


There are relatively few steps, covered in eight pages of instructions, but each step involves several pieces.




The next step calls for putting the lower whelps on the center column. Each step has information about when and how char should be removed.

Naturally we want it removed from surfaces that will be visible after assembly. 

The lower column has five flat surfaces to receive the whelps, and there will be a small visible strip between each whelp.

I over-did the char removal a bit here and paid for it later.  The cherry has some dark streaks that can be a little confusing when removing char, so I would keep this in mind throughout a cherry build.   Also, the AYC may be a little less forgiving when it comes to sanding, so a little extra care may be required there.









Looking  ahead, I chose to drill the holes for the simulated bolts before assembly.



This is an image from the instructions.  It calls for gluing the whelps on to the column in preparation for adding the chocks.





I ran into some problems here, because I think I over-sanded the column, and did not get a tight, even spacing of the whelps.

So I added the chocks at this point to help me align things before the glue ( PVA) set, and did the best I could to even things up.


I had intended to drill the detail holes in the chocks before assembly, but my botched efforts got in the way..


You can see some gaps at this point, but I managed to recover somewhat, and I think you will see the final result with the lower

capstan doesn't look too bad.  I don't plan on using the lower part, so I am depending on it more for a learning process.


At this point, I want to elaborate on those grooves for the chocks in the whelps .




Looking back at the model I posted earlier. Note the chocks in the grooves.  You will find those grooves in some plan drawings

from the NMM.  Structurally, they make sense.  You won't find those grooves on any other kit model of a capstan. ( that I am aware of )



When Chuck chose to include those grooves in this kit he took laser part making to another level.

It created a lot of additional work in cutting the parts.  The grooves had to be etched precisely on both sides of the

sheet, unlike cutting, or engraving on one side.  The piece  would have to be flipped and placed with pixel level preciseness

to make this happen. 

Probably, once he had it all planned he created a jig that enabled him to more easily repeat the process, but getting there

would have taken many hours and lots of scrap..


When all is said and done, those grooves really contribute to a realistic and more precise  build.




I ended up with some ugly gaps, but I hope to show I overcame them to some extent later.  Just something for other builders to keep in mind.





Next is building the drum for the lower capstan.  Really an easy process of making a sandwich of three parts.








Char cleaned off and added to the assembly..




I won't go over the detail of putting the base together.  It is really straight forward.  The biggest challenge is getting the

words in the right order..  






A little polly to bring out the cherry, and here is my version of the lower capstan. 


I have continued working on the upper part, which i plan to use for my Resolution, and should have it completed shortly..


I hope to be able to show a little improvement with my lessons learned..

Edited by Gregory
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That looks very good actually.    But I will mention that the tiny holes in that disc on the top of the capstan should line up above the square holes for the bars in the drum.  You didnt align that disc correctly...it should have been oriented  on the stick so they matched up.


Also a little tip....if you own a miniature chisel....of good quality, you can clean up those notches a bit before adding the chocks.  That makes a big difference.   But nicely done.

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Chuck said:

But I will mention that the tiny holes in that disc on the top of the capstan should line up above the square holes

Good to know.


I was thinking the holes represented bolts that would go between the square openings,,  Not so?


It seems to be the case on the model we were looking at..




Edited by Gregory
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No they are for the pins that would go through and into the handles to lock them in while turning the capstan.  Have a look at the fully framed model volume2.   Great details in that book.

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Posted (edited)

So, just empty holes without the arms?  OK, then..




Do you think some brass wire pins would be out of place in the iron ring?  For contrast?

Edited by Gregory
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Posted (edited)



For the upper capstan, which is the part I plan on using, I made a jig to get a more even surface to fix the whelps.

I just take a couple of strokes on the sand paper on each surface that will be visible after whelps and chocks are in place..




For the upper capstan I made a jig to help me hold the whelps in alignment while I glued them up with the chocks.






This time I drilled the holes for the simulated bolts in the chocks before going forward with the assembly.





Here the lower chocks are glued in, with finishing to follow.




Here are some of the parts for the upper drum.




I thought I was on a roll ( yes a drum roll ), but I did this before I had the discussion above with Chuck, about how those holes should line up..




Here is the condemned effort before I realized my mistake and proceeded to  rip it apart.

To be continued..





Edited by Gregory
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I want to say at this point that the key to success with this kit would be to take a lot more time than I did, to carefully finish the pieces, and check fit before gluing.

They are so small,  just a little heavy handedness with the sanding will throw everything way off.  Chuck has included at least one extra of the whelps and chocks, so a little fo rgiveness is included in the kit.




I did a little rough finishing on my unimat,  My final sanding was with some stuff that I'm not sure what the grit is.


At least a thousand..  It produced a nice polished look that I think looks pretty good.


NewCap.JPG.cc5154c43233bdd40d27535c891b1ee7.JPG  image.png.f3c115bcc800356af535a1051f3a669f.png


Here is the new head piece that I fabricated with my laser. ( the old one on the right)  The holes are all proper now..




Here is the finished upper Capstan on the deck of my ship.




A close up.  The finish is some very thin poly.  I really like the look of the cherry for my purposes.


My workmanship does not do the kit justice, so I really look forward to see what some of the Winchelsea builders accomplish with this kit.

If one follows the instructions precisely, you can't go wrong.


I will be putting together the AYC version soon, but  taking a lot more time and refining what I have learned with this quick build.

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Indeed taking your time and sanding carefully is the trick.  Rushing will never produce a tight fit with those pieces.   But regardless your capstan looks really good.  Use of machines to sand and prep those parts is definitely overkill.  Just take your time and try to not let impatience take hold of you.   Just a light sanding by hand to remove the char with a sanding stick will ensure no over-sanding.  



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