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Sloop-rigged Pink after Chapman by Meriadoc Brandybuck - FINISHED - 1:100 - CARD - first-time scratch build.

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Inspired by the card creations of Ab Hoving in particular, and informed by his wonderful guide linked to below, I chose a small subject from Chapman’s Architectura Navalis Mercatoria to work on the skills and knowledge necessary to tackle larger future projects in card.  The medium offers much greater time and cost efficiency than wood, while still allowing for excellent results, at least once you know what you’re doing.

I chose the sloop-pink on plate XIV, No. 20 as it is relatively simple but includes some interesting visual features. With the original vessel measuring 51.3’ between perpendiculars, at 1:100 it will total a whopping 16cm or so plus bowsprit and whatnot, so nice and small, all the better to make my Heller Victory look big someday. 


I do not know much about this vessel or type, where or how it was used, or why it has the features it does.  If anyone knows anything, I’d be more than happy to hear about it.  There is a similar looking brigantine-pink next to it on the plate. Dutch? Mediterranean? English?   The rudder-tuck stern is sort of reminiscent of Dutch flutes, but that could be a coincidence.



After negotiating with my printer, I have the essentials for the frame. I may have ended up with a suboptimal kind of card though.  Oh well, press on.



And a big thank you to Ab Hoving for sharing not only his wonderful creations on this site and others, but also the knowledge of how to do it. I hope I can make use of this generously shared knowledge to make some worthwhile models to look at. 


Must start somewhere. 

Hoping to get the hull together soon and see how it looks. 





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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you for the likes and enthusiasm!  I’m glad we can share these little projects. 


I have the frame together in some sort of order, dry fit for now. 

It took a bit longer than expected and the card stock I ended up with is not the best- too papery and hard to achieve minute precision. But it’s the basic shape which will hopefully at length come together to look nice.  I’m looking forward to getting it glued, skinned, planked, painted, fitted out, and rigged. One bit at a time. 






Edited by Meriadoc Brandybuck
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Good luck with your first scratch build.  It looks like. You’re doing well so far.


Chapman’ s book roughly contains two types of drawings.  Designs by him of hypothetical vessels, and examples of specific vessels that he found interesting.  He calls these later examples “Foreign Vessels.”


Returning to the former, hypothetical vessels, in many cases he appears to group several vessels of similar design on the same plate.  Sort of like variations on a theme in music.  This appears to be true of the pink that you are building.  You will note that your pink and the one directly both have very similar hull forms.


I have wanted to build a model of a pink stern vessel for a long time and last winter I developed plans for a pink stern English ketch using whole moulding techniques and data from Richard Endsor’s book The Shipwright’s Secrets.  I posted my drawing on this forum.  


There were several variations of the pink hull form depending on the relation of the transom to the rudder head.  I have not found any written explanation of the reason for the pink hull form.  Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will weigh in.  My own observation is that the basic round stern hull form appealed to owners wishing seaworthy vessels but didn’t need large stern cabin or want to pay for the more complex framing associated with the conventional square stern craft.  


The design might have also allowed the shipowner to reduce the vessel’s tonnage (legally defined internal volume).  Charges associated with shipping were often based on tonnage.  Tonnage was calculated by multiplying length, width, and depth, and dividing the result by a legally established factor.  Where tonnage rules defined width as that measured at the level of the main deck, tumblehome carried from bow to stern could reduce tonnage without reducing actual cargo carrying capacity.


The 175 or so Turret Ships built in England in the 1890’s were a much later example of this same scheme.  Their midship section resembled a Seventeenth Century Dutch Flute.  They were particularly popular with owners using the Suez Canal, as canal tolls were based on tonnage calculated on the width of the uppermost continuous deck.







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Thank you for the information, Roger. I had noticed there is a little collection of various pinks in the early section of the book, but like you I have yet to see much on who built pinks for what purpose. Your observations may be all there is to it, an economical advantage. 


I have noticed several smaller boats in the book that have the same sort of stern, complete with the great decorative plaque, so I am suspicious that it might be simply a stylistic choice in the case of this small sloop and her neighbor, No. 19. 


I wonder if these are no more than hypothetical designs, as you say, or if there were actual examples in use. Then, of course, it would be nice to know who used them and why. Need to find a pink expert. 



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They are not hypothetical designs in the sense that they are complete fantasies.  Generic vessel descriptions like pink, frigate, bark, cat, etc. we’re each understood by the shipping industry to possess certain distinct characteristics.  Chapman’s drawings are therefore his interpretations of these specific vessel types.  A vessel described as a pink would have been expected to have certain specific features but could differ in size, rig and details of hull form.



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Thanks for all the likes and encouragement. 


I got the hull together and began applying the skin. I was anxious to see how the spongy card I found performs. I’m not sure if it’s exactly like hout-board; it does delaminate a little bit and gets fuzzy when sanded, but can be shaped with a firm round object. As I am low on small cannonballs, I rely on my pokemon figures for getting tighter curvature.. always gotta be resourceful. 

Midships is more or less straightforward, but one must start with a little extra material. Can always remove it. Cutting a curved piece is hard so I cut over a large round surface like a bottle of varnish. Towards the ends, you need to start thinking in trapezoids and funky math, but basically just start wide and trim bit by bit. I have no idea how one could finish this all in an afternoon but I imagine experience will help.





As this is a hypothetical ship, I must invent a name and a story for her. I suppose she must be English. I’ll decide upon a name and think about how that should influence her decoration scheme.   It’s tempting to start six more cardboard hulls as soon as I get her planked, but I think I’ll try to give her some life and complete her so as to uncover all sorts of scratchbuilding riddles and problems to solve.  Deadeyes, blocks, pinrails, fancy beakhead features. Painting different mediums with different paint brands and types on the same model. Problems that I need to find solutions for for future projects. 






Edited by Meriadoc Brandybuck
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A bit of progress. 

The kid keeps getting sick. Moreover, he keeps getting me sick. Thus progress is slow, while the mind races. 

But, progress is progress. 


Finished port side, save for stern section which will wait for last.  I pared away some of the more offensive bulges of the card edges on the frames. Will still need plenty of putty though. 



Faired starboard frames:





If I can find a day off, maybe I can get her ready to plank. 




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More progress on the hull. Skinning has been completed, except for the tricky pink stern.







I elected that the bulwarks pieces ought to be in place to serve as a guide for the shape of the last piece, which must open around the rudder and show two stern ports. I improvised some pieces for this inner transom on something of a guess. I think I have to finish the transom with color before I  can proceed. 





Thoughts, suggestions, criticism, and other comments always welcome!



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I’m amazed at what can be done with cardboard, and you’re doing it well.


Your pink would not, however, have had a square transom.  One definition of a Pink was a vessel where it’s wales terminated at the sternpost.  All planking, up to the extension extending behind the sternpost would bend around to land on a rabbit cut into the sternpost; just like the bow.


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9 hours ago, Roger Pellett said:

Your pink would not, however, have had a square transom.

Yes, the outside is rounded but inside, as seen in the draft, there is some sort of bulkhead with little square ports looking aft. It’s an interior feature, and I wasn’t sure how to build it. The outer planking will of course surround this opening and terminate at the sternpost. Maybe you can see the form of the stern in the picture; it took a few tries and a lot of thinking to find the shape of that last piece of skin at the stern. I’m still working on the final look of the opening. 


And I forgot to thank you for your compliment! Thanks, I’m getting the hang of it a little. It might just be that it’s not very hard to begin with, compared to bending wood. 




Edited by Meriadoc Brandybuck
Forgot to say thanks, again
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I have reached a late stage of filling and sanding. One more shift, I think. I see now why some have devised methods that avoid the use of filler. However, after the second or third shift it gets more and more satisfying to see those imperfections slowly disappear. 

I challenge the notion that it takes less than an hour all together, though. Perhaps with a better filler it could be possible.. mine seems awfully hard and coarse-grained. 


Photos after round one:





Photos after round three:













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Thank you for all the likes and encouragement! Certainly helps with motivation. 


I reached a point where I declared the filling process finished. I cut the gunwales down to their final dimensions, which was helped by the use of a special tool my wife happened to have, and marked the waterline to install the wales.  I used 1/2mm cardstock for the main wales after determining that 1mm plastic was far too thick. 

I did use 1x1mm Japanese cypress for the upper wales, whose names I wish I remembered. Still not sure how I’m going to terminate the top wales into the ones below; it’s an awfully small radius bend and might be best to sculpt it somehow. 

I also installed two planks as a preliminary test of my planking wallpaper. 


Gunwale cutter-downer:



Waterline marking kit:



Starboard side, and unterminated upper wales:



Planking commencement:



The bit of trim around the stern opening will be installed over the planking:



Next I hope to plank the hull and decide how I will do the deck and gunwales. Might just plank them in wallpaper. 



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  • 3 weeks later...

I have planked the ship. 

It was more difficult than expected to achieve good results. Use of a hair dryer was mandatory, and for some of the planks, a bit of spiling was necessary to avoid kinks. I got the hang of it by the time I got to the starboard side under the wale, and only had trouble fitting the last plank. The port side, however, is less pretty.  Alas, this project is for learning, not perfecting. 








Bottom, note disparity of quality P-S:



For the deck, I tried to simply cover the forecastle with cabinet paper and cut planks later; we’ll see how it turns out after the oil wash. The rest of the deck I applied straight individual planks over three longitudinal paper strips, masking the seams with planks. It worked alright, but you can’t miss spotting the grooves where my frame tops were removed. In certain light, they are invisible. I used heavy paper but the pva might have made it too soft. 




Not too bad for now; I’m learning skills bit by bit and uncovering problems to solve. I have finished the gunwales now as well, so a few more things to do and I can paint. 



Edited by Meriadoc Brandybuck
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for the likes and encouragement; I hope everyone is enjoying their January. 


As the hull came together and all the questions of how to finish it and fit it out all began to stare at me at once, I felt a bit overwhelmed. I drew up a deck plan which ought to work, and went as far as preparing the head knees and an attempt at catheads to work out the geometry of the graceful beakhead timbers. Then, the 1mm sheer strakes (that’s what they’re called, I found out) struck me as rather too thick and blocky for such a small craft. To distract myself from the pressing concerns of how to make my ship presentable and how presentable it ought to be, I assembled a simple stand for her, and stained it a nice color: 



There she sits for now, while I think. I went as far as to summon another subject from Seahorse to gain some insight into Tomek’s handling of these questions of finishing, of making small parts, of materials, and of scale..

Thus, my little pink rests for now but not for long, while I fold and knead some inspiration. 



Always pleased to hear your thoughts. 


Edited by Meriadoc Brandybuck
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  • 2 months later...

Well i hope everyone is staying healthy and safe these days. My little sloop has not been neglected. 


First, I managed to stick on the shoulder piece(?) or whatever the heavy timber that protects the bow against the anchor stock is called, as well as the after trim. 



Then I got around to priming the model and painting the bottom “white stuff” which I airbrushed on with a mix of Tamiya acrylics.  And finally one day I got out the oil paints and painted the hull sides and deck. 





Then, upon discovering that only oils should be painted on top of oils, I bought some oils to paint the trim and wales: 





Finally after much oxidation was allowed for, I took the Bob Ross bravery test as per Ab Hoving’s process and covered much of my model with Van Dyke Brown:D3080436-7B35-4357-85BA-D1DFE326E3A2.thumb.jpeg.5fce6bccb205af73297d4c4c1b6183b4.jpeg


..and immediately set to wiping it off with a small host of paper towels and q-tips. 







Oh, also I painted the inner gunwales a red color I mixed. The top of the gunwales will be home to bollards and stanchions which I have yet to build, so I am leaving that part unpainted for now. 

Channels and deck fittings next, I imagine. Thoughts or revelations?



Edited by Meriadoc Brandybuck
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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for the likes and encouragement. 
It’s been slow, with work and family demanding most of the available time and energy, but I’ve managed to make some gains. 
First, I worked on deck equipment and spars. Painted the deck equipment too (no pictures).96B967E7-C8B4-4F4E-8DAE-B340E81BF9F5.thumb.jpeg.38427312444c0a17898a50d8a4dd356f.jpeg

Of course, to make the spars I needed to draw up a sail plan (below). I based it off dimensions from Chapman’s rigging plate, and adjusted a little. 
Do let me know if you think she’s terribly over-canvassed. I think the bowsprit/jib boom might be a little long. I plan to shorten it and go for a smaller flying jib. This is where expert opinions would be most welcome. 


Also, I made some bollards, but I’m not happy with them. I used them to fix the locations on the forecastle rail for now, at least. 



Then I remembered to paint the decorative filigree before I permanently attached masts and so forth:




I guess I’m happy with it. 
To paint patterns like this, practice a little off-subject until you’re comfortable painting the design, and -most importantly- sit back, relax your legs, and rest your elbows on your sides. With a steady posture and some practice, much is possible. 

Happy shipbuilding!



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On 4/24/2022 at 9:06 AM, druxey said:

shrink by 15% or a little more

Well, I had a chance to sit down at the makeshift drafting table and rework the rigging plan a little.  I compared it to the plans for the Armed Virginia Sloop, but the mast was almost identical. However, the AVS has a considerable rake to her mast,

meaning its actual height is less. Her boom is also considerably longer than mine. In the end I shrunk the mast by about 10% and the bowsprit a little more. I also enlarged the topsail and t’gallant slightly as they are at a more reasonably height off the deck. It seems much improved to me, but do let me know If you think it’s passable or not.

Below, I took a shot up against the window so you can see the shadow of the old plan vaguely bleeding through. 

And here is the full revised  plan:


She now features an inboard staysail, a much reduced flying jib, and a slightly longer gaff. I raised the top a bit relative to the sails to get more jib area. 


Edited by Meriadoc Brandybuck
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4 hours ago, druxey said:

However, I really wonder if a topgallant yard and sail was fitted.

Going by the marine artwork I’ve been poring over from the 17th-18th centuries, it seems that topgallants were not terribly uncommon on sloops around this time period. I suspect it’s a matter of preference for the commissioner/master. 


Edited by Meriadoc Brandybuck
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