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HMS Leopard 1790 by Bluto - FINISHED - 1:80 - 50 gun ship - PoB


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With a measure of reluctance, but because I've been encouraged by one of the forum moderators, I'm making an attempt at creating a build log of my ship.
I should preface this with a warning ~ and that is to point out that anyone viewing this should not expect to see the awesome build quality that can be seen in so many threads on this forum.
Apart from a very crude attempt at building an (imaginary) ship a few years ago, this is my first ever attempt at building a model of a ship that actually existed. That said, I'll point out at this stage that there are, and will be certain details of the ship that will be beyond my level of skill (and experience?) to replicate as they are shown in the plans and drawings.
There will also be some proceedures or sequences of progress that may not conform to the normal practice for a scratch build and these anomalies are the product of my lack of experience and knowledge of how to go about certain tasks.
So, please don't jump on me too hard ~ I'm doing my best!

It's close to 3 years since I started the build but there have been a few lengthy lay-off periods when nothing was done to 'Leopard', and there are no photos of the earliest stages of the build.
I'll kick this off with one of the earliest photos taken after all the bulkheads had been attached and some stiffeners added >
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In this pic I had already fixed most of the lower cills of the gun ports on the lower deck and a few cills of the gun ports on the upper deck.
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This pic shows some of the gun port upper cills fixed. Early in the build I decided I would form the gun ports before any hull planking was commenced as I had already seen some builds where the ports were cut out after the hull planking and that seemed like an awful lot of work that I didn't want to encounter later on.

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Thanks Tim.

 

Some time later, lower gun deck partly planked >

 

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At the outset I had determined that the ship would be "closed" ~ by which I mean that nothing below the upper gun deck would visible as, for the sake of making this a simpler build, all gunports (with lids) would be closed and only 14 guns on the upper deck, 2 on the quarter deck and the 2 bow chaser guns would be visible. Accordingly the lower deck was only partially planked as only a tiny part of that planking would be visible by peering down a couple of companionways.

 

In my opening post I neglected to say that the build is being done (as close as is possible for me) according to the plans and drawings by John McKay in Rif Winfield's "The Fifty Gun Ship". Anyone familiar with the book will be aware that the accompanying plans are at a scale of 1:96. I felt that scale was a little too small for me to work with, and while I would have been happier with a scale of 1:64 (or bigger), because of display space constraints I decided on a compromise scale of 1:80 so had the plans expanded to equate to that scale.

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Thanks Mark and Juergen.

 

With the lower deck partially planked, I decided to instal the upper deck beams before proceeding with any hull planking. (I think I may have been delaying the hour at which the hull planking would commence :huh: )

I'm struggling to remember the exact sequence in which I carried out the various build stages in the early part of the build and am relying on the dates of the photos to help me here.

The deck beams I installed bear little or no resemblance to the way in which they would have been configured, nor to the way I see so many intricate and complicated beams in so many buildlogs here on the forum . . . . . and that's for more than a couple of reasons:-  My skill level (and possibly my patience) is not up to that task; I intend for the finished build to be "closed" and only that which appears on the outside of the ship, or above decks to be visible; and what's more, the plans include no details of the deck beam's configuration.

 

O.K. ~ got that out of the way ~~ a couple of pics now:

 

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"The Hour" arrived . . . let the hull planking begin . . . . .

 

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Early on I decided to double plank the hull, and the planking seen in the pic is 5mm X 0.7mm Mahogany. The final planking will be 3mm X 0.7mm, bringing the total thickness to around 1.5mm . . . but that would be a long way down the line.

 

At some point between the top photo and the bottom one I had a little accident and the top of the foremost frame was damaged, so it required a repair and while I was at it I reinforced the tops of all of the frames.

 

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Thanks Robbo and Michael.

 

For a guy who claims limited skills, faced with details beyond his ability that's nice work.  I will watch with interest

 

Michael, when I "claim limited skills" that's a statement relative to the awesome skill and patience I have witnessed on so many buildlogs here on the forum. I know that as I'm working with a scale of 1:80, on the average, that's a bit smaller than many of the "super-builds" which are more often at scales like 1:64 or even 1:48.

So,my claim of limited skills isn't borne of false modesty ~ it's borne of brutal reality ! The reality of now being restricted to this smallish scale to which I've already committed myself.  If I ever get this current model finished and I decide that I would like to do another build I would seriously consider a larger scale of possibly a slightly smaller ship . . . although I don't regret embarking on this model as it's serving me well as a steep learning curve.

 

Jim. 

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Tedium delirium ~ ~ ~ By the time I had done the planking shown in the last photo of my previous post I had also done around the same amount on the port side of the hull and I was beginning to get somewhat weary of that task, so I diverted my efforts to another part of the build. I played around making a grating and a capstan and laid around half of the decking on the upper deck. The photo below shows that part of the decking that had been done, but the grating and the capstan were just dry fitted so that I could get an idea of what it may look like later.

 

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Then, back to the hull, and many hours later, some more planking had been done. Pretty much the same amount of planking had also been done on the port side of the hull at this stage.

Prior to commencing any of this planking I had taken considerable time to fair the frames and the infilled stiffener pieces, and while I thought I had done the job properly, an un-noticed high spot evidenced itself later when I got to this stage of the primary planking. It can be seen in the photo below, and it shows up like a whitish blotch between the 2nd and 3rd aftmost lower gun ports. As I progressed I would lightly sand the planking after every dozen or so strakes and at that point the high spot was noticed and the sanding completely wore away the planking to reveal part of one of the stiffeners. I'm just glad that I discovered it at this stage and not after the final planking as it wasn't really going to be a problem having found it early enough.

 

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I'm sure that most who have already viewed this topic will have noticed the strange structure at the stern! . . . I know it is most unusual, and the reason for that was my total lack of knowledge as to how to construct that part, and what is seen there was about my third attempt at creating something that may work for the stern quarters and galleries. At this stage of the build I had no idea how I would go about completing that, so I put it out of my mind while I carried on with other parts of the build about which I had a slightly better construction ideas.

The stern area will be mentioned at a much later posting.

 

Jim.

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Thanks guys ~ Kay, Sinan and JerseyCityFrankie.

 

 

On ‎11‎/‎08‎/‎2013 at 3:31 PM, JerseyCity Frankie said:
 
 

Great Leopard Bluto! Hey you know, I think I found some very old vintage cinema footage of a distant ancestor of yours at work on an old sailing vessel. I THINK its a distant relative, the resemblance is striking:  http://omgif.gosedesign.net/wp-content/popeye.gif

 

So Frankie ~ which one in that cartoon do you think resembles me ??? :huh:  :)

 

Wheee ! ~ primary planking almost finished (after several months) > > >

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. . . . . then all I had to do was start hull planking all over again! :angry: 

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Before embarking on that epic voyage called 'final hull planking' I completed the planking on the upper gun deck. Planking for ALL decks was cut from pieces of Maple I had left over from other woodworking projects.  > > >

 

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On most builds that I've viewed here on the forum since I carried out the hull planking I have noted that the main wale is fitted before any planking is applied to the hull. Another lesson learned. B)  I had, however figured that the main wale would have to come before the final planking, and that's what came next. John McKay's drawings show hook and butt planks for the main wale, and while I made several attempts to replicate these, I was having more failures than anything else.

So, I cheated a little and opted for top and butt wales > > >

 

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Again, the timber for the main wale was cut from my pieces of Maple. I cut these pieces to a thickness of around 1.6mm so that they would be almost 1mm proud of the final planking when complete,  Many ship modellers use Ebony for the wales, but for a few reasons I decided against Ebony.

#1 ~ For even a very small quantity I found it was extremely expensive.

#2 ~ It was not going to be easy to source. (locally)

#3 ~ I had read how other users found it extremely dirty to work with.

 

So ~ I simply painted it black > > >

 

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Jim,

 

Nothing wrong with staining or painting them black.  Yeah.. ebony is a pain to work with: brittle, sawdust is a fine black powder and likes to go everywhere.  Oh... almost forgot... it's also an irritant to skin and lungs.  Go with what you're comfortable with.

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Thanks Mark.

 

Before commencing the final planking I figured that it may be a good idea to install the gun carriage tackles at I couldn't imagine how I would be able to drill blind holes from inside the bulwarks if I waited until the planking was finished. So I drilled through the hull from the outboard side while it was still just coverd by the primary planks.

 

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The second "dreaded hour" had arrived and it was time to be getting on with the second hull planking. The first planks had been 5mm wide but these second planks were only 3mm wide, so in theory at least, they would take an additional 66% more time to fit !!! (I think my arithmetic is right?) . . .  and ~ I would have to take more care when fitting these as I definitely wouldn't be doing a third planking to cover any ugliness ! :o

 

Initially I planked up from the main wale and tried to plank each side of the hull equally.

 

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I got to about this stage on each side when there was a long lay-off period and for several months Leopard sat on top of the wardrobe wondering when I would again move her back into the shipyard.

 

When she at last came down from the wardrobe I resumed the planking until it got to about the stage shown below >

 

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Another lay-off period followed, but now, I didn't cringe as I looked up at my Leopard on the wardrobe as all (or most) of that ugly early planking was now hidden. :)

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Leopard eventually came back down into the shipyard (again).

 

Before I resumed the planking I made another couple of diversions. A channel seemed like it might be a little project to help uphold my interest in the build because, as close as I was to finishing the planking, it seemed like it was taking forever. So I had a go at the starboard fore channel.

 

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Since the planking was now complete above the main wale I decided to have a try at making the upper and lower cheeks at the hawse holes.

 

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I also made a start at forming and fitting some of the gun port lids. The next pic shows some lids fitted, the fore cheeks fitted and the chesstrees fitted to both sides of the hull. The hawse holes still need a bit tidying. The fore channel is in "the box" awaiting its turn to be fitted ~ which will be some time yet.

 

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Looks like a SHIP now!

 

Yeah Frankie! ~ it was beginning to look like a ship by this point . . .

 

. . . and then . . .  post-4495-0-29209900-1377185323.gif WooHoo !!! ~ the hull planking was finished!

 

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. . . and both sides too! > > >

 

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By the time I had got to this stage I had learned another lesson. I would have done myself a bit of a service if I had opted to use slightly wider planks. There were only 2 widths readily available to me -- 5mm and 3mm. The 5mm was a bit too big to be in scale when laid on the plans, and while the 3mm was a little smaller than scale, it was just a bit closer so that's the one I opted for. Now ~ if only there had been 4mm planks available to me at the time . . .

 

With the planking behind me I could now move on and try to figure how to tackle some of the "interesting" bits . . .

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Thanks Chuck, Mark and Robbo.

 

I've just received Infield's "The Fifty Gun Ship" from were you get your build data, by mail. I was able to get it 2nd hand. It is a great book with lot's of good pictures and drawings. Some day I'm going to build the HMS Leopard myself.

 

Robbo, although I find there are some challenging aspects in building Leopard due to my lack of previous experience (and lower skill level than I would like to have) I think it is a good ship to build. When I look at so many buildlogs on here, I think Leopard may have a few less intricate parts than some of these other ships, but it still has plenty tricky parts for me! 

Yes, there are plenty good pictures and drawings in the book ~~ did your copy also have the ship's plans folded inside a pocket in the back cover?

Let us know when your "some day" for building Leopard arrives!

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Thanks Juergen.
 
With the hull now "done" I had to decide what part of the build I would tackle next.
I wanted to do something that wouldn't seem to last forever but would also make it look like I had achieved something, so I chose to make the gangboards at the waist.
In order to create a support for the aft end of the platform that rises from the aft end of the gangboards, it seemed like the right time to form and instal the foremost of the quarter deck beams . . . as well as a few more beams >>>

 

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. . . and when I had done these few beams I couldn't resist the urge to do the rest ~ if I could just get that quarter deck laid I would feel like the build was going somewhere ! >>>

 

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Another roughed-out grating "test-fitted" before commencing any deck planking on the Q/deck . . . >>>

 

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Compared to the hull, the Q/deck planking was done in fast mode. So much so that I neglected to take any intermediate photos.

Here it is with the coamings dry-fitted to one of the 2 "holes" down through to the upper deck for the rigging. The deck still had to be scraped and sanded at this stage >>>

 

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Hello Jim,

 

this is very interesting for me and very much of ideas I've picked up from your Leoppard PoB-built!

Thanks a lot from an other beginner in scratching on bulkheads (I allways feel a  little bit poor skilled by looking these wonderfull PoF- AdmiralityBoardModels in here.)**

So you gave some hope to be not being the only beginnen in bulkheads at all in here, B.t.w. - mine will be as large as yours*.

The infos about Eboni were very important for me. Thanks a lot!

 

Are you going to build a hull-modell or will you rigg your Leopard? You've closed the lids - in what situation you'll show her in? Blank-wood or are you going to paint her -- here the wounderfull paintings of two views of Experiment and an other 50 gunner the Portland  (Paintings for Gerorg III by Williams, Josh.)

 

You are very close to the quality of NMM-Models...

 

Greetings from Berlin,

Yours

Christian

____________________________

*smaller in prototype larger in scale.

** :mellow: :(

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Thanks Christian, John and Robbo.

 

Hello Jim,

 

this is very interesting for me and very much of ideas I've picked up from your Leoppard PoB-built!

Thanks a lot from an other beginner in scratching on bulkheads (I allways feel a  little bit poor skilled by looking these wonderfull PoF- AdmiralityBoardModels in here.)**

So you gave some hope to be not being the only beginnen in bulkheads at all in here, B.t.w. - mine will be as large as yours*.

The infos about Eboni were very important for me. Thanks a lot!

 

Are you going to build a hull-modell or will you rigg your Leopard? You've closed the lids - in what situation you'll show her in? Blank-wood or are you going to paint her -- here the wounderfull paintings of two views of Experiment and an other 50 gunner the Portland  (Paintings for Gerorg III by Williams, Josh.)

 

You are very close to the quality of NMM-Models...

 

Greetings from Berlin,

Yours

Christian

____________________________

*smaller in prototype larger in scale.

** :mellow: :(

Hi Christian,

 

When I set out to build the Leopard my intention was to build a complete model (fully rigged but without sails). At the present time it is still less than half of a hull model and there are still so many tasks to carry out before it even becomes a hull model.  It is still my intention to go for the fully rigged ship but I'll wait and see if my intentions are still the same at that stage ! :huh:

Although the gunports will be closed there will still be 18 guns visible and they will be 'run-out' so perhaps the model won't be 100% historically accurate . . . but hey! ~ it's my ship and I want to have fun building it and looking at it afterwards!

At the moment it's my intention to paint up to the waterline, and there will probably be some paintwork carried out around the sternquarters. Thanks for posting these photos of Portland and Experiment. There are a few photos of them in The 50 Gun Ship book, but they're in black & white.

In the book there is a colour picture of the stern of Leopard so I'll try to replicate these colours. (if I can!)

 

 

 

 

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