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

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Tom.


​Just to get away from trying to create deadeye strops, chainplate links, hammock cranes and the like, I've ventured into another universe . . . "The Rigging".


​Well, no actual rigging attempted yet but I made a start on the bowsprit. Having no instructions and having no experience of this adventure I have to assume that the bowsprit is the first of the spars to be fitted as the main and foremast stays are fixed there.


​As well as the bowsprit are the jib boom and a flying jib boom. While the outer end of the bowsprit is 8mm in diameter, the thickest part (inner end) of the jib boom is only 3.5mm and the inner end of the flying jib boom is only 3mm. These 2 outer spars are truly skinny compared to the bowsprit.

​There are very few details about the masts and rigging contained in the drawings and plans for the ship, and the only single drawing is at half the scale of the plans/drawings for the rest of the ship, so I had to double the dimensions as shown in the drawings.  Here's the fore-end of the ship from the one and only diagram of the masts and standing rigging arrangements >>>



​I used the milling machine for the slots into which the stop cleats will fit. In the pic below the cleats for the main stay and preventer are fitted while the slots still await fitting of the other cleats.

Here are the main parts of all those pointy bits at the sharp end >>>



​ . . . and when eventually fitted should look something like this >>>



​The bowsprit cap required 3 holes drilled at an angle of 30 degrees to correspond with the elevation angle of these spars. I cut a wedge at that angle and spot glued a section of timber at either end on to the wedge, leaving the mid section of the timber unglued for later removal >>>



​In the vice at the milling machine the cutter took care of drilling the required holes with precision >>>



 . . . and while the top and bottom edges of the cap also require to be cut at 30 degrees, the mill was used to make these cuts while still in the vice >>>



​I've already mentioned the lack of detail for the masts and rigging and I foresee a lot of questions being posted here on the forum . . . and here comes the first one now (the question is contained in the pic below >>>



​I'll have to get back to the other stuff (hammock cranes etc. etc.) before coming back here to start real work on the masts/spars and as all those poles look very scary sticking so far out the front of the ship, they'll be going into 'storage' until the inevitable time comes to get them fitted. (It's going to be very tricky handling the ship when that skinny flying jib boom is eventually fitted!)







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Lovely work on that bowspit.   I think most of us go from stern to bow for standing and then repeat for running rigging.  Rigging from bow to stern means the rigging for the stays, etc, get in the way.  The catch of course is... whatever works for you is the right way.  ;)


As for the connections to the bowspit (red) for the questioned rigging, probably a rope collar.  Lee's only mentions those lines being seized to eyebolts in the hull/stem.  Hmm.... what I'm not seeing is anyway to adjust the tension on those lines...


The ones in green were siezed to a heart/thimble that was attached to a rope collar.

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 . . . .  I think most of us go from stern to bow for standing and then repeat for running rigging. . . . .


 . . . . Hmm.... what I'm not seeing is anyway to adjust the tension on those lines...


Thanks for your comments Mark, and your advice. I had previously thought that I should rig from stem to stern, although I did realise that, in particular, the snaking together of the main stay and the preventer looked like it would be problematic with the shrouds of the foremast in position. So, when I can summon enough courage! . . . I'll make a start at the mizzen mast.


You also said -- "Hmm.... what I'm not seeing is anyway to adjust the tension on those lines..." ~~~ ​Yes, and there are a whole lot of other details that I'm not seeing in that diagram that will make this task more difficult for me.  I've been trawling the forum trying to find some build logs that show plenty of details of all aspects of the rigging.


Right now, I'm continuing to add a few more items to the bowsprit before it goes in 'the box' to await its turn to meet the ship permanently . . . then I guess I'll just have to get the hull finished with the few missing details before the serious business of rigging begins. 

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wonderful build Jim!   I thumbed through the entire log,  and the care that you've put into her is just super!   I'm not an expert on these types of ships either,  and to see what you've created,  makes me thing there's hope for me yet   ;)    I watch with interest   ;)



us characters gotta stick together....even thoughs yas tries ta beat tha crap out'o me!    AKK-k-k-k-k-kk---k-k!


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​Fukui San:


福井さん, おはようございます.  福井さんのコメントのために非常にありがとう.


私の日本語を許してください !   ジム  (Bluto 1790)
​Popeye ~ thanks for your comments.  Yeah . . . I'm no expert! ~ that's why I come here to the forum to see some models built by proper experts!
Your friend and arch enemy! . . . Bluto!




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  • 1 month later...

All channels and stools for main and mizzen masts now fitted . . . and hammock cranes & netting for Q/deck rail and port side of poop deck also fitted.  Just port side of waist and forecastle await their hammock cranes . . . then it will soon be time to be thinking about the scary rigging for real.




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  • 2 weeks later...

All hammock cranes and netting now in place >>>


With the exception of the 2 bow chasers and the 2 quarterdeck guns the deck levels are now virtually complete.  Still a few carvings for the stern quarters as well as a few minor 'things' then it will be a completed hull model . . . unless there are any other things I have overlooked ? ? ?


The following pics are really 'historic'.  Around 4 years ago, when I had eventually finished the hull planking I was keen to see the ship with it's rudder. At that time I didn't consider that I could have made my own rudder irons so went ahead and bought over-the-counter items. While their length was about right, their width was a bit more than was correct for the scale, but as they were all I had, I went ahead and fitted them. I've since often looked at them and wished I could remove them and fit better ones, but as they're glued and nailed on I fear that trying to remove them would make more of a mess of the planking than I would want to attempt to repair - - - so, I'm resigned to living with what I've got >>>194033.thumb.JPG.ceb446b87f0fc857dd9e143d629015f4.JPG193714.thumb.JPG.9f95700782db7c6e7b3b1c3a2d4ec6ae.JPG

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she's look'in great jim :)    those lines that are attached to the martingale......dolphin striker {it has a few names},  on the bow spirit.   from what I've seen on other types of ships,  they are usually non adjustable,  and wouldn't have any belaying lines.  in some cases they are terminated with a dead eye assembly,  but they don't have belaying lines either.....they are tied off the same way as the chain plate dead eye assemblies.   one thing I do notice is that they are away from the bow stays......that would give the bow spirit a weak point,  I would think.  they might be best terminated where the bow stays are located,  to eliminate the weak spot.   

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks Tom and Popeye for your comments, and to the others for the likes.


Made a start into the world of masting and rigging with the mizzen. Being the smallest of the 3 masts it's probably a little trickier to work ~ especially trying to turn that skinny topmast - - - and I haven't even made an attempt at the even skinnier topgallant.

There are no detailed drawings/diagrams for the masting and rigging. There is only one drawing for the standing rigging and only one for the running rigging and both of these are at half of the scale at which I'm building the ship, so I have to measure every item on the drawings then double that dimension to get the size I require.

Here's the mizzen lower mast cap laid next to the cap on the drawing >>> 001.thumb.jpg.fe79f253ae07defa3aba9ce2dc1b593a.jpg

That square mortise in the cap is only 4mm and I couldn't think how I would be able to make a neat job of that while messing around with files and things, so instead I clamped 2 pieces of wood in the vice and milled a cut 4mm wide but only 2mm deep in both pieces at the same time >>>


The 2 pieces were then glued together and the square hole looked OK. It was then easy to drill the round hole for the topmast and trim the cap to size.

I see some modellers start with a square blank for turning the masts so I guess I cheated as I had some round hardwood dowels lying around. I turned down a 6mm dowel to get the basic lower mast then milled a square section at the masthead which left that part around 2mm less that it needed to be. Four strips of 1mm strips glued all round brought the masthead to it’s required size. The (rather indistinct) pic below shows the milled top before 'beefing-up'. Although not very clear in the photo, the port and starboard sides of the mast have been milled lower down that the fore and aft sides. That was to make it easier to fit the cheeks >>>


The mast with the masthead beefed-up, the cheeks fitted, along with the cap and trestletrees/crosstrees >>>


 . . . and in the 'test drive' position >>>  


Then I had a go at the platform of the top >>>5904f628ee9f8_Miztop.jpg.3dfdf1e6e70317bdb8ef2b85fdd44599.jpg

and in the "just to see how it looks" position >>>


When I see the platform looking like this I'm a bit reluctant to paint it ~~ but it's going to be covered with ribs anyway, so black it will be.


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Hi Jim,

Now the ship will really come to life with the addition of the masts.  Nice job.  Kind of pain in the cheeks about the 1/2 size plans.  Can you bring them to an office supply store that has copier services and have them copied at 2x scale?  Might make life a bit easier and every little bit helps in that regard.  Keep up the good work.


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Hi Tom,

When I first started I struggled a bit to find somewhere to get the plans expanded from 1:96 up to 1:80.  One company I contacted wanted to charge an arm and a leg to do it! ~ I eventually found a place that did the job for just a few £££s . . . but that company no longer exists!

In any case, when I expand any part of the drawing in my very basic photo editor (which can only handle small parts of the drawings) the result is just a bigger picture but everything has just become even less distinct as can be seen in the following image.5905b4a6c9a03_MainTop.thumb.jpg.a02eb739e5bed5e4ede74bd7e3643cd2.jpg

Even at that enlarged size all of the details that a modeller would need are just not contained in the drawing so I went trawling through the forum to find a build log that shows what I need to see . . . and I found one that contains a decent amount of good quality photos of detailed masts and rigging, so I'm constantly referring to that. (Thanks to Arthur!)

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  • 1 month later...

Leaving the mizzen topgallant and royal to be done later, I've moved on to the main. My plan is to build the three lower masts and topmasts before tackling the uppermost masts.

I don't know if it's the right plan - - -  but it is my plan.

Learning a lesson from doing the mizzen lower mast, I started with a much bigger than required dowel and turned it down to the diameters required for the mainmast, leaving the masthead area untouched. In the milling machine I squared off the masthead and also milled the square tenon, but this time (unlike with the mizzen) the masthead was the correct dimension without having to be 'beefed-up'. (I've been at this build for over six years and I'm still learning from each different 'procedure' . . . AND I've still got a whole lot more to learn!)

Apart from the above, just about everything I did for the main lower & topmast was what was done for the mizzen lower & topmast, except everything was on a larger scale.

As there are rings (for blocks) attached to the underside of the crosstrees, I milled two 0.8mm wide X 0.8mm deep grooves in the upper sides of the crosstrees >>>


These grooves were so that I could bend over the tops of the shanks of the rings so that they would be trapped in their positions without using glue >>>IMG_20170529_202445.thumb.jpg.8bd3f1180010a6ee8322b98fdcf1297e.jpgIMG_20170529_202520.thumb.jpg.0b8eae80f95391afa3a000dac6316aa5.jpg

The main topmast still has a few minor details before it's finished and while it's not clear from the vague drawings I have, I milled a slot and fitted a sheave in the heel. If I don't find a use for that sheave at least it is already there and there will be no regrets that I didn't fit one in case it does find a use. It has taken me around a month to finish the main lower mast with all of the 'stuff' that has to be done to it. It's virtually finished now . . . until I discover something else that I've forgotten  >>>


Temporarily in position here along with the mizzen lower and top masts. The tops and the main crosstrees won't be fitted until the shrouds are in place. Without thinking ahead I went and fitted the crosstrees for the mizzen top >>>




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  • 3 weeks later...

Popeye, Tom, Joshua and Nigel, thanks for the comments and to the others for the likes.


Nigel wrote -- "I'm a novice but you're on my list now as the log is so instructive." -- I'm glad you find it instructive. In one of my early posts I said that I don't show very much in the way of the procedures I try to follow as I feel they're much better presented by so many other builders here on the forum, but if there's anything you've found helpful then I'm delighted.

(By the way ~ nice locations, Antalya and Derbyshire!)


On 28 March I wrote -- " . . . then it will soon be time to be thinking about the scary rigging for real. " I'm now beginning to get the full understanding of the 'scary' part!

Arriving at this adventure for the first time, procedures are a bit of an experiment for me. 

When I see how fiddly it can be to get some of the yards attached to the masts I felt it might be just a step too far for me to try to fit them after the masts are stepped and the shrouds attached. I was quite pleased to find this topic recently >> https://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/15687-masts-and-spars-off-site/  and have decided that's the way I'm going to try to go.


Before I made a start with all those bits of thread I realised I would probably need a few more belaying points that are shown on the plans so I had another go at turning some toothpicks down to form belaying pins. I had previously tried with the toothpicks some time ago but was having too many breakages and eventually bought some from Cornwall Model Boats. These were a bit fat for scale and I had better success in turning them down a bit thinner. I thought I'd give the toothpicks another chance to redeem themselves, and while there were breakages I did get the amount I needed. Here's one of the survivors  >>>


I also managed to squeeze five cleats on the mizzen mast below the spanker boom saddle and four on to the main mast just behind the main jeer bitts. Here are the main mast cleats >>>


At the main masthead the lift blocks and the upper jeer blocks are fitted as well as the block for the mizzen topmast stay >>>


The spanker gaff, boom and mizzen crossjack >>>


I'm not sure of the authenticity of metal stirrups for the yards' footropes, but I've seen a few models on the forum which have them, so I used 0.5mm brass wire pushed and glued into 0.5mm holes drilled in the yard. I worked for me and has the added benefit of reducing the amount of string tying and making knots - - - and that's definitely a bonus for me!

The almost finished mizzen crossjack hasn't met the mast yet and here (in this poor picture) sits along the main top >>>


Right now I've still to figure how to create the truss pendants and sling for the crossjack but I've temporarily rigged the gaff and boom as an experiment to see just how tricky it's going to be to get all the necessary rigging done. The next pic shows several weights/clamps hanging around simulating roughly how the gaff and boom might look as I try to calculate all of the difficulties that lie in wait for me >>>


In that photo above the mizzen top lies on the quarterdeck wondering how it can ever be fitted with all that rigging around the masthead. Of course, the answer is -- IT CAN'T BE!

The gaff peak halliard and the boom topping lift have to be 'un-rigged' before the top can be fitted. I tried this mock-up hoping to find that I might be able to fit the shrouds with the top in position. I undid the topping lift and the peak halliard and clamped the top on to the trestletrees/crosstrees and tried rigging a dummy 1 & 2 shrouds on starboard side. It could be done but with a lot of huffing and puffing and some uttering of unpleasant words partly because of having to mess with trying to get the shrouds down the lubber hole in the top. I then realised that the shrouds could be done with the top removed but even that was tricky when trying to seize the 2 shrouds together. (It doesn't help when trying to see how to tie 2 black shrouds with black thread against the black background of the blackened masthead . . . too much blackness here!)

I wondered if the shrouds could be seized when off the mast and tried doing it around a spare dowel clamped in a vice >>>


The pair of shrouds can then be taken and placed over the masthead and down onto the bolsters. I realised that if I carry on this way then there has to be a way of identifying each shroud ( 1 - 7 on each side of the mast) so I hung a clamp on each of the first two as seen here >>>


With seven shrouds on each side, that's 14 clamps required (and that's only the mizzen - 24/22 on the main and fore!) and I don't have that many clamps - - - nor would there be space for them, so I'm trying to keep them in position by taping them to a card. As none of the sailors have yet placed their hammocks in the cranes, that will be the ideal place to keep the card >>>


In the photo two above, an eyebolt can be seen in the underside of the gaff jaws. I found that when lifting the gaff with the throat halliard the jaws of the gaff tended to want to rise up, so I fitted that eye and attached a line (a downhaul?) and cleated it off at the mast below the boom saddle at the port side. (Elevating the gaff with the peak halliard helped reduce the amount by which the jaw wanted to rise, but there was still that tendency, so downhaul it was for me - - it works.)

None of the rigging seen in the above photos has any permanency right now, and the masts are only placed in temporarily, but I now have a slightly better idea of how to tackle some aspects of this fun project!

In a couple of days I'm off to Portugal so there won't be much rigging done for the next couple of weeks. (There may be a little swigging done?)


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Hi Nigel,


I hadn't noticed that the MacAllan had sneaked into that photo!

As for daunting, yes! - - - when I first got the Lennarth Petersson book I remember looking through it and being completely bewildered.


BUT - I'm slowly finding my way by trying just to concentrate on the particular part of the rigging I'm working on at any one time.


Since yesterday I've made a couple of dummy mastheads, one for the mizzen and one for the main. (Haven't arrived at the fore yet.)

By using these it should take a bit of the guesswork out of obtaining the correct size of loop in the shroud pairs for fitting their respective mastheads for real >>>


Also, as the crossjack hadn't been in contact with the mizzen I had a go at making the sling for it. It was a bit fiddly to make but I was able to make it 'off site' ~ meaning I wasn't hampered by having to mess around with the crossjack at the same time. I've left a long tail on it for now and I'll trim it once the yard is on the mast properly >>>


Here it hangs around the mast cap . . . just so that I could see how it looks! >>>IMG_6777.thumb.JPG.c9d87480cdea47a520fd52cafe1d4480.JPG

(The clamp is just there holding the top in position while I threaded the sling up through the hole and round the cap. The black thread sticking above the cap is the excess tail which will be trimmed when everything is permanent.)


I've also made the truss pendant but that was a lot more tricky as it had to be made directly onto the yard. At least I hope this is serving me well as the mizzen, being the smallest of the masts, everything for the other masts should hopefully be a little easier due to the slightly larger sizes I'll have to work with. 


I'm now beginning to suss in what order I'll have to do things when I'm done 'practising' and get this rigging started for real.

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I hadn't noticed that the MacAllan had sneaked into that photo!

As for daunting, yes! - - - when I first got the Lennarth Petersson book I remember looking through it and being completely bewildered.


BUT - I'm slowly finding my way by trying just to concentrate on the particular part of the rigging I'm working on at any one time.


Jim, you are going along very well.  What you said above pretty much nailed it on the head.  Don't try to eat the entire elephant in one bite.  With small bites and some time it can be done.  Nice job and enjoy Portugal.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for the comments guys.


I had imagined that by now I would be starting the rigging for real - - - like getting the mizzen shrouds in place for instance.

BUT ~ I'm learning just how much 'stuff' has to be done before the first shroud is connected.

There is nothing in my plans/drawings that shows any belaying points in the area of the taffrail and there needs to be at least eight cleats/belaying points there in order to catch the 2 guy pendants, the 2 vangs, the 2 mizzen topsail braces and the 2 mizzen topgallant braces. As there are no bulwarks on the sides of the poop deck on Leopard, I felt the only place I could use was the taffrail.

Before I started on any of that I took some time and made the aft guard rails for the main and mizzen tops >>>



Then a few cleats (don't know why I only made six to start with when I knew I needed eight!) >>>


I mounted one cleat on top of the taffrail at each side . . . these are for the guy pendants.

The other six cleats (3 on each side are for the vangs and the mizzen top and topgallant braces) are just mounted on the inside face of the taffrail. The line attached to the double block at the aft end of the poop deck is the spanker boom sheet. >>>IMG_6787.thumb.JPG.91177e854b320eca375858a3be55c5df.JPGIMG_6791.thumb.JPG.0d792613e1b2b22e4be02dffa15b8f60.JPG

Here, the standing parts of the vangs hang from the gaff and the line for the peak halliard hangs like spaghetti over the top and the gaff  and a couple of blocks for the guy pendants hang off the top of the taffrail >>>


I feel I may be closing in on the shrouds . . . . .

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59 minutes ago, toms10 said:

Hi Jim,

Looking goooood.  Before you know it, you will be tying the clove hitch knots for the shrouds in your sleep..... for days and days.;)


Yup!!! I once tried to make regular square knots when tying some ratlines, and found it more difficult than the clove hitches. I have a rough estimate of 10,000 clove hitches tied in my shipbuilding career!!! :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the comments, guys.


Finally made a start on the rigging.  The shrouds for the mizzen lower mast are now basically in position.  They've been attached by the lanyards but the lanyards are still to be fully tightened.  The mizzen stay has been looped around the masthead but hasn't been attached to the main mast yet. >>>

0002.thumb.jpg.73f8cf22cd5c44cbad15c60dced0cc80.jpg In the pic above the stay had been incorrectly looped inside the trestletrees instead of outside -- that has since been rectified.  The heart block has also been seized into the lower end of the stay since the photo.

So that I could get the gaff and boom from flailing around loosely they've been rigged, but only after the mizzen top and topmast were fitted. >>>


Petersson's book shows the line for the boom topping lift going to a block on the mizzen channel then to a belaying pin on a side pinrail.  Leopard has no side pinrails on the poop deck so I led it via a double block to a pin on the central pinrail immediately behind the mast  >>>



The gaff vangs and boom guy pendants have also been rigged >>>




There is one thing that these photos have revealed that is virtually invisible to the naked eye --- and that is all the 'fuzz' on the rigging threads, so I'll have to get some bees wax on the job.


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