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HMS Renard 1872 by Draque - 1/24 - POF

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Some years back, while I was admiring the models in the National Maritime Museums online collection, I found this:




This is HMS Renard. As a modelling subject, it ticks a bunch of boxes for me:


It’s really pretty: a gaff schooner with raked masts and a plumb bow is exactly my sort of boat;

  • It was built in Sydney, where I grew up;
  • It was intended to serve a noble purpose – suppressing the Pacific Islands slave trade (although, if you read the label attached to the model, the well-being of the islanders doesn’t seem to have been a terribly high priority for the crew);
  • This model was made by one of the sailors who served on her while on board, so the details should be accurate;
  • The NMM have the original lines plans.


I’ve wanted to build this model for years and I’ve decided now is the time to start. I’m starting a build log now to provide a little extra motivation to get on with it.


I ordered a copy of the plans straight away after discovering it and they’ve been safely rolled up in their cardboard tube ever since.


There’s a little bit of information available on the Internet about this vessel. No photos or other models, though. Wikipedia claims to have a photo of her sister ship Alacrity, but it’s definitely no relation (it’s five times the size and a steamer).


Aside from Alacrity (which was named Ethel(??) at launch), her other sisters were Beagle, Conflict and Sandfly, all launched in 1872 or 1873. According to Wikipedia, all were sold off in the 1880s. Conflict was wrecked on a reef in 1882. Alacrity, Beagle, Renard and Sandfly seem to have survived longer, but I haven’t found anything more about them after they were paid off.


I wish I had some more photos of the deck. There’s not a lot visible inside the bow and stern and working out accurate dimensions from what I’ve got might be tricky. Still, I think there’s enough here.


I’d really love to be able to make it as a plank-on-frame model, but I don’t have a framing plan and I don’t want to guess at the internal structure.


The plans I have only show the hull lines, so drawing up some building plans will be the first step.



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Hi draque   i see where your coming from with this model  .when I get chance to visit any model ship collection  ( such as whitby yorkshire ) this type of model with its age and style always grabs my attention,  there is something that I can't explain about them ,but  they will always stop me in my tracks to stare at them ,don't get me wrong  I love looking at model ships of any type and finding a model in a different type of setting is always a joy   eg , the treasurers house in York has a beautiful model ship in a gorgeous case which I can happily stare at for ages just taking in the details    . I hope you keep going with your model  it  deserves your best efforts    , and I will be happy to follow along    good luck and happy building   ............  sticker


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Thanks guys.


I've started taking measurements from the plans. I have some questions for anyone who understands these things better than I do:

  1. Are the hull lines to the inside or outside of the planking?
  2. How thick would that planking be?
  3. In the image below, does the line the arrow is pointed to correspond to the level of the deck?


Thank you,


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Well, that seems obvious now. Thanks, Craig.


Okay, so that rabbet depth suggests the garboard should be about 50-75mm thick. Scaling up the maximum beam and subtracting that from the designed beam gives planking higher up at about 20-30mm. Do those numbers seem realistic?


One more question, a couple of the photos of the model at NMM shows the rail stanchions. Would these just be extensions of the frames? If so, maybe there is enough information to make a plank on frame model...stanchions.png.7885e13fef824454981bcca330d61b64.png

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48 minutes ago, Draque said:

Well, that seems obvious now.

The obvious I can do, your other questions probably not. I've mostly looked a Revenue Cutters and Boats.


What distance do you get between the arrows? Not really sure why, gut feeling perhaps, but I would expect planking around or slightly greater than 2" (50mm). But I'm certainly no expert.



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Normally lines are to the inside of plank. The rabbet on the body plan confirms this. I don't know what scale you are planning to build your model to, but you will save yourself a lot of headaches to think in terms of full size. For instance, not 30 mm but (assuming a duodecimal model) X" full size. Buy a scale rule so that you can measure directly off the plan at the appropriate scale. I note the original plan is at ½" = 1' 0" or 1:24 scale.

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Thanks, Paul.


Craig, just measuring off the plan with a ruler (so, not super precise), I get about 2.6mm at the midship station and about 1.7mm at the stern. At 1/24 (the scale of the plans) that gives about 62mm and 41mm.


I don't know whether the garboard would really have different thicknesses along its length, maybe there's a bit of inaccuracy in the plans.

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27 minutes ago, Draque said:

At 1/24 (the scale of the plans) that gives about 62mm and 41mm.

Ok, I get 3" (76.2mm) at the thickest for the garboard but I can easily see how one might get 2 1/2" (63.5mm) and 1 5/8" (41.125mm) so I would say the plans are to scale (at least horizontally) and your measurements are pretty good.



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Druxey, that seems like good advice. My problem is that I can only get metric scales from the local office supplies store and these plans are in that other system. I mean to build at 1/24, so I can just take my measurements straight from the plans and multiply manually whenever I need to. I'm drawing up my plans on the computer as vector graphics, so I can adjust the scale that way too.


Craig, thanks for checking on that. I'll get more precise measurements later, but your figures seem realistic.



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11 minutes ago, Draque said:

My problem is that I can only get metric scales from the local office supplies store and these plans are in that other system.

Michael, I produced a PDF with some scale rules sometime back, you may have to adjust your printer scale to get them right but they are the right price:



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52 minutes ago, Draque said:

I can only get metric scales from the local office supplies store and these plans are in that other system. I mean to build at 1/24,

Find an Architectural Scale Ruler, Imperial   not only is there a 1/4":1' scale, there is a 1/2":1'  with an inch section.



You can still do POF.   It would be unfortunate if you let an unrealistic requirement drive out the GOOD.


This is an excellent size vessel for a first POF.   Concede that you are making a model and not a definitive demonstration of colonial shipbuilding practice in 1870.


An attractive frame display should be the objective, not the actual vessel shrunken down.  


Given when and where this vessel was built, all bends is probable.  


No war, no critical timber shortage, reduced siding of the frame timbers is not probable.  Being a schooner, the area of the framing between the keel and the wale is fairly small anyway.  


The physics of wood - the engineering strength of the material  is a constant - time does not change that.  I find a table of scantlings for a close enough time and fly with that.


Your stations are at 3 bend intervals.  That is 6 frames - in pairs with over laping timbers.
A 100 tonnage vessel - American Bureau of Shipping 1870 - (a marine insurance standards) -  floors sided 8"
Measure the distance between the stations = D
D - 8x6 =  space x 3
If that number   is in the 1" - 2" range - it may not be esthetic to bother showing the frames.   During the 200-250 years of the golden age of wood and sail, the builders - especially merchantmen - seemed to keep cycling back to Frame = Frame = Space.   So 8" would be my guess for the answer to the equation.  


The all bends and space = room is an invention of about 1900 on.   The old guys who knew how to build large wooden vessels were long dead and school taught engineers had taken over.


Some realistic scantlings  (ABS  1870 - 1885 - 1903)  For a 100 ton merchant vessel.



  Part                               sided     moulded
keel                                  10          11
keelson/riders                  10         11
Stem/sternpost                 9            11
Transom                            10          10
Floor timbers                    8            10
Top timbers plankshr         5            5
Bilgestrakes                                     3.5
Ceiling  flat of floor                        2
Ceiling  above bilge strk                 3
Clamps                                 4         11
Strakes below clamps          3         11
Main rail                              5          11
Waterways                          6            8
Garboard           thick                        4
Planks to wale                                  2.5
Wales                                               3
Topside planking                            2.5
Planksheer                                      3
Deck planks                                    2.5
Rudder stock  dia                           12
rudder pintles                                  1.5
Deck Beams      ln            8      ln  22 ft

Floor timbers at midship =  60% of beam         18.5'  x .6 =  ~11'
Half floors                                                                                   5.5'


Lap >= 1/8 Beam            18.5' / 8 =  2.3  ~ 2.5    so F1 should be 5' or more


F2    also 5'    


For the other timbers, they will mostly be above the wale.   Since they will be hidden their length does not matter.


I fill the spaces above the wale with the same wood that I use for the frames.  
I do the same for the spaces between the keel and keelson.   This makes for a strong hull and makes bend placement and orientation more less idiot proof.
It also saves having to notch the keel and keelson.



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Thanks, Jaager, for putting all of that together. I'll need to spend some time going over all of those numbers before I can make proper sense of it.


Part of my attraction to POF, and wooden boats in general, is the internal structure and joinery. I know I won't be able to exactly replicate this particular ship, but if I can frame it up using the principles that were used at that time and place for this type of ship I will be happy.


This will be my first scratch build, but I'm a furniture maker, so the woodwork isn't beyond my abilities. I just need to make sure I'm working to an accurate plan.

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22 minutes ago, Draque said:

Part of my attraction to POF, and wooden boats in general, is the internal structure and joinery.

I will confess that I have zero interest in the internals.  I consider the framing above the wale to be about as interesting as looking at 2x4 framing of a single family dwelling.   My focus is the curves of the swimming body. 

Ignoring my bias and its non-support of your ambition,  for a first effort at scratch POF, I suspect that not taking too big of a bite is prudent.  Going with the outside only helps make a task that can be overwhelming easier to complete.  

Then, when you gain the confidence - you can worry about the internals.  The biggest challenge with it is how to display it - otherwise, why bother?   Even more challenging, how do you display it without making a hash of the outside?   A practical way is to do a half hull.



7 hours ago, Draque said:

In the image below, does the line the arrow is pointed to correspond to the level of the deck?

I see that structure as the planksheer.  I would mark the top as being also the top of the waterway. 

That means that it is the line to use to define the run of the deck clamp, once waterway thickness and deck beam thickness is added to the gauge.



7 hours ago, Draque said:

Are the hull lines to the inside or outside of the planking?

To repeat what Druxey wrote.   If you have the rabbet, then the lines are inside the planking.  Ideal for POF.


6 hours ago, Draque said:

a couple of the photos of the model at NMM shows the rail stanchions. Would these just be extensions of the frames?

Where there is no internal planking, the stanchions may or may not be extensions of the frames, In any case, they are just addons.  The serious part of the frames would end at the underside of the waterway.  The original would be stronger if the heels of the stanchions were in the spaces.  It is likely that the stanchion spacing was its own individual thing.   It would be easier for you to make the waterway wider and extend it over the top of the frame heads.  The stanchions can then sit on top of the waterway.  No need to cut notches.  After it is put together, it is almost impossible to tell which dimension has the break.  A tight notch with no gaps is difficult to pull off  - especially which as many replications as must be done.


Also, since this will be a whole hull and not a section model, it is pointless to bother with butt chocks.   They make frame assembly much more difficult, take much longer and would take a fiber optic scope to even see.  

I think most North American yards did a simple butt joint and depended on the partner timber side scarphed at the join to provide the strength.  It is both stronger, less expensive, and less fiddly.   For the real answer, I guess it comes down to whether the Australian builders went around Carter's barn like the English, or cut to the chase like the North Americans.😉   

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I have given answers to questions that you probably did not know you had to formulate. 


You already have as much information as is really needed or can be expected for most vessels that are unique. 

In my shop, I could build the hull,  POF  with what you have.  I favor framing that is close to prototype as far as scantlings, yet with a style that is has artistic interest.  My inspiration is from the Navy Board models.  They are not an engineer's model.


A troublesome problem for me is that the location and run of the wale has to be guessed.  The wale is where I change from open framing to complete planking.


You should probably totally plank the deck.  A plan of a near contemporary vessel that has a deck beam layout will have to be found and a ratio and proportion adaptation made to get beam location and interval as well as hatches and other openings.   Just be sure to label the model as a reconstruction instead of an exact representation.  The difference would only make a difference to a handful of historians.

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Thanks Jaager. All of this is exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for.


19 hours ago, Jaager said:

will confess that I have zero interest in the internals.  I consider the framing above the wale to be about as interesting as looking at 2x4 framing of a single family dwelling.   My focus is the curves of the swimming body.

I can understand this. If the futtocks and keel were just butted and nailed together I would think the same. It's the neat interlocking of the various pieces of wood that interests me. And the curves, of course; I would probably never have developed an interest in boats at all if not for the graceful shape of a hull.


A half hull is an interesting idea. I've wanted to do one of those in the past, but never considered it for Renard. It might be a good way of checking that my hull design is fair and get a sense for how the planking will run before I commit to the bigger POF build.


When I do go ahead with the full build, I would like to be able to point to it and honestly say that it accurately represents the ship as it would likely have been built. I can be happy with a simplified or incomplete reconstruction, but wouldn't do something that I knew to inaccurate.


Thanks again, Jaager and Craig and anyone else who's taken an interest. And please keep coming up with information and problems for me to solve.

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One more thing...

7 hours ago, Jaager said:

A troublesome problem for me is that the location and run of the wale has to be guessed.  The wale is where I change from open framing to complete planking.


Could the position of the wale be derived from the planksheer? I don't know enough about how these things are done, but wouldn't the wale follow the same line just a short distance below?


Actually, never mind, now that I think of it that doesn’t make a lot of sense. I was thinking that the deck beams would sit on top of the wale, but of course the wale is on the outside of the framing. 

Edited by Draque
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Thank you, Wefalck and Druxey.


Regarding the use of a scale rule; please don't think that I'm ignoring or rejecting this undoubtedly good advice, it's just that my circumstances make it a bit impractical. I live in a regional part of NSW and I would expect to be waiting at least two weeks for delivery, even if it weren't Christmas time and I'm hoping to make some progress in drawing up my plans before I need to get back to work. Also, because I'm building in the same scale as the plan I'm working from and I work in metric, it altogether seems more sensible to me to measure directly off the plan in mm and punch those numbers into the software I'm using.


Craig, I printed out your scale, but my printer got it wrong and it came out slightly oversize. I could probably solve that problem but I don't have the patience to argue with a printer.


I've been researching, trying to gather up as much information about how Renard might have been built, in particular hoping for something that will tell me specifically how it was framed. A framing plan for Renard or a photo of the ship under construction seems too much to hope for, but there is some useful information out there.


First, I went looking for frame models of similar sized vessels from the 19th century:


Those are the best I've found, all of them from the National Maritime Museum's website. Not all schooners, but similar sized vessels, not too distant in time from Renard (I really like that ketch, I might have found a future subject).


I think they're all British-built, though, so I wanted to know if colonial ship-building followed the same practices. I also wanted to know a bit more about the shipbuilder, John Cuthbert, and his shipyard at Miller's Point, thinking there may be some clues there.


I found scraps of information about Cuthbert here and here, as well as some photos of his shipyard (no exposed framing visible, unfortunately):



but was stunned yesterday, when I found this:




"A Shipwright in the Colonies" is a 187 page research paper that gives about as thorough a biography as I could ever have hoped for. I haven't read all of it yet, and the section that covers Renard and her sister ships is not quite as detailed as I would like, but there is some information here:


"With an overall length of 80 feet, a hold 9 feet 6 inches deep and a beam of 18 feet 6
inches, the hulls of these naval schooners reflected the best in colonial construction
and materials. Fastened entirely with copper, the vessels were built with ironbark
keels, black butt and blue gum frames, kauri pine planking and sheathing of 18, 20
and 22 ounce Muntz’s metal over chunam."


There's also this:


"The use of the diagonal technique by Cuthbert in his commercial vessels promoted
new standards for the colony, although the idea appears to have been transferred
from England to NSW much earlier."


So the question I have is, would Cuthbert have used diagonal planking in his naval vessels? If so, would that have affected the dimensions of the framing?



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20 minutes ago, Draque said:

Craig, I printed out your scale, but my printer got it wrong and it came out slightly oversize. I could probably solve that problem but I don't have the patience to argue with a printer.

Michael, when you go to print there will be a size or scale option. The default is probably something like "Fit to page" or "fit to Margins". You want the option that allows you to set a percentage like the "Custom scale" option in the screenshot.

Print first at 100% and check the print for size. If it's wrong then "measurement I want" divided by "measurement I got" times 100 should give you the percentage to print at.



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Posted (edited)

Hi Michael


I love your project!  As a Sydneysider I too have a strong interest in the ships that were built here or sailed from here, and RENARD (or any of the blackbirding flotilla schooners) is a great choice. I didn't know the plans were available, nice work finding them.


The plans themselves are interesting. They show a hull with a slight clipper bow, so presumably they are the plans for ALACRITY, originally ETHEL, which it appears was purchased by the Navy rather than built for them specifically like the other four schooners.  I wonder who drew these plans?  I assume ETHEL was designed in Sydney by Cuthbert or one of his colleagues*, so perhaps these plans ended up with the Navy (and thus in the collection at the NMM) as part of the process for reviewing the design prior to ordering the next four schooners in the series?


There are poor photos of ALACRITY, BEAGLE and CONFLICT at anchor in Sydney Harbour on pages 58 and 59 of John Bastock's book Ships on the Australia Station.  It might be possible to track down the originals, the images of ALACRITY and BEAGLE are credited to Mr H. O'May (presumably the Tasmanian maritime historian Harry O'May https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/omay-henry-harry-11304) while the picture of CONFLICT came from Bastock's (https://www.navy.gov.au/biography/mr-john-bastock) own collection. Both these gentlemen passed away long ago and I don't know where these collections ended up, but both were reputable historians so I expect they would have ended up in a public collection somewhere.


Re the frame heads question, the usual practice was to end the frames below the deck and put stanchions between the frame to carry the bulwark planking. This reduced the likelihood of fresh water and thus rot getting into the frames.


Anyway, great project and I look forward to seeing it progress!






*Perhaps not - it seems a bit unclear who built ETHEL.

Edited by Tony Hunt
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Thanks, Tony.


Finding the plans was almost no work at all. After discovering the model, I just emailed the museum to ask and the very helpful and efficient person I spoke to there found them and posted them. I don't remember what it cost, but I had the plans in a couple of weeks.


I also wondered about the bow. I figured they probably just went with a simpler and cheaper version for the naval vessels. Maybe Ethel had the clipper bow and these drawings were based on her. In any case I like the simple bow of the Renard model.


I don't know who drew the plans but they do have Cuthbert's name on them, along with two others. I don't have a photo that shows them clearly and I don't have the plans handy to check. I'll post a photo when I get a chance.


I didn't know any photos of these vessels existed. I would really like to see them. Do you have any idea where I can find a copy of Bastock's book? The local library here doesn't have it and I'm not in Sydney any more so my library options are limited. Abebooks has some copies but they're asking for more money than I'd like to spend to look at a couple of grainy photos. I don't even know where to start looking for the originals.


I've started drawing up the lines in Blender. I measured as precisely as I could off the plan and recorded all my measurements in a spreadsheet. I used the spreadsheet to scale everything up to full-size dimensions (just multiply everything by 24). I used the full-size dimensions to create coordinates for the curves in Blender. After I've got all of the lines smoothed out and agreeing nicely I can scale it back down to model-size and any errors from distortion of the plans or my measurements should be negligible.


It's working well. I can build up the 2D lines as a set of Bezier curves then offset them along the third axis to get a 3D shape,for example:



The curves need a bit of tidying up and I'm undoubtedly going to have to tweak them to get the waterlines to match the body plan, but so far they do at least look like the plan.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks again, Tony. I was busy typing away while you were reading my mind.


It's great to see photos. Interesting that they have different colour schemes.


Also, it looks like Alacrity (formerly Ethel) does have the clipper bow.

Edited by Draque
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Hi Michael


I wouldn't buy Bastock's book just for the photos. The original from the Harry O'May collection are available on-line at the Maritime Museum of Tasmania (see post above), while the picture of the CONFLICT from Bastock's collection is available on-line at the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C237572, a low-res copy is below with CONFLICT (in Sydney Harbour c1875) on the left.


I wish I had your skills in CAD drawing. I've been trying to teach myself using TurboCAD but it's proving to be a losing battle!



HMS Conflict.jpg

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