Jump to content

Pinnace 18th century by Chuck - 1/2" scale

Recommended Posts









Searching for inspiration, I came across some models for 18th century pinnaces. There were large 32 foot pinnaces and many smaller examples to look at. I was particularly fond of a model from the NMM in Greenwich. It was a model of a 21 foot long single banked pinnace from around 1750. It would make an excellent subject for this mini project. It has a paneled interior and some decorative merits. I found an original draft on the NMM website that was almost identical to this small 4 oared pinnace. Things were started to come together nicely.






I wasn’t necessarily thrilled with the color scheme shown on this model (pictured above) so I continued looking for some decorative alternatives. The pinnace was used a means of transport for a ship’s captain or other officers. It was not intended to be used to perform any other task. Tasks such as transporting water and other stores were normally left for the larger and heavier built boats like the longboat or launch. It was basically an officer’s private transport. It was designed to be rowed although larger pinnaces could be sailed. It wasn’t very seaworthy and was designed for primarily shore duties. After all, the officers did need a stylish way to get from their anchored ship to the dockyard. As such, the decorations were usually added much later at the officer’s and captain’s own expense.






So here is my journey in creating this scratch built model.   The frames are basswood and everything else will be Boxwood.






You can download this full set of instructions below as a PDF.  This was the prototype for the new Model Shipways kit.













Link to comment
Share on other sites

To begin I designed the plans so I could laser cut the keel and bulkheads.   Here you can see the bulkhead former being prepared to accept the bulkhead frames.   I beveled the stern area and continued it up to the bow to create a rabbet for the hull planking.   To make it easier I used a length of black tape along the bottom of the piece which left an equal 1/32" of space to remove for the rabbet creation.  This made it easier to keep it straight and consistent.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once the false keel is tapered on both sides I glued the keel and stem into position.  I was careful to center the keel along the bottom of the false keel. This created a consistent rabbet for the planking.  I Allowed the basswood keel to run beyond the aft end of the false keel.  It will be trimmed to the proper length later after the planking and stern post is added.




Then the bulkheads were added and the transom.   Care was taken to make sure they were all perpendicular to the keel.  I guess if I wanted to I could have glued a piece down the tops of the bulkheads to keep them square with the keel.  But I think I could be careful while planking and this wont be needed.  Two bow fillers were also added to aid in the planking process.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

After the hull was faired,  I began planking using 3/16" x 1/32" boxwood planks.  Two planks were added along the shear first.  The top-most plank was left extra long for now because that is where teh decorative transom will go much later in the project.   Various methods were used to bend the planks properly ahead of time so they would conform to teh shape of the hull.









Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then I added two more at the keel including the garboard strake.   This left a space in between on both sides of the hull to fill in.   Having these strakes added like this really firmed up the hull.


The remainder of planks were added to complete this step.  I used a number two pencil to simulate the tarred seams between each plank.  When the planking was completed I added the stern post and cut the keel flush to the end of it.   I am just using wipe on poly for a finish.















Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now that the hull is planked,  I can remove the bulkhead centers to reveal the framed interior.   The centers are held in place with small tabs.   Once I file through the tabs along the top of each bulkhead (one on each side),  I simply bent the center downward to snap the third tab on the bottom of the bulkhead.  Then the bulkhead centers could be removed.


This was done very carefully and slowly.   I chose not to use a blade or a saw because that tends to pull the center of the bulkhead and split the frames.   I find the file works best and I use a light touch when I get close to finishing each tab. The inside was faired to reduce the frames down to a consistent thickness.  You can see all of the glue smears between the frames.  After the interior frames were faired,  I scraped the inside faces of the outboard planking to remove the smears.  This took quite a long time was well worth it.  I used the blade shown.  Its curved profile matched the concave interior hull shape.  Then a coat of wipe on poly was applied.  It really cleaned up well!!  I was quite pleased.






Then the floor boards were added along with the cockpit floor.   To finish off this step I added the risers.  They were carefully pre-bent and spiled to make installation easier.   I used the outboard planking as a guide to line it up a consistent distance from the shear line.







Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now it was time to start adding the details...I added the cockpit seat back and painted the risers.   The risers are the pieces along the inside of the hull and the thwarts (seats) sit on top of them.  With the seatback shaped I added the thwarts and the cockpit locker and seats.  The thwarts had a beaded line scribed down both sides.  this was easy to recreate.  I used a sharp awl and ran it down the thwart edge with a steel ruler used as a guide.


The risers were painted first because it would have been tough to do so after the thwarts were added.















Link to comment
Share on other sites

When the thwarts were all done...I added 1/16" x 1/16" strips between them.  These were filler strips for the inboard planking so I didnt have to notch a wider plank.  Then I planked up to the sheer line and painted everything inboard.




The cap rail was added.  I made it over sized so I could create an overhang outboard.   It was sanded flush to the inboard planking.   I then took a scraper to make that overhang beaded.  It adds a nice touch.  To create the scraper I used various needle files and such.   You can see a picture of the scarper posted.









Link to comment
Share on other sites

Next it was time to create the decorative panels inboard.  I used thin strips of boxwood.  1/32 x 1/16".  These were scraped to give them a nice fancy profile.  The corners of each panel were mitred to keep things neat and tidy.  This took some considerable time to complete.  As you can imagine...it required a lot of paint touch up.  From this point forward I used yellow carpenters glue exclusively because it made clean up easy.   After each part of a given panel was glued into position...just a wet brush could be used to remove any excess that squeezed out.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then it was finally time for some less time-consuming details inboard.  I added the knees on each side of the thwarts and the steps to get in the cockpit.  I left these unpainted as Thought it would look better.  I also added the locker hinges on the cockpit seat,  the iron rings bolted on the floorboards and the stanchions under each thwart.  It was finally coming together inboard.




interior finished.jpg






For making the rings...I created the rings from 22 gauge black wire.   Then I bent another piece around them as shown below.  After they are inserted in the floorboards it looks more to scale than if I used a second eyebolt and inserted the ring.  The eye of the eyebolts always look too big to my eye.


ringbolts (2).jpg



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you so much Michael.. :) 


The next task was to start detailing the outboard doo-dads.  First up was the frieze   I recreated the frieze on my computer using Corel Draw.   Then I printed it out on my inkjet printer and used some fixative to prevent smudges.  I actually use hairspray because it has some UV protection and its cheaper..I prepared one in red and another in blue.   I decided to use the red one.


​With the paper frieze in position I was able to use the bottom edge as a guide to glue a molding strip across the hull.  It was scraped to create a beaded edge.










The transom was carefully painted red but I left a 1/16" natural border around the outside.




At the bow..I added the protective iron strap.   I sometimes use paper for this but this time I used a styrene strip.  It bends easily enough and doesnt fray when you drill through it.  I drilled a series of holes to insert some 22 guage wire.  I snipped off the excess so the "Bolts" would stand proud of the surface.  I carefully painted it black afterwards....you can see that it could have been a bit neater.  I think I cleaned it up a lot after taking that picture.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use Corel Draw to draft all of my plans too.   For the friezes I just used the ordinary weight paper that you print day to day stuff on.   Its thin and I didnt want to go thicker.  It also prints flat with no sheen like some papers.   I do however sometimes go with an eggshell color but I didnt do that this time.  I will have to send you some files via email some time.  I am sure you could laugh like I do when I read that there are over 100,000 lines drawn on a plan sheet.   Its nuts.  All done one at a time.  For plans I think Cad is overkill.    2D is fine for me.  AlexM also uses Corel Draw.   I have taught others in a few hours how to use it to draft plans over the phone.  Its a nice program.


I think a min tutorial is going to be in the works...its cheap if you buy an older version or get the student discount...A copy can be had for $99.  So I like to say good things about it.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Guys


Ryland...yes they do...the photos show a lot of detail and every little paint smear and mistake...LOL  :)  :)


I am using many pictures because my local New Jersey club will building this model as their next community project.  We have fifteen signed up to build it.  Its going to start in a few months.  I guess I will be building a third Pinnace model very soon.  :blink: 



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I built the four oarlocks next.  They were made with two pieces as seen below.   They were glued on top of the cap rail and then painted.






To finish off the details on top of the cap rail,  I constructed the paneled splash boards by the cockpit.   Each splashboard was mad using two layers of 1/32" thick boxwood.  One was solid and the outboard one was cut out to create the panels.  Once glued together they did a good job of simulating panels.  They had to wet down and bent with heat from an old hair dryer.  They were bent to conform to the curve of the cap rail.  Finally...they were carefully painted as I tried to leave the center panels natural.







Link to comment
Share on other sites

Next up was the rudder.  It was straight forward to cut it out of a sheet of boxwood.  Then it was tapered so it would narrow aft, and the fore side was shaped and slotted for the pintles and gudgeons.


I used styrene once again for the pintles and gudgeons. Its easy to bend although you must do it slowly so it doesnt break.  If you go slowly it gives the plastic a chance to bend rather than fracture.  It drills remarkably well.   The bolts heads were simulated as I mentioned earlier.


The tiller was shaped by hand.  I patiently filed and carved it from a larger piece of boxwood.  Once the rudder was placed in position,  I could glue the the decorative transom in place as well.   I created it by sculpting the details on a thin sheet of wood with Sculpey.  The wood blank was 1/32" thick and cut to the shape of the transom.  I added the sculpted details a little at a time and baked it in my toaster oven to cure it.


Once it was completed I made a mold and casted a one piece resin copy which is what I used on the model.







pinnace stern.jpg





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now I only had to add a few small details to finish it up.   This was a relatively short project but was a lot of fun to build.


I created the oars in two pieces.   The handles were shaped on my dremel which I used as a poor man's lathe.  Once it was chocked up....I sanded and filed the square strip until it was rounded to spec.  But I left the square section untouched to create the final look which was common for the period.


The grapnel was a casting from Model Expo.  Seeing as this was a prototype for a future kit, I was asked to use one that they already had in stock.  It was a nice fitting and was perfectly scaled.  


That finished off the project.   I turned the display pedestals with my Dremel because they were small enough to chock.   They arent a perfect mating pair but look OK to my eye.


Thanks for looking and as always,  comments and questions are appreciated.  
























Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...