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HMS Unicorn by ZyXuz - Corel - Scale 1:75

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After resting from ship modelling for 2 months, I am finally back! (Not a long time tough... :P)

I've been lucky enough to win this kit from an auction at a cheaper price right after my Race Horse, and it's in great condition. ;) She arrived my door 2 weeks after that, and I've been studying the plans and instruction since then. Thanks to Ianmajor and Mike who had discussed about this ship earlier in other topic, so I can now plan for some modification on this ship. The wide waist of the Unicorn really makes this model a good ship to add more fittings on. :)

Anyway, here's some quick peeks to the kit.

Brief Introduction According to Corel Kit
Historically, the frigate Unicorn has left as no tales of outstanding war feats or important enterprises, those which often mark the career of a man of-war so that be remembered even after his disappearance. All we know is that this ship has been designed by F.H. af Chapman for H.M.S Fleet in 1700s. On the other hand we have many accurate data regarding its construction. In fact, Chapman, member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences in his admirable volume "Architectura Navalis Mercatoria" printed in Stockholm in 1768, gives an extremely detailed account of the calculation relating to the design of the ship and not only the constructional ones, but also those relating to the study hydrodynamic-resistances. All this together with a most beautiful drawing of the frigate, which have used to develop this model. The results of Chapman hydrodynamic investigation are clearly visible in the lines of the hull which are quite advanced for the epoch in which the ship has been built.



In conclusion, even Corel doesn't really understand much about the ship! :D You can try search through the internet or wikipedia, and you will find there were around 6 Unicorns between 17th to 18th Century!! LOL!! Here's the link.


Anyway, I do agree with Ianmajor that this HMS Unicorn is the one as mentioned in wikipedia which serviced from year 1747 to 1771.

"... the Unicorn having a beakhead bow, a unicorn figurehead , two-light quarter galleries and only five pairs of quarterdeck gunports... "

This line describes real close to the ship :)

Check here if you're interested to know


However, whether it's historical accurate or not, I'm gonna kit bash it :D

Time to unbox!!




The instruction plans of Corel is a bit... err... mehh...
The font used is too small... might need magnifying glass B) (just pretend the sunglasses as magnifying glass :P)
Anyway, the picture instruction are good :)


Excellent wood quality

Some well cut strips..
Same goes to dowels


Shiny figure head


Terrible capstan...
Despite the excellent quality of the wood strips and dowels, some fittings are badly shaped.. This is one example.
Smaller blocks and gratings are to be trashed too


I love this!!! :D
Even the cannons are already blackened!

And the stern gallery... hmm

I don't blame the manufacturers for this, there's no way they can provide their customers well carved galleries.. planning to remake them. ;) It's challenging, but learn a new skill.. y not? :)



I'm overall satisfy with this kit. :) at least the wood quality is much better than Sergal ones.. oh ya, the ship cradle is included too! 


I've just done putting on the bulkheads, but haven't taken pictures.. Will upload them soon! 




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Hi ZyXuz,


The start of your build log sure takes me back to the days when I was building this model. On the whole I was satisfied with the materials, but I did end up buying a number of extra bits and pieces to make a better model.


As for the white metal parts, they do bend. Just do it carefully around a curved object of the correct diameter.


All the best with your build, and I will follow along.





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Laying Keel and Fitting Bulkheads

Just one week before this, I've already made my DIY keel clamp for this build. The previous one which I used for my Race Horse is no longer strong enough to hold a ship size like this. So, this is how it looks like:



First problem... the bulkheads don't fit to the keel. :(

Didn't happen on my previous build..


Argh~~ so close...  :angry: 
Fortunately, I've also made myself a DIY drill press last week.. just that it's not completed yet, I'll still need to add compound table to it. Anyway, it helps a lot on sanding the bulkheads' slots wider.
Here it is:



There's actually a screw at the right which it to stop the drill at desirable position. To fix the slots, I used a HSS square router bit. It works well so far :)



So, after like 45 minutes I've done them all, and I thought the bulkheads can now all fit...

I was wrong...

Now comes the problem that the slots on the keel are not wide enough too to fit the bulkheads... oh Corel...



And then some issues commonly seen...


So, after a whole long night of fixing and sanding.. I can finally put my decks and bulkheads on. This is how she looks like now. :)



Anyway, they are not glued yet. Just sitting in place so that I can plan on my modification to be made.


Cheers!! :)


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Like Peter I am taken back a few years seeing this. 


The castings for the stern decoration are completely different to those that were supplied with my kit. Mine had translucent blue plastic window frames and "glass".


I also had the same issue as you with the slots in the deck leaving a gap with the bulkhead. Mine was one of the first of this kit and I had two or three bulkheads which extending below the keel and which had to be filed to the correct shape. From your pictures that appears to have been corrected.


A nice start. I had better speed up or else you will overtake me!  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)

Edited by ianmajor
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Thanks! :)

The drill press is not that good though.. it actually doesn't 'bounce' back smoothly :P so, it is more to a milling device for me :D 

for cases that need to press and release, I'll just do it by hand ;)



woah, extended below the keel? haha.. that's bit awful :P

Anyway, regarding the stern gallery.. it's really a great improvement. I also did notice from some samples on the net. 


No rush, Ian!!! :D 

I'd love to see more slow and detail works from u like the stove!! :) :)



Ya, this model is much more challenging than my Race Horse!

Thanks!! ;)

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Lower Deck Modification

The kit's original plan on the lower deck has only gratings. Feeling that it's too 'plain', I've decided to add a stair to a level lower... the orlop. :)

I planned to locate the stair at the very front of the gratings in the original plan, something like this:


To make it, I'll need to add a false deck beneath it, and that again need to modify the false keel and some affected bulkheads. 


The yellow line shows the location of the stair and gratings on the deck which will be cut off; while the red shaded area shows the area to be removed to fit the orlop deck. That will be total of 4 bulkheads (5, 6, 7, and 8) affected.

Some procedures... :)
First, I cut off a 'hole' on the false deck. Here is where the stair and gratings will lay.


Then the bulkheads..
I made the height of the lower deck to orlop 25mm, which is the same as the height from upper deck to lower.


And the keel's part...


Finally, after all the cutting and sanding jobs, the orlop can now fit between the bulkheads. 


I started planking on the same night, and chalked edge of planks for better detail.


Actually, it doesn't need to be fully planked.. I mean, I could just plank the center part of the board.. I planked them full to treat it as a good warm up for the higher deck planking. :D

Then, I added treenails to the planks. I done it using pencil, not really satisfy with the result.. might use drilling and filling method on higher level.


On the rest of the weekends, I started the lower deck planking. Anyway, before I begun I've changed my mind to add a space between the stair and gratings (which design I referred from the HMS Pandora). So, it's how it turns out now. :)


Just a quick sharing on how I make my planks. :)

Since I'm planning to stagger my planks by 1/3, so I made their lengths 105mm so that they can be easily divided by 3. 


After a whole long night of planking... :)


the remaining parts will be planked after the hull planking is done, because I still need those frames to guide the hull planks.


OK, after all... the stair hasn't made :P 

I was thinking of making the stair first, but then worrying of doing the hull planking might damage it, so I will move it together with other deck fittings :)

Next, I'll work on the stern modification. :)

Thanks for viewing!! 

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I like it. The modifications you have made will greatly improve the waist area of the ship. 


The parts supplied in the kit for the steps make the treads too far apart in IMHO. The miniature crew would have to be mountaineers to use them. I believe making steps as per Dafi's method (see his entry in companion-ladders-advise-needed-please ) produces much better results.


Keep up the good work.

Edited by ianmajor
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I don't think you need to worry about damaging the steps down to the lower false deck, they are quite strong units. It is an ideal time to make the steps when you can view them from the sides before the hull planking goes on - it is so much easier to get the length and angle right. You can make the steps, handrails and the surround that will go around the hole in the deck (don't know the proper name) as a single unit then fix it in at a later stage. I found this type of sub unit quite strong.


I find there is something about steps on a model that intrigue me - perhaps it is the mystery of where they lead to. :) 

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Some works over the weekends... (late updates)


Stern Modification

Again, like what I did on my previous ship, I'm going to make a Captain's Cabin with furniture in it. :) But this time, I'm hoping to make the cabin able to be viewed from the skylight on poop deck.


Picture above shows how the kit provided skylight looks like. I'm gonna extend it to the shots garland, making the skylight in long rectangular shape, so that there will be more angle to view the cabin from the deck. :)

So, it will be around in such length:


Hope you can see the marking... :P 

Another few modification to make are the bulkheads and keel that block the view to the cabin. Picture below shows how the overall modification roughly looks like:


So, as you can see.. The blue box indicates where the cabin should take place; and the yellow line shows where the skylight roughly is; while the shaded red area will be the keel part and bulkhead (middle) to be cutoff. The 'stern block' that I'm holding is provided by the kit, and that will use to hold the last 2 bulkheads together. :)

I started it with the keel...


And then the bulkheads... 

With the whole upper piece cut off, the hull planks will no have guide from this bulkhead.. so, they will be on 'their own way' to the next (last) bulkhead. :) The little piece of board glued on will be the support of themselves.


'Stern block' glued in place...


Bulkhead 17 glued on...

There should be actually 'holes' for the windows on BH17, but I haven't cut them off because I still need to border of it to guide the hull planks. 


Finally, the whole piece is now in place... it's not accurately fit comparing to the kit's plan, slightly lower I think. Anyway, it shouldn't affect that much.. will just need to check from the stern whether the hull curve coming correctly.


I've then sanded the keel a bit lower and added all these UGLY looking filler to it.. :D And then, a big checker carpet to cover them :P


Hate the wrinkles  :angry: 
Might change a new 'carpet' in the future. As long as the upper deck is not fitted on, it'll be still good to change. 

I really love the big space of the cabin. It really gives me a lot of space to design my furniture. Anyway, it's still a long time to go... I'll start them only when the hull planking is done.

Comments and critics are welcomed  ^_^

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I agree with Ferit (I usually do  :) ) on both counts.


My view is the quarter deck is too low on this kit. When you start at the waist area the deck should step up twice rather than be at one level. The kit gives a scale 5 feet headroom under the quarter deck, whereas if you look at the plans of the Lyme held by NMM at http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/385550.html  the headroom would actually be about 6 feet - I can't see the senior officers being happy to crouch in the main cabins. ;) This extra headroom would also give your furniture a better chance of being seen. :)


It also looks as though you are getting rid of the locker to the rear of the quarter deck. Good move - it is very much a Coral invention on this ship!

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The middle bulkhead now is just acting as a 'planks guider', I'm planning to trim it off after the hull planking is done.

Anyway, by mentioning thinning it gave me another idea to add some fake frames on the cabin wall :D



Thanks for precious info about the height of the quarter deck. 

You know what? I've just done the ladder yesterday, and was about to put the handrails (or stanchions) on.. and the stanchions are almost as tall as the quarter deck LOL! which is totally out of scale :D


I'm now moving the deck up higher to the black dotted line showing on the bulkhead (very left side of the pic).. not sure is that also marked on your kit? If not, then I think Corel had concerned about this too :) I didn't even notice about this line until now :blush:: (since I always view my ship from the bow..) really thanks for pointing that out



Thanks all for your comments and ideas!! They really help me on this ship before everything is glued on :)



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Here comes a short update.. :)


Ladder Making

Ladder has to be done before the hull planking, so that it's easier for me to check whether the feet of the ladder 'landing' correctly from outboard.

The kit provides the materials of the ladder, with pre-cut ladder slot for the steps. Anyway, they are not as good as expected.

As you can see from the picture above, the slots of the ladders are not aligned. I've tried switching them, but still only a pair matches. 

For the 'surroundings' and steps, I used these:

I made the wider strips inside the narrow ones, so that it acts like plug to the deck. After some measuring and checking, here's the result:

It's a bit terrible, isn't it? lol Especially at lower right corner..
I remade one anyway. :)
And then insert the steps into the slots.. steps are in 20mm length.

Just glue them together and they're completed. :D

View from this angle, the extended part can be seen clearer. It also helps covering the ugly plywood cross section.

As seen from deck..

Picture below shows how I check the angle of the ladder from outboard.

I haven't made the handrails of it, because the stanchions provided by the kit is way out of scale in their height. I might adjust the upper deck higher, or remake the stanchions.

Thanks for viewing! :)

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It is looking good. You are really making fast progress.


One problem I hit with "plug in" steps was when I added the hand rails down the side of the steps. The first time I did this the handrails were too wide to go down the hole. :o So I put them closer together - I don't think anyone noticed my bodge. :) 

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Thanks! I actually worry every time I do a modification.. fear it might ruined the whole ship.. haha :D

Anyway, so far so good.. jz minor ones..



Thanks for the notice! It's really safe making this kit parallel with you! ;)



Thanks for your kind words.

You're too finishing your Badger soon.. :) really hope to see you join us by end of this year :)

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Colour Theme Selection

I've been selecting colours for my ship since the ordering is placed, and till now, I've successfully narrowed them down to two final choices. 
Picture below shows how the original kit colour of the ship looks like (Sorry Ian... hope you don't mind  :blush: the angle is actually perfect for me to make references before I start painting them :) ). 

Original kit instruction suggests a natural finished by using 3 different colours of woods: walnut, maple, and ebony. The original natural colour for the ship is actually nice already, but I really would like to put on the colours I want to my ship. :)
So, the 2 pictures below show how I hope my ship looks like: 


1st Version: Blue Strips + Yellow Gun port + Black Wales + White Waterline
The gun port 'frame' will be coloured to red. :) And, compared to original colour, the yellow gun port area is actually widen. 


This is where the inspiration comes from

La Gloire


(so.. am I applying a French Ship colour to an English Ship?? :P )


And second version with red stripe on it. :) I'm still choosing between these 2..


I thought it'd be an easy modification until I learned that the width of the wood strips are actually different! The walnut strips are 5mm in width; while the maple and ebony strips are just 4mm in width! And even the thickness are different! Walnut strips are 1mm in thickness; while the other 0.6mm!

So, if I'm going to make a smooth hull without sunken gunport, I'll need to use all walnut strips for the hull planking. It's certainly workable, but I might run out of wood strips. This is now what troubling me... :( Still a far way to go though, since I haven't started my first planking..

Anyway, I'm going off for a short vacation (4D3N) tomorrow to Sumatra, Indonesia.. with all my crazy friends :D :D It's gonna to be a fun trip! 


Thanks for viewing & hope you can help me selecting a colour theme! :)

See you guys soon! (I got to start packing now!!! :P :P)


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Ah - so that is what it is supposed to look like!  :)


The wood supplied for the main (2nd layer) planking is mahogany in my kit. I assume it is the same with yours. If you are going to paint the hull it is worth planking with a different wood. The mahogany tends to split when you shape it around the bow area. I was not alone in having this problem  -I think Shaz for one other had the same issue (different model).

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Hi ZyXuz,


I like the color choices you are thinking about.  I've been thinking about colors for mine in preparation for figuring out what specialty woods I will need to order as I'm planning on using little to no paint on my build.  Rather than go with the blues and reds in your picture, I think I'm going to make more use of black in those areas, as well as the galleries and at the stern, and for the spars and mast tops.  I will probably end up using boxwood for the accents around the black, as boxwood against black really pops out.  I'm thinking of something similar to the Pegasus, which was the general scheme used in the Unicorn model in the second link:







I'm probably going to leave the hull in natural wood, without "white stuff" or anything.  I'm generally not a fan of white paint, as it looks pretty garish to me against the beauty of natural wood (at least that's what bothers me about my Badger build).  Even using "Dull White" admiralty paints, I thought the paint was too starkly white.


Painting and color choices is always a deeply personal decision, so I am hesitant to give my opinion.  I generally subscribe to the school of thought that fewer colors (like 3-4) of greater contrast would look better on a build than using lots of different colors.  If it were me, the blue looks great but I think I would skip the red stripe in your second version, as it just becomes too busy looking for me.  Of course, you can probably paint much better than I can, and will be able to pull it off where I'm fairly certain that I would not be able to. :)


Just my personal preferences, and informed in large part by my terrible skills at painting.  Good luck whatever you decide!

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

I love the thick black wale of the Pegasus, might change my plan instead of using separate wales.. Just scan thru Victory models, and found that they can be good references. 


Anyway, here's a bad news of mine.. and I've no idea how did I make that kind of silly mistakes. :(

I screwed up my hull planking  :(  :(  :(  :(  :(  :(  :(

and I think there's no coming back.. 


Here's some pictures of my planking... =.=" I think I did a lot better on my previous ship!!







just awful  :angry: 


1st and 2nd planking are like done by different person! OMG

from the first strip (1st layer) to the last strip laid (2nd layer) took me only 5 days... completely lost patient (still my greatest weakness)

it's really a disgrace to waste all those nice pieces of woods!


I was in a bad mood that time, should have occupied myself with other activities like sport instead of modelling... I think there's seriously no way back, besides to remove all, and rework.. I don't want to give her up


I've already ran out of wood strips, not sure if you guys have any good suggestion? It will take few weeks to reach Malaysia, should have enough time to cool myself down...

Hull planking for this ship is in 600mm.. I've tried CMB, they provide only 1000mm in length, and will cut into half for intl' shipping.. So, I think I'll need to find another company, like Lumberyard and hobbymill?


Hope anyone here can help.. Thanks! :)

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