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Naval Cutter Alert by AnobiumPuncatum - Scale 1/32, POF

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I was really suprised that I did not find a build log about the Naval Cutter Alert on MSW 2.0. I know that there exist some pictures of a model on the old MSW


The first source for building a model of this small vessel are Peter Goodwins book "The Naval Cutter Alert, 1777", published by PhoenixPublications Inc. 1991 and the two original drawing of her sister Rattlesnake (1776) which you will find on the homepage of the NMM.

There also exist two paintings of Joseph Marshall of the ship, which are exhibited in the Science Museum, London.

I found also an Sheer and Profile drawing of Alert which was published by the NRG.


The sheer and profile of the NRG and Goodwin differ from the original drawing. They show the maximum width of the ship not at frame 0. Perhaps my Engish is to bad, but I could not find any reason for this. So I decide to draw my own lines. which were based on Goodwin and the original drawing.



The drawing is not finished, because I decided only to draw what I need for my build.


Next step was the keel. Goodwin shows for the pass between keel and lower apron a solution which I could not find on any original cutter drawings.



For the after deadwood he does not offer any possible solution



I decide to follow the original drawing of Cheerful 1806 for the pass between keel and lower apron. The flat joint at the foremost keel part is shown on original drawings of this period (for example on HMS Triton). For the after deadwood I decided to use a bearing line. I am not sure if this is common for ships of this period.

The next picture shows my completed keel drawing:



Goodwin uses for his design the common frameing pattern of double and single frames. I am not sure that this design was used for the original ship. For the Swan class sloops only single frames were used. This you will also find on the drawing of Cheerful and other cutters. Also the wide of the frame parts are not clear. In his drawing he uses much smaller futtocks than he descibed in the text part of the book. In his "Construction and Fitting of Sailing Man of War" he gives a third solution.

What now? Alert is a practice model for me to get the experience to continue my HMS Fly build. Marshall shows on his paintings an simplified frameing design, so I decided to use this. Every frame is 8'' width followed by 8'' space. For the port side I like to show the clinker planking.

On my drawing the final design for the last frame and the hawse pieces is missing in the moment.



The drawings for every 31frames and 21cant frames are finished.



I am not sure in the moment if I will use the original practice with chocks or the simplified method of Harold Hahn for my build.


It will be very nice if you have further information about the cutters of this time. I found the Marmaduke Stalkartt on Google-books, but they didn't scan the plates. Perhaps one of the MSW user can help me to confirm my decisions.

Edited by AnobiumPunctatum
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How delightful to have a scratch model of the Alert on MSW2! It is one of my dreams that one day I will be able to do the same, so I'll be watching this build log with interest. I presume you've seen the 3D CAD build automated into a video at http://sketchucation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=333&t=33757&sid=f942299afdf93114ad1c504acb5c6417, which is also based on Goodwin's book.


Thanks very much for starting on this!



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Of course I will be following this interesting report. You might remember: it was your building log which catched my attention years ago - so you are responsible in a way that I restarted to be engaged in my childrens hobby. 


The Alert is one of the ships I want to do by myself one day. There are so many beautiful books helping to create a nice model. 


Yours will - I am sure - be a masterpiece - and I will follow any step with highest interest!

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After the drawing works it was time to make sawdust.


First part is the keel, which is a little bit tricky. The keel has a light curvature and the joints are perpendicular to the base line.

I cut some small stripes with my cirular saw, make the joints and glue the parts together. Next I added the parts for the stem.

The picture shows the step on the building board. I use Tamiya Tape to avoid that the keel glues on the paper during the build.



The next pictures show the complete assembled backbone for the small vessel,



the stem with with the changed layout of the parts,



the keel and the rising wood,



and the stern post with the after deadwood.

post-380-0-11589700-1411580663_thumb.jpg post-380-0-49038300-1411580730_thumb.jpg


The next steps are cutting the rabbet, the keelson and the building board. Then I can start with the frames.



Edited by AnobiumPunctatum
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My holidays are over so the progress is much slower than before.


I did the keelson before building the frames. So it is in my opinion much easier to adjust it with the fore and after deadwood.

post-380-0-24991300-1411580811_thumb.jpg post-380-0-83549400-1411580817_thumb.jpg


Before glueing the keelson on the backbone It take a long time. All frames have to be installed first. ;)


Today I worked on my first frame. It took quite long to find my way to build the frame. The result is not perfect, but I think doing the next frames will be much easier and faster. If it's interesting for someone I will do a step by step description from building one of the next frames.


Edited by AnobiumPunctatum
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I'd be very grateful too to see how it's really done - like many of the cutter-kit builders I use the alert as a reference. So if you find the time not only to build a beautiful model but also to explain how you do that, it would be very generous.



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Very nice work, Christian! If you have the time, I would love to see your steps in building a frame! I'm especially interested in your cant frames when you reach that stage...those always look like they are very difficult.


Again, beautiful work--definitely looking forward to following your build!




Edited by JMaitri
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  • 2 weeks later...

No pictures this weekend. Yesterday I tried to cut the rabbet but I am not really happy with the result. There are two main problems. The keel has over the whole length a curve wgich is quite difficult to cut precise. The second problem is the prepared rising wood with the notches for the frames. At this smaller parts the timber will bunk.


So I decided to build another backbone for my small cutter and try the rabbet again. I am thinking of only cutting the loer half of the rabbet at the midshipframes. During fairng the completed hull I am thinking of doing the upper half of the rabbet. Has anyone did a rabbet this way?

I hope that the changes I made in my design will help me to get a better result. If not, I will decide which of the finished keels looks better and use this for the rest of my build.

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It would be very difficult to cut in the upper edge of the rabbet once all the frames are in, as they will be on the way of your cutting tools. Try using a very well honed V-gouge. Take very tiny shavings off and correct any waviness with succeeding cuts as you deepen the rabbet.

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  • 1 month later...



I agree with druxey that it is easiest to cut the keel rabbet before framing.  The floor timbers will interfere with the v-gouge.  However, I believe the rabbet can be successfully formed after framing with a scraper like the one below.




On Young America there is no hogg on the keel so forming the complete rabbet leaves very fragile feathered edges on the upper corners.  I was afraid these would be damaged in later construction, so I only partially cut the rabbet (using this tool) before framing, then went back after framing with the scraper to finish the job.  The scraper rides on the bottom of the keel and needs to be made to clear the floor timbers - like the one in the picture.  I believe this method could be used to form the rabbet after framing.



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You picked a nice vessel to model.  I have not seen very many of the Alert.  Many years ago I had the pleasure to listen to Roger Cole talk e on about his build.  If memory serves me I believe he published his work in the Journal.  If he did it would be an invaluable source of information.  I always like his KISS approach.  Keep it simple stupid.  I will be keeping an eye on your build and keeping notes.

David B

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