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US Frigate Essex by trippwj - Aeropiccola - 1:70 Scale POB

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So, with the Harriet Lane nearing completion and the Emma C. Berry moving along, I figured it was time to start a whole new adventure. 

 

This Aeropiccola kit dates to 1974 (according to the drawings, at least).  It is a very solid POB kit, plans are in Italian but a brief translation provided for the labels into English.  No instructions, just the plans. My intent is to work through the plans, referencing the Model Shipways instructions for ideas.  I will also be using the Hackett plans and the redrawn version by William Baker provided in The Frigate Essex Papers (1974).  I also have The Anatomy of the Ship The 32-Gun Frigate Essex by Portia Takakjian, as well as several articles from The Nautical Research Journal and Model Ship Builder Magazine (Seaways Publishing).  I have ordered a copy of Portia's plans for the Essex and the Model Shipways plans as well.  My goal, over the time I am building this beastie, is to take it slowly and try to combine the best from all sources available to me.  We'll see how that works out!

 

This is quite a change from the Harriet Lane - 1:70 scale as opposed to the 1:144 for the Harriet (and 1:32 for the ECB). This one measures about 27" stem to stern for the framer - total length when finished will be 43 inches long, 13 3/4 inches wide and 29 inches tall with the rigging. The kit includes all the rigging, including material for sails.  That decision is a long time off, so no idea yet whether to include the sails or not.

 

Here, then, is the obligatory photo of the box (note this is one of the kits Maryann was selling last June).

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Some of the contents

 

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The Bulkhead framer and bulkheads laid out for inspection

 

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And, the bulkheads dry fit - all slid in slick as could be.  I did have to file the fitting between the central portion of the framer and the bow and stern pieces.

 

post-18-0-56418800-1389495359_thumb.jpg

 

No glue has been harmed as of yet, but the first bits of saw dust have been made.

 

So, welcome, pull up a chair, and look forward to seeing how this goes!

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If there is ever a kit I wish would still be in production, it was this one.  I look forward to following your build.  I have built two Aeropiccola kits (Mayflower and Endeavor) and unless you are good with Italian and draw mentally in your mind what the plans are actually describing, they are a challenge, however they turn out to be really nice models.

 

Scott

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Let me claim a spot on this one.  Classic ship.  And she's slightly larger than the new MS version....nice!  That's a LOT of rigging line --- don't get it tangled.  Really looking forward to this one Wayne.

 

Buona fortuna!

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If there is ever a kit I wish would still be in production, it was this one.  I look forward to following your build.  I have built two Aeropiccola kits (Mayflower and Endeavor) and unless you are good with Italian and draw mentally in your mind what the plans are actually describing, they are a challenge, however they turn out to be really nice models.

 

Scott

 

Thanks for the insight into working with Aeropiccola plans - this promises to be a challenge for me, but I am looking forward to it.  Actually approaching this as though it were a real ship to a certain degree - working across the 6 sheets of plans to identify what needs to happen when, then building out a schedule of steps that I need to take to get there.  Here's hoping I don't forget step 14 until i am at step 298!

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looks like a very interesting kit Wayne.    what is with the holes?.....looks like they were drilled.....support rods, perhaps.  I'll pull up a chair.

 

Hi there, Popeye.  There are 2 wooden dowels (one on each side) that extend through all but the aft most bulkhead.  It appears that they serve as both additional reinforcement as also for aid in maintaining alignment.

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Wayne,

I built this kit about 20 years ago. I can't remember the details now, but it seems to me that there were some differences in the waist between what Portia drew and the kit supplied. It was a question of how much fixed spar deck there was versus gangboards. But my memory is foggy at this point.

 

Also, as I recall, the kit supplies pressed wood pieces for the bow and quarter gallery details. I hope you'll try your hand at kit bashing those details. It will add a lot to the finished appearance.

 

Tom 

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Hi there, Popeye.  There are 2 wooden dowels (one on each side) that extend through all but the aft most bulkhead.  It appears that they serve as both additional reinforcement as also for aid in maintaining alignment.

The holes would be practical in keeping the frames aligned.  Using steel rods would be better since there is less warp.  The process is like how a model airplane wing is laid up using a jig. 

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Greetings and salutations.  Not a great deal of progress to report - continue to fine tune the alignment on the bulkheads in preparation for installing them.  I was out of town most of the week (and will be next week as well), but the Admiral graciously assisted me today with a detailed inventory of the materials.  There is no materials list provided, and all of the wood was in a couple of bundles or just loose in the box.  After a couple of hours of sorting and measuring, we came up with a good detailed inventory of what is provided.  Next step is to translate the Italian into English - my significantly better half has offered to take that on as well!

 

So - here is what came in the kit AFTER the initial sorting.  First, the Timber

 

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The Laser Cut pieces (knees, pin rails etc).

 

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The Dowels and some more shorter timber.  Also the molded pieces - some form of pressed wood material.

 

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Here is a close up of the stern windows etc.  I think, when the time comes, I will be trying to make these from scratch.  Time will tell on that!

 

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Spending my time while on the road going through the AoTS Essex, John Stevens plans from 1952, the William Baker plans (in The Frigate Essex Papers, 1974) and cross checking to the kit plans.  I have the plans by Portia Takakjian on order and will be working with those as well.  The kit plans are more building diagrams and parts drawings and most are not to scale.There are a couple of good profile views and cross sections which are to scale so using those for some of the preliminary layout work.  There are no lines drawings provided, so will be checking the hull shape using the other sources listed above. 

 

 

Edited by trippwj

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Glad to see the photo with the 'shorter' timbers.  The first photo of the stripwood looked a little light.

 

Send your Admiral my smile for her invaluable assistance.  And have a safe and productive trip.

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Wayne,

 

Just a word of caution. Be careful using all those references. Pick one and stick with it. There is a lot less consistency between them then the casual observer would imagine. Even Portia is not consistent between her framed model and the AOS book. 

 

There was an article about 20 years ago in the Nautical research Journal that discussed this topic.

 

What it basically illustrated was that Portia, Baker, (it included Stevens who did the old Shipways' plans) and I think the Aero kit all claimed to "copy" Hacket's draught but all differed from it (some significantly) and none were the same with each other.

 

If you use all the sources together you'll on occasion  reconcile a dimension or detail but you'll end up creating an ESSEX that never existed.

 

Pick one source, pick one time period and go with that.

 

When I was researching/developing ESSEX for Expo we had several conversations regarding possibly acquiring the Aero plans as a start. To my best memory they were considered accurate to Baker's work (I think).  

 

The article from the NRG was lost in a flooded basement. I have the NRG discs and will try to find it for you.

 

Also there is a very brief caveat at the opening of the Essex Papers that says to the effect that the reader should be careful of using the contained information for modeling purposes. I never see that referenced though........

 

Sam

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Wayne,

 

Just a word of caution. Be careful using all those references. Pick one and stick with it. There is a lot less consistency between them then the casual observer would imagine. Even Portia is not consistent between her framed model and the AOS book. 

 

Pick one source, pick one time period and go with that.

 

Sam

 

Thanks, Sam - that makes too much sense!  :)

 

I am going to try for something close to "as built" but know that will include the use of many assumptions.  One thing I am hoping to get from the various sources is an idea of where certain things were located - and also as an aid to working with the Aeropiccola plans.  Ultimately, once I have the chance to compare the various sets of information, I'll be in a better position to plan out any changes I want to make to the kit.  Looking at this as a long term project (figuring at least 2 years before I even start thinking about the rigging), and want to take the time to do this one right, hence having the references to cross check assumptions.  Will see how that all works out, though!

 

Please keep checking in and offering insights - I am gonna need all the help I can get on this one!

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Wayne,

 

I know you'll do just fine. I have confidence in you and there are a world (literally) of great people out here willing to help

 

Sam

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He Wayne,

 

What's this ?????

Starting a new ship and not telling me ?????

Shame on you !!!!!!

I see a seat in the back and I'm gonna sit over there.

Looks nice to see the Essex grow......

And with the help of Sam and his mother, it will come allright  :D  :D

 

animaatjes-sjors-94584.gif

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Welcome to the slow show, Sjors - glad to have you here! 

 

Have put the first glue to wood.  Took a bit, but have built the former and installed the bulkheads and the filler pieces fore and aft.  Next step is to add what look like reinforcing pieces between the bulkheads at the keel end - is this the way you see the pieces at the base of the frames in the cross section and the hashed line between them in the side view?

 

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post-18-0-09000200-1390874719_thumb.jpg

 

Pictures (probably) tomorrow evening.

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You're referring to those 5X5 planks?  Yes, that's how I'd read it.  If you take a look at Rustyj's log on Granado, around page 9, you'll see some structure like that.

Edited by Augie

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You're referring to those 5X5 planks?  Yes, that's how I'd read it.  If you take a look at Rustyj's log on Granado, around page 9, you'll see some structure like that.

 

Those are the items of interest, Augie.  Will go check out Rustyj's Granado - THANKS!

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Wayne your a sly old seadog, never said a word did you, and boy do you know how to make life hard for yourself. :D  :D

 

I agree with Augie mate, but be careful with that 5x5 plank, it looks as though it's going to take the Garboard Strake, the positioning is going to be critical later on.

 

Good luck with both the translation and the build mate, and if you have no objection I would like to follow your journey. :)  :)

 

Be Good

 

mobbsie

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in actual ship construction,  I think they would be called the keelsons.......but it would depend of how the ribs are made.  that will dictate how they will be installed.   I see that you have P.O.B. in the heading.......but are they solid,  or are they shaped ribs?  to me.....P.O.B.  are plate-like ribs that form the frame.......P.O.F.  are the shaped ribs and create more of a framed in look.   the reason why I mention this,  is that if it is a P.O.B.......then these would be called rabbits,  cemented in between the bulkheads and sanded to shape at faring time.  in P.O.F. construction,  you could go the full length of the frame along side the false keel,  after creating the groove for the garboard plank to sit in.  I hope I read your question right :):huh:

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Thanks, all, for the information on the 5x5 mm pieces.  Have gotten the Port side installed and preliminary fairing done - the rest will wait until i get ready to fair the full hull.  Now on to the starboard side!

 

An additional question -

 

This does have the pressed wood stern galleries.  If I were to try and scratch them, would I build up the stern framing as in a POF model?  Right now I have the filler blocks in place that I would need to remove.

 

post-18-0-69404600-1391704502_thumb.jpg

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Those pressed wood forms of the stern and bow drove me nuts getting them squared to match the center planking.  They also caused a fair amount of twist to the bulkhead.  If I had to do it again, I would do the balsa build up and fair method and plank like a traditional POB.

 

The pressed wood galleries are really nice and have potential.  Maybe cut out the windows and re-frame and glaze?

 

I see you have a fair amount of time to spend on the jigsaw since these kits do not have pre-cut parts.  One thing I liked about the printed plywood parts were that they made nice templates to make scratch parts out of hardwood.  Hmm, I think I a feeling a bit of motivation to start back on my Endeavor.  Thanks!

 

Scott

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Hi Wayne

 

The Essex is a great looking kit with lots and lots of little details so that you can whittle away your free hours of shear enjoyment. I will pull up a chair and watch and will surely enjoy the show. I am still caught up in all of those hammock the DeAgostini web build log said that I needed 104 hammocks to lay horizontally, but I choice to install them bent in the center and hung vertically, sure did change the amount that I needed, I have ended up with 222 of those little hammocks all are installed but 10. I have been so caught up in these hammocks. And misted the launch of the Essex,  and had to blow the snow twice this week, # 14 now, this sure has been a bitter winter so far.   Enjoy.

 

Regards   Lawrence

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 Hey Wayne,Almost forgot how nice those older kits were without the pre-cut parts.  Half the fun of making the kit was cutting out the parts and finishing them to fit.That's when kit builders needed a scroll saw. Mine just sits on a bench now out in the garage just waiting to sink its teeth into some 5mm ply :P

Frank

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Those pressed wood forms of the stern and bow drove me nuts getting them squared to match the center planking.  They also caused a fair amount of twist to the bulkhead.  If I had to do it again, I would do the balsa build up and fair method and plank like a traditional POB.

 

The pressed wood galleries are really nice and have potential.  Maybe cut out the windows and re-frame and glaze?

 

I see you have a fair amount of time to spend on the jigsaw since these kits do not have pre-cut parts.  One thing I liked about the printed plywood parts were that they made nice templates to make scratch parts out of hardwood.  Hmm, I think I a feeling a bit of motivation to start back on my Endeavor.  Thanks!

 

Scott

 

Scott -

 

Thanks for stopping by!  I must admit to a degree of trepidation when it comes to cutting out all of those tiny bits - I guess the scroll saw will need to be brought out of storage.  I have a nice space I can set it up in the basement - during war weather only (it is unheated and a tad chilly right now).  Fortunately I have a great deal to do before I reach that stage!

 

The pressed wood bow & stern fillers went in well with no twist added, although I do have some sanding to do to get them flush with the bulkhead outer surfaces.

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Hi Wayne

 

The Essex is a great looking kit with lots and lots of little details so that you can whittle away your free hours of shear enjoyment. I will pull up a chair and watch and will surely enjoy the show. I am still caught up in all of those hammock the DeAgostini web build log said that I needed 104 hammocks to lay horizontally, but I choice to install them bent in the center and hung vertically, sure did change the amount that I needed, I have ended up with 222 of those little hammocks all are installed but 10. I have been so caught up in these hammocks. And misted the launch of the Essex,  and had to blow the snow twice this week, # 14 now, this sure has been a bitter winter so far.   Enjoy.

 

Regards   Lawrence

 

Thanks for the kind words, Lawrence.  Glad to hear that there is some progress on getting some plans for the Annie M. Parker!

 

Your hammocks look fantastic on the Victory - I can only guess how long that took to get them looking so nice!  As I recall fom other discussions, vertically is the way they were stowed. 

 

Only had the one storm here this week - about 8 inches.  Nice to have the ground covered again.  If it is going to be cold, it may as well be snow covered!

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