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HMS Unicorn by ianmajor - Corel - Scale 1:75, 1748 to 1771


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You have seen build logs for exceptional models on MSW - now for one from the opposite end of the skill spectrum! :)

 

Brief history of the model to date.

 

I have been working on this kit of the Unicorn on and off since 1975. It was probably one of the first sets produced since its diagrams are dated February 1974. The manufacturers “quantity surveyors” were obviously not up to speed evidenced by the shortfalls in some of the materials. For example, the kit supplies 32 cannon but included only 12 wheels for them, the material for planking the decks only covered two thirds of the upper deck let alone trying to cover the fore and quarter decks.

 

The instructions were interesting. They were supplied in 3 different languages (OK), but there were three copies of the parts list all in Italian.
 
From the logs that I have seen of later builds of this kit no mention was made of these issues so I assume it was an early life

problem.

 

The kit problems compounded by living long periods in hotels in a variety of countries as part of my work made progress very slow – in fact it ground to a halt. For some years the model became the base from which miniature Daleks could wage war or what ever it was my children were doing with it. Throughout these Inter Galactic Wars the ship demonstrated that she was a tough old bird sustaining very little damage.

On my retirement I decided that I was going to produce some 7mm scale locomotives for each of my four children – you know the sort of thing – something to remember the old fool by. However my daughter basically said that I could keep my locomotives, she would much prefer “that old boat”.

 

So construction restarted. I was in the process of fitting the deck furniture and preparing the spars ready for rigging when I

decided to try to get an answer to a problem that had been confusing me for some time. This related to the rack that sits astride the jib (sorry guys – I did know its name from a previous posting – but I forgot what it was). In the kit diagram number 2 item 142 it is shown with 11 holes. The rigging schedule indicates 10 holes required. The plastic casting supplied has 9 holes. Doh!

 

In searching for information I found build logs for two excellent renditions of this model which introduced me to MSW. Sadly I

don’t know the names of the builders. I do hope their logs can be regenerated. I have copies of some of their pictures which I use for reference.

 

What I found raised more questions in my mind than answers. I decided to maintain my “Lurker” status for a while whilst researching the job in hand and also learning the MSW etiquette. When I started I didn’t know my futtocks from my rat lines. Now at least I know that futtocks is not a naughty word.

      

I have attached (I hope) two photographs of the model as is. 

 

The first is a view of the starboard side of the hull.

 

The other Unicorn models had their hulls painted. Mine is "au naturelle" relying on the colours of the different woods supplied in the kit. The newer additions, all in beech, stand out having not been exposed to the elements. An example is the steps down the side of the hull which stick out like a sore thumb - compounded by their crude outline.

 

The lower part of the hull is planked in mahogany. Over time this had faded from its original reddish brown to almost white so I used walnut wood stain to return its colour. I also stained the keel at the same time. Appart from that the other woods are untouched. So you can get an idea of what an unpainted model may look like after 40 years.

 

I had painted the frames of the plastic windows gold but this needs refreshing. The decorative castings around the rear of the ship were far too big so I filed them down to their current size. They still overhang to the rear. There is some sign of corrosion around the castings but they should clean up OK before they are painted. I am debating with myself whether to paint the detail of this castings in reds and blues or to stick with all gold to match the rest of the "au naturelle" look.

 

You may notice the poor old figurehead has lost the end of its horn. This was damaged before I received the kit. I will at a later stage amputate the rest and form a new brass one to be screwed in.  

 

The second view is looking down on to the deck. There is still evidence of long term dust around the cannon which I need to address. (Any views on how you keep a ship clean that is not in a glass case?)

The two previous Unicorn build logs differed in their rigging. One using a modified schedule from the kit the other used the

method given in the book “Rigging Period Ship Models” by Lennarth Petersson. I have decided to go with schedule based on the latter. I have now bought the book. It is a fascinating book in its own right. It documents the rigging of a contemporaneous model of the frigate Melampus. Strictly Melampus is a much later frigate than Unicorn so I should base my rigging plans on information given in “The Masting and Rigging of English Ships of War, 1625-1860” by James Lees but I I am afraid I balked at the £145 asking price on Amazon.

The current position is that I need additional wood to make fittings for the proposed rigging. That is on order. My workship is being revamped so more work in ernest on the model should begin in a couple weeks starting with deck rings as per the Winchelsea plans.  

In my next posting I will pull together the information that I have gleaned for Unicorn including links to reference data. The

historical information supplied in the kit can most kindly be described as fanciful! I will also offer my views on the accuracy of

the kit plus any points around my model that may be of interest.

 

Ian M.

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Edited by ianmajor
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Sarah, Thanks for the compliment. I think this kit makes up to a very attractive model. There have been adverse comments in the past about the accuracy of the kit, but I believe with the research material available on the Web it is possible to improve on the model if that is what is required. It sits on a cabinet in my lounge and even without the masts and rigging it is a favourable talking point.

 

Ian M.

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Information on the Unicorn from Wikipedia.

 

A history and some detail of the Unicorn(s) can be found on Wikipedia. Wikipedia as with any paper encyclopedia is a secondary source of information so should be treated with some care. Thus far the entries on the British frigates appear accurate.

 

A list of frigate classes can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_frigate_classes_of_the_Royal_Navy. When I looked through this information the questions started to outnumber the answers!

  

The kit instructions describe the ship in question as a British 32 cannon frigate designed by F.H.Chapman in 1700(!). The date on the model plans is 1762. The source of plans for the hull is Chapman's book "Architectura Navalis Mercatoria" published in 1768. In this book he documents but is not the source of the designs.

 

Unicorn was used as the name of several ships.


The first Unicorn of this period was a member of the Lyme class.There were two ships in the class both built 1748. They were originally designated as 24 gun 6th rate frigates but they were later redesignated as 28 gun. This Unicorn seemed to have had a relatively quiet existence and was scrapped in 1771.This is the subject of the Chapman plan. More info on this Unicorn can found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Unicorn_(1748)

 

The significance of the Lyme class members is that they were considered to be the first true frigates built for the British Navy

based on the French privateer Tyger.

 

The next Unicorn was a 1776 Sphinx class 20 gun post ship.

 

The other Unicorn of this period was a member of the Pallas class built 1794. It was a larger 32 gun fifth rate frigate.It was scrapped 1815 having had a much more eventful existance than the previous ships. See  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Unicorn_(1794) .

 

None of the above map directly on to that portrayed in the kit and I am left wondering whether it is an amalgum. Certainly to my eyes the kit's continuous fore/quarter deck looks too modern for a mid 18th century ship.If I were to be restarting this model I would change that deck.

 

...and from the National Maritime Museum

 

There are photographs of a model of the frigate Lowestoft (or Lowestoffe) in the National Maritime Museum collection. I am using these in conjunction with the Petersson book to produce my rigging schedule. See http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/66300.html .This Lowestoft is the 1761 32 gun frigate so is slightly larger. The previous Lowestoft was a 28 gun copy of the Lyme class which sank in 1760.

 

Some points that I have noted from the Lowestoft rigging which I intend to feature in the Unicorn:

 

1) The mizzen mast is lateen rigged. I need to work out how this is done!
2) Only the main and fore yards have provision for stu'n sails
3) No dolphin striker

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Time for some more photos of previous work

 

The following shows the hull viewed low down on the port side. The hull is placed on the plan to give an idea of the scale of the rigging.

 

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This is a close up of the keel at the bow. You can probably tell there is no rabbet (I didn't know about such things at the time :( ). Some months after the planking was completed the leading edge of the planks started to spring out leaving a gap. I resorted to wallnut stained wood filler to fill the gap then sanded the ends of the planks to taper down to the keel. When I subsequently stained the planks the wood filler became pretty well camoflaged. It only really shows if you get close up. 

 

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Edited by ianmajor
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An area I struggled with was the head. The plan and side views on the diagram didn't agree and at the time of construction the only photo I had was a view of the bow of Victory in a book on the life of Nelson. The result looked like a lorry cab stuck on the body of a small sportscar - very front heavy.

 

I had fitted all 5 of the horizontal rails but after some thought decided to reduce it to 4. I removed the lowest one - which was at or below the waterline anyway. I decided against rerouting the others due to high risk of damage. Where the fifth one was attached can be made out - the area needs restaining to fix.

 

Below is a scan of the appropriate part of the diagram. The upper part of the head is show first curving up then back down towards the figure head - made me think of a blue whales mouth. I had not seen a picture of an actual ship showing this particular shape before (and have not since) so decided to fit it with a constant upwards curve towards the figure head. Hopefully this will be clear from the pictures below.

 

Scan of plan.

 

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Close up view of head area on model.

 

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A previous contributor warned of using tools on wood that had been previously been used on metal - particularly steel. The second picture shows the rail that sweeps up to the derrick. The sharp curve is made from 4 pieces of wood. One joint can be seen as a black line from just such a cause.

 

Another source of staining on there is where the pins supplied with the kit came in to contact with white PVA glue. I used these pins to hold some parts in place. Where the pins came in to contact with the wood a black mark was left. This could of course be turned to advantage by representing tree nails - though there are easier ways! :)

 

The row of "teeth" on the top rails are each one piece. They will locate the booms between the middle "teeth". They were quite easy to produce. I took two 3x3mm pieces of beech and clamped them together in a machine vice. I then drilled 5 off 1.5mm holes 6mm apart centred on the join between the two pieces. I then openned them gradually to 5mm diameter. The two pieces were then seperated and cut to length. These rather delicate items were immediately glued to the upper rails and when dry the teeth were rounded with a file.

 

I had previously drilled the two holes for the anchor chain but these were not in the right place, so I planked them over with some mahogany and will redrill. That area is thickened on the actual ships anyway.

 

The next picture is looking head on.

 

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As can be seen it is bit asymetric. Below the bow planking there is a solid chunk of wood on each side of the keel piece. These had to be shaped from rectangular blocks. Sadly the port block has a slight attack of the mumps. Of course the effects of a small error at the early stages tend to grow into larger errors as more parts are added on top. :(

 

The next view is of the stern.

 

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The castings above and below the side gallaries had to be filed down to about 2/3rds their original size to fit. The lower ones were too long, the top ones were too wide. The lower ones still overhang to the rear, not sure if this is correct or not. This left some gaps which I filled with Squadron Green Putty which is still showing green awaiting final paint touch up. The window frames require a paint touch up as well.

 

The final view is along the deck.

 

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The deck planking has had black pencil rubbed allong the plank edges. This has been slightly hidden by dust. A chase along the joints with a propelling pencil lead before final varnish should sort this.

 

The keen eyed amongst you will notice that the deck planking joints line up on every other row rather than every third or fourth. It comes from copying the planking of the floor under my carpet! :rolleyes:

 

There are 8 cannon towards the stern. There should only be 4 (and they should be smaller than those on the upper deck). I am trying to pluck up courage to remove 4 of them - though which 4?. :)

 

The pump is fitted towards the rear as per the instructions. It should really be ahead of the main mast on the upper deck - and should be a chain pump. I don't fancy trying to lift it though. It is firmly attached to several deck planks.

 

Well hopefully that is the last of looking back. Now to try and make some progress. :D

Edited by ianmajor
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Ian

Wish my Unicorn looked as good as yours. Mine resided in various closets and such for about 20 years also.

About the upper deck guns. Chapman has a drawing of the Unicorn and it looks like it shows 5 gunports per side.

The two forward ones look like they could not have guns as they line up with the shrouds. MORE food for thought.

Keep it up.

 

Mark

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Mark, Thanks. You have confirmed my vague recollection of the Chapman diagram. I saw a copy in a bookshop in Zagreb way back in 1976. I had a sneaky read but did not buy it. :rolleyes:

 

Time to get the mini lathe out and turn a couple of extra port surrounds. :)

 

There are diagrams of the Lyme on the NMM web site (see plan the web page shows the body and upper deck - useful). The Lyme had 6 ports on each side of the quarter deck. There were other differences between the two ships.

 

I agree about the first port threatening the rigging. I constructed most of the hull as per the instructions. This also lead to a couple of cannon having deck supports close behind - first recoil and down comes the deck above! :o

 

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I don't think the captain has been around for a while. That deck is filthy!

Edited by ianmajor
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Following Mark's comments I decided to add the two extra ports on the quarter deck. All the info I have seen on the Unicorn show 5 on each side though the kit only supplies the brass sorround rings for 4 per side. So out came the mimi lathe and I turned a couple of extras up out of brass rod. Dimensions are:

 

Outside diameter 9.5mm

Inside diameter 7.0mm

Width 4.2 mm.

 

I also put a 30 degree taper on the first millimeter and rounded the edges with a file to match the original kit versions.

 

Then to fit them. The bulwarks have been in place for 30 years and they didn't take kindly to being disturbed - tending to split. I was hoping to ream the holes as previously but this proved too destructive. So I had to resort to half round swiss files.

 

At the same time I removed 4 of the gun carriages from the quarter deck. The ship now has 28 cannon in total. The carriages had been glued to the deck with 2 part epoxy. Fortunately they were easily prised away leaving small pads of glue which I gently shaved off with a small chisel.  

 

I had not been happy with the position of the pump and lantern which were fitted as per the instructions. The contemporary diagrams show the lattern over the captain's cabin and the adjacent ante room, not over the wardroom as modelled (the wardroom has the rear windows for natural light). So off came the pump and the lantern. The former left a little damage but the latter ripped parts of 5 deck planks away. Out came the small chisel to plane the remains of the damaged deck planks away and new ones replaced them.

 

The lantern is now fitted where the pump had been.

 

I have considered fitting the pump on the upper deck just in front of the main mast but it would be all but invisible there so I don't think it worth fitting.

 

Two photos:

 

The first shows the before situation - I had already removed two of the carriages.

 

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The second shows after the work with the pump gone, the lantern in its new position plus the two (nice and shiny) new ports. Now just 4 cannon on the quarter deck.   

 

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Edited by ianmajor
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  • 1 month later...

"Oh no he is at again" said my wife when she saw the look on my face as I stared at the Unicorn quarter deck. She recognized my expression as one that indicated that I was not happy about something. In this case it was the large square grating fitted as per the instructions. I decided it had to go and be replaced by two smaller gratings and a companion way. This would be closer to the original ship layout.

 

So off came the grating and the hole in the deck was altered to take the new fittings. This was going to involve some filling in the deck necessitating some additional beams for support. The new beams would have to be propped near the centre line.

 

The first photo shows the exposed hole in the deck extended fore and aft. It also shows the first new beam being fitted. The light coloured beam was an original exposed in the process.

 

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The next photo shows all the new beams in place. The left three support a new grating, the right three the companion way and its associated grating. The props for the beams can just be made out. The beams either side of the companion way have props positioned to match the real ship. Also on view are the new gratings sat on the deck. These were carved out of the removed grating.

 

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Photo three shows the gratings temporarily placed in their final position to check their fit and to make sure that the sat down neatly on the beams leaving no gaps.

 

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Edited by ianmajor
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The next stage was to fill in that part of the hole not covered by the new gratings. A layer of basewood planks 1.5mm thick were used.

 

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Again I made sure the new gratings would still sit properly.

 

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Then came construction of the companion way ladder. The photo show the completed companion way waiting to be fitted in to the hole in the deck. The stantions were meant to go along the waist of the ship but I am replacing them with hammock cranes. At the front of the picture is the jig I made to assemble the ladder. Dafi gives some good words and photos on this subject at http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/445-companion-ladders-advise-needed-please/

 

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Edited by ianmajor
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The companion way was then fitted permanently in the hole in the deck. I cut some 1.5mm walnut sheets in to planks to make partners for the drum head. These were fitted between the new gratings covering the rest of the base wood. I used one piece of deck planking under the front of these as packing so that they sat horizontally (the deck slops down at this point). Then I put replacement deck planking around these too complete the repair.  

 

The next photo shows this work completed with the drum head in its new position. Behind the wheel is standing temporarily in place.

 

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The next view is the whole ship in its current state. I have done some work around the heads area including adding seats of leisure - the dock yard workers now have somewhere to sit whilst they read their daily papers. :)

 

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Edited by ianmajor
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And now for my Homer Simpson moment.

 

I was inspired to build this deck cluster after seeing BE's Pegasus (http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/332-hms-pegasus-by-blue-ensign-victory-models-enhancing-the-kit-a-build-log-of-sorts/ )  and Chuck's Winchelsea (http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/99-hms-winchelsea-by-chuck-1764-english-32-gun-frigate-pob-164/) where you will see similar deck grouping. It was after I completed the work that I had a closer look at the Lymm plans at NMM. The two Lymm class frigates had this cluster the other way around ie the companion way was next to the wheel. 

 

As that great yellow man would say - Doh!

 

Ian M.

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I am now looking at the waist area of the ship. The Lymm class frigates were far more open in this area than the kit represents. So I feel some major surgery coming on. The advantage will be that it will be nearer to the original, plus I will be in a position to model some chain pumps and oven. Looking forward to that.

 

If it goes wrong I may be producing a lot of firewood!

Edited by ianmajor
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Hi Ian,

 

I believe we corresponded on the old MSW site over the Unicorn. I completed mine just last year in the record time (I thought) of 15 years. You have out-paced me, so I have read from your build log.

 

I remember buying this kit because of the fact that it was a frigate. I learned early on that it was not an accurate model and the description given by Corel was way off. However, it was a frigate and I charged ahead. Reading what little research I did, I made some minor modifications regarding the smaller calibre guns on the quarterdeck, and re-arranging some of the deck furniture and fittings. I also fitted some proper pin racks at the bases of the masts. I used John MacKay's book on the Pandora to help me with some of the details. It was good fun and I enjoyed the build. You are certainly doing your homework and will have a much more accurate Unicorn than I have.

 

There are some completed model photos in the gallery if you care to take a look.

 

Good luck with your build and I'll be sure to check on your progress from time to time.

 

Cheers,

 

Peter

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Peter,

 

Thank you for your encouragement. Indeed your build log in MSW 1.0 was the very thing that caused me to look at how I could improve my work and model (I started by buying Petersson's book). If I may be cheeky I will probably send the odd PM to you to seek advice.

 

A thing about spending as long as I have on a model is that one's skills change greatly over that period of time, either for better or worse. The appearance of variation in quality between the older and newer parts is inevitable.

 

However, after the next phase where I am going to open up the waist area, I may have to rename it "The Wreck of the Hesperus" if it goes horribly wrong! :)

 

Ian M.   

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I have been preparing plans for the major surgery. Attached are some photographs with paper cut outs from the plans placed on the model to indicate the proposed new waist shape. I took the detail from Chuck's Winchelsea plans scaled down to 1:75 then slightly foreshortened (Unicorn was a smaller ship). These were altered with real cut and paste involving paper, scissors and glue. Hope Chuck doesn't mind my doing this - don't want to get into his bad books! :)

 

I post these now to invite any comment or views you may have - other than my insanity which is a given. :)

 

The cut lines will follow existing planking edges.

 

Two areas of concern.

 

1) From the second photo you will note the main mast will be moved forward by about half its diameter. In its original position and with chain pumps added it would crowd into the new companion way. Currently the leading shrouds would line up with the vertical centre of the mast. The new position would line them up with a tangent across the rear of the mast. I have seen plans with both of these alignments. This would be offset somewhat by a backwards rake of the mast by a few degrees as per the prototype.

 

2) The wider waist could put the plywood deck supports on view. They will need some work.

 

Photo 1 the current waist area.

 

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Photo 2 shows a cut out from the plan showing the proposed new waist.

 

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Photo 3 shows how the whole deck area would look with new shape waist. (This photo features my right foot since I stood on one of our chairs to take it. :) )

 

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Any comment or suggestions would be appreciated.

 

In the meantime I need to make some more deck fittings.

 

Ian M.   

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  • 1 month later...

ZyXuz, thanks for your kind words. The Coral kit makes a very nice model if built as per the instructions but I am always changing things.  :)

 

I am hoping to put my next update in a few weeks time - when I have finished decorating the living room. :( .

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Hi Ian

 

Thanks for your greeting.

 

Thought you might like to see a picture of my version of HMS Unicorn. It was built in the 90's I canot remember exactly when and was my 2nd POB model. At the time there was no internet (for me that is) so I was not aware of the general interest in model ships and was also unaware of the amount of research data available. So unlike you and others I did no research and just built the kit as it came.

 

Danny Page

 

 

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Danny, Thanks for demonstrating my point that the kit makes up to a lovely model if built exactly as per the instructions. :) You have produced a fine piece of work there. 

 

One area I would like to compare notes with you and that is around the stern and galleries. My kit was one of the first batch produced by Corel. The decorative moldings above and below the galleries were too big so I cut them down to fit. Latterly I have come to the conclusion that the wooden parts for the gallery were actually too small. Looking at builds made from later batches of the kit the moldings appear to fit OK suggesting that this has been corrected by Coral.

 

Could I be cheeky and ask you to publish some close up photos of your model around the stern, galleries and moldings.  ;) I think they would be very helpful to all builders of the Unicorn.

 

Do you have a build log for your Bounty? Have you seen the "Fateful Voyage" website at http://www.fatefulvoyage.com/index.html ? It has a lot of information on the Bounty, its crew and the mutiny.

 

 

 

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Hi Ian,

 

I struggled with the decoration around the quarter galleries as well. I could not figure out how to attach the lower mouldings to the model. I had them all painted and when it came time to attach them, I was left scratching my head.

 

I took the easy way out and simply left them off the model. Not too creative, I must admit, but effective! It didn't seem to detract from the model overall.

 

I'll be interested to see what your solution ends up being. Good luck!

 

Peter

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Hi Ian

 

I also had problems with the galleries on my Unicorn. I seem to remember that the skins did not fit very well  so I made some new ones.

Unfortunately I couldn't match the colour to the rest of the timber so if you look at the port gallery in my photograph you will see it has been painted a darker brown (there were fewer shades of paint available when I built it).

I also seem to remember the decorations on the top and bottom of the galleries did not fit very well either.

Anyway I will take some more close up photographs for you.

 

I have just today received my 2nd Bounty kit and intend to start a build log. I do have a fair number of photographs of my previous build  some of which are in the gallery but they are not detailed enough to form  a proper build log.

I have taken a first look at the Bounty web site you mentioned and it looks both interesting and useful. Thanks for the tip.

 

Danny

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Hamilton,

Thanks for your kind words. I have been keeping an eye on your Blandford/Greyhound build. You have had some big challenges on that kit which would make many give up. My Unicorn had a problem with some of the bulkheads. A couple of them extended below the bottom of the keel if their tops were lined up with the deck. I had to do a lot of bulkhead shaping. Not sure if this error was corrected in latter batches of the kit.


Danny,

 

Thanks for the photos. It looks like your galleries are wider than mine. If I interpret your photos correctly you seem to have added additional wooden support behind the decoration. If my eyes don't deceive me you have also added a tiller on the top of the rudder which is not part of the kit.


Peter,

 

Thanks for your input. When I can clear some of the decorating clutter so that I can get the ship out of storage I will take some corresponding pictures around my Unicorn stern for comparison with Danny's photos. I put this detail on 20 years or more ago and am not happy with it.

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Have taken some comparison photos around the gallery and transom. As I suspected the galleries as per the kit are too narrow. I have merged Danny's photos with mine to show the comparison. First is the rear view of the gallery where you can see that Danny has produced a wider gallery whereas mine is as per the kit. From this angle my galleries are so thin as to be just about hidden. 

 

 

post-78-0-88768600-1369831728_thumb.jpg

 

The result is that on Danny's he has been able to put the full decoration in place whereas I had to carve the decorations down to fit producing a rather bald look. I could probably improve this by putting decorative strip along the joins. I managed to plank around this area using the mahogany supplied in the kit but it was the Devil's own job since it was very prone to splitting on pieces this small.

 

post-78-0-08108700-1369831901_thumb.jpg

 

To hide the gaps produced underneath I used Squadron Green putty. This will paint over OK.

 

post-78-0-80278700-1369831904_thumb.jpg

 

The transom comes in one piece with the kit which I now know is too narrow. The picture shows the stern of my Unicorn. I have put an arrow to indicate where the bulwark line is (as can be just made out through the windows). It is my view that the bulwarks should have lined up with the space between the outer two windows on both sides.  

 

post-78-0-31892200-1369831903_thumb.jpg

 

I don't think I can correct this without doing a severe wrecking job so will have to do a cosmetic job. If I was doing this again I would make the galleries wider by about 3mm and I probably would leave the lower decoration off as per Peter's build.  

 

  

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi Ian, hope you are doing well.

 

I ended up getting the AOTS Pandora book as well as Gardiner's "The Sailing Frigate - A History in Ship Models" (both very nice books).  Not to add more fuel to the fire, but I am firmly convinced that you are correct that the waist of the Corel kit is inaccurate.  Looking at the Pandora and the comparable ships in the Gardiner book, the waist area is completely open.  I have a feeling that I will build my Unicorn that way as well, in particular so that I can add small boats to the model which I think would be accurate (if I remember correctly from my quick read last night, the Pandora had four small boats stowed in the waist area).

 

Interestingly, the Gardiner book devotes quite a bit of space to discussing the Unicorn and the Lyme although no models of those ships were shown in the book (the book uses NMM models as depictions).  They were apparently somewhat transformative for sailing ship design, and I think Gardiner calls them the first true frigates or something to that effect.

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