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HMS Vanguard by RMC - FINISHED - Amati/Victory Models - scale 1:72

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Hi RMC, it's my first look through your log but it won't be my last.  I'm absolutely mesmerized at the detail and quality of your work, it's fantastic and you should be justifiably proud.  The log is so detailed it provides an invaluable reference tool for us mere humans who are just muddling along.  Thank you.

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Hi RMC – I think I saw that you're Bob – Cal here. I've just found your log for this HMS Vanguard build and I'm impressed both by the detail in the log and by the detail in your model!

I'm just getting underway with this kit having completed Jotika's HMS Badger, HMS Diana, Victory Models HMS Fly and the Pannart Armed Pinnace.

I'll certainly be referring to the early parts of your log as I go along. 

Having been building POB kits for about 10 years (and, I believe, having learnt alot about how to get things looking right) I began this kit with the intention of scratch constructing the lower part of the hull Admiralty-style with exposed frames rather than planking the hull. But after 4 months work I decided to abandon that plan. It was a really steep learning curve that gave me much respect for the modellers of today and yesteryear that built such models – the need to build up sandwiched frames with the frame joints running in a smooth curve through the length of the hull, coupled to the need to build-in the fairing necessary to follow the lines of the hull was what defeated me. It looked far from perfect – and I always aim for that as far as I can.

So it's back to the shipyard to begin again with the POB route (sadly). 

I'm as yet undecided whether to build this model (which I aim to build as the Billy Ruffin) with stub masts (the first time I've done that, the earlier four being fully rigged) rather than fully rigged as you have and maybe I'll add furled sails to the yards.

Good luck with yours as you move toward completion. Do you have an idea of when you'll finally finish?



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Thanks Cal for your comment. I think this is probably the last fully rigged ship I will do (of course I may change my mind).  I really enjoyed the construction of the hull and all the other bits and pieces, but at the moment at least, I'm over rigging, though I guess I will finish it.  But please don't let me discourage you from doing the full rigging thing.  It's certainly worth the effort, and you learn a lot.   I was originally hoping to build the new Bellona after this, but there is no sign at the moment that Amati will market it any time soon.  If they eventually do, stub masts are probably the way I will go.  Perhaps oddly, in view of many of the posts on this website, I have never had the urge to build a Victory.


If things go reasonably well, I should have finished Vanguard before the end of the year.  I will be going away for 5 or 6 weeks from the end of August, so things may change.


Aside from this I spend a lot of time away from home to our place on the south coast of NSW and taking any of the Vanguard with me to work on in its current almost complete state now isn't possible, so progress is a little slow at the moment.  In fact when/if  it's finished I don't really know what do with the damn thing.  Now I'm looking for something fairly simple to take away with me to keep me off the golf course.:)

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Hi again,

Thanks for your prompt reply – just before bed-time I guess! 

I too wanted to build Bellona – I have the AOTS book for her. And I had thought to build it from scratch. I started lofting the frames and everything. Then I put myself off, thinking of all the things I'd have to do from scratch that we take for granted with a kit (the stern carvings etc). So I resolved that kit bashing was more up my street. (Like you, I'm guessing – I'm semi-retired and am only prepared to push the envelope so far from what I enjoy doing best.) Then as I said, the difficulties with the frames for Vanguard/ Bellerophon has further made me retreat to a simpler modelling life.

If Amati ever do release Bellona – or if Jotika ever releases their planned 74, I may well make one of those... but that might necessitate adding a ship models 'wing' to the house first!

Enjoy the rest of your build, I'll follow with interest.

I haven't decided whether I'll publish a build log yet – I too lost my log, of HMS Dianna, with the forum crash.

All the best, Cal


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I think I have come across a minor error in the belaying plan - at least that's how I will treat it. The spritsail yard brace and the spritsail topsail yard brace are belayed at 78 and 77, respectively.



here are the belaying points shown below.


The spritsail topsail yard brace goes through the outside hole of the double block on its way to the belaying point; the other brace goes through the inside hole - see below  (or course this may be wrong - but it's too late now:().


This way, when both are tied off, the two lines would foul each other. The line from the outside hole (77) would cross the line through the inside hole (78).  This does not seem to me to be an especially good idea.



If there is a reason for this please let me know - otherwise I will transpose the belaying points.






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Unfortunately I had the same thought :huh:. (There are others too (85) and many of the make-off points are doubled).  There are a couple of lines made off to midpoints on the timberhead in the same way (eg: 56a). At the moment I have made then off neatly, but have left sufficient line left to make coils. However the timberhead is already crowded.  I think I will probably end up not making coils and leaving the lines made off as they are, leaving their ends to disappear into the confusion.   I will probably do the same thing with 78 and its fellows. I will post some photos to clarify all of this as soon as I can.  We have heavy rain forecast and I have to get 2 tonnes of mulch under cover before it gets washed away.:(


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Making off the various lines around the foredeck is now almost  finished. The lines made off to the timberhead are complete. As I wrote in my previous post I have left a couple of lines to magically disappear. The timberhead is crowded enough and I have again convinced myself that less is more.



Whoops - I just discovered that I deleted the view of the timberhead towards the bow. I will post another photo later.


The blocks for the bunt and leech lines were a bit of a problem. The lines are supposed to be threaded through the blocks with tack toggles on the end of the line. This I duly did - for the first one. Here is. the toggle.




However when threaded though the block and through all the other rigging blocks (a small nightmare), the block on the yard refused to seat properly because the toggle protruded too much.  Re-rigging it didn't bear thinking about so I left it, doing a bit of ex post adjustment with some subtle^_^ use of glue.  If you look closely you may see the toggle - at least it's better positioned than it was.  For the rest I used a simple knot instead of the toggle.



The lines made off to the forecastle rail really are a problem. By my count there are 16 (8x2) to be somehow accommodated. (See the rigging plan in a previous post, above.)  So far ten have been completed.  Remaining are 80, 81 and 85. These all lead from the main yards.  The following photos will show how the ten have been dealt with, and provide an indication of how the remaining lines will be made off.  Lines 80 and 81 will go to the relevant support timbers  and the coils will go in the same way as 78 (you have your answer Arthur:D). Line 85 is still a problem, but I think the coil may be fitted next to the outside support timbers. I have no idea if all of this is 'authentic' but at least it's neat - and, after all - it is only a model.










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line Making-off and coiling lines is proceeding slowly.  I have belatedly come across another small, unpleasant surprise. For line 72, a block is required at the foot of the foremast.  Access is difficult at this stage and for those who may also be caught out, here is a method of solving the problem.


Long lines are secured around the block with two overhand knots leaving one that may be gradually pulled shorter.  The alligator clips are very useful.  Shown is the smallest size I could find.


Tied off.....



.. lines pulled tight ...


...and excess trimmed. It worked quite well, though trimming the threads proved difficult and could have been better.  Fortunately the small bits of thread remaining will be on the bottom of the block when the line is finally secured.



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The anchors mad a nice transportable  project to take away with me. They proved far more time-consuming than I expected.


First, the two halves of the anchor stock must be glued together (top) .  Once glued, the stock must be sanded back to produce the shape shown (bottom). I used 80 glass paper to do most of the sanding, then 400 to finish.  Incidentally a nice join between two pieces of wood may be obtained by a coat of polyurethane, immediately wiped off with some absorbent paper, then snded while wet with 240 paper.  The dust goes into the cervices very nicely. When dry the whole thing may be finally sanded. Once all of this is done, a couple off coats of poly were applied and the 'iron' bands glued on




It turned out that the holes in the stocks provided for the anchors were too large.  Rather than use a wood filler (matching the wood is sometimes difficult), I used some of the walnut from which the stock was made. You can still see it, but the finish is not too bad.



This is how they have turned out.


As an experiment I had trialled the rope-walk provided in the kit using some scrap thread.  The three strands were first tied off at the end (you may just see the fine dark brown thread) and each strand pulled taught through the knot.  Then following directions, the three threads were rotated clockwise, eventually leaving what looked to be a reasonably respectable piece of rope.  Putting dilute PVA on each end and weighting one end while keeping the stuff from unravelling, I then left it overnight. Unfortunately once I removed the weight the next morning, most of it did begin to unravel as you may see.:angry: I had been temped before leaving it overnight to brush the whole lot with very dilute PVA as a preventative, but  this may cause problems when fitting the ropes to the anchors.


Advice is welcome.





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I have had another look at the belaying points for the main course buntlines and leechlines. The plan is a bit ambiguous. Lines 64, 65 and 66  point towards the poop deck barricade.




However a closer look shows the belaying points on the quarterdeck barricade in front of the main mast - not the poop in the rear as I had originally thought (and not as Petersson shows on the bitts).  Moreover the instruction book (p.23) shows the quarterdeck barricade assembly pointing at the forecastle rail which certainly doesn't help (I didn't think to take a photo of this).

Here is the quarterdeck barricade showing the belaying points.




I will see how this works out as the bitts behind the main mast are already crowded and adding another six lines would make it absurdly crowded.  The quarterdeck barricade is shown here in front of the mast.) This is how the bitts look now - all the lines that should be belayed there are now finished off.  I am not especially happy with the result, but it's adequate. A close look will show that I have cheated a bit on the rope coils - there are fewer coils than there are lines.  With all the other things going on around it I'm hoping no one will notice - and I'm not going to say anything.^_^ (I now see from the photos a couple of things need to be tidied up - unfortunately the photos show every fault.)






PS: If anyone has some advice regarding the unravelling of the thread mentioned in my previous post, please reply.

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You can put it back on the ropewalk, put it under tension and turn in the opposite direction. This should take the twist out of the stands and cause the rope to unravel.


It looks to me as if you did not put enough twist in the strands before allowing them to twist together to form the rope. I assume there was some sort of 'top' involved in the process. If you go to the articles database, in the rigging and sails section, have a look at the article titled 'making a ropewalk', this may help. The Frolich style ropewalk is slightly different, so start with the first article.


Basically as you apply twist to the strands they want to untwist. They do this at the other end by twisting together to form the rope. The top makes sure they do this tightly. As they do this you have to keep twisting the strands to ensure they have the same amount of twist throughout the length of the rope.



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Some progress has been made on the buntlines and leech lines. Tying them off on the quarterdeck barricade seems to be correct - though it is a very awkward job. Including time for a few silly mistakes, it took most of a day to do. Here are some photos.  Now I have to figure out how to do the rope coils for the lines.













While on rope coils (not my strongest suite), using the nozzle from a sealant gun works well.  They are nicely tapered and PVA doesn't stick.




This is how some of them turned out.




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Nigel: I think you may have misunderstood my post.  I used the plastic nozzle (or whatever it is made of) rather than the hardened sealer. It works well.


Thanks for taking the time to 'like' and to comment.  It's always appreciated.

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I need to go to Specsavers as the advert says in the UK!!  I think the reason why I thought the silicone would be useful was that it would have a bit of 'give' and allow the rope to grip a little better.  I'll definitely look a little closer next time.



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I do not know if you have had another attempt at rope making. While tidying up some folders I found this picture of a front cover of a book, which I had saved sometime ago and forgotten about. I thought it might be of use to you as it nicely illustrates a couple of items.


First the simple paddle at the bottom right; used as a top. I often use one of these, it can be easily made from wood or thick cardboard. The advantage of wood is that it can be rounded, sanded smooth and varnished. You then just walk this along the ropewalk as the rope formed. Though if it is manual you will need someone else to turn the handle.


Secondly, the looper, shown across the top of the page. Starting on the left, this has a hook to retain the strands from which the rope is being made. Then a device to allow the rope to twist and form. This can be the fishing ball bearing twister mentioned in the article I refer to. Then a sheave to allow the twister to move freely as the rope forms. finally a weight to apply some tension to the rope. I think the advantage of this last part is it is easy to convert this into a tackle to reduce the rise and fall of the weight as the rope forms. This makes it easier to form longer sections of rope.


Do continue with rope making. Once you get it, it is great fun and very satisfying to rig with your own rope.



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Glen -  thanks for taking the trouble to show the rope machine. Sorry for my delay in replying. I've been away for a few days. However  I took my rope experiment with me. I saturated the 'rope'(shown earlier) with water, twisted it again, left it for an hour,  dried it with my wife's hair drier (for my hair it's more a search party), then, having clamped it at both ends, left it overnight under slight tension.  Joy.:)


I'm almost finished with the Vanguard - I hope - and I will give the rope making a try if I need to make some longer stuff.

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The bunt lines and leech lines have finally been done. Installing the rope coils has been one of the most awkward jobs of the build. Access is very difficult, and the thread I used refused to behave.  There was some gnashing of teeth. I would definitely not like to do this again.


The photos exaggerate the shortcomings (the diameter of the coils is about 4mm) - in the flesh they are quite acceptable, and since they photos were taken I have made a couple of small adjustments to them.






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 For those like me who now find themselves rigging in difficult places, perhaps the following may help, though I am sure I am not showing most people anything new.  There are probably better ways of going about things, but these work, and the results are acceptable. 


Following the plan sequence, I tied most of the lines to the various yards before mounting them, but in later plans (10 and 11), there are some nasty little surprises.  One is the need to tie lines to the fragile main topgallant yard. Shown is the smallest alligator clip I could find



An overhand knot with a couple of extra loops is tied above the clip, and the line is pulled through the knot until the loop is tight against the yard. A little dilute PVA on the knot, then trim.




A variation on the theme is used for attaching blocks. to one of the other nasty surprises. The block is tied with an overhand knot with an extra loop.  One end of the knot has a dab of PVA and is then cut off. The other remains to be tied around the line to be looped in this case around the main preventer stay.


















This is how things look at the moment. The sheets, cluelines and tacks are fitted, though not finally tied off.













I hope to finish these in the next few days and then it's to the braces ....

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The rigging of the foremast yards is complete ... as far as I can tell. Here are some photos of the braces and associated bits and pieces. I have tried to show as much detail as possible, as the plans are a little vague in some respects.


(Incidentally, the way the website is shown appears to depend on the browser that is used. I found it was not possible to load photos using Firefox (though the photo showed up as having loaded). I ended up using the Microsoft browser which among other things, doesn't show the progress of the loading process - Firefox does:huh:.)


First are topgallant braces: the lines are tied to the stays with clove hitches.DSCN2230.thumb.JPG.811824ace4fcd158bc8da2e2917cbec6.JPG








Next are the foreyard and foretopsail yard braces. Things are rather crowded, and it was difficult to get a shot which showed the arrangement of the lines and blocks well.  These are the best I could do.   Though awkward, the whole rigging process for the braces was a little easier than I expected.












and this is how they all look.




If nothing else, the photo below gives an idea of how complicated is the whole business.


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If I expected the rigging for the mizzen yards to be a little less complicated the yards for the fore and main, then I would have been sadly disappointed.  It is of course every bit as intricate  with the usual degree of awkwardness.


Here are the belaying points. Those marked in red were originally omitted from the plans and subsequently added by the designer, Chris Watton.  I have no idea what the oval marked 28 is supposed to be. There is nothing on the plans that I can find, though as I can rarely find anything, perhaps this is hardly surprising.  As usual many of the belaying points are doubled up.




Then there is an added complication.  The braces for the main yard are shown below as apparently belayed at 89 - on the side of the hull. Point 89 shown above however is on a post on the deck. Unless something else shows up, I will ignore the belaying point on the post.





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Being a long time silent admirer of your Vanguard build I'm glad to offer some small help about the main braces.

The plans are correct but not easy to read. According to James Lees 'The Masting and Rigging of English Ships of War' the standing part of the brace is made fast to the side of the ship by an eyebolt and the running part runs from the yard back through a sheave in the side of the ship to a cleat (or a post) on the inside.

Having just started on my own Bellerophon kit I hope to be able to occasionally shamelessly profit of your excellent build. Thanks and keep up the good work.




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Having more or less completed the rigging of the fore and main masts and yards, I had though the mizzen would be  ..er.. plain sailing.  Alas, it has turned out not to be so.  Avoiding lines fouling each other proved quite difficult - only after some lines were 'finally' tied off was it apparent that they had interfered with others ... It has been two steps forward two steps back. I am quite short-sighted, which in this application is an advantage, so good luck to those who are long-sighted.  I will post some photos in the next day or so, though really it's more of the same (ie: fore and main rigging) so I don't know if this will really help anyone. At least now it seems to be under control and it's time for a drink ... or two ....

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