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USN Anchor Hoy 1819 by Don Meadows Very small - Finishedscale

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I am determined to see this to some sort of completion.  I have modeled now for 30 years however this is my first ever wooden ship from scratch.


I choose the Anchor Hoy for a few reasons. 1. Looks Strange. 2. Easy to Build, (I hope.) 3. This little ship has more meaning than just being a ship.  Think about it. All the Clippers, Men-O-War, Whalers all rely on the unsung small boats that day in and day out did and still do most of the work. 4. I wanted to see if a quality model can be made in small scale. I have seen in kit instructions and other places where something is "too small to be considered do-able."


I also wanted this project to show that a nice looking wooden ship model can be produced for under $50.


I am using the plans from AMERICAN SHIP MODELS AND HOW TO BUILD THEM.  I began by transferring the profile and station lines to tracing paper and the n using transfer paper, I drew the lines for the hull on a 8"X6"X2" basswood block.  The station lines were drawn on thick plastic stock and cut using a #11 Blade.


With the lines drawn I sawed the profile on my small band saw. Once that was done I remarked the station lines and carved and sanded the hull to shape using the plastic templates I made.


Careful if you are building tiny models. One little slip of the file or even sandpaper means lots of "Do it Again."


I attempted to add the Keel, Stem and Rudderpost using thin bass wood. Well that was a disaster as the thin weak wood went to pieces if you looked at it wrong.  I tried about every wood I had, but it either broke to easy or I could not bring myself to painting fine wood.  So, I have used plastic card for the stem, and keel.  Not my favorite option, but now I have some strength in this important part.

I now used the same thin basswood sheet to make the deck.  Boy did I sweat this one!  I drew the deck out and then scribed the lines.  Holy Cow! That process took forever and by the end I was exhausted.  I looked at my work and went "I sure did a great job. Too bad you can't see the lines.  So I read through the forums and consulted books on how to make the lines visible and accurate. In a moment of "Oh well what have I got lose," I sprinkled Vallejo Burnt Umber Pigment on the deck and rubbed it in.  Hoping against hope I brushed the excess off and then with 0000 steel wool rubbed out the rest. I was very impressed.  As this is a working vessel doing work with greasy chains, mud, tar, and whatever else I made the deck used and dirty. I then went over the entire with three light coats of Danish Oil which was then buffed with the same 0000 steel wool.


I made hatch covers and coming in basswood and they look 100% US Grade A Terrible. So they had to go and will be replaced by hatches of plastic card. The companion way is made of reclaimed cherry, and still needs a bit of detailing done.  The transom and support knees are right from the plans and made of basswood and card.


The one thing I most dreaded were the low Bulwarks.  I cut my 2mm strips of basswood and boiled those for 5 minutes. I then wrapped them around a can and secured them with rubber bands.  When dry I was surprised that they fit perfectly and glued in with not one bit of trouble.


I have given the hull a Yellow Ochre coat to find any flaws.  Oh and I found a bunch that need some attention.


So, onward I march.  More later shipmates.




Author of OF ICE AND STEEL and EPITAPH                  









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Hello Shipmates!


Been a busy man the past week.  I have a carved whale to get done (Sperm Whale,)  three pieces of scrimshaw to get pictures of for the gallery, and another magazine article.


However I am having such a hoot with this little boat!  This is nothing compared to the outstanding work I see on here! You Ladies and Gents are some top shelf sons and daughters of Neptune!


OK here is what I have done.  I have the paint just about the way I want. Still more weathering I want to do since this was a working vessel.  I fitted the Anchor Cat.  I have the anchor primed and ready to finish painting. Tonight I finished both capstans.  Tons left to do, but she is starting to take shape. Also have the jib boom in place for a fitting.


Thanks for all the nice comments. Hey but if you see any gross errors let me know.






Oh and I am using oak, bass, and cherry, and a pop sickle stick or two.









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Hey Shipmates!


Got some more stuff done on the ole Hoy.


Built and installed the pumps. Now I do not know if these are the correct size.  I can't find a lot of really detailed stuff about this boat.


Got the Cat heads installed. Now that was fun......not. they have to fit in 3 planes.  Carved the little tiny tiller. I imagine this was removed when not in use as it is in the way of everything. Both capstans are installed.  Several of the very tiny cleats have been carved and put in place.


Now who forgot to tell me how much fun making 1.5 and 1mm single blocks can be? Thought I was gonna loose my mind.  I tried every material including fossil mammoth ivory. Nothing would work. It was so small the drill bit would shatter whatever I was trying to do. So in one of those "What the heck" moments, I soaked a sliver of cherry wood in that thin CA. After a bit of drying the cherry was hard as a rock. I was able to do a decent job making the large block for the anchor tackle and the smaller single block for the jib boom outhaul gun tackle.


I have the main mast turned, and carved.  I am saving the top rail for later in the build as my clumsy fingers will need to get in there from time to time.


This is not of museum piece but for a first try, I am happy with the way it is looking.


Any one know of away to make very tiny blocks please let me know.


Thanks Shipys!!       










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Peter Baker R.I.P a noted miniaturist showed me how he made his blocks at Manitowoc years ago.  Basically he would take a strip of boxwood and cut it into a strip a little larger then the block.  He would then shape it and drill a hole with a #80 drill bit.  He would then remove the block and finish it.

David B

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CD - Very nice model!!


You've gone where I could not make progress last year. I started the Anchor Hoy in 1:48, POB and thru a combination of losing interest and running into problems forming the planking, I put it all aside. If you do a search, you'll find my posts on MSW.


I can see you are using the same plans that I was using that I scaled up to 1:48. At least, my anchor came out nicely and maybe someday I'll get back to this project.


Good luck with finishing your hoy!



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Ole Chief doin' the happy dance!!!  Yepers, I found a way to make blocks, molding, and just about anything in just about any scale and in just about any material.


If this is old news then please forgive.  Just for the record: This was not my idea, but I sure wish it had been!  Found a fella building a scratch HMS VICTORY and he described using a scraper to form all sorts of things for his model. So I went to the hobby store, pent $3.16 on a bit of aluminum and proceeded to use my jewelers saw to make the cuts needed to make the scraper for making a molding, and the tiny blocks I needed.


A bit of trial and error but suddenly BAM!  I got me some blocks now!! Used a #80 drill to make the hole, and did final shaping with a needle file before cutting it off. The grooves are perfect!  The molding turned out great and will be used in a later project.


I was so happy I decided to execute my first ever rigging of scratch built ship with scratch built blocks.  Wow this thing is tiny!I rigged the jib boom. Took a while but I am happy with it 


Looking at the pictures I see I have a lot of clean up to do. I want the boat to look used and some abused, but I might have overdone it.  No worries. Lots of touch ups to get done as soon as I can keep my big meat hooks off the thing. 


Oh if any of you out there are wondering about scratch building vs kit, I recommend you find you a subject that you think in your present skill level and scratch build. No matter how it turns out, do it!  We are not really looking for a museum model, for that matter you can take this one and hide it later. the purpose of this scratch build is you will find you have skill you did not even think you had.  Once complete, and no matter how it looks you will look at that kit and maybe giggle a bit, because you have now armed yourself with the skill and confidence that will make that kit a real breeze and joy to build.


Have fun shipmates! Keep a zero bubble!














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Congratulations. However Mark is correct in that a hacksaw blade will last a lot longer. Use a cutoff wheel to get most of the shape then a set of diamond files to finsh and you are ready to go.

David B

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello again Shipmates!


Wow been a building on my little bitty boat every night for at least 4 hours.  So far about 80 hours. Getting closer though!. Since we had our last GAM (Whaling Term for a meeting of two whalers at sea,) I have made and installed the boom rest on the Spenser Mast and stepped the Mast. Doublings and top mast are made and installed. My Anchor Handing gear is also rigged but not tightened yet.


I have made and catted the little boats own anchors.  Railings are installed. About 10 cleats still need to be made not counting those on the boom.


Gosh I also have made some coils for the rigging and gear thus installed.  I have installed temp belaying pins. I am working on the scraper idea to make the pins. A hacksaw blade with a profile cut into it and held against a rotating bit of stock.  So far cherry wood  flies into a billion slivers. Bass wood turns into a fuzz ball. Next I will see what brass does.


The use of surgical sutures works pretty good. It also has the advantage in this small scale of being realistically rope laid.


I want to add an anchor buoy but I cannot find a ref. to tell me what color they might be. If anyone has the 411 please help me out. I want to put a buoy on my Hoy. :P



In other news.  It was on this date in 1986 that the submarine I was on USS RAY SSN 653 and two other submarines surfaced together at the North Pole. First time ever in history.  











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Hello Chief Don,


Just caught up on your build, very, very nice.  Love the detail at this small scale, it works!!


If you like submarines then check by build log of my father's sub.  Link below my signature.



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Hey Shippys!


I can not begin to tell you the joy this little model has brought me. This time last year it was doubtful I would even be around. However things are looking up some.


When I pulled on the tiny gaff topping lift and it rose into place, nothing in the world could have been more thrilling.  For a second I was there on the Anchor Hoy early on a brisk fall morning setting sail to resupply the warships all around Norfolk.


I am sad that this build is nearing an end. The challenges, setbacks, discoveries, everything has just been beyond words.


All the spars are installed and 1/2 the rigging is in place. I even made a barrel to give it that extra touch.  Next is to rig the jib and finish the stays.


I have wrestled again and again with the idea of putting sails on the little beast. Not sure if I will or not.  Thanks you all for your support of this effort.


Going Deep!!












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DTG 20140514 2256R

To:  All Hands Model Ship World 2.0

From:  MMC/SS Don Meadows USN Ret.




I am so pleased to report completion of my first ever wooden ship and scratch build.  Many of you on this site knowingly or not knowingly helped just like shipmates do.


I made my flag based on discussions here, matter of fact just about everything I learned on here. The idea here was our little Hoy is multitasking,  she is out tending anchors, while supplying warships at anchor in Hampton Rhoades. She is dirty, and worn, however her crew are proud and do what they can with what they can to make her look as good as possible.  The symbol of my rank as a Chief Petty Officer was a fouled anchor, and this little ship though a non combatant did her duty as is in the finest traditions of the United States Navy. I am as proud of what she stands for as I am of the fact I built her. 


I am feeling so confident after this I will now build the entire Spanish Armada out of Macaroni, blades of grass and Unicorn tears.


Thanks Again all!!













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Wow congratulations Chief!


That looks truly incredible and is even more impressive when I really understand the size!  I am so glad you are proud as you really should be.


I can't wait to see your next adventure  :)

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