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Pickle by Blue Ensign - FINISHED - Caldercraft 1.64 scale pob kit

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On the old site there were a few build logs of Pickle which gave insight  into this beginner level kit, but all that has been lost.


I have a build log already done for this fine little model and I will re-post it here for the benefit of those, particularly beginners, who may be interested, and as a contribution to replacing our lost content.


A little background to Pickle


She is best known for carrying to England the bitter sweet news of the crushing defeat of the French / Spanish fleet at Trafalgar coupled with the news that Nelson had died.


The Pickle was a purchased schooner originally named Sting but was renamed in 1802.

Her origin is a little obscure with opinions differing. She is often referred to as a six gun Bermudian schooner, but there are grounds for thinking that she carried eight or even ten carronades given her size, and the corresponding armament of similar sized schooners and cutters etc.


A model in the RNM shows her with 10 carronades, but details in works by Peter Goodwin and Rif Winfield list her with eight carronades.


She is pierced for 14 guns excluding the stern ports, but the forward most two are adjacent to the windlass etc which would make operating carronades more difficult.


She did have a career after Trafalgar and on 3rd January 1807, she captured a French privateer La Favourite of 14 guns off the Lizard.


Eighteen months later, on 28th July 1808, the Pickle was grounded on a shoal as she entered Cadiz harbour, and was wrecked.


The kit


Pickle represented my return to POB kits after an absence of many years, and one I can recommend particularly for those who want to put a toe into this genre of model ship building.


The kit is reasonably priced, the brass etched fittings are of good quality, and there is a good backup from Jotika. The instructions are clear and the kit builds up into an attractive model of a vessel with an interesting link to Nelson and Trafalgar.


Although I didn’t use much of the supplied timber in my particular build, there is nothing wrong with it, and an out of box build will produce a very nice model, of convenient proportions.(it can easily be accommodated in a domestic setting)


One advantage for newcomers to this type of kit is that it is not too bluff in the bows, which makes for easier planking, the rigging is much less complicated than say a ship rigged vessel, yet it provides an introduction to all aspects encountered in larger vessels including the coppering of the lower hull.


The copper adds an attractive dimension to the build, but  the supplied plates are a little over-scale in terms of the number and prominence of the nail heads. Amati in their Victory models range now provide a much better  style of copper plate.


In my build log I have sought to show in some detail the process of putting together this kit, my methods are my way and I don’t put them forward as the definitive approach to pob kit building, but I hope I will at least demonstrate what is involved with Pickle.


First peek at the Box


All the stuff was there, nothing outstanding about the timber, average quality I would say.


The etched stuff


These appear to be of excellent quality.


The provided boats are resin hulls with added wooden and etched fittings.


The brass turned carronades are very nicely turned out but measure only 13.36mm overall length.

Assembly of these will provide a stern test of patience.


I will cover all the aspects of assembly of this kit but in a rather more concise way than my original  log.

I started the kit in February 2010 and it was completed in November of that year, so not a project that will tie anyone up for too long.














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The beginning.


The bulkheads fit nicely on the keel and on the  shot I have marked the Bearding line, ready for tapering.



I note that the last two bulkheads extend over the bearding line and it strikes me that too much tapering will cause the bulkheads to have a loose fit; Hmmn I’ll have to get my head around that one.


So first job to clean up the bulkheads and arrange the building board to ensure a square fit.


Assembly of the keel and bulkheads.


Bearding – what’s all that about:


Before the bulkheads are fitted I need to taper the keel at the stern from the marked bearding line. This is to allow the first planking to sit flush with the stern post and false keel when fitted.


The keel is made up of 5mm four- ply birch, and according to the plan this needs to be reduced to 3mm at the stern post, effectively one layer of ply each side.

I did a little practice run on some scrap birch ply to get the feel of it and found it to be quite soft and easy to pare down using an x-acto chisel blade.


To assist the process I made a Bearding jig, using 4mm square section as a guide.





I have marked where bulkheads seven and eight cross the bearding line.


The jig is double ended and after paring off 1mm each side the 3mm taper should be achieved.


Within the Jotika instructions there is an absence of any reference to the bulkheads crossing the bearding line and guidance as to whether the taper should be done regardless of the bulkheads. If you did do that then presumably the bulkheads would need shimming to stop them flopping about.


Once the first planking is in place on the basis of Jotika’s arithmetic, the keel is back up to 5mm to correspond with the stern post, which allowing for the 1mm thick second planking would suggest that the first planking in that area is feathered to nothing.


Can’t quite see that; in practice I think the difference will be split between the first and second planking.


I have taken the approach to leave the area covered by the bulkheads intact, and taper around them, any final adjustment being made when I bevel the bulkheads. (I hope)



Here the taper has been done except for a little light sanding.


Keels and bulkheads


The Walnut false keel fitted well and was attached without any problems.



The next stage is to attach the bulkheads, these all fitted with a small amount of play.



I decided not to use a jig for bulkhead alignment given there are only nine of them, but starting at the bow fixed each bulkhead progressively, checking the alignment in both vertical and horizontal planes to the keel, using a 3” Engineers precision square.


Once set in place the bulkheads maintained their position due to the quick grab of the glue.


An additional check using electronic calipers verified the alignment each side.



A strip of lime planking was used to check that the bearding taper was sufficient so that the planking lay flush against the keel and the stern post (yet to be fitted)


I decided against cutting a rabbet in the keel to take the garboard plank, I thought it better to leave the maximum surface width to attach the false keel.


The existence or otherwise of the rabbet will not be apparent once the hull is completed.


The framework can now be set aside to dry and once set the false deck can be fixed into place.


The thing with these POB kits is they soon start to take shape, especially the smaller ones. The next stage, bevelling and fairing is likely to take somewhat longer.



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Made a simple base board for the early stages of the build, to hold the keel steady whilst I eyeball it during the hull fairing stages.



The False deck has now been inserted, and the last bulkhead number 9 bevelled for the transom and glued into place. The fit was a little floppy and I inserted some thin stuff to firm it up.


The false deck has to be planked, and this will provide an early refresher for me before I have to do the 'show deck'



The pattern former for the gun port strips is temporarily in place, this allows for the degree of bevel required on the forward frames to be gauged.



The fun can now begin.


I decided the building board needed a few more whistles and bells to hold the model steady both the right way up and when inverted.
This is achieved by the addition of uprights spaced to fit snugly between the bulkheads fore and aft.







Something along these lines is very necessary to hold the model whilst the lie of the planks is checked from every angle for fairing, and when fixing the planks.


My building board is the Beech door off an old bread bin (I wonder when she’ll notice ) and measures a mere 14½” x 6½”, but sufficient for Pickle.


A few off-cuts of wood and small angle brackets the only additional requirements.


Work progresses, the bulkheads are bevelled and balsa bow blocks glued in to provide greater surface area for planking.






The bow blocks are completed and the gunport pattern is trial fitted, having been soaked in water for some thirty minutes.




The pattern is secured with PVA and subsequently the pins removed.




The business of first planking can now begin, but before I do planks will be test fitted to identify any further need for adjustment to the bulkheads.



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Cheers Evan, I think Pickle should be represented on the forum,  and as I have a ready made build log, I am happy to post it here.


First Planking


First planking gets underway not without a little trepidation, but I comfort myself with the thought that none of it will be seen beneath the second planking and coppering, so I have two more bites at the cherry, or two more chances to foul up whichever way you look at it.

In accordance with the Jotika plan I start the planking immediately below the gunport former.

I am thankful that I used bow and stern balsa fillers, not just because they provide additional gluing area, but map pins are easily pushed into balsa to hold the lower plank edges down. The birch ply bulkheads on the other hand are hard as a witch’s tit.




First three planks go on fine, but even the second and third need a touch of tapering at the sharp end, and I can see already that at the forward bulkheads the planks have a wish to go on clinker fashion and very soon the ends will taper to a point if I carry on in this vein.


From the distant past I recall that no plank should be tapered to less than half its width,.


Following the Jotika suggestions of letting planks fall where they may and then trimming accordingly seems arrant nonsense to me, on that basis you may as well use layers of gaffer tape for the first planking and have done with it.


Come to think of it that ain’t a bad idea.


I decided to fit a couple more full tapered planks and then start at the garboard plank and work up the hull to meet it.







Planking  from both ends seems to be working!



The need for stealers becoming apparent


With the first planking I have not gone to the trouble of squaring off the narrow end between the upper and lower planks, a needle point will suffice.



Nearly there.



All done.








So the first planking completed, I can understand that anyone tackling one of these POB kits for the first time may despair at the untidy look at this stage, but fear not; a little bit of sanding, a little bit of filling, and she’ll be as right as nine-pence, smooth as the proverbial to take the next layer. :)





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Sand and fill...


Sand and fill, fill and sand, sand and fill, well that’s the order of the day..

Running my fingers with eyes shut over the sleek lines of Pickle, feeling out any little bumps and depressions, to be marked and attended to, before another round of sand and fill.....

Actually very little filler has been used, I got hold of some stuff called Model Lite which sands very easily, dries quickly, allowing several application/sanding sessions within a short time scale.




For the second planking I have decided to use Boxwood and ebony strip to represent both the Ochre gun port stripe and the hull planking above the waterline. I didn’t have enough suitable old stock boxwood to plank the model but I managed to obtain a supply of 0.6mm strip in various widths that will do the job. The 1x4mm walnut strip will therefore be set aside.



This photo gives an impression of the colour differences between the various wood types.
Apart from any other considerations 0.6mm strip will be easier to fit than 1mm. and the quality of the strip is better than the kit provided stuff.



At this point I have also fitted the stern counter and re-marked the bearding line for the additional tapering to accommodate the second planking.

As I won’t be using the kit provided 1mm stuff the bearding will only eat 0.5mm into the first planking.



0.6 x 4.5mm ebony strip has been used to plank the counter.


Deck planking already?


The lower (false) deck is required to be partly planked as parts of it will be seen thro’ the various hatches etc;

Rather than use the kit provided Tanganyika, I have opted for boxwood.



Caulking is represented by running a black permanent marker along one edge of the plank.


I drew out a little planking plan to gauge where the butts may meet in a three shift pattern, as the feature may be glimpsed thro’ the hatches of the main deck.


I am now ready to start the second run of planking.




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The second planking run


First up are the Black strake and Wale. Jotika specify the line of these two planks, and in order to get an accurate line, pieces of styrene strip of the correct width were temporarily attached to the hull below the gunports as a guide.



Medium viscosity super glue was used to attach the strakes.



Once the first ebony plank is attached, another is glued directly on top of it to form the strake.



It is then a simple matter to glue a further plank directly below it, and laminate it up to three thicknesses to form the Wale.



Below this, to below the waterline, ebony planks will be used, and above the wale, boxwood to form the ochre stripe.



A couple of the ochre (boxwood) planks have been put into place so I can gauge the effect.



At this point I am using scale 20’ planks, mainly because it is more economical with the ebony strip and I am in danger of running short.




Once below the waterline in the area to be covered by the copper plating I will start using boxwood again in the broadest strips I can get away with, hopefully 6mm. This should also help to reduce the tapering effect at the bows.



The planking will now continue to completion.



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A slight setback


Planking has continued, I used 6mm box strip below the waterline to cover the hull more quickly, but five strakes into the planking from the keel I experienced that problem feared by pob builders - a sprung plank.



The problem originates with the first layer of planking and is made obvious when the second layer refuses to lie flat against the hull.

What to do?

First of all I ran some ca down the inside of the hull to strengthen and stabilise the first run of planking; then the second planking strake was cut vertically with a scalpel and opened up to clean out what was beneath. An application of ca and the jobs done.

Better not to have it occur in the first place by close attention to the gluing of the first layer, particularly if it is above the waterline but if it does happen all is not lost.



The gaps requiring stealers can be seen at the stern on this shot and the stern post is now in place.


This is the result of sloppy work, the first planking is secured to the bulkheads and plank edges with PVA, temporarily held in position with pins and clamps. The inside of the hull is then brushed with diluted PVA to assist the bond.

You can't easily use nails because of the subsequent sanding of the hull requirement, and the thinness of the planking material.

The planks tend to spring between the bulkheads when the edge to edge bond is not good; I was obviously too sparing of the glue where it happened.


A case of less haste I think.



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Completion of the second planking


Planking of the Port side is now completed and ready for final finishing.

Here just a small insert, or Spiling plank to go.


Now you see it.



Now you don’t.


To form these Spiling planks I cover the gap with Tamiya tape, cut around it with a scalpel and stick it on the plank as a template for shaping.

Any tiny gaps in the ebony planking will be filled with a mixture of the filler and Admiralty hull black water based paint.

The Upper hull in the line of the Ochre stripe has been planked in box.





The planking has had an initial sand which tends to lighten it, but will I think take on a more ochrery hue when finished and varnished which tends to darken the effect.

I intend to use minimal paint in this build.




The particular ebony planking arrangement is to ensure that above the waterline only ebony planking can be seen.


I have now applied a coat of sanding sealer and the colour contrast is coming out.











Ready now for coppering.



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Before coppering can begin the waterline has to be marked.


A base board is needed to sit the thing upright and held steady.



I construct a sort of Heath Robinson affair to support the model.


A little jig is provided in the kit to elevate the bows to assist the marking of the line which in the case of Pickle does not run parallel to the keel.




An inordinate amount of time is spent trying to ensure that Pickle sit perfectly square.



Not prepared to stick my hand in my pocket for a vernier height gauge (why are they so expensive) I consult Mr Robinson and come up with a carpenters pencil pva’d to a block of balsa with the chisel point the critical 50mm above board level.



Additional bandings are applied to hold the hull down firmly.


Around the hull we go and I am pleased to see that the lines meet at the bow; a little more tricky at the stern as the pencil doesn’t seem to want to go under the transom.



The pencil line was very faint so I go over it with a silver gellyroll pen to make it stand out against the black hull.

Seems I’m just about mm perfect for where the coppering will reach at the bows, and as for the stern I will continue the lines with a suitable curve.


Marking the waterline is one of those critical little jobs that can affect the look of the whole model and fine lined vessels such as schooners with drag at the keel present greater difficulties than larger vessels where the waterline runs more or less parallel with the keel.





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Coppering the hull.


I gave some little thought as to how I was going to do this coppering lark, where to start, how authentic to be, the practicalities of how to apply the bally things, without the plates sticking to me rather than the hull, how to avoid the glue getting all over those nice shiny plates, and lastly how to make those nice shiny plates look less shiny.


Authenticity - The first thing to go.


Strictly speaking on naval ships the copper plates should overlap the plate above it by some 1½”, and overlap the preceding plate by the same. Merchant ships apparently followed the more easily applied method of overlapping the plate below.


This is all of no matter because at smallish scale overlapping plates can look untidy, so on Mr Pickle they will simply be butt jointed, working from the stern forward and the keel up.


How to apply


I will be using thick ca, less run, so hopefully less overspill onto the surface of the plates.


My beautiful assistant Debbie will now demonstrate the procedure.



The thin dowel stick with a piece of double sided tape applied is used to pick up the plate.



The ca is applied with a cocktail stick and the plate directed into position.




An old BiC pencil with a rubber in the end provides a burnishing tool to press the plate against the hull to secure.


No fingers, no tweezers, no mess on the plates, and no plates on me. (especially when Mrs W is doing it)



The job progresses apace, a bit like brick laying without the pointing up, The tricky bit will come later when small irregular pieces are needed and when I reach the waterline.



The tricky part was getting a clean line around the waterline.


Not too displeased with my first attempt at sheathing, but despite my best efforts some little amount of ca found its way onto the plate surface. Cotton buds dipped in acetone were used to try and get rid of this excess.


The Coppering completed


Top marks to Jotika who have not stinted on the supply of plates I have about 110 left over, although I still have the rudder to do. I have some reservations about the domed nail heads apparent on the Jotika plates; I’m thinking that they are too pronounced. On most real plating I have seen the nails are hardly visible and are certainly not domed.*


* since this build Amati have come out with a far superior plate at 1:64  and I would certainly have gone with those if I were building Pickle now.

During trimming I note that strips of these plates would make very fine pintles and gudgeons for smaller scale models, and particularly the rudder apparatus for ships boats.



The coppering has been extended up the stem and just onto the False keel, the keel itself is not coppered.



A thin batten has been attached along the top strake of the coppering.





Another build milestone is reached.



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Installing the deck


Before this can take place the bulkhead extensions have to be removed from the inside of the bulwarks.
This entails cutting thro’ using a fine bladed saw.


A miniature flexible saw blade that fits in an x acto type handle, for those awkward little corners.



A recently acquired flexible bladed job, known as a Flush cutting saw, great for getting down to a surface.


Without these I think I would have struggled to do the job, a fine bladed razor saw would not have got to all the required angles with its rigid back.


This is quite a scary part of the job as without the support of the bulkhead extensions it is easy to imagine the gunport pattern breaking off as it is now only in contact with a fairly small area of bulkhead. Fortunately it seems fairly stable.


Once achieved it is necessary to blacken the insides of the hull where it may be seen thro’the various hatches and companionways.


The first opportunity to dry fit the deck, and a relief to find that it slips in fairly comfortably.



The three shift butt planking pattern has been pencilled in as with the bulkhead deck supports.

Here I have cut out paper templates for the deck margin strip, something Jotika have not allowed for, or mentioned in their kit details.


The base deck goes in.


Before I fitted the deck I noticed that the slot for the Foremast was a little loose and may cause problems later in aligning the mast. A suitable bit of brass tubing was inserted in the slot to firm things up a little.


I also inserted some boxwood carlings and false beams around the underside of the Main Hatch and companionway to give additional depth to the deck.
No real problem in fitting the deck apart from getting the pva down quick enough across all the bulkheads, even so pinning was required to secure the edges where the camber meets the bulwark.



When dry the pins were nipped off flush with the deck. The masts were used to ensure the deck was properly located.


Margin for Error?


Pondering about the margin strip and poking around in the kit box it suddenly struck me that I could perhaps use the remaining birch sheet that had held the deck former. The inside was already shaped to the deck pattern and it was a simple matter to pva the template to it and cut around.



I used PVA to fix the margin plank, but with ca along the edge to grip the bulwark.





The question of colour difference between the boxwood planking and the Birch margin plank remains, but I have trialled a little thinned down water based brown paint mixed with Ronseal light oak satin varnish, and I think I can achieve a near enough colour match.


Before I start the deck planking I think I will plank the inner bulwarks, not in accordance with Jotika's order of play, but logical now that a Margin Plank has been installed.





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Planking the Bulwarks


Jotika supplied 1mm thick walnut planking for both inside and outside the hull, plus the 0.8mm gun port pattern.

I have used 0.6mm thick boxwood strip, so to add depth to the bulwarks I have double planked the inside of the bulwark with 6mm wide boxwood strip over-planked with 4.2mm strip.


Having un-lined gun-ports results in rather untidy looking planks ends from the four layers that make up the bulwark.

These required filling to smooth them out.



They were then painted Red ochre, one of the few areas where paint will be used.



With the internal planking completed Pickle looks far more solid.






I can now progress to the deck planking.



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Planking the deck


The instructions call for the deck to be fully planked before moving to fitting the hatchway coamings and head ledges which then sit on the deck.

I was in two minds whether to fit these first and then run the planking up to them but decided in the end to do the planking first.


Again I departed from the Jotika scheme, replacing the supplied 4mm x 1mm Tanganyika strip with boxwood 3.4mm x 0.6mm. Apart from any other consideration I thought the slightly narrower planking was more in scale.


I Used a three butt shift pattern ie three plank widths between butts on any joist. The planks are the scale equivalent of 29’ x 8.5”

PVA was used to fix the planks which were line edged with a Pilot broad chisel marker pen(instant dry and water resistant) to replicate the caulking. There was no evidence of bleed into the wood.


The plank ends were joggled into the Margin plank at the bows.




Planking in progress, planking usually starts with the planks either side of the centre line and progresses from the stern forward and outwards.



Joggling completed.





A little time now will be spent scraping the deck (not sanding) to remove any unevenness, and tidying up the mast and rudder head holes.


Next stage will be fitting the stern transom, and assembling one of the carronades to check gun port levels.





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Thanks John for dropping by :)


The stern transom


I had been viewing this with a little concern as it presents an excellent opportunity to cock things up big time.


There are subtle curves to attend to and the trimming back of the bulwarks to meet the stern piece is critical as far as fit is concerned.
In the standard Jotika build the stern facia is un-planked on its outer face, simply being painted black.Their idea is that the stern piece should be sanded back to meet the bulwarks, and the paint scheme carried over the stern piece edges.



I was a little unsure about this as most of the small vessels of this type I have seen have the stern piece extending outside of the bulwarks by a small amount.

I was also not over impressed with the way the bulwark rails met the stern piece with the basic kit arrangement.



The sort of arrangement I feel more appropriate is along the lines of the Royal Naval Museum model of Pickle, as above.


So a few modifications were in order......


The outer face has been planked with ‘ebony’ 3.4mm strip and a moulding added around the edge to match and reflect the bulwark capping rails.



The inside of the stern piece was planked with boxwood to match the bulwarks.




I had been pondering, even before I got the kit, about the absence of port lids on the stern ports. Jotika have not included them, but it just doesn’t seem logical to have two large opening in the stern to allow in sea water from a following sea right where the helmsman is standing.


The model in the Royal Naval Museum does not have them either, but Geoff Hunt has shown them in his painting of Pickle.

I am not sure, but in case I decide later to fit the lids I have made a pair whilst I had the stern counter off the model, to do the fitting.


Capping Rails


These are pre-shaped in Walnut but even so need some fettlin’ and trimmin’ to get ‘em to sit right. The critical point is faying the rail at the stern to meet the transom.



Pinning first to get the fit and then finally gluing with pva and pinning; rapid work is needed to apply the pva adjust the seating of the rail, and apply pressure to secure.



A weighty problem this:


Once secured the pins can be removed and final tweaking and sanding of the rail can be done.

I had considered dyeing the rail, but decided in the end to paint it with Admiralty ‘dull black’ followed by sanding sealer to give the same finish as the hull.








To this point the build has taken about three months of fairly regular working.




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Naming Pickle
The kit provides for brass etched lettering to be painted white.



I disliked the look of this arrangement, the brass etch letters stand out too much, the font style looks too modern, and I have doubts that the lettering on British naval ships of the period was painted white.


I tried different options from vinyl lettering to water slide decals but eventually settled on letraset transfers, Times New Roman, at 5mm in gold.

I had initially feared that applying dry rub letters to the stern in situ would present problems of alignment and good adhesion but as it happens they went on a treat and here’s the result.  


A coat of satin varnish, and the job’s done.



The official inspection has reported favourably, so work can now proceed to fitting out the deck.









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Coamings, Carronades, and Companionways..


Now I reach the point where I start to enjoy myself, fiddling with the fittings.


First up.... Hatch coamings.


One of my pet kit hates.


Jotika in common with many other kit manufacturers show these items as boxy surrounds with flat gratings enclosed within.



They don’t make reference to the greater depth that should apply to the Head Ledges, or shaping the same to form that gentle arc, with the gratings shaped to follow this line to the coamings. A check of any contemporary ship models of the seventeenth and eighteenth century will show the correct form.


On little Pickle however, for the Main Hatch, boards are shown rather than gratings.


This is perfectly acceptable and certainly applicable to merchant vessels, but with naval vessels I prefer gratings. Besides it avoids having to make all those irritating little ring bolts for the boards.


The Main hatch cover has therefore been modified to reflect my own preferences; the supplied walnut strip suggested for the coamings etc; was discarded in favour of boxwood. (It was in any case of dubious quality) Once assembled and fitted the gratings were gently sanded to conform to the arc of the head ledges.


The grating strips provided by Jotika are excellent, accurately cut with no broken teeth, a close fit, and good for scale.



Schooners were very wet boats and I fixed my coamings at 4mm height rather than the 3mm suggested; this is equivalent to 10” at full scale.



None of the gratings have been fixed in position as yet - this will be done once all the bulwark ring bolts have all been secured.


At this point the Carronade pads have been fitted and the deck has been sealed with Caldercraft water based Flat-matt varnish, which does not darken the deck planking; the gratings will be treated the same, but the coamings will be varnished with satin cote varnish.



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Assembling a Carronade.


This is one area of the build that seems to present Pickle builders with problems,  trying to assemble the trunnions of the Pickle Carronades.


The instructions really should carry a mental health warning.


These are tiny beasts consisting of two trunnions, a spigot, two bearings, all threaded onto a piece of 0.5mm wire and assembled within a space of 1.5mm between the trunnions.


Assembly without devising a mini jig would I think prove very, very, frustrating.

A sense of the scale of the things can be gathered from the following photos.



The jig to hold the trunnions.



The assembled trunnions attached to the slide bed.



The assembly completed.


I wasn’t too impressed by the use of a length of 0.7mm wire to represent the elevating screw so I added a small refinement in the form of turning bars, and a metal plate to sit the elevating screw on.I also moved the breeching rope lead ring slightly further back than suggested by Jotika, I felt it gave a better lie to the rope.


These bijou carronades along with all the other brass etched fittings have been treated with Carr’s Blackening for Brass, having first been dipped in acetone and scrubbed with an old toothbrush, well I think it was an old toothbrush, anways, I know it wasn’t mine.


Even so the inevitable handling in assembly results in some loss of black, and paint touch ins are necessary.

Assembly of the first carronade took all of this morning including the jig making.






Fortunately there are only six carronades supplied with Pickle, although other sources suggest she carried eight. Having assembled one I am sorely tempted to oik four of ‘em overboard as Lapenotiere, did on his voyage.


At full scale these twelve pounder carronades are incredibly small when one is used to looking at the sixty eight pounder smashers on Victory.


Full size they would be a mere 2’2” compared to over nine feet for a carriage mounted long gun of the same calibre, and only a fraction of the weight. Even so they do look very insignificant on the Pickle.


Here’s a shot of ‘Dick’ apparently dwarfing a carronade, but the relative scales are correct.





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Introducing ‘Dick’


Aka John Richard Lapenotiere, of Pickle fame. I needed a mini Pickle Captain and here he is. Someone to give scale to the model and assist in assessing the scale validity of the fittings.


Looks a little older than his thirty five years but then he’s had a hard life, tossing about in smallish boats, constantly wet, ’tween decks height of only 4’ 6” when he’s 5’8” Not much influence, not many mates by all accounts, but now a life chance with the prospect of carrying the news of Trafalgar back to England, the lure of promotion and the £500 quid he will receive if only he can keep ahead of that b*****d Sykes of the Nautilus who is determined to get there first.



Hand over those dispatches says Sykes, no way says brave Dick I’m under direct orders of Admiral Collingwood to deliver my dispatches by hand so I respectfully suggest that you do one.

Not to be put off the dastardly Sykes races our hero all the way to England but fails by minutes to beat him to the Admiralty.

The rest as they say is history, so my mini Dick will stand proudly on the Pickle’s deck casting (no pun intended) a critical eye over progress. He has the look of a rather a severe critic about him to me.



Dick is an Amati 25mm cast metal figure, looks a bit scary under the digital eye but is ok at normal viewing perspective.

I think they modelled him on Arthur Wellesley ,a rather arrogant look and he does have that fine hooked nose.

Dick will continue to make guest appearances in various progress shots to give a human scale to proceedings.


Rigging a Carronade – thoughts on the Pickle kit


Been in the back of my mind for a while, I wasn’t over impressed by the Jotika arrangement as shown in their build photos.


Breeching rope lead ring is I think too far forward, a consequence perhaps of the over scale blocks to the side tackles. The breeching rope has an unnatural lie and seems merely to be pushed under the bulwark ring.


To assist in the tackle forming I rigged up a spare carronade in a mock gunport, to see how things fared.


With the rigging tackle so small I find it easier to work out a gun rigging strategy with a mock-up rather than go straight in on the model.
The breeching ropes of 0.5mm Ø line are simply knotted to the bulwark rings and are sealed with dilute pva before trimming.
A small paper clip gives scale to this ‘toy’ carronade.


Here a couple of shots of the carronades in-situ and the Breechings fitted.




I can now proceed with the somewhat testy rigging of the side tackles.



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Now the tricky bit – the side tackles


I was in two minds about the side tackle rigging, Jotika show them with the loose ends coiled on the deck.


This is a traditional way of displaying the falls of the tackles on models, but I somehow doubt that this is how it was done in practice in a working boat situation, particularly a hard worked vessel such as Pickle.


The provided blocks look too clumpy for my taste , and I have replaced them with 2mm Pear wood blocks supplied by JB models.

The Jotika 0.1mm line for the tackles also looks over scale compared to the breeching rope, but in any case I’m not a fan of Jotika line and it has been replaced.


I stropped the blocks with 34 gauge wire, the tails of which formed the fastenings either end.
I finally decide to seize up the side tackles, much in the way of this shot of the 68 pounder on Victory.


Given the scale I think the tackles look neater, I didn’t want the tackles to dominate the carronade, as they appear to in the Jotika photo.


To make the side tackles a little jig was required to hold the blocks the correct distance apart whilst the lanyard is fitted. Using 0.1mm diameter Amati line, the lanyards are working versions.



Rigging the tackles




I am pleased with the result compared to the Jotika suggested arrangement, and once completed I can get onto attaching the other deck fittings which I have mostly already prepared.

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Skylights and companions


All the deck fittings etc; provided are in walnut. Jotika intended them to be painted red ochre, or left natural.


This presented me with a problem as I wanted the deck fittings to be yellow ochre, represented by boxwood.

Some of the fittings have been completely replaced but others such as the carronade beds and bitt standards I did not want to go to the trouble of replicating.


I spent some little time concocting a mix of Ronseal light oak varnish with the merest touch of Admiralty yellow ochre water based paint to create a matching boxwood finish.


I am quite pleased with the result.







The Skylights and Companionway are supposed to be assembled from the ubiquitous walnut sheet and then be painted red ochre, but I replaced mine using boxwood strip to create a boarded effect.



The brass etched window frames I left unpainted as I rather liked them, and I expect them to tarnish over time. The iron protective grills were chemically blackened.
Rather than use the provided acetate for glazing the windows, I opted for Humbrol clear fix as the panes are very small.



The companionway was also boarded, with the interior boarding whitewashed to provide a contrast. The kit over-scale walnut doors were replaced with boxwood versions.


The completed items were then varnished with my ochre/varnish mix.


Elmtree pumps


So often these items provided in kits are somewhat clumsy and overscale but Jotika have provided quite fine pump handles in etched brass to complete the ensemble.

The pumps do not stand vertically on the deck but are canted slightly and would in reality converge towards the centre line of the bottom of the ship.


To this end I inserted lengths of brass tubing thro’ the deck into which micro brass tubing forming the plungers fit.


I fashioned the pump bodies from a bit of round stuff, but tarted them up with iron bands formed from the brass fret surrounding the 0.3mm eyelets, and a bit of brass tubing.


The galley chimney.


I replaced the suggested 4x4mm walnut strip with a piece of square section brass tubing, chemically blackened.


I had toyed with the idea of providing a more fancy flue, but decided on a small vessel such as Pickle, plain and simple would be appropriate.

I still have to make coamings to go around the flue but I can’t make my mind up at present as to the section I prefer.


Here’s where I am now up to, the hatches/grating, and main deck furniture have been fixed, I will not permanently fix the pumps until later in the build, they are quite delicate and experience tells me they are perfect snag magnets.







To be cont'd



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Whinging about the Windlass

The octagonal barrel of the windlass is provided by a number of octagonal discs which when fed onto a central spindle with provided wooden pawl rings make up the barrel. There are 11 of these segments plus spares.

Problem is the ones I got were the very devil to get the octagons to line up cleanly and I wasn’t over impressed with the result, partly due to the differing shades of the walnut segments. Jotika intended for the thing to be painted red ochre.


The sectional make up of the Jotika barrel just doesn’t look right to my eye and the single diameter along its length gives the impression of a pencil chopped up and glued together again, rather unrealistic, and coupled with the deficiencies in my skill at assembling the thing, I resolved to do better.


I wanted a clean bare wood barrel with distinct clearly defined octagonal sections, and with a degree of tapering from the centre section down to the warping heads at either end.


Salvation came in the form of some old stock 5mm boxwood square section that just needed converting into an octagon.



My little Rosewood mini plane was just right for the job.

For style I took the drawings of the windlass given in the AOTS book Alert.



Overall it has a more authentic look and will better match the other deck fittings on Pickle. It took me three attempts to get something I could live with but here at last the assembled but unpolished windlass.

I see a bit of roughness on the starboard standard that will need attention, and I think I may add metal bands each side of the iron pawl rings.


Fixing bits and pieces


Three major deck items, the Fore Bitts, Windlass, and Pawl bitts require fixing to the deck by means of pins inserted in the bottom of the standards, and thro’ a corresponding hole in the deck.


Tricky business this to get the corresponding holes in the right place so that the items are fixed in the correct positions and square to the central line of the ship.

The bitts in particular require firm fixing against the pull of the rigging to come later, and the pawl bitts against which the bowsprit is secured.



two minds about those belay pins, they look a little over-scale to my eye.

I modified the coamings around the Galley flue, didn’t like the Jotika 1.5mm walnut strip arrangement.



In any build there are

several critical points that could affect the end result, with Pickle one of them is drilling the hole thro’ the bulwark to take the bowsprit.



A bit scary this cutting thro’ the neat planking one has taken so much trouble over – have I got the position dead right, will it line up with the pawl bitts, must avoid splintering the internal planking when drilling.


Who said model making was a relaxing activity.



This is not the real bowsprit but close enough for fitting purposes, and things seem to have turned out ok.


In the Same vein the hawse holes have to cut thro’ the bulwarks, 2mm according to Jotika to take a 1.3mm diameter cable.

I was curious to see how this related to given formulas for calculating the cables and hawse sizes.

For cable sizes this is ½” of circumference for each foot of breadth of the ship.

Given a width of 20’ 7½” this equates to a 10.3” circumference cable, which at scale works out at 1.3mm diameter.

Spot on Jotika.


The hawse hole formula is diameter of cable x 9/4 = 2.92mm. Nearly a third larger than that suggested by Jotika.

I enlarged the hole size to 2.5mm which looked better in relation to the 1.3mm diameter anchor cable.


Two more holes to drill in the deck, Jotika calls them Navel pipes, down which the anchor cables pass to the cable tier.


Now I’ve not heard this term before in period ship modelling and it doesn’t seem to be mentioned in any of my reference books save the Oxford dictionary of ships and the sea.There is no reference to Navel Pipes in the Global Schooner by Marquardt or the Cutter Alert by Peter Goodwin, two specific references I am using for this build.



Still I have gone with the Navel pipes enlarged to just over 3mm to take short lengths of aluminium tubing, chemically blackened, and inserted flush with the deck.





Along with various eye bolts and cleats that now finishes the internal fittings on Pickle.


Next up the external fittings and making the rudder.




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The Rudder


Usual blocky walnutty sort of thingy.


I looked at whether there should be any taper on the rudder both in fore/aft and top/bottom planes but decided that there was evidence that rudders remained the same thickness in many cases.


So blocky walnutty sort of thingy it is.


I started by fitting the tiller, I wanted to be sure that the angle of the tiller would be correct once the rudder was in place.

In considering the rudder, attention has to be paid to where it emerges thro’ the deck at the stern and how this is to be finished off.

In reality the rudder stock runs up thro’ the transom encased by a rudder trunk which prevents water ingress into the ship. At the bottom end where the rudder enters the hull a helmport or rudder coat is secured, and at the deck level a further coat is secured around the rudder head to prevent water running down the rudder trunk when the decks are awash.


I decided to give the upper end of the rudder stock a degree of round to facilitate turning.


The rudder was copper plated and copper tape was used on the inward facing edge of the rudder.


Close-up of the plated rudder showing the pintle straps in place, these need to be fixed first to judge the angles of the hull braces.

The difference in un weathered copper is clearly apparent.


The braces, gudgeons, pintles et al were supplied in etched brass. Jotika state that these should be painted black to represent iron.


 Hmmmn iron stuff on copper plating in 1805, not sure about that, :huh:  by that time a cuprous alloy was used for this stuff, whether there were exceptions on small vessels such as Pickle I don’t know, but in any event I ain’t painting mine black.



Some little fettlin’was required to get the tiller to sit at the correct angle for a 1:64 helmsman.


The trickiest bit is going to be getting the rudder to sit close to the sternpost when I fit the pintles and gudgeons.


Pintles, Gudgeons and Braces


An afternoons work to secure these, a little fiddly getting the pintles and gudgeons to meet up, and the straps at the right angle stuck to the hull without getting ca on the surface plating.



One of the scuppers can also be seen in this shot, four have been fitted along each side of the hull.



I have begun the weathering on the rudder but will stop the process a little earlier to give a lighter effect.



The tiller stands three scale feet above the deck, and Dick demonstrates the correct angle.

The rudder head was fitted with iron bands top and bottom of the tiller as strengthening pieces, as was the practice.


Channels or chain wales


These are pre-formed in 1.5mm stuff which is pretty bang on for scale.

I have added two knees to each channel for additional support. The Deadeye strops are brass etched and quite nicely formed if a little delicate. These fit into the notches on the channel face, and are then secured with a batten fixed across the edge.





Jotika suggest a 1.5 mm square piece of walnut for the batten but I went with a thinner piece of ebony stuff as I felt it looked better.
For the deadeyes I used a flatter pear wood version supplied by JB models, rather than the standard Jotika stuff.





This basically completes the external fittings on the hull; I am toying with the idea of fixing side steps to the hull and short ladders fixed to the inside bulwarks, but there is time to think about this whilst I prepare the masts which is the next build phase.


Jotika suggest that building the Pickle should take between four and six months of evening work, hmmn, seems to have been a bit of slippage here, I’ve spent over five months already, and not restricted just to evening work, in fact I don’t do evenings, I prefer to work in natural light as far as possible.




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Masting and Rigging – the final stage


Various sizes of Birch dowel are supplied to make the masts, the mast fittings are cnc walnut shaped parts which need some fettlin’ to get them to scale.

First up are the Bowsprit and Jib, for which my somewhat temperamental Mantua spar lathe with its very erratic toggle switch, is brought into use.



To taper the spars I just used sanding sticks with a range of grit papers glued to them rather than cut the taper in with a blade. With this size of stuff it is less risky than the blade.


In fixing the bowsprit and jib there are several things that have to be considered at the same time, the bowsprit has to sit squarely between the standards of the Pawl bitts, and has to run parallel with the stem and with the right degree of stive.


The angle of the mast cap has to be determined, so that it is vertical to the waterline, and the jibboom which passes thro’ it, sits parallel to the bowsprit.



The Bowsprit cap was a tricky little beggar to make, I scrapped three before success.


Jotika provided two cnc walnut caps(one spare) into which angled holes for the bowsprit tenon and the jibboom had to be drilled.

Problem is that no matter how carefully I drilled the holes the wood split away from the walnut faces. It was not until I drilled the holes in a piece of scrap and then cut the profile that I got the result.


Initially I thought that the cap looked a liitle bulky but when I checked the scale dimensions against the jibboom diameter it was spot on.


I modified the cap by cutting a groove on the aft side to take the jack staff, and drilled holes in the jibboom for the heel lashing and a sheave for the outhauler. I also formed a necking at the jibboom end, something omitted by Jotika.


I also needed to decide at this stage how to colour the masts, Jotika suggest staining them walnut, rather unappealing in my view, I will not be staining them walnut.



A little bit of trialling with various mediums, and I finally settled on a light oak satin varnish, enhanced with a touch of natural wood finish.


Now onto the mast assemblies.


Fore (or schooner Mast) and Main Masts


Jotika have these at 6mm diameter for their full length to the head which is formed by a separate square section of 4x4mm. The head section and mast have to be drilled and joined by a piece of brass wire and Jotika provide a centre finding template for the round section dowel, to assist the process.


This simplification (also used by Longridge in his Victory build) saves the modeller the task of squaring the mast head, but does not allow for those who may wish to do so, as the provided dowel lengths are too short.


The straight 6mm dowel just doesn’t look right to my eye, using Steel’s Fraction tables for masts I calculate that there should be a taper from 6mm at the partners to 5mm to the start of the head.


With the Jotika method the top of the round section outside of the masthead has to be angled so that the cross trees when fitted run parallel to the waterline, not to the rake of the masts.


The Trestletree/crosstree parts are cnc cut walnut, ok, but some adjustment was required to fit around the mast head. Double sided tape and a piece of the masthead timber were needed to set the piece out before gluing.


At this point I departed from the Jotika build instructions, as I fitted cheeks to the masts, the top angle of which created the parallel line for the Trestletrees.

A simple enough modification, and a feature that my research tells me was appropriate to schooner masts as well as larger vessels.


Main Topmast


This again is constructed from two sections, the lower section being fashioned from 4mm walnut square section, shaped to an octagon above the topmast sheaves.

As with the lower mast, it is connected by brass rod to tapered dowel for the upper part of the mast.

Jotika didn’t suggest it but at 1:64 scale I think a topmast sheave would be appropriate, so one will be cut into the heel of the topmasts above the fid.


Fore topmast


This differed from the Main Topmast in that it is supposed to be constructed from three sections, the first square stock shaped to an octagon, the second up to and incorporating the hounds (not present on the MainTopmast) and thirdly the pole head of the mast.



I decided to turn the mast above the square section as one, incorporating the hounds; this also gave me a little more lathe practice. Finally a truck was formed at the mast head.



I am a little puzzled why Jotika didn’t fit hounds to the Main Mast, perhaps because no stays were secured at that point.



Dry fitting the topmasts before any finishing work can be done, the cheeks which show up white here support the trestletrees and give the correct angle.



As can be seen she has quite a lofty rig, note the downward slope of the trestletrees which are parallel to the waterline, whereas the mast caps follow the mast rake.




Once I am completely satisfied with the fit I can fine tune the trestletrees and fix them in place. The topmasts will not be glued, both they and the mast caps are a snug fit.

I think I will however add a truck to the Main Topmast head.






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I wish I had seen this log before doing my coppering.



Previous Build: LA gun deck cross section.
Previous Build: Lancia Armata. Panart 1:16
Previous Build: HMS Pickle. Jotika Build.

HMS Triton cross section 1:32.

Shelved awaiting improved skills:

Chuck"s Cheerful.

Current build.

Tender Avos.

HM cutter Alert.




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In fact I wish I had seen this before doing any of my Pickle!


What a classy model.



Previous Build: LA gun deck cross section.
Previous Build: Lancia Armata. Panart 1:16
Previous Build: HMS Pickle. Jotika Build.

HMS Triton cross section 1:32.

Shelved awaiting improved skills:

Chuck"s Cheerful.

Current build.

Tender Avos.

HM cutter Alert.




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Cheers Mike, it was my first attempt at coppering, and Pickle ain't a bad kit to start it on, not too much of it.

I think we have seen logs we wished we had seen before we did something, I know I have. :)


Gaffs and Booms


One of the things I noticed quite early on when perusing the kit parts was the horrid lumpy clumpy Gaff and Driver boom jaws.



I suppose I shouldn’t get onto Jotika too much as this is an entry level kit, and I understand that they perhaps don’t want to present the modeller with too much shaping of parts, but they do state that;

Pickle is an exact scale model designed using original Admiralty plans (what of Pickle?) All fittings, masts and rigging have been researched using contemporary sources and the most up to date reference material available.

Although Jotika indicate tapering of the booms the said jaws are to be simply joined to the inner end using a piece of brass wire.


For me this simply will not do.


Unfortunately the provided lengths of dowel are too short to other than follow the intended method, so an additional length of dowel had to be found.


After turning the boom to the correct taper, the first job to add a little more realism is to put a flat taper on the inboard end to take the jaws.



For this job the little Silverline miniature planes come in very handy, but I must admit it is the very devil to keep an edge on the blades, and I seem to spend as much time with the oilstone as I do planing.


Once satisfied with the taper the angles can be drawn onto the provided walnut lump. (the jaws) which can then be split into two sections, but before that is done the piece requires reducing in thickness by around 1.5mm.


Here the pared down and split jaws have been attached to the boom ready for final shaping, at this stage they don’t look much better than the lumpy clumpy whole piece.


Finally shaped and a dry fit on Pickle,


The iron bands have been fitted.


The waste brass etch framing comes in very useful for ‘iron’ bands


And finally the completed Driver Boom.






I think this fairly straightforward modification greatly improves the look of the model over the Jotika simplified arrangement....


The boom jaws as kit supplied.


A similar conversion will be made on the Fore and Main Gaffs, which if anything look even worse without modification as the booms are much finer in relation to the jaws.



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Work on the masts has now largely been completed.



Top rope Sheaves are drilled.


Mainmast head assembled.


Foremast head and hounds.


The Gaffs were also completed in the same manner as the Driver Boom.




This is something not included by Jotika, but applicable to the Main Mast.

These wooden rings were used where a driver boom was used in conjunction with the Gaff to provide ease of movement up the mast.

I had to remove the boom saddle in order to get them over the mast.


There are nine in total, made with a strip cut from a brown envelope and rolled around a piece of dowel several times, coating the paper with diluted PVA as I went along, and then finished with shellac in the guise of Knotting.



The dowel was sprayed with silicone polish to deter adhesion from the white glue.



The hoops are then cut from the now stiffened paper tube using a scalpel.


Further coated with knotting, they are then sanded to the required thickness


According to Marquardt the internal diameter of the rings should be 11/2” – 2” larger than the diameter of the mast which in the case of Pickle meant a 7.5mm dia rod as a former.


One other feature is required around the area of the gaff and Driver jaws, that is copper sheathing to protect the masts.

Copper tape impressed with a riveter was used for this.



The Mast hoops sit atop the Driver jaws.





Just the yards to finish off and it’s onto final assembly. :)




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A small diversion – prepping the rigging line

It won’t be too long before I need the first items of standing rigging, pendants, shrouds and stays.
I have written about my method of preparing rigging line in relation to my other builds, but for completeness of this build log I summarise it again here.

The suggested line sizes were checked against other sources, and generally Jotika seem to have it right.

I don’t intend to use the Jotika provided thread, the running rigging line is too pale for my taste, and I don’t like commercial black line for the standing rigging.

My favourite commercial line by Amati will be used.



I prefer to dye my own standing rigging using Dark oak wood stain, following which the line is bees-waxed and then stretched on a rack for several days or in the case of the stays hung by weights.


This has the advantage of making the setting up of the rigging easier, there is less tendency to pull the rigging too tight, and gentle curves fall naturally when required to give an impression of weight.


In my builds I prefer a combination of taut and slack lines which I think add realism to the rigging.


Whilst I am waiting for the lines to ‘mature’ there are the masts to step and the yards to rig.


I must now also decide the sequence of rigging.


Reading the Jotika blurb, fixing the Gaffs and boom comes some way after rigging the shrouds /stays etc.



To me this would serve to make attaching these spars to the mast more difficult in the sense of fixing the parrel beads around the masts, so I decided to fix them as the first items of main rigging, but leaving sufficient line for any later adjustment. It is far easier to attach the parrels to the gaff jaws first and then feed them over the mastheads into position.


I discarded the black and shiny kit supplied beads in favour of other seed beads I have, they will be coated in flat varnish to take the shine off them.



Jotika also suggest that the booms and yards be pinned into position, I prefer to have them free running and use the rigging lines to hold them in position, although with pinned spars setting up the lines is easier in the sense of having something fixed to pull against.


Well the masts are stepped;


Hopefully in line.



The bowsprit fixed, the gammoning applied.



and the booms in place.


Back to the yards, but these will be fitted once the standing rigging is in place.

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