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Naval Cutter HMS Alert 1777 by catopower – FINISHED - Shipyard - 1/96 scale - CARD

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Thanks Chris, Mark, Slog, for the advice. I'm moving ahead with the turned brass cannon barrels. Regarding blocks and such, I needed to work on something fairly mindless, so I started working on the paper blocks. I figured I'd see how they turn out. If they're not so good in the end, I'll switch to purchased wooden blocks. 

 

The paper blocks have one advantage over the Syren blocks in that this is a small model and with the paper blocks are available in 3.5mm size, which I can't get in pear wood.

 

So, in paper blocks, I now have 2.5mm, 3mm, and 3.5mm sizes. 2mm blocks are available from Shipyard too, and rigging calculations would normally call for them, but that's awfully small to assemble. Anyway, I don't have any of the 2mm paper blocks on hand, and the kit itself calls for these sizes I do have.

 

Here is a sample of the unassembled blocks. These are the same kits that come in the boxed kits. 

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A nice, cool but sunny Sunday morning, cup of coffee and ship modeling project – A perfect day!

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Here's a close-up of painted, CA reinforced and touched up blocks

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Sorted by size and cleaned up a little more.

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This certainly took a bit of effort to pre the blocks. I painted them while still in their sheets, I also glued them up in batches, which is easiest to do on the sheets. The process of assembling is exactly the same as the Syren built-up blocks, except that because they have to be painted, they need touch up. Also, cardboard isn't a very strong material, so I made sure to wick in some thin CA glue. 

 

I have yet to see how well these hold up when rigged, but at least their ready when I need them.

 

Clare

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Small update,

 

I worked a little bit on the sail set I bought for the Alert. It was a separate purchase I made from Shipyard shortly after I got the kit. The sails are nicely printed on one side, but the back sides are blank, so I just traced out the lines on the back using colored pencil. 

 

Afterwards, I took some .4mm model rope and used it for the bolt ropes. At this scale, it makes sense to simply glue the bolt ropes into place without sewing, which is all the kit instructions call for as well. Personally, I've had good results doing this at 1/4" scale as well.

 

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I also received the swivel guns from Syren Ship Model Company, so I quickly went to work adding the trunnions and blackening them all using BlueJacket's Brass Black. Interestingly enough, the swivel guns' short trunnions were a perfect fit for the small cannon carriages. These are beautifully turned barrels. 

 

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I haven't made a final decision on using paper or pear wood blocks yet, but I just ordered some more pear wood blocks from Chuck just in case.

 

Clare

 

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Didn't do much on the Alert while finishing up the Yakatabune model. But, now that that's out of the way, time to put some work in on the Alert again.

 

This year, I decided not to risk any damage to the model by bringing it to the NRG conference, but a number of people asked about it. So, I kind of regret not taking it. For one thing, it serves as a great advertisement for Shipyard paper model kits in general. However, this model is far enough along that I now need something in the earlier stages of construction again. I do have an HMS Mercury kit in 1/96 scale that will probably do the trick. I also have the GPM detail kit for it. Plus, I believe that there's a set of sails and a masting kit at Ages of Sail that's been part of a box of stuff that's just been hidden on a shelf for the last year and a half. So, that may be the next background paper model project.

 

In the meantime, I cut a thin strip of photo paper that I printed a black line on. I then painted the edge of the thin strip and cut it in short length to serve as trunnion caps on the Alert's cannon carriages.

 

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I've also been working on the spars and added the yard to the topsail and the gaff to the mainsail. I also added swiss pear blocks to the spreader yard, but I've been feeling like I want to make as much of the model from paper as possible. So, I'm going back and adding paper blocks in place of the swiss pear ones. They don't look as good, but the more of the model that is paper, the better, since it IS a paper model.

 

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I've also started adding the stanchions of the taffrail that surrounds the quarterdeck. This is one of those things where I "thought" myself to a standstill. Having thought less about it, I've now started to make a little progress again.

 

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I'll swap the blocks and see if I can't finish the taffrail soon. With that and adding the cannons done, it will officially be time to rig.

 

Clare

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The taffrail is now complete. Was a bit of a challenge getting it all together, but it seemed to turn out okay. I still have some small details to add, mostly the beds for the mounting of the swivel guns. Besides that, nearly all the hull detail on this model is done. 

 

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Next step will be to add the cannons into place. 1/96 is probably too small for me to rig tackle blocks, but I'll think about it. This ship has 12 guns to rig. It's not like it's a 38 gun frigate, and there is a lot of open space on the deck, so I'll have to give it some thought.

 

Also, rigging is coming up pretty quick and I have to start working on the shrouds and adding blocks to the mainmast. More on that next time.

 

Clare

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I have learned quite a bit about working with card stock, thank you for posting your progress Clare.  I have been looking at Shipyard and their kits as well as HMV.  I have been having fun with my Maine.  You have really made my day.

David B

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Thank you Phil and David, for the nice comments. Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I had reason to work on some other things.

 

One of those is a big project that is close to completion and then I have someone who wants the Alert and would like it in the next few months. So, I'll press ahead. Hopefully, the end of the build will go as well as the start of it. But, I have no experience rigging a paper model. The masts and yards are all wood, so that's no problem. However, I sense the need to be particularly careful about the shrouds, deadeyes and chainplates.

 

I'm actually wondering if I can work out a way to set the upper deadeyes, then rig the ratlines off the model. In theory, if I could set up a stand that holds the mast and a set of lower deadeyes in the exact position, everything should work out. No?

 

Now, one thing that happened recently is that I can't get any more of the pear wood blocks I bought from Syren Ship Model Company. I probably have enough for this rig. But, I've been thinking about switching to paper blocks anyway. It IS a paper model, after all.

 

I've only rigged a few blocks, so those should be easy enough to replace. Hope it all looks good!

 

Clare

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Thanks for the kind words Ron!

 

Well, small update here...

 

I've been trying to wrap up one project and put some time into a big project – can't get very far on large 3-masted ships if you don't put in the hours!

 

But, a friend of mine is interested in the Alert model, and I'm really not that far from the end since the rig is so simple. So, I thought I'd make a little progress by installing the carriage guns. I've had the guns done for some time now, but fitting them into place along with their breech ropes means drilling small holes in paper, gluing eyebolts into place in very small places, etc.

 

I epoxied pins on the underside of the guns to help position and secure them to the deck. Holes were drilled at each of the gunport openings as well as at either side of the gunports.

 

I'd already secured eyebolts to the ends of the breech ropes, so now they just had to be trimmed and glued into place. I used gap-filling CA for this. 

 

I found that I didn't have enough room to glue the eyebolts to the bulwarks with the cannon in place, so I let the cannons flop around while I installed the breech rope eyebolts. When these were dry, I mixed up some epoxy and glued the cannons down to the deck. The pins, even epoxied, didn't hold the guns securely in all cases. So, on some guns, I put a little glue underneath, close to the rear axles. 

 

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Definitely tricky trying not to spoil the appearance of the printed paper deck. I manage to get a small shiny spot on the deck from glue. I ended up having to give a shot of Testor's Flat Lacquer Clear Coat, which worked extremely well hiding the shiny spot.

 

Clare

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Thank you Nils.  

 

Of course, I can't take credit for making the cannons out of card. I decided my skills weren't up to doing that and having something nice looking, so I did purchase swivel guns from Chuck Passaro's Syren Ship Model Company and adapted them for 1/92-scale 6-pounder guns.

 

I had the hardest time with all the timberheads and the taffrail. Next time I build a paper model, I think it will have no railing like on this one!

 

Clare

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Looks astonishingly like the real deal, Clare ...

 

 

Next time I build a paper model, I think it will have no railing like on this one!

 

You reckon ... somehow, I can't imagine you doin' that ...

 

Cheers

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Thanks for the supportive comments Cog, Druxey, Telp and Mark.

 

Cog, okay, you're probably right... Watch. My next paper (card) model will probably have open bulwarks!  :)

 

Telp, I doubt I'll ever go down the path of 3D printing, though there are some 3D printed parts that I'm sure I'll use. I already bought a 3D printed ship's wheel for a 1:78-scale HMS Victory model. I won't necessarily use it if I can make one that looks good enough. Overall, I like building the parts myself, even if they're not perfect.

 

Of course, with a paper kit, it's a different game, with its own challenges. Don't know that I'd ever feel up to the task of scratch-building a paper model. For now, I'll stick to kits, or at least to this one kit.

 

But, I have to admit, I picked up another Shipyard kit (HMS Mercury) that I thought I might partially build as a display model showing the hull construction style. I also thought one would make a great dockyard scene with the ship's hull completed and ready for launch – a follow up to a discussion here on flags mounted on a Royal Navy ship at launch.

 

Clare

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Quick update. I started the rigging process and added the lower deadeyes using 24 gauge annealed steel wire. The kit provides faux chainplates to glue over the wire, which I added later.

 

First, I served the shrouds where they wrap around the mast head. I decided to go ahead and serve the forward shroud the full length using the finest thread I could find, short of using fly tying monofilament line, which I've had trouble using in the past.

 

I made the shrouds long and used a method for locating the upper deadeyes show in some of the Shipyard kit instructions, which has you tied the ends of each shroud together with it's corresponding shroud under the hull of the ship. I just used clips. Then, glue the deadeyes to the shrouds all at the same height, making sure the deadeyes are all oriented the same. 

 

Once the glue has dried, you then loosen the shrouds, cut off the excess and then finish wrapping deadeye in the shroud end and trying things off. Of course, you have to make sure that you end up with the deadeye oriented correctly as your wrapping the shroud around it and tying things off.

 

This seemed to work okay, though the served shroud doesn't stretch like the other shrouds, so I seemed to have more issues with its alignment to the rest when I reeved the deadeyes. I didn't tie off the shroud lanyards yet, as I thought I might need to take the mast off the model to work on adding the mainsail, square topsail and boom, gaff and yards. 

 

But, given that there is a fair amount of room to work with the mast in place on this cutter rig, I may go ahead and tie them off. I'll probably add the backstays and mainstays before I start on the ratlines.

 

Sorry, the photos I've been taking lately look terrible. I have been experimenting with lighting and backdrops and such and having really mixed results with everything I've been trying. I have some ideas yet, which I can try another time.

 

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Meanwhile, I've started adding more blocks, eyebolts, etc.  I think I want to get the mainsail into place next before I add the remaining stays.

 

Clare

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They look good, though. Both pictures and rigging .. You might use indirect lighting ... shine you lamps away from the subject on white paper or aluminum foil, a photographer's umbrella, etc ...or use transparent paper to diffuse the light ... which will make the shadows softer if any are left ...

 

Cheers

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 Before putting the main stays in place, I needed to get the shrouds and backstays secured. The problem is that they get in the way of dealing with the mainsail. So, I worked on rigging the mainsail first. 

 

The sails came as a set from Shipyard. I originally ordered these direct from Shipyard, but it appears that's no longer possible. I think the company may have blocked U.S. IP addresses, so as to support U.S. dealers, namely Ages of Sail, which sells the Shipyard kits. The problem is that Ages of Sail doesn't currently sell the various accessories. For the moment, if you want those, you can order them from http://www.gpm.pl.

 

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Next, I'll be rigging the backstays and then the mainstay. When I want to something a bit repetitive, I will get started on the ratlines. But, that shouldn't take too long, given that there is only the one mast with only lower shrouds.

 

post-693-0-93228000-1458809602_thumb.jpg

 

 

Clare

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Well, just to report that I ran into my first real problem with the Alert. However, it has nothing to do with the fact that this is a paper model. This has to do entirely with the rigging material I chose.

 

I decided that this small model provided a good opportunity to try using a product called MOROPE. This stuff has been around for many years. It's made in Europe and there is a person in the U.S. that handles U.S. sales of the product.

 

The stuff looks really good and is visually stiff competition for Chuck Passaro's rigging line because it is well defined and is available in both Left and Right-Hand Lays (both S and Z laid).

 

The first downside to MOROPE is that it's not really properly turned. If it was, when you cut it, it wouldn't immediately start to unravel. Seems like they don't twist the strands first... or is it yarns or threads? Anyway, when you cut Syren line, nothing bad happens. To keep the MOROPE from unravelling, you need to hit the area you're going to cut with some glue first. Then, it cuts just fine.

 

However, now I'm tying ratlines – yes, lovely ratlines in 1/8" scale, so the rows are only about 5/53" apart. As I'm doing this, I'm finding that the MOROPE shrouds are stretching just a little. It may be a small enough stretch that I can compensate a little. But, this far into the rigging, if I can't work with it, I'm going to have to tear most of it down and re-rig.

 

For the most part, I suppose it wouldn't be TOO terrible to take the rigging down as it's mostly a matter of cutting lanyards, which can be replaced. But I don't look forward to the idea of reworking the shrouds, deadeyes, etc.

 

We'll see. I'm almost half way done with ratlines. There's only one mast – it's really not like I'm having to worry about rigging on a clipper ship. So, I'll get through the ratlines, trim them, and see how it all looks.

 

 

I'm sure it's something like I hadn't stretched the line properly first. But, the line is stretchy to begin with and it seemed like the springiness would help to keep the shrouds taught. 

 

The detail at this scale is so hard to see, that it might be enough to cheat and tie an extra piece of line tight under all the shrouds, forcing them to lift upwards a millimeter, which would probably be enough to do the trick. Nobody would ever be able to see the fix.

 

Anyway, we'll see how it goes. More later. Right now, it's back to clove-hitches... "under, over, through... under, over, through..."

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In my last post, I didn't have any photos to illustrate the differences in the rigging line that I was referring to. So, I took a few shots to post here.

 

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Above is a coil of Morope on the left and Syren line on the right. They both have good definition and look very nice. I don't recall the difference in pricing, but I don't remember it being a very great difference.

 

 

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Here is a closeup of the Morope line.

 

 

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And a closeup of the Syren line.

 

The above are roughly equivalent sizes. And, of course, for my model in 1/8" scale, I'm only using very small sizes. So, the larger sizes will look a little different in comparison. What's shown is roughly 0.4 mm diameter line.

 

 

post-693-0-41024000-1459487896_thumb.jpg

When the Morope is glued so that it doesn't unravel, it doesn't look too different from the Syren line. Except of course, the Syren line looks like this freshly cut, without any special treatment.

 

 

 

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While this doesn't usually happen to me since I make sure to glue the line before cutting it, here is the Morope and the Syren line both freshly cut with no special treatment of the line. As you can see, the Morope wildly unwinds. It will continue to do so if it's not tied off or treated with glue. It's not necessarily a problem if it's handled properly. But, it's a shame it's like this as the Morope does have very good visual definition, and is available in left and right hand twists. 

 

I haven't run into any serious problems with the stuff as far as I can tell, but it is a concern as I work. Also, the Morope does seem stretchier and doesn't hold it's shape as well as the Syren line. For instance, if I make a coil of line, the Syren line is easier to work with, and holds the shape better. 

 

I'm not trying to push one or the other. I'm just pointing out the difference and a possible related issue I'm having with the forward most shrouds, which are served Morope line.

 

Clare

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Clare,

 

The Morope seems to have a shine to it.  Is it man-made materials?   You might try the stretching to set it.   I've not used it as I've heard there was an issue with it unraveling and at that price (this was before Chuck Rope) I went with Amati or Billings line.  

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Hi Mark,

 

The need for pre-stretching might be the issue here. Too late for the work done so far. But, it hasn't affected the backstays or the forestays, just the shrouds.

 

The other thing that I started to consider is the perhaps there IS a paper model issue here. I'm wondering if anyone with paper sailing ship model experience has noticed some settling of the mast down into the hull, even a miniscule amount. Just in case, in the future, I thing I would put some reinforcing at the mast step.

 

Thinking on it now, I can't imagine the card stock NOT crushing just a little under the strain of the rigging. But, I could just be imaging excuses for my own shortcomings here.

 

I finished the ratlines on one side, but haven't trimmed or glued the knots in place yet.

 

 

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Still thinking about how to procede. I might have to step away from it for a bit and look at it with a fresh perspective. Tomorrow, there's a ship modeler's gathering I organize at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum near Mare Island. I'll probably take it there and see what people think.

 

Again, I may rattle down (?) the starboard side shrouds and then see what I can do to tighten it all up together. 

 

Clare

 

 

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Thanks Carl, I appreciate any comment that suggests that I don't have to fix anything!

 

Mark, to answer your earlier question, the Morope is a little shiny in the closeups, as you say. And to answer your question, it's Polyester.

 

Clare

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Hi Cog,

 

I never really considered it. Do you know what kind of chemical is used in hairspray? I assumed it wore off after a short time.

 

But, now that you mention it, I have hit the hull and deck with a little Testor's Flat Lacquer. Hides those tiny glue specks really well.

 

I was thinking about hitting the rigging with it to help seal the line and to secure the knots. So, maybe that's the same idea as what you're suggesting. 

 

Clare

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Clare,

 

We used hairspray to fixate charcoal, and pastel crayon drawings from smudging, so I would presume (dangerous word) it would stay a lot longer than a short period. The flat lacker could do the same, since it is 3D, I would hold a sheet of paper behind it to avoid spaying to much ...

 

Cheers

Carl

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