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

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Hi Carl,


You reminded me that I have a couple cans of artist's matte spray from Prisma Color and from Grumbacher. Do you know how those compare with the hair spray? Grumbacher is a Matt Varnish, Prisma Color just calls theirs "Fixative". I'm guessing that "fixative" is just an expensive can of hair spray.


Appreciate the advice!



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Hello Clare,


The hairspray is used to avoid smudging a drawing, it's not expected to give it a life long protection ... Fixatives in paint are often used to make paint stick tbetter to the object it's used on ... I would choose the matt spray if I'm honest durable and rigid compared to hairspray... or use the fixative with a matt varnish, though I would also advise you to try it out on something a like ... Sometimes the time spent at the art academy isn't to bad ... ;-)




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Thanks for the comment and advice Carl, all.


Well, I think I'm able to declare success!


Had the quarterly meeting of shipmodelers at our gathering place at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum yesterday morning. After nearly 3 hours ship model shop talk about lunch with a fellow shipmodeler afterterwards, I managed to have a marathon session of rattling down the shrouds. All worked out pretty well and I didn't notice the stretching issue as much.


So, this morning, I tried spraying the completed work with the fixative. The matte varnish had a bit of sheen, so I used the matte fixative, which dried much faster, so I could use a heavier coat. It didn't really do much to lock the clove hitches in place, so I just brushed on some acrylic matte varnish. I know it works and it's quick to apply.


I trimmed off the excess line from the ratlines and the shouds looked okay.






But, then... I went ahead and took a thick piece of black rigging line, threaded it under the shrouds and then pulled the line tight. As I did, I could feel it slip tight against the mast head and I could actually see the shrouds tightening up.


I know it's cheating, but you will never be able to see this extra piece of line at this scale. And, after all, much of model making is about the art of illusion. Below, you can see the excess line sticking out.






So, now, after I secure that piece of line and cut the excess, I can comfortably start rigging the standing rigging on the bowsprit.




Edited by catopower
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Cog.


I made a bit more progress this past week, though it doesn't really look like it.


I finished rigging the lines dealing with the main sail, and added the staysail, halliard and downhaul, added brace pendants to the topsail yard, and then some. 






















Plenty more to do still. I have a lot of bowsprit rigging to deal with, plus the jib and squaresail to add. Also have a little bit of hull details to add and a few small deck details. But, it's getting there.



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  • 2 months later...

We're VERY close now! 


I finally finished building up the fashion pieces and boom crutches at the stern. This was the probably the part that took the most creative thinking of the whole model. The paper fashion trim didn't fit due to construction variation in my model – that is, I didn't line up the parts as intended! 


Also, the drawings weren't very clear as to how the parts fit and just what parts were needed at the rail. This is the reason I'm doing this work after most of the rigging is done. It took me a long time to decide on how to best approach the problem.


As it is, it seemed to work out. Luckily at 1/8" scale, the details are too small to really discern any problems. Or rather, if there is a problem, my eyes are worn out enough that I can't see them.


Rigging is nearly complete now too. I just added the braces to that topsail spreader yard and just need to secure them once the positioning seems good. Next, I'll need to add braces to the small upper yard. The hardest part of the rigging now is really just how to secure the sheets for the jib. Not that difficult, just requires a little more thought because of how low I have mounted it.
















Last thing will be to add the flags and their halliards. Should have things wrapped in another week or two!




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I guess I missed all your updates since April until now, Clare.How did you manage to fly under the radar? Anyway, catching up, your model looks terrific. 

Coming late to the table, I agree that, while Morope looks great, it has those major drawbacks discussed. Syren line behaves in a much more civilized way.

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks again everyone for the kind words.


Druxey, I'm like a stealth ship modeler. Nothing... nothing... nothing... then whammo!  :rolleyes:



But, seriously, HMS Alert is officially complete! I just adding a bunch of rope coils and have the case nearly finished. The case is an acrylic box which will be brass trimmed, and it will set on a cherry base. I'm ship modeler, not a woodworker, so don't anybody expect too much. I hate building cases. But, it's necessary to keep the model save. Plus, if properly done, it "frames" the model nicely, and makes it look more valuable.


The model will have a home with a fellow ship modeler who's been admiring it and inspired me to take it to completion – it started as just an experiment on paper model making. However, we've made arrangements for me to take it to the NRG Conference in San Diego this October. 


Having felt a kind of strange separation anxiety from paper model making now, I've decided to move forward on another one to work on in the background, the 1/8" scale HMS Mercury – not the expensive, larger boxed kit, but the smaller CHEAPER paper model. I purchased the kit from Ages of Sail and picked up a "Super Detail Kit" for it from GPM. The detail kit includes gun carriages, capstan, gratings, ships boats, and some other parts in laser-cut cardboard. Most importantly, it provides laser-scribed scrollwork/figurehead so that's not so 2D, plus some nice laser-cut parts for the stern gallery lights, which are just printed paper in the basic kit.


I'll start a build log on it in the near future, but I'm focussing my attention to other projects I need to get done. I will probably get far enough along by October to show it off at the Ages of Sail table at the Conference.













I'll post the remainder of the HMS Alert photos in the Gallery.


Thanks everyone for following my build!



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  • 1 year later...



I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. The Pinta is a nice looking model. I saw some photos of a really gorgeous build of the paper kit not that long ago. There are a lot of things you can do to take the kit to the next level, but I found my first kit (the Alert) to be a great learning experience.


The one thing I have to say about the Alert, which also applies to Le Coureur I think, is that because the kit uses a layer of lapstrake planking, you end up with three layers of coverings on the hull. Most shipyard kits only use two. Each successive layer gets you closer to a smoothly curving hull, and by the time I added the lapstrake planking, the hull looked nice and fair.


For the 1/96-scale HMS Mercury kit that I've been working on, I'm trying to think of ways to improve the planking look. I'm considering lightly scoring the printed planking lines of the hull and painting it, so that it will essentially look like a planked hull. Also, for a future build, I would consider adding some kind of thin strips directly across the frames before adding any layers, just to provide more support for the first hull layer. 


Anyway, these kits are inexpensive enough to experiment with a little. My one piece of advice is to scan all the parts sheets onto your computer first, so you can print any replacement items you may need.


Looking forward to seeing your build log!

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Clare, did you consider expanding foam? i have done a few hulls using this method and its very good.

what you do, you assemble your hull frames glue them the usual way. of course, everything have to be nice and straight .and then you grab a can of expanding foam (a small one and one that expands into nice homogenous volume, with not too meny pores) and spray it over the frame. like cover the whole thing in foam. sans the decks. keep those covered and foam free. the foam will expand and turn your hull into basically a log of foam.

then after it cures you take any Stanley knife and just trim the excess away. foam sands well and if you end up having holes in it, just use any filler. its like you create a planking layer zero. gives you nice and well developed surface to glue your first paper planking, vertically over the exposed frames.

this method works well. it has been proven to work on hulls of any size. actually, bigger the hull better the result.

or go the way Doris does the things. just be as precise as possible. have you seen the way she did her Bellona?

For those that would also like to see the way Doris does her models, she has a nice gallery here: http://www.papirove-modely.cz/u/148


Edited by maaaslo
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Thanks Danny. Considering the incredible work I'm seeing you do on the Amatsukaze, that's quite a complement! I did start the V108 Torpedo Boat to see what it's like to build a steel hulled, "traditional" paper model kit, but also have been tinkering with another Shipyard kit, this time the 1/96-scale HMS Mercury. You can find it here: 


Pav, thanks for the nice comments. I did in fact make a case for it, edged with brass. Cases make everything look like museum pieces!


I didn't consider the expanding foam, though I've heard people mention it before. I just looked at the hull of my new HMS Mercury build, linked above, and it's actually pretty solid. I suppose it has to do with the high density of bulkheads and the small scale of 1/96. Recalling how the Alert build went, the biggest issue I had in shape of the hull was that you are using wide, flat sheets to cover the compound curve of the hull. But, I'll deal with that later in my HMS Mercury build log.



The problem I have with paper models is that they're so inexpensive, relatively speaking, that I have a hard time keeping myself from buying more kits!


Well, as long as I don't start them all...



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  • 4 weeks later...
On 10/12/2014 at 1:51 AM, catopower said:

Ordering direct from ShipYard, the cost for each set is pretty low. It is after all a 1/96-scale cutter, so not a lot too these. The prices are listed in Polish currency, but in dollars works out roughly as follows:


Hi Clare,

A question for you, did you experience any difficulty ordering directly from Poland? I've been following your Shipyard builds and was inspired to order their Pinta, but when I tried to order the block set from their web site the US was not listed in the country drop down and the paypal link would not work...I tried e-mailing but no luck there they recommend buying from Age of Sail but they don't carry the block accessory set...ok don't want to whine just wanted to see how you went about ordering directly from Shipyard.



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Hi jct, yeah, Shipyard has changed their online store policies a couple times. 


Roger at Ages of Sail doesn't want to carry more fittings than he already does, so he hasn't been interested in carrying the paper blocks from Shipyard. Paper ship models are still a niche market in a niche market (ship models) in the US, and Shipyard doesn't really understand why Ages of Sail isn't selling more stuff. I think they may be doing this on purpose to get Ages of Sail to buy more stuff and carry the blocks. But, that's just my theory. 


All i I know is that when Roger put in an order, he gets maybe $8000 worth of product (retail value) at a time. They probably really like that and so they keep bugging him to order. They even bug me about it now, since I help out Ages of Sail with some things.


Long winded way to say, I don't know. 


Might help if people wrote to Ages of Sail asking them to carry the paper blocks. You can also do what I did and just use wooden blocks. Or, if you really want paper, check Cornwall. I think they started selling some Shipyard stuff.


Edited by catopower
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Hi Clare,

Thanks for the quick response, that explains a lot, I was interested in the paper blocks after watching a video on how they assembled...pretty cool, I'll check out Cromwell.  I've a ways to go before I'm ready to rig and may still change my mind and go with conventional wood...but thanks again for the info and the quick response, much appriceated



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