Shipyard’s 1:96-scale HMS Alert 1777, Paper Model Kit – Part IV

As I mentioned previously, the Alert paper model has been somewhat of a distraction. But, after reaching a bit of burnout from a recent heavy workload, I needed the distraction. I’d actually worked on the model a bit more since my last posting and here’s an update of some of the work that was done.

The cap rail went on pretty easily, though cutting the rectangular openings for the timber heads  proved to be a challenge. As with most of the parts I worked on, I began by painting to get rid of the white edges. At some point, I’d get a little paint on the printed areas of the part and found it was just pretty much standard practice to paint over those areas too to even out the color.

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I also installed the catheads, which are built-up from several layers of paper and then covered with the printed paper. Again, these look a lot better after cleaning up, but I was pretty pleased with how they went into place and how sturdy they were.

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Those timber heads were a real pain to get half-way uniform looking and properly trimmed to shape. I also found it took some work to get them to fit the holes I’d cut into the cap rail and had to do a lot of extra fitting work. Still, when painted, it all looked pretty nice. Not perfect, but nice.

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Next, I decided to tackle something that seemed like it would be pretty easy, the shot racks. The paper model just gives printed racks with black circles to represent the shot. At this small scale, it’s probably fine to leave it that as it’s hard to tell when you have scale cannon balls in place.

For the cannon balls, I found some appropriately sized ball bearing and blackened them. I’d originally used a larger size that seemed to look nice, but they were way out of scale, so I got a new order in of a smaller size that worked perfectly. Mounting these in the shot racks was a lot like playing those old games that used to come in boxes of Cracker Jacks where you have the tiny balls rolling around in a sealed plastic box and you had to get them all to settle into the tiny indents to “win.”

Note the one little ball bearing that escaped in the upper part of the picture. Somewhere buried in my carpet are several ball bearings that will NEVER be seen again, ever.

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The first shot rack installed. It was a bit of a challenge to hold it in place while glueing. I found it easiest for me to use my thumb to hold the part against the bulwarks, then use a pair of hemostats in my free hand to nudge the part until it was perfectly straight, then drop the hemostats for a bottle of thin, fast setting CA. A tiny amount locked the piece in place and it is quite firmly set.

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Though it’s a blurry photo, you can see that all the shot racks were put into place and then the white edges were painted. It all turned out quite nice.

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When I would run into more daunting tasks, I’d occasionally assemble some of the parts needed for later assemblies. Here all the parts were assembled and cleaned up and touched up. There are plenty of parts like this that need to be done, so there’s no shortage of small tasks.

Things went together quite well, but the long, thin shanks of the anchors are a bit delicate. With the stocks attached, it’s going to be very easy to accidentally twist or buckle them, so I’m saving that assembly for later.

IMG_0413I also played around with making the mast and the cap and crosstrees for the topmast. I’d purchased the masting set for this model, which included dowels and laser-cut cardboard pieces for the details. But, I wasn’t particularly happy with the quality of the wood, so I used my own birch dowels, stained with, if I recall correctly now, Minwax Golden Oak stain.

I tried using the laser-cut cardboard parts, which were easy to assembly. But, I found that parts built-up from layers of paper were generally sturdier. For the mast cap, the laser-cut parts worked out fine, but I had more problems with the crosstrees. Also, I guess I didn’t get the squared section of the mast doubling small enough, so the crosstrees wouldn’t fit. I didn’t notice this until later in the build, so I had to adjust the work a little and seems okay.

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I don’t have any photos of the most recent work, but I added the channels and other small hull details. I also didn’t like the way my original transom planking looked under the counter. I’ve redone the area twice and the last time it seemed to come out well enough for my task. I’ll post more photos of that work next time, along with any new work I complete.

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