The Swedish Gunboat project is the closest I have to completion now, and it’s very nearly done, so I decided to put most of my effort there now. My ideas about using it to practice new sail making techniques or other grand thoughts have been set aside. As I mentioned before, the model is mostly being built straight out of the box, but there are a few minor modifications.
Last time I posted was before the shrouds and stays were set up. In the above photo, you can see that I now have the masts in place with these lines securing them. Stropping the lower deadeyes was a bit of a challenge. The kit plans aren’t very clear, but apparently, are clear enough to discern that the deadeyes must be attached through the deck and around the outside of the upper rail (edge) of the deck. This is how others I spoke to interpreted this feature. I was going to make a simple chainplate, like on the Swedish museum model, but decided to go with the flow, and the plans.
Given the position of the deadeyes amidships, seizing them into the loops was a bit of a challenge, as one builder comments (remember, this began as a group build), but we both managed. This was much easier at the bow.
Making the shrouds themselves was much simpler, though I did manage to screw them up initially, and I mounted the deadeyes upside down(!).
In between stages, I had cut and sewn the sail material. As I mentioned previously, the seams of the sail were too closely spaced, so I spaced them out more appropriately. As a result, the sewn seams are about twice as far apart as shown on the plans.
The sewing itself was pretty simple. I bought a simple sewing machine years ago, specifically for sewing sails. Since I hadn’t used it in at least a year, I had to practice a bit to remember what settings worked best.
I started by washing and ironing the cloth, then spraying the cloth with a product called Fray Stop, lightly pencilled in the lines for the seams, and sewed the cloths wider than necessary in one long length, large enough to cut two sails from.
Next, I cut strips of cloth and used diluted white glue to attach them to the edges for the tablings and for the reef bands. Also, I glued a bolt rope around the edges of the sails, again using dilute white glue. Then, using a needle, I threaded the reef points through the sail and glued them into place. I did something similar for the robands (okay, I had to look up that term, as I couldn’t remember)
I had already made the yards some time ago – An easy side task, given that you only have to make two of them. Adding the sails and blocks to the yards was pretty straight forward.
One note on parts. I chose to use the included Amati blocks, though I may have lost a few over the year or so I’ve been working on this project. I get replacements from Ages of Sail. To make the blocks more realistic, I used an old Block Buster that I got from Model Shipways many years ago. It falls apart after a while, but you can rejuvenate it pretty simply.
If you’re not familiar with this, it’s basically a plastic jar with a sandpaper covered stirrer inside that you attach to a hand drill. Drop the block in and fire up the drill and in a short time, the edges of the blocks are nicely rounded. If you look at the design, you can see that you can actually make your own pretty easily.
So, really, I’m very close to completion here. I just need to add the yards with their sails attached and rig the sail handling lines, plus add a few more details. I’ll save the finishing up of this model for one final post. As I’d like to have this finished for the next month’s meeting in Vallejo, where this build’s group gathers, I’m figuring I’ll get the project wrapped up in the next couple weeks.