The Armed Virginia Sloop is a rather popular subject that seems to have begun with a book written by Dr. Clayton Feldman for the scratch building of an Armed Virginia Sloop of 1768 that was published by Phoenix Books back in 1991. Up until then, I knew the type of ship as a Bermuda Sloop. But, sometime after Dr. Feldman’s work was published, Model Shipways released a kit of an Armed Virginia Sloop, then Bob Hunt’s Lauck Street Shipyard company had their model too. So now, there’s a kit available in paper from the relatively new Polish paper model company, Seahorse.
This it a 1/100 scale paper model kit, and at this scale, it makes for a pretty small model – only about 15.4″ long, including the very long bowsprit. The kit is very inexpensive. But, to make construction easier, the company also makes accessories for it, including a sail set, laser-cut parts set, and cannon carriage set (laser-cut).
Since the accessories were so inexpensive, I went ahead and bought them all. Total price for everything, about $22.00 including shipping.
My main reason for getting this kit was to better understand how these kits from Seahorse differ from kits from Shipyard, which is the only paper model line that I’ve been familiar with. Also, I’m looking into the possibility of Ages of Sail carrying this line of kits, so I want to know what to recommend.
Building the Model
Although I already have plenty of things to work on, I was anxious to start this kit. The hull framework construction is very much like the way Shipyard kits go together, except that in the Virginia Sloop kit, the framework is much more basic than in the Shipyard kits. Perhaps is due to the small size of the model – with the hull being only about 7-1/4″ long.
The process of adding the first layer of “skin” is also similar, except that there are printed lines that I’m assuming should help with the laying down of the second layer. Also note how at the bow there is a “cant” frame.
After cleaning up the first layer with a bit of light sanding, the second layer is going on. This is done using parts from the laser-cut parts set, which is a big time saver, and may very well be a lot more accurate than I’d be able to do from laminated and cut paper. Note the next planking strakes ready to glue into place.
I find pre-shaped planks pretty amazing. On a wooden ship model, one usually has to use a process called spiling in order to get the correct shape of the hull planks. I’m trying very hard to not end up with the frame edges showing through the plank layer. It’s probably a lot easier with this model, as it’s so small, the planking layer is pretty thick, and the frames or bulkheads are so close together.
The decks are nicely colored. They’re from the basic kit, which provides color printed parts on paper.
The second layer is now done. It took me a while to make sure that bulwarks piece was positioned correctly. I was worried about the gap below it, but this should be hidden pretty well when the final planking layer goes on. I think the main guide here was the scuppers, which open right at deck level.
Finally, small strips are cut and glued into place to create the thickness of the bulwarks. Note that I’ve also added the parts for the faces of the exposed bulkheads at the step of the deck, and at the front of the cabin.
So far, the build has been very easy, and the process only took a couple days up to this point. The next step gets harder, as I have to cut the paper parts for the inside and outside faces of the bulwarks, which includes cutting the gunports as well as the holes for the sweeps and also the scuppers. Then, I believe the final planking for the hull goes on.