Building The Armed Virginia Sloop Paper Model – Part 4

Construction of the 1/100 scale Armed Virginia Sloop paper model from the Polish model publisher Seahorse continues, but progress has slowed greatly now that the main work on the hull is done. Now it’s a matter of making all the tiny details, and for this, I started working on the gun carriages. Seahorse sells an option set of laser-cut parts for these, which I ordered when I bought the kit. Having tried to make small scale gun carriages when I built my Shipyard HMS Alert model, I know I’ll be much happier with laser cut parts like these.

There are a lot of pieces, and these are very small gun carriages. I expect that a little ship like this would have carried perhaps 3 pdr cannons. I think that’s what I read in Dr. Feldman’s book. So, even with laser-cut parts, it’s not easy to piece these gun carriages together.

The parts set does not come with instructions, but the construction is detailed in the main kit instructions. There is a slight difference between the two. For instance, the wheels or trucks have a flat face, and the main kit instructions have you add small laser-cut parts that represent the axels that should be poking through the centers of the wheel. There are no such parts in the optional gun carriage parts set, but I can certainly use those included in the main kit, and that’s probably what the designer intended.

Even with the optional gun carriage parts set, building these tiny things is a challenge. I built two of the carriages, but decided it might be best to wait before I add the gun trucks or wheels. I’ll make all 6 carriages first, but I’ve had to take a break from them after completing two. In the above photo, you’ll notice that I also assembled and painted the ship’s wheel.

I also started assembling the posts for the mounting of the swivel guns. The parts I used were part of the optional laser-cut parts set. With these, it’s not clear if I’m supposed to use a printed paper part from the kit to cover these laser-cut pieces or not. For these, I haven’t decided. However, for the catheads, the booms which are used to raise the anchors, I just ended up using only the laser-cut parts set and painting them. The parts are so small that just painting them seems fine to me. So, I may just do the same with these swivel gun posts.

Posts for mounting the swivel guns at the bulwarks are made from the optional laser-cut parts set, and painted a wood color.

The catheads are made from the optional laser-cut parts set, and painted black.

Now is probably a good time to mention that I discovered I had some parts for lining the gun ports only after I’d already completed the gun ports. I certainly won’t be worrying about these linings – I think the model will look fine without them.

Other small details added include the boom crutches at the stern rail. These were simple enough to mount, but I had a hard time figuring out how they were oriented. I couldn’t find a clear image of them in the instructions. As they are now, they certainly look fine, but I believe I have them on backwards. Instead of leaning out, the way I have them, I now think are actually supposed to lean inwards instead – another issue that probably nobody will notice but me. I’d switch them the other way around, but they’re glued into place now. And because they stick up and are easy to damage, I made sure to use some thin CA glue to stiffen them up and to fix them more solidly into place.

I’ll be continuing working on these little details and I’ll keep posting, but in the meantime, I ordered the dowel set, resin cannon barrels, and the laser-cut blocks and deadeyes set. Normally, I wouldn’t have bothered with the dowel set, as I get these locally, but the Seahorse parts are beech wood, which I like due to the color of the wood. Beech is also flexible, yet very hard, so it should be good for these parts.

As for the blocks, I used pear wood blocks on my HMS Alert because I didn’t like the way my paper blocks were looking. But, I think I’m ready to try again, at least with ones that are laser cut. Hoping to get this stuff in the next couple weeks.



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