Shipyard’s HMS Wolf laser-cut card kit is moving along, but progress seems slower. The details take time to add and they’re not as obvious from photo to photo. However, I’ve completed the rudder and just need to add it to the model. Also, if you look closely at the photo here, you can see the most obvious addition are all the timberheads at the forecastle rail as well as the posts for the swivel guns. Lastly, did you spot the channels at the sides of the hulls?
The channels were easy enough to add, but I’m a little concerned about their strength. The channels, or chain wales, are the mounting platforms that hold the deadeyes. Usually, this takes a bit of strain from the shrouds, the lines that help support the lower masts laterally. There will be some upward pressure on the ends of the channels, and looking ahead in the instruction, I don’t see much support to counter that pressure.
Often, there is a way to pin the channels to the hull, but I didn’t see any real options there. There is also normally the chainplates that run from the bottom of the deadeyes, down lower on the hull to just above the wales. But, the instructions seem to call for chainplates that are only decoration and are non-functional. So, they can’t help with any strain. This is something I may modify a bit. I see no reason why I can run at least a metal wire as a real chainplate, and then put the kit’s part on the outside of that as a facade.
Now, about the timberheads… these are a pain to put on the model. They’re just laser cut pieces that are glued on top of the rail at the forecastle. It takes a steady hand to place them exactly into position. Fortunately, the Aleene’s Tacky Glue given me a little time to adjust them, so that they are exactly above the stanchion below. Alignment has to be exact, because you want to create the illusion that above and below are one piece.
However, I didn’t really consider that I have the lower stanchions at a slight angle to the rail, and when I put the timberhead pieces on top, they generally end up perpendicular to the rail. The result is that several of the timberheads look crooked. It’s hard to see from a distance, but if you’re looking up close at the model, it looks terrible.
I couldn’t leave this alone, so I took my chances and cut loose some of the timberheads. Now, I had been worried that I’d knock some of the timberheads off later during construction, so I secured them with some medium cure CA glue. In order to remove the timberheads, I first needed to soak the glue with a dab of debonder. I’d never tried this before on a paper model, and was afraid I much up the whole the parts. But, the debonder softened the CA enough that I could then use my scalpel blade to cut loose the offending timberheads pretty cleanly.
Later, I was able to clean up the timberheads a bit, glue them back into place and repaint, and you really can’t tell that any repair was done.
Another addition you might notice in the last photo is the board that protects the hull from damage from the anchor, when it’s hauled up. It’s the same color as the hull, so it’s not all that noticeable.
Also, if you look in the photo before that, you might notice the ladder rungs on the side of the hull. These were fun to assemble and install. Each step is two piece,
Finally, I came to one of the big steps in the model’s construction, one that I have been waiting anxiously for: the figurehead and decorative carvings. The figurehead itself and the carvings across the top of the transom and along its sides are made of cast resin and come pre-painted in a bright gold finish.
The figures at the sides of the transom were a bit tall to fit easily, tucked into the spaces for them, so I had to trim the bottoms of these until they fit, after which I could glue them into place.
In addition, there were a number of highly decorative laser-etched card pieces that made up the decorations around the quarter gallery windows, as well as some kind of dolphin decorations that fit along the nearby fashion pieces at the stern. I pre-painted all of these using some gold-colored acrylic paint that was included in the kit. Later on, in order to make the details on these decorations stand out more, I thinned down some brown paint and carefully brushed it into the recesses of the scroll work. Then, I re-applied some gold paint to the high spots on the decorations.
Note also that I added the rudder into place, along with the rudder hinges. It’s definitely not perfect. I placed the rudder hinges according to the markings that were visible on the rudder and on the hull’s sternpost. Not perfect, but it looks okay. I have yet to add eyebolts for the mounting of the preventer chains, which would provide an alternative method of steering the ship if the tiller gets shot away in battle. It also would keep the rudder from floating away if it ever breaks loose in battle or in a severe storm.
At the bow, these models feature an object that you rarely see on a kit model. If you look at the base of the stem you can see the horseshoe, which helps fasten the components of the stem together.
At this point, the model shows off the level of detail provided in this kit, and it gives a sense of how detailed all of these laser-cut card kits from Shipyard are. At this stage, I’d come to realize that I am going to absolutely finish building not only this kit, but I’m going to have to build their other 1/72 scale laser-cut card kits, HMS Alert, Papegojan, possibly the Le Coureur, and most definitely, their massive HMS Mercury kit.
For now, I’ll be working on this kit, and I’m afraid the apparent progress will start to slow down a lot as I get more and more into the smaller details.
At this point, I’m starting to consider a few options, like what color the hatch coamings and the gun carriages will be, what I’m going to be doing about the sails, how I will be mounting the model, whether I’m going to use the provided laser-cut card blocks and deadeyes or use wooden ones, etc. But, more about that next time.