Category Archives: HMS Mercury

Building a 1/96-scale card model of the English frigate HMS Mercury from a kit by ShipYard of Poland. This is my second paper ship model.

HMS Mercury in 1/96 Scale – The Build, Part 4

The 1/96-scale HMS Mercury paper model continues.

 

 

 

 

I’m starting to think about the outer layer that’s going to go on the model. The kit includes printed parts for two configurations of the ship, one for the original 1779 paint scheme and another for the 1795 (Black and Yellow) paint scheme. I was always planning to build this in the 1779 configuration, but I’m thinking about the later configuration, just because it’s different (for this kit, anyway).

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HMS Mercury in 1/96 Scale – The Build, Part 3

To begin with, I have to revise something I stated earlier about card modeling being challenging.

The biggest challenge about these Shipyard paper model kits is a mental one. When you get one of these kits, you instantly see a gazillion parts, and you have to cut out each and every one, plus you might decided to cut out windows instead of using printed windows, etc. That’s intimidating.

So, I’m finding that approaching construction of one of these kits is a lot like tying ratlines on a ship model. You can’t think about all those knots you have to tie – you just have to start and do one at a time until you get to the end. Building this model is about baby steps. You can’t count how many baby steps you have to take, you just have to take them one at a time and keep on going.

HMS Mercury Progress

First off, I glued the new pieces into place in the fo’csle and then added the doors back on. If you recall, I’d added the doors earlier and then decided I didn’t like printed windows. So, I removed them and the related partitions and cut out the window panes and used canopy glue to add the “glass”. In addition to the doors, I also finished the inner bulwarks pieces at the bow.

As you can see in the photo below, I still have to “edge” the gun port sills with red paint.


At this point, I began to wonder how well this model was going to go together and test fit the fo’csle and quarter decks. I had to dig through the diagrams and all to figure out if this was all going to work okay in the end. So far, it seems like it should be okay, though there’s more gap around the bow that I would like. Not sure yet how to fix this, if it even needs fixing. But, it was nice to see how well the decks seated into place. There are a couple beams I will have to fashion and put into place before these decks can go on. And, of course, I’ll need to finish some internal details, plus the cannons.

In the lower photos, you can also see the galley stove under construction. Below, you can see where it will eventually go.

Of course, there’s a lot of work to do to the stove before it goes into place.

Finally, I added the remaining parts for the interior of the great cabin, aft. There’s some furniture to go in here. That’s one of those things which is pretty neat about these Shipyard ship model kits. Of course, if you want to be able to see any of this stuff, you’ll have to modify the original kit, which includes printed windows. Those would normally need to be carefully cut open, but the detail kit I bought from GPM includes some laser-cut parts for the gallery windows.

I’m starting to think about the outer layer that’s going to go on the model. The kit includes printed parts for two configurations of the ship, one for the original 1779 paint scheme and another for the 1795 (Black and Yellow) paint scheme. I was always planning to build this in the 1779 configuration, but I’m thinking about the later configuration, just because it’s different (for this kit, anyway).

Awe Inspiring HMS Mercury Build on German Paper Modeling Forum

Since I’ve been on the subject of paper ship models anyway, I wanted to give some attention to the German card model forum Kartonbau.de. Now, it is a German site, and the forum entries I looked at were all in German. However, you can connect to it through Google Translate and that seems to work very well.

On the forum, I ran across a build of the same HMS Mercury kit that I have been working on, a 1/96-scale model from Shipyard. However, there is a world of difference between the German builders model and my own. It’s very inspiring, but it is also making me take a second look at my build and making me think I need to go back to square one!

That’s it. That’s a paper model, built using the Shipyard paper model kit as it’s basis. It’s absolutely incredible. I’m really proud of my HMS Alert model, but when I look at this, I think I really need to step up my game on the next one.

I’ve pulled a few build photos from the site to show you. There are plenty more where these came from, plus a lot of very useful information on taking your paper model build to the next level, and maybe to the one after that. So, be sure to check out the link at the end of this post to see more. There’s a LOT more.


There are a lot of techniques I never considered. But, there are also some things I did think about doing, like building the gratings from paper from scratch, highlighting the planking by scoring the printed planks, etc. So, it’s nice to see how these work out in actual (ship modeling) practice.

In any case, I highly recommend checking out the build and the whole site. You can view the build directly here:

http://www.kartonbau.de/forum/hms-mercury-1779-1-96-von-shipyard-construction-reports-ships/board5-ships/t25313-f6/?l=2&l=2

Or just paste it into translate.google.com and read the blog in English.

HMS Mercury in 1/96 Scale – The Build, Part 2

I’m not a paper/card modeler, but after building Shipyard’s paper model of HMS Alert, I enjoyed the project so much that I tinkered with a couple other subjects. I have two of them at the moment, and like with my ship modeling scratch build projects, I start on a few different ones until one of them stands out and calls to me to be taken to completion. That’s actually how HMS Alert came to be. I had no particular plans to complete the model initially – it was just a tinkering project.

Now, one of my current paper model tinkering projects is  Shipyard’s 1/96-scale HMS Mercury paper model kit. The ship is a 28-gun Enterprize-class sixth-rate frigate. As I mentioned before, there is a 1/72-scale boxed version where all the parts are laser-cut instead of printed, but that kit is around $500. Mine is about $35 at the North American distributor for Shipyard products, Ages of Sail.

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A 1/72-Scale HMS Mercury Card Model

I’m not the only one with an HMS Mercury paper model in progress. Here’s one based on the 1/72-scale boxed edition kits in Shipyard’s Laser Cardboard Kit series. This is a really nice kit, and I’d love to work on one of them. The HMS Mercury is Shipyard’s flagship product.

Take a look at the pictures of this builder’s project. Seeing these gave me some inspiration to make some progress on my own HMS Mercury.

Wooden ship model builders, I’m telling you that you should look at trying one of these kits. They are challenging, but really rewarding to build.

Ages of Sail

This past weekend, we had a vendor table at the IPMS show in San Jose, and had a chance to talk to many people, including a number of customers. One of them, Ron Palma, is building a 1/72-scale model of the British sixth-rate frigate HMS Mercury from Shipyards Laser Cardboard Kit series.

Yesterday, he sent along some progress photos and said that we could share them, which we are very excited to do!

Ron has the hull mostly completed and copper sheathed. Keep in mind that while the frieze work is included in the kit, the whole model does not come pre-printed. So, the excellent paint job is Ron’s handiwork. He commented that the cannon barrels have been taped to protect them from the clear-coat overspray he gave the hull.

Ron’s done an outstanding job, but commented on how well this Shipyard kit has been engineered. He’s getting pretty close to…

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HMS Mercury in 1/96 Scale – The Next Paper Model Project

Having completed Shipyard’s HMS Alert kit, it just didn’t feel right to not have a paper model to work on. There’s something about the simplicity of paper that is just too darned cool!

Of course, I have plenty of wooden ship model projects, but it’s nice to have a paper model going in the background. As with other background projects I’ve had in the past, there is no rush to get it done. There’s also nothing that says I have to ever get it done. But, having completed the Alert, I can see taking on another kit and carrying it to completion.

Now, I have Shipyard’s Super Modellar Plans (that’s Shipyard’s spelling, by the way, not mine) for the Santa Leocadia, a Spanish 38-gun frigate in 1/72 scale. The “Super” part of that title means that the plans include the laser-cut frames and some other items to give you a start on the model. However, beyond that, it’s really designed as a scratch build project. That’s something that, as a wooden ship modeler, I can probably do. But, I’m really not looking for something that requires a great deal of thought and planning time. I’d rather just go with a kit that I can just follow along and build.

There are the “Laser Cardboard Series” of ship model kits, which are boxed sets and include cast resin figurehead and scrollwork, turned brass cannons, wooden dowels for masts, pre-cut sail cloth, etc. Those kits are really nice and are in a larger 1/72 scale.

However, I already have a paper model kit on hand that I bought more than a year ago. It is Shipyard’s 1/96 scale HMS Mercury kit.

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Like most of the other paper model kits, this one comes with color printed parts that have to be cut out. Also, like most of these kits, the internal framework comes already laser cut, so getting started is very easy (note that HMS Victory and HMS Endeavour are notable exceptions and you have to build-up the framework parts and cut them out before you can assemble them).

The most daunting thing about this kit is the rigging. HMS Alert had only one mast with two yardarms. HMS Mercury is considerably more complex. I considered this, but also have been an admirer of British admiralty models, which show the ships at launch. Such a ship is now fitted out and has no masts and hence no rigging. Instead, poles were erected with large decorative admiralty flags. So, looking at this kit, I thought, what better kit to use for an admiralty style model.

Of course, there’s a long way to go before I come to that fork in the road. By that time, I may just be itching to build the masts and add rigging and sails!

Lots of parts...

Lots of parts!

And even more parts...

Another view of the parts.

In any case, we’re looking here at a 28-gun Enterprize-class sixth-rate frigate. At 1/96 scale, the model, rigged, is about 26 inches long. That’s a pretty small model, really. I know a lot of ship modelers won’t build at that small scale. That’s one of the reasons I’m considering the admiralty-style model.

For those who want an easier model, but like the subject, Shipyard makes a boxed edition of this same model, but it comes with all the parts laser cut, and it’s in a more comfortable 1/72 scale. But, since I’m just a paper model beginner, and it’s a lot more expensive, I figured I’d work on the 1/96 scale paper model kit. It means a lot of cutting of small parts, but there’s no rush.

Here are the first stages of my build, assembling the pre-cut framework…

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That was the easiest part of the kit and took a very short time to get this far. If you’re trying this CUT the parts out, don’t ever try to punch them out or you’ll tear or tweak something out of shape.

The whole thing “dry fits” together very easily. Once everything looks straight and twist-free, then it can be glued together. I used fast drying CA instant glue. You only have to touch it to the parts and it wicks right into the joints. With thicker glue, you risk bumping a piece out of place. So, I save the thicker stuff for other assemblies.

I’ll use Aileen’s Tacky Glue, DAP Weldwood contact cement, Elmer’s white glue, or slow cure CA depending on the application.

After the framework is assembled, the partial inner deck is put in place and the hull “skin” is added. This is the first of the layers that will cover the hull. With more layers, the hull takes on a more naturally smooth shape. Afterwards, the pre-printed deck pieces are cut out and, one of the features that separates the Shipyard kits from most wooden ship model kits, the great cabin  detail begins with the checkerboard pattern floor covering.

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Later, the partitions and knees are built up and put in place to provide interior detail and support for the bulwarks.

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Finally, here’s a glimpse of the instructions that show you what goes where. Note the numbers that indicate how thick each piece must be built up to. It’s all a kind of code with almost no written out text. Mostly, build in general order of the part numbers and put the parts where you see them in the instruction sheets.

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I hope others reading this will find inspiration rather than intimidation. This is actually a very easy building process, it just takes time. So… “Just keep swimming…”, “put one foot in front of the other…”, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step!”

 

What Does a Ship Modeling Fool Do When Out of Town?

This past weekend, I was away in my old hometown, a place where I didn’t have a whole lot to do one day. Knowing this would probably be the case, I brought a couple easy to transport things to keep me occupied. Some people would just bring a book or watch TV. Me, I’m a ship modeling fool, so I brought a couple new ship model projects along. One was an unstarted paper model kit, a 1/96-scale model of the British frigate HMS Mercury, by Shipyard of Poland. The other was the Mini-Yakatabune kit from Woody Joe of Japan.

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kit-hmsmercury

While the HMS Mercury kit is a major project, I figured getting the framework together would give me something to show at an upcoming ship model meeting. Also, last year I had a paper model of the British cutter HMS Alert that I took with me to the Nautical Research Guild Conference. I was working at the Ages of Sail table in the Vendor Room and the partially completed model made for a good display of these kits. The next conference is coming up in another 6 weeks or so, and I’m working the Ages of Sail table again. I thought it might be good to take a different started kit. I considered taking the HMS Alert, with is much farther along, but I’ve put a lot of work into it and don’t want it to get damaged in the trip.

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Bear in mind that this is the 1/96-scale Paper Model kit and not the 1/72-scale Laser Cardboard Series kit. It was fun to get a paper model started, especially since all the frames and sub-deck pieces all pre-cut. So, as far as I got, it was all just cut and slip parts together. I didn’t actually spend a lot of time on it. But then, this was actually project number two, which I didn’t work on until I was done working on project one.

The first project, Woody Joe’s Mini-Yakatabune kit, was something I received a couple months from the Japanese online dealer Zootoyz.jp. I’ve been working on the large Yakatabune kit from Woody Joe, so I was already familiar with the craft. While I’d been working on the larger model, I’ve been writing about it on Model Ship World. Meanwhile, a fellow ship modeler has been working the mini-kit. Since I had the unstarted kit on the shelf and was very impressed by the work that the other ship modeler had done on his model, I took the kit along with me. Woody Joe product listings suggest it’s an 8-hour build, so I put that to the test.

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I came away from the weekend with everything on my list done, and also managed to pretty well finish up the Mini-Yakatabune. I’ll post more info on that kit later. But, I will say for now that I built it in a day – pretty close to the 8-hour suggested build time. I’ve built Woody Joe’s Hobikisen mini-kit and also have an unbuilt Utasebune mini-kit on the shelf too. But, from my experience, the Mini-Yakatabune is a great kit with lots to do and it looks really nice when it’s all done. It’s more expensive that the other mini-kits, but has a lot more laser cut parts than the other mini-kits. I highly recommend building it!

It’s such a neat model and the subject seems culturally significant, so I personally think the completed model will make a great gift. I’m going to give this one to my shamisen teacher and even went so far as to order a couple more of them to build for my former taiko teacher. With a list price of 5500 yen, about $46 at the time of this writing, building this kit as a gift shouldn’t break the bank account.

Well, this ship modeling fool is now back from the weekend. Surprisingly, I didn’t do much ship modeling today. But, the day’s not over yet! Ω