With the completion of the rigging, followed by the creation of a new flag (see Making an American Flag Using Adobe Illustrator), I went on to add the finishing touch to my American galley gunboat model, which are the oars. It is a “galley” gunboat after all. The model is now complete, and I’m quite happy with the way it turned out, especially given that it took me years to finally get around to completing the model.
As a reminder, this was built from the American Gunboat Arrow kit produced by Amati Model of Italy. It is a roughly 1/55-scale wooden ship model measuring just under 19″ long. I bought the kit from Ages of Sail many years ago (2014!), partially built the hull, worked on it off and on, then set it aside until early 2021. Even with all my other projects in the works, I decided to make an effort to finish up this model before the end of this year, 2022. Continue reading
I’ve been taking a little time off of work since I’ve been actually pretty productive with ship modeling and other personal tasks. So, today, I finally decided to tackle the issue to making a flag for the American Gunboat model that I’ve been working on.
My Amati American gunboat model, nearly finished, but in need of a flag
It’s been a while since I posted about the Amati American gunboat “Arrow”. As you can see in the photo below, I have the model mounted on a cherry wood base that I cut and routed the edge.This photo is from a ship model meeting back in March of this year, and shows the sails installed with the final rigging lines going in.
Unfortunately, I am not one to leave well enough alone. The kit plans show two reef bands on each sail. Also, the sails turned out a bit small for the lateen yards. Finally, I didn’t like the run of the brails, the ropes used to haul the edge of the sail in and up into the lateen yard.
As I mentioned in one of my ship modeling update posts, I haven’t done much rigging in quite some time, and heart just hasn’t been into it. So, it was a bit difficult for me to get back into the rigging of this model. And, for such a simple looking ship, it’s quite a lot of rigging. The ship, being lateen rigged, uses a set of backstays to support the masts, and each one requires two two cleats. As there are 3 backstay pairs per mast, that’s 24 lines that have to get belayed to their own cleats, while balancing out the pendant blocks that are hanging in the air, so that their positioning is arranged to look visually pleasing.
As I continue progress with the Amati “Arrow” American Gunboat kit, I wanted to wrap up my look at the earlier stages of this kit, which began as described in the earlier post Amati Gunboat “Arrow” Builde – In the Beginning. After the part where I left off last, the footrests for the rowing stations were added, and these openings in the deck were lined.
I found the provided wood had a nice natural look to them, so I avoided any painting of the model. I edged the planking in pencil, and I simulated the treenails in the deck by simply drilling holes for them. I found that the wood dust filled in the holes and made for a very natural look, especially after the application of a little danish wood oil.
I’ve turned my attention back toward the completion of the Amati Gunboat “Arrow” kit and it’s coming along. I’m ready to deal with rigging and the sails as most of the hull and deck detail is done. This is a kit that I started quite some time ago, but other things pushed it on a back burner, and I mean way back, because I started it in 2014.
I’ll post an update soon. But, I’ve written a few posts now about building this Amati kit, and mostly of the middle stages of construction. For those who are interested in building the kit, since the construction of this kit is unlike most ship model kits I’ve encountered, I thought it might be good to post some photos from the early stages of construction.
On thing in particular that makes this kit unusual is that this is a shallow draft gunboat, so it’s very wide and flat, and the lower part of the hull is built in plank-on-bulkhead fashion, but with no interlocking keel piece. Also, the upper part of the hull requires the installation of “timberheads” that on most kits are provided as extensions of the bulkheads. On this kit, they are added separately.
In any case, here’s what is mostly a photo blog of the early stages of the build. Hopefully, some modelers will find this interesting and/or helpful.
I made some progress over the past few days on the Amati American gunboat kit, but it doesn’t really show very well. Here are photos from my last post and then from today.
It may not look much different, but there are some 116 parts that have been added since last time! That comes out to be 56 cleats and 60 ringbolts. The ringbolts had to be assembled from provided eyebolts and split rings. The cleats are cast metal and I’d already painted them months ago.
Last time, if you recall, I said there were a lot of extra cleats and eyebolts. Turns out I was absolutely wrong. I went over the plans and instructions thoroughly, and I discovered that just about every one of these cleats and ringbolts has a line attached to it, so there is a LOT more rigging on this model than it first appears in the kit photos. Don’t be fooled.
Amati Model of Italy makes a wide variety of interesting ship modelings subjects. In early 2018, I finished building their Swedish Gunboat kit. Like that one, another gunboat that has been around for as long as I can remember, and was always intrigued by, is the “Arrow” an American Gunboat from the period around the War of 1812.
The Jeffersonian era was an interesting time in American naval history in the desire to use defensive gunboats in place of large expensive warships. As a result, there were numerous gunboat designs implemented. In Howard Chapelle’s book, The History of the American Sailing Navy, several of these designs can be found. Among them is a design that Chapelle describes as a “galley gunboat showing Mediterranean influence.” Clearly, this was the drawing that inspired the Arrow gunboat kit.
So, this past week, I’ve been having a few conversations with Mr. Paul Reck, who’s an accomplished ship modeler that runs the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights club in San Francisco. I’ve been a member of that group for at least 10 or 11 years. Paul has been talking for some time about gunboats of the Jeffersonian navy. So, 1801 through the War of 1812. And, yes, that’s technically into the Madison presidency, but we’re talking about the gunboat navy that took shape under Jefferson.
Paul has built a model of the War of Independence gunboat Philadelphia and small galley cutter Lee. Lately, his attention turned to these Jeffersonian gunboats. This is something I’ve always had an interest in, though my knowledge doesn’t really go past a couple historical books on the War of 1812 and the Barbary Wars, and Howard Chapelle’s book History of the American Sailing Navy.
A number of years back, my interest did lead me to buy the only available kit of a Jeffersonian gunboat, Amati’s Arrow Gunboat kit. I’d started the model a long time back, but set it got set aside as many of my projects do. But, Paul has seen the model I was working on, and we talked about the boats many times over the years. But, the subject came up again recently, and it sounds like Paul is interested in moving ahead with a build of one of these boats. Continue reading