Tag Archives: cannon carriages

Cannons and Carriages – Added Details

In my last post, I wrote about the cannons and carriages I purchased from The Lumberyard for use on the Colonial Schooner Independence. Since then, I’ve assembled a whole new set of carriages and added a number of details in the process. Specifically, I’ve added the carriage bolts, trunnion locks, ringbolts, eye bolts, and various other bolts, added quoins (the blocks used to hold the cannon in proper elevation, and axle pins.

The job isn’t perfect, but it was my first attempt at detailing gun carriages, and for this model, I think they’ll work out rather well.

 

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All the additions were hand made with the exception of the handle for the quoin block, which is simply a small belaying pin – BlueJacket part number 119. I left it bright brass figuring that it will tarnish soon enough, turning a yellowish-brown.

The trunnion locks were made from brass strip, but everything else was made from steel wire or steel pins. The ringbolts were made from 24 gauge black annealed steel wire.

If you recall a few posts back, I discovered a product called Stainless Steel Black from a company called Caswell. Well, this stuff worked great on all the metal parts shown here, though I used BlueJacket’s Pewter Black metal toner for the cannon barrel, though I did then coat it with Caswell’s sealer that came with my stainless steel blackening product.

The axles were a bit tricky to drill out for the pins, but it just took some care and the using up of one of the spare carriages.

A few months back, on the recommendation of a fellow ship modeler (a VERY good one) I bought one of those cheap mini drill presses that showed up en masse on the Internet about a year ago – the green ones with the variable speed dial and imported from China that retail for under $70. Works very well, I must say, and I used this with a #73 drill to make the holes in the axles.

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Anyway, it took quite a number of hours to do all the work on the cannons. It kind of surprised me at how long it took to do the work, but it shouldn’t. Lots of steps, but they came out looking pretty nice – Even more so when they’re on the deck of the ship.

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Cannons and Carriages

For my Colonial Schooner model, I really didn’t like the quality of the cannon barrels provided. They’re turned brass, but they hardly resemble anything that looks real cannons. Various kit manufacturers make cannon barrels, but usually the selection is very limited and, often times, the accuracy of detail still leaves much to be desired. Luckily, there is The Lumberyard for Model Shipwrights.

The Lumberyard is best known for providing wood for ship modeling and for the timbering sets they sell for Harold Hahn style models. These are the somewhat stylized, framed, scratch-built models that are constructed inverted on a building jig. The Lumberyard’s sets include the plans, all the necessary wood in a mix of species, a laser cut building jig and a selection of important laser cut parts.

But, when it comes to cannons, The Lumberyard has a nice selection in both cast britannia pewter and CNC turned acrylic. The company also carries laser-cut gun carriages that come in sets of four on a sheet of cherry wood.

 

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Pewter barrels blackened with Bluejacket’s Pewter Black solution

Cannons and carriages are identified by the poundage of shot and model scale. Unfortunately, the product line is limited to 3/16″ = 1′ (1:64) and 1/4″ = 1′ (1:48), and not all shot sizes are available in both scales. But, even if you’re working in other scales, you might be able to find something that will work for you.

I haven’t purchased the acrylic cannon barrels, but I have ordered several of the pewter ones and they’re pretty nice. The trunnions are cast below the centerline, which is very nice. The barrels come slightly blackened, looking somewhat grayish. I used a product called Pewter Black that BlueJacket sells and that made them black black. The trunnions themselves are long, allowing you to file them down to fit whatever carriages you’re using. The casting detail is good, but I wish that whoever is doing the actual casting was able to not compress the molds so much as the barrels you get are sometimes noticeably flattened. With some castings, this is more apparent than others, and the first set of 1/4″ scale 1/2-pounder swivel guns I bought looked like “road kill”, but ones I’ve gotten since are considerably better looking. Anyway, given The Lumberyard’s customer support, I think they’d happily replace them if you have a problem with them.

As for the gun carriages, which are sold separately, these are very nice. The main problem with them is that the builder is apparently expected to provide his or own set of construction plans as none are included with the carriage sets. But, all gun carriages are pretty much the same, so once you’ve built one, you’ll have it figured out for the next time.

I’m not sure about what period these carriages are supposed to represent or what nationality, but the 6-pounder carriages I bought for my Colonial Schooner seemed a bit on the large size for the barrels. Still, compared to what was in the kit and to available alternatives, they look pretty darned good.

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The Lumberyard’s cannon carriages come 4 to a sheet.

 Overall, I think The Lumberyard is a good source for your naval artillery needs. Just be patient with the shipping. I don’t know if they have a supply of them in-house or if they make them as they’re needed or if another company makes the barrels for them, but it can take a couple weeks to get an oder shipped from The Lumberyard, so you just have to be a little patient and order in advance of your needs.