Tag Archives: Naval Cutter

HMS Alert Follow Up and Youtube Video

At the 2016 NRG Conference in San Diego, CA. Photo by Ryland Craze.

And, since Ages of Sail needed some kind of Youtube presence, I took my review photos, construction photos, and completed model photos, and put them together into a slide show with text transitions and some classical music.

I actually put this together about a year ago and then forgot all about it. I was looking at posting some other video recently and rediscovered it. So, here it is in all its splendor, HMS Alert from the Shipyard paper model kit, with some additions…


And, just in case you want to try building this kit yourself, here’s a link to it on Ages of Sail: https://www.agesofsail.com/ecommerce/hms-alert-1777-1:96—shipyard-mk019–paper-model-kit.html

Note that it now appears as part of two other combination sets. In this one, which included Le Coureur: https://www.agesofsail.com/ecommerce/30-anniversary-collection–the-opponents–shipyard-mkj005–paper-model.html

And this one, which includes Le Coureur as well as HMS Mercury: https://www.agesofsail.com/ecommerce/30-anniversary-collection–north-europe-part-2–shipyard-mkj003–paper-model.html

Feature Kit: Artesania Latina’s French Privateer Cutter Le Renard, 1813

I’ve always like the look of the cutter rig. After building my model of the HMS Alert paper model by Shipyard, I became enamored with them. There are several kits of this type available, but this is a really nice looking, good sized model. I think Artesania Latina has come a long way in improving the scale appearance and details of their kits, while still keeping a nice, relatively low price point.

Ages of Sail

Looking for a beautiful ship model subject that’s big enough to display, easy enough to build, won’t takes years to complete, and at an affordable price? Take a look at the French privateer cutter, Le Rendard, 1813. 

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HMS Alert – Project Completed

Here it is, about a month after I said I should have the model done in about a week. HMS Alert, my first paper model project is finally done. I added the last of the rope coils last night and and working on the case.

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This is from the Shipyard line of kits from the Polish company called Vessel. The kits are sold in the U.S. by Ages of Sail (http://www.agesofsail.com). The hull and nearly all the deck details are cut from pre-printed paper parts provided in the kit. Some things, like the mast and spars and blocks are wood, purchased separately.

The sails are cloth, and the cannons are brass, sold by Syren Ship Model Company as small swivel guns. The blocks are swiss pear blocks that were also sold by Syren (sadly discontinued). Some other aftermarket parts were used, such as the gratings and the gun carriages, which I adapted from a detail kit sold by the Polish company GPM for a different model.

Building this model was a real challenge in patience for me – there are a LOT of little parts to cut, and the instructions take a bit of study, like it’s in code. But overall, I had a blast building it. The kits are VERY inexpensive and if you photocopy the parts before you begin, you can usually recover from basic screw-ups – I certainly had a LOT of opportunity for that!

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I highly recommend trying a paper model kit. But not just any kit, I recommend one of the kits from Shipyard. The models are constructed in a fashion that’s closer to wood ship modeling than is true for most other paper kits. These kits are very high quality, but you just need to be aware that you will either have to make just about everything from paper provided in the kit, or you have to provide some of your own materials, like cloth for the sails, dowels for the masts, etc.

If you have a bit more money than time, you should consider getting one of the boxed kits that is part of the Shipyard product line that used to be called Laser Cardboard Kits. These kits contain everything you need in one tidy package. Of course, it’s more money. Also, few part are pre-printed for you. The big advantage is that ALL the parts are laser cut for you – a big time saver. Also, all the boxed ship kits are in a larger 1:72 scale, whereas all the paper ship kits are all 1:96 scale.

This particular model is going to a good home with a fellow ship modeler who has been admiring it since I first brought it to a ship model meeting. He encouraged me to finish it up, and I will be transferring possession of it next week. In the meantime, I’m busy working on a case for the model.

But, this isn’t the last you’ll see of HMS Alert. The new owner and I have made tentative arrangements for me to take it to the Nautical Research Guild conference in October. The model made its first debut at the conference in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2014, so it’s only fitting that it make an official appearance as a completed model in a case this Fall.

I know I’m going to miss working on this paper model. So, I started working on another one that will take it’s place as a low-priority background project. The model is Shipyard’s 1:96 scale HMS Mercury, a 28-gun Enterprize-class sixth rate frigate. At this point, I’m not planning on rigging her. Rather, I’m thinking of making a type of admiralty display model rigged with launch flags. Of course, things change over time, so you never know. Stay tuned! Ω

 

HMS Alert – Project Update

I haven’t posted as often as I have in the past. Much of this has to do with the large number of issues and projects I’m dealing with at the moment. But also, I’m still working during the day, and for some reason this season has been oddly busy. Better that than oddly quiet I suppose, which it has also been at times. Also, I play Japanese folk music which has been demanding extra time this year. But, I’m sure you don’t want to read excuses, you want to know what’s new.

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If you’ve been following my blog here, you are probably familiar with the paper model HMS Alert. The model inches ever so closer to completion! The biggest hold up on this model has been in dealing with the fashion trim at the stern and how it fits in with the boom crutches. While there are a couple images in the kit that show the boom crutches, it was not very clear what they attach to. These pieces are just simpl U-shapes with nothing to really to support them, except the taffrail. But it was difficult to find what was supposed to fit under the corner of the taffrail to support the crutches, let alone the weight of the boom cradled in them.

This required some creative ship modeling. What I ended up with seems to work, but there’s no telling if it is what was intended by the kit designers. But, this isn’t particularly surprising for any ship modeler. Those of us who have built even one ship model are accustomed to this kind of problem solving.

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HMS Alert stern completed

In addition to the boom crutches, there is a fashion piece that runs down the side of the hull right at the stern. Clearly, there is some error in my model’s construction, because the parts provided in the kit didn’t fit properly. Again, I had to adapt and make new pieces that looked correct that would fit properly in place. It took me a while to do it, though it wasn’t particularly difficult to make. Mostly, it was a matter sitting down and making it.

Beyond these issues, I managed to finally mount the tiller, which is very thin and delicately attached to the rudder post. I also completed the bulk of the rigging, adding lifts, sheets and braces to the spreader yard. I still have to tie off a few things, but the trickiest parts are done.

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Next are the braces for the topsail yard and the addition of flag and pennant. Also, I have yet to rig the jib sheets. But, that’s not too much left to do, so I’m hoping to be done by next weekend.

Part of the project is also to build a case for it, but as for the model itself, the end is near!

I’ll post next when all is done.

Shipyard’s 1:96-scale HMS Alert 1777, Paper Model Kit – Part VII

I haven’t posted an update on this project for a several months, so figured it was time.

I now have someone who wants the completed model, so that pushed this project up in priority.  Initially, it was more of a test to see what building in paper was like. But, it was so much fun that I kept going with it. Now, it’s close enough to completion to really push to finish it.

I finished building the carriage guns, blackening them and adding breech ropes. For the ropes, I ended up using Morope brand model rope. The main reason for using Morope was simply to test out the product. This model rope certainly looks good, but it does want to unravel quite easily. I found it best to put a drop of CA glue at the point where I want to cut the line. After the CA dries, I cut the line and there’s no unravelling.

The other model rope I was considering was the stuff sold by Syren Ship Model Company. Initially, I avoided this rigging line because for most purposes, the lay of the rope is backwards. It’s all left-hand or S-laid rope. I’ve since changed my mind about the Syren model rope because it’s so nice to work with. It’s stiff, but flexible, doesn’t unravel, and looks great. However, since I already started using Morope, I figured I’d continue with it.

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Not so clear photo of the finished cannon on carriage with Morope breeching rope.

For the cannons, I ended up using turned brass barrels sold by Syren Ship Model Company as swivel guns. One of the sizes worked out perfectly for this models small carriage guns. Making the carriages was the hard part. But, there’s only a dozen to get through.

I then had to add eyebolts at the ends of the breech ropes and drill the bulwarks to mount them. The deck is open and so drilling and adding the eyebolts into place wasn’t too bad. But, the model is more delicate than a wooden one, so it required extra care.

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HMS Alert in my shipyard with Colonial Schooner in background. All cannons are in place and rigged with breech ropes.

As you can see, the taffrail is pretty well complete. That’s one feature that really made me sweat. Getting those stanchions all in place and then adding the rail and trying to make it run as flat as possible… I’d put off building the rail for a while until I could muster enough nerve to deal with it. Since then, it’s been mostly smooth sailing.

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I worked on the sails some time ago. They’re are cloth and purchased as a separate accessory set available from Shipyard. They are pre-printed, but only on one side. Getting the lines of the cloth to show through required lightly tracing them onto the blank side in pencil.

Bolt ropes were glued around the edges using simple white glue. I also added all the small ropes to the two reefing bands on the mainsail.

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I’d purchased the masting set from Shipyard too. This just consists of some dowels and a few laser cut cardboard pieces for the cross trees, mast cap, etc.

For blocks, I decided to use some swiss pear blocks I bought from Syren Ship Model Company. They stopped making them rather abruptly and did a big sell-off before I’d had a chance to stock up on more of the sizes I needed. But, this model doesn’t use too many, so I figured I’d go ahead and use them. Anyway, they’re really nice looking blocks. I made up a batch of paper blocks, but I figured I’d use the swiss pear ones while I had them.

Finally, I began the process of rigging by adding the lower deadeyes into place, and rigging the shrouds. As you can see the main boom is also in place. I had to finish up all the details on it first, then decided I’d better add it before too much other rigging gets in the way.

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I have to now add all the blocks I’ll need on the mast, gaff and yards and sails. Then, I’m going to have to tie the backstays around the mast head so I can finish up adding the main and preventer stays which will lead down to the top of the stem. Really starting to feel like I’m getting into the home stretch on this model.

One interesting thing I’ve discovered is that the deadeyes are really pretty securely attached on this paper model. That was one thing I had concerns about. But, I wire stropped them and then simply bent the bottom of the wire to insert into holes I drilled into the hull, forming the chainplate. A faux chainplate is then glued to the face of the wire.

Shipyard’s 1:96-scale HMS Alert 1777, Paper Model Kit – Part IV

As I mentioned previously, the Alert paper model has been somewhat of a distraction. But, after reaching a bit of burnout from a recent heavy workload, I needed the distraction. I’d actually worked on the model a bit more since my last posting and here’s an update of some of the work that was done.

The cap rail went on pretty easily, though cutting the rectangular openings for the timber heads  proved to be a challenge. As with most of the parts I worked on, I began by painting to get rid of the white edges. At some point, I’d get a little paint on the printed areas of the part and found it was just pretty much standard practice to paint over those areas too to even out the color.

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I also installed the catheads, which are built-up from several layers of paper and then covered with the printed paper. Again, these look a lot better after cleaning up, but I was pretty pleased with how they went into place and how sturdy they were.

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Those timber heads were a real pain to get half-way uniform looking and properly trimmed to shape. I also found it took some work to get them to fit the holes I’d cut into the cap rail and had to do a lot of extra fitting work. Still, when painted, it all looked pretty nice. Not perfect, but nice.

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Next, I decided to tackle something that seemed like it would be pretty easy, the shot racks. The paper model just gives printed racks with black circles to represent the shot. At this small scale, it’s probably fine to leave it that as it’s hard to tell when you have scale cannon balls in place.

For the cannon balls, I found some appropriately sized ball bearing and blackened them. I’d originally used a larger size that seemed to look nice, but they were way out of scale, so I got a new order in of a smaller size that worked perfectly. Mounting these in the shot racks was a lot like playing those old games that used to come in boxes of Cracker Jacks where you have the tiny balls rolling around in a sealed plastic box and you had to get them all to settle into the tiny indents to “win.”

Note the one little ball bearing that escaped in the upper part of the picture. Somewhere buried in my carpet are several ball bearings that will NEVER be seen again, ever.

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The first shot rack installed. It was a bit of a challenge to hold it in place while glueing. I found it easiest for me to use my thumb to hold the part against the bulwarks, then use a pair of hemostats in my free hand to nudge the part until it was perfectly straight, then drop the hemostats for a bottle of thin, fast setting CA. A tiny amount locked the piece in place and it is quite firmly set.

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Though it’s a blurry photo, you can see that all the shot racks were put into place and then the white edges were painted. It all turned out quite nice.

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When I would run into more daunting tasks, I’d occasionally assemble some of the parts needed for later assemblies. Here all the parts were assembled and cleaned up and touched up. There are plenty of parts like this that need to be done, so there’s no shortage of small tasks.

Things went together quite well, but the long, thin shanks of the anchors are a bit delicate. With the stocks attached, it’s going to be very easy to accidentally twist or buckle them, so I’m saving that assembly for later.

IMG_0413I also played around with making the mast and the cap and crosstrees for the topmast. I’d purchased the masting set for this model, which included dowels and laser-cut cardboard pieces for the details. But, I wasn’t particularly happy with the quality of the wood, so I used my own birch dowels, stained with, if I recall correctly now, Minwax Golden Oak stain.

I tried using the laser-cut cardboard parts, which were easy to assembly. But, I found that parts built-up from layers of paper were generally sturdier. For the mast cap, the laser-cut parts worked out fine, but I had more problems with the crosstrees. Also, I guess I didn’t get the squared section of the mast doubling small enough, so the crosstrees wouldn’t fit. I didn’t notice this until later in the build, so I had to adjust the work a little and seems okay.

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I don’t have any photos of the most recent work, but I added the channels and other small hull details. I also didn’t like the way my original transom planking looked under the counter. I’ve redone the area twice and the last time it seemed to come out well enough for my task. I’ll post more photos of that work next time, along with any new work I complete.

Shipyard’s 1:96-scale HMS Alert 1777, Paper Model Kit – Part III

So, now that I’ve given props to the larger boxed edition HMS Alert kit with all its laser cut parts, I’ll say that I’m having a great time with this small 1:96-scale kit. It’s frickin’ neat! I brought the model as it is now to last month’s meeting of the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights, and I think I’ve got a couple people interested in buying the kit, or at least interested in trying a paper model.

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One of them became interested after we had a discussion on how this kit might actually be really useful for a ship modeler looking to scratch build a wooden model of the Alert, which seems to be a very popular subject. I’ve even considered doing this, though for now I have the paper kit.

I suppose I should use the term “card model” because I think that’s how most builders refer to these models. I think it does sound a little more sophisticated than calling them paper models. I just use the term “paper model” because that’s what the manufacturer calls them. Probably sounds better in Polish.

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Anyway, the idea with using the card model for wood ship modeling is that the planks are pre-spiled and nicely printed out. These might actually serve well as patterns for cutting wooden planks. It seems like all you would have to do is blow up the paper parts to 200% and you’d have templates for a nice 1/4″ scale (1:48) wooden model. So, we may experiment with that idea.

In the meantime,  the lapstrake planking worked out really nicely and goes on very easily. This gives the hull a third layer, with the hull shape getting smoother with each layer.

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I ended up painting the hull using paints I bought from Shipyard. These paints are interesting because they seem to use a fairly coarse pigment, at least that’s the way it seems to me, though maybe I’m misinterpreting the finish I’m getting. The reason I say this about the pigments is because of the texture of the finish. Not only is it very flat, but it remains that way even after repeated applications. Also, the texture of the dry, painted surface is rough to the touch.

The paints are fairly transparent, so you can still see the printed lines in the paper, even after a couple applications. This also means that  it takes more coats to cover up problems, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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I’ve been going to town on this over the past couple weeks. A bit of a distraction from my other projects, but it can’t be helped – this model is too much fun to build. What’s more, I’ve actually been approached by a fellow ship model club member about buying the completed model from me. It really is that neat!