Build Log: HMS Snake

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Graham
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Build Log: HMS Snake

Postby Graham » Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:13 pm

Hi Donnie/everyone and greetings from the UK. I’ve built models all my life, most lately plastic scale armour (I like Tamiya kits for the accuracy of the mouldings and detail) which I put into diorama scenes.
I have only made one wooden ship before. My Dad was a good modeller and I bought him a wooden ship which he made a start on, but when he got Alzheimer’s I think my Mum quietly put it away, he never mentioned it and it slipped my mind. However, when they passed away and we were clearing their house I came across the model and thought it would be a nice memory to finish it. He’d only really got started on the solid hull but after a lot of head scratching I got stuck into it and finished it – see photo.

The phrase ‘Boston Fishing Smack’ has stuck in my mind, don’t know why and it is probably not the case; maybe some of you guys know what it actually is. Not only did I enjoy finishing it for Dad, I also enjoyed the woodworking involved, doing the rigging, even sewing the sails!
I always promised myself that when I had the time I would build ‘a big ship’ with no idea at all what that might be. Well, the time has come and I am about to start my first wooden ship model. Prior to this I have done a lot of reading on various forums and watched quite a bit on Youtube to give me some clue as to how to start out. I have certainly got the most information and ideas from Ships of Scale and so, by way of payback, I thought I would post my build log here and then all you experienced guys can at least get a laugh or two out of the beginner’s mistakes I make – and hopefully offer your experience and advice.
I wanted a kit which would be a plank on frame design and something from the Nelson era which I have been interested in since I made a fascinating visit to HMS Victory. A fantastic day, but lots of head bumping involved (I am 6’1’’ tall) and when I mentioned to one of the guides that people must have been smaller in those days she said that the ship’s carpenter at the time of Trafalgar was 6’4’’ tall! Another great day out was HMS Trincomalee in Hartlepool (they have a website) which is well worth a look.

I have plumped for a Caldercraft kit of HMS Snake which is an 18 gun carronade armed vessel. The description says:-
‘The Snake class were ship rigged sloops. This class was very business-like with a flush deck and nine cannons or carronades each side, they were very fast and seaworthy. As originally built Snake had a full ordinance of 32 pounder carronades. Carronades replaced the carriage guns because at close quarters the short range carronades proved devastating to their opponents. Class dimensions were: length 100’; breadth 30’6”; displacement 382 tons with a crew of 121’.

The actual manufacturer is JoTiKa which is also UK based, so I hope the instruction book which comes with the kit is reasonably well written. It is classed as an intermediate kit, so, given that I am an experienced modeller I should be OK. Right? They say pride comes before a fall, but armed with some new knife blades, a bag of small clamps and some super glue here we go.

PS. I have now been building the kit off and on since October but couldn’t find the correct downloading lead for the camera in the mystical Box Of All Wires which we keep under the stairs and we also had the chaos of moving house, so some of these posts may come faster than reality but I will post in the order I went about it.


Regards,
Graham.
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eric61
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Re: Build Log: HMS Snake

Postby eric61 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:25 pm

Hi Graham and welcome, the model you have posted looks like a 'Smack'
the following may be of help. The American built fishing smacks weren't very much different from the English ones, however, judging by the sails on your model I'd say it could be an American version.

A smack was a traditional fishing boat used off the coast of Britain and the Atlantic coast of America for most of the 19th century and, in small numbers, up to the Second World War. Many larger smacks were originally cutter rigged sailing boats until about 1865, when smacks had become so large that cutter main booms were unhandy. The smaller smack retain the gaff cutter rig. The larger smacks were lengthened and re-rigged and new ketch-rigged smacks were built, but boats varied from port to port. Some boats had a topsail on the mizzen mast, while others had a bowsprit carrying a jib.

Large numbers smacks operated in fleets from ports in the UK such as Brixham, Grimsby and Lowestoft as well as at locations along the Thames Estuary. In England the sails were white cotton until a proofing coat was applied, usually after the sail was a few years old. This gave the sails its distinctive red ochre colour, which made them a picturesque sight in large numbers. Smacks were often rebuilt into steam boats in the 1950s.

Military use
Smacks were used in British coastal waters during World War I as Q ships. Actions involving smacks include the Action of 15 August 1917 when the armed smacks Nelson and Ethel & Millie engaged a German U-boat in the North Sea. During this action the Nelson was sunk and its skipper, Thomas Crisp, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. Another Lowestoft smack, HM Armed Smack Inverlyon, commanded by Ernest Jehan, sank the German U-boat UB-4 earlier in the war, the only example of a wooden sailing vessel sinking a modern steel submarine.


Regards
Eric
Cook's Endeavour - current,
Sovereign of the Seas - current (deAgostini)
In queue: Marina II Fishing Boat by Artesania Latina
In queue: Mayflower by Model Shipways

"I was thinking then it all went blank!"
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eric61
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Re: Build Log: HMS Snake

Postby eric61 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:28 pm

Came across this in Google Images.
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Brooklyn_Museum_-_Calm_in_Gloucester_Harbor_-_Carlton_Theodore_Chapman_-_overall.jpg
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Cook's Endeavour - current,
Sovereign of the Seas - current (deAgostini)
In queue: Marina II Fishing Boat by Artesania Latina
In queue: Mayflower by Model Shipways

"I was thinking then it all went blank!"
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GaryM
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Re: Build Log: HMS Snake

Postby GaryM » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:57 pm

Reference material is very important when building a model, especially when it comes to rigging. On of the best is "Historic Ship Models" by Mondfeld. He covers many aspect of modeling with description and pictures. For some things he covers it is like having an expert sitting next to you showing how it is done.
Happy modeling,
Gary Maple

Problems are just challenges waiting for your solution.

Current build: Sergal Sovereign of the Seas
In Que: Sergal: Cutty Sark and Amerigo Vespucci; Billings Titanic
Completed: Amati: HMS Prince (old 1:78 version); Billings: Norske Love and Vasa; Mantua: La Couronne; Sergal: Mississippi Riverboat and La Soleil Royal
NMBROOK
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Re: Build Log: HMS Snake

Postby NMBROOK » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:15 pm

Hi Graham and welcome to the forum.I feel you have made a good choice regarding Snake.I have heard good things about Caldercrafts instructions,never built one of their kits myself.
I wish you all the best with your build and don't be afraid to ask if you are unsure of anything ;-)

Kind Regards

Nigel
Graham
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Re: Build Log: HMS Snake

Postby Graham » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:39 pm

October. The kit arrived promptly from Caldercraft and I got the suggested paints for the kit as well, which are said to be the actual colours for the period – matt red, black and yellow ochres plus some copper colour. All are water based. First thing to do is read the book and try to relate that to the plans. The plans for the rigging look mind-boggling, so I’ll just put those to one side and worry about them later. I numbered the parts on the various wooden sheets to the diagrams in the back of the instruction book and the machine cutting looks quite precise on the ply sheets with no break-out of the wood grain.

On to the hull itself. I don’t have a keel clamp (it’s on my Christmas list), so I used a couple of ‘L’ shaped brackets bolted through the keel as shown in the photo – should stand me in good stead until I get to planking when I’ll have to remove it. Pretty straightforward assembly and I took care to get the bulkheads square to the keel but later in the build I noted that a couple were very slightly out in the vertical axis. Learning point 1 on the next build. As previously noted I like to build dioramas, so I’d like to at least put some figures on the deck. Hence, I cut down on the keel beneath the rear-most hatch (see photo) and put a false deck in so I can do something along the lines of a couple of guys loading some cargo. From what I can see the choice of appropriate figures (1:64 scale) is limited, so I guess that’s my first question – does anyone know a source for figures (crew and officers) in a variety of poses or ones I can modify? If it doesn’t come off I’ll just glue the hatch on and nothing is lost. The bulkhead edges were then shaped to allow for the lay of planks and I later found that some of these needed further fettling when I started planking – but better to take too little off than too much, I reckon.
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Graham
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Re: Build Log: HMS Snake

Postby Graham » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:47 pm

The instructions say to glue the false deck in place prior to fitting the gun-port bulwarks. I don’t really like this idea because that means planking the deck in situ and I want to do it off the model as it will be a lot less fiddly. After much pondering I put the false deck temporarily in place and used it to align the bottom of the gun-port bulwarks and tack glued where the gun-port bulwarks meet the bulkhead frames at the bottom edge only – the top parts of the bulkheads are later removed at deck level in the build and are only there for profile, so you can’t glue to them. It worked OK, the false deck was then removed and I plan to run the first plank beneath the gunport bulwark and glue the two edges together to provide strength.
I shall plank the deck while I wait for my plank bending tool to arrive. I had put it on my Christmas list but the job is stopped without it. The deck is planked with Tanganiyka strip and my first impression was that this is pretty rough stuff, especially along the edges which I tried lightly sanding but to no avail. I hovered on the edge of buying something better but in the end I decided not to – I got this model to learn the skills, so deal with what you have. I wanted to get a planked effect, so had a look online regarding what the scale length would be. Opinion seems to be divided so I settled on 4’’ based solely on the fact that it looks about right to me – I don’t think this will be the biggest thing to worry about during this build and I can hear the rigging plans laughing at me from the cupboard! I scored each strip at 4’’ with the edge of a file then used a 0.5mm drill in a pin vice to make a small hole either side of the score line – all of these marks should(?) take the stain darker. The fore and aft platforms were treated in the same way and I developed a bad case of Pin Vice Driller’s Thumb.
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eric61
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Re: Build Log: HMS Snake

Postby eric61 » Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:32 pm

hi Graham, nice progress so far. On my Endeavour I planked the deck in the two halves so that when they go together you cannot tell that there is a join, Popeye prfers to plank his deks in situ and runs a strip straddling the join. Every modeller has his own "technique" which in turn becomes an idea and a way of doing something.

Regarding scales I have a list of all scales and will post it a little later, some railway scales almost match model scales and they can be used quite comfortably, some may be slightly smaller or bigger BUT when people admire your model they will not be closer than about 12 inches and with a ruler in their hand.

This link is similar to my list, model raiway figures are your best shot and you may have to modify them
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_tran ... ing_scales

Regards
Eric
Cook's Endeavour - current,
Sovereign of the Seas - current (deAgostini)
In queue: Marina II Fishing Boat by Artesania Latina
In queue: Mayflower by Model Shipways

"I was thinking then it all went blank!"
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popeye
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Re: Build Log: HMS Snake

Postby popeye » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:16 am

most decks will utilize what's know as a king plank, that runs down the center of the deck. it is usually slightly thicker that the rest of the deck planking, and is tapered to meet the planking, as it splays out on the deck. it's primarily used on the spar deck, most likely to prevent water from affecting the mast collars and root.....the crown of the deck camber. for deck platforms that are in two halves, it's a great way to hide that nasty separation line.

the start of the gun deck looks very nice......there is no hard rule that I know of, as far as the center goes. I run one along the center, simply to set up the plank runs, so they will be even on both sides. you'll have a very nice looking deck when your done ;) sounds like you did a pretty smart thing, as deck planking is a bit harder to do, once in place. you used a bit of fore thought......and that's good. your going to find, that thinking through a step or process, to do something in an easier fashion, will allow the build to flow smoothly. you'll also find it more enjoyable. I use the deck platform in a number of ways. the biggie is to set up the bulkhead frames, keeping them properly spaced until the glue dries.

keep up the good work Graham
finished builds:
Nordkap 476 / Cux 87 / Gundalow
Mary Ann / Susan A. / M&M fun ship
Phylly C & Denny-Zen / AmericA
Andrea Gail

in cue:
Gothenborg
Half Moon
Boulogne Etaples
trawler Syborn
U.S.S. United States
Holiday Harbor
Titanic
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Brian
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Re: Build Log: HMS Snake

Postby Brian » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:30 am

Hi Graham,
Good start on your build and nice to see someone as new to wooden ship building as myself only having 5 ships to my name (first 2 plastic & now on my third wooden one)
As for your question on crew figures have a look at cornwall model boats http://www.cornwallmodelboats.co.uk/aca ... gures.html
or alwayshobbies.com http://www.alwayshobbies.com/model-boat ... ilors-22mm
both have a selection of crew figures 27mm & 22mm respectively.

Brian

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