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Hi All,


This project has been underway for over a year now & I almost have something to show for the effort. The old Lindberg plastic La Flore kit, never really that & long since re-branded as the "Jolly Roger Pirate Ship" for the kiddies (There's also a stand plate in the kit reading "Flying Dutchman"; I never saw that release), has a lot of potential & I was inspired by a similar project on another forum to "have a go". I read all the Patrick O'Brian books years ago, saw the movie in the theater & now have the video disk, so had more than enough inspiration to start. "The Frigate Surprise" by Lavery & Hunt was gifted to me by my wife several years ago, so there was no way to plead lack of information as an excuse not to go ahead, either.


The Admiralty draft shows a vessel with less sheer, less draft & less drag to the keel than the kit moldings, but I chose to ignore that issue; O'Brian's Surprise was older & sailed better than the historic ship anyway, so this is the ship from the books, rather than the historic ship or the ship in the movie. The one in the movie is a modified HMS Rose anyway, with the jarring anachronism of a raised quarterdeck & other issues, so that version will be ignored throughout this build.


The book & movie versions both carried old-fashioned "long guns" for a main battery, but the historic ship was refitted with a main battery of 32-pounder carronades for Royal Navy service & I chose to model this feature because it is never seen in plastic model kits, so the resulting model will be a blend of the fictional & historic versions. That broadside of "smashers" may be the reason for the historic vessel's short service life, but this project began by making & molding masters for 2 sizes of cast resin carronades.




I shortened the hull one gun port plus the distance between 2 gun ports, because the kit was proportionally narrower than the draft showed for Surprise. Actual gun port count, location & spacing was dealt with another way, later...




The transom was mostly a lot of fun with Evergreen styrene strips, after sanding off most of the mid-18th Century French details, reshaping the top edge & drilling out 2 more 6-pane windows on either side:




The kit decks needed replacing altogether due to all the holes in all the wrong places. I shortened them to fit the modified hull & used them for patterns, adding some missing areas in the process:




I added plank seams by embossing with a darning needle & ruler. This induced the right camber, which was preserved by adding cabin bulkheads & laminated beams, close to scale depth where they could be seen & deeper elsewhere...because the masts in this kit are stepped on the decks...




So far, so good, & now there was a guide for building the round bow to replace the kit's beakhead bulkhead:




I was able to use slightly heat-curved .040" styrene sheet here because I am a vac kit producer & trim a lot of the stuff off the edges of commercial kit moldings. I know, this is almost cheating, isn't it?




The older style quarter galleries had to go, too. The offending area was sawed out, bits of scrap fitted at the top to fill out to the new shape & 3 faceted panels added to each side. A paper rubbing of the area was used to determine the overall shape here, & lots of trimming & fitting got everything to lean & look right:




More strip & some rod carried the basic look of the transom moldings around the quarter galleries, & finally those windows could be cut:




There are over 350 photos about this project already & the hull isn't glued shut yet. I'll pick carefully through them & add more installments as time permits.  Cheers!

Edited by lars_opland
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A lot of work to make this a flush-deck? Or does it qualify as a razee?


Excellent job, regardless!

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Hi guys, thanks for looking in. The kit was a flush-deck French frigate, circa 1760-ish to begin with. Nothing has been removed from the top edges of the kit hull.


I've used strip for both stern & quarter galleries; the window openings are just drilled & chopped into the basic panels of both so far (the middle 5 windows in the transom are as molded; the outer 2 were added), but I intend to thin down the frames between the openings in the stern later so they'll match the quarter galleries better. I've toyed with the idea of replacing the 6-pane window panels with clear styrene panels & adding painted tape or decal strips for the frames, or glopping in some liquid windows, but may just leave them open. Time will tell.


Here's the first test of the mast rake, established by drilling small holes in both decks at the theoretical locations so I could do this with toothpicks before they were all bored out full size in wrong locations. The copy of the Admiralty draft here isn't to actual scale yet...




The kit has a problem with the main wale, port side. It dips too low amidships compared to starboard, took on a sharp kink after that 20-odd millimeters of hull was removed & wouldn't line up when the deck rail & keel were lined up. The plastic lid from a gallon ice cream bucket is about the same thickness, so I cut a very shallow curve, at an angle, across one of those, finished removing this masking strip from the refuse & double-stick-taped it to the hull, against the top edge of the existing wale. The tape was put on the lid before I made the first cut so it would be flush with the edge for a better seal. This allowed me to fill in relatively neatly above the wale & take most of the wobble & joggle out of it. The bottom edge was trimmed back a bit later, & black hull paint will cover up any lingering irregularity:




The kit shrouds & ratlines are clumsy vinyl affairs, plugged into oversize holes in the hull, & of course all these holes are in the wrong place now, so out came the tub full of stretched sprue ends from other projects of the past. These make dandy tapered plugs, welded in with liquid cement & trimmed off later...




By this point it had dawned on me that the gun ports wouldn't work any better with Surprise's rig than the chain plate holes would, still weren't the right amount, didn't begin or end in the right locations & were spaced too closely together. Here are the new locations sketched onto the left hull half with a marker pen:




Among all the bits & pieces saved over the years were several hatch gratings from Airfix's HMS Endeavour, set aside after changing several deck openings in that model into ladderways & a wardroom skylight. They're a little rough in places but better size for this scale than the kit pieces...& they were already painted. .040" styrene was sliced into strips for hatch combings & glued directly onto the trimmed-down gratings, two sides at a time so the ends could be sanded flush to get a neat fit of the last 2 sides. I used one kit grating for a hatch in the waist that will be hard to see under 2 stacks of boats later. The masters for Surprise's 4 long chase guns are here too; the medium-sized carriage from a Heller 74, plus the medium-sized barrel from a Revell Wappen von Hamburg/Captain Kidd Pirate Ship. The larger brown barrel, far right, was one of the kit's guns:




Mainmast & foremast bitts were laminated from doubled .030" strips, & sized to reach through to the gun deck. The mizzen bitt was laminated from .040" stock:




The mainmast bitts seem strange to my eyes, very wide & reaching right over the hatch grating behind the mainmast, but this is what the plans show so that's how it is. Sanding the deck camber into the bottoms of deck details has been no problem; it doesn't amount to much on these little things & was done with a scrap of sandpaper placed on the deck:




Smoothing out the bows took several passes with filler & some focused sanding sessions, but it was finally time to add the extension of the deck rail (or wale) around the bows. This was done in one piece with the hull tightly pulled together, to be sure of a fair curve, then thoroughly super-glued from below before snipping at the centerline:




That's all for now. I'll try to bring this up-to-date within the week, after which the installments will become less frequent as some evenings see no work on this one at all...but I will keep you posted.


Edited by lars_opland

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I am delighted for you posting all this as I had been thinking along the same lines  using the HMS Surprise book plans as a basis.  You have already answered lots of issues I was expecting to have to resolve by trial and error so many thanks indeed for explaining your progress so well and I will definitely put this high on my list of projects to get started.  I presume the 1/147th scale is determined by the beam width of the model after the plastic surgery?


Also how do you intend to do the hull copper plating? 

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Hi Francis, Welcome aboard! If enough of us get far enough along scratch-converting the thing, a kit is sure to emerge! I don't like the Marquardt plans for several reasons, but I refer to them now & then, preferring to do what I can from the Admiralty drafts reproduced there from Surprise & a captured sister drawn to better detail...though differing somewhat in some interesting ways. The scale was determined by finally getting a copy of the Admiralty draft sized to match the shortened kit's length on deck, then checking the difference against a ruler (there are 2 versions of the draft; the other has a scale bar below the profile). N scale & 1:144 figures will all work fine, the N scale railroad guys looking like 10-year-old powder monkeys among the rest.


As you have seen, the hull has been sanded pretty smooth because plank detail should be hard to see at this scale. The copper bottom will be a bit of fakery I've used before, brush-painting on some metallic copper first. Once the copper has dried, I'll cut a series of short steps diagonally across a sheet of paper, load flat black in the air brush & use the paper as a mobile mask, shooting quick light rows of shadowed "steps" in line across the bottom, starting at the stern, angling downward stern to bow to create the illusion of overlapping plate edges. That looks a little harsh until I mix up some "copper oxide" blue-green (heavy on the white) & spray that on in vertical streaks. The final effect is fairly convincing, to me anyway...& still somewhere in the future on this one....

Edited by lars_opland
added info

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Thanks - I would be very happy if someone did a injected plastic frigate from the Napoleonic period too.


I will be interested to see how your copper plating method turns out but  I fear my airbrush skills are well short of that!

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Hi Francis, the real trick to the faux copper plating isn't so much the airbrush skills as holding the mask still & lined-up for each row. I've only done the job once, on a Lindberg "War of Independence Schooner". I haven't uploaded a photo for that; maybe later?


The biggest job in this conversion so far has been making odds & ends of deck furniture & equipment, so this posting will be all about that. The main battery carronades are shown in the Marquardt plan as mounted with their pivots inboard on heavy wood blocks, so I experimented with various thicknesses of sheet styrene to determine the right combination for the desired height, laminated a stick of the right width, rounded off the end, measured, cut, & did it again 23 more times...




These were smoothed off a bit & glued under the gun ports:




For a galley stove, without doing too much research, I dug into a box of old car & truck model parts & found something that could be cut, turned & glued back together to look sort of like a pair of iron oven doors, then built a styrene box around that. Another plate of thin styrene was glued to the deck for fire protection, long before the "stove" was actually glued down:




The kit comes with one capstan, but the one that's actually used to hoist anchor would have been on the gun deck below it, on the same shaft so twice as many men could heave away all together. I decided to revise the kit part & make another to sort of match it, starting with a tall ejector plug from the sprue stash:












There was only one ship's wheel too. I took the easy way out here, tossing the kit part in with some other items needing new RTV molds & casting copies. The wheel stands in the kit had deep ejector pin divots, so some of the scraps from plugging holes in the hull went on to fill these. The kit's wheel drum was too long for this setup so a replacement was cobbled together from styrene tube, rod & "washers":




This is one of the N scale guys:




The kit capstan, doctored up to resemble the new one:






Looks like I already skipped this; all the gun ports, filled & moved. Fitting the 24 filler pieces was a tedious affair spread over a week or so of evening sessions. Drilling & chopping all the new ports with a #11 knife was another job, another week. The kit had no ledge for the upper deck to sit on because it was designed to have the decks joined as one assembly before the hull was closed. I like the concept & will be doing the same with the scratch-built interior, but needed a ledge to hold the upper deck in place while finally reaching in with liquid cement on a brush to make all the necessary connections...at some future time...




Until next time, Cheers!

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The quarterdeck bulwarks were started by tracing the curve of the kit parts onto .040" styrene .stock, scribing & snapping. I carried the top edge as low as I could above the transom aft, to compensate a bit for the kit's greater sheer. The sides of the fo'c'sle bulwarks are simple rectangular slabs, not much in need of fitting. The top edge of the rounded bow is trimmed to match:




The cap rails had to be wide enough to support hammock stowage. The fo'c'sle rail was begun by tracing around the upside-down hull onto more sheet styrene with a blunt pencil, to get approx. 1 mm overhang, then measuring 3 mm in all around to get about the same overhang inboard:




After scribing both lines I chopped up a bunch of plastic with a Dremel circular saw to remove it from the middle...




...& this time cut the part on the centerline before gluing on, alignment already established while dressing up the top of the bulwarks with a sanding block:




More deck furniture. This will be hard to see on the finished model but I decided to put in the riding bitts under the fo'c'sle, following the plans, more or less. The uprights & horizontal here are doubled .040" stock:




Unlike the riding bitts, the bow sprit step is necessary to finish the model. The top end of that is one of the things I hope to glue securely to the underside of the fo'c'sle later, for genuine structural reasons re. rigging tension:




With the gun deck continued aft through the Captain's cabin, the rudder head no longer fit, so a hole was cut & boxed in, just like on the real deal. The rudder has already been trimmed & shaped to match the draft:






Another of the kit's peculiarities was that, although the masts were actually stepped & stopped on the upper deck, so that the fo'c'sle & quarterdeck would have to bear all loads from shroud & stay tension, the gun deck was molded thicker...& the bottom ends of the masts all reached within a few millimeters of the keel but weren't supported there. Rather than engineer & position steps, I decided to alter the lower mast shapes, filling in the flattened sides with sheet styrene down to gun deck level so the underside of that deck could be beefed up & reinforced around the mast holes without regard for appearances. These slabs glued to the masts were later rounded to match the rest above: 




Just setting it up to have a look:





Edited by lars_opland

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Hi Mark, Thank you & here it is.


The kit figurehead was a blobby-looking pass at a woman holding a garland of flowers, the Admiralty draft suggests something wearing a crested Greek helmet & Mr. Hunt's paintings (& the movie...) interpret that as a female warrior figure. I soon found an HO scale nurse among the figure stash with a better sculpted face & suitable physique & started chopping. The kit item was molded too narrow, barely thicker than the kit's stemhead & not wide enough to provide the nurse's hips, but I wanted to keep the detail of the lower half so removed the torso & carefully divided the lower half with a jeweler's saw. 2 slabs of .040" styrene were glued on & trimmed to the part outlines before the halves were glued back together:




The med tray was carefully removed from the nurse's hands & her upper half was glued to the figurehead's revised lower half. The opening in the kit stemhead was trimmed back a bit to fit the revised figurehead & I posed this shot. Later, I soaked more liquid cement into the seam at her waist & slid the torso a bit farther forward on the hips for a better position...which did nothing to harm her overall appearance either...




As you can see, the quarterdeck cap rails were done much like the fo'c'sle cap rail, & all upper deck gun ports have been opened as well.


After painting all those gun barrels & slides, there was the issue of CA gluing all these assemblies together without either fusing them in crooked non-alignment or getting super glue all over everything...or gluing carronades to my fingers...




I came up with a clamp consisting of a rubber band, pulled taught between thumb & forefinger, because the alignment of these tiny resin parts can be a bit "iffy". Held like this, I could just reach in with tiny drops of CA on the end of a thin piece of stretched sprue & touch the joins only:




Pin rails became another project spanning days. There will be threads secured to these, most of them pulling upwards, so bronze guitar string wrapping was straightened & CA'd into rows of holes in .040" styrene strips:




A new (or better quality old) fingernail clipper will snip the wire nearly flush, & the ends can be gently sanded even after all are trimmed:




3 sections of pinrail in the bows follow the curve there, so I selected the best inside & outside radii from a circle template & soon had these laid out:






The middle piece will have to be added after hull assembly. You can see here that I had earlier added extra locating devices for the gun deck as well as the upper deck, mostly to aid all the test-fitting that goes on. Small triangular braces were later added at intervals under every pinrail, to help support them against rigging tension:




The kit had gaping holes above the quarterdeck, behind the quarter galleries. Since it would be unusual to be able to see clear through both quarter galleries, side to side, 2 bulkheads were cut to extend above the quarterdeck & solve both problems. I cut an open doorway in the starboard bulkhead:




Here's something I added only because it appeared briefly in the movie; something the movie got right & Marquardt got wrong, in fact: the Captain's "jakes" ( a "head" was originally called such because it's located in the bow). While on his "seat of ease", the Captain would be able to observe the set of the sails, but Marquardt drew this detail in the cramped forward end of the quarter gallery, where there would be little headroom or elbow room, & sailors out on the main yard would have a better view of the captain's backside than he would of the sails...




...& on that note, I leave you 'til next time. Cheers!

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Hi All,


All of the old shroud locations filled in, I went around the hull with a pencil, with an eye to the scaled Admiralty draft, marking where the chain plates should pass between the gun ports & at what angle, to determine the exact locations for wire eyes. After drilling all these spots to double the diameter of my thinnest black annealed wire, mass production of the needed items began. A short length of the wire was bent around the same guitar string that had donated bronze wire earlier, crimped with flat-jawed pliers to form the eye, then snipped off with fingernail clippers...& repeated many times...




These were pressed through the holes as far as they'd go, then spread out against the inside of the hull & CA-glued. They're mostly just above gun deck level, so were bent horizontally...except where they would be in the way of bulkheads, pivot mounts or gun ports, requiring one or both ends to be bent vertically instead. Whatever it takes...






The upper deck came out a little short, so I doctored it up with some faux details in thin styrene to fill the gap, then decided a couple of transom knees would look good here & added those too, notched over my filler strip:




Here is a galley stove pipe fabricated from round black sprue & a few modified kit parts. The belfry just got the bottom of it's legs cut off, to stand on the fo'c'sle. The catheads are getting their over-sized single slot filled & replaced by 4 holes & some light engraving to resemble double sheaves. The pin rail was cut from the top of the kit's beakhead bulkhead & altered to this configuration for later placement behind the fore mast. This pin rail is curved in both horizontal & vertical views & was a feature common to both Surprise & her documented sister. The kit part was just about right, although the center leg was removed from elsewhere along that rail & added here:




The main & fore fighting tops in the kit are exactly the same size, but every part of every mast was sized in proportion to every other part by "rule of thumb"...




...so I decided to "shrink" the fore top, filling the round outer ends of more clumsy shroud holes with more stretched sprue scraps:




Here's the main top, which will get the inboard portions of it's over-sized shroud holes filled with sheet scrap. The grating holes here have been drilled out round with an improvised "pin vise" made from a toothpick & tape, to avoid damaging adjoining detail. This other tool is a piece of brass wire, filed at it's working end to a square section with a sharply flattened end, so it can be pushed through the round holes & make them square. I figured out this trick while carving jewelry masters in wax:




It's not easy to use a sailing ship kit's rig after shortening the hull. This test-fit looks very "over-hatted"...




...so the masts are all getting shortened wherever I can get away with it. The kit's topmasts are actually stepped on the trestle trees with molded-on fids, so I cut those off & moved them as far up the spars as I could. This was taken during a second test-fit of the rig & shows tape masking around the outer & forward rows of holes in the fore top gratings, part of the aforementioned "shrinking" process:




Edited by lars_opland

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Same post, continued.


Here are the main & fore tops, the latter effectively "shrunk" all around. I have yet to wrap the thin piece of styrene strip around the edge of it to finish that job. Also visible here are the fore & main masts. On the main (top) you can see the replacement mast skirt that will allow it to drop about another centimeter, & the mast cheeks below the doublings which have been trimmed off to lower the fighting tops another millimeter or so:




'Til next time, Cheers!

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Looking great - nice and steady progress, too. 


Are those sails vacform ones from the kit?

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Thanks G,

But the "steady progress" is an illusion created by a year & a half's worth of unsteady progress photos. Things are sure to slow down when I catch up with the backlog unless the building pace accelerates fiercely.


They're the vac sails & not completely trimmed to their outlines yet. I expect to cut some of them smaller now that the lower masts have been shortened a bit...& they don't need to be quite as wide as molded, either, but there shouldn't be any need to do anything as drastic as making a new suit of sails. Might have to glue on some wire bolt ropes & brush paint those, but a light airbrushed misting of some canvas-like color (somewhere to the gray of tan if they've been out of doors much) works wonders on plastic sails.

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Thank You, Steve!


About those sails, the kit spanker is a loose-footed sail, sheeted inboard of the taffrail, so not long enough for Surprise's boomed spanker. Another will have to be found or made.


While I was gluing triangles under the pin rails, 2 were placed to hold that one across the center, carefully spaced to land between belaying pins already located on the part. This will make it a lot easier to install later:






The main battery, going through the paint process:




A grayish tan streaked with fresher-looking Testor's Wood on a bit of sponge:




A simple jig for cutting the bottom ends of the chain plates from .010"x.020" strip:




Chain plate ends in place. Boarding steps are .030" quarter round. For the sheet sheaves, chips of .020" sheet were glued to the sides as shown on the draft, 2 holes were drilled in each & a semblance of a pulley whittled between them with a #11 blade. The starboard gun ports are glued closed:




I started on the ship's boats by shortening the kit's launch to fit in Surprise's waist. There was a nasty recurve under the otherwise well-shaped hull's stern, so this was a serendipitous improvement:




The kit's smaller boat will do for the jolly boat, & launches were cannibalized from 2 sizes of US frigate kits (the old small Revell Constitution & the slightly smaller old Monogram United States) for the cutter & pinnace. Seat spacing was altered for the larger scale, for the 2 boats chosen to nest inside the others. The "ski jump" remained under one side of the launch's stern & got some filler:




 There are the boat stacks & one of the 1:144 figures from a Preiser civil airfield set:




Boats need boat cradles, so some time was spent test-fitting, eyeballing & making random pencil marks & cuts until I finally had these 8 bits of plastic shaped & glued in the right places. Several evenings; at least twice as many hours...


That's some random application of brown & black water colors for deck seams too. Only going for effect; these decks will get more crowded:




Tape ribs, styrene keel & knees in the launch; seats unshipped & stowed elsewhere to make room for the jolly boat:




The launch from the old Revell Constitution has a very toboggan-like profile with a pronounced upward swoop forward in the rails. I shaved off the thin splash boards & thole pins & replaced them with higher splash boards, wider amidships to reduce the sheer. Then the molded rub rail was shaved & sanded off, & another glued on to parallel (more or less) the new sheer:




Later: a bit more paint & bits...



Edited by lars_opland
Remove redundant "boat"

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(Wondering if this should have already shifted to a second page)


This will bring us up to date on the project's current state, this first photo taken on Nov. 19, 2017. 


Here's a test fit of the main battery, painted. Most of the guns on the weather side will be run out; something fun to do with 2-part carronade beds:






Here's the crew starting to form up, by re-posing 2 of the figures included in this series of Lindberg kits (4 of each per kit), plus a few N scale railroad figures (none shown here) & that 1:144 Preiser set (12 total, 6 here). The darker tan guy with cloak & top hat is the President Jackson figurehead out of the old Revell Constitution; I may not use him, nor the ones with long tunics & telescopes, of which there are altogether too many in those kits....




The Marquardt plans show no shot garlands on deck, though they were standard fittings on British war ships of the period...& even featured in the movie. I eventually realized that some should be added & toyed with the idea of CA gluing tiny glass beads into slightly smaller holes in strips of styrene, but had enough trouble just getting 4 of those to sit still to look at & quickly abandoned the idea of adding the difficulty of super glue to that equation. Selecting .040" rod & sheet for the gun deck, & .030" rod & sheet for quarterdeck & fo'c'sle, I began drilling holes, rounding ends & carefully cementing, clipping & repeating...




Hatches were measured & strips made to fit alongside narrower ones, fore & aft of wider ones & avoiding being underfoot at the tops of ladderways. The bottoms of the strips were sanded flush & enough paint was scraped from the decks to make a bond:




I chose to paint the shot dark gray like the galley stove, then highlight with black water color:




"Bronze" began with Krylon Gold Leaf craft paint ("Short Cuts" series in 1-oz. bottles), followed by a mixed wash of brown, green & black watercolor:




The bronze stern chasers will make it clear, at least to Patrick O'Brian fans, what this is a model of. I'll leave some of the molded bow & stern decoration as molded to clarify the model's origins to those familiar with the kit:




...& this is about how things stand right now, decks yet to be joined together & hull not yet permanently closed up...but slowly getting closer to that goal, at least:




New posts will appear here now & then, as work progresses. Cheers!

Edited by lars_opland

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Thank you again, Francis.


Here's the latest on the figurehead, now with crest, shield & a sword snipped & sanded from flattened copper wire. To emboss the shield in thin styrene (.015", far as I can tell), I laid a scrap on the rubber mat for my bell jar & pressed hard into it with the small rounded end of a paint brush handle, while turning a bit:






The weaponry isn't glued on yet; I want to revise the nurse's blouse into something more warrior-like & paint her first. Cheers!


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Hi All,


Headrails started with...headrails. For a pattern, I measured the distance from the front of the catheads to the back of the figurehead's neck, both sides, & was reassured that this agreed not only from side to side, but also with that distance in Marquardt's plan view. After marking a straight line & that distance on the scaled Admiralty draft, & another straight line between the ends of the headrail in the scaled draft, I marked quarter distances on both, then measured & plotted the depth of the bow at these points, & sketched in & "eyeballed" the rest, including the panel above the headrail which will support the fore tack "whisker poles" later.


The pattern was transferred from the sketch to .040" styrene by the double-sticky-tape-&-#11-blade method...twice...& then the outlines were finished by connecting the short knife pokes with the same knife, eventually deepening the cuts until the outer curves could be snapped away. The inner curve cuts were deepened still further until the thin parts could come free without distortion.




These will reach past the deck rail to lie against the catheads, so would leave a gap that needs filling. I also wanted to be able to set this assembly in place while measuring for headrail frames, so blocks of .040" scrap were glued on & shaped to conform with the top curve...




Next came stretched sprue moldings, lining up the parts under the curved bits of scrap sprue first & using my smallest glue brush to apply liquid cement only to the middles of stretches between tape where things lined up best...




...adding sharper bends where needed after a stretch was secured toward the middle, re positioning tape as needed...




...until finally 4 strips were on & closely lined up with their respective edges. The same pattern transfer was used on .030" styrene for the whisker pole boards (I could look it up but frankly have no idea what these are called). Bottom curves were scribed & snapped again but I used a jeweler's scroll saw for the top line this time:




The small triangular bit in the first & second photos of this posting was trimmed smaller & glued between the front ends with liquid cement. While the glue joints were still a bit flexible, I positioned the assembly & adjusted the horizontal spread, gave both sides a slight squeeze inboard at the bottom of the curve, gave it a close look from this way & that, stuck the bow sprit back in & took a few more photos...






Maybe I'll lower that port side rail's back end by trimming the bottom of the filler block a bit:








Until next time, Cheers!


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Hi Lars!

Thanks for posting Your build of the HMS Surprise, Master and Commander is a favorite film of Mine, (I've not read the books - yet!), and great to see this project coming together.

Very clear explanations of the evolution of a conversion,nicely explaining  the methodoligy behind the scratch-built additions/alterations!


Following along and looking forward to Your next post!


Keep Sticking!      Cheers,   Pete

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I have been really impressed by this so far, but those head rails are really a work of art!


It's actually a really interesting exercise in demonstrating how frigates developed in the last quarter of the C18th. 



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Those headrails! Wow! Apart from the excellent work, they really change the way the bow looks. Lovely work. 

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Thanks All,


I was a bit worried about this stage, having no experience at making headrails until now. Getting the pattern drawn cleared the cobwebs & the way forward. There are several head frames yet to be done, & a thinner rail or 2 below the headrail, which I'll need to position carefully to harmonize the new headrail curve with the old trail boards below.


Morty, the movie is by most measures the best of it's genre...but it had to be to capture even a fragment of O'Brian's world. The books are so good that I read all 20 in a summer. Not long after, a relative gifted me her copies of O'Brian's 2-book set based on Commodore Anson's circumnavigation: "The Golden Ocean" & "The Unknown Shore". They're all very good.


Cheers, -Lars

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