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Bertie McBoatface

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Everything posted by Bertie McBoatface

  1. Thanks. It’s always nice to have some encouraging words. Yeah I was stupidly ambitious, wasn’t I? It was like going from a 1/72 Airfix Spitfire straight into a 1/24 Lancaster scratch build. It is something of an embarrassment. 😔 Oh well, live and don’t learn. 🤣 Maybe it would be better not to make any of these little setbacks so public and just present the finished work in 2025 or whenever. I’ll think it over.
  2. Well done Bertie. It’s good to see your confidence and skills building like this. I can’t help thinking that tackling Bellerophon so soon after moving into woodworking was a step or ten too far. Kudos to you for realising the potential problems and taking action, Le Renard, to anticipate them. I love the stripes 👍
  3. You're right. Those cowls were fitted in 1902. I found a clear photo to prove it. They are attached ON TOP OF the box sections. Merit must have had photographs of the ship with the cowls removed at some time revealing those strange cross shaped flow straighteners (?) sticking up. I will go with the option of fitting the cowls as it saves messing with the PE and looks a lot more boaty too. I'll have to fit blanks though as the insides of the cowls are right gnarly. Thanks for the useful picture of the funnel stays etc. I haven't yet discovered where the rigging is attached at the bottom ends. I also note that the 'skirt' at the base of the funnel is round in your photo, square in the model. And those big square windows on the superstructure! It's good not to be too bothered by authenticity. I might change her name to HMS Thunder Child a la War of the Worlds. 😁
  4. For the deck. Scraped and sanded (1000 grit) Sanding sealer. This is the first coat after cutting back with 1000 grit. Sanding sealer second coat. Cut back and plank joints engraved. There is only one joint in each strake as this is a small vessel but was built by a very rich owner so presumably long planks would have been available, as well as a bit of French flamboyance. Barely visible joints. First coat of button polish changes the colour and enhances the appearance of the plank joints. Second coat of button polish, the toffee-apple stage. Polished with OOOO wire wool to a smooth satin finish. The joints are now nicely visible. I'm delighted with the result despite only using single strips for the entire length of the deck. Neither of these wood has enough figuring for it to have made much of a difference. Those joints.
  5. @beefy66, if you do what I do and assemble all of the boring parts at once, save yourself some time. The ventilating scuttles (?) on the right aren't used on the Mikasa. Dunno why. I've been through the manual several times and they just ain't there. Though I suppose I might find somewhere they could go...
  6. When I offered up the deck to the frame last night I encountered this rectangular tab on the top of the false keel. There was no corresponding slot in the plywood deck. The photo in the instruction sheet has no tab. I remembered reading a review of the kit in which the reviewer 'welcomed back' this AL classic. So it's likely to be a reissue and I think this is a revision to the instructions that didn't make it to my false keel. Perhaps my keel is old stock. I had two choices, remove the tab or cut a slot in the deck. I don't know why they removed the tab because it seems useful to me. It keeps the deck lined up at the front as well as the rear while the happy modeller nails it down. Without the tab there's a chance of fitting it skewed and that would mess up the whole hull build. Possibly the tab causes problems getting the deck to lie down if the modeller starts nailing in the wrong place? Whatever! I cut the slot over-long so that I had some fore and aft movement, just in case my nailing scheme was wrong. The aft end is laterally located by the 'tailplane'. First thing today, I nailed and glued the deck on. I found the tab very helpful. Unfortunately there's a bulkhead which was a little bit too high. I didn't notice this until it was far too late to do much about it, except change my planking pattern slightly. Originally I was going to take the stripes right to the edge but the wave in the deck would have been too obvious so I limited my marquetry to some go-faster stripes amidships. This is my own tweak to the kit, it's not authentic. Getting this far in an evening and a day is startlingly fast. I haven't been rushing but I have known what to do without too much thinking about it, which has been a very pleasant feeling. It's been relaxing diversion from Bellerophon where every little thing seems to be so important to me. I suspect this is due to the relative prices I paid and the fact that one of them was brand new and the other was technically, second hand. Whatever the cause, it's been fun and has fulfilled my urge to create stuff for today. Time to hit the books now.
  7. Quite right! Gardens are for sitting in while reading books about modelling. And the latest photo is astonishing. The extent of the variations in hue, shade, tone and texture that you have reached are very close to the old farm machinery I study while walking. I look at them, and your model and say to myself “what is the name of THAT colour? And that one? And that one?”
  8. Maybe Le Renard is a blitz-build? Bulkheads, keel and tail-plane built in only38 minutes since the last post. Not only are the parts pre-numbered by AL... ...but so are the slots they go into. I've not seen that level of customer care before in this sort of kit. Well done Artesania Latina! edit. I continued for a while preparing the deck for fitting but couldn’t risk attaching it to the frame until the glue was completely cured. There’s a curious little detail about the deck to frame connection and I’ll tell you about that next time.
  9. These wooden kits are like life, the more I study the plans, instructions, history etc, the less I seem to know for certain. A phrase we often use here is "down the rabbit hole" but with Bellerophon I'm down the rabbit hole, through the looking glass, and bursting through the wardrobe into Narnia. I'm chasing the rabbit through the stages of hull construction; framing, planking, coppering, building the stern galleries, painting all of the decoration, building a stand. The looking glass is what I think of as the deck furniture; the masts, guns, gunports, anchors, ship's boats. It's appropriate that it's seen in a mirror because in this particular ship it happens simultaneously with the hull building. Sometimes I cant tell whether I'm going or elbow! All the terrors of Narnia are contained in the rigging. There's a fair amount of rigging to be done, and that picture doesn't include the sails. I've actually only completed one wooden boat kit. I've started and suspended another one and I've started and abandoned a third. That adds up to three hulls so I'm reasonably sure I can give the rabbit a good run. I've done one and two halves of deck furniture and that makes me think I have a fighting chance with the mirror, big as it is. But the rigging? I have completed onlyone small fishing boat which had nine pieces of string and three sails. That's not quite Narnia. That's more like a weekend in Blackpool. Narnia, in the shape of Bellerophon's rigging, is doomed to everlasting winter. There are witches, bears, a bloody great lion, swords, wars and gods!! I'm not ready for that. So, I need to do some training. I need to complete a cheap kit which won't bog down at the hull or deck stages but which will quickly move on to give me some decent practice at rigging and sail handling. It has to be easy enough that I can do it while continuing with Bellerophon's hull and deck furniture. Now it just so happens that a few weeks ago I bought this from the British Heart Foundation on eBay. It was very cheap at only 1/3 of RRP. The hull is only single planked and painted so there's no worries about getting every plank correct, no coppering. It's a 'nail it - fill it- daub it' kind of hull. The furniture is also simple, and also painted. I've built IKEA flat packs, I can do this in my sleep (he says!). The instructions seem to be brilliant. The small one is the hull and the big one is the rigging. There are no plans to consult and hardly any words (and the limited text is in good English, more or less). That's from the hull book. It looks like a lot of words but the English bit is only one paragraph per page (64 pages). I just have to copy the photos. This from the rigging book. I have accidentally picked a page with no text but the instructions are there and clear. Do A then do B then do C... (28 pages). There isn't much rigging as it's only a cutter but it has a simple mast held up with shrouds and ratlines. It has a simple bowsprit, stays, sails (pre-sewn thank goodness). This appears to be Rigging 101, the beginner's course that I've been looking for. It's an Artesania Latina classic, rather like the old Airfix Spitfire was when I was eight, and will do very nicely. The boat even had an interesting history (more later) to hold my interest. That means that for the next few weeks I'll have three projects on the go because Mikasa (1902) is still in progress, teaching me lots about PE which Big Ol' Bill is also heavily laden with. Progress will necessarily be slow on all of them. However, this was never meant to be a Blitz-build, now was it? All I have to do now is come up with a new title for the thread. Aha! I have it. Bellerophon (1786) or, "Big Billy Ruffian and the Sly Little Fox."
  10. It's getting pleasingly busy now. 👍
  11. I haven't been feeling too clever today so I've tried to find tasks that will move the build on a bit without much use of brain. First though, a couple of photos that might entertain. This is Mikasa as delivered with the black hull, funnels and military masts. The rings around the funnel were definitely white and in this photo at least, they look the same colour as the superstructure to me. So white it is! Or sometimes black! This is a generic picture of the coaling operation. A thousand tons of coal delivered in bags usually from a lighter alongside. It was traditionally an all hands operation but the officer in the background seems to have kept his collar shining white. Caption Competition: What are those three Jolly Tars in the foreground saying, or thinking. Call them Tom, Dick and Harry - left to right. Today was the turn of the gunnery department. This is one of the four twelve inch guns making up the main armament. Weight of gun 55 tons - not including the turret. Rate of fire - about one per minute. Range at 15 degree elevation - 8 to 9 miles. Projectile mass - 850 pounds. Muzzle velocity - 2400 feet per second. Not too shabby apart from the rather slow rate of fire. Merit took the trouble to slide mould the hole in the end but portrayed the muzzles with their tampions fitted. I'm not sure that it was worth the bother of the fancy moulding. Anyway, I drilled them out. I said I wasn't too clever today, didn't I? @beefy66 watch out when you get to the turrets. They must have been designed by the apprentice. It's easy to put the bearers in the wrong way, the gun trunnions are way too big for those holes... ...lack of positive locations leads to the possibility of getting the spacing of the barrels like this and the bayonet fitting doesn't fit into the hull. Maybe it was just me having a bad day, but there was more flash and weird moulding lines around these parts that the whole of the rest of the ship, so I think the fit problems are real. However, all's well that ends. They are good enough for me. I like the blunderbuss style muzzles. That's a few more pieces turned into a couple of sub assemblies. I then amused myself by removing all of the secondary, tertiary, quadiary(?) armaments from the sprues ready for a few dull evenings of clean up. Ditto the ventilators that I mentioned earlier. And then I did that thing where I cut away all of the empty bits on the sprues to make it easier to find the remaining parts and to convince myself that I'm getting somewhere. I've taken over The Dog Tess's window sill for the next few weeks. I really think I am getting somewhere with this one. it's about time I finished something.
  12. Yes it kind of took on a life of its own didn’t it I’m enjoying it and think it will be quite impressive in the end even if it’s no longer recognisable as Mikasa. 😁
  13. Thank you. I always enjoy that sort of thing; making a mess, creatively.
  14. Always nice to get a long letter from you Graham. I needed no further justification than a distaste for red, but nevertheless thought that in an alternate universe, some enterprising paint manufacturer might have made a copper instead of lead based anti-fouling paint. I think it would work - copper tape is used to repel slugs in horticulture, so why not? The slugs would be under the right rock. Ha! Thanks you. One of the books I've been reading today is War at Sea in the Ironclad Age by Richard Hill. He defines that as 1855 to 1905 and amused me by referring to the first twenty years of that as the Groping Age of Hull Design (not his own phrase). There were some beauties and many homely vessels, which didn't even have great personalities. It's a good book with many illustrations. Recommended. (My current fiction book is the only slightly less nautical Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. It's a children's classic but one I missed. Perhaps if I'd read it at the right age I'd have run away to sea instead of into the RAF.) I find that I'm putting off further Mikasa work because the next things on my list are rather repetitious and boring. There are about a dozen gross of furnace air intakes to assemble, complete with strange and fiddly PE cowls. Ah well, maybe later...
  15. Wednesday Morning Shift On the basis of this photograph, you can see that Mikasa is now basically based. I tackled the problem of the kit's boring and crude plastic base with nothing more than paint. I'm quite pleased with it now. The photo above is mostly naturally lit on an overcast blue morning. I'm very happy with the plating below the waterline which came out much better than I hoped for. This one is lit by warmer artificial means. In both cases I am very pleased with the contrasts. We have the smooth, curving hull over the sharp square corners of the base; the rough industrial texture of the base paint underlining the 'organic' fish-like greens of the ship and finally those cool greens, representing the sea, working against the warm earth colours of the land. Some of you might want to know the paint recipe I used. They were all acrylics. The 'priming' paints were Vallejo Metal Color in three shades, applied wet into wet and then dried with a hairdryer, drybrushed and stippled until I liked the result. The rust tones were Lifecolor diorama series paints applied on top in exactly the same way. Then some more drybrushed Metal Colour. Then some more rust, rolled on with a cotton bud. Oh there's some Vallejo Game Colour Verdigris in there too. And, like that, you know? I cleaned the paint from all the contact surfaces and applied Araldite Rapid to the base. This was carefully offered up to the ship using pre drilled holes in both. I used cocktail sticks as icepicks (assembly guides) so that no glue smears would mar the hull. Once the base and hull were in contact, the cocktail sticks were withdrawn and a pair of woodscrews screws driven (self-tapping) into the hull. The weights on top were keep everything in good firm contact, and straight and level, until the Araldite had a chance to set hard. I gave it an hour. Just in case. Now I'll be able to work on the fiddly details of the model, especially the PE, without it wobbling around under me. I'll try to handle the thing by the base as much as possible and if the base paint becomes finger-marked, it will probably look even better. 😀 Or I'll touch it up later, whatever. With the amount of rain forecast today, I'll probably be here again later with more news. 🌧️🌧️🌧️
  16. Thank you. That makes perfect sense. Where else would they put the big coal bunkers but either side of the boilers? There are 16 scuttles amidships, inboard of the broadside batteries but outboard of the centreline. I imagine the bunkers would be below the waterline, several decks below the guns and directly adjacent to the boilers. The 3 scuttles at the stern, immediately aft of the rear turret and four at the extreme bow would, I imagine, hold a few hundred tons of coal for the purpose of trimming the ship fore and aft. The bow 'trim bunkers' are as far forward as possible but the after ones perhaps cannot be so because of the steering gear and propeller shafts. True or not, it makes sense and I choose to believe it. 😀 I shall weather the decks accordingly as a tribute to @theskits62 The two circles on the scuttle covers must represent the lifting handles, as we see daily on the manhole covers in the streets!!!!
  17. This morning's session of over an hour was spent making this awful stand fit for purpose and fit the ship. I bet it was originally designed for a 1/200 Bismarck or something huge like that. It certainly was too wide for Mikasa to sit on the outside rectangles so it had to be ground down so that she can sit on the bars between them. The model would look great on a big slab of that wavy-grained maple but it's a plastic kit so I'm not wasting money on it, knowing that it won't survive more than a year or two. Incidentally, this is no longer a slow build. I've decided to finish it by the end of September because there are more interesting things queuing up for my attention. Does anyone know what these are (apart from PE discs with dots on)? They are all over the midships deck and also the forecastle, where they come in two sizes. Wow! I just got caught by the optical illusion. I thought I'd posted it upside down for a moment. They are actually embedded into the deck. Moving on, there are, in my opinion (neither humble nor arrogant), far too many red bottomed model boats in the world. I considered a blue one but I've had some unfortunate experiences with the blues lately (A beakhead bulkhead, not the black dog sort of blues (though those too)). Sometime, possibly this year, I saw an old ship with a green bottom on Britmodeller and I liked it very much so, rather than use my imagination, I copied that idea. First though, I pre-shaded, using up the last of my custom tank track mixture. I can't imagine ever making another tank! Oh yes. I like this. I see a deep green painted hull with the sun shining through the waves making iridescent ripples along its length. Or perhaps a fish. edit: I should mention that I post shaded with a lighter green as well as preshading with the brown and applying the dark green irregularly. It seems to go well with the deck timbers too. The remainder of the hull will be black, with very light grey, almost white, superstructure. That's actually as the ship was painted when delivered, with black funnels and matching masts. I have some ideas about that... So, only a few layers of paint and some heavy duty carving but that's all for the day as I feel that I've done enough work to deserve a lie down with a new book this evening.
  18. That’s brilliant, Graham. He puts it well, making it a mission statement as well as a description. I am disappointed by my life long insincerity all done to be polite, to please people. I’m also amazed by the way people chose to believe me. Is there a way to be polite without lying? I don’t think so. Not in England anyway.
  19. Indeed. All that and more is in my first post. Please feel free to read it.
  20. Who possibly picked up the curry habit from service with the East India Company.
  21. On the contrary, I know YOU want me to. 🤣 It's a thing with me at this point in my life, not to give as much attention to what other people want, and to please myself more instead. It makes me quite curmudgeonly at times. 👴 I have discovered that in work, in relationships, throughout my life - keeping everyone else happy has bent me right out of shape. I hardly ever even knew what I really wanted. Pleasing everyone drove almost everything I ever did, every decision. I gave away 3/4 of my life and I don't think I got a good return for it. I may sound bitter, but actually I'm not because almost all of us (psychopaths and the severely autistic aside) do exactly the same thing. It's the cost we pay for of being a part of society. Now single, retired, deliberately keeping myself to myself, I'm no longer so bothered about being a part of society. I don't have to pay that toll anymore. 😁 I have 15-20 years to live my own life and intend to own myself as much as I can. However, philosophising over, that doesn't mean that I won't glaze the portholes, and even frame and glaze the bridge windows. Currently I'm balancing these hundreds of little fiddly bits which would make the model look better to me, with that approaching 'tedium horizon' which might well cause it to sink before it even makes its maiden voyage. The instant I hear myself saying "This is boring!" Mikasa blows up at anchor just like the real one did. 🤯 It's preventing it from being boring that is making it interesting. (Oooh, clever!)
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