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  1. 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!
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