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Posted (edited)

Small blog update, copied in full... making good progress on finishing the ground tackle and I hope to be adding paint really soon

 

While I was cleaning up the foredeck around B-barbette I noticed a bit of damage at the anchors; the link connecting the anchor to the chain was broken and this was difficult to repair.  Just for the fun of it I wanted to find out if soldering studded anchor chain was doable. The studded chain previously installed was a bit over scale, otherwise fine, but why not try. In the end I decided to overhaul the entire ground tackle section of the model. As usual, this took a bit more effort than I anticipated.

 

GroundTackle_01.jpg

 

You can find quite some information on anchors & cables in the Manual of Seamanship (1937, volume I) and I’d certainly recommend you find yourself a copy. Here you can see the ground tackle area of HMS Rodney. The anchors themselves are hove into the hawse pipes (A). The main anchor cable (B) runs around a cable holder (C) into the cable locker via a navel pipe (D). Inside this locker the cable is secured (see IWM image A 20535 to get an idea). There are two smaller chains on deck. Blake’s screw stopper is used (E) for heaving in and securing the anchor during sailing using a large bottle screw to apply tension; the main cable no longer carries the weight of the anchor. Blake’s stopper (F) is used only temporarily when the cable is parted at a joining shackle for mooring and other operations.  Note that both the main cable and Blake’s stopper are not taut in this photograph and that several smaller lashings are present to prevent lateral movement. Additional securing lashings can be seen (G) joined to the various eyelets scattered in this area (H). When the ship is moored to a buoy, the cable is parted and the anchor is temporarily ‘catted’ at the clump cathead (I). A large capstan (J) is used by the crew to move the cables around, with the aid of a pair of support rollers (K).

 

GroundTackle_02.jpg

 

Here we have a good view of HMS Hood showing the cable holders (A), the capstan (B), support rollers (C). In addition, you can see that there is a small (portable) roller next to the hatch coaming (D) and a small hydrant manifold (E). The lower half shows the crew of Rodney hosing the deck after having hoisted the anchor (F) and a crew member about to place a lashing to secure the cable (G).

 

The Manual of Seamanship lists that chain is supplied in shackles and half shackles; one shackle is 12.5 fathoms (75 ft). Hood carrier 35 shackles and 12 half-shackles with a single cable link diameter of 3 3/8 in. Only a very short length of the cable will be visible on deck with most of the cable stored in its locker. All the parts of the cable including all the stoppers are given in great detail in the manual, except the single cable link and its dimensions. Using the link diameter of 3 3/8 in I estimated the link length at about 18" to 18+3/8" inch; I must have missed that the official Hood site states 20” but that is within tolerance.

 

GroundTackle_03.jpg

 

The shackles are joined by a joining shackle, a large U-shaped link with two 'rings' at the end---called lugs---and a pin. Note that the joining shackles must run around the capstans vertically so that the cable does not jump; this is best shown bottom left (HMS Repulse) . With the joining shackle always laying in the vertical the number of links is therefore always odd per either whole or half shackle. The top two images are HMS Hood while she is not at anchor; the position of the joining shackle on deck indicates the first run of cable from the anchor must be a half shackle (slightly more in fact). According to the AOTS Hood there is no stud in all links adjacent to the joining link and I later found a page from a Harland & Wolff ledger showing studless end links for each shackle. I could not find any photograph to confirm this but added them to the list. These studless links are slightly thicker than the common link. For all ships after WWI a lugless joining shackle was used that you can see on the bottom-right corner (HMS Rodney). This is a slightly larger version of the normal link that can be disassembled into several parts and would be less likely to damage the ground tackle or itself during operations (no studless link here adjacent to the joining shackle). The manual of seamanship states that cables must be landed every four years for testing and there must have been an opportunity to replace the joining shackles to the lugless version if this change were critical, but this did not happen.

 

GroundTackle_04.jpg

 

At the anchor’s side there is a swivel piece that allows the anchor to turn relative to the cable. Joining shackles are at either end, a swivelling link is in the centre, plus a few studded and open links. These images are of HMS Rodney and one aboard a KGV-class battleship (IWM image A11507 showing a filming crew preparing a training film called "Anchor Work").

 

GroundTackle_05.jpg

 

In many cases the ship is moored, that is, using both bow anchors simultaneously, so that the ship requires less room than using a single anchor. To avoid that the cables will become foul (i.e., twist) as the ship drifts around its anchorage a mooring swivel is used. The starboard cable is connected to the single links; the port side cable to the double links.  Adding this mooring swivel is a complicated manoeuvrer explained in great detail in the manual.  The image above right shows such a mooring swivel in place while laying the cables; this part is usually far submerged or even on the ocean floor. Next to a swivel piece two additional triangular links are present with a series of studless and studded links.

 

The drawing top-left from the manual does not show joining shackles and images of HMS King George V, with a more modern version of the mooring swivel, do not show joining shackles either. Perhaps they are simply not visible or stored nearby. The mooring swivel is really hard to recognize aboard HMS Hood, but the bottom images indicate its location.

 

GroundTackle_06.jpg

 

With all ingredients of the cable system identified (and a few more below) I made a small rendering in Rhino of the various components of the cable that may help as a visual reference as the final parts are so very small.

A) 3 x Swivel piece (4 parts)
B) 6 x Joining shackle, main cable
C) 2 x Joining shackle, stoppers
D) 2 x Joining shackle, stoppers
E) 18 x End cable link, no stud
F) 100+ x Common cable link, studded
G) 12 x Stopper link
H) 4 x Blake Slip (3 parts)
I) 2 x Bottle screw base (3 parts)
J) 4 x Bottle screw eyes (2 parts)
K) 2 x Three-eyed plate for the mooring swivel, 6 pieces.

The parts were made from Albion Alloy’s tubes (brilliant material) and copper wire from the Scientific Wire Company. The latter is not coated like winding wire and can be soldered more easily. I used a diameter of 0.15mm (studs), 0.20 (stopper chain links and smaller joining shackle), 0.25mm (common  links, joining shackles, slip) and 0.28mm (end links and bottle screw eyelets).

 

GroundTackle_07.jpg

 

Although a single real link is a heavy piece of metal, the actual links are tiny on 350 scale at about 1.3mm long. Naturally I gave the procedure a bit of thought, first trying out small pieces before going on to making the entire chain. I stared with pliers, bending around wire (drills) and such, even cutting a folded link with two knifes glued together to remove just that one slice to accommodate the centre stud. I also experimented with a series folding jigs whereby a length of brass wire cut to size would be transformed in just the right link, but the results were inconsistent.

 

The last attempt was much easier; wrapping a wire around a folding template consisting of two 0.4mm brass rods soldered together. The links were cut using a template, flattened, and sorted into good and bad cuts. Usually if the cut isn't centred the entire batch is lost, but otherwise this method had a good production rate. For cutting I (gently!) tapped the back of the razor and repeatedly with a small hammer; the two brass rods only last a few batches. Then the fun part starts: soldering. The procedure is as follows: open a link sufficiently so that you can add it to the chain, close it slightly, fit the receive the stud. Clamp the link in the PE bending tool, add the centre stud wire (0.15mm) and solder away.

 

Normally for soldering you heat up the object with the iron and add some solder to it (with some flux), but I use the non-recommended method of adding flux to the objects and then briefly touch them with the (overheated) iron with a tiny (so tiny) bead of solder on the tip.  This may lead to increased tip degradation and it's difficult to avoid burned flux (and other debris) collecting on the tip. At first I thought that my new best friend Stannol Tippy for tip cleaning would help (and it really does) but now I blame the wetted sponge for causing most of the tip burn. I now use brass shavings to clean the tip and so far the tip remains clean.

 

The bending tool is a huge heat sink, so after trimming the wire another pass with the soldering iron of the link released from its clamp was required. If the wire is still there (so funny when it sticks to the iron) and the link is fine then continue to the next one. Otherwise, cut it from the chain and start over. If two links are soldered to each other there is no way to save them. The excess wire and solder can now be sanded down. With this recipe it took about 7 to 8 minutes to create a new link, so I moved at a pace of about 8 mm per hour. I actually took my soldering equipment on vacation to Normandy, postponed reading David Hobb’s latest book, put up a parasol, and progressed ever so slowly, thankful that the third anchor chain of HMS Hood was landed and deciding that my next project is better off without anchors altogether.

 

GroundTackle_08.jpg

 

The joining shackles were the most difficult parts to make and I tried several recipes, with the bottom left one working well enough. The lugs are made from Albion Alloys rod. Here the failure rate was really high as it was so very tricky to have the lugs well aligned against the U-shaped wire. The larger shackles were placed on the punch of my punch&die set and soldered without the hold&fold... The swivel piece that consists of four parts was surprisingly easy to make by comparison.

 

GroundTackle_09.jpg

 

For the mooring swivel I really, really, should have had the three-eyed plate in photo-etch because this was an exercise in impatience and frustration, were it not for a sunny breeze, the sound of the ocean flowing over the dunes and an ample supply of rosé. I made two plates from tube that continuously desoldered itself, broke in half during sanding or redrilling the rings.

 

GroundTackle_10.jpg

 

The anchors were also already built but shattered upon removal from the model so I made a new  pair. I started from plate, added some rod. A small channel was carved filled with a bit of strip.

 

GroundTackle_11.jpg

 

With a bit of rod in the shank and flukes the anchor remain moveable, though they do not move together as I simply cannot get the glue to stick to both flukes at the same time. A bit of magic sculpt was used to make the pattern on the bottom of the flukes.

 

GroundTackle_12.jpg

 

The screw stoppers were the hardest. The bottle screws were made from tube and “milled” using my drill press for which it is not suited. Two smaller tubes were soldered into the ends using a drill as a guide and the chamfered edges were added using superglue. Now, the tricky part was actually making sure that the stoppers were taut and suspended above the deck (1) while the anchor appears snugly fitted against the hull (2) while the clamp holds the main cable properly against a common link (3). The bottle screws could be used to correct for a bit of distance, but I thought that would be too difficult with so many parts to align. So the clamp was glued to the deck first, I hoped for the best and then I cheated by moving one the bolt forward by about 0.5mm and trimming the deck plate  to size. The last part of the slip will be added once the main cable is in place. The mooring swivel is also visible bottom right lashed to six small photo-etched eyelets (many more will be added).

 

GroundTackle_13.jpg

 

This small pic I took today shows the assembled cable and the anchors. The arrows indicate the position of the joining shackles (black), studless links (red) and the swivel pieces (blue).

Edited by foeth
Image order off/language

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Excellent job in recreating all tha tcable and associated fittings

3 hours ago, foeth said:

Here we have a good view of HMS Hood showing the cable holders (A), the capstan (B)

I think (B) is a bit more than a capstan. Whilst it is almost certainly powered from below deck, it's also designed for emergency above deck manual operation through bars inserted into the square black holes around the top rim. It also appears to be dual purpose, the black vertical concave shoes fitting over the snugs are removable and would be in place when handling warps (rope or wire) but removed to reveal a cable holder for handling cable (chain) The photo of Rodney shows a similar arrangement (J) without the option of above deck manual operation (this could possibly now be on the deck below?)

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Indeed for this Napier Capstan the 'welps'  are removable and the capstan doubles as a cable holder. Hood also had a small capstan on the quarterdeck. I do not know why Rodney's capstan doesn't have sockets for bars though; doesn't seem to be a lot of room to do this a deck lower?

Edited by foeth

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Absolute mind blowing stuff, so interesting to see a miniature ship builder at work.

All the best for 2020.

 

Stuart

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Gidday Foeth, you're a true craftsman, waaaay out of my league. I've found your info on the anchor cable and fittings interesting. Regards, Jeff.

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Fascinating, instructive and impressive in equal measure.  Actually impressive is inadequate praise; awesome may be better and @ArnoldAmbrose is right to say you’re a true craftsman.  Thanks for sharing.

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As others have said, truly awesome stuff. Modelling like this, in such a small scale really is an inspiration to all modellers who aspire to build such masterpieces. 

 

Many thanks for the insight.

 

Terry

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I can only agree with all of the above - you really are pushing out the envelope!

Rob

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On 1/1/2020 at 2:17 PM, foeth said:

 

GroundTackle_01.jpg

I’d say the envelope was left behind many months ago, Rob - but I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds this incredibly inspiring; I’ve already tried (and achieved!) at least 2 things on my Ark build that I wouldn’t even have attempted had I not seen what is possible from this extraordinary Hood...

 

... but what astonishes me from that photo of Nelson seen from Rodney’s fo’c’s’le is how much they are both rolling in what looks to be a not particularly large swell.  Big broad-beamed battlewagons like that rolling on wet grass?  Who knew?

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22 minutes ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

in what looks to be a not particularly large swell.

I suspect the swell has been somewhat flattened by the photograph. It looks to me to be coming from off the port bow, but difficult to tell as Rodney is ridng in Nelson's wake.

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1 hour ago, Dave Swindell said:

I suspect the swell has been somewhat flattened by the photograph. It looks to me to be coming from off the port bow, but difficult to tell as Rodney is ridng in Nelson's wake.

Indeed.  Could be broad on port bow or starboard quarter.  I don’t recall reading anywhere that the Nelsons had poor seakeeping qualities, so something must be misleading - but they’re both rolling a good 20 degrees

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Just found this thread today and thoroughly enjoyed the craftsmanship as well as Jamie’s comments in jest. 
What can one possibly say?  As an aircraft modeller one is blown away. I have often said that no model is a perfect representation of the real thing in miniature with every detail copied faithfully. After today I will need to reconsider that opinion!  
one question thinking ahead - show are you doing the ships cats whiskers?

bravo

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38 minutes ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

but they’re both rolling a good 20 degrees

I'd say no-where near that much, I make Rodney's about 10 degrees, Nelson no more than 8 degrees measured against the horizion. Still a fair bit for a battle wagon though.

Just for clarification, unless Grey Funnel Line do things differently, for the 39 years I was in the RN* we measured roll as the angle from the vertical, not the angle side to side.

 

*RN - Real Navy, variously P&O, OCL, P&O Nedlloyd, RBS, Safmarine & Maersk

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Sorry, I missed a word out; I reckon they are both rolling through about 20 degrees (i.e. 10 degrees either side of the vertical) - so we agree, except about semantics.  And what constitutes a "real" Navy, obvs!

 

Semantics / banter apart, I stand by my original point; I am slightly surprised to see such enormous ships moving that much in what doesn't appear to be that large a swell.  Appearances must be deceptive.

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1 hour ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

I am slightly surprised to see such enormous ships moving that much in what doesn't appear to be that large a swell.

I'm not really surprised to see such small ships bobbing around like that! :P

Out on the open ocean even big ships can roll if the conditions are right (or wrong, I won't mention parametric rolling - oops I did, not a pleasant experience). A long swell under the quarter didn't have to be very big to get ships I've sailed on, twice the size of Rodney, rolling that much, even with a reasonably large GM. And the swell can be there before or after the wind and waves, which is what really shows up in photos, not the swell. I don't know what Rodney's GM was, but (briefly on topic) wikipedia gives HMS Hood's as 1.3 metres, which in my experience isn't particularly stiff and would give you a slow gentle roll, much more comfortable than a large GM. But then I'm sure you know all that.

@foeth apologies for the thread drift, I'll let you get back to that exquisite ground tackle

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I imagine the Naval Architects would deliberately avoid making a battleship too “stiff” for gunnery control reasons if nothing else.  I certainly know from personal experience that the 1960s Counties (DLGs) - which had stabilisers - were a lot more comfortable in a sea with them turned off; they were designed to give a relatively stable / predictable weapon platform, rather than for the comfort of the ship’s company. 
 

It’s also easy to get mixed up between displacement and size.  In 1988 Ark (5) berthed ahead of USS New Jersey in Subic Bay; we knew that the battleship was more than twice our displacement, so initially were slightly surprised to see that she didn’t seem that much bigger.  But of course armour plate, triple turrets and the like rather outdo the CVS’s hollow box in displacement terms!  And the New Jersey was certainly remarkably ‘beamy’.

 

Anyway.  Back to stellar modelling rather than me wittering on...

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2 hours ago, Dave Swindell said:

But then I'm sure you know all that.

This is my office:

 

 

so go ahead with hydrodynamic discussions :)

 

Thanks for the comments all! 1st cable is now on the model, hope to add the 2nd one tomorrow... Just a few things to add and then the foredeck is ready for a coat of primer....

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And the rest of the blog post on the ground tackle. Work progressed simultaneously with the cables and each pic is at least a day of work. The modelling mojo is now utterly spent and I cannot gather enough motivation to add primer 😫 Perhaps dry January is incompatible with model building 🤔 I think I'll now spend some more time on my audio project (going to build a surround set) and I'm actually looking forward to going back to work designing propellers...

 

Blog post copied in full

 

With the cables slowly progressing as discussed in part I a few other bits & pieces were built to fully detail the area in front of the forward breakwater.

 

GroundTackle_14.jpg

 

The capstan was remade simply because I lost the one I had. These are a nice combination of etched parts and styrene. The main (Napier) capstan is built up from disc and making these discs were tricky to do on a lathe: the parting tool would always deform the styrene. I played with tool angles and revs for a while, but in the end used a different approach by first cutting of a piece of rod with a small step in the diameter (top left). The part would then be reversed and work would continue from the other side with the cutting tool going fully against the chuck (carefully). The top etched parts were a bit of an experiment with three layers of PE and the small eyelets on top. Normally etching 0.1mm holes is asking for trouble as these holes are rarely etched through but now that I have a series of miniature drills I felt confident enough to drill in the etched holes; this went well enough. Too bad the eyelets are are too small to notice...

 

GroundTackle_15.jpg

 

The Napier capstan can also serve as a cable holder when its whelps are removed and this holder has five spokes. The main cable holder dimensions were estimated from photographs and I estimate six spokes the holder for a proper spacing of the cable around the holder; otherwise the distance between cable on either side of the holder would not really match the photographs. A small template was helpful to keep the spacing at consistent angles.

 

GroundTackle_16.jpg

 

After I thought the main deck was done I made a few passes finding out small details I might have missed. The top row of images shows a small Y-shaped manifold behind the forward breakwater and against the rear quarterdeck bulkhead (a pair of them). I do not see more of them and they also do not show up on any of the plans. The forward hatch received a small support roller and some hydrant manifold. All parts are mainly soldered Albion Alloy tubes.

 

GroundTackle_17.jpg

 

There are two pairs of paravane fairleads and the rear pair was replaced by some small support structure. Initially I thought this was added to keep any paravane cable away fro the degaussing cable but this structure shows up in 1939, prior to fitting the cable; a small plate was added in front of the structure when the degaussing cable was present though.

Top right shows the floor plate of the navel bonnet under construction. With the Proxxon drill press and divider it’s very easy to drill a polar array of holes on a plate. A small jig was built using 1.5mm rod and some strip with a hole punched out. The rod was made on the lathe as my experience showed that stock rod by Evergreen or Plastruct is not round enough.

The bottom right show the cable holder arrangement, a collection of strips finished by Magic Sculpt. The arrow indicates some detail but I do not know what it was for.

 

GroundTackle_18.jpg

 

And here is the entire fo'c'sle. After the chains and capstans were replaced a few lifting eyes were added that are scattered around the deck. The cable holder brake handles were reproduced as well as a pair of staghorn bollards near the torpedo loading hatch (the wide hatch in front of the breakwater. A few hatches, capstan and support rollers are not yet fixed for ease of painting. One thing I do not really like is that the skylights on front of the breakwater should have a bit more distance between them; ah well. (Click for larger version)

Edited by foeth

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