Monday, January 3, 2022

Christmas Knotty list

Well, nautical list at least.

Final ship boxed up for display

My dad is a huge fan of the Aubrey-Maturin book series, and since it has been a while since I beat my head against a wall, I thought I would try something new and challenging, like building and rigging a 1/700 ship, and then add a time limit to get something done for a Christmas gift.

The primary ship in the book series is the HMS Surprise, which is a real ship, modified for a longer life in the novels than it had in the real world.  The Surprise was a captured French Corvette, which was re-rated by the British Navy as a sort of frigate, although its service life was short, and it was paid out in 1802.  (the ship in the novels gets another 15 years of service)

I bought the files for the hull to 3d print, and while the files were good, the print was not, and I spent quite a bit of time cleaning up the various strings and bubbles.  I had printed another ship's hull before as a practice, and that one turned out nicely, so it was probably something to do with our "winter" weather (40 degrees F and wet).  During the cleanup I broke off the catsheads.  I also printed a stack of ships boats that I modified from files found on Thingiverse, and added a lantern that I scratch built from a bit of plastic WHFB lance and some wire. 

3d printed ships can have 3d printed masts and sails, but being an idiot, I decided that I would scratch build my own masts and sails.  The masts were made from paper clips, plastic card, and thread.  At this stage I learned that I was literally incapable of tying the knots, and my wife helped by doing those. At least I got to work on my sailor language.  I also made sails from paper, which I painted, cut out, and then drooped on curved surfaces to approximate the billow of the sail. Spars were thinner paper clips and other assorted wire.

Masts finally finished, spars and sails drying

After getting the masts done, it was time to work on rigging the ship.  
I skipped knots completely, and went right to super glue, so it does not bear close inspection. 

I also made a pair of ratting looms in Tinkercad, which were much harder to use than I anticipated, and I had to press gang my wife again for this job. Getting the lines to have enough tension for glue to take hold was difficult. In the end, the ship only got one pair of rattings, rather than the eight or so that it should have. 

Reference materials

I was heavily inspired by A Miniatures Hobby Room, who happened to post a lovely British Frigate build that I saw in the middle of this process.  After crying in the corner for a while, I copied what I could, but fell woefully short. (and that is a smaller ship too!)

This is the largest picture that I took of the "finished" product

I was working on this down to the wire, with the ship being hot-glued into a baseball collectors box (80cm cube) and the box put into the bag about five minutes before we left for Christmas dinner. 

So what did I learn?  That tiny ships are very hard!  No fleets forthcoming from me. If you are planning to something similar, give yourself another week of time, since I think this could have turned out better with a bit more effort.

In the end, my dad did like the ship though, and put it straight away onto his display shelf, where it displaced a Lego helicopter that a grandson made some time ago.  So all is well that ends well.


Dai said...

Yegads David! That’s a cuddly bit of kit if ever I saw! Bloody well done though, the finished boat looks excellent I think! You are also a nutter (like Stew with his TWO fleets!!!) for having the patience to put so much work into such a small model with all of that rigging!

Suber said...

Wow, that's fantastic! I love you work here!
I myself have done just a single project of the like, but I was way lazier than you, I already had the masts and I used etched brass for sails and shrouds, so I'm dazzled by your dedication! Wow.

Stew said...

Bah! The 1/700 ships aren’t small, you should try the 1/1800 ships that I have! Lol.
Still, you did a great job in the end and glad I am that it was appreciated. I’m also glad you found Vol’s blog as he is a ship building maniac.
I also don’t do knots but use glue stiffened thread just stuck on.
Great job again. 😀

Ratana said...
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Lasgunpacker said...

Thanks guys!

@Stew 1/1200, 1/1800, and 1/2400 all seem equally insane after trying to do this one. On the other hand, maybe it would be harder to spot mistakes, and you get the mass effect of having a fleet vs. one ship to look at?

Stew said...

Bah! I meant to say that my ships are 1:1200. Not 1800. Not sure if that is a thing.

But it’s true as you say. All one can truly see are the sails, rigging, and the sides

Lasgunpacker said...

1/1800 is the scale that Axis and Allies navy ships are at I think, as well as the Victory at Sea plinths with ships atop.

FourEyedMonster said...

A fascinating project indeed. I have yet to paint any ships and it's interesting to see how you go about it here.