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An Unfortunate Delay

Sorry guys, but there seem to have been some glitches between the digital pen and the “silicon storage”, and most of the blog that was in progress has disappeared into the ether ………. . So this is a start-again version, unless something miraculously reappears on this site. It’s annoying because I had been “bugging” folks for material and have had a more than plentiful reply. For some time, I have been trying to decide what and how to put everything together.

It seems that many yardmasters have been shifting production over the past several months. We have some completions and near completions in both scratch-built and wood kit format but also an increase in ‘plastic’ assembly or conversion. This is not surprising because it has been much more difficult to obtain basic supplies (such as balsa, ply, glues, and specialty paints) than pre-formed kits. Also we have not been able to make use of our pond for testing and trails. I suspect that some of the changes that have been directly and indirectly influenced by Covid are likely to stay with us. Certainly, we are already more dependent on mail order supplies and some products are likely to be no longer available. Non-kit models may well require a more inventive approach to the selection of construction materials ……… but we’ll be up to the challenge.

Where to start; well, I’ll pick Jeremy’s yard for the first reporting. He has been working on two of the three vessels currently under construction but he has offered no new images of the work (guess I’ll have to try and fill that in for him). Thanks to the assistance of John H., the “Banckert” tug (Billings model) is now operational and ready for first sea trials (at the pond).

The Ashville Class “Crockett” is also at an advanced stage and has now been wired for power. The third vessel, the “Bluenose II”, stands idle in the stocks, a casualty of procrastination! Clearly this is some form of depression caused by realization of the daunting task of rigging that lies ahead (too much exposure perhaps to the late stages of work on Don’s “Cutty Sark”). In addition, there is the yet-to-be-completed “Loyal Moderator” (which hasn’t been touched in years) and a Lindberg tug that’s still in the box.

To be fair, Jeremy does have rather a lot of garden to deal with and that requires constant attention, particularly at this time of year.

Speaking of the “Cutty Sark”, let’s cover that build next. The boat is finished and, as you can see, the builder remains somewhat stunned by his achievement.

While I really like the addition of studding sails (mounted on the short, white yards), I have to admit to a hazy feeling every time I look at the complexity of the rigging. All the sails and the standing and running rigging have a name and the crew needed to know “which was what” ………. sorry, but I think I fail before even starting to memorize anything more than the basics.

John McK. has given us a few close-up shots that are included; the bow is remarkably like the real thing (complete with a lovely little figurehead); the overlap of the studding sails is clearly shown but how they were hoisted and trimmed, I still find hard to visualize (yes I’ve looked at some videos including Alan Villiers rounding Cape Horn on the “Parma”); and the stern decoration of etched brass is of course a suitable place to end this update.

I appreciate having John C’s contribution that covers the completion of his St. Lawrence skiff. I also hope that there will be some pictures, later, that show it’s sailing abilities. John will be concentrating his activities on racing model sailboats for the next while and trying to make up for lost competition time, due to the Covid restrictions. We hope to see him back with us when he feels able to devote more time to “this side” of our hobby.

This is a view of the boat with the floorboards installed. The hole for access to the battery will be covered with black deck-patch material. The floorboards will be bedded in a bead of caulking compound around the perimeter and at the keel box and held in place with screws, so they can be removed if necessary for repairs

The main sheet leads from a fairlead just astern of the mast to a bridle on the boom, then to a screw eye into the floor boards. It was difficult to scale and estimate the length of the oars, and particularly on the size of the blades which seem a bit small. However, they are only for show and the thole pins and holes at the oar pivots have yet to be made.

The winch for the main sheet is on its side to reduce the height. There is a piece of elastic leading forward to keep the tension on the drum. The throw on the main sheet has been doubled because the winch did not provide enough line with a direct lead. The little white circle is a ceramic ferrule from a fishing rod tip - very low friction.

The rudder servo is under the after deck. It’s sealed around the top with caulking compound, so here’s hoping it is waterproof! If it fails, a hole will have to be cut in the deck to replace it. The rudder blade pivots down for sailing.

As John says, he had intended the deck to be stained mahogany and then to draw in the planking before giving it a final varnish. After construction, he found it was best to stain the ply before doing any other handling or glueing because even a finger print affects absorption of the stain. He finally ended up spray painting the deck with a brown that turned out to be darker than intended. Also, it seems that a gloss white finish on the hull has magnified every flaw on its surface. OK John, you’re a perfectionist …….. now join the rest of us “mere mortals”.

Ray has been busy with his Heller 1:200 scale model of the “Royal Louis” (built in 1772). While the model is only about 19 inches long and 16 inches high it comes with a total of 648 parts (and what seems to be miles of rigging line). Oh joy!!!!!!!

As Ray now says ”This is as far as I have made it with this build this year. It’s classic car season so the models have been put away until October. And after painting and assembling 120 cannon, I need a break! “

I think Ray and Edward both.

Yes, Edward has set his yard up for another build, this time it is the Heller 1:100 scale model of the “Royal Soleil” (built 1670). With a model length and height of about 30 inches, the kit has about 2300 parts!!!!!!!

I don’t known how much rigging line is supplied but probably enough to circle the globe. The target for a completion date has not been set ……………. surprise, surprise. Quoting from Edward’s latest note:

“Some pics of the start of a very long term project of the Heller 1/100 scale RS. The kit has 108 cannons each with 7 parts (So do the math!). The cannons have a bronze paint and wash. I will be having the gun ports open on the port side on the main and second battery decks to save me from this boring part of the built. The starboard gun ports will be closed.

The hull has been given a Tamiya grey primer then various acrylic base coats followed by artist oil washes. Finally a light coat of acrylic semi gloss clear coat.

More to come…”

Undoubtably, and it will be a real pleasure to see how this build progresses. Thanks Edward.

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