Sunday, June 16, 2019

Back In the Saddle Again

While looking through my computer, I realized that I have not worked on a sailing ship since October of 2018.  For a blog about sailing ships, that is clearly too long!  I also realized that my Trafalgar project has gone even longer without any progress.  The obvious thing to do then, is to finish another ship of the line that will let me make progress on both general construction AND my Trafalgar goal.

Fortunately, I have a British 74 Common hull that has been painted since, well, October of 2018 or thereabouts.  When I order hulls, I always order sail sets to go along with them so all the ship needed was to have the masts and sails painted and installed, rig the ship, and just like that she's done.  Yep, that's the plan all right.

The masts and sails went together quickly enough, and I decided to experiment with how I paint my sails.  This time, I went with a black basecoat, linen first coat, tan drybrushing and then a drybrushing of linen again.  Overall, they seem a bit whiter than I normally like, but I can justify that by saying that she recently broke out a new set of canvas.  I've finally found the right size drill bit for enlarging the mast holes in the hull (a #52 bit, which is roughly 1.6 mm or .0635 inches).  This lets the mast fit with only a little bit of sanding using 1200 grit sandpaper.  With everything glued together, it was time to work on rigging.

The standing rigging went quicker than I thought it would, given that I hadn't done any rigging for about 8 or 9 months.  From there I moved to running rigging, and things started to slow a bit.  Here, I was having more trouble getting things going.  I was having problem with weaving the running rigging in and out of the standing rigging for the first couple of steps.  After that though, things started moving along more quickly.  As I was starting on step 8 of the running rigging I was thinking to myself, "Hmmm, it's been a few months but I've still got it."  It was right about then that I dropped the ship.

Truth be told, it wasn't a long fall; just a few inches from my hands to the desk.  It was, however, a long enough fall to rip a string of filthy words out of my mouth.  Good thing I was home alone!  Just like in the past, the standing rigging did its job and made it easy to pull everything back into place.  Once I got everything straightened back up, THEN I saw the evidence that my standing rigging job wasn't as snazzy as I thought it was.  The mizzenmast stays were much too loose and saggy, and part of the mainmast stays were wrapped around other lines.  Aarrgh!!!!  And no, there are no pictures of this fiasco, for the obvious reasons.

There was clearly only one way to fix these problems, and that was to cut out the mizzen and main masts standing rigging to do them over.  That meant that I also had to cut out step 8 of the running rigging as well.  Before rerunning all that string, I first had to redrill the holes for rigging at the stern of the ship.  I normally use a .7 mm drill bit there, because of the several different lines that go through those holes.  Turns out, when I drilled the holes on this ship, I used a .5 mm drill bit instead.  No wonder I couldn't get all the running rigging to fit through there!

After all this repair work was done, the rest of the build went pretty quickly.  No really, it did; I guess I needed those mistakes to shake me out of my complacency.  So, with no further ado, here are some beauty shots of the newest addition to the fleet:

The masts are in line, but for some reason this photo makes them look unaligned.

Some of the standing rigging does look a little loose, but it shows up
more in the photo than in real life.

I SWEAR to you that those masts are aligned with each other!

This ship will represent either Swiftsure or Berwick in the French fleet for Trafalgar, as both those ships were British prizes in French service.  However, she is rigged as a standard British ship, as this will make her more useful in other scenarios.  Honestly, I have never had a player in one of my games comment on the differences in rigging, so it probably doesn't really matter.  Over the years though, I've built enough ships in the two different rigging styles that I'm not going to stop now. 🙄