Sunday, 30 September 2012

Sloop of War - HMS Sophie Part 1

My next project is to make 4 Sloop of War at the same time. These will be painted up as 2 British and 2 French ships. These ships will be based on HMS Sophie, from the Master and Commander novel by Patrick O'Brian.
While trying to find the design I stumbled upon this site by Bruce Trinque that lists with plans, the ships of Jack Aubrey, Captain from Patrick O'Brian's Novels. The site has listed this plan as most likely the one that the Sophie was based on.
So, based on that plan, I drew my own plan to scale of what I was going to make.
Sloop Plan.
In scale her hull length is approx three and a half inches and one and a quarter wide.

I'm going to log a step by step of how I build these fine ships. Bear with me, it's the first time I've really done a tutorial.

The Hull.
My first step is to cut out the shape of the hull in card. I use backing card, referred to as mount board sometimes, it's nice thick card around 2mm thick. It cost me about £4 for a A1 sheet. I can probably get around 20 ships out of 1 sheet so that's 20p a ship
Tip: Use sharp blades, you can rip the card otherwise.

Now you want 2 more of the same shape for each ship, or a total of 12 for my 4 ships.
However I find it easer to glue my first one onto card, leave to dry then cut around it, and repeat till desired depth is obtained. I use super glue for's quicker than PVA.

Once all hulls are complete, do the same for the the quarter deck and the forecastle, these should be 4 layers thick.
Glue the quarter deck to the hull, I had to trim the sides of the quarter deck, it was a tad too wide.

Hull with Quarter Deck and Forecastle glued
Now the sides of the hull. I made a template from my drawings and cut 2, one for each side. I curved them between my fingers before attaching.

I glued the sides in place and when dry, glue a strip across the rear to complete the hull.

hull complete
Well that's it for now, I have to get the other 3 ships up to this stage. So until next time....take care.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Change of Sails

I woke up this morning, the birds were singing, the coffee was brewing, ahhh the sweet aroma...everything seemed good. As i sat down with my coffee, I noticed my model of the surprise, It seemed when the paint had dried on the sails it straighten them...the sails looked...well they looked pants to be honest.

I decided to redo the sails on her, and after a trip to a local arty shop came away with some nice textured card that seemed perfect for the sails.

Having to cut the sails off was a pain, and ended up having to redo the rigging at the front....ah well, this project was about learning, so hopefully I've learnt a lesson. Anyway, some pictures of the re-sailed HMS Surprise.

HMS Surprise Launches

Got cracking on the rigging and the sails, unfortunately I didn't do any step by step pics due to forgetfulness and being glued to the model a few times....I did however stop for a break and remembered to take a shot when  I started the sails. Also some shots with the masts in place.

Paint pot to show size

Sorry for the untidy workbench ;)

So she's finished, total build time...around a week, I think it took me awhile due to "making shit up as I go along", which coincidently is my motto for life ;) cost of the model? ....hmmm all in all around £5. Far from perfect, but I'm pleased with my first try. Anyway onto some pics....

HMS Surprise
"... he knew her through and through, as beautiful a piece of ship-building as any that had been launched from the French yards, a true thoroughbred, very fast in the right hands, weatherly, dry, a splendid sailor on a bowline, and a ship that almost steered herself once you understood her ways."

 Until the next ship...

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

HMS Surprise Part 3

Well it didn't take me long to complete the painting of the hull, so I decided to crack on with the masts.
So... for the masts I used bamboo skewers and cocktail sticks. Easily obtainable and dirt cheap.
 Once cut to length, I used a scale sketch I drew as a plan, little notches were cut from the ends to ensure they glued nicely, then glued them together with PVA glue. Warning: It is fiddly!
 Once the main masts are dried, the yards were attached, using super glue.
 Once dried, the yards were reinforced with a strip of paper wrapped around them, using PVA glue, surprising how strong it makes the joint when the PVA sets.
 More reinforcement around the mast joints and a crows nest was added.
 I repeated this process for the other two masts, then when dried did a test fitting of the masts.
I Will paint the masts before gluing to the hull, then the sails and rigging :)

Until the next time...

HMS Surprise Part 2

Completed the painting to the hull and base, so thought I'd post a few pictures before I start the masts.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

HMS Surprise

Here are some, in progress, pics of my first ship, the HMS Surprise. Sorry about the quality, had a light issue, hopefully the next lot of pictures will be better.
View from larboard side.

Stern detail.

Bow detail.
As you can see, still haven't completed the painting, but it's almost there. The model comes in at 7.5 inches long from stern to spar. 

Once painting is complete, the next job is the masts, then the sails and rigging. Hopefully I'll remember to take stage by stage photos.

The model itself was built using Ply board for the base, framing board for the hull, although any stiff card will do. the cannons were made from the plastic stems (not sure if that's the correct term) from cotton buds and the spar is a bamboo skewer. Used some thinner card for the detailing on the hull, and that's about it, all cheap materials, great for people on a me :)

Thats all for now, cya soon

Monday, 24 September 2012

Welcome to my Blog

Hi and welcome to my blog, I'm just getting back into miniature gaming, been off the wagon over 10 years now. My gaming history was mainly games from GW range, but they no longer hold any appeal for me :( , which is a shame, I still love their miniature range. I was always a keen scratch builder, making various miniatures or terrain pieces, made a couple of Baneblades and a Warhound Titan for W40K, which was eventually sold on ebay.

Recently been thinking about going into more historical gaming, but was undecided. Then I watched the brilliant Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, for the umpteenth time and thought Age of Sail Navel Games!!!

I had been looking at the 6mm Napoleonic Range at so I thought perhaps combine them. Looking around the internet I did find some rather lovely miniatures in the correct scale (1/300) at but, ranging from £27.50 for a Cutter to a mighty £280.00 for HMS Victory, they were very much out of my price range.

So I decided to build the Ships myself. This blog will chronicle my attempts at building a fleet, on a budget, worthy of Horatio Nelson!

Next post will be a few, in progress, pics of my first ship off the production line, the HMS Surprise, see you soon.