Charles Stuart Royal Yacht 1674 - Woody Joe 1/64 by ChrisP

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Jimsky suggested I start a build log for this kit model. I have been looking for an open frame model kit, basically of the "Dockyard" or "Navy Board" style. I picked Woody Joe's model after reading Jimsky's build log and reaching the conclusion that it would be feasible to "kit-bash" the model to produce an open frame model.

The book Navy Board Ship Models by Ball and Stephens lists a number of period ships in the London National Maritime Museum, and includes details of open frame models of two royal yachts, named Katherine II and Charles launched in 1674 and 1675 respectively, of similar but not identical appearance to Woody Joe's model. I'm not clear which model the kit is based on but the decorations and other details are very representative of the period and the castings are of excellent quality. The only significant modifications I have made are the removal of much of the material of the solid frames and of the longitudinal web where these would otherwise be visible in the exposed open frame body of the ship.

I chose to make the frames from 4mm limewood sheet (referred to as basswood in the USA I believe) to match the model's solid frames that are 4mm plywood. I marked the position of the open frames on the body plan elevation, leaving 4mm gaps between the frames. The result was quite successful, because the kit's frame spacing matched the open frame positions almost perfectly, meaning that I could use the upper part of the kit's frames in the correct positions, most of which allowed my new open frames to overlap and butt up to the kit's frames.

I confess to having lost the ability to perform accurate miniature work after having lost the sight in one eye after a stupid accident on my motor launch, so please excuse me if some of the finished work is slightly awry.

More to follow.
 
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I assembled the part of the hull structure at deck level and above, and just below to the lower extent of the trimmed frames, with the web secured in the jig. The inner part of the web that had been removed was temporarily replaced to ensure the shape of the side elevation was maintained. The method was as described in the instruction diagrams which were more or less unambiguous even though the notes on the diagrams are all in Japanese. By the time I had fixed the planking the whole structure was quite rigid and could be removed from the jig to complete the lower body (the open frame section).

Generally all glued joints were made with ordinary white PVA carpenter's glue, applied with a small paintbrush. Any glue squeezed out of the joint was cleaned up using the same brush dipped into water before the glue dried.

Before assembling any of the structure or even cutting down the solid frames I marked out the shape of the open half-frame blanks onto the limewood sheet, commencing with the open frames that are adjacent to the fore and aft faces of the kit's frames (that were used as templates for marking the shapes), and then interpolating for the open half-frame blanks in between. The limewood sheet proved to be quite strong across the grain, such that every half-frame could be made in one piece, providing the overall run of the half-frame was aligned along the grain of the wood. These blanks were cut using a Minitool scroll saw, inverted with the miniature work table (an accessory for this tool) set on top of the guide-base of the saw. I cut out approximately 80 blanks in no more than 2 hours.

https://www.allendalecrafts.co.uk/minitool-32200-jigsaw-scroll-saw-60w

The blanks were cut well oversized, allowing for trimming and fairing. Because of the small scale of the hull it would not be possible to fair the internal edge of the blanks after assembly, so close attention was paid to getting these trimmed (again using the scroll saw with its mini-table) and sanded as accurately as possible. The lower end of each half-frame was trimmed exactly to shape. Each half-frame was then fitted to match the rabbet line allowing for the thickness of the hull planking, following which the upper end of each half-frame was trimmed so that the frame end sat on the underside of the deck.

The half-frames were then permanently installed and glued with spacers of the same 4mm material in between. The spacers at the keel (the 'floors') were notched to fit over the keel which was generally about 8mm in depth above the rabbet line. The width of the floors was about 15mm each side of the keel the height was determined by the deadrise. The spacers under the deck were scraps of 4mm material that do not extend below the line of the planking.

Assembling the open frames commenced amidships and gradually extended fore and aft, with initial fairing made with a flat sanding block, in stages, in each case when about 4 frames had been installed fore or aft. A convex sanding block was also used as the stem and stern were approached (sand-paper attached to a piece of 20mm x 20mm hardwood quadrant beading.
 
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Hull and decorations now basically complete. I am wondering about how to finish it off.

P1010018.JPGP1010020.JPG

The NMM catalogue in the Navy Board Ship Models book describes three models from around the time of Woody's kit, and van der Velde's drawings are another useful source. The dates of the various models are inconclusive; it seems that many yachts matching the "Royal Yacht" description were either built or proposed. All these models have length on the deck of about 75ft, matching Woody's model.

The 1674 NMM model:
- This is fully rigged with sails and has similar scroll decorations along the outer bulwark sides.
- The master cabin window surrounds are different as are the stern decorations, and has gunports in the transom.
- The deck arrangements appear to match the Woody kit.
- If there is a figurehead it is very unobtrusive, unlike Woody’s.
- There are 3 stern lanterns.
- Armaments are present.
- Small anchors are present.

The 1675 NMM model:
- This is not rigged but has 3 flagpoles (flying so-called "launching flags") and has appropriate flags similar to Woody's except that a non-contemporary British red ensign is flown at the stern (the Union Jack in the top corner of the ensign is the one decreed by the sovereign in 1707) whilst Woody's flag has the St George's Cross of England in the corner. Wikipedia would agree on Woody's ensign that was in use in the 17th century until 1707 when the English and Scottish navies were combined under a single command. This would suggest that the NMM model was restored at some time after 1707 and the then current naval ensign was wrongly used.
- The stern decoration is different to Woody and the figurehead is much less flamboyant than Woody's.
- The bulwark decorations are quite different.
- Some other details are absent - the posts and rails around the access hatch on the main deck, all the armaments and the steps down from the raised deck area. However the photos on the NMM website shows distortion of the main deck so it appears that the deck of the model has been damaged at some stage and not properly restored.

William van der Velde's drawing of the 1675 Charles Yacht (presumably done from observation of the actual vessel) shows broadly similar decorations to Woody, except that the porthole wreath surrounds are missing and the stern windows are much smaller. There is no evidence of any gunports in the transom.

The 1685 NMM model:
- This is not rigged except for the shroud plates and deadeyes. There are stubs indicating the mast, bowsprit and stern flagstaff
- It has similar scroll decorations along the outer bulwark sides and the main cabin window surrounds.
- The stern decorations are different and there are gunports in the transom.
- The deck arrangements are quite different, with no well deck in front of the stern cabin.
- The figurehead is much less flamboyant than Woody's.
- There are no stern lanterns.
- No anchors are present.
- Armaments are present.
- This is the only model that has bulwark rails to protect seamen (and presumably the royal guests) on the quarterdeck, and has a framework for a canopy over the intermediate deck.

It seems that Woody has made his own interpretation based on certain features taken from each model. I plan to finish the model to a similar state as the 1675 NMM model, particularly as I do not want the complication of having to display a fully-rigged vessel, but the flags add a bit of flamboyance to the model. Of course this model does not accurately represent a ship about to be launched because it is “in frame” but to my (single!) eye is the neatest choice for a dockyard style model.

I plan to add the shroud plates and deadeyes, the bowsprit, stub mast & flag-staff, the lanterns and the armaments. The royal guests will have to risk being washed overboard when the ship is launched because there will be no bulwark rails!

I hate using paint and have used spirit based wood dyes (Colron and Rustins are the UK brands). However in some locations the timber has not taken the colour adequately and I may need to touch up with diluted paint.

The gilded decorations supplied by Woody are superb. I sprayed these with a pale gold paint before assembly and used a dark grey/black wood dye wash over all the castings after assembly, wiped off before it dried. There is a faint suggestion of depth to the decorations and the exuberant gold colour has been dumbed down a little, which in my view is much more satisfactory than the bright gold colour shown in the photos in Woody’s instruction book.

Any advice would be most welcome.
 
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Uwek

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that's the one but I didn't want to publish the NMM photos (copyright issues within the UK?)
They can be used also public, if they are for educational reasons shown - and this we do, especially when you copy also the link to their web-page

taken from the NMM web-page

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