HMS Ajax 38 gun frigate. Euromodel

Ken

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Hello everyone. I am going to start a build log of HMS Ajax, a 38 gun frigate 1:74 scale by Euromodel.

I am currently doing a log of my Amati Riva build and I’m about a week or two from finishing, so this is just an introduction for now.

Euromodel have a slightly different approach to producing kits, they are halfway between a full on kit and a scratch build, they are renowned for being somewhat difficult to build for the less experienced, they are also thought to be very overpriced for what you get which I would agree with. You get pre cut frames, keel, decks and a stem. There are no CNC or laser cut parts, these are hand cut and you need to finish them off using the plans. For the rest of the wooden parts there is a fair amount of wood but you have to cut them out yourself using the plan. There is no photo etch, the only detailing comes from castings of the rear windows and galleries, anything else that you need you do yourself. You do get all the usual fittings, cannons, blocks, etc all good quality, and some very nice flags. The plans though are superb and are on very good quality paper, there are eleven sheets all at 1:1 scale well drawn and almost art in itself with every possible measurement that you could need or imagine. The problem with the plans for my level of experience is that they were drawn up to be used for scratch building, there is no reference at all to the kit and the two differ. There is no guide as to how you make up parts, not even the hull nor is there any sort of sequence given, just a very detailed two dimensional plan of what looks like the real ship. The instructions are a photo copy of hand typed notes, a sheet and a half of A4 which tell you nothing.

With all these negatives you may well ask why I chose this kit to do. I read a ship modelling book by Keith Jullier and was very impressed with his build of the Royal William, so much so that I bought the kit. I found ongoing logs of builds on MSW. So I started one of my own on that site, in doing so I thankfully receive all the help that I needed to complete mine, I think to a fairly high standard. It is shown here in the completed models section. Although it was very difficult and the kit had serious shortcomings it is to date the most enjoyable model that I have built and the one that has given me the most satisfaction. A few weeks ago I saw this kit of the Ajax on Ebay, remembering the pleasure that the last Euromodel gave me I decided that I was going to buy it, it went for £160 which included the postage, a bargain so a no brainer for me. When it arrived it was perfect, everything still sealed and all untouched so delighted. It appears to be at least thirty years old so I'll keep my fingers crossed as to the condition of the wood, but so far so good.

Ken

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Jimsky

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Hello, Ken. I am taking the seat to watch as you progress building her. While most of us find those plans difficult to work with, I am the one who missed such plans, badly in all of the kits. I think such plans are essential to modelers as they provide the sizes for the given part, and a MUST be included in the kit.
 
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Hi Ken,
thats a nice kit. I have built 2 Euromodel kits, and although they are good, I discarded the ships ropes, tackle blocks, ships boat and heavy cast metal decorations and sourced aftermarket fittings.

Good luck with it. :)

.
 

Ken

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Hello Ken, I am new to ship modeling and never tracked one of your build logs. I'm going to pull up a chair and see what I can learn!
Paul
Hello Paul, Thanks for showing an interest, I don’t profess to be an example of excellence with regard to modelling but hopefully the log will be an interesting insight into putting together a model from a smaller non mainstream company. My last full log was of the Amerigo Vespucci, you may like to visit and see my building ability and maybe enjoy the read. From what I have seen of your posts although a beginner you do rather well and show us an interesting and very readable log.
Regards, Ken
 
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Ken, I am looking forward to watching and learning from your build of the Ajax. Your current build of the Riva is fantastic, but I am much more intrigued by sailing ships. It probably has something to do with why I ride a bicycle instead of a motorcycle and enjoy cross country skiing instead of downhill skiing. My brother was born with petrol in his veins, but I was not.
 

Uwek

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The Ajax was one of my dream kits when I was young - I am looking forward to your progress reports of this kit
Many Thanks for starting this building log
 
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Ken

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Hello Everyone, Thanks for showing an interest in my new build, I hope that you enjoy the voyage and find something of interest in it.

I’ve introduced the kit so now I’ll tell you some of my thoughts as to the criteria I’m giving my build. I apologise to the purists among you but I won’t be attempting to build a historically accurate or overly detailed frigate or try to using all the recognised perfect build methods. I will however try to make a good looking model that has very neat, clean work with a high standard of finish. Unlike Brian I shan’t be discarding and replacing blocks, cord or decorations etc. but I will try and only use what is supplied in the kit along with what I have in my stash of bits, a bit of a challenge as Euromodel don’t give you a great deal.

For me this represents a bit of a challenge, as I mentioned it is almost a scratch build but with all the materials provided, I have searched for a build log to help but can’t find one anywhere so it looks like a first, there is no box art that I can refer to for ideas either so I’m rather on my own, except for you lot.

I must confess that I started this build a couple of weeks ago whilst waiting for the several coats of varnish/paint to dry on my Riva. It’s going well, I hadn’t meant to start, only a dry fit but it soon became a full on build and has moved on quickly so I’ll need to catch up to real time building, until then I’ll write it up as if I’m actually doing it and with my thoughts at that moment, it will probably be a few weeks before I’m in sync.

I built a very simple but accurate slip out of scrap to start, it doesn’t look amazing but it worked well, it is sturdier than it looks and keeps everything in line and square. I’m not sure how I will display the finished model, there is a nice mahogany stand supplied but just in case I decide to mount it on columns I’ve prepared the keel, reinforcing and drilling it out. The keel and bulkheads are hand cut and needed finishing using the plan, I found them pretty accurate, much better than I could have cut them out, the slots in the keel were a bit sloppy and all needed packing to give a good fit. I identified what parts, mast supports, deck supports etc needed making and fitting prior to assembly, these are shown on the plan, some parts were shown only in dotted lines as they would be attached at the rear of the bulkheads, it reminded me to be careful and keep checking the plans. Whilst with the plans I marked up the centre lines on the bulkhead and numbered everything.

My method of fitting the bulkheads to the keel squarely seems to differ from most everyone else but I find that it’s simple, no elaborate measuring and has worked very well for me over several large builds. With the keel in the slip I fit and carefully check the middle bulkhead for it being square all round and leave it for the glue to fully set. I then fit the forward and rear bulkheads just checking that they are square to the keel, I then put the rest in just eyeing along the length of the keel. You’ll remember that I had marked the centre of the bulkheads, I line these marks up with the centre one that I knew to be perfect, as the glue starts to grab I again check all bulkheads and adjust for alignment by eye. I know that you might be sceptical but next time you make up a keel by elaborate measuring look along its length and you will see just how accurate your eye is, it will notice a lean of even 1mm out, I had on previous builds had bulkheads slightly out no matter how carefully I had measured, since doing it this way I’ve had perfect results. At the Rolls Royce factory they make up their iconic radiator grill, hand soldered and just lined up by eye, if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me. Before the glue sets hard I tried dry fitting the gun deck, it was a perfect fit so I knew that I now had a sound start.

Ken

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Hello Everyone, Thanks for showing an interest in my new build, I hope that you enjoy the voyage and find something of interest in it.

I’ve introduced the kit so now I’ll tell you some of my thoughts as to the criteria I’m giving my build. I apologise to the purists among you but I won’t be attempting to build a historically accurate or overly detailed frigate or try to using all the recognised perfect build methods. I will however try to make a good looking model that has very neat, clean work with a high standard of finish. Unlike Brian I shan’t be discarding and replacing blocks, cord or decorations etc. but I will try and only use only what is supplied in the kit along with what I have in my stash of bits, a bit of a challenge as Euromodel don’t give you a great deal.

For me this represents a bit of a challenge, as I mentioned it is almost a scratch build but with all the materials provided, I have searched for a build log to help but can’t find one anywhere so it looks like a first, there is no box art that I can refer to for ideas either so I’m rather on my own, except for you lot.

I must confess that I started this build a couple of weeks ago whilst waiting for the several coats of varnish/paint to dry on my Riva. It’s going well, I hadn’t meant to start, only a dry fit but it soon became a full on build and has moved on quickly so I’ll need to catch up to real time building, until then I’ll write it up as if I’m actually doing it and with my thoughts at that moment, it will probably be a few weeks before I’m in sync.

I built a very simple but accurate slip out of scrap to start, it doesn’t look amazing but it worked well, it is sturdier than it looks and keeps everything in line and square. I’m not sure how I will display the finished model, there is a nice mahogany stand supplied but just in case I decide to mount it on columns I’ve prepared the keel, reinforcing and drilling it out. The keel and bulkheads are hand cut and needed finishing using the plan, I found them pretty accurate, much better than I could have cut them out, the slots in the keel were a bit sloppy and all needed packing to give a good fit. I identified what parts, mast supports, deck supports etc needed making and fitting prior to assembly, these are shown on the plan, some parts were shown only in dotted lines as they would be attached at the rear of the bulkheads, it reminded me to be careful and keep checking the plans. Whilst with the plans I marked up the centre lines on the bulkhead and numbered everything.

My method of fitting the bulkheads to the keel squarely seems to differ from most everyone else but I find that it’s simple, no elaborate measuring and has worked very well for me over several large builds. With the keel in the slip I fit and carefully check the middle bulkhead for it being square all round and leave it for the glue to fully set. I then fit the forward and rear bulkheads just checking that they are square to the keel, I then put the rest in just eyeing along the length of the keel. You’ll remember that I had marked the centre of the bulkheads, I line these marks up with the centre one that I knew to be perfect, as the glue starts to grab I again check all bulkheads and adjust for alignment by eye. I know that you might be sceptical but next time you make up a keel by elaborate measuring look along its length and you will see just how accurate your eye is, it will notice a lean of even 1mm out, I had on previous builds had bulkheads slightly out no matter how carefully I had measured, since doing it this way I’ve had perfect results. At the Rolls Royce factory they make up their iconic radiator grill, hand soldered and just lined up by eye, if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me. Before the glue sets hard I tried dry fitting the gun deck, it was a perfect fit so I knew that I now had a sound start.

Ken

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Hi Ken,
In my profession we do precision work 'by eye' all the time. The human eye is especially good at seeing symmetry - and excellent at seeing squareness if an accurate reference exists. I have every confidence that you have it right!
 

Ken

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Hi Ken,
In my profession we do precision work 'by eye' all the time. The human eye is especially good at seeing symmetry - and excellent at seeing squareness if an accurate reference exists. I have every confidence that you have it right!
Hi Paul, Thanks for your comment, you’ve expressed my idea perfectly.
 
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Hello Everyone, Thanks for showing an interest in my new build, I hope that you enjoy the voyage and find something of interest in it.

I’ve introduced the kit so now I’ll tell you some of my thoughts as to the criteria I’m giving my build. I apologise to the purists among you but I won’t be attempting to build a historically accurate or overly detailed frigate or try to using all the recognised perfect build methods. I will however try to make a good looking model that has very neat, clean work with a high standard of finish. Unlike Brian I shan’t be discarding and replacing blocks, cord or decorations etc. but I will try and only use what is supplied in the kit along with what I have in my stash of bits, a bit of a challenge as Euromodel don’t give you a great deal.

For me this represents a bit of a challenge, as I mentioned it is almost a scratch build but with all the materials provided, I have searched for a build log to help but can’t find one anywhere so it looks like a first, there is no box art that I can refer to for ideas either so I’m rather on my own, except for you lot.

I must confess that I started this build a couple of weeks ago whilst waiting for the several coats of varnish/paint to dry on my Riva. It’s going well, I hadn’t meant to start, only a dry fit but it soon became a full on build and has moved on quickly so I’ll need to catch up to real time building, until then I’ll write it up as if I’m actually doing it and with my thoughts at that moment, it will probably be a few weeks before I’m in sync.

I built a very simple but accurate slip out of scrap to start, it doesn’t look amazing but it worked well, it is sturdier than it looks and keeps everything in line and square. I’m not sure how I will display the finished model, there is a nice mahogany stand supplied but just in case I decide to mount it on columns I’ve prepared the keel, reinforcing and drilling it out. The keel and bulkheads are hand cut and needed finishing using the plan, I found them pretty accurate, much better than I could have cut them out, the slots in the keel were a bit sloppy and all needed packing to give a good fit. I identified what parts, mast supports, deck supports etc needed making and fitting prior to assembly, these are shown on the plan, some parts were shown only in dotted lines as they would be attached at the rear of the bulkheads, it reminded me to be careful and keep checking the plans. Whilst with the plans I marked up the centre lines on the bulkhead and numbered everything.

My method of fitting the bulkheads to the keel squarely seems to differ from most everyone else but I find that it’s simple, no elaborate measuring and has worked very well for me over several large builds. With the keel in the slip I fit and carefully check the middle bulkhead for it being square all round and leave it for the glue to fully set. I then fit the forward and rear bulkheads just checking that they are square to the keel, I then put the rest in just eyeing along the length of the keel. You’ll remember that I had marked the centre of the bulkheads, I line these marks up with the centre one that I knew to be perfect, as the glue starts to grab I again check all bulkheads and adjust for alignment by eye. I know that you might be sceptical but next time you make up a keel by elaborate measuring look along its length and you will see just how accurate your eye is, it will notice a lean of even 1mm out, I had on previous builds had bulkheads slightly out no matter how carefully I had measured, since doing it this way I’ve had perfect results. At the Rolls Royce factory they make up their iconic radiator grill, hand soldered and just lined up by eye, if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me. Before the glue sets hard I tried dry fitting the gun deck, it was a perfect fit so I knew that I now had a sound start.

Ken

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Ken, I say go with what works for you. Too many times people blindly follow conventional methods, thinking there isn’t a better way. But innovation often leads to improvement and efficiency. ;)
 
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Hello Everyone, Thanks for showing an interest in my new build, I hope that you enjoy the voyage and find something of interest in it.

I’ve introduced the kit so now I’ll tell you some of my thoughts as to the criteria I’m giving my build. I apologise to the purists among you but I won’t be attempting to build a historically accurate or overly detailed frigate or try to using all the recognised perfect build methods. I will however try to make a good looking model that has very neat, clean work with a high standard of finish. Unlike Brian I shan’t be discarding and replacing blocks, cord or decorations etc. but I will try and only use what is supplied in the kit along with what I have in my stash of bits, a bit of a challenge as Euromodel don’t give you a great deal.

For me this represents a bit of a challenge, as I mentioned it is almost a scratch build but with all the materials provided, I have searched for a build log to help but can’t find one anywhere so it looks like a first, there is no box art that I can refer to for ideas either so I’m rather on my own, except for you lot.

I must confess that I started this build a couple of weeks ago whilst waiting for the several coats of varnish/paint to dry on my Riva. It’s going well, I hadn’t meant to start, only a dry fit but it soon became a full on build and has moved on quickly so I’ll need to catch up to real time building, until then I’ll write it up as if I’m actually doing it and with my thoughts at that moment, it will probably be a few weeks before I’m in sync.

I built a very simple but accurate slip out of scrap to start, it doesn’t look amazing but it worked well, it is sturdier than it looks and keeps everything in line and square. I’m not sure how I will display the finished model, there is a nice mahogany stand supplied but just in case I decide to mount it on columns I’ve prepared the keel, reinforcing and drilling it out. The keel and bulkheads are hand cut and needed finishing using the plan, I found them pretty accurate, much better than I could have cut them out, the slots in the keel were a bit sloppy and all needed packing to give a good fit. I identified what parts, mast supports, deck supports etc needed making and fitting prior to assembly, these are shown on the plan, some parts were shown only in dotted lines as they would be attached at the rear of the bulkheads, it reminded me to be careful and keep checking the plans. Whilst with the plans I marked up the centre lines on the bulkhead and numbered everything.

My method of fitting the bulkheads to the keel squarely seems to differ from most everyone else but I find that it’s simple, no elaborate measuring and has worked very well for me over several large builds. With the keel in the slip I fit and carefully check the middle bulkhead for it being square all round and leave it for the glue to fully set. I then fit the forward and rear bulkheads just checking that they are square to the keel, I then put the rest in just eyeing along the length of the keel. You’ll remember that I had marked the centre of the bulkheads, I line these marks up with the centre one that I knew to be perfect, as the glue starts to grab I again check all bulkheads and adjust for alignment by eye. I know that you might be sceptical but next time you make up a keel by elaborate measuring look along its length and you will see just how accurate your eye is, it will notice a lean of even 1mm out, I had on previous builds had bulkheads slightly out no matter how carefully I had measured, since doing it this way I’ve had perfect results. At the Rolls Royce factory they make up their iconic radiator grill, hand soldered and just lined up by eye, if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me. Before the glue sets hard I tried dry fitting the gun deck, it was a perfect fit so I knew that I now had a sound start.

Ken

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Nice start I like your method and will keep it in mind for future builds.
Tony
 
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Ken

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Hello again. Thanks for those likes and comments. I find that it's fairly difficult starting a log and get it going in a direction that you you would like and your comments help quite a bit.

Here we go again in an effort to catch up to where I'm at with the build. Having made up the supports for the decks and masts I decided to add them after I'd fitted the bulkheads to the keel, that way I could check first that they were in the correct position when I placed the deck on. I fitted the kitchen deck and stained it, it wasn’t worth planking as it is so low down it would never be seen. I attached blocks at the bow and stern, material was supplied for this, boxwood I think, and carved them to shape as shown on the plan. I sanded and faired the bulkheads to get a good flow of planks. Having checked the bulkheads with the plans initially I found that there was almost no correction needed, they were all pretty good.

I fixed the gun deck into place using glue and nails, this now left me prepared for the first planking. The planks were a white wood, nice quality 5mm x 1.5, my fears over them being old proved unfounded as they were nice and bendy and didn’t tend to split as old wood does. I started at the level of the gun deck and went downwards. I terminated them at the rearmost bulkhead as I would normally expect but after fixing three planks I realized that I was going to run into serious problems later when I needed to make up the stern galleries, an issue that caused me to re think my build plan, more of that next time.

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Ken

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Messages
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Hello Everyone. Again thanks for following and for your likes. I’m still in catch up time with my posts so remember what I tell you here is my thoughts at the time of the actual build, all the issues that I encountered are resolved and it’s turning into an excellent and enjoyable build.

It turns out that whatever Euromodel say HMS Ajax didn’t exist, it is a fictional ship. That’s good news for me as it gives me more latitude with the interpretation of the build and within reason I won’t be wrong

Remember that I only build from kits, as such I buy with the expectation that I am not only provided with the materials to complete the model but I also expect the manufacturer to provide reasonable diagrams and plans to get it done, I don’t mind how much work that I have to do but I do need some guidance on what and how I should do things, I have discovered that this is not the case with this kit. There that’s my rant for the day.

You know that I left you on my last post saying that I had a problem, you will see on my last picture that I had rested the upper deck on the frame to see before I planked any further if it would fit ok. You’ll notice that behind the rearmost bulkhead and under the deck is a large space, a blank area where the side and rear galleries will fit, so some sort of framing would be needed to support these. I got the plans out and studied them, I saw that there were only drawings of the finished outside of the stern, there wasn’t any details showing any sort of structure to make up for this purpose just a side on view of the curve under the transom. Below I’ve shown photos of every part of the plans that refers to the stern, you can perhaps understand my issue. I know that experienced scratch builders who I admire would not have an issue but this is a kit and I don’t think that they should assume that you would know how to handle what is normally a difficult part of the build.

After a calming cup of tea I formed my solution. As the side windows needed a surface to mount on I realised that I should extend the planks beyond the rear bulkhead, then rather than make a frame I decided to fill the space with a block of balsa and carve it to the required shape then plank over it. Having a plan I was much happier so continued with the first planking. I have moved on quite a bit from this stage, more of that later, but I can tell you that this fix worked perfectly and I’m delighted with how it now looks.

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Hi Ken (and to all who read this),

Euromodel is very much in business - in spite of what may have been stated on this website and other websites - and that has been an unfortunate turn of events for their company. Perhaps the moderators of this website could rectify that problem. Euromodel have never stated that comment themselves and let me assure you I am not speaking on their behalf - far from it !

Now, to introduce myself. My name is piratepete and I have been a contributor to MSW and failed to realise the significance of this particular forum ... my loss (up till now). I was placed in the fortunate position of being able to post my Euromodel build logs onto the Euromodel website. This has taken an enormous amount of my time over the past years and have concentrated on ships such as the Royal William, Friederich Wilhelm, La Renommee and the Lyde. For personal reasons, Euromodel gifted me every kit in their range and in return I continue to add postings to their site. However, I have no commercial link with them and receive no reward of any kind for doing this work. I just love editing and publishing and that is my passion in life. Files are freely available for anybody to copy.

Over the years, I have become well versed in all aspects of the Euromodel drawings and am more than happy to make any comments or suggestions should they arise (I can see no mechansim on this website for personal, private messages as well as a following mechanism to receive notifications of added comments but perhaps somebody can enlighten me).

The consequence of doing this work means that some ships, such as the Ajax, have been neglected although some preliminary work has been done on the hull construction and files have been completed in this respect.

So ... back to Ken directly. I have included just one diagram and its explanatory notes from one of my pdf files. If that interests and/or helps you, I am quite happy to talk further.


Fig. 55 shows a number of important features …Screenshot (21).png
  • the filler blocks 16 &17 (shaded blue)
  • the bottom of the tiller opening in the metal piece is flush with the bottom of the laser-cut hole in Frame 2
  • the maximum thickness of the filler blocks should be 5.3 mm.
  • the metal piece (shaded yellow) sits out slightly from the filler blocks to allow for planking thickness
  • the supplied block 5 x 15 x 140 mm. (shaded green) supports the transom metal casting above it. This will only allow a simple curved to be created. It was decided on following the true intent of the drawing by forming a compound curve and so increased the thickness by 3 mm. behind it.
  • timber packing blocks (shaded brown) were used for a fixing point between Frame 2 and the transom support & lower metal piece – the block positioning looked a little different but the outcome was the same (Fig. 55)
piratepete
 
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