Le Soleil Royal, vaisseau de 104 - De Agostini - by Jack Aubrey

jack.aubrey

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September 15th, 2011 - Wales

This morning I went to a couple of hobby model shops looking for "long" strips of walnut (or similar) of 3 x 4mm to be used for the wales instead of the strips supplied with the kit, 2 x 4mm, that are only 25cm long.
The additional millimeter I'm looking for (3 vs 2) can be explained by the fact that I want to install the wales directly over the first planking, and the chestnut strips of the second planking will reduce this by half a millimeter. By this way the wales will bend out of +/- 2,5mm.

Unfortunately I did not find was I was looking for, so this afternoon I decided to do them by myself using my circular (or table) saw from PROXXON and a table of beechwood I had in my stock of wood. The maximum length of these "home made" wales is +/- 80cm.

The cutting of these wales was a very interesting experience. I had the opportunity to practice with the circular saw for several hours, learning many new tricks and methods and also changing the blades, a kind of operation I never did before.

And also the result was for me fantastic: probably may be the luck of the beginner but I obtained simply perfect wales . . . Very satisfatory experience !

I had some wasted wood, and especially I had a lot of sawdust. Instead of discarding the sawdust, I collected it for future use and, with the wasted wood, I made other strips of various sizes that probably will become useful for the future. Then I needed to clean my workshop with a vacuum cleaner. . three hurrah for the inventor of the vacuum cleaner . . cheeers, Jack.Aubrey.

Monday, September 19th, 2011 - Wales

During this weekend I installed the wales I built some days ago with my table saw. The major problem for this task was to define the right position of the first wale to be installed.
This was not an easy task because De Agostini does not supply the kit with plans and the instructions do not show precisely the position of them. But I found a great help by looking at the SR plans from Mantua/Panart Models.
Using these mixed sources of informations I was able to reasonably determine the proper position of the first wale to install on each side.
The first wale, whoose position was defined by using this empiric method, was located above the gun ports of the intermediate deck. This wale was also easier to install because did not need to be curved at the bow. By the help of a masking tape I delimited the area where to fix the wale and I applied it with vynil glue, but helping the process by also using thin brass nails, with a very small head. To do so I bored in advance the wale before installation.
Once the glue was dry, the day after, I leveled the headnails with a file, leaving the remaining piece of the nails in place.

Image 01 here below shows in detail the result.

01 P1070797.jpg


Later I have installed the wales below the intermediate deck gunports. The process was the same and to apply them parallel to the first ones I used some spacers applied properly with a double adhesive tape.
Another problem was that these wales had to be curved at the bow but this was not a real problem. I soaked the wood in hot water for half a hour and this was enough . . thanks also to the beechwood that is particularly recommended in this situation.

Next three images show the first two wales on a side definitely applied to the hull.

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03 P1070793.jpg


04 P1070800.jpg


Kind regards, Jack.
 

jack.aubrey

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Sunday November 20th, 2011 - current status

After a long period of absence due to health problems, I am back now to show something new. To be honest there are few new things, in september I started with renewed passion working on this model but then I had to face with my health. It is only today that I was able to take photos but what you can see here is the status by the end of september.
The health problems are now gone and I think optimistically to restart as soon as I will recover better.

Compared with the status of my previous message (19/9/2011) I added two new wales per side and I planked with mahogany veneer the area without gunports within the wales. Surely you can better understand looking at the images.

01 P1070911.jpg


The differences in colour within the same woods are done by the oil I applied to see the difference before and after.

02 P1070913.jpg


The headnails in the new wales are not yet removed and may appear out of scale if you look them at the high resolution images. but they will sound better after being smoothed.

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I also started to install the area where the gunports are with the chestnut veneer, but at this point my work was interrupted . . the few work done is shown here below.

04 P1070917.jpg


Sunday November 20th, 2011 - current status

Two additional images, same date as the above message. In the background you can see two other models I have currently on build: the dutch privateer Dolphyn, from Corel and the spanish 74 guns ship San Juan Nepomuceno, later HMS San Juan, from Artesania Latina.
Sometime I will finish them too. . .

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02 P1070915.jpg
 

jack.aubrey

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Tuesday January 10th, 2012

After a long pause due to Christmas holidays and some additional health problems, I resumed the work of the Soleil Royal and today I have something new to show you.

The work was focused on applying the second planking, chestnut and mahogany veneer. Now I reached a reasonable point on both sides and the most critical and boring area to plank, around the gun ports, is over.

Here below some images I shot today . .

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Now I can decide to continue upwards or to start planking downwards. To proceed downwards I need to install new wales. I will decide how to proceed but I'm thinking to continue downwards.

Cheers, Jack.
 

jack.aubrey

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Wednesday January 11th, 2012

After some thinking I decided to continue planking downwards. Today I spent a very productive afternoon: I installed on both sides a beechwood wale below the lower deck gunports, then a plank of mahogany followed by another wale. In total the equivalent of six planks, but very demanding. I'm very satisfied because the final ship shape is emerging. Last but not least I started to plank with chestnut below the lower wale

As soon as possible I will publish new photos. Cheers, Jack.Aubrey

Thursday January 12th, 2012

Today I continued the work started yesterday, now the two sides are specular.
And this evening I shot some images of the resulting evolution. In these new images you can observe the new wales and the planks below them. Now the great time of planking is the main task of the near future.
I'm also thinking about the decision to paint in dirty white the quickwork or leave it as it is.

Kind regards by Jack.Aubrey.

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jack.aubrey

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Wednesday January 18th, 2012

The images shown in this message allow you to look at how the second planking process is evolving downwards. Currently the two sides are not equal because on the right side there are four planks missing, more or less a couple of hours of work. I think to apply in the same manner two or three other planks downwards and after I believe it is arrived the moment to plank from the keel upwards.

But, before starting this new process, I have to do something new: install the missing pieces of the keel, the stem and the stern.

This installation follows a method I have already used in other models (Dolphyn and San Juan). For my Soleil Royal this method is also pushed by the quality of the wood supplied for these pieces; they are made with a plywood that is absolutely inadequate for this role. The keel must appear of solid wood and of good quality . .

Starting from these considerations I decided to cover the plywoord with mahogany veneer, in line with the wood used for the remaining parts of the hull. Just to show an example I attach here an image of my model of Dolphyn, where I applied the same method and where it is possible to judge the result.

P1060641.jpg


For more details see also: http://i619.photobucket.com/albums/tt277/jack_aubrey/Varie/P1060641.jpg

Here below the images of the Soleil Royal shot today:

Kind regards, Jack.Aubrey.

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jack.aubrey

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January 28th, 2012

Since my last message I had only four days available for my Soleil . . as anticipaded I decided to stop planking downwards and to start from the keel. But before I had to install the "visible" pieces of the keel.

While the material supplied was not the best, anyway they were perfect in term of shape and cut so I did not have any problem to install them correctly. To assure a perfect fixing of these pieces to the hull I used the vinyl glue supported by a steel nail hammered every 8 cm into the hull.

Once the keel (in this case only the plywood) was definitely in place I started the application of the planks, in order to position them as near as possible to it.
Here below two overall images . .

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02 P1070961.jpg


After two o three planks I covered the plywood of the keel with mahogany veneer, having with this operation the possibility to close any kind of gap between the keel and the first plank. Only the stem is incomplete because I have before to finish the hull.

New images with focus of the keel . . .

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Then I continued regular planking upwards and now, as you can see, there are more or less seven planks per side to finish this huge task. I foresee two full working afternoons.

And finally I have to build a basement, not the definitive one. It must have some properties that allow me to work on the model comfortably and on a stable platform. The keel clamper used until now (is was blue painted) cannot be used for the future.

Kind regards, Jack.Aubrey.
 

jack.aubrey

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Friday February 3rd, 2012

Quick update, without images.

Yesterday I have finished the 2nd planking . . and I can complete the installation of the stern post. This element is made with plywood and I have to cover it with veneer in the same way I've done with the keel.

In addition I started to work around the stem, previously installed, by applying also there the same mahogany veneer.

Today it is a very cold day, outside it's snowing, and this helps to stay at my workshop working. And I want now build a stable basement, a new platform capable to support the next tasks to be done on the hull until I will not judge it's time for the display case.

That's all for today, Jack.Aubrey

Sunday February 5th, 2012

Here I'm attaching some images of my Soleil with 2nd planking completed, although not 100% because there are still the upper sides to finish, but this is a very simple job.

The main work is now over . . .

I will have to refine and level the hull by sand-papering with care, but in the reality there is not too much to level: it's more a matter of making this just to unify the wood colour. Some wood tends to become darker with the light and this is what happened on my hull: I spent a lot of time planking and there are many areas of the hull that show a different wood colour. By sanding everytihg in one shot the colour will become the same everywhere. May be these differences are not so evident in the photos but they are there.

See you soon, Jack.

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jack.aubrey

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00 P1070976.jpg


The object shown above is the "working" pedestal I built for Soleil Royal. My objective was to prepare a stable base where to insert the hull and work on it in the next months. I have used a very strong plywood (it was a table used to prepare pasta) and I cut with my table saw (Proxxon FET): another experience with this tool and the proper blade.

The two longitudinal strips serve to contain the ship's keel: it enters perfectly inside the gap. At the two ends are some stoppers to keep the model horizontally avoiding any movement. Anyway, after a short period of usage, I have identified some changes because the stability is not exactly I expected and I find difficulties in handling the model due to lack of points of grasp. As soon as possible I will make the changes and I will show you.

Now I take the opportunity to show two other images of Soleil Royal, with the hull capsized, where you can see how the planking resulted and where you can also see the keel.

Just to show you how the colour of chestnut changes in relation to its exposition to light, there is the possibility to see, in these images, two areas where the colour is different: the upper area is lighter because a fine sandpapering I made a couple of weeks ago, and below, there is a rectangular trace left by a piece of masking tape I didn't remove for some days. These are two examples why the complete sanding of the hull is necessary, and hopefully immediately followed by a coat of oil for wood to stabilize the wood ..

PS: I previously wrote about my initial intention to paint with dirty white the bottom of the hull, below the waterline. Now, after having seen the result I have to admit I'm beginning to change idea . . as usual in these situations, I will let the time to clarify my ideas before taking any final decision . .

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Four additional images, more detailed and focused on the bow and the stern. The first two images show the current status of the bow, with the stem still to be completed with new pieces and finishing: here I have to cover the plywood with the mahogany veneer in the same way I made for the keel and the stern.

01 P1070989.jpg


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The next two images, on the other hand, show the stern completed.

Another task to do is that now I have also to modify the pedestal that is not performing as well as I expected: in practice the choice I made of adopting only two hull supports instead of four was unsuccessful.

See you next time, Jack.Aubrey.

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jack.aubrey

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Thursday February 9th, 2012

During these days I didn't rest, on the contrary I began a lot of small tasks for my Soleil Royal. The problem is that these works are disorganized and there is no need to show them with images.

More in detail I worked a lot around the prow, the stem in particular, by continuing the application of the mahogany veneer. I have also prepared, in the same way, the rudder. Infact also this component was made with plywood and needed to be refined.

Then I'm preparing the small deck at the prow above the stem. I don't know the english term. It is an important element also to provide strength the the stem itself. Regarding the rudder I rejected another time the rudder gudgeons and pintles supplied with the kit and I built them using brass plates and tubes. I'm not too much confident with welding but my poor abilities in this matter were enough to achieve my target. I will also have to burnish them before installation.

Last, I definitely modified the pedestal to increase stability and handling. Cheers, Jack.Aubrey.

Also today, February 10th, 2012, I spent the afternoon working for my Soleil Royal.

I worked mainly around the prow platform/deck. I had to prepare the gratings in the proper shape and I had to refine the whole. I started in this way an activity that took me a lot of time because I was looking for a perfect result. Image 03 shows this platform with some refinements to be done. Later in the afternoon I completed it.

The first two images show the prow and the stem, now 99% covered with the veneer strips. At this point I am very interested to see the colour of this detail after a coat of oil . .

Last, image 04 shows the pedestal I modified sometime ago. Now it is more useful than the first version. The horizontal plank has the objective to simplify handling by supplying a secure grasp to the pedestal. I have also installed four rubber feet below the pedestal.

Kind regards, Jack.Aubrey

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jack.aubrey

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Saturday February 12th, 2012 - The bow

I have finished the bow platform/deck. I started to build this detail some days ago and I show its evolving in the previous message. When finished I installed immediately in its final place because it represents a reinforcement of the entire prow/stem. Infact this detail keeps together a significant part of the stem and the hull. In this point of time the stem is particularly weak if left totally free.

01 P1080019.jpg


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When the installation of this platform was completed I was so eager to see the wood colours of the whole prow complex that I applied immediately a coat of oil on some details, to see and appreciate its real appearance.
I think the difference is so evident that it doesn't need any comment . .

See you next time. Jack.Aubrey
 

jack.aubrey

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Saturday February 12th, 2012 - Rudder, pintles and gudgeons . .

The first image presented here shows the rudder, made up with a piece of pre-cut plywood supplied with the kit and completely covered with strips of veneer, like the keel, the stern and so on. The work resulted well done and I am fully satisfied. In the same image there is also an attempt of product placement (I hope this is the right term): the book I used as background for this photo. This book describes with great detail of information the Trafalgar Campaign and Battle and, after having read it, I recommend this book to all the italian readers interested in marine history.

01 P1080010.jpg


Then I worked around the pintles and gudgeons.

The elements supplied in the kit are commercial pieces, ready to be used and already bored. They can be seen in the image here below. But I reached the conclusion they were not good enough for me because they were built for being wedged on a 4mm stern, while in my case the need was for 6mm. In addition the gap between the rudder and the stern seemed me too much . . so I decided to build them from scratch.

02 P1080018.jpg


The next image shows the raw materials I used to build the pintles & gudgeons. A strip of brass cropped in the right measure from a sheet of the same material and a brass small tube. I found these raw materials in my "Used Shop Warehouse", so no additional expenses. As tools I used a electric soldering iron, some tin and a piece of wood of the same thickness of the stern and the rubber.

03 P1080015.jpg


First of all I "cooked" the brass on the gas cooker. This made the brass pliable. I placed the strips on the wood to give them a "U" shape. All the pieces were then clamped together and I welded the tube above the short side. After welding, I cut with the minidrill the tube obtaining the finished pieces. A final refinement with a file, followed by blackening and the job was done . .

04 P1080016.jpg


Now I have to bore these pieces, but I will do this as last step, when these pieces will be fixed on the hull. Into the bore I will insert the head of a nail, of the proper size.

05 P1080017.jpg
 

jack.aubrey

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February 15th, 2012

During these days I spent some time for planning the next macro activities, in the proper sequence. The planning can be summarized in the following list and sequence of actions:
  1. completion of the second planking in the upper side of the hull
  2. istall the gunwales and the remaining wales
  3. setup the elements of the waist
  4. install the visible guns of the upper gun deck, below what will become the waist
  5. install the waist
This is more or less the general plan for the next weeks. After, also if I don't know how much time I will need, I have to wait for new materials from De Agostini to continue . . and these shipments are a little late.

But let's come back to February 12th.

When I've simulated the positioning of the rudder with the "scratch built" pintles and gudgeons i discovered that the rudder I prepared was not good and was to be modified. The change was so conceived that I preferred to prepare another rudder, starting from a solid wood of mahogany. The problem arised was the difficulty to move the rudder with its current square shaped side adjacent to the stern.

Here below the image of the wrong shaped rudder to facilitate you in identifying the changes I made in the new one.

01 P1080011.jpg


The new one also has a shape that is compliant with the rudders used at the times of Soleil Royal.
Here below a couple of images where you can see how the side associated with the stern is not square but arrow shaped. The fact I used solid wood has greatly speed up the time needed to build it and keeping the same visual effect.

02 P1080012.jpg


03 P1080014.jpg


Last, yesterday I began to prepare the pieces that will setup the waist. The pieces are made with birch plywood covered with beechwood planks. The overal thickness of this element is 2mm. The image here below shows the raw piece I prepared that will next be cut to form the two pieces required.

04 P1080023.jpg


That's all for today, see you next time, Jack.Aubrey.
 

jack.aubrey

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Thursday February 16th, 2012

Working around my Soleil Royal is still in progress . . yesterday I completed the two elements of the waist and I resumed the second planking to finally complete it. At this point of time I was able to finish only the right side and then I take a break . .

The image here below shows the finished side of the hull. Now there is to continue with the refinements of the circular gun ports, but they can wait . . may be tomorrow I will complete also the left side . .

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And now I will show the pieces for the waist. The first two images show these pieces above and below.

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In the next two images I have positioned the waist on the hull, just to show how they will appear once installed in place. They are now larger that needed, but the proper adaptation to the hull can be done only during the real installation.

That's all for today, cheers, Jack.

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jack.aubrey

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Thursday February 23rd, 2012 - Second thoughts about some planking . .

One of the future task to be undertaken on the hull sides above the upper gun deck is, in accordance with the kit manufacturer instructions, to paint this area with a light blue paint.

But I didn't like this approach. I like too much the colour and the grain of the wood to cover everything with paint . . and, after having spent weeks to achieve the result of carefully mixing different kinds of wood and taking also care to obtain a "perfect" work, I reached the same decision I took sometime ago to do not paint with dirty white the quickwork of the ship.

So I will not paint in light blue the upper sides of the ship.

In a store selling wood and related products I found a stain whose colour is blue, similar to the same, but red, I found for the Santìsima Trinidad Cross-Section. It is a powder to be diluted in normal water and its darkness/lightness is depending on the amount of water you use.

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Sometime ago I made a test to apply this stain over the chestnut veneer and the result was very good regarding the colour but the problem was another: being this stain dilutable in water, there were big problems when installing the plank using the vinyl glue. The colour had the tendency to melt and dirty adjacent wood, and this was not a good thing.
I had to find a way to remove this unwanted effect.

I have then prepared some sheets of veneer with this stain and after I applied a light coat of wood filler above them. When the filler was dry I was able to discover that the colour was stable and did not expand or melt. This was the result I was looking for, so I decided to go further.

Then I started to re-plank the upper sides of the hull with this coloured veneer. But before starting with these new planks I had to install a wale above the gunports of the upper deck. This wale is 3 x 2mm ad was obtained by cutting in the right measure some strips of rosewood. Having mounted and glued this upper wale I installed some planks of the coloured veneer, eager to see the live result and to continue . . but the day was finishing so I shot some photoes that I immediately show you here below.

See you next time, Jack.

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jack.aubrey

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Monday February 27th, 2012 - Last wales and blue planks

During this week-end I have finished to install the "blue" planks and the last wales located from midship towards the poop. A relaxing task, without any kind of problems raised.

One interesting and amusing point was the preparation of the wales using the table saw . . every time I use it, I become more experienced and I learn something useful new.

Then I took the occasion of the nice weather to make photos outside. There are some tubes in the background that need some painting but the daylight helps very much to highlight the blue colour of the last work I made on this ship model.

And now I cannot delay an activity I don't love too much: install 12 guns on the upper gun deck before continuing with the installation of the waist above them. To install these guns I think to transfer the shipyard (or better only the materials I need) at home, in order to manage this boring work in several short session during the day without the need to leave my home.

See you soon, Jack.Aubrey

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Other three images of the Soleil, same day . .

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jack.aubrey

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Thursday March 1st, 2012 - Guns

Today I spent some time to find the materials necessary for the installion of the 12 guns of the upper deck: gun barrels, trucks, ringbolts, blocks, rope, etc. These materials were shipped with sevaral issues of the magazine, so the search was not a matter of minutes but something more.

Having collected all the materials, I started the venture of installing these guns . . and honestly I think this job will take a certain amount of my time and efforts before writing the word "END".

In this first image you can see the main raw materials: 12 barrels and 12 trucks. Trucks are metal cast and I had to make some refinements with a set of small files and sandpaper to remove the many imperfections of the moulding. The image shows them already refined and you can also note that the metal used to cast them was in origin "aluminum" like and subsequently darkened outside.

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Image 02 shows the blocks that I was able to find in a model shop. Again I discarted the blocks supplied with the kit because they were too big for this scale. The new blocks are 3mm wide and what you can see in the left envelops are one-way blocks while the others on the right are two-ways blocks. Another important point is that these new blocks are not made from wood but from plactic. Each gun needs six blocks, three of the two-ways type and three of the one-way. In addition I show the strings that will be used for the tackles.

02 P1080050B.jpg


Image 03 shows the string to be used for the recoil ropes and a reel of brass wire that I will use to prepare the ringbolts. Each gun needs six ringbolts for the tackles and two for the recoil rope. I will scratch build them because, again, the ones supplied with the kit are, for me, out of scale. I have a personal method to prepare them that I will show soon.

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This is all what I need to start . . now I have to start . . see you next time, Jack.

. . Continuation . . Friday March 2nd, 2012

As I wrote yesterday, having collected the materials needed by the next activities and having rationalised my mind, I started to work.

First of all the gun barrels: i mounted on my minidrill a wire brush and I cleaned all the barrels. This to remove any residual of filth from the object. The target was to make it ready to be immersed into the burnish solution. At the end of this task I immersed the barrels, all together, in the burnishing product and I left them there for about one hour. After this "bath", I washed the barrels under water to stop the process.

The result is visible here below. It is obvious I don't want to use any kind of paint but to leave the barrels as they appear in the image.

01 P1080050D.jpg


After I started working on the gun trucks. I bored each truck three times in the proper position to insert in the holes the ringbolts: two on the sides where there are the wheels and the last in the rear. I think it is difficult to see this holes, may be in the high resolution images.

Later I studied a solution that allows to fix the truck above the deck with a metal pivot. The objective is to fix better the trucks to the deck without having to rely only with the four bit of glue under the wheels. But this truck has no bottom useful to be bored to make the hole for the pivot. So I applied a small piece of hard wood 5x1mm fixed over the bottom. The solution is better understandable in the image. I'm sure it will work properly.

02 P1080050E.jpg


Then I started to build the ringbolts, or better one of the two pieces that make up a ringbolt. I used the brass wire shown in the previous message and I build them by using the minidrill . . to keep the ring diameter equal on all pieces I used a drill bit of 0,80mm diameter.

Here below some of these pieces are shown. They have now to be burnished.

03 P1080050F.jpg


That's all for to day, see you next time, Jack.Aubrey
 

jack.aubrey

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Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), Calci (Pisa)
Sunday March 4th, 2012

After having built some pieces of the future ringbolts I found the power minidrill too fast and I preferred an alternative solution that can be managed in a more confortable way. I went back to my workshop and I found a manual drill I used when I didn't have the power tool. It was a lot of time I did not use it but it is very useful when you need to bore in area poorly accessible, given its limited size. The manual drill is shown here below

The process is the same than with the power tool, first of all you have to insert and fix inside the drill the to extremities of the wire.

01 P1080056.jpg


Once this task is done, a matter of few seconds, the ring is inserted around a pivot clamped in a vise. The pivot here shown is a drill bit of 1,5mm. Then you begin to twist the drill manually.

02 P1080057.jpg


And here below you can see the result after the twisting. At this point I remove the piece and the process restarts from the beginning.

03 P1080058.jpg


Today, in more/less 35 minutes, I made sixty of them.
After, I started to think how to build some elements of the superstructure of the decks. Some of these elements are what we call in italian language "cavigliere" (pin rails?) and "pazienze". I don't know the right english nautical terms, so I hope in some help from you to identify the proper terms. Anyway, in the future messages it will be possible to find these pieces completed. Here below I want to show two kinds of head finishing for these elements. The first image shows the classical solution, also proposed by the kit instructions . .

04 P1080061.jpg


And here below an alternate solution to the classical scheme. The colour is not important because the final elements will be painted in red. The first solution needs more time and work than the second. I have to decide but I'm more interested in the first example.

05 P1080062.jpg


Cheers, Jack.Aubrey
 
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