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Author Topic: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model  (Read 23568 times)

Edward Pinniger

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This is a 1/75 scale model of the clipper Cutty Sark, based on a second-hand model built from the Billing Boats kit. It's a working model, propelled by a low-powered twin-prop steering system. When complete, it'll have a full set of masts + yards, representative rigging, and as many spread sails as I can get away with without making the model unstable on the water (the others will be furled).
Whilst there won't be many technical details in this thread of interest to working sail modellers, the detailing + painting should be of interest to others modelling scale sailing ships/boats, and it might inspire others to try a similar idea! (You could do exactly the same thing with the Revell plastic kit, and you certainly wouldn't have to spend as long waterproofing the hull...)

So far, the model has been a very interesting challenge from both the technical and modelling point of view, and I've learnt a lot from working on it. The Cutty Sark is a very widely modelling subject and probably not the one I'd choose if I were building from a kit or scratch rather than renovating a second-hand model, but it does mean that there's a lot of good reference material available.

My aim is to rebuild the model to as high a standard of detail as my skill allows - with some allowances (such as simplified rigging) for it being a working model. G. Campbell's plans (available from the ship's gift shop) and Harold Underhill's book are my main sources of reference, along with photos of the preserved ship. I'm also attempting to use as much of the original fabric of the model as possible. Most of the fittings should be usable, as are all the masts + spars, but a lot will need to be scratchbuilt or adapted from commercial parts. The upper masts and forward bowsprit will be removable,
along with some of the yards, and all the rigging attached to these parts will also be detachable at the mast end, using hooks + eyebolts.

Updates on this thread will probably be slow for the time being, at least once I've completed the initial cleanup, repair and painting work on the hull. The 1/48 USCG patrol boat is my main R/C project currently (along with adding the finishing touches to the 1/200 Sovremenny destroyer) - and the Cutty Sark is such a complex project that if I made a start on all the detail work I'd end up neglecting my other projects. However, once one or the other of my current projects is finished, I'll have more time for this one.

Here are a couple of photos of the model in its current state, on the water.







The masts are temporarily held in place with duct tape - I won't be able to glue them permanently into place until the deck planking is finished. The parrels for the yards also need gluing + adjusting before I can put them on with the model on the water (currently they rotate around the mast and sometimes fall off) The aerial setup is also temporary. It's not a true sailing model - but it already looks nice on the water, even minus the yards, rigging and sails.

Building a proper sailing R/C model of a large square-rigged ship would be a seriously complex task, and is far beyond my limited skills (and budget) - but it CAN be done! See here:  http://cocatrez.net/Water/JeanClaudeCornaz/  :o  (There are many more on the home page http://cocatrez.net/Water/RC_SquareRiggers/RC_SquareRiggers.html)
I'm not sure of the scale of this model, but I'd guess it's pretty big, 1/48 or 1/32 perhaps. 1/75 scale would probably be too small for a working square-rigger unless you heavily simplified the rig; not enough room for all the winches + servos.
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2009, 11:21:38 AM »

Apologies for the rather long initial post - but this model has something of a story behind it! A couple of years ago I found an old model of Cutty Sark in a junk/antique shop (in Chesham; it's now closed, sadly), priced at 10 due to damage (broken masts/rigging). It was a kit-built wooden model, quite a bit larger than the Revell 1/96 plastic kit, and on initial impressions it looked quite accurate and well made. Never being able to resist a bargain, I bought it! Later, after checking through catalogues, I found that the model was built from the Billing Boats kit and was 1/75 scale. Intact, it measures about 110cm long and 67cm high.
The model looks to be quite old - probably built in the 1970s or early '80s. It was glued together with some sort of slightly rubbery adhesive (probably why the upper masts collapsed) and parts such as the hull bulkheads appear to have been sawn out by hand along printed guidelines, rather than die-cut - characteristic of early Billings kits.

On closer inspection, the damage to the masts + rigging was superficial and easily repaired, but the model's overall level of detail and standard of construction was rather poor - deckhouses, for example, are made from printed pieces of wood, and the bulwarks were devoid of external or internal detail (not even the scupper hatches were represented). A number of parts, such as the figurehead and stern decoration, were also missing. Overall, rebuilding the model to a level of detail which does justice to its large scale + size would be many months of work! As I already had the very finely detailed Revell 1/96 scale Cutty Sark plastic kit to build, I didn't really have much enthusiasm for a project like this - so I carefully dismantled the masts + rigging and stored the model away in the attic.

(I suspect that the currently available Billings kit has been improved in detail and materials quality compared to my 30 year old model. I'd certainly hope so given the kit's 250+ price tag! One definite good point about the Billings Cutty Sark is that it is basically accurate, unlike the Mantua and Constructo kits)

Ever since I bought the model I've had the idea that it would potentially make an amazing radio-controlled model. However, building a working model of a three-masted, square-rigged ship would be a mind-bogglingly complex job, and until relatively recently I didn't even know the basics of R/C boat modelling! Later I wondered about installing a low-powered electric motor, with the masts and sails being static - but the shape of the hull and rudder would make this virtually impossible without radically reshaping the hull. A few weeks ago, though, I had an idea for a possible solution. Why not use a twin-prop drive and steering system, the sort found in many RTR boats? This would avoid having to somehow fit a prop behind the rudder. As I had a RTR receiver unit in my spares box with reasonably good range and reliability - from a RNLI Severn lifeboat - and a pair of new motors compatible with it, I couldn't resist trying out my theory to see if it worked - if not, I could always patch up the hull and (eventually) build it as a static model.  As it turned out, the model runs much better than I expected it would. (At this point I ought to give thanks to "Tester" and Martin (forum/site admin) for helping me out with some of the radio components used in this project!)

A few months ago I'd have never contemplated a project like this, but re-fitting the motors and prop shafts in my USCG patrol boat has given me more experience + confidence in installing R/C gear - in particular, installing and aligning motor mounts and prop shafts. The model runs at a reasonable scale speed in the water - thanks to the smaller props and reduced battery voltage - and coasts for quite a distance once the motor is stopped, so no need for constant motor noise when running. It's not too manoueverable when underway (much like a real sailing ship), with a turning circle of several metres, but the twin-motor steering allows it to be reversed or turned on the spot easily if there's any danger of running into weeds, other boats, etc. The operating range is also fairly good (tested by putting the model in the water at the shoreline, then walking away from it and running the motor intermittently; safer than the other way round!).


Here's what it looked like when I got it down from the attic - minus the masts and some of the loose or fragile fittings which I removed for storage.







It looks superficially OK, but close-up it's a bit of a mess, both due to damage + missing parts + some rather poor workmanship in some areas (to be fair to the original builder, there wasn't the comprehensive range of tools, adhesives, materials and reference sources available 30 years ago that there is today). For a 1/75 scale model over 1m long, the level of detail in some areas is also very poor - particularly the deckhouses and bulwarks.

As you can see, the original deck is a single (rather thin) piece of wood with printed plank lines. This has warped and cracked over the years and suffered additional damage when I cut out the access holes in the deck. I'll be replacing it with an individually planked deck (my second attempt at doing this, hopefully it should turn out better than my previous!), using the original deck, straightened out and repaired or replaced in some areas, as a base.

The hull is built from quite lightweight wood - probably obechi or basswood - with some plywood used for the internal structural parts. The whole thing weighs very little, so a lot of ballast will be needed to get it down to the waterline (over 2kg, as it turned out). More helpfully, the wood masts/spars are also very lightweight, which will help a lot with balancing the finished model. Though a lot tougher than balsa, the hull planking wood isn't particularly strong (the hull already had a small dent in it, though easily repairable); but the sealant and copper plating (see later) should give it enough additional strength to protect from accidental damage.

More seriously, the hull was only marginally more watertight than a colander! It had - obviously - been built as a static display model and the original builder hadn't attempted to get the hull planks totally seamless (understandably; I'd do the same when building a static model) but just filled in the gaps with a filler of some sort (it looks like Polyfilla) and sanded it smooth. After about 30 years, this filler (which isn't the sort of thing I'd use to waterproof a working model in the first place) had become crumbly + brittle, and in many places fell out when given a gentle tap. I certainly didn't want to risk this happening when the model was in the water - so I went over the whole hull (after cutting holes in the deck - see below) and removed all of the filler I could find. This left cracks in some places up to 1.5-2mm wide! The worst of these were filled in with scrap wood, then sanded down flush with the hull; the others would be filled in with sealant.

To waterproof the hull, I used Cascamite wood glue. This product dates back to the 1950s or even earlier (though the current formula may well be different) and I wouldn't recommend it nowadays for fine assembly work (I use Evo-Stik waterproof PVA for this), but for sealing and waterproofing a wooden boat hull it's great. (I believe this glue is actually used by builders of full-size wooden boats, so if it's waterproof enough for them it should certainly be good enough for a model!). It's a powder which you mix to a thin paste with water then brush on; after a few hours it sets into a resin-like substance which, after 24 hours, is completely waterproof. I painted the whole hull both inside and out (other than the deck) to give additional structural strength to the wood as well as sealing it. It has very good gap-filling qualities and filled in all the seams between the hull planks.
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2009, 11:32:39 AM »

Here's how I went about motorising the hull:



First, I removed all the fittings and deckhouses (not too difficult as the ancient glue was very brittle). I then cut out the deck under all the deckhouses and hatches, to give access to the hull interior. (I needed to be able to get at all of the interior, from bow to stern - both to apply the sealant and to install ballast). The whole deck now looks very messy (cutting through the thin + brittle deck wood broke it in several places) but will be completely rebuilt and planked over on the finished model.

There's still nowhere near enough space in the deck to get at the radio gear + motor compartment, so I had to cut an access hatch forward of the mizzen mast, under the main deckhouse. This will be a seperate, removable deck section on the finished model.




The model is now in almost as many parts as the real ship (minus the fire damage to the hull, but after sanding everything down and removing the loose filler it was nevertheless in bad shape). Here are all the spars, deckhouses, fittings and other parts. (The ones from the real ship were laid out much like this at Chatham Dockyard when I visited in late 2007). As you might notice, there are a number of bits missing, but there are many usable parts (winches, pump, railing stanchions, bow scrollwork) which will be usable.




The hull is built with the "plank on bulkhead" method, which is structurally quite strong (and much less vulnerable to being sunk by leaks!) but poses problems for installing motors, ballast etc. I cut through two of the aft bulkheads, as well as the central stringer under the deck, to give room for the radio + battery; the hull still has plenty of structural strength. The prop shafts (not added in this photo) pass through bulkhead 2, which required some careful drilling to avoid the nails attaching it to the hull planks.




The entire hull has now been sealed with about 4 layers of Cascamite inside as well as a couple of layers outside, with extra sealant added around vulnerable areas like the keel (inside) and cracks in the planking.

Below the waterline, the hull surface is fairly rough but will look OK once painted and plated with copper. Above the waterline (which only received 1 coat outside and 2 inside, and was sanded down afterwards) the appearance looks pretty much spot-on for the real ship once painted.






Locating the prop shafts was a tricky job. They need to be low enough to not be too near the waterline, but if placed too low, there won't be any room for the motors, due to the steep inward curve of the hull at this point. They also need to be angled upwards enough to make it harder for water to get in.

I'm not sure where the prop shafts (from my spares box) originally came from. Possibly from a motorised plastic kit. I used them as they had props of the right size, were reasonably good quality (not flimsy styrene or vinyl plastic) and had shafts of the right length. Small props are necessary both to slow down the running speed and give sufficient clearance from the hull. I used standard K&S brass tubing for the tubes.




The RX circuit (from the RTR RNLI lifeboat) is pinned to a balsa sheet (glued to the keel) so it can be easily removed for repairs or adjustments to the wiring. The battery similarly sits in a compartment made from balsa sheet glued to the keel. Ideally it should be a bit lower down, but the rest of the ballast will make up for this.
The battery pack is a removable holder containing 4 rechargeable AAs, total voltage 4.8. This is significantly lower than the standard battery pack for the RTR lifeboat (9v - 6x non-rechargeable AAs), in combination with the small props this gives a suitably slow running speed. 




The motors - 13100rpm micro motors, the same type as in the RTR lifeboat, though these ones are new motors bought on eBay - are held in place with metal straps + foam padding, on balsa blocks glued to the hull interior, and joined to the prop shaft with flexible tubing. The motor compartment is underneath the mizzen mast and the poop deck break, so I couldn't cut an access hatch directly above. The whole setup is rather makeshift, but is the best I could do given the limited access to the motor compartment and the awkward shape of the hull at this point!
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2009, 11:39:22 AM »



Ballasting the model was more work than I expected. It needed a lot of ballast, both to get it down to the right level in the water, and to counteract the weight and wind drag of the masts + sails. (The prop shafts are quite near the waterline, so there's a fairly narrow margin between them being low enough in the water to work efficiently, and the water being permanently over the waterline at the stern). The total weight is over 2kg - in addition to the weight of the radio, motors and battery - making the model extremely heavy. Hence, I decided to make most of the ballast removable. The removable ballast is in the form of plastic bags containing old cast lead "chairs" from model railway track; I'll replace this with fine lead shot (much more space-efficient) when I get the chance to buy some, but it'll do for now.
Most of the ballast is in the 2 amidships compartments - I had to make an extra removable deck section here as the only access is through the small amidships cargo hatch - there's also a small bag at the stern under the poop deckhouse. I also added some pieces of lead sheet either side of the battery compartment (no room for the bags of ballast here); this is the only non-removable ballast in the model. Currently the model is slightly stern-heavy, but this may change when I add the bowsprit and forecastle.



The removable deck sections have been re-made from thin plywood sheet (the original deck parts were too damaged and fragile to be worth using). I repaired the broken section of the poop deck in the same way (not shown in this photo). The deckhouse will be attached to the forward section and also covers an access hatch for ballast.




The hull has now been painted (with two coats of Revell semi-gloss black acrylic) up to the level of the bulwarks. The bulwarks + strakes will need a lot more work - both cleanup and added detail - so I've left painting them for later. The waterline is marked by a thin strake (on the real ship this is a band of copper sheet), which I added using styrene strip. This is a very useful feature of the Cutty Sark - you don't need to mark out the waterline before painting!



The Billing Boats kit (even the current version) has no representation of the copper plating on the lower hull; you're supposed to just paint it! The original builder had painted it greenish-grey, maybe to represent heavily oxidised copper.
I decided to add actual copper plating to my model. As well as looking nice (a lot better than copper paint) this will add an extra layer of waterproofing to the lower hull. I used self-adhesive copper tape of the sort sold in garden centres - to keep slugs + snails away from flowerpots. This is very inexpensive (I paid 5 on eBay for two 4-metre reels of 30mm tape - more than enough for this model) and, being designed to withstand rain + frost for months, should stand up to immersion in water for 15-20 minutes on a model boat, especially with a protective coat of varnish.
I decided to make the plating overscale, for the sake of my sanity! Scale copper plates, going by the dimensions shown on Campbell's plans, would be 15x5mm in 1/75 scale; I don't know how many hundreds you'd need, but cutting out and applying them would be a mind-bogglingly tedious job (the overscale ones I used were bad enough). I used plates roughly twice this size. The overall effect is still very good (to my eye at least) and not much of the plating will be visible when the model is on the water in any case.





First, I added a strip of tape along the keel, bow and stern post, as well as patches of tape to cover any noticeable plank joins and repair spots. I added a second strip of tape along the keel etc. after the plating was finished. This should provide extra protection against leaks and protect the keel + stem from damage.
I then cut the 30mm wide tape into rectangles 30x15mm in size using a sharp modelling knife. These were applied to the hull in rows, overlapping at the ends and lower edges as on the full-size ship, making the joins more watertight and less vulnerable to damage/peeling. I started plating at the waterline, not at the keel, so (as with planking a hull in this manner) the plating ended up with a wedge-shaped gap at the keel amidships, this had to be covered up with plates cut specially to shape.





Plating the hull took several hours of rather tedious work, but the finished result is definitely worth it! I'll be adding some green weathering at the waterline on the finished model, but (as far as I know) the lower part of the hull bottom would have stayed uncorroded due to the electrolytic action of the salt water. You can see the same effect on old copper boat nails found on the beach - they're usually a dull pink coppery colour, but after drying out they oxidise rapidly.
I painted the finished plating with a coat of enamel varnish, which should add to the waterproofing (being oil-based and water repellent) and protect the plates from damage + peeling.
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barryfoote

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2009, 11:46:44 AM »

Edward,

Very impressive. I am just a little worried about the ballasting as I would think she will tend to be top heavy when fully masted and rigged..but as you say, a short sail in the right conditions should be fine..Thanks for posting it and >I look forward to the next installment.

Barry
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2009, 11:56:39 AM »

I've tested the model on the water with all the yards fitted, and it appears to be very stable - if you tip it so that the top of the bulwarks is virtually touching the water, then let go, it immediately rights itself. What I'm a bit worried about is wind drag from the sails and rigging. I'll just have to see how it goes when the model gets to this stage; I won't be able to start work on the rigging + sails for some time yet. As I mentioned in my first post, I definitely won't be having all the sails spread on the finished model - in particular I'll almost certainly leave out the fore-and-aft sails as these are likely to catch side winds and tip the model over.
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oldiron

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2009, 12:27:57 PM »

An interesting build. I'm looking forward to the remainder of the installments. I like the copper hull technique.

John
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Jimmy James

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2009, 11:10:58 PM »

The main dangers with a square rigger are a knock down from a gust of wind you've got to be able to haul the yards around quickly to shiver the sails (Old square rigger saying) or get her running free(before the wind) the most dangerous situation is to get caught aback , full sized ships have been capsized and sunk or partly or fully dis masted when a shift of wind catches the square sails aback, Make sure all your hatches are screwed or fastened down and the hull is submarine watertight.
I have 4 square riggers sailing at the moment  a 44 gun Frigate 1790's rig a 32 gun Privateer 1600's  Rig  "Lateen mizzen" ( X Kings Ransom Hull) A Buccaneer Brigantine 15 guns and a Medieval warship all RC controlled and all great fun to sail (Ask Martin he took enough photo's of Freebooter sailing)
Jimmy (Freebooter)
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amdaylight

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2009, 03:42:10 AM »

Edward,

You mention that the Mantua kit is not accurate, where and what are are the deficiencies in the Mantua Kit ?

Andre
over yonder in Portland Oregon
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2009, 04:56:27 PM »

The main dangers with a square rigger are a knock down from a gust of wind you've got to be able to haul the yards around quickly to shiver the sails (Old square rigger saying) or get her running free(before the wind) the most dangerous situation is to get caught aback , full sized ships have been capsized and sunk or partly or fully dis masted when a shift of wind catches the square sails aback, Make sure all your hatches are screwed or fastened down and the hull is submarine watertight.

Looks like I'm going to have to go for the minimum possible number of sails spread on the finished model - making the deck and access hatches fully watertight isn't going to be practical with this model. I only plan to sail it on calm waters (small lakes/boating ponds and the local gravel pit) and in relatively calm winds.

Do you have any photos of your R/C sailing models online? I'd be interested to see them.

You mention that the Mantua kit is not accurate, where and what are are the deficiencies in the Mantua Kit ?

I haven't seen the Mantua 1/78 model in person, but have heard that its hull lines aren't particularly accurate. I'm not sure if there are any other major inaccuracies, but generally these wooden kits (with some exceptions, such as Caldercraft) tend to have overscale or simplified structural details, generic fittings, etc. and the manufacturers don't tend to put much effort into research; for example, Mantua's "HMS Beagle" is basically a copy of the Revell plastic kit, itself a completely inaccurate modification of their "Bounty" kit! Although Billing's kits sometimes suffer from similar problems - poor quality materials, simplified detail, generic/recycled fittings - they are usually better researched than those from Mantua, Constructo, Panart etc.

Although I've noticed at least one inaccuracy in the Billing kit - the aft edge of the forecastle deck is straight, without the recessed cutout for the windlass found on the real ship. I'll probably need to scratchbuild a new forecastle anyway (the existing one is cracked + noticeably warped) so this shouldn't be a problem.


Here are a few more work-in-progress photos.




The bulwark interiors are re-surfaced with thin styrene sheet, which gives a better representation of the real (iron) ones than the original rough wood planks! I'll also need to glue structural details onto the bulwarks, such as rivets and bracing struts, and the styrene surface will allow me to glue these in place with styrene glue rather than CA/superglue. The strip running along the bottom of the bulwark is the waterway, which runs along the edge of the deck, outside the margin plank. This is also iron, and is painted oxide red. The deck planks will be a couple of mm higher than the waterway.
Both the pin rail and the teak strip along the top of the bulwark will be added later using stained + varnished wood strip (I got rid of the original ones as they were so overscale in width, as well as damaged + splintered).

The vertical wooden parts are the upper part of the hull bulkheads, and don't correspond to any feature of the real ship, but I didn't dare remove them in case this damaged the rather fragile bulwark planks broke! (Though I did remove as many of the rather rusty steel nails as I could find) They shouldn't be so conspicuous when painted white along with the rest of the bulwarks.



A 1/75 model of a large sailing ship like this really is a "tall ship" measuring about 70cm high, making transportation or storage quite difficult. So I decided to make the upper masts (and forward bowsprit) removable, This only reduces the total height by 30%, but, along with the yards being removable, it does make a significant difference to the "manageability" of the model. The rigging (which will be simplified) will have wire hooks on the ends of the lines fitting into small eyebolts on the spars.

The yards are already easily removable, as they have brass "parrels"; a hook on the yard fits onto  Making the upper masts removable required a bit of extra work.



I drilled out a hole in the top of the lower mast and the bottom of the upper mast, then glued a brass wire peg into the lower mast hole. The upper mast can then be fitted onto this and removed when necessary. It fits quite tightly but in any case the rigging should stop it from rotating on the finished model.
Thankfully, securely fitting the lower masts to the hull won't be a problem - the fore and main masts fit neatly into notches in the bulkheads directly underneath them, whilst the base of the mizzen mast rests on the keel. In the photo above, they are temporarily taped in place, I need to plank the main deck before they can be permanently glued.
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Jimmy James

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2009, 04:57:59 PM »

 {-)
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2009, 03:57:17 PM »


Here are some more photos. I'm making good progress so far on rebuilding + detailing the hull and am nearly at the stage when I can start planking the main deck - once the model has has reached this stage, progress will be slower as I'll be working more on other projects.




Structural detail and freeing port hatches added to the interior of the bulwarks. Rivets are added using Slaters rivet-textured styrene sheet. (The detail needs to be added at this stage because I need to add it before painting the bulwarks, and the latter job needs to be done before I can start planking the deck!) The figure to show scale is from the Matchbox/Revell 1/72 corvette, I'll try and obtain some more suitable merchant ship crew eventually - OO gauge railway figures should be adaptable.




Both of the external bulwark rails on the original model were represented by square wood strip painted white. The upper one should be rounded and unpainted, varnished teak, so rather than attempt removing it and adding a new one, I carved and sanded it to a more rounded profile, then painted it with wood stain and varnished it. The lower rail will be painted white later on.




I decided to make a start on planking the poop deck. As this is seperate from the main deck, I can practice planking here without messing up the plank spacing for the main deck. After adding styrene strip to the interior of the bulwarks and painting this white, I added the margin plank using lime-wood strip. This was my first attempt at steaming planks in order to bend them to shape, it didn't really work, so I ended up using the "green stick" method - making many small partial breaks along the length of the strip. I certainly wouldn't recommend this where any structural strength or watertightness is needed, but it seems to work OK for a deck margin plank.
I also added the margin plank for the poop deckhouse, using thinner strip.




Freeing port hatches and mooring pipes (eyelets) have been added to the bulwarks. The hatch hinges were made using Slaters rivet sheet. I'm not sure what to do about the scupper pipes (below the lower bulwark rail) and the portholes (at the forecastle); these will cause problems with watertightness as they're below the level of the main deck. I may try installing the portholes then filling them in with gap-filling superglue, which will easily keep out water if only briefly immersed.



Here's the new forecastle deck (not glued in place yet) with the cutout above the windlass. This is cut from thinnish plywood sheet, and will be planked over on the finished model. It doesn't quite fit (too narrow) at the aft end - since it was measured from the original kit part, presumably the bulwarks at the bow are angled outwards slightly too much - but the margin plank should cover the gaps.




I added styrene sheet to strengthen the rather fragile bulwark planks at the bow, and also added some basic structural detail where it will be seen. This photo also shows the rubbing plate for the anchors, which I made from thick styrene sheet, and since taking this photo have added the anchor hawse pipes (more eyelets) The bow scrollwork is a moulded plastic part and will be added later after I've glued the bowsprit in place.
This whole area looks very rough at the minute, but will be improved a lot when it's painted and when the forecastle deck is in place.


{-)


Did you get my PM with my e-mail address? Your "Freebooter" model looks very good on the September photo of the month, I'd like to see more photos of your work. I'd be especially interested to see your "Kings Ransom" conversion, I've often wondered about the potential for converting this (and/or the other RC pirate ship that's available) into a more of a scale model. The hull shape looks about right for an early carrack or caravel.
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Jimmy James

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2009, 05:53:14 PM »

Re; Kings Ransom
Sails along quite smartly, has good stability with the original brass keel, once you chop that ridiculous Poop off,   reshape and lenthen the beakhead, lower the foc'le an inch & a half  replace the Masts, yards sails and R/T gear Oh!! Yes raise the gun deck up one deck and arm her with guns that really fire shes great fun Mine is now called
"Fire Drake"  Did you get the Pix???
Jimmy
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2009, 12:08:02 PM »





The bulwark interiors have now been painted, along with the waterway, and I've added the margin plank and the varnished teak rail at the bulwark top (this is a strip of walnut, sanded to a rounded profile then painted)



I glued the bowsprit in place with epoxy resin for extra strength. This glue creates a very strong join when sticking wood parts together, as it soaks into the grain slightly. I'll also use it to attach the lower masts.
The forward part of the bowsprit is removable in the same way as the upper masts. The jibboom was sawn off above the bowsprit cap, holes drilled in both halves and a brass wire peg glued in the bowsprit end. The jibboom had also snapped in half and had to be repaired (using the same technique, but gluing both ends of the peg in place)



The margin planks for the deckhouses and hatches have been added to the deck. I've also started on planking the deck around the base of the mizzen mast.



The Billing kit includes some quite nicely detailed plastic mouldings for the trailboards and head rails.





Fitted in place on the bow. I painted the gilding with Vallejo acrylic "Old Gold". This is the best paint I've found so far for painting gilded ornamentation on ship models; all the others I've tried (Revell, Humbrol, Citadel) either don't cover evenly enough for fine work like this, or are too brassy or coppery in appearance.
As you can see, the figurehead is missing! Billing Boats don't seem to be interested in supplying spare parts to someone building a second-hand kit (even though I offered to pay for them) so I may end up having to buy the Mantua Models cast metal figurehead, which is about 10.



I made a stand from plywood (mahogany stained + varnished) and some wood dowel (clothes rails salvaged from an old wardrobe).
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tigertiger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2009, 12:42:26 AM »

Hi Edward,

She is coming together very nicely.

First I will apologise if I have got the wrong end of the stick and I am trying to tell you how to suck eggs.

A couple of posts ago you mentions the scuppers.
As long as the water is only entering onto the deck, and as long as the scuppers are at deck level (not above it) there should be no problem. The water will just run back out.
In fact I would say that the scuppers are essential. It is highly likely that at some stage the gunwhales will be awash either from a wave or heeling over, and the water must get out.

Might I also suggest your hatch coamings are made as high a physically possible to prevent water ingress.
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2009, 03:50:58 PM »

Hi Edward,

She is coming together very nicely.

First I will apologise if I have got the wrong end of the stick and I am trying to tell you how to suck eggs.

A couple of posts ago you mentions the scuppers.
As long as the water is only entering onto the deck, and as long as the scuppers are at deck level (not above it) there should be no problem. The water will just run back out.
In fact I would say that the scuppers are essential. It is highly likely that at some stage the gunwhales will be awash either from a wave or heeling over, and the water must get out.

Might I also suggest your hatch coamings are made as high a physically possible to prevent water ingress.



Thanks for the comments and advice. Unfortunately the scuppers on Cutty Sark are actually below the level of the main deck, presumably they're connected to drains in the waterways. But I worked out a way to make them watertight (see next post).
There are large freeing ports in the bulwarks, but these are covered with hinged hatches and it would be very difficult to make these working. However, there are 2 fairly large mooring pipes (for cables) on either side which will act as scuppers. They should actually be above deck level, but I put them level with the waterway to allow water to drain out of them.

Adding coamings to the deck access hatches will be very difficult as the edges of the hatches are in the middle of the deck planking. I had to make them like this (see earlier posts) as the deckhouses and cargo hatches don't give anywhere near enough room to access the hull interior. However, some of the openings currently in the deck will be sealed up later - I cut them in order to paint the hull interior with sealant.
Also, I will be using foam filler to fill all of the bow and stern compartments which aren't used for ballast. This should give the hull enough buoyancy to stay afloat if the central motor/radio compartments do take on water. The plank-on-bulkhead construction (thoroughly sealed with Cascamite) means that if water gets in at one point it won't necessarily flood the entire hull.

As mentioned before, I only plan to sail this model in calm weather and on calm water! There's a small gravel pit near where I live which is ideal, as it's very sheltered.

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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2009, 04:03:15 PM »





I've now added the rest of the hull details: rigging eyeplates, portholes and scuppers. I hesitated before adding the latter two, as they pierce the hull below the deck level, not good for watertightness - but I didn't really want to just leave them off, especially the portholes which are quite a noticeable feature of the real ship. I eventually worked out a solution, filling the portholes and scuppers with epoxy resin glue. This is very durable and waterproof, and dries more or less clear so can it be left unpainted to represent the porthole glazing (the scuppers were painted over)
The portholes are Billings fittings, and the scuppers are small eyelets.

Note that most of the portholes on the preserved Cutty Sark were added later when it was a training ship! As built, it only had the 4 portholes either side at the bow. An interesting bit of trivia is that the first version of Revell's 1/96 scale plastic kit had all the portholes on (presumably they used photos of the preserved ship for reference), Revell soon realised their mistake and all later issues of the kit only have the bow portholes.










After about 3 weeks of work I've now more or less finished the hull and got it to the stage where I can start planking the decks. Updates from now on will be slower for a while - the deck planking will be a fairly lengthy job, and I'll be concentrating most of my modelling time on completing my 1/48 USCG cutter.
Overall, though it's far from perfect, I'm quite pleased with how the hull turned out, considering what a complete wreck it was when I started work on it. The surface finish isn't great but I've done the best I could with it, given that it had to be heavily waterproofed and wasn't very well built to start with.

This is only the third model I've built with a planked deck (previous ones being my R/C steam yacht and the Billing Boats 1/35 Renown picket boat, built as a static model) but I'll try to do a good job on it. I'll also be adding caulking between the deck planks; I've read of numerous ways of representing this (on the Billing picket boat, I used black thread, which looks effective but is rather difficult to work with); strips of thin black card sounds like the most straightforward technique, so this is what I'm going to try.
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2009, 04:06:31 PM »

Making a start on the deck planking: First I'd better state that I'm NOT going to attempt joggling the planks to the margin plank (I'll just cut them to fit) and I'm also not going to attempt using the correct planking pattern (4 planks between each end, I think), the plank ends are on alternate rows. As previously mentioned, this is only my third attempt at building a model with a planked wood deck and I am really learning as I go along - so far the planks on the Cutty Sark have turned out much better than on previous models, and hopefully with my next model I'll have the confidence to attempt joggling and/or a more complex plank pattern. The finished result should certainly look a lot better than the printed wood deck supplied by Billing.



For the deck planks, I'm using "matches" of the type sold for matchstick modelling. They're almost exactly the right length and width for deck planks in this scale; they're rather thick, but this doesn't matter in this case as the planking needs to be raised a couple of mm above the level of the waterway. These "matches" have the advantage of being extremely cheap (about 2 for a big bagful) and pre-cut. They vary in quality, so you need to be careful when fitting them and throw away any which are warped, discoloured or too rough.
To represent the caulking, I used very thin strips of black card cut from A4 sheets with a paper cutter. Once the planks are laid and the glue (waterproof PVA) has thoroughly set, the surface is pared down with a chisel-shaped modelling knife to give an even surface.




Before planking the decks on the model I made a few test pieces on scrap wood to get the hang of the technique. With the first two, I cut the caulking strips far too wide, so that scraping + sanding the decks flat created large amounts of black dust which got into the grain of the wood. This would look great for representing coal dust on a steamship, but doesn't really look right on a well-maintained sailing ship.


This looks a lot better! I cut the caulking strips much thinner this time, and cut off any bits that stuck up before sanding. This gives a generally neat appearance with just a touch of weathering and grime.






First of all I planked the removable sections of the deck and the areas around the masts. The latter were planked without caulking or plank ends, as structural strength is the main priority here - these areas will be hidden by the mast foot and fife rails anyway.





I then started work on the main deck. This didn't take as long as I expected, most of the work was with the planks near the margin plank, measuring and cutting them to fit as neatly as possible. I tried as hard as possible to get the plank ends of the alternate rows actually lined up, unlike my steam yacht model where they were up to 1cm apart due to measurement errors! The printed plank lines on the deck help a lot in getting everything lined up.

Once the deck planking on the model is complete, I'll paint the decks with a single coat of gloss enamel varnish. This (I tried it out on one of the above test pieces) gives a slight sheen and a slightly darker appearance whilst not actually making the decks shiny (as the wood grain absorbs most of the varnish) and will hopefully make the decks a bit more weatherproof.
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2009, 03:11:10 PM »










Deck planking is finally complete! The finished result is certainly not perfect, but still better than my previous attempt (the steam yacht) and the overall effect looks very good to my eye, certainly it's a lot better than the printed deck supplied in the Billing kit. The forecastle isn't glued in place yet (it still needs a bit more sanding to fit properly).





Stanchions and pin rails added to the bulwarks. The pin rails are made from strips of lime wood sanded to shape, stained and varnished - holes for the deadeye strops, belaying pins etc. will be added later. The stanchions are styrene rod. Both are slightly simplified - some of the stanchions should have rigging eyebolts or cleats, whilst the pin rails should be slightly wider at the location of the deadeyes - but, as with the deck planks the overall effect is still very nice.



The next stage is to fix the lower masts in place, before this is done the masts need to be cleaned up and painted and the "spider bands" also need to be added. These are circular wooden bands about 1.5m from the base of each mast which hold belaying pins.
Making the spider bands (from thin plywood sheet) required a bit of trial and error, I first attempted to cut them out with a compass cutter, but this doesn't really work very well on wood and they ended up oval. I then tried cutting the centre holes out with a hole punch, filing it to the right diameter, then very carefully cutting around the hole with a sharp pair of scissors - this worked quite well.

Once the masts have been painted (white, other than the top and topgallant masts above the caps, which are plain wood) the lower halves will be glued in place on the hull.
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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2009, 09:10:38 PM »

 She's comming along very nicely  There is a book called China Tea Clippers  By George Cambell   ISBN 0 229 11525 X   Adlard Coles Ltd. London Granada Publishing Ltd  !974
  Printed in Gt. Britain By Willian Clowes & Son Ltd London Beccles and Colchester
  Its a super book the pictures are all hand drawn (Copper etching stile) with super detail on all deck furniture cabins deck houses, boats  ,winches, masts and spar's and Rigging of British and American Clippers and the diffrent stiles off deck gear.
Freebooter
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2009, 06:26:01 PM »






After cleaning up + sanding down the lower masts I repainted them with Revell semi-gloss white and glued them to the hull. They're glued in place with two-part epoxy glue which gives a very strong join. The kit design has slots in the bulwarks below the fore and main masts, which helps to hold them in place at the right angle. The mizzen mast rests on the keel.
I added the forecastle deck at the same time. This is also glued on with epoxy, but brass nails were also needed to keep it in place at the right angle.

I've also packed all the "cargo holds" full of bubble wrap, and added squares of styrene card (larger than the hatch openings) to keep it in place. This should add plenty of buoyancy in the event that the model takes on any water.



Deck structures and cabins temporarily in place to give an idea of the finished appearance (the upper masts, and yards, still need cleanup and repainting).
All of the deckhouses, hatches etc. are basically untouched at the minute - I haven't yet got round to repairing and detailing them. The printed "panelling" will be replaced with wood strip.

There is a book called China Tea Clippers  By George Cambell   ISBN 0 229 11525 X   Adlard Coles Ltd. London Granada Publishing Ltd  !974
  Printed in Gt. Britain By Willian Clowes & Son Ltd London Beccles and Colchester
  Its a super book the pictures are all hand drawn (Copper etching stile) with super detail on all deck furniture cabins deck houses, boats  ,winches, masts and spar's and Rigging of British and American Clippers and the diffrent stiles off deck gear.

I don't have this book (yet) but have seen it in a second-hand bookshop, I'll definitely pick it up in future! I do have George Campbell's plans, and C.N.Longridge's book on building a 1/48 scale model of Cutty Sark. The latter is very useful, but you need to be careful when referring to the plans + drawings in it, as it is based on the ship's appearance when he wrote it in the 1930s, rather than its original (and current preserved) appearance - there are a number of differences, like the shape of the forecastle deck.
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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2009, 01:56:29 PM »






The removable upper parts of the mast consist of the crosstrees and topgallant masts. These have now been cleaned up and repainted. The crosstrees on the original model were cut out of plywood sheet and are a bit crude-looking, but they don't look too bad after sanding down and repainting. I added some extra structural detail (including the riveted metal bands, made from Slaters rivet-textured styrene sheet) and replaced the crosspieces with wood strip. There are numerous metal fittings (eyebolts, cleats etc.) which still need to be added, along with the "trucks" at the top of the masts, which are gilded, so I'll probably make them out of brass.
The only spars with a plain varnished wood finish are the top and topgallant masts (between the caps) and the forward part of the bowsprit; everything else is painted white or black. The lower masts (and, I think, some of the lower yards) on the real ship are made of iron in any case!





I've done some testing with my "removable yards + rigging" system, I wasn't sure how well this would work in practice, but it turned out OK both in appearance (the rigging stays reasonably taut) and function (the yard is prevented from moving too much and returns to 90 degrees if it does move). This is the lower yard on the main mast. The brace on each side (on the real ship the brace is a single line which passes through a block at the mast cap) has a brass pin on the end which fits into two eyebolts on the mast cap.
This is a quick temporary assembly, the setup on the finished model should be a lot neater (and painted)! The yards also need cleanup, detailing and painting.
Not all of the rigging on the finished model will be removable - only the lines attached to the yards and the removable upper mast sections.








Finally a few photos of the model on the water (with test yard attached). This is the first time I've run it in quite breezy conditions. It was still quite stable, but I had to be careful to avoid drifting into a large patch of weeds!
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klaasjan1996

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2009, 03:50:57 PM »

looks like a lot of work
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klaasjan1996

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2009, 03:52:06 PM »

I've made a big mustake i've send the same message two times.
What shall I write now........(thinking)............
I can't invent what to write.
I now what I write nothing
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/75 scale Cutty Sark - Billing Boats kit rebuilt as a working model
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2009, 05:42:44 PM »



Some more progress at last! Here's the initial work started on the deckhouses. The original Billing parts had all of the raised moulding detail and doors represented as printed black lines, which seemed a bit of a cop-out (many Billing kits from this date are the same; newer kits have laser-cut wood parts, as far as I know), so I decided to rebuild them with proper wood panelling. First I re-surfaced them with thin veneer. I'm not sure what wood this is (possibly cedar - it definitely isn't teak) or where I originally got it from, but it's just about the right colour.




I then made the decorative "mouldings" with pieces and strips of the same veneer. I cheated here and represented the curved mouldings - which should be really open frames made from shaped wood moulding - as solid pieces of wood. This would be a very tricky job with the individual mouldings being about 6x15mm in size, especially as there are over 40 of them to make! The result is a simplification but it still looks fairly good even from a foot or two away, let alone when on the water.




Once varnished, the colour of the veneer is almost a perfect match in colour for the varnished teak of the real deckhouses.




Next is the planking on the "roofs". These are planked, as far as I know with the same material as the main decks, but presumably they weren't scrubbed and cleaned as often, so I used a more faded and brownish wood. This is actually deck planking left over from a Billing Boats kit.
The margin of the roof is painted white. This is the only painted part of the deckhouses on the preserved ship, which more or less represents the "as built" configuration, but for much of Cutty Sark's working life the deckhouse panelling was also painted white.




The portholes are commercial turned brass fittings. The preserved ship has numerous portholes which aren't shown on the Campbell plans, presumably these were later additions, so I left them off my model.
Those familiar with the design of the Cutty Sark might notice that the forward deckhouse is slightly shorter than it should be - it's missing one panel from the forward end. I assume this was an error in the original Billing kit. I didn't attempt to fix it, as it would have involved rebuilding the deck planking in this area as well as the deckhouse itself, and the error really isn't noticeable unless you compare it to plans.






The completed deckhouses are now glued in place (on the removable deck sections).
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