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JerseyCity Frankie

HMS Ramillies, 74

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I haven’t done a SIB in a year or more so it’s time. But what to build? Visiting my sister in Mystic Connecticut we stoped in the adjacent town of Stonington. It just so happened to be the anniversary of a naval bombardment the town had suffered under the British in 1814. When I read on an historic plaque in town that the English commander was Captain Hardy, THE captain Hardy of Trafalgar and Victory and Nelson, “Kiss me, Hardy, THAT Hardy, I knew I wanted to build HMS Ramillies, Hardy’s command. Here’s background on the battle:  https://www.stoningtonhistory.org/exhibits/battle-of-stonington/  Looking at my ship books I was pleased to discover I already had a very good drawing of HMS Theseus, a sister ship, in the book Nelson’s Ships by Peter Goodwin. 

At a farmers market in Manhattan a guy was selling his Maple Syrup in these jugs that looked PERFECT. Smaller than a gallon but big enough for a more detailed model. When I explained why I was holding his bottles sideways and knitting my brows, the guy GAVE ME a free empty bottle.  So I’m Putting in a plug for  http://deepmountainmaple.com/ on their website they list the fancy restaurants in New York that use their syrup and it’s a long list! So it must be good.

I usually look at building SIBs by starting with the bottle and THEN laying plans for the ship, rather than imagine a ship then search for the appropriate bottle. It’s easier that way. But in this case I think the bottle I had is just right. 



Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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The base is plywood and covered crudely in fake gold leaf. I got the fake leaf on eBay, very inexpensive. I’ve never used the real stuff but seen it done on YouTube videos. Like the real stuff, the fake stuff is the most fragile insubstantial material you can imagine, a puff of air rips up the tiny 2” square sheets. In this casrpe I painted cheap white glue over the brown painted plywood and just washed pieces of leaf over the glue, not trying to keep the sheets intact. The mottled speckled gold flecks look great. The blue sea is plasticine. I mixed up a “sea” color and melted it in a double boiler then poured it into the bottle, a first for me. In the past I inserted ropes of room temperature clay in then mashed them down with a crooked stick. Melted, I was able to get perfect adhesion. I used a bent piece of cardboard as a trough for the pour. Let it cool. 

Then, to get the sea to look more convincing, I tossed into the bottle some small bits of lighter greener blue clay, and a bit of grey, these I smeared into the iriginal sea to give the surface a choppy look. The some pure white clay in very small bits were also mashed and smeared. The result is much better than a single monotonous color. 





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The hull I’ve carved from some species of wood that smells a LOT like cedar. Maybe it IS cedar? I had a block lying around. Nice tight grain. Smells good. 

Masts. I’ve grown impatient with wood for masts in SIBs. To get the wood to scale you wind up with some VERY fragile spars. I got sick of snapping them and now use brass rod and piano wire. This necessitates soldering the components and I’m the WORST at soldering. But the metal masts NEVER break and I can drill through them.  You’ll notice a second bottle prepped. I’m building two SIBs at once but this build lib focuses only on the 74. 



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Carved the hull, reasonably happy with it? It’s 4 1/4” or 11cm long.my usual method is to use a wood hull then glue bulwarks on made of colored paper. In fact all the details, all the deck furniture is laminated colored paper.

my new wrinkle on this project was to make stairs from paper laminated to form each step. I alternated two similar colors to make each step visually distinct from the next but I’m not sure it was necessary. 

My plan for the quarter galleries is to use two-part transparent epoxy, in a technique I once used many years ago. I cut deep grooves at the stern to represent the upper and middle decks and painted their interiors black. In the next step I will mix the epoxy, allow it to almost set then apply it in lumps on either side of the stern and deep into the cut grooves. Being almost stiff the globs will stand out from the hull when they harden. Being transparent the epoxy can then have window framing painted over it. Voila: glazed windows.











Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Bulwarks. I laminate a red and a mustard (mustard?) colored pieces of colored paper to represent the inner and outer colors of the bulwarks. Then I cut a rabbit or notch or shelf-whatever- for it to fit snub against the hull. The gap is filled with modeling paste.

for the 74, the upper profile of the bulwark is odd, it takes a weird downward slope from the Hances to the Gangways, with fancy curves. And also I had to cut out a bunch of gunports. But, once I got them glued on with Tightbond white glue, I felt happy. Suddenly it looks like a going concern. 




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Paint. I’m using Vallejo acrylics and I’m happy with this product. You will notice I paint then paint again, then I add more physical elements  and then paint the same surface again, rather than just paint everything once at the end. In my view the paint should be open and ready whenever you’re at work on the model so you can add paint as you go. Acrylic paints make this easier since there’s no solvents or long drying time.

current reasearch on actual paint from HMS Victory has recently given us a more true picture of the “yellow” color of the Nelson Checker: it’s actually pink. It shocked everyone at the time and purist people were freaking out. But actually the color is more akin to Terracotta. So I tried to reflect that in my “yellow” color. But mine still looks mostly yellow. 

The “black” stripes are dark grey, not black. This way when I paint on the gunports in actual black, the illusion of an open port is achieved. Eight of the gunports, those at the waist, really ARE open, the rest are painted squares. 

These photos show my use of epoxy on the quarter galleries to fake glass windows. I give the effort a six out of ten. But a lot esier than trying to build the galleries from scratch out of wood plastic or putty. They are gloppy but I’m reasonably happy with them. 










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