Monday, June 27, 2011

Mini-HORNET improvements

This weekend work at the dockyard centered around work to improve Mini-HORNET, our 1:12 scale mock-up of the famous War of 1812 warship. She's an impressive display at more than 16 feet long at 12 feet tall.

So what were we making? Oh, just about everything, the biggest ticket items being boats and anchors.
However, we also spent time on (deep breath) cleats, cavils, davits, fairleads, boomkins, bulwark blocks, breaching lines, training tackles, ladders, tillers, oars, capstan bars, brackets, braces, pawls, parrels, cat blocks, falls and stanchions. Whew. Now, the fun part in all of these things is that they're small - small enough to go from start to finish in a few hours, and in many cases a handful of minutes. Each piece is noticeable and spruces up the level of detail tremendously.

In the case of the boats, we're making these very much like Mini-HORNET herself - out of extruded styrofoam. Using plans of contemporary US Navy boats (about 1820), the plan is divided into 1-foot waterlines and sheets of 1" thick foam (in 1:12, 1'=1"), glued, stacked and hollowed. Well, not necessarily in that order. After making up the hull of the first boat we settled on a very efficient method. Suffice it to say that we have five boats in varying stages of completion - three 24-foot cutters (2 full, 1 waterline), and two 20-foot stern, or "jolly boats" (1 full, 1 waterline). There are at least two more that we might do, but need more foam - a 30-foot gig and a 25-foot launch. The full-hull models are built to be shown stowed aboard the ship or shown in the process of launching or recovering, while the waterline models are built to depict the boats afloat beside the ship. This allows us a great deal of flexibility in setup, so we can depict the ship in a number of situations, with boats all stowed or with some of them alongside. All will be outfitted with frames, clamps, thwarts, masts, sails, oars, rudders - the whole shebang.

We also have three anchors - two full models and one "dug in". The full models are intended for stowage aboard ship or hanging from catheads, while one is built to resemble an anchor on the sea bottom, one fluke dug in. In that way, we can set it on the floor (the model is usually displayed on a table top), and run the cable down to it as though the ship is actually anchored.

The carronades are all being fitted with a full round of equipment including breaching ropes, training tackles, sponge-rammer, sponge-worm, and powder horns. The port covers are being rigged with a single line made off to the interior bulwark, which would permit the gun crew to close the port in real life (the model's ports are fixed open).

At some point, it would be great to find some 1:12 scale figures for the display - right now we're resigned to "seaman SWO" - a toy wrestling figure that's about scale height. More Google-ing required to find those.
So, lots of work this weekend. Wednesday evening we'll return to our usual working session from 1900-2100. Come on out!


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