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May 21, 2006, 12:52 PM
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Square Rigger kit-18 Gun Brig-of-war of 1797


Steel, Chapman & Hutchinson Ltd. make three square rigged ship kits designed from the start for radio control. Their web site is at I could find no other source for this kind of model, although a few determined people have made their own beautiful models, as we have seen in other threads here. Not having the time and experience to make one from scratch, I chose the 18 gun Brig-of-War kit offered by S,C&H because it was fully square rigged, absolutely beautiful, and would fit in the back seat of my sedan. S,C&H estimated their build time for this model to be 120 hours, so I figure with some luck I may be able to do it in 300 hours or so. I read the instruction manual that is available on line, and decided that I would have some of the more difficult assembly done by S,C&H. I ordered the kit in early February '06 and it arrived this week. Since I am still getting my work area ready, I have not inspected the kit throughly, so the next installment will cover the kit in more detail.

March 2008 Update
KEYWORDS added to posts in this thread to aid searching for information
With 1000+ posts over 20 months by half a dozen builders, I am sure everybody has had the same frustrating problems I have had when trying to find information posted in this thread. The search engine on this site won't even let you restrict your search just to this thread, so a search for sails gets a huge number of hits requiring a lot of sorting to find what you want. Just about useless. I looked into starting a new thread and reordering and sorting the posts from this thread to get some order out of the chaos, without having to repost everything, but that does not seem to be possible.

I have toyed with this for a few days, and I think we can impose some order here without too much difficulty. If we add a few key words to each of our post with useful information in them, we could do a search and get only posts from this thread for the pertinent topics. This would require each contributor to go back and edit their posts to add a line of key words with special delimiters that the search engine will recognize. I have tried this, and found that any special character, like *, #, or < are ignored by the search engine, so I have chosen to delimit each key word with "x" at the start and end.

Here are some key words I have come up with:
hull, deck, topsides, rudder, tackle, guns, boats, rigging, spars, sails, furnishings
introduction, solution, problem, sources, references, supplies, assembly, paint

Putting the x at the start and end of each key word, and separating each key word with a space gives an unique searchable character string that can be placed any where in the post. I prefer it at the end of the post, but could be placed at major subject changes within the post too. I would not put them in the title line, since that is displayed by the search engine, and would impair readability. Multiple, separate keywords would help to narrow the topic, and would be necessary with multiple subjects. This could take the form of:

xkeywordx xkeywordx ....

as a separate line or inserted with other text. The title line of the post should have a short description of the information in the post, as this is displayed by the search.

Using the search function at the top right of every page will return the posts in this thread that have been keyworded with ALL the words specified in the search, both keywords and other words.

NOTE: new keywords seem to take a day to be recognized by the search engine.

Last edited by Ray C; Mar 03, 2008 at 07:05 PM.
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May 21, 2006, 02:01 PM
Where's Pamela?
patmat2350's Avatar
Sounds like a quick-start way to go.
You may want to look into this book:
Or start at and search on "scale sailing models".

Pat M
May 21, 2006, 02:44 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Thanks. It looked good so I ordered it.

xhullx xdeckx xtopsidesx xrudderx xtacklex xgunsx xboatsx xriggingx xsparsx xsailsx xfurnishingsx xintroductionx xsolutionx xbuildx xsourcesx xproblemx xreferencesx xsuppliesx xassemblyx xsailingx xmaintenancex xelectronicx xpropulsionx
Last edited by Ray C; Mar 02, 2008 at 11:03 AM.
May 21, 2006, 04:10 PM
Boaters are nice people.
Nice kit Ray, looking forward to read about the build.

Regards, Jan.
May 22, 2006, 11:25 AM
Registered User
tsparks's Avatar
Originally Posted by patmat2350
Sounds like a quick-start way to go.
You may want to look into this book:

Pat M
It's a good book, highly recommend it for anyone interested in Square-rigged models!
Jun 08, 2006, 04:27 PM
Registered User
Thread OP

The Kit

I am very impressed with the quality and completeness of the kit. It includes just about everything you will need except paint, glues, and tools. The packing list runs to 7 pages. A partial list includes the correct servos, three for the sails and one rudder servo, 6v lead acid battery, wiring, paint chips for getting authentic colors, a very nice launching cart, built-up rudder with extension, masts, spars, 18 cannon with trucks, ship's wheel, ABS plastic 24' longboat with wood internal details, sail cloth, rope, flags, in other words it looks complete. There are 4 full scale blueprints, a number of smaller detail drawings, and 21 pages of assembly instructions. Probablly enough for an experienced builder, but I know I will wish for more pictures and detailed instructions before I am done. I was pleased to see that the folding hinge slots in the masts are done as you can see in the picture. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so I will have to get started with the construction. I think I will start with the deck furniture to gain needed experience.
Last edited by Ray C; Mar 01, 2008 at 10:45 AM.
Jun 08, 2006, 05:01 PM
Taking care of the pond.
Looking Good!!!
Jul 04, 2006, 10:25 AM
Registered User
Thread OP

Organizing the Build Log

Since this will be an extended project, I intend to keep the building descriptions of main parts together in one post, and modify them as I proceed rather than open new posts, or wait till the part is finished to post it since that could be a long time. I can keep the information fresh as I am doing the work. I hope this will keep all related information together and make it easier to follow, but will mean checking back on earlier posts as they change.

Ray C
Last edited by Ray C; Aug 31, 2006 at 02:52 PM.
Jul 04, 2006, 10:29 AM
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Thread OP

Deck Furniture-The Hatches

The two hatches and the companionway are made primarily of 1/4" precut marine plywood with a molded plastic grate set into the top. After trimming the slight whiskers of wood from the cuts and a light sanding, I glued them together using a good waterproof wood glue. To get the corners square, I cut four 1" long pieces of aluminum angle and used clothes pins to hold the corners square while the glue dried. 1/8" square ash is glued to the top surfaces to hold the grates which rest on the top surfaces of the plywood frame, which is curved to match the side to side curvature of the deck. The ash was too stiff to bend without breaking, so I soaked it in warm water for a couple of hours and it bent with out difficulty. I secured it with small spring clamps and let it dry to the proper curvature. The ash strips are then glued to the top of the plywood frames. I want to add some shot garlands around the base of the hatches that are not called for in the stock kit, and will have to wait for the shot to arrive from ModelExpo along with some other detailing parts. To be continued........
xdeckx xfurnishingsx xbuildx
Last edited by Ray C; Mar 01, 2008 at 10:49 AM.
Jul 08, 2006, 01:07 PM
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Thread OP

Deck Furniture-The Cannon

The cannon shows extra details added-the gun tackle, as well as a lot of additional detail added on the deck. I am not sure that I am going to use the push-on rubber wheels shown below for the gun trucks. They are certainly easy and save time, but I might make wood wheels. The cutter must have been dull when the carriage parts were cut as they show lots of fuzz.

These little buggers are hard to assemble because the parts fit together loosely. The brackets (side pannels) angle in toward the front, and also angle in toward the top, and count on the loose fit to compensate for the angles. You can't just assemble them and have them stay in the correct positions. Also, the grooves in the brackets that fit over the two axle trees (cross pieces) are a little deeper than the thickness of the trees, so you need to put a thin spacer under them to get them up into contact with the top of the grooves. The easiest way I found to hold all the parts in place for gluing is by placing a length of angle on eather side of the carriage with the transom (vertical cross piece) on the front axle and holding it with spring clamps at the front and sides. This gets the angles from front to back and top to bottom, and the width right. To keep from getting glue all over, I glued in the transom and stool bed to the axle trees, dissasembled, applied the glue to the sides of the transom and the axle grooves in the brackets, reassembled and clamped. The quoin should be positioned to keep the cannon tube horizontal.

I have a great reference book for the cruzer class brigs that goes into great detail about everything you would want to know about them. It has helped alot to make up for the scarcity of pictures and diagrams with the instructions. After looking at the diagrams of the gun carriages, I decided that wood wheels would really look a lot better than the rubber ones. Also, the rear wheels are smaller in diameter than the fronts to compensate for the curvature of the deck. I got hardwood dowels, 3/16" for the axles, 1/2" for the rear wheels, and 5/8" for the front wheels. I chuck the wheel dowels up in the lathe and bore them 3/16" for the axles, then cut off .28" slices , and voilla, new wheels. I file a shallow groove on the bottom of the axle trees to glue the round axles into. Doesn't take much time, and I like the look a lot better. I haven't decided if I will paint or stain the deck furniture yet, so it will stay unfinished for now. After applying the finish, I will add eye and ring bolts for the hauling and restraining tackle
xgunsx xbuildx xfurnishingsx
Last edited by Ray C; Mar 01, 2008 at 10:49 AM.
Jul 15, 2006, 06:31 PM
Rampage's Avatar
My God that's beautiful. I just found out about S,C&H.This is definitely an expensive kit!

I'll be paying very close attention to this build thread. I would absolutely love a square-rigged Brig..I can't flip the $3,500 bill.
Aug 11, 2006, 09:35 AM
Registered User
Thread OP
The $3500 kit is for the HMS Surprise, a larger Frigate. The Brig is a paultry $2200. When you consider you will pay around $1800 for the much less complex 79" Wheeler kit by the time you buy all the accesories, the Brig looks like a bargan.
Aug 11, 2006, 11:04 AM
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Thread OP

Deck Furniture-The Bits and pieces

The Bits are used to secure lines to, and support the cutter. They are made primarily by cutting and assembling the supplied rectangular stock, and presented no real difficulties. The only tricky bit was forming the rope guides and faceted crown on the upright posts, which does alot to dress up a plain old post. The instructions reccomend chiseling the angles, but I used a small combination 1" belt and disk sander to cut the angles. This proved to be very fast and accurate. The picture shows how I jury rigged a guide to feed the post into the belt sander at a 10 degree angle to cut the rope guide, and the protractor guide on the disk sander set at 25 degrees to cut the crown facets. I also made some of the cross pieces that hold the belaying pins thinner than called for in the plans, because the largest pins that ModelExpo has would not extend far enough out the bottom. 3/16" stock looks good with them though. However, the anchor bits have to be robust looking, so I will have to make up some larger belaying pins just for it. I wanted a double wheel instead of the single wheel that is standard, so I ordered another and made the bracket for it just a little longer. The capstan is kind of complex, but the parts are very accurately make and goes together easily.

At this point, I couldn't resist assembling all the parts I have made on the deck of the ship just to admire all the work so far. I think everything looks good, but the cannon barrels are pointing slightly down because of the curvature of the deck, and I am debating repositioning the quoins to make them point horizontally.
xdeckx xfurnishingsx xbuildx
Last edited by Ray C; Mar 01, 2008 at 10:51 AM.
Aug 11, 2006, 07:50 PM
Taking care of the pond.
Very, Very Nice.
Aug 14, 2006, 11:25 PM
floating and flying
misfitsailor's Avatar
Nice improvements! It is clear you are looking at each part asking "could this be better?". I showed my wife the S,C & H website, her response? She said, "you should buy one!" Am I blessed or what?
(Approval is one thing, but it's still a sizeable chuck of change.)

hmm, maybe with part of next spring's tax refund...

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