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Nov 26, 2007, 08:37 AM
Maltese sparrow
andrewhalst's Avatar
Thread OP
Build Log

Scratch Brig build

Reason for post - somewhere to post progress pictures and seek feedback and helpful comments as I progress.

I have been building this model for over a year so far, but the actual time invested is not very great. This summer I have been reading the Pamir and Syren threads, and become fired to get this baby onto the water.

Brief bio:
Engineer, 50mumble,
Scot living in England.
Aeromodeller (- all silent classes including F1D (microfilm)).
recent boatie, (started with Thames barge)
Also do: Footys, full size boats, light plane - building Pulsar, glider guider

I will gradually come up to date with the Brig from the seed, which was a small picture of the deck and hull to the present state of play which is rigging and sailmaking proceeding apace.

BRIG: Sailing ship with 2 masts, both square rigged.
Brigs were ocean-capable smallish ships. Capable and versatile so long as the operator could afford the crew numbers. (All the masts are square-rigged, so a lot of manpower is needed to handle the sails)

The illustration I found was titled Volante, and I have since found a fair bit of information on the prototype, some of which is contradictory but she seems to be wood-built in the US approx late 1800s (?1870). Theere are sevaral models around - so this suggests that there are drawings, and I have seen plans on ebay - does anyone know where the plans come from?
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Nov 26, 2007, 09:20 AM
Where's Pamela?
patmat2350's Avatar
Welcome to the wetter side!

You don't say how big the model is... the biggest issue in scale sail is stability, and the smaller the scale, the bigger the issue. Wind force reduces with area (square effect), while righting moment reduces with volume/mass (cube effect). Smaller the scale, the more the wind effect overpowers the righting moment... in other words, a very tippy situation!

The best scale sail book I've seen is Traplets' tome by Phillip Vaughn Williams... it treats the stability issue and many other aspects quite nicely.

Pat Matthews
Nov 26, 2007, 10:29 AM
Maltese sparrow
andrewhalst's Avatar
Thread OP

While everything you and Philip say is true, I have not worried about stability at all.
I have never intended to carry the ballast internally and while ply and lead exists I can create keel to provide enough stability for happy sailing.

Principal Dimensions
Hull p/p is 30" and 48" over the spars jibboom to boom
(I also speak metric for the rest of the world.)
Other dimensions are: Max Beam 8 inches
Height - keel to maintruck 36 inches
keel to foremast truck 30 inches
Hull depth approx 4 inches
No weights yet - my scales only go to 100gm by 1/10gm


The hull depth is the area I have the most doubts about - I will deepen the plug by about 1 inch - 25 mm for the next mouldings off it.
Nov 26, 2007, 12:55 PM
Maltese sparrow
andrewhalst's Avatar
Thread OP

part 1 - Plug and mould (mold)

Before diving into the build, I can assure anyone reading this that you CAN do this or something similar.

The materials and methods selected are chosen because I have them or have confidence that they will be reasonably successful. As a native Scot the materials are all available - I suggest alternatives where they would be equally successful or might be attractive to differently-skilled folk.

The inspiration and shape
The picture shown in the first post

The size - came from the length of a lump of white foam I had which was a little over 30 inches long (750mm)

Shape - vernier eyeball. I cut paper patterns, fold them in half for the plan view (deck shape), paste to card and cut round with a vertical hot wire cutter - home made. I do this first for the elevation (side-view) then nail the offcuts back , apply the deck template and cut round that.

Viola - raw ship - with square edges

I intended the hull to be essentially flat-bottomed over about half the length, so that part and the deck are finished already!
The bow is close to shape - since the bow shape is straight and only slightly raked (the Clipper shape comes later)
Corners were cut off with a bread knife, and the shape of the rear hull bottom and counter with hot wire (thick copper wire attached to soldering iron) bread knife as required.

WISDOM of Hindsight - I would not include the sternpost and deadwood in the plug next time - they are the only part of the plug-making and moulding which are not easy. They would be easy to add in wood or skinned foam to a hull moulding with made without them.

Pictures of plug

Feedback please.
Shut up/more detail/less detail/whatever


I have the cutting templates, 2 plugs, and intend to make one or two Papie mache hulls.
The hull would make a beautiful (thats beautiful schooner with all Fore and Aft rig. (Topsails for the brave)
Nov 26, 2007, 04:47 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
More photos and more description of how you achieved the beauty of your deck&bulwarks , please.
Nov 26, 2007, 05:09 PM
Maltese sparrow
andrewhalst's Avatar
Thread OP

On its way.

Had a great session yesterday - tackled a job I feared.

I had painted inner bulwarks cream/buff, and sclurged the paint around the place - especially since there are a row of supports/stanchions/timberheads to work around.

Got to work with a scraper and removed all the surplus paint - took only about 15 minits
Nov 26, 2007, 05:34 PM
Registered User
DanL's Avatar

ooooh, aaaah

Very, very nice.
Can you post larger pictures, please? My late 50's eyes, you know.
Nov 26, 2007, 10:08 PM
Registered User
DanL's Avatar
By the looks of it, you have the potential of a great RC scale detail ship model. I'll try to spread the scale voodoo.
Rather than buttons for bowsies, how about blocks? Very easy to make with a bit of hardwood strip or small wooden beads of the correct size and shape.
Pic shows the bowsies I'm using on the Syren. Approx 6x9mm made from a small block of walnut (36" strip less than a dollar at the hobbyshop). Round the corners, drill small holes, thread the line. Add a black stripe on the side if desired. After sanding, before threading, I saturate each block with superthin CA and quickly wipe off. Provides finish and hardness.
Could do the same with a small bead. Volante doesn't seem a button boat....
Nov 26, 2007, 11:42 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
Cool, DanL!
Nov 27, 2007, 08:08 AM
Maltese sparrow
andrewhalst's Avatar
Thread OP

I'm right with you on the bowsies - but my rigging plan so far hasn't called for any. I have a fair bit of limewood ( like bass but a european tilea) for cutting blocks out of.

Policy decision - I will generally keep on in the order of build, while dealing with questions on the fly and mentioning:
Tasks I feared,
Wisdom of Hindsight

Not sure if I can do much about the picture size - I am condensing the pics to about 75K from the original 2M approx. What is the limit for a jpg?

I moulded this hull in epoxy (because I have about 2 US gallons free) and because it doesnt smell too badly, and because it doesn't eat foam.

The foam for the plug, btw, is a fairly dense granular white polystyrene. I got it free where it was being used as a fork-lift spacer for building materials!

So -
1) plug has a holding plank hot melt glued to it so it can be held deck-down in a workmate /woodworking vice

2) drape the plug with cling-film (food wrap, saran wrap?) to allow release - I used one layer only

3) glassed the hull - 2 layers of twill weave cloth followed by a finishing layer of thin glass cloth - (1/2 oz/sq yard. Used for wing skinning).
I put some small peices of doubling around the bow and over the deadwood to give a bit of local thickening and stiffening.
The shape wraps well with the twill cloth - few wrinkles to cut and lap . The only problem area was the hollow between the rear hull and deadwood but this went reasonably well.

Wisdom of hindsight -
A)don't mould this rear deadwood integral with the hull
B) after covering with cling-film lay carbon tows at least running thwartships where the masts will be.
C) if you want to gild the lily - put a fine criss-cross of CF tows all down the hull - this will build in immense torsional stiffness
D) Possible great idea - cover the final moulding while curing with another layer of cling-film pulled down firmly to the base to put the whole moulding under compression. (I understand that germans do this [and other things] with rubber/latex sheeting) Poor mans vac-moulding

Leave the masterpiece 24 hours to cure

Anyhow - comes out like this

Position as of today - F&A sails cut out and (pencil) cloths and reef points added. Square sails patterns made - still to be transferred to card and cut (Sail material donated by my wife).

Sail operating rig constructed and christened BigBrigRigJig
Nov 27, 2007, 08:16 AM
Maltese sparrow
andrewhalst's Avatar
Thread OP
Dan and Brooks

Thanks a lot for your inspiration - I am aiming generally to bisect your appproaches. I like good scale atmosphere but want her to sail like a goodun too.

Having got refired to finish and sail her, there will be some scale corners cut initially. Deckhouses will follow, rear deck rail omitted at the moment, standing rigging will be effective but not final or perfect. Foer examople i have made the chains - single brass wire - but will lace them with copper wire to hold the spacing while I rig the shrouds and braces.

Did I mention I use copper wire a lot (and paperclips). Both free and the copper comes in an infinite range of diameters - dismantle motors, clocks or transformers

I'm not mean, just careful
Nov 27, 2007, 08:26 AM
rcminiman's Avatar
Hi Andrew,
She is looking great.
Dont compress/resize the pics at all.Just upload them as usual, and the RC Groups site sorts it all out. Years ago, you had to re-size all pics, but not any more!!

Keep it up,
Nov 27, 2007, 08:46 AM
Maltese sparrow
andrewhalst's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks, Barry - will do
Nov 27, 2007, 08:54 AM
Maltese sparrow
andrewhalst's Avatar
Thread OP
Barry thanks

don't take any wooden bawbees


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