Week 10

This week the focus has been on the deck of the model, with work on canons, anchors, and small boats.

Overall view of the model

Overall view of the model

All canons have now been completed and fitted to the hull. I gently airbrushed the wooden deck around each to create slight shadow under the guns.

Close-up of canons

Close-up of canons

The anchors were easy to make, but hard to install, as there are many ropes and chains holding them in place!

Close-up of anchors

Close-up of anchors

The Beagle has a total of seven smaller boats. I carved each hull in chemi wood, then used my small vacuum forming tool to create plastic card replica as shown in the image below. The process involves heating a sheet of plastic card until it is soft, then use of the vacuum cleaner to suck the plastic over the master.  If you want to learn more about vacuum forming, drop me an email.

Vacuum former

Vacuum former

Three of the boats have wooden layered boards on the outside, achieved by sticking on lengths of plastic strips.

HMS Beagle's small boats

HMS Beagle

In the next week, I will finish painting and fitting the boats. The carronade will be next on the list, then I will start on the Beagle’s masts. Contributed by model-maker Mike Bass.

Week 2

This week the model has progressed very well. Using my electric finger file and a lot of sand paper, I sanded down the contours of the blocks of chemi-wood until it took on a hull shape.  Continual use of the drawings and sighting by eye has produced a perfect hull form.

Traditionally I would now stick individual copper plates to the hull to represent the copper sheathing that protects the hull from rotting.  Since I do not have the time to go down this path I have elected to have the hull vacuum formed (this is a process that heats a sheet of plastic card until soft and then a vacuum pulls the card over the master hull.  Once cool, the shape of the master is retained in the plastic card).

On the left is the finished, sanded Hull. On the right, the vacuum form taken from the Hull.

On the left is the finished, sanded Hull. On the right, the vacuum form taken from the Hull.

The reason for creating a vacuum form is that the chemi-wood is hard to score into.  Once trimmed to size I stuck the plastic hull shape over the master hull.  Using a fine scoring tool I have created the layers of copper sheathing. This took a steady hand and a lot of lip biting as the lines on the contour have to be parallel when viewed from the side.  Once done, I cut out the shape of the keel, stuck it on and filled in the gaps to create a smooth finish.

The vacuum form stuck to the hull and scored to represent copper sheathing.

The vacuum form stuck to the hull and scored to represent copper sheathing.

Next week I will be finishing the sheathing and move on to getting the hull upright onto it’s base and I will start working on the upper structure of the model.

From Mike Bass, the model maker.