Change is as good....

Lots of prep work. The masts are scratchbuilt. Some additions to the hull were needed.

I have been working pretty intensively on multiple projects over the past 6 months the largest of which has been the two books due to be published this year. One is finished the other just about to be. 

The 4Play scenarios came out of nowhere but have consumed  probably 200 hours - nevertheless, that has been fun and continues. 

Note the distortion on the LH casting portside

Sometimes though, a change is as good as a rest. I needed new terrain items for the next 4Play offerings and decided to do all of the items in  a 'One-er' as they say around here. Ah, there are those two wall sections I bought but didn't paint when I did the first ones 15 years ago, and here's that windmill I bought at Crisis  three years back oh, and don't I have harbour sections and ships I bought in bulk from Ainsty about 5 years ago? Let's find them and do those too. 

An extra mast necessitated some hull additions

Soon my cave was looking like a big workshop as it occasionally does. I prepped everything, undercoated everything then thought.... hmmm those ships COULD be really good if I put a bit of work into them.

Masts slotted in place - so little features for flag attachment already built in.

Out came the dowel, the balsa, the glue, the light string, the tools, the source material..... I am 12 hours down the track with the ships now and they are not beyond undercoating however..

These will serve well in the various roles I plan

Planning well ahead I see the possibilities. I have a set of naval rules for release this year. Clarence is designing the layout even as we speak. Playtesting has been happening in the US, Canada and the UK. I am writing a whole host of scenarios for release concurrently with the book in the 4Play format AND I am just about to go to virtual print on small ship naval actions for Donnybrook in the 4Play format including North America, Scilly Islands Pirates circa 1649, West Africa, the Caribbean and the adventures of Jean Bart.

What if I adapted the rules for large scale ships, small scale actions and made my ships multi-use by being able to change the stern decoration? This has made the prep phase of this project much longer than normal but, the possibilities and time saved in the future will be exponential.

Ainsty's site picture of the raw model.

The ships in question  are from Ainsty Castings. The model is advertised as a Sloop but, having gone all 17th century nautical in the past year, I am not sure what it is. Here is the model. I am sure Ainsty won't mind me using their photo as it is to publicize their range. 

You will be getting the idea of how it will look from this shot

It is nice but odd. The mast configuration is so vanilla that you could make it anything. As you'll see, I have given it two masts and rigged it in a sort of brig/pink/hoeker/pinnace cross to get it in period. 

Bowsprit extended by around 3 inches

I have quite a few issues with this model as a basic raw material. The positioning of the cabin windows at the stern is so low that you have got to hope than it never gets into the open sea but, nevertheless, I can work with it. The casting is not very good either. An overhead view demonstrates that it is not symmetrical and has a distinct inward dent or 'squash'  on one side. We'll get away with that though. I decided to treat these raw hulls as a blank canvas and see what I could do with them. 

They will feature as English Royalist, Commonwealth, Dutch, Spanish. Portuguese, French, Privateer, Danish and Scots vessels. A distinctive stern which is one of the wonderful features of this period, would actually be the rate limiting step in the painting so, what if I could swap out the taffrail/stern decor depending on the scenario?

Mods to stern will allow me to change the decoration

I cut a series of 3mm balsa stern panels to paint

Rough fit before any significant work undertaken

That idea I will preview but return to in a later post. 

So what does 12 hours work look like?

1. Cleaning

2. Undercoating 

3. Scratch building the masts/ yards, various extra fittings to accommodate my changes

Here's is where we are up to. Resisting painting was definitely a wise decision. I have made so many small mods, drilled so many holes, reglued so many badly fitting parts that painting would have needed constant reworking. I can see already that these models will be crackers but, prep and planning is everything. 

This fluyt style ship will get its masts permanently positioned and rigged now.

I have also decided to permanently rig these vessels and go back and do the same on every other 28mm ship I have but more of that later..