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Up-grading the Del Prado 1/100 Victory Options
Plymouth57
#461 Posted : 31 January 2021 21:20:03

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Grateful (and very belated) thanks to all those wonderful comments on the figurehead!Blushing
Well, she’s finally made it! The ‘Ole Vic’ is out of ‘Reserve’ and back on the workbench. I almost can’t believe how long it’s been – three years have gone by since the last work I did on her but that was a rebuild and completion of her figure head. As I said in that installment I’ll have to get back onto the chainwales and looking at that part of the build it’s almost five years to the day! The date of the last posting on this section was the 17th of January 2016!!Blushing Blink For all that time the old girl has been stored on the bench under her yellow duster tarpaulin and despite that (probably because they’re pretty old dusters and quite thin) she’s still managed to pick up a slight coat of fine dust in the nooks and crannies, especially inside the gun ports. Nothing too much though and easily brushed away with a soft paintbrush. The things I did notice however after removing the dusters shown in Photo 1 was that firstly, some of the blackened brass chains are more rusty than black now, again, not too bad but I’ll need to see how they compare with the new chains before deciding whether I’ll need to create a ‘rusty iron’ paint to bring them all to the same ‘look’ or not and secondly, after five years of summer heat and winter cold up in the attic workroom, a few of the mounted cannon have parted company with the deck and are only held in place by their rigging! This time around though I have that excellent Deluxe Card Glue and a pack of tiny disposable pipettes – I’m going to try sucking up a small quantity of the glue and ‘injecting’ it under the cannon to re-glue their wooden support blocks back to the deck again. That’s for later however, the first thing I had to do was to go back to my own diary and figure out what the heck I was doing down there five years ago! Photo 2 shows her together with a pair of printed diary pages to remind me of the task in hand (and how I was doing it) and the pair of reference books I’ve been using throughout the build. Having seen that I had made some little jigs to construct the chains on, the obvious next question was ‘What the hell did I do with them?’ Fortunately they weren’t far away (a miracle in my workroom) so I could try and get back into the routine of miniature blacksmithing again. Photo 3 shows the first of the lower brackets under construction. Made from 0.5mm copper wire, formed around the nail jig and then hammered out flat on the miniature jewellers anvil as shown in the insert. The first two brackets are seen test fitting in Photo 4 with the first one nailed in place in Photo 5. What I’ve changed this time around is that the hammered copper brackets are now being chemically blackened instead of painting them as I was before. They were painted with Admiralty Paints Metal Black but over the intervening years that bottle has dried out solid (strangely, all the other Admiralty colours are fine!) I’m using the last of my Blacken-it bottle for these chains and nails although I’ve just sent off on Ebay for a 10ml bottle of a blackening solution which looks very much like the old Blacken-it and its description says it works on brass, bronze, lead, pewter and copper. If it works that will be great (it was only £2.99!) Another thing I have changed is the material for the lower chains themselves. The first ones were made from 0.5mm brass wire, as you can see in Photo 6, before leaving the Victory for her unintentional period in Reserve, I’d made all the upper chain links for this port side main channel so I only have to do the slightly more complicated lower links (complicated as they are narrower at the bottom than the top!) For the rest of them however, I’m using 0.4mm brass wire (half hard). The difference in diameter is hardly noticeable but the wire is considerably easier to bend and shape. The brass chain links, brass fine nails and the copper brackets are first shaped, then dipped into a Poundshop bottle of Nail Polish remover (acetone) to completely de-grease them. After a gentle wrap up in a paper tissue they are then dropped into the Blacken-it, about half an inch deep in a re-cycled cleaned jam jar (cranberry sauce actually)! I’m also using a little item I bought to help with resin casting in the winter – a heat mat of the kind used for reptile and tarantula tanks (no I bought another one – my Tarantula is fine and warm still!BigGrin ) With the Blacken-it solution warmed up it only takes a few minutes to blacken the copper and brass, cold, it can take over an hour and left too long the parts come out half the size they went in. Once they are blackened off they are removed with tweezers and dropped into another glass jar full of clean water to neutralize the chemical then dabbed again with the paper tissue to dry them off ready for fixing in place. Also in Photo 6, the next lower chain along doesn’t have a bracket but is fixed directly to the hull right on the corner of the gun port. DelPrado builders have to take extreme care around these ports – under the wood surround is the cast metal box, which forms the actual gun port – tap a nail too close and its possible to dislodge the metal box away from the hull and rib – that’s why I always pre-drill the hole first to make sure nothing’s behind it!
Another thing that I remembered after coming back to the Victory was the need for an extra, directed light source! All the lighting in my workroom comes from directly above the workbench. This is fine for the vast majority of the builds but has one drawback when I arrived at this stage all those years back – building the chains for the channels involves working underneath the channels themselves, in other words – in the shadows! You need a light source beaming into the work area from the side to illuminate the spot. Last time I was using my work lamp with umpteen white LEDs stood on its end. This was great but in the meantime the darned thing has broken its battery compartment lid and can’t be made to stay on. Looking on Ebay (as always) I found this super little reading lamp for just £6.39! It’s powered by an internal rechargeable battery which is charged up via a USB port (or one of my mains USB plugs I got for the Kindle), light as a feather and the neck is completely bendable to put the light just where its needed. There is no actual moving switch, just a printed symbol over a touch sensitive spot on the base – first touch switches it on, second makes it brighter, third brighter still and fourth turns it off again – an absolute bargain and easier than the start of this installment when I was balancing a Cree torch on top of a plastic mixing cup and roll of tape to get the right height for the spotlight!Blushing My new best tool is shown in Photo 7. Finally for this long overdue return, Photo 8 illustrates the completed port side Main Channel Chains assembly. Just checked the starboard channel – the deadeyes are all there, just got to start the entire chain part now!
Back again with that lot next, hopefully in a lot less than five years!BigGrin

Until then, stay safe and Happy Modelling to you All!

Robin.
Plymouth57 attached the following image(s):
Main Channels pic 12.JPG
Main Channels pic 13.JPG
First wooden ship: The Grimsby 12 Gun 'Frigate' by Constructo Second: Bounty DelPrado Part Works Third: HMS Victory DelPrado Part Works 1/100 scale
Diorama of the Battle of the Brandywine from the American Revolutionary War Diorama of the Battle of New Falkland (unfinished sci-fi), Great War Centenary Diorama of the Messines Ridge Assault
Index for the Victory diary is on page 1
birdaj2
#462 Posted : 02 February 2021 01:21:14

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Good to see you back working on this one Robin.

Its stood the test of the years pretty well from what you say.

That lamp you have sounds like a real bargain and looks very versatile.

Tony
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Plymouth57
#463 Posted : 14 February 2021 21:31:32

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Many thanks for those kind words Tony! Yes, apart from those 'loose cannon' BigGrin she's in pretty good condition considering (plus the copper tape bottom is continuing to weather itself nicely too!)Cool

Well, the good news is the starboard Main Channel chains did NOT take five years to complete like the port side did!BigGrin That new source of blackening solution on ebay to try alongside my diminishing supply of the original ‘Blacken-it’ worked really well. I just bought a 10ml bottle to try out (it comes in 10, 20 or 30ml, or in other words one, two or three 10ml bottles) for £2.99 a bottle. The info on the site said it could be diluted down to about 1:10 with clean, preferably distilled water so I used some clean rain water but only mixed it in a 1:1 solution giving me a 20ml supply in a clean cranberry sauce glass jar. With the jar left tightly capped and stood on the heat mat to warm it up, the solution will turn the brass wire black in about thirty seconds and the copper brackets in about a minute! (After a quick bath in the acetone first). Photo 9 shows the first part of the procedure with all the thirteen brass upper chain links shaped and blackened hanging off the deadeyes. As well as the blackening going well I also improved upon the technique for making the lower links and the copper brackets. I had already made up the first five links starting from the aft using the old method – measuring what I thought the link should be, making it up and then test fitting it to find if it was the correct length, before having to make another, either one size bigger or smaller. You’d think simply measuring it would be accurate enough but getting in there with a ruler or even callipers is very difficult and even then the angle the chain will eventually run down at can be off making the measurement a mm or two off as well. The original jig I made up those five years ago is shown in Photo 10 and this is still used in the same way. But after the fifth link I had a brainwave. Actually not a brainwave, just a good idea – if I’d thought of this right at the start THEN it would have been a brainwave!Blink Using the jig, I made up a set of measuring links with a hook at the top end and a ring at the other, bent up slightly to simulate the bend at the end of the real link where the nail passes through both the link and the copper bracket to nail it to the hull as seen in Photo 11. Now, to find the correct size of lower link I simply have to hook the gauge over the upper link and see if the ring touches the hull in the right place. As you can see in Photo 12, the smallest 6mm gauge isn’t long enough to reach, whilst in Photo 13, the 10mm one is just right! This made constructing the bottom links far more precise (with much less wastage of brass wire!) The other slight change was in the creation of the copper brackets. At the same time as I thought up the gauges I moved from hammering out the copper wire with the little jeweller’s hammer to placing the formed copper bracket under the shank part of the iron punch I’m using to tap in the final bit of the brass nails (to avoid smashing great dints into the wooden hull!) By placing the bracket under the shank and tapping that with the hammer I get a more even flattening of the copper. This is almost like Nelson’s Navy as it moved from individual blacksmith produced ironwork to industrial steam press mass production – although if any dockyard blacksmith of that era saw my diddy jeweller’s hammer he’d have to go home for the day with uncontrollable laughter!BigGrin The ‘steam press’ is shown on my equally laughable anvil with a ‘raw’ and flattened copper bracket in Photo 14 with a close up of the brackets in Photo 15. As well as new techniques, I’ve also got a couple of new tools shown in Photo 16. Firstly, my best electronics wire snips are ‘adequate’ for cutting the brass wire but they could be a little sharper or finer so I’ve tried something different – instead of really expensive wire snips I’m going to try the ones shown here which are actually pedicure nail clippers! I’ve tried them on the 0.4mm brass wire and they give a lovely neat cut. I’ll give them a good try-out on the Fore-channels, which are next in line. The tweezers are the other new buy. I was finding that holding the blackened links and moving them about with normal tweezers was causing scratches, which meant another dip in the blackening bath so this set is made of plastic! They’re meant for electronic work really, eg, non-conductive, but the pointy ended ones have proved ideal for this job. The only contact with a metal tool after blackening now is the final closing of the open upper link once the lower one is hooked on. I tried using the plastic ones but they’re not quite strong enough to bend the brass. Photo 17 is to illustrate just how effective that new blackening solution is and the final Photo 18 shows the entire starboard Main Channel fully chained to the hull below – only four years and fifty-one weeks quicker!
The Fore Channels are next of course, but before those get underway its time to try and get some glue under those wobbly cannon to fix them down again. Once that is done I’ll have to try and re-build the mini router set up I made from my mini drill stand to carry on with the Fore Channels. The wood is already shaped apart from the subtle inner curve to fit the hull, and they just need the groove for the copper wire surround – ah! Belay that!Blushing Just picked up the channels and I must have routered the grooves when I did the others! Brilliant!Cool Just need to mark out and file the positions for the deadeye strops to fit into then. In the meantime I want to try and make new moulds for the scratch built crew figures I started five years or so ago, and try casting them in resin instead of white metal (that’ll work out cheaper in the long run!)
Until then, stay safe (I’m off for my first vaccination next Tuesday) and Happy Modelling to you All!

Robin.
Plymouth57 attached the following image(s):
Main Channels pic 14.JPG
Main Channels pic 15.JPG
Main Channels pic 16.JPG
First wooden ship: The Grimsby 12 Gun 'Frigate' by Constructo Second: Bounty DelPrado Part Works Third: HMS Victory DelPrado Part Works 1/100 scale
Diorama of the Battle of the Brandywine from the American Revolutionary War Diorama of the Battle of New Falkland (unfinished sci-fi), Great War Centenary Diorama of the Messines Ridge Assault
Index for the Victory diary is on page 1
Markwarren
#464 Posted : 15 February 2021 08:54:32

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Nice to see you back on this one Robin

Mark
Plymouth57
#465 Posted : 01 April 2021 20:39:00

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Many thanks for that Mark, its great to be doing something (anything) on her again!Blushing
Hello again to all! As I mentioned in the last installment, as a break from continuing on with the foremast channels I’ve gone back to the crew figures I began some years ago now, which are shown in Photo 1. There were five figures in the original mould, which was designed for casting with white metal (although I only made up the first three as painted models). The initial idea was that I was going to cast them in metal and then carefully bend the arms into a variety of positions for the various crew. As you have probably noticed I have since fallen in love with casting acrylic resin and so I’ve decided to try and convert the original figures and add some more to create a cheaper alternative to the white metal (the price of which has gone through the roof in recent years!)Crying The original sprue of figures for the high temperature mould is seen in Photo 2 and since they were created I’ve also added somewhat to the available ‘source’ material as shown in Photo 3. The first figures were created from the contents of the little bag (about 50 of them I think), the larger collection is a whole 100 which includes a few new poses as well. These are of course 1/100 scale ‘architectural’ figures, also invaluable for N gauge model railways too! If you can wait for them to arrive from China they are incredibly cheap as well. I think the first bag may have been Japanese in origin as it contained a few Geishas in amongst the collection (not very useful for an 1805 HMS Victory!)Blink The new set has some more appropriate items including one that appears stripped to the waist and some children (awaiting conversion to powder monkeys I hope.) Photo 4 shows the new mould under way with the Boatswain’s Mate figure replaced with one of the new conversions’ as I wanted to build up the coat on the Bosun’s Mate (or 'Boatswine' as Corporal Jones calls them) a little more.
After pouring in the first half of the silicone rubber and letting it cure overnight we have the half mould as seen in Photo 5. Note the white ‘pigtail’ on the second figure from the right – his original came away with the plasticene so I had to re-model a new one with plastic putty ‘in situ’ before coating the rubber with a layer of Vaseline to prevent the second silicone mould from bonding to the first (and it wouldn’t be the first time either – sometimes the Vaseline isn’t thick enough, especially the liquid variety sold for just this purpose, and once I forgot to apply the ruddy stuff!)Blushing Anyway, after adding another row of Lego bricks and filling it up with the silicone I had a finished mould, which produced a line of little figures as shown in Photo 6. Not all perfect (the first attempt rarely is), one of the seamen has no hand and the Marine is missing his right forearm. In fact, the missing Marine’s arm continued to persist no matter how I tried to tweak the resin into the mould with cocktail sticks etc. For the demonstration figure I eventually made a new arm with plastic putty by applying a drop of putty at the elbow and shaping it with a sewing needle. I think the probable answer is to carefully cut off some arms from the basic figures, cut and glue them into different positions with rolled up sleeves or cuffs and then make a little separate mould to cast a selection at a time and basically make tiny ‘Multipose’ figures (remember the Airfix Multipose?) with separate arms.
Photo 7 illustrates the most basic conversions, here a figure which might be a steam train driver with conveniently rolled up sleeves and open shirt, carrying a jacket over his arm has simply had the jacket carved away (unfortunately his left hand is under the jacket and had to go too), his peaked cap was cut away and replaced with a scratch built straw hat from plasticard. This one with three or four others will be making up a second figure mould soon. Photo 8 shows two of the resin figures after a coat of paint with the ‘raw’ castings behind and Photos 9 and 10 are a close up view of them from front and back. The faces are awaiting a flesh wash ink to pick out the details and I’m awaiting a new bottle of flesh wash – my decades old bottle of Citadel wash has dried out solid – I tried adding a few drops of water but I think its had it!
So that’s it for the moment, at least I’ve proved to myself that the old white metal figures were ‘convertible’ to resin and that reminds me of something! The DelPrado kit only supplied enough deck cannon for the positions at the gun ports. The bigger scale Victory kits (like the Jotika kit on which I'm basing my Victory, often have two extra cannon lashed down on the forward deck and I always wished afterwards that I’d got into this resin lark before I glued and rigged them all in place, then I had a brainwave and checked on ebay. Now I’ve got a spare magazine complete with the cannon to make a rubber mould from, so I can stick another two ‘up front’ (like all the big boys)!BigGrin
Stop Press – the flesh wash has just arrived and I’ve tried it on the figures. Certainly makes a great difference especially on the Marine who has more definition on his face than the seaman. This wash didn’t need any extra thinning (though it might on larger scale figures) and is made by a Danish company called “The Army Painter”, a firm I only came across a short while ago when I bought their “Rough Iron” colour to touch in any chips in the chemical blacking on the channel chains. The Army Painter specializes in war games figures with a colour range which includes both historical and fantasy themes. I’ve only got the two colours so far but I’m really impressed with the quality.
The next installment will either be a few more figures or else the foremast channels (depends on how much moving around I have to do to start the Ferrari!)Cool
Until them, stay safe and Happy Modelling to you All!

Robin.
Plymouth57 attached the following image(s):
New crew figures pic 1.JPG
New crew figures pic 2.JPG
First wooden ship: The Grimsby 12 Gun 'Frigate' by Constructo Second: Bounty DelPrado Part Works Third: HMS Victory DelPrado Part Works 1/100 scale
Diorama of the Battle of the Brandywine from the American Revolutionary War Diorama of the Battle of New Falkland (unfinished sci-fi), Great War Centenary Diorama of the Messines Ridge Assault
Index for the Victory diary is on page 1
Roeland
#466 Posted : 02 April 2021 07:35:21

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Very well done - I might try this casting method next time.
goddo
#467 Posted : 02 April 2021 10:24:37

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Hi Robin,
It's nice to see you back on the forum and modelling again.
You have obviously regained your enthusiasm and some nice little touches there together with a few helpful tips.
Keep it coming.
Chris
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