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Test Bed: Lindberg's War of Independence Schooner

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  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Test Bed: Lindberg's War of Independence Schooner
Posted by 1943Mike on Saturday, April 25, 2015 1:01 PM

OK, I've made lots of mistakes and have not researched how the rigging/sails should look if furled. However, I've enjoyed attempting new techniques (for me) on this simple kit. I'm not done yet. I have a bunch of rigging left to do and then I have lots of touch up work ahead of me but it's 2/3 finished from my perspective.

My feeble attempts at furled sails are laughable and my use of copper tape on the hull, although an idea I very much wanted to try, has not turned out nearly as well as I'd hoped it might. Many of the mistakes I've made on this ship could have turned out better, I believe, had I spent a lot more time on figuring out how to best proceed after having seen some less than satisfactory results. Non-the-less, I have been and continue to be having fun putting this ship together.

Here are some pictures of my journey so far for anyone who is interested.

Mike











Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    June 2012
Posted by arnie60 on Saturday, April 25, 2015 2:54 PM

What a cute little model. Love the rake on those masts. Can't wait to see more.

  • Member since
    September 2013
  • From: San Antonio, Texas
Posted by Marcus McBean on Saturday, April 25, 2015 5:17 PM

I couldn't have done as good of a job.  Looking forward to seeing the final product.

  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Saturday, April 25, 2015 5:41 PM

Thanks guys.

It'll be a little while before she's finished simply because of the steps I take when I build a model: Three steps forward, one step backBig Smile. I'm always breaking a part off while I'm trying to rig or add a part here or there. Sometimes it's no big deal. Other times I have to redo more than a little work. That seems to be the nature of building models for me.

I like this kit given that it's so old and that accuracy and detail are not up to today's standards. It does have some charm in as much as it's supposed to be more or less representative of some of the revenue cutters in the first half of the 19th century - at least according to John Tilley's recollection of how Pyro used Model Shipways (I think) plans to produce their own versions of several models. Anyway, it's a fun little project before I begin working on a 1/350 Liberty Ship for a merchant marine friend of mine whose dad was one of the few survivors of the SS Stephen Hopkins ( http://www.armed-guard.com/hoppy.html). That project will probably take me at least 6 months.

Mike

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    March 2005
Posted by philo426 on Saturday, April 25, 2015 9:30 PM

Looks great!

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, April 25, 2015 9:37 PM

Don't knock it for being old. there's plenty there to work with and you are doing a fine job.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Saturday, April 25, 2015 11:16 PM

As I said, "I like this kit...." No, I'm not knocking it. It doesn't have all the super detailing that most modern kits have but I think it represents a type of ship that was rather important for a period of time. I may have misspoken when implied it wasn't accurate. I have to believe it may be very accurately produced from somebody's plans. It actually does look rather like one of the Morris class revenue cutters from what I've been able to find in my reference books and online.

Anyway, thanks. It's fun to work on.

Mike

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    July 2010
  • From: Tempe AZ
Posted by docidle on Saturday, April 25, 2015 11:41 PM

Mike,

You did a great job on her, you have to be proud of the outcome. I have always loved this kit.

I am in awe with you coppering the hull. I have the Revell HMS Bounty and the old Aurora Black Falcon which I plan on coppering and it scares me silly! Well done, sir.

Steve

       

 

 

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Sunday, April 26, 2015 2:17 AM

Looks good.

Some nautical quibbles--that club head there at the main topmast is actually part of the gaff topsail, so, it goes to the deck with the sail, the halyard probably being tied off at the rail  near it's pin.  

The mainsail is similarly fastened to the gaff, so the gaff ought to be laying across the boom with the sail bound up between.

The topsail on the foremast in this size of a ship would have been struck down to the deck entire.  Or, it would be brought down to the doubling of the foremast.  The fore gaff would be lowered to take in the foresail, but, that gaff might be raised to boom cargo into the hatch below.

Should you change your kit?  only if you want to.  It stands as it is, and needs no changes,

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Sunday, April 26, 2015 10:17 AM

Try doing the copper with continuous tape lengths. I've done it the individual piece way, the continuous way and continuous/ cut in place. The latter two work better for me and reduce the annoyance of peeling off all of that backing. Of course, the bigger the hull the easier. I really like how this came out.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Sunday, April 26, 2015 10:22 AM

BTW for anyone wondering how a service commissioned in 1790 fought in the "War of Independence", the term here seems to refer to the Mexican-American War of 1846- 1848.

EDIT: Texas "War of Independence" 1835-1836.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Sunday, April 26, 2015 10:33 AM

CAPNMAC82,

Thank you for your knowledgeable, constructive criticism. I very much appreciate garnering accurate information regarding the rigging, handling, and operation of sailing ships since I'm so ignorant on the subject. At this point, however, I'll just let her ride as I've built her so far.

I do understand what you meant by having the mainsail gaff as the top part of a sail sandwich Smile with the boom below. I do not, however know what a club head is so I'm not sure to what you are referring when you mention that it's part of the gaff topsail?

In any case, thanks for the information.

Mike

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Sunday, April 26, 2015 10:42 AM

GMorrison,

Next time I may try the continuous length approach. I got to the point where I was reasonably efficient in peeling off the backing from each length of tape but it sure added the most time to that part of the exercise. I was wondering if a continuous length of tape would be able to be cut without revealing the hull but I suppose, now that you've said that you've done it that way, that I shouldn't worry about that. I imagine that the cut would be so fine (using a fresh Xacto blade) that one couldn't possibly see the hull between "sections". Anyway, thanks for the suggestions.

Mike

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, April 26, 2015 2:44 PM

Mighty nice model, and a fine step toward something fancier.

The last thing I want to do is turn this thread into a long list of criticisms, but I can offer a few suggestions for next time.

The "club" Cap'n Mac referred to is the small spar attached vertically behind the main topmast. It is, in fact, the gaff topsail yard. The gaff topsail is a more-or-less triangular sail that's set between the topmast and the gaff (the diagonal spar that swings just under the main lower masthead). I agree with Cap'n Mac: the gaff topsail yard would be lowered to the deck when the gaff topsail and mainsail were furled. My suggestion would be to just leave it off.

The main gaff would, indeed, be lowered with the mainsail when the latter was furled, and would end up on top of the furled mainsail on the boom. That's almost (but not quite) for certain. There were two ways to handle a gaff-and-boom-rigged sail: with a hoisting gaff or a standing gaff. Big ships like clippers, which had gaff-and-boom-rigged spankers on their mizzen masts, usually seem to have  used the standing gaff. In that rig, the sail gets hauled up and furled against the mast and the gaff. But an enormous gaff-and-boom-rigged sail, like the one on this schooner, almost certainly would have a hoisting gaff. The first step in furling the sail would be to lower the gaff, so the sail got sandwiched between the gaff and the boom. The gaskets securing the furled sail would be wrapped around all three: gaff, sail, and boom.

I'm far less certain about the foresail, which is loose-footed gaff-rigged (with no boom). I'm inclined to think that in a mid-nineteenth-century revenue cutter the foresail would have a standing gaff - as 1943Mike has shown it. The gaff would stay aloft at all times, and the sail would be gathered against the gaff and the mast. (The geometry of just what that sail looks like when it's furled is a little complicated, but essentially it's a long, skinny sausage running along the bottom of the gaff and the back of the mast.) I've seen a few pictures of loose-footed foresails with their gaffs lowered and the sails furled to the gaffs, but not many.

Cap'nMac may be right about the fore topsail yard being sent down to the deck when the sail was furled, but not necessarily. It might have been rigged more-or-less permanently aloft. If so, when the sail was furled the yard would be lowered until it was sitting on, or slightly above, the lower mast cap.

To my eye the furled sails don't look bad at all. My only suggestion (for next time) would be to cut the "canvas" for the square-rigged sails as trapezoids, so the "bundles" are a bit fatter in the middle than at the ends. That's how a real furled sail generally looks, because the clewlines haul the clews (lower corners) of the sail up to the middle of the yard.

That "continuous strip" approach to copper sheathing will work up to a point. And I wouldn't worry about the cuts between plates showing the hull surface. The trouble is that the surface being coppered is full of compound curves. Therefore not all the strips will be the full length of the ship - and quite a few of the plates will be triangles, rather than rectangles. I've always coppered hulls with individual plates, and haven't found it particularly difficult - at least with a small ship on a large scale. (If I remember right, I coppered my little Model Shipways Phantom with individual plates in one evening. The Bounty took two or three.) The trick is to figure out just where each row of plating is supposed to go. To describe that verbally is beyond my capacity, but there are quite a few good books that show it.

One trick that might help with the coppering. The tape comes in widths that are usually too wide for scale copper sheathing plates. My approach to that was to peel the backing off a foot or so of the tape, and stick the copper down lightly to a piece of glass. Then, using a straightedge, I cut the strip to the proper width (about 1/8" for the Phantom, slightly over 1/16" for the Bounty). Then I chopped off the individual plates, using an X-acto knife with a chisel blade. Then it was just a matter of peeling each plate off the glass and sticking it to the model. Last, I firmly burnished the whole hull. The adhesive on the copper of the Phantom has now held for ten or fifteen years, without any sign of coming loose. For the Bounty I cut up sheets of copper - mainly because I didn't know the tape was available (sigh) - and glued the plates to the hull with contact cement. It's now held for thirty-five years.

Overall, a fine model of a most attractive little ship. I'm sure we'll all be looking forward to seeing what comes next from this shipyard.

P.S. I see a drawing poking into a couple of those photos that looks vaguely familiar.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Sunday, April 26, 2015 4:23 PM

John,

Thank you for your, as usual, clear explanation of the nautical terminology and how it relates to my model.

I guess there are several things I could do with my build at this point but, as I opined in the title of this thread, it's a test bed. I've now broken several little but important parts on this model and have tried my best to put them back albeit with some modification of my own which takes away from the realistic detail but will help it to stay together, I hope. Therefore, unless I buy another kit onto which I would apply several of the suggestions Cap'nMac and you have made, I think she'll stand more or less as I have her now.

Mike

P.S. Yes, the drawing to which you are referring (I think) is of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Alexander Hamilton 1851-1853 as drawn by you, I believe. I was trying to use it to get some idea of where the waterline should go.

Mike

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Sunday, April 26, 2015 10:03 PM

Once again, our Professor proves a more lucid author than I.  

I know I was tying to stay away from the issues of standing versus running gaffs (and those fixed rigged running),  Which is also why I did not take up the issue of mast hoops, nor brailling  All of which are complications to the modeling process.

The proportions used in this kit always kick my H.I. Chappel reflexes.  And, to be fair, I occasionally use his autocratic dicta without nearly enough filtering.  

  • Member since
    May 2006
Posted by thunder1 on Friday, May 1, 2015 10:37 AM

I'm not sure why Lindberg offers this kit a the "War of Independence schooner" when Pyro sold the same model as the Revenue Cutter "Roger B. Taney". There was a built up plastic model (in a wood and glass case) of this ship at the CG Academy donated to the Coast Guard in 1956 by the PYRO company. According to the brass plaque it was given " in appreciation of assistence in researching this model kit". The actual TANEY wasn't built until well past the end of the Revolutionary War. Oh well, so much for marketing...

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, May 1, 2015 12:39 PM

Thunder, as I mentioned, the "War of Independence" referred to is the Mexican-American War of 1846.

Two steam cutters and three sailing cutters served in that one. Obviously this model is neither of the steam cutters, I don't know which were sailing cutters.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, May 1, 2015 2:45 PM

That old kit has an interesting history, which we've discussed several times here in the Forum. Let's not go over it again here; a Forum search on "Taney" should bring up the earlier posts.

The kit is intended to represent a revenue cutter of the Morris class. The most convenient, up-to-date source of basic information about American sailing warships (including revenue cutters) is Paul H. Silverstone's The Sailing Navy, 1775-1854. According to that source, the Morris class (which the author calls the Morris-Taney class) consisted of thirteen vessels. Not all of them were identical. In fact it's likely that no two of them were. Some had head rails and billet heads for figureheads; others had plain stems. And their dimensions varied somewhat. (The records of the Revenue Cutter Service are notoriously miserable. Silverstone was able to find records of the dimensions of only six of the ships.)

According to the same source, the "Texas Navy" consisted of thirteen ships, one of them, the Zavala, being a steamship (former name Charleston; apparently a converted merchantman). Of the twelve sailing vessels, only one was a former revenue cutter: the Morris-class U.S.R.C. Ingham, which the Texans renamed (drum roll please) Independence.

I have to get a bit of a laugh out of that story about Pyro donating the model to the CG Museum in recognition of the Coast Guard's assistance with the "research" for the kit. It's pretty clear that Pyro's "research" actually consisted of buying a Model Shipways solid-hull wood Roger B. Taney, which was then a relatively new kit. (Pyro also swiped the Model Shipways Harriet Lane, the tug Dispatch No. 9, and fishing trawler Hildina. The owners of Model Shipways referred to Pyro as "Pirate Plastics.")

One change that Pyro made I don't understand: that strange round blob at the extreme bow. The Model Shipways plans show a traditional billethead for a figurehead; I've never seen anything quite like the Pyro/Lindberg representation.

The old kit has been around so long, under so many different labels, that it's hard to sort out its history. (I suspect the people running Lindberg in the seventies and eighties had no idea where it had come from.) By modern standards it's pretty crude, all right, but frankly I wish it would come back. There aren't many plastic sailing ship kits that make good beginner projects. Round 2 Models has reissued the Harriet Lane; maybe they'll reissue this kit too. I'd also love to see the return of the Pyro Gertrude L. Thebaud / "American Cup Racer," which was pirated from a Marine Models wood kit.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Monday, May 11, 2015 1:08 PM

OK, here she is as far as I'm able to finish her. I do like her. She's diminutive compared to the 1/96 Connie and Cutty Sark I have in my little condo. (I'll have to work up the fortitude to give away some of my builds as I begin others - not much more room! Sad) She'll reside somewhere in my dining/kitchen area I think.

My apologies for hot having obtained the correct information to begin with regarding how I rigged the little ship with sails furled. I did remove the club head but when I attempted to break off the fore topsail yard so that I might position lower - just above the mast cap - I found it attached so well that I was sure I'd break the mast if I continued my attempt. So it sits higher on the mast than it should. I certainly was not going to try to redo all the rigging and take a chance on breaking the mainmast  gaff by attempting to lower it to the boom. C'est la vie.

All in all I'm happy with my little ship.

Mike





Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    July 2010
  • From: Tempe AZ
Posted by docidle on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 10:34 PM

Mike,

I really like what you've done with her. I'll have to pick one up and build it now.

Steve

       

 

 

  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 12:11 AM

Thanks Steve.

Don't forget to look back in this thread at the comments from Capnmac and John Tilley regarding where the gaffs, booms, and yards are supposed to be positioned if you build her with sails furled.

Next up: Trumpeter's S.S. John W. Brown (Liberty Ship) as the S.S. Stephen Hopkins.

Mike

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Saturday, May 16, 2015 5:14 PM

Mike,

Nice job! I had hoped that Lindberg had re-released this kit!

Bill

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Saturday, May 16, 2015 8:32 PM

In glancing over this thread again, I've noticed that there's a little historical confusion in it. The ship that the kit apparently is supposed to represent didn't operate in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), but in the Texas War for Independence, aka Texas Revolution (1835-1836). That's the conflict in which Texas, then a province of Mexico, gained its tempoary status as an independent nation. The two most famous actions of that war were the defense of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. Texas remained independent until it was annexed by the U.S. in 1845. That move by the U.S. precipitated the war between the U.S. and Mexico that started the following year.

One of the first moves of the newly-declared Republic of Texas in 1835 was to buy the Revenue Cutter Ingham from the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service. (Price: $1700.00.) The Texans renamed her Independence. So Pyro was technically correct in calling her an "Independence War Schooner" - once we accept that the war in question was the one between Mexico and the Republic of Texas.

According to Wikipedia, the ship was later captured by the Mexican Navy and renamed Independencia. (The word had a patriotic ring for Mexicans, who had gained their independence from Spain only a few years earlier.) One could really raise some eyebrows by putting a Mexican flag on that model.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Saturday, May 16, 2015 10:31 PM

According to Wikipedia there were several schooners in the Texas Navy. Here are some Wikipedia links to 3 of them:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texan_schooner_Independence
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texan_schooner_Liberty
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texan_schooner_Brutus

There was another listed of the four that came up when I Googled "four schooners Texas Navy" but it had a steam engine also.

What the Lindberg kit model represents I'm not certain but it does seem to fit into the first half of the nineteenth century as I mention in this thread early on.

I did enjoy working on both the copper (Muntz metal?) plating technique as well as trying my hand at furled sails. I'm now a little wiser thanks to Capnmac82 and JTilley with regard to some nautical terminology as well as how ships'  yards, gaffs, and booms were positioned when fore and aft sails as well as a square topsail were furled.

Thanks all for the kind comments.

Mike

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Sunday, May 17, 2015 1:04 AM

I really like the lines ans look from this illustration: 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, May 17, 2015 3:45 AM

The precise composition of the "Texas Navy" seems to be a little questionable. My natural inclination is to believe Silverstone in preference to Wikipedia; on the other hand the Wikipedia entry probably is a little more recent. It seems to have been written by somebody who knew his/her way around Coast Guard history.

The other two "Texas Navy" schooners presumably were acquired from somebody other than the USRCS.

The whole "Texas Navy" is a curious little footnote to history (it only existed for about a year) - but an interesting one. What I don't understand is why Pyro (and Lifelike, and Lindberg) took so much trouble to make the actual story of the ship so obscure. I don't think any of them mentioned the name Ingham, which is the vessel the model almost has to represent.

The Ingham and the Roger B. Taney were both members of the Morris class of revenue cutters, which were built between 1830 and 1836. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, the Ingham was the only one that wound up in the "Texas Navy," with the name Independence.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Sunday, May 17, 2015 10:42 AM

From my landlubber's perspective the lithograph on the lower left of the Wikipedia page dealing with the "Independence" is slightly more like the Lindberg model than the full color painting on the top right of the page (the ship's boat aft rather than to starboard and the main mast with square sails above the gaff). The color painting also has me baffled (easy to do) regarding the top fore and aft sail on the main mast - it seems to me as though the artist depicted it filling as though to counter the direction of all the other sails' thrust? You guys gotta forgive my naivité with regard to sail propulsion Smile.

As to which illustration on that page the model is supposed to represent.... I don't really know for sure. Even the lithograph, which I think is the closest, has more square sails above the fore and aft sails than the model. This is just idle chit chat. The model, as I said, was a fun little "test bed" project for me.

Mike

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, May 17, 2015 2:00 PM

That triangular sail above the main gaff is the gaff topsail, which we discussed earlier in this thread. This particular painter seems to have left the gaff topsail yard off - which could well be correct. (Some ships had gaff topsail yards; others didn't.)  But he did set the sail more-or-less correctly, blowing out from the lee side of the mast. (The ship is on the port tack, so the starboard side is the lee side.)

Those paintings and drawings in Wikipedia all appear to my eye to have two important things in common: they were painted long after the Texas War of Independence, and the artists didn't know a whole lot about nautical technology. I wouldn't take any of them too seriously as primary sources.

Unfortunately, though, they're about the only pictorial sources we have.

The Pyro/Lindberg/Lifelike kit was copied from the Model Shipways wood kit, which was based on a set of drawings that Howard I. Chapelle found in the records of the Coast Guard in, I believe, the 1930s. Those drawings most definitely ARE primary sources.

We know that not all the Morris-class cutters were built to the same design (though all certainly were similar). I don't think anybody can say for certain that the kit precisely represents the Ingham/Independence/Independencia, but I don't think anybody can say for certain that it doesn't.

As I mentioned earlier, the records of the old Revenue Cutter Service are extremely spotty. The sources just don't permit the kind of detail and accuracy that modern modelers want. Personally, I wouldn't be uncomfortable calling the model "a reconstruction of the Texas Navy schooner Independence, formally the USRCS Ingham." I don't think anybody could prove me wrong.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Sunday, May 17, 2015 7:39 PM

John, my mistake Embarrassed regarding my thinking that the main mast had square sail(s) above the gaff. You, indeed, mentioned it in explaining the "club" to me (the small spar attached vertically behind the main topmast) that it was for a "more-or-less triangular sail that's set between the topmast and the gaff ".

Mike

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

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