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Campbell's Cutty Sark

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  • Member since
    May 2006
  • From: Chapin, South Carolina
Campbell's Cutty Sark
Posted by Shipwreck on Wednesday, June 6, 2007 4:57 PM
This is a question for those who have Campbell's plans, or know the ship real well. I was looking at the general plans of the ship and noticed that there is one fife rail with five belaying pins on each side of the ship on the poop deck for the mizzen mask. The normal course for a ship is something like 11 to 13 pins per side. My Revell CS has 11 pin fife rails that mount on the deck!

So where is the other 6 or so pins? When I looked at the rigging plan, it seems there are 6 pins on the shear bar just on top of the dead eyes. Is this correct?

Thank you for your help in this.

On the Bench:

Revell 1/48 SR-71 Blackbird

Revell 1/96 USS Constitution - rigging

Trumpeter 1/350 USS Hornet CV-8

Revell 1/48 B-1B Lancer Prep & Reasearch

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, June 6, 2007 11:36 PM

The Campbell plans appear to show two straight wood pinrails, mounted on turned stanchions, one on either side of the poop outboard of the deckhouse.  There's also a "spider band" with ten pins in it around the mizzen mast itself.  The second sheet, which shows the standing and running rigging, shows eleven belaying pins mounted in the mizzen sheer pole.  (It's actually a little vague - just about the only detail on those plans about which I'd say that.)  There's no belaying point plan per se on the plans.  There is, however, at the bottom of the second sheet, a diagram showing how the various running rigging lines run through the fairleads that are attached to the shrouds, a couple of feet above the sheer poles.  A note on that diagram indicates that the lines are belayed to the pins in the same sequence.

I've said it before, and I'll take the liberty of saying it again.  Mr. Campbell's plans are near-essential reading for anybody undertaking a model of the Cutty Sark.  They're a treat for the eye, as well as an invaluable reference - and, at a price of about $20 (depending on the exchange rate at the moment) one of the biggest bargains in modeling.  They're available via the ship's website.  The folks there have an excellent reputation for fast, reliable mail order service.

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

  • Member since
    May 2006
  • From: Chapin, South Carolina
Posted by Shipwreck on Thursday, June 7, 2007 5:02 AM
I have seen several belaying plans, but have not found another one like CS's. Is this belaying plan unique to the CS?

If the rigging were belayed to the pins on a sheer pole, then the deadeyes and lanyards would be taking all the stress that would normally be distributed through a pinrail. Then for a seaman to work the pins, he would have to be reaching up and loose a lot of leverage. It does not make sense to me. As I read The Log of the Cutty Sark, I am search for an indication that a fife rail was installed at a later date that is similar to the 11 pin rails that mount to the poop deck on the Revell 1/96 CS. I am also perusing pictures of the CS, before the fire.

Modeling belaying pins on a sheer pole will be a trick. The mizzen sheer poles must have been more like flat straps than poles, which I would expect to find on the main and fore shrouds.

Campbell's Plans and Guide were $33 (w. shipping). Yesterday I took them to my local education supplier and had them laminated for $4 (Kinko's was $18). I love to just look at them.

On the Bench:

Revell 1/48 SR-71 Blackbird

Revell 1/96 USS Constitution - rigging

Trumpeter 1/350 USS Hornet CV-8

Revell 1/48 B-1B Lancer Prep & Reasearch

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, June 7, 2007 5:39 PM

About the only additional information I can offer regarding this particular detail is a quotation from Mr. Campbell's book, China Tea Clippers (pp. 144-5):

"On [sic] ships with a raised quarter deck or poop deck the mizzen running rigging belayed on a separate single fife rail on wood or metal stanchions situated just inside the poop rails and stanchions, or if a substantial wooden poop rail was fitted, it was pierced for belaying pins also.  Some flush-decked American ships carried a small fife rail at the mizzen.

"Another method was to fit a strong wooden or iron pin rail, with bosses pierced with holes, across the insides of the mizzen lower shrouds just above the level of the deadeyes, to which it was securely seized.  It was of a thickness, and with grooves on the outer face, such that it would not twist or cant with strain on the pins."

That latter description seems to fit what's shown on that rigging plan of the Cutty Sark.  It's a little surprising that, given all the detailed notes and detail sketches that Mr. Campbell made all over those plans, he didn't provide more than a vague indication of this particular fitting.  In fact on the third sheet (the one showing the sails and their gear) it's absent altogether.

In any case, belaying pin "racks" secured to lower shrouds were nothing new; I've seen such gadgets in eighteenth-century models.  (It's been suggested, in fact, that the practice of belaying running rigging lines to pins or cleats attached to the lower shrouds, or to the shrouds themselves, may have pre-dated the introduction of the pinrail we generally take for granted.)  The stress exerted by the running rigging lines on the shrouds doesn't seem to have been a major problem.  (Remember that the mizzen lower shrouds of the Cutty Sark were made of 4-inch wire.  That's hefty, sturdy stuff; I suspect it scarcely stretched at all.)

I guess it's possible that some sort of different pinrail arrangement was installed in the ship at some later date.  (The plans only depict her "as-built" configuration.)  The ship's website has quite a few nice photos on it; they might help establish what arrangement was in place in recent years.  The restoration and maintenance work on that ship has always been of high quality.  On the other hand, she underwent quite a bit of alteration in the late 1950s, when she was restored to something resembling her original appearance.  Prior to that time she'd spent some years under the Portuguese flag, rigged as a barkentine.  I rather suspect that change of rig, and the change back to the ship rig when she was restored, may have had an impact on the belaying pin arrangement around the mizzen mast.

Bottom line:  I personally wouldn't want to deviate from Mr. Campbell's plans of this ship unless I had a mighty convincing reason to do so.  And if required to choose between those plans and the Revell kit - well, there's just no contest.

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

  • Member since
    February 2007
Posted by Flitch on Friday, June 22, 2007 5:28 AM

     I am fortunate to possess Vols I and II of "The Cutty Sark" by Dr C Nepean Longridge, who also wrote "The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships", both books describe the detailed building of models of Cutty Sark and HMS Victory respectively, both of which presently reside in the Science Museum at South Kensington, London.  The former book published  c.1933, has long been out of print and no-one, to my knowledge, has ever reprinted it - goodness knows why!!  G.S. Laird Clowes the then director of the Science Museum said that Dr. Longridge "has that priceless combination, for a maker of ship models, a mind well trained to inquire... he insists first in finding out and checking each individual detail, and then in reproducing it correctly." 

     Dr. Longridge had the advantage of going aboard Cutty Sark whilst it was moored at Falmouth (since 1922), having been bought in Lisbon, by Captain Dowman to save it from the same fate as befell Thermopylae. I believe that it was the Captain's widow who presented it to the Thames Nautical Training College to act as an auxiliary to HMS Worcester.  In 1950, Worcester was replaced by a larger vessel and Cutty Sark was no longer required; she was offered to the then London County Council (now the GLC) who believed that this old vessel should be preserved for the nation. The Cutty Sark Preservation Society was set up in 1952 and a public appeal was made.  The rest you know. 

     Now for the mizzen pinrail.  On page 190 of Volume I of"The Cutty Sark" Dr. Longridge writes "Under the mizzen rigging there is a small rail with five belaying pins 1 1/4 in. long , 3/16 in. wide, 11/16 in. high, (these are 1/48 scale measurements - my insertion) supported on two turned legs painted white.  As there is only a spider band round the mizzen, with eight pins and no fife rail at its foot, obviously more places are required for turning up the mizzen rigging together with the main topgallant, royal and skysail braces, not to mention the spanker gear.  It is, therefore, reasonable to suppose that this small pin rail was at some time substituted for a much larger one, and I have made them (the pin rails - me again) to run from the topmast backstays aft for two in.,  (in 1/48 scale this would be 8 feet full size - me) and given them ten pins a side."  

     In light of Laird Clowes' obvious respect for Dr. Longridge, born of "many interesting talks", I believe that the good Dr is probably correct, remembering that the ship - whilst in Portugese hands - was rigged as a barquentine.   I should point out here that the Cutty Sark, as it was until recently, is not wholly accurate either in terms of its deck fitting, nor rigging and displays items and details from several different eras of its existence.  George Campbell's drawings, which were prepared, officially, for the preservation of the ship, were condensed from about sixty others which explains why they are so cluttered.  I respectfully suggest that the rigging could be reconstructed using a combination of George Campbell's plans and a copy of Harold A Underhill's "Masting and Rigging the Clipper ship and Ocean Carrier".  Together these will provide all that the modeller requires. The book is published by Brown, Son and Ferguson, Glasgow, Scotland. My copy has no ISBN.

     Mr Campbell, incidentally, was not overly enamoured of the Revell kit - "there is an awful lot missing and incorrect in the kit which is inevitable when a manufacturer decides to over-simplify for the sake of mass production.  I do not mean to detract from the kit which is an excellent job in other ways."  This observation was written 45 years ago, when plastic models were built as bought and rarely modified.  Given the very basic questions about rigging that I asked, I believe, he was concerned that I might sdimply give up should I attempt to make the kit an accurate depiction of the vessel.  I now believe he was hinting that, with the necessary effort, it was a  basis for a good model, but not as bought, which is surely what modelling is all about.  Revell  used Mr. Campbell's drawings to produce their kit.  Sorry for the length of this note, but I hope it is of use.  Difficulties are challenges not obstacles.  Good Luck.  Flitch

  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, June 22, 2007 6:11 AM
what does the "sark" mean in cutty sark? in fact, what does cutty mean?
  • Member since
    July 2006
Posted by Michael D. on Friday, June 22, 2007 7:34 AM

I've always associated it with a bottle of whiskey...LOL. The orgin of the name is very interesting, but in laymans terms means short shirt.

 The ship is named after the cutty sark (Scots: a short chemise or undergarment [1]). This was the nickname of the fictional character Nannie (also the name of the ship's figurehead) in Robert Burns' 1791 comic poem Tam o' Shanter. She was wearing a linen cutty sark that she had been given as a child, therefore it was far too small for her. The erotic sight of her dancing in such a short undergarment caused Tam to cry out "Weel done, Cutty-sark", which su

Cutty or cuttie (the diminutive form of cuttit, from Early Middle English cutte, kutte, cute[2]) is "short" or "stumpy".

Sark or serk (from Old English serc; Old Norse serk) is a "shift", "chemise", or "shirt".[3]

The earliest recorded literary usage of the term cutty sark (as opposed to older usage of the two separate words) is by Dougal Graham in c. 1779 (the year of his death): "A cutty sark of guide harn sheet, My mitter he pe spin, mattam."[1]

bsequently became a well known idiom.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, June 22, 2007 11:49 AM

We had a discussion of the name's origins some time back here in the Forum:  /forums/2/711153/ShowPost.aspx#711153

That particular topic doesn't arise till the second page of the thread, but there's some other stuff there that might be of interest.  The thread also contains a link to the Burns poem.

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

  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Tampa, Florida, USA
Posted by steves on Friday, June 22, 2007 3:40 PM

 Flitch wrote:
 I am fortunate to possess Vols I and II of "The Cutty Sark" by Dr C Nepean Longridge, who also wrote "The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships", both books describe the detailed building of models of Cutty Sark and HMS Victory respectively, both of which presently reside in the Science Museum at South Kensington, London.  The former book published  c.1933, has long been out of print and no-one, to my knowledge, has ever reprinted it - goodness knows why!! 

It was republised at least once.  My copy, which contains both volumes, was published by MAP (Model and Allied Publications?) in the 1960's or 1970's I believe.

 Flitch wrote:
  Revell  used Mr. Campbell's drawings to produce their kit. 

If they did they do not seem to have followed them very closely. The Revell kit is about an inch, or eight scale feet, too short according to Campbell's drawings, and the angle and profile of the bow are different. The stem on the drawings is noticably more upright and the forefoot much sharper than on the model, which is quite rounded.  Other items at deviance include the height of the bulwarks, number and placement of the hinged freeing ports, number and placement of the portholes at the bow, shape and placement of the billboards, lack of trail boards, etc.

 

Steve Sobieralski, Tampa Bay Ship Model Society

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, June 22, 2007 7:48 PM

I've got a copy of Longridge's The Cutty Sark:  The Ship and the Model that I bought sometime in the mid-seventies.  It combines the original two volumes into one - with a set of rather simplified plans, by Harold Underhill, in a pocket inside the back cover.  I'd have to go out to the workshop to check the publication date, but I think it's a Sweetman Reprint from the sixties - probably the same one Steves has.  (In those days Sweetman was one of the most prolific of publishers of primary sources for ship modelers.  Its catalog included the famous works by Steel, Biddlecomb, Lever, etc.)

In reading that book (or any other), we need to put it in the context of its time.  Longridge's model of the Cutty Sark was a tour de force of its period (the late twenties or the thirties; I don't remember which).  In some ways few models have ever surpassed it.  By modern standards, however, some of the details on it look pretty crude.  (Take a look at the perspective sketch showing how Longridge modeled the cargo winches at the feet of the fore and main masts, and compare them to the Revell kit.)  Longridge was one of the first of the really serious scale ship modelers of the twentieth century; that book leaves virtually every other work on the subject from that period in the dust.  But it doesn't represent the current state of the art.  It's instructive, in fact, to compare that model to Longridge's Victory.  (They reside - or did the last time I saw them - a few yards away from each other at the Science Museum in London - and both of them have suffered some ravages of time, for which that museum needs to be held responsible.)  The workmanship on the Victory is quite noticeably superior in lots of ways.

I've taken a careful look at my copy of the Campbell Cutty Sark plans.  At the lower righthand corner of each sheet is a formal notice of copyright - but no date.  I have the general impression (though I honestly can't remember where I got it) that those plans date from the early 1960s.  If so, the Revell 1/96 kit couldn't have been based on them.  (The kit made its first appearance in 1959.)

The plastic kit that most definitely is based on the Campbell Cutty Sark plans is the 1/125 version by the Japanese manufacturer Imai, from the late seventies.  It betrays its origins by the fact that each of the two cargo winches has a representation of a cable lifter on one (and only one) end.  (The Japanese designers presumably didn't read English, and missed the notes reading "Both ends thus on Forward Winch" and "Both ends thus on After Winch."  They also misinterpreted, rather amusingly, the shape of the hatch cover on the "booby hatch" aft of the main mast, which Mr. Campbell showed only in side and plan views.)  Both those mistakes can be rectified in a few minutes with an Xacto knife and plastic sheet.  I've said several times that, in my opinion, the Imai kit (which is currently being sold, at a hideous price, under the Aoshima label) is the best rendition of this ship in kit form - plastic, wood, or otherwise.

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

  • Member since
    February 2007
Posted by Flitch on Saturday, June 23, 2007 5:14 AM

     At the risk of going over old ground, Tam was very, very drunk and whilst riding home he spotted a coven of witches dancing.  He stopped to watch from cover.  He soon spotted that one of the witches, the youngest, was bonny and (er) well put together, not knowing her name but excited both by the shortness of her chemise (the cutty sark) and the energy with which she danced, he voiced his approval, whereupon the sky turned black, etc, and Tam was riding for his life.  Dimly recalling that witches cannot cross running water, he headed for the nearest bridge.  Just as his horse set foot on the bridge, Nannie, being the youngest, fittest and quickest of the coven caught up but only managed to grab the horse's tail which came off in her hand, which, apparently, gave rise to the tradition of sending the youngest member of the crew out onto the bow to put a teased-out length of rope into the outstretched arm of the figurehead as the ship entered port. 

     Given that Nannie was bonny (beautiful and pleasing to the eye), I hope that someone does something about the face of the present figurehead before it is reinstalled.  I realise the witches were angry, but the face, as carved, is not that of an angry young and pretty girl but rather exhibits pure malevolence.  Flitch

MJH
  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Melbourne, Australia
Posted by MJH on Saturday, June 23, 2007 9:02 AM

Ask the horse if wrenching its tail off at the root displays mere anger or sheer malevolence....

jtilley, can I ask you something?  I have the Campbell plans and the Imai kit and I've studied both but I reckon I'm as confused as the Imai designers.  Can you point me in the right direction as to the correct shape of the booby hatch?

Michael 

!

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Saturday, June 23, 2007 6:17 PM

MJH - I'll try, with two caveats.  One - this sort of thing is hard to do verbally; a photo of the real thing would quite literally be worth a thousand words.  Two - I'm going by memory, and the last time I was on board the ship was ten years ago.

The booby hatch arrangement is, essentially, a portable structure that sits on top of the coaming of the after hatch.  That coaming is made pretty much like the others; it consists of a simple framework of iron sheet with (I think) a bulb running around the top.  That coaming (I think) is painted white.  The booby hatch consists of a slanting-topped teak box that sits on top of the coaming.  It has a square opening (for access to the 'tweendeck and hold) in the center of its aft face and the after part of its top.  The slanting part of the opening is closed by a simple wood cover, which slides on a pair of equally simple wood rails.  I'm not sure what covers the vertical opening in the aft side; Mr. Campbell gives no indication of that detail.  I suspect there was removable panel with molded edges, sliding in rabbets on the adjoining parts of the hatch itself.  The plans indicate that there were countersunk decorative panels in the port and starboard sides of the hatch.  I suspect there were similar panels in the fore and aft sides as well.

Take a look at the plans again and I think (nay, hope) the above will make sense.

If I remember correctly (always a hazardous assumption these days), this is one of the few parts that Revell did better than Imai.  I haven't looked at the smaller, 1/350 Imai kit (currently being marketed by Revell Germany); I don't know whether it emulates the same mistakes that the bigger Imai kit has.

The cargo winches on the Imai 1/125 kit are also easy to fix.  Just slice the left end off one of the winches and swap it for the right end of the other one.  One will now have two cable lifters; that's the forward winch.  The other will have no cable lifters; that's the after winch.  Those winches are mighty small; Imai didn't do a bad job with them considering the scale, but a serious modeler might want to consider adding and cleaning up some of the detail on them.  (Oh, for a set of photo-etched metal detail parts for this kit!  Well, we can dream.)

Hope that helps a little.  Good luck.

 

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

MJH
  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Melbourne, Australia
Posted by MJH on Sunday, June 24, 2007 12:34 AM

Thanks for that, I believe I get the gist of it.  Essentially one needs to fit a top (below the representation of the sliding lid on the Imai parts) and a panel across the fore end.  I suppose the aft end can be left open and perhaps the sliding lid could be cut off and positioned further down to add interest, but what would be inside... steps, a ladder?

Your point about the winches is understood and noted. 

The sides of the booby hatch are decorated with a raised bead that follows their general outline a millimetre or two inside the edge, similar to that shown in the Campbell plans; perhaps a similar thing could be incorporated in the fore panel and the aft cover, if you fitted one as you suggest. 

I always get a warm glow when I take out the Imai kit, the attention to detail and fineness of the moulding are extremely impressive.  As you say, a PE brass set would enhance it enormously but I'm not sure I'd go to that trouble even if it were available, my inclination would be to keep it pure Imai, but that's just me.  Everything's in place to start it but I haven't been able to bring myself to begin - it's a work of art as it is!

Michael 

!

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, June 24, 2007 10:12 PM

The Campbell plans don't show a ladder or anything else inside the booby hatch.  I think it was intended to provide access to the 'tweendeck space, which, if the ship was fully loaded, would be jam-packed with tea chests (or, later, wool bales).  I imagine the crew set up a ladder (or maybe a rope one) to suit the circumstances.  When the ship was being loaded or unloaded, the booby hatch enclosure was removed, and the hatch functioned just like the other two (which would be kept thoroughly battened down while the ship was at sea).

I seem to recall reading that, in the ship's wool-carrying days, if she didn't have cargo stowed in the 'tweendecks Captain Woodget trained the apprentices to ride bicycles down there.  Given that most bicycles in those days had big, tall wheels on top of which the riders sat, that's quite an image to ponder.  Can you imagine trying to ride a bike like that, below decks and out of sight of the sea, with the ship rolling - even a little bit....

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

MJH
  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Melbourne, Australia
Posted by MJH on Sunday, June 24, 2007 11:21 PM
I'm not sure I can imagine doing that.  One has to wonder what his motivation was, if not pure sadism...  Perhaps he thought it helped give them their 'sea-legs' (not to mention concussion!). 

I expect standard headgear for apprentices was multiple layers of bandages.

Michael 

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