Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Any (Gun) Port in a Storm….

Taken sometime ago during construction. All I did was to paint the edges of the hull ‘slice’ in white and then sandwich it between the lower and upper hull.

This shows the bespoke laser cut hull slice with the gunports.

I was having a quick trawl through my blog list this morning and read with interest the post by the prodigiously prolific painter of playthings - the legend that is Jim Jackaman - concerning the challenges of painting age of sail style chequer-board gun ports. I will not spoil the surprise of how he has tackled this - pop over to his blog to see how - but it did remind me of the same problem I had and how I came up with a useful little cheat.

At the present time there are four ships in the ACW collection that are essentially age of sail ships with steam engines. Their guns were mounted broadside style along a full length gun deck and the line of gun ports was painted white in contract with the black of the hull. The actual thickness of the stripe varied enormously - some had an additional thin line above the gunports and some featured this below as well. I have yet to do this but have already worked how. Essentially I will mask off the edges above and below the ‘white slice’ and then paint these in white. I have done this previously on my model of H.M.S. Superb to show the lower hull ‘bootstrapping’. It is fiddly but not too difficult as long as one is careful.

The Spanish 3-decker the San Josef - note the gunports have lines above and below the ports themselves

H.M.S. Superb - the lower hull in brick red was painted around the edges and then fixed to the rest of the hull as was the main deck level in white. The white ‘bootstrapping’ was added via the masking tape method prior to final assembly. This ensures that all the lines etc are neat and tidy

Whilst not a major issue for the ACW collection it will naturally need some more thought and practise when I eventually look to build for the age of sail. I would suggest that using the larger and simpler design of models that I do makes using this approach far more straightforward that on a smaller and far more detailed commercially available casting. 

My thanks to Jim Jackaman for prompting this foray into my ship building past - and for helping me to think about the age of sail once again (although it will not be escalated to full on project status for a while!). 


Maudlin Jack Tar said...

Fantastic looking models!

David Crook said...

Hello there Maudlin Jack Tar,

Thank you old chap! H.M.S. Superb was very much pushing the physical limits of my building technique and she was very much a one off initially. I shall be adding some other RN types as part of the Russo Turkish set up after the ACW is finished.

I also have to build another one of these for the Turks - the Messudieh.

All the best,


The Jolly Broom Man said...

Boo…hiss…the people (me) demand an immediate re focussing of effort on pre dreadnought ships (sails be dammed). Honestly DC - get with the programme. Lol.

David Crook said...

Hello there JBM,

Fear not old chap - pre dreads will feature before the age of sail! I am now committed to finishing the remaining ACW ships (a dozen models in all) and then the Russo Turkish collection which will include a Royal Navy squadron.

Then (pauses for a sharp intake of breath….)….on with the pre dreads!

I have actually started the design work for some of the pieces I will need from Warbases so that when I ‘pull the trigger’ I can crack on readily - preparation is all!

All the best,


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


I love your models, and this is a very helpful blog post for anyone who wants to copy you method.

All the best,


Simon said...

You could make a mint selling these models in kit form! Even the basic hulls.



David Crook said...

Hello there Bob,

Thank you old chap - very much appreciated and your continued encouragement and support has been invaluable with this whole project! Once the final models are completed for the ACW I may well pen some ‘how to’ posts for the blog as the models really are great fun to build.

All the best and thanks once again,


David Crook said...

Hello Simon,

Funny you should mention that….

Let us just say that negotiations are ongoing….

All the best,


Ray Rousell said...

They certainly look the part Dave.

Mark Cordone said...

Very nice! I do believe yoh have perfected your technique. Looking forward to future production from your ship yards.

David Crook said...

Hello there Raymondo,

Many thanks old chap!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Mark,

Thank you sir! It is quite a straightforward technique in terms of building - especially once I had made the decision to embrace the ‘KISS’ approach - keep it simple stupid!

There is a whole lot more to come for sure!

All the best,


Aly Morrison said...

Lovely looking ships David…
I’m looking forward to seeing your age of sail models… and of course the Pre-Dreadnought’s…

All the best. Aly

David Crook said...

Hello there Aly,

Age of sail will be a while away yet - mainly because I really want to get some late 19th century/pre dreadnought stuff built but also because I need to think carefully about sails etc.

They will come, at some point!

All the best and thanks old chap,