Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Christmas Project Part 2 - The HMS Frolic by Laser Dream Works

Continued from The Christmas Project Part 1 which ended with the shroud plank assembly.
Part 1

Following this is the cap plank which finishes off the planking assembly. This is where you really figure out if you have messed up or not. At this point the ribs should be flush with the top of the shroud plank. If they extend above it you are okay, just cut or sand them down till they are smooth (the sanding block is very handy for this and you want to use a fine sandpaper). By this point I had discovered that the ribs on the starboard side had only come up about 1/2 way through the shroud plank and that the starboard side was higher than the port side. I'm still not exactly sure what I did wrong. My next mistake was placing the cap rail on. For some reason I aligned it with the inside edge flush with the inside of the hull. This is WRONG! the outside edge should be flush with the outside edge of the hull so that there is an overhang that covers the top of the ribs. Part of the problem is that I'm not all that familiar with ships but there isn't a good picture of this assembly in the instructions either and there should be one. This caused all kinds of problems with getting pieces 64 and 65 to align properly in the stern and then I did a lot of work "fixing" things until I discovered what I had really messed up. I was able to get the cap rails off without to much damage and align them properly which fixed one of the alignment problems in the stern. However, I found another alignment problem that was not so easy to fix. There are a pair of notches near the bow of the cap rail. This notch should be on the left side of the second rib from the bow, this is where the Cat Heads (part 61) go and they should be next to this rib. Since the glue had set up completely and the ribs were thoroughly glued to the other planks I had to carve my ribs away to get piece So be sure to get this step right!
Cap rail glued flush to the inside hull. Wrong!

Pretty obvious in this shot that the overhand is on the wrong side. The ribs aren't covered and the holes for the shroud lines are partially covered.

Both Cap Planks removed and re-gluing the starboard side.

Next mistake, the notch for the Cat Head overlaps a rib. I had to carve the rib out to make room for the Cat Head.
Same issue on the port side, but not as extreme.

From here we start work on the stern. The biggest issue I had here is that parts 64 and 65 are to big and had to be trimmed down significantly in order to fit I'm basing this on the fact that the bottom tab of 64 and 65 comes below the slot provided for it. This slot is created by the first plank that is glued down to the deck. This looks like a laser cut issue to me. The angle that they sit at is determined by the cap plank. I did have the cap plank on wrong at this stage but that didn't affect the size of 64 and 65 just the angle that they sit at. Also because the starboard side is taller than the port side its not quite level from one side of the deck to the other. Again, I don't think that my players will really notice. I did use wood filler to even everything out and fill in any gaps. Be sure you get wood filler, which will harden and can then be cut and sanded, and not wood putty, which does not harden. I used Elmers wood filler in a tube with a nozzle, very handy.

Here you can see that the foam hull doesn't seem to be quite long enough. I'll fix this later.

This should have been the clue that the cap plank was on wrong. Instead I thought the cap plank was cut wrong and sanded it down to match B64/65. After I fixed the cap plank I had to re-create the part I had sanded away with wood filler.

With the stern finished I moved on to the bow. I was pretty worried at this point that I wouldn't be able to get the bow to look right with the starboard side visibly higher than the port side. This actually worked out in the end without any problem. The issue you I had in the bow was the getting the Cat Heads in place. After I carved the ribs, the Cat Head (B61) wasn't really wide enough to fit properly and I had to cut down the outside overhang to fit to the notch in the cap plank which meant I lost most of the very graceful curve when I cut it to fit. The Cat Head holds the ship's anchors and I think I'm going to see if I can find some anchors to add to the model. The instructions really need some better pictures of how the bow should be assembled but I managed to get it together with a little thought but those pictures would have helped a lot. I also don't know if I have the angle for the bowsprit correct which is determined by the angle you set the prow (B60x2) at when you glue it into the slot in the bow.

So a quick finished shot of the uncluttered deck.
I'm approaching the finish line now! Overall I'm pretty pleased with the ship, I mean it looks like a ship! I have started to sand the sides a bit to get a nice smooth surface for painting. You can see that in some of the shots of the outside of the hull. From here its time to start building up the deck. Oh and be careful with the wheel. All four parts are number B71 and you need all four of them.

Then its time to work on the bowsprit, sprint for the finish! The only issue I have with the bowsprit is that the two mast collars (B86) seem to be to large for the bowsprit itself. They seem to be cut for the thickness of the masts. The jib boom which goes through the smaller holes in the mast collar fits nice and snug. Oh and piece B91 which holds the bowsprit down to the deck is completely omitted from the instructions. Fortunately it does appear in a picture in the instructions so I know there had to be a part that went there.

At this point the basic build is complete. The next piece to be done is getting the masts together and then getting the ship rigged. The one thing I'm questioning at this point is that on the deck there is a place for the capstan but there doesn't seem to be a capstan actually included in the parts. Its going to be hard to raise the anchors without it! I'm not sure when I will get to the rigging of the HMS Frolic as I have to order the "rope" and I think I'm going to take the rigging a little farther than is shown in the instructions but I haven't decided for sure yet.

I'll get her painted up while I wait for my rigging supplies too. I think its going to be way to hard to paint after the rigging is finished.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm quite happy with it. Will look better painted and with some rigging.

  2. Greetings Kris,
    I really enjoy reading your posts and seeing how your project is going. But mostly I appreciate your candid feedback. Looks like I have some work to do to clean up the instructions. You are the first customer I have had that has assembled this particular ship, so you have broken a bit of new ground. I have built so many of them now that I can not always see the build from a set of new eyes when I write the instructions so your comments are very helpful. I look forward to seeing how it finishes up. I use waxed thread for my rigging. You can find it in the beading/jewelry section of most hobby lobbies or Michaels or Jo Annes.
    Laser Dream Works

    1. For some reason this ended up in my spam comment folder and I just found it today. I have a bunch of notes for corrections I made in the rules that I still need to get to you. Of course I have managed to get distracted with my town of Calamity but I have the rigging books that I wanted know and I'm figuring out how to modify things to add some extra details that will still suffer the rigors of gaming. I just need to sit down and actually order that stuff. I also have the tape now to get her ready for painting. Terrific kit Matt!

  3. That is looking incredible. I am really excited about these models. I'll have to see them in real life but this may be a project for 2014.

    1. Despite the mistakes that I made, I have really enjoyed building these. Now rigging them might be a different story and my intent is to go a little farther than I probably need to on it. I'm seriously considering going ahead and getting two or three of the smaller ships as well; the British Brig, the HMS Lady Nelson and the USS Lee.