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Building the Heller Chebec

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Construction…

Basic fit in general was good, especially considering the age of the model. Clamps, superglue and verbal abuse were needed to get the main deck and hull together but after that it was generally easy sailing.

The yards are hollow and I strengthened the joints with a brass wire plug. This enabled me to put some tension on the rigging to give a curved effect due to the weight look. The cannon provided a challenge. I hate repetitive things in models and cannon are not a big favorite of mine. I did a first quick fit of three cannon and asked online for an opinion from my fellow website inhabitants. The general opinion was that I was fudging things in a big way: no breech ropes, my tackles were incorrect and the general construction of the cannon was bad. Looking back I must admit they were right. Bearing in mind the advice I added metal pad eyes, I used wine bottle lead to make covers on the gun carriage to imitate the elevation pin covers and I updated the tackles and added breech ropes.

I scratch built the bilge pumps, the pieces supplied in the model being plain tubes. The sails I made myself using extremely thin linen cloth I bought at a ladies needlework store. My wife really thought I was losing things when I walked in there.

The fore sail seams I sowed myself and although the end result was passable it took a tremendous time to finish. The main sail seams I folded over twice and and then ironed with a steam iron. I fitted a length of brass wire in the fold and then drenched the fold in diluted white glue. After letting the glue dry I was able to shape the main sail to a suitably wind filled look.

The mizzen sail was seamed using dilute white glue without wire being fitted. I used Doc. O’Brien’s weathering powders to weather the sails, blanking some sections with Tamiya masking tape to give a patched look.

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About the Author

About Gremlin56


Comments

Very nice indeed - thank you for sharing.
SEP 06, 2010 - 06:14 PM
What an excellent writeup of a beautiful model! I also have a Heller Chebec (and a 1:80 Ertl Xebec) and I must say no other class of sailing vessel conveys a sense of speed than this design. Your work on this challenging (but rewarding) kit is an inspiration to us all. Regarding the commentary on the cannons, perhaps springing for metal barrels would be better for future projects? My Chebecs will eventually be rendered along North African lines--someday. --Karl
SEP 07, 2010 - 06:45 AM
Dave, Alec, thanks for the kind remarks Karl, the barrels were the least of the problems. Even if I had splurged on metal barrels I would still have had to add the necessary rope work to the gun carriages. I have the Heller HMS Victory sitting in my stash but the thought of lashing down 100 guns makes me cringe away from the model cheers, Julian
SEP 07, 2010 - 08:00 AM
Hi Julian! Working on those old time models can be a grateful project, and for the looks of yours, it certainly was! I like the overall aspect of the finished model, but with notes on the black wash/raw humber on the painted areas of the hull, drilling the small artillery barrels and weathering the cables and ropes from the main artillery carriages would be a A+++++ model - Perhaps I am being too picky Congratulations on a wonderful job on a wonderful scarce model - at least seen built!!!!!!! Cheers, Rui
SEP 07, 2010 - 09:26 AM
Hi Julian! For large scale sailing models, I find rigging relaxing, but the same does not apply to rigging steel ships even in 1:350 scale--very odd, isn't it? Regarding your HMS Victory project, I would forward Shepherd Paine's advice: don't bother modeling that which cannot be seen. In this case, I recommend dry fitting the hull and decks and observing just how much of the interior can actually be seen. I would bet that most of the guns (apart from their barrels of course) would not be seen at all, thereby saving yourself from having to rig 100+ individual carriage mounts. I have a couple of sailing-era projects on the boards, so it will be a nice change to get back to 1:96 modeling. --Karl
SEP 07, 2010 - 10:17 AM
Obrigado Rui, your observations are spot on. Coin dropped with a clang when you mentioned weathering the gun tackles. That would have toned them down nicely. Have to remember that on future builds. Hi Karl, with eyesight that seems to get worse every week I don't find rigging relaxing It is easier in in larger scale though. I have a nasty feeling that the Victory will be one of the kits in my stash that will never be built. It would consume a lot of time and effort and I seem to be drifting back towards WW I and II battleships at the moment. For the next few months I wil be working on the Haruna. Take the future from after that cheers, Julian
SEP 08, 2010 - 05:51 AM
beautiful job..Do concur about some discreet weathering though..Also reminds me I must tackle my IMAI version before the old eyes give completely.. I recently finished the Biggie Revell CONSTITUTION for the US Embassy here in Warsaw and the rigging is not so bad when you have the tools and just get yourself into the ''zone'. No coffee and about 60 to 90 minutes at a time..Job soon done. Same with guns..Just make a production line out of it...I also have the Heller Victory and have bought all brass cannons ready for her..
SEP 13, 2010 - 08:07 AM
Thanks James, How about some photos of your Constitution? My 1/96th Constitution is still standing half finished in my sauna and looking like it will never get finished Cheers, Julian (before anyone asks: yes, a sauna is a great place to store models until you turn the heat on)
SEP 13, 2010 - 08:39 AM
I think this may be the best simulated wood ever. Beautiful with the faded red...., I will have to try this technique next time.
JAN 30, 2011 - 03:41 PM
Extremely kind of you Norman, thank you ! Cheers, Julian
JAN 31, 2011 - 05:06 AM