HMS Beagle Model Ship Project
Week 39: Whaleboats, dinghy, davits (July 11-17, 2011)
To get started in this hobby I bought some balsawood blocks and an X-acto knife and carved two whaleboats and a dinghy. That was nine months ago. This week I finally got around to painting them and crafting some davits, hanging tackle, and making the railing for the poop deck. The dinghy is a bit small... the whaleboats are somewhat canoe-ish looking... but hey it adds a little more fun to the Beagle's look.Meanwhile, my "shipyard" got upgraded from the card table I've been using to a more solid sewing machine cabinet. I was probably lucky that the table didn't get knocked over by any of our foster dogs, the latest being a 60 pound Husky.
Now for the really fun stuff. Firing cannons!
I initially toyed with the idea of making working gunports to fire multiple cannons. But since the open ports would be so close to the waterline at 1:36 (and the Beagle never actually fired a broadside at an enemy) in the end I opted against it. Captain Fitzroy (the Beagle's captain during Darwin's voyage) would have only fired his guns as a last resort anyway because they might harm the sensitive chronometers in the stern. (One of the Beagle's main objectives was to take precise time/sun position measurements to figure out the planet's longitude points.)
The Beagle did have a six-pounder carronade prominently displayed on her forecastle so I've decided to just go with that. (A sister ship of the Beagle's Cherokee class was actually attacked and sunk by a pirate ship, so I don't want her to be completely unarmed. ;)
So the goal will be to have the carronade be able to fire as a signal gun. To do that, the two main options in this hobby seem to be either using a modern version of black power and electric igniter to create a small explosion or to use a CO2 canister to pressure shoot a projectile or simulated smoke. Lots of research to be done.
Also, I've been scouting for a better place to sail the Beagle.