Tuesday, 17 November 2015

HMQS Gayundah - Part 7

Reaching out and touching someone...1880's style.

The Elswick Ordinance 8" Breech Loader Mk VII.

This gun was the main armament for both Gayundah and Paluma.

Construction of the piece started with plans, which are readily available from the Australian National Archives.   Indeed, the  Book of Reference "Instructions for the 8"Rifled Breech Loading Armstrong Gun and  Naval Carriage and Slide" are also reproduced.

A half template was made up from card and used to check the proportions and contours.
A piece of old mop handle was used and in hindsight, I should have used a better quality wood.  It turned fairly well but it needed a bit of filling and sanding  afterwards.
Trunnions were added and the bore opened out.

The carriage was next up and this was constructed from plastic sheet for the cheeks, slices of knitting needle for the carriage wheels and plastic rod for the rivets.   The elevation handwheel was from a cheap toy Jeep.

The Slide was constructed from Evergreen styrene strip and shapes.
The chequer plate panels either side of the compression plates were made up from plastic banding strap (used to hold large boxes, items, etc together).

The Barrel has been undercoated and the slide completed.   Traversing gear was made up from brass wire and strip, a cut down brass bolt for the pinion gear and plastic tube and brass wire made up the Running In handwheels.   Slices of appropriately sized knitting needle were used for the slide rollers.

The piece completed.
However, this is not the gun I will be using in Gayundah.   I took a mold of the Barrel and cast it in resin.   I wasn't going to hide all that work between decks!

In the foreground is the gun destined for the ship.   An extempore mount was put together so that it sits at the right height and was then inserted and attached.

Please forgive the messy FX!   That part of ship still needs to be squared away.
The anchors are hanging from their Davits (which still have to be painted) and the Cable will be led through Naval Pipes (Spurling Pipes for our American cousins) which will be let into the For'rard bulkhead.

Ship's Boats

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Gayundah carried two Whalers, a Lifeboat and a Dory.
I found an excellent card model of a Whaler on the Fiddler's Green site by Richard Dery

This was reduced by 85% to 1/32nd scale, printed out onto 200gsm card and two Whalers were promptly made up.

The port side Whaler hanging on her davits.

The lifeboat was made up from the Whaler kit but I removed a section from the middle and raised her freeboard slightly.   It is not quite what I wanted but it is close.

I still have to source a suitable Dory.   A company in Cornwall, England makes hulls of different types of boats so I might give them a try.

Of course. the boats need something to hang from so I made up the Boat's Falls from little buttons I picked up from a local Craft Store and some plastic strip.

The tackle I was making up is known as a Two Fold Purchase and you can see the method I used to reproduce them in the photo above.   Small eye hooks were let into the middle part of the block and superglued.   The plastic strip was trimmed off after the block was made up.

The Blocks were then reeved with Embroidery Floss (Sullivans Light Tan).   I had to get out my old Seamanship Manual to get the falls reeved correctly.   It has been a few years since I did one!
A 6mm hook was used on the Boat's Falls which engages with an eye hook on the bow and stern of the boat.   Lobster clasps were used on the Anchor Davits for the anchors.

Finally, a picture of the Conning Tower/Wheelhouse.

The Compass Binnacle was scratchbuilt using plastic tube, strip, a wooden ball, 2 plastic beads and a brass Jump ring.   The staunchions are from a Victorian company who I can highly recommend,

I purchased a number of detail items from them and the service was friendly and fast.
I hope to do the rest of the staunchions around the perimeter of the upper decks by the next post.   They should be painted white but I can't bring myself to paint them as they look too tiddly as they are!


  1. far out Col , well done mate .... Unbelievable work :)

  2. Thanks Dave! Very kind of you to say so.

  3. Great work on your gun and other detailing!

    I sooo need a lathe.....

    1. Thanks Captain! I must admit my little Proxxon lathe is one of the most useful appliances I have purchased.

  4. You got skills, Col! Excellent work and a great write-up.

    1. Thanks Mate! Glad you liked it.

  5. Wonderful progress, how did I miss this one?

  6. Thanks Mate! Nearly finished, have started to look around for a new project!