Steel, Chapman & Hutchinson Ltd.
Engineers and Builders of Working Model Sailing Ships
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How We Make the Kits Sailing and Launching Additional detailing




How We Make the Kits

Scale is one twentyfourth of real life size (1:24), so a 6'/1.83 m tall person would be 3"/7.6 cm high. Ships are sold as kits and as completed, ready to sail models.

First, the lines of a ship are digitized from copies of the original museum draughts to ensure accuracy and a three dimensional virtual model is created. Then a hull master is cut using a computer controlled milling machine and the mold is made. Parts are formed and joined within the mold into one piece from hand laid-up fiberglass with a black gelcoat. The decks are also formed, with the mechanical hatch opening, from fiberglass, upon which the wooden surface that has the planking seams and required holes screened on it is glued. Pre-cut bulwarks are provided.

Some deck fittings (cannon barrels, anchors) are cast in polyurethane. Others (hatches, pumps, companionways, capstans, bitts) need assembling from CNC precision-cut hardwoods and marine plywoods. Items like the ships' wheels, channels, tops, trestletrees, caps and deadeyes are provided complete. 

Access below is by a mechanically sealed hatch. The lip of this hatch fits into an internal frame that acts as a well to preclude water from entering the below-decks. Masts, booms and yards are birch. Yards and the sail booms are all tapered and slotted for the sails. Extra yards are provided to allow sails to be left furled or reefed on the duplicate yard. The tops and caps are hardwood.

The rigging cord is provided in 5 sizes of braided synthetic line (strong, non-stretchable,and very durable cord) with an easy assembly method. The rigging fittings are stainless steel or brass. Standing rigging is released and re-tensioned by pulling taut with nylon wire ties. Sails are a durable synthetic material, pre-stained and screened. Patterns are provided for each. There is minimal sewing required. There is a pennant to help you judge wind direction.

The ballast keels are CAD designed based on the displacement of the ship, CNC-machined into aluminum and cast in strengthened lead with cast-in brass inserts for the stainless steel holding rods. The holding rods come through the keelson, through watertight wells, and protrude through the deck where they are held captive. This allows the ballast keels to be dropped (whilst supported on the launching dolly) so making removal from the water less of a 'pull'. The four ball bearing servos are made by HiTec. 815BB's for the sails and one 615MG for the rudder. The Dacron® running rigging is connected to the servo arms with adjustable linkages. It is lead through low-friction fittings and specially made blocks and sheaves to the yards and fore and aft sails, where there are removable brass clips. Ships come with a 6V, 7Ah lead-acid gel-cell battery to power both receiver and servos. A knock-down launching cart with pneumatic tires is provided. 

To view samples of the Instructions(17pgs) and Packing List(6pgs) choose one of the following formats:

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Instructions | Packing List

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Instructions | Packing List

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How We Make the Kits | Sailing and Launching | Additional detailing

Research for historical accuracy
Computerized machines are used for cutting parts
Fiberglass with a black gel coat is hand laid to form the body of the ships.