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Pyro Chinese War Junk build
BobSolo
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Posted: Sunday, September 20, 2015 - 12:35 AM GMT+7
Looks good to me. I believe in wooden ship warfare they used to try and shoot each others rudders off, to make the other ship unsteerable and easy to finish off. So battle damage and good or fast repairs would probably be seen on most ships!
JJ1973
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Posted: Sunday, September 20, 2015 - 06:11 AM GMT+7
Definitely a good fix, Tim!

Following with fun and interest, another very enjoyable build log of yours!!

Cheers ,

Jan
RussellE
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Posted: Sunday, September 20, 2015 - 10:11 PM GMT+7
Looking good Tim
TimReynaga
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Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - 03:43 PM GMT+7
Thanks guys. With the rudder sorted out and mounted aboard, I took another look at the hull. It looked good, but the overall shape was unsatisfying somehow; it seemed to resemble HMS Bounty or the Bon Homme Richard more than anything distinctly Chinese.

 photo Pyro20Chinese20War20Junk20initial20profile_zpsrjgy3ypf.jpg

I had read that early Western observers had commented on the strange “keel-less” design of Chinese ships - and this was what was off here. The model looked like the guys at Pyro had grafted a Western style keel on to a junk hull. Although traditional junks did have keels (called longgu, or “dragon spine,” in Chinese), they were much less prominent than their Western counterparts. This was due to a basic difference between Western and Chinese shipbuilding techniques. While Western vessels were built “up” in open frames attached to their strong keels, Chinese ships were “hung” from their decks (so to speak) with strength coming from multiple transverse bulkheads and much thicker hull sides. The bottoms were relatively thin, like Western decks. As a result the keels, though present, were much less prominent.

Take a look at this technical drawing from 1757:

 photo Junk20technical20drawing_zpsohks0nb0.jpg
The keel seems almost like an afterthought, and the rudder hangs free and away from the hull with no sternpost at all.

Now the Pyro hull actually looked ok, and junk design did eventually evolve to incorporate Western ideas, but I wanted to give it a more particularly Chinese look. So...

 photo 91f3bfdd-2483-4d74-a9d3-fe02e519c3a2_zpszcxdkjly.jpg
Taking my sprue cutters, I hacked away at the keel at the forefoot (while hoping I wasn’t ruining the model!)

 photo 6ee30673-b996-4668-9d35-d130aabc8704_zpspsatidxr.jpg
Trimmed down and evened up, the hull is looking better.

 photo c71bcdfd-6651-483a-903e-13de3bb168e4_zps6babfp6c.jpg
I did the same at the stern, cutting away a large part of the keel including the entire sternpost. That rudder hanging down into space without support still looks odd to me... but I am committed now!

 photo 6ffff011-f77c-4398-97d5-3bcc07812a18_zpsexdj11ys.jpg
I hope I haven't screwed things up. The banana-shaped junk hull is noticeably different from Pyro’s original interpretation, but at least it resembles the hulls in my references...

YellowHammer
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Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - 05:55 PM GMT+7
Tim,
Your changes to the keel look spot on to me to give her the chinese look. Maybe its my bad eyes but do I see ropes or chains passing from the anchor hawse holes in the bow along the side of the ship and through the anchor on your technical drawing? I've never seen this feature in a sailing ship before. It might provide the support to the bottom of the rudder like a stern post but allow the rudder to be adjusted to sea state or depth. Regardless, I'm really enjoying watching your progress!
John
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Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 07:24 AM GMT+7
Coming on great Tim,

The mods to the hull do make it look more oriental.

Cheers,

Si
surfsup
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Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 09:33 PM GMT+7
I like what you have done Tim. A definite improvement.....Cheers mark
TimReynaga
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Posted: Friday, September 25, 2015 - 12:42 AM GMT+7
Thanks Si, Mark and John!


Quoted Text

Tim,
Your changes to the keel look spot on to me to give her the chinese look. Maybe its my bad eyes but do I see ropes or chains passing from the anchor hawse holes in the bow along the side of the ship and through the anchor on your technical drawing? I've never seen this feature in a sailing ship before. It might provide the support to the bottom of the rudder like a stern post but allow the rudder to be adjusted to sea state or depth. Regardless, I'm really enjoying watching your progress!
John



Good eye, John! You are quite right, Chinese rudders were often stabilized with cables running from the rudder all the way to the forepeak, where the cables could be loosened to raise the rudder for adjustment and secured again to provide strength and stability.

Here's another image showing them:
 photo Pyro junk cables image_zpsduuiy6mc.jpg
I guess I’ll deal with these things at some later point in the build.
JJ1973
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Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 04:03 AM GMT+7
Very nice, Tim!

With your cuts to the hull you really changed the whole impression of the ship, well done!! Now this little boat really looks Chinese, very effective!!

Cheers,

Jan
TimReynaga
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Posted: Monday, September 28, 2015 - 01:21 AM GMT+7
Making a little more progress on the junk’s deck, I installed the windlass forward with its heavy wooden “winch-oxen” frames.

 photo 8c8829b5-84a7-4083-abc2-021cede9059d_zps4vfnca3u.jpg
It is hard to see in the photo, but each of these parts had wood texture on one side. Unfortunately the other three visible sides were completely flat, so I added wood grain with the tip of my X-acto.

Aurora-7
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Posted: Monday, September 28, 2015 - 05:05 AM GMT+7
The keel work looks great. I agree with everyone else on the vast improvement it makes to the boat.

Love your banner, by the way.
TimReynaga
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Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 01:19 AM GMT+7
Jan and Michael, thanks!

Now that I’ve made the vessel look a little more “Chinese,” it is time to make some decisions about the armament – which seems to be British!

Pyro’s little junk is armed with what appear to be Hotchkiss 6 pounder cannons – this time small scale, maybe 1/250 or so, which would be consistent with the vessel being the 138 foot long pirate hunter Ningpo. Unfortunately, the Maxim machine guns also provided scale out to about 1/120...ugh.
 photo d5679bc7-639a-4530-a285-19972f887187_zps2ynlgeom.jpg photo ec2682f7-90e3-460c-9f90-ffa7e1441879_zpspfyiredr.jpg

Scale issues aside, Pyro would have two of the 6 pounders mounted side by side in the stern cabin facing aft out of a droppable door. It looks pretty cool on the box art:
 photo 2157018c-7d04-4de4-ab18-24e39f3e3f21_zps58gbag4b.jpg
...but really, is this arrangement realistic? The cannons would have had extremely restricted fields of fire, and the mizzen mast penetrating the deck above them would have sat right between them – to say nothing if the steering gear which would have been in there as well. The guns are also so close together they would have interfered with each other, and the muzzle blasts would also have raised hell with the boat hanging right above them... but I’m probably overthinking this.

 photo 275406e7-8eb3-418c-9158-008ece9a060a_zpso71nhayx.jpg
Anyway, in the end I just sidestepped the issue and mounted the door closed.

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Posted: Thursday, October 01, 2015 - 07:18 AM GMT+7
Coming on nicely Tim,

That armament arrangement does look weird, and not very practical, are they the biggest guns she carried.

Cheers.

Si
TimReynaga
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Posted: Thursday, October 01, 2015 - 10:43 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

Coming on nicely Tim,

That armament arrangement does look weird, and not very practical, are they the biggest guns she carried.

Cheers.

Si



Yes, Si, (according to Pyro, at least), the 6 pounders were the biggest guns aboard: two mounts crammed inside the cabin aft and another on the poop deck above. In addition, Pyro included no less than six Maxim machine guns. I’m not so sure about these things either. Not only are the parts way overscale compared to the 6 pounders (1/120 vs. 1/250 scale), but a bunch of early 20th Century British high-tech guns on the gunwales of a humble Chinese pirate hunter seems to me unlikely. The only information I’ve been able to find on these ships is that they used very old 19th Century muzzle loading cannons and small arms.



I’m starting to think the weapons arrangements on this kit are out of the kit designer’s imagination!

YellowHammer
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Posted: Thursday, October 01, 2015 - 11:29 AM GMT+7
Hey Tim,
Just thinking outside the box here but could those overscale maxims have been intended to be those old style cannon? An MG with a water jacket has some similarity to those 19th cenetury cannon to my mark I eye balls. Haven't seen the MG parts though. Just a thought. Anyway, I'm enjoying your build.
John
TimReynaga
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Posted: Thursday, October 01, 2015 - 12:11 PM GMT+7

Quoted Text

Hey Tim,
Just thinking outside the box here but could those overscale maxims have been intended to be those old style cannon? An MG with a water jacket has some similarity to those 19th cenetury cannon to my mark I eye balls. Haven't seen the MG parts though. Just a thought. Anyway, I'm enjoying your build.
John


John, that's an interesting idea, but the instructions actually refer to them as "Machine Guns" (the part is the gun below the two larger ones):
 photo ec2682f7-90e3-460c-9f90-ffa7e1441879_zpspfyiredr.jpg
I think it is a Maxim, but with Pyro you never really know!

I'm glad you are enjoying the build. Despite my griping, I am too!

YellowHammer
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Posted: Thursday, October 01, 2015 - 01:28 PM GMT+7
Tim,
Now that I see it you're right, its an MG. Don't suppose you have any leftover cannons from your Nina and Pinta builds. That would keep your build in the Pyro world. Or you could scratch up the cannon. There may even be enough spare sprue to keep it an OOB build. Good luck!
John
TimReynaga
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Posted: Thursday, October 01, 2015 - 03:06 PM GMT+7
John,

You know, I had the same thought that the leftover Niña/Pinta parts could work for the Ningpo’s cannon, but when I tried them out they looked comically tiny. Oh, well.

TimReynaga
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Posted: Sunday, October 04, 2015 - 04:19 AM GMT+7
Setting the armament problem aside for the moment, I moved on to the deck.  photo 810751d7-a0ec-4e45-aabe-2e30b5249840_zpsbf0haqom.jpg photo 588ce100-1967-4a63-860c-c29e396167a9_zpsclfmymex.jpg
The rail parts are nicely detailed, but I didn’t like the crude rendition of what were apparently intended to look like torn screens or fabric between the stanchions. I cut these away and installed the rails without them.

 photo 24e163f1-2ecc-46a0-9f9d-153d5637da3c_zpsdzlhorac.jpg

My efforts to determine the scale of this model continue. The overall length of the ship and the 6 pounder guns would argue for a scale of about 1/250 (if it is indeed the Ningpo), and the main deck handrails at just over 4 feet in 1/250 (6mm, or .2632 inches) would make them viable for that small scale too.

So far so good. Except for the over large 1/150 Maxim machine guns, I’d been thinking things were looking reasonably good for 1/250. Then I installed parts number 11, what the instructions refer to as the “Deck Rope Posts,” to each side of the main deck aft. These belaying posts would be massively oversized for 1/250 or even 1/150, suggesting instead an even larger scale for the junk, maybe 1/90 to 1/70...

 photo Pyro20Chinese20War20Junk20deck20rope20post_zps5sf4pvqh.jpg

...which gave me an idea.



Looking over the parts again, a larger scale for the model started to make more sense:

rope belaying posts
heavy wood grain detail
wide deck planks
boxes and ropes on deck
steps, stairs, and ladders
hatch covers on deck
rails on hull sides amidships
open railing at the stern
thick wood frames on deck
lashing detail on wood frame and rail parts
windlass
awnings
reels on poop deck (“Stern Rope Rollers”)
interior height of aft cabin
sampan mounted off fantail
stitching detail on the sails

All these kit parts have details consistent with a larger scale... so why not just go with a larger scale junk? I had initially been jazzed about the 1/250 War Junk Ningpo idea, but the goofy, mixed-up kit armament and scale problems have made this a lot less appealing. So I’m re-imagining this project as a 1/70 to 1/90 scale unarmed cargo junk!

 photo Pyro Chinese War Junk with figure_zps9zyetlfd.jpg
(The 1/72 Luftwaffe pilot is just standing in for scale!)
YellowHammer
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Posted: Sunday, October 04, 2015 - 07:44 AM GMT+7
Tim,
I think you may be on to something concerning the scale. One other indicator might be the height, floor to ceiling, in the stern cabin where the stern guns were to be mounted. In the two historic sailing ships I been able to tour, the ceiling below decks was about six feet in height. I'm 6'2" so I did a lot of ducking. Very little un-used space below decks. I would bet the Chinese would probably space their decks with about the same distance. That plus the height of the side rails above the deck may help determine the scale. Just a thought. If it is around HO scale there is a plethora of wargaming figure sources for artillery/MGs if you decide to arm your ship. Anything from ACW to WWI would probable work.
Regardless, I am thoroughly enjoying your build.
John
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Posted: Sunday, October 04, 2015 - 07:48 AM GMT+7
Tim,
I just reread your last post and saw you already identified the aft cabin height as an indicator. Oh well. I'm still learning a lot though. I really need to revisit the strength of my reading glasses. LOL
John
Hederstierna
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Posted: Sunday, October 04, 2015 - 08:22 PM GMT+7
Tim
What a fun and unusual build. I'm really looking forward to see it with some paint on.
You've actually inspired me with this build. I've just started Heller's 1:150 "Corsair", which is my first sailing ship. It's quite a nice kit.
Jacob
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Posted: Sunday, October 04, 2015 - 08:33 PM GMT+7
Coming along very nicely indeed.....Cheers Mark
RussellE
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Posted: Sunday, October 04, 2015 - 11:28 PM GMT+7
I think your scale calculations are about right Tim. Somewhere around 1/76 - 1/86
TimReynaga
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Posted: Monday, October 05, 2015 - 12:54 AM GMT+7
Thanks for the comments, guys!

Jacob, I look forward to seeing your Heller Corsair in the slip – never seen one built up, but I saw one in the box once and as I recall it looks to be an older but really nice kit.

As for the scale of the junk, I think I’ll settle on 1/87. It is in the reasonable range, and John, you were right about railroad HO scale – there are figures and maybe other scale bits I can use. I have already found a crew for her:
 photo Preiser figures_zps7uxvnpb6.jpg
It will be an unusual all girl crew, and the poses are a little challenging but hey, there aren’t a lot of Asian HO scale figures that aren’t businessmen or rail workers!