H.M.S. Fly Ladders

This may vary from kit to kit. My kit had no ladders within it so I fabricated them from planking. Lloyds kit did have ladders and below he will share with you the two and how they compare.

Ladder's General

This author has found it very difficult to identify the parts for the ladders. In the parts list they are listed as "Pt. No 222 Ladder 4320/01 Qty 2". A Google search for 'AMATI 4320/01' produced the ladders seen in Figure V1. The link where this was found here: click link

Figure V1 - AMATI Ladders
Figure V1 - AMATI Ladders

In the kit the ladders are found in a packet as shown in Figure V2.

Figure V2 - Pt. No 222 Ladder 4320/01 from the kit
Figure V2 - Pt. No 222 Ladder 4320/01 from the kit

Initially this author was not aware of how the ladders were presented and when looked at they did not appear to makeup the ladders. For an experienced modeller for this type of kit it would not have been a problem but for beginners, like myself, I am sure it would be.

The first point noticed was that the plain pieces of wood did not fit into the slot, but actually are a very, very tight fit. Secondly one must appreciate that there are two sides to a ladder and that half the slotted strips are for one side and the other half the opposite side. Once this is understood it would be advisable to separate the two sides of the ladder as shown in Figure V3.

Figure V3 - Components for ladders
Figure V3 - Components for ladders

The assembling of the ladders can be quite tricky but once it has been done once it becomes quite quick. There are many ways in which they can be done so this author's suggested method is only one of them and it would be generic for all ladders.

The quality of the wood was not very good and so it could be appropriate to give each component a coat of Flat Matt Varnish, or use an appropriate clear primer/sealer to prevent the wood from splitting. The outside width of the ladder will need to be determined and the step is cut to the appropriate width. As many will required to be cut, a method of producing identical steps is devised. This author used an adapted AMATI Master Cut as shown in Figure V4.

Figure V4 - An adapted AMATI Master Cut to make the ladder steps
Figure V4 - An adapted AMATI Master Cut to make the ladder steps

Each individual step may be too tight to fit into the slot so they will need to be sanded. A P400 abrasive paper was used as shown in Figure V5.

Figure V5 - P400 abrasive paper is used
Figure V5 - P400 abrasive paper is used

Each end of the steps may need to be dressed with a needle file until they each fit into the slots as shown if Figure V6.

Figure V6 - Two steps are placed in the centre
Figure V6 - Two steps are placed in the centre

The other side of the ladder is fitted in the same position on the steps; this step can be a little fiddly but it is possible as shown in Figure V7.

Figure V7 - Other side of the ladder is placed on the steps in the appropriate slots
Figure V7 - Other side of the ladder is placed on the steps in the appropriate slots

It was found that to push the sides of the ladder firmly together an even force needs to be applied from either side. The ladder was placed between two blocks of wood on a flat surface and then firmly pressed together as shown in Figure V8.

Figure V8 - Part assembled ladder placed between two blocks of wood
Figure V8 - Part assembled ladder placed between two blocks of wood

The remaining steps are then placed into the slots with a pair of tweezers, working along the length of the slotted component (Figure V9). As the steps are placed into the slots, the ladder is firmly pressed together (Figure V10) until they are all in place.

Figure V9 - Steps are placed into the ladder with a pair of tweezers
Figure V9 - Steps are placed into the ladder with a pair of tweezers

 

Figure V10 - As the steps are inserted, they are pressed between two blocks of wood
Figure V10 - As the steps are inserted, they are pressed between two blocks of wood

When the steps are all inserted they are then painted with a Flat Matt Varnish (Figure V11) ensuring that the varnish is worked into the end of each step. When dry the ladder will be quite robust (Figure V12).

Figure V11 - Flat Matt Varnish
Figure V11 - Flat Matt Varnish

 

Figure V12 - Completed ladder given a coat of Flat Matt Varnish
Figure V12 - Completed ladder given a coat of Flat Matt Varnish

If for example a seven step ladder is required the required number is cut from the long ladder as shown in Figure V13.

Figure V13 - Ladder cut to the required size on both sides
Figure V13 - Ladder cut to the required size on both sides

The ladder shown in Figure V14 was made as an experiment so there may appear to be a lack of continuity from Figure V13. It is then sanded on P400 abrasive paper on all sides and can be stained or painted as required.

Figure V14 - Seven step ladder approximately 10mm in width
Figure V14 - Seven step ladder approximately 10mm in width

As to which method to use is choice, but for the forecastle ladder this author will use is the one that was scratch built. It is felt that the scale looks more realistic as can be seen in Figure V15 if the forecastle bulkhead is incorporated into the model.

Figure V15 - Scratch built ladder compared to one built from kit
Figure V15 - Scratch built ladder compared to one built from kit

Lloyd Matthews – March 2016 ©


 

I know that the scratch build that I made looks great on my ship. Either do the job but for me and Lloyd we prefer the scratch built ladders.

Now for the process....

Forecastle Ladders

Initially this author had no idea how to make the ladders however, some inspiration was found at the following link - Click Here

The forecastle ladders can be seen in Figure U1 which is the picture on the side of the model kit box lid. If you have fitted the forecastle bulkhead then careful measurements will need to be taken for the width of the ladder, otherwise they will interfere with the opening of the forecastle bulkhead doors.

The ladder position shown in Figure U1 would not be correct and the outboard forecastle doors would not be able to fully open as the ladders shown would be too wide.

Figure U1 - Forecastle ladders (Picture taken from the side of the model kit box)
Figure U1 - Forecastle ladders (Picture taken from the side of the model kit box)

For those modellers who wish to add the forecastle bulkhead and doors, the indicated positions shown on plans 'Sheet No. 6' would be more accurate. These are shown in Figure U2 however, do not follow these exact dimensions as the ones on the actual model will need to be carefully measured, and it is these which are used to construct the ladders.

Figure U2 - Plans Sheet No. 6 from the kit
Figure U2 - Plans Sheet No. 6 from the kit

It can be seen in Figure U3 that the width of the ladder is restricted by the outboard forecastle doors and on this author's model it is 8 mm, but this will vary according to the model being built. The cannon is also situated by the ladder as shown in Figure U4, so it was considered that the foot of it should be no more than 10mm from the forecastle bulkhead.
(The ladder shown is an experimental one.)

Figure U3 - Width of the forecastle ladder must allow the outboard forecastle door to open
Figure U3 - Width of the forecastle ladder must allow the outboard forecastle door to open

 

Figure U4 - Cannon positioned in front of the forecastle ladder
Figure U4 - Cannon positioned in front of the forecastle ladder

The dimensions of this author's model are illustrated in Figure U5.

Figure U5 - Dimensions for author's forecastle ladder
Figure U5 - Dimensions for author's forecastle ladder

Page 4 of 23
Figure U6 - Chief tools used
The dimensions of this author's model are illustrated in Figure U5.
These notes will give an idea of how this author constructed the ladders using only simple tools. For those modellers more fortunate to have sophisticated modelling implements, then the ladders will be easier to make. Scrap pieces of wood have been used which may not have come from the kit, so what is shown below was from bits that have been accumulated as a result of experimentation etc.

The steps of the ladder are made from 0.5mm x 3mm walnut strip and for the sides 1mm x 3mm is used. A jig is made from 6mm x 35mm wood and this author used pine as it was easy to obtain. From experience a hardwood would have been better as the pine was not really strong enough and easy split if not careful. Running repairs were constantly being made on the jig!

The two tools chiefly used were an Eclipse junior hacksaw and a chisel craft knife; by coincidence a junior hacksaw blade and chisel craft blade are of the same thickness as the 0.5mm walnut strip as shown in Figure U6.

Figure U6 - Chief tools used
Figure U6 - Chief tools used

The ladders will be 8mm wide: the 6mm pine for the jig and two 1mm walnut side strips in which the steps will fit equal 8mm. The 6mm flat pine used is shown in Figure U7.

Figure U7 - Flat pine is cut to make the steps jig
Figure U7 - Flat pine is cut to make the steps jig

The 70 degree corner is squarely cut Figure U8; if when cut it does not look perfectly square as happened with this author, then it will need to be sanded.

Figure U8 - The corner is squarely cut away
Figure U8 - The corner is squarely cut away

Viewing Figure U1 it can be seen that there are seven steps on the ladder so the distance between each step is 3.5mm, but this may have to be varied depending upon the exact dimensions of the model being built. The steps will need to be precisely and squarely drawn on the jig. Geometric dividers were set to 3.5mm as shown in Figure U9 and Figure U10.

A centre line is drawn in the centre of the angled edge which will serve as a guide for the dividers. These are set at 3.5mm and the points will leave their mark on the wood; these are then highlighted with a sharp pencil point so they are easy to see (Figure U11).

Figure U9 - Compass adapted to become a pair of accurate dividers
Figure U9 - Compass adapted to become a pair of accurate dividers

Figure U10 - Dividers are set at 3.5mm
Figure U10 - Dividers are set at 3.5mm

Figure U11 - Dividers are used to mark the position of the ladder steps
Figure U11 - Dividers are used to mark the position of the ladder steps

The jig is placed on its horizontal edge on a block of wood, and then a geometric set square is used to draw the vertical lines on the angled edge of the jig as shown in Figure U12.

Figure U12 - Vertical lines drawn on the jig edge marking the spacing of the steps
Figure U12 - Vertical lines drawn on the jig edge marking the spacing of the steps

The set square is also used for marking the side position of the steps as shown (Figure U13). With both sides marked a 3mm line is drawn indicating the position of the ladder sides (Figure U14).

Figure U13 - Side positions of the steps are marked
Figure U13 - Side positions of the steps are marked

Figure U14 - Sides of ladder drawn on the jig
Figure U14 - Sides of ladder drawn on the jig

It will be noted that the jig has been made for 10 steps while there are only 7 steps on the ladder. As will be illustrated further on, the positions of two additional steps will be used as a guide for determining the top and bottom of the ladders (see Figure U35). The additional 10th step is not really required and is only shown as this author was experimenting with the method of construction and did not wish to make another jig!

The positions of the steps are cut with the junior hacksaw; whilst there are only 7 steps on the ladder 9 saw cuts will need to be made in the jig; (please ignore the tenth step position shown!). These will have to be squarely and precisely sawn; to help position the junior hacksaw blade, a modelling/craft chisel is held where the saw cut is required (Figure U15), and then this position is replicated for the other 8 saw cuts. This will ensure that the steps are equally spaced and note that each saw cut is 3mm in depth. The completed jig is shown in Figure U16.

Figure U15 - A modelling/craft chisel is used to accurately position the junior hacksaw blade
Figure U15 - A modelling/craft chisel is used to accurately position the junior hacksaw blade

Figure U16 - Completed template for the forecastle ladders
Figure U16 - Completed template for the forecastle ladders

Unfortunately the walnut that was being used was not of a particularly good quality and was found to split very easily. To overcome this problem the wood was given a coat of 'Flat Matt Varnish' preventing the wood from splitting (Figure U17).

Figure U17 - The poor quality walnut wood was covered with a 'Flat Matt Varnish'
Figure U17 - The poor quality walnut wood was covered with a 'Flat Matt Varnish'

Note: - After having completed a first set of ladders the sides were sanded however, this highlighted that the difference in surface quality between the inner and outer sides of the ladder, and is illustrated in Figure U18. To overcome this the side of the wood on which the position of the steps were to be marked were sanded with a P1200 abrasive paper (Figure U19) and then given a further coat of 'Flat Matt Varnish'.

Figure U18 - Difference between the inner and outer sides of the first set of ladders made
Figure U18 - Difference between the inner and outer sides of the first set of ladders made

Figure U19 - The inside surface of the ladders are sanded smooth
Figure U19 - The inside surface of the ladders are sanded smooth

To mark the position of the steps carbon paper and a craft chisel knife blade is used. First cut a small strip of carbon paper and fix it to the jig with Tamiya masking tape ensuring that the carbon marking side of the paper is facing upwards as shown in Figure U20.

Figure U20 - Strip of carbon paper is taped to the side of the jig
Figure U20 - Strip of carbon paper is taped to the side of the jig

The 1 x 3mm walnut is taped to the side of the jig on top of the carbon paper (Figure U21). A chisel craft blade is placed into each saw cut and firmly pressed down (Figure U22); this is repeated for both sides of the saw cut.

Figure U21 - Side component of the ladder placed on top of the upward
Figure U21 - Side component of the ladder placed on top of the upward
facing side of the carbon paper

Figure U22 - A chisel craft knife is used to mark position of the ladder steps
Figure U22 - A chisel craft knife is used to mark position of the ladder steps

The position of the steps can be seen on the wood (Figure U23) and this process is completed for the other side of the ladder.

Figure U23 - Position of the steps
Figure U23 - Position of the steps

The slots for the ladder steps are made using a junior hacksaw; this is positioned over the marked slot using a chisel craft knife as a guide (Figure U24), and then a light saw cut is gently made.

Figure U24 - The junior hacksaw blade is positioned over the slot with a chisel craft blade
Figure U24 - The junior hacksaw blade is positioned over the slot with a chisel craft blade

Once the initial saw cut in the wood has been made the chisel craft blade is removed and the saw blade is lightly drawn over the wood in one direction only as shown in Figure U25 until an approximate 0.5mm deep slot is made.

Figure U25 - The junior hack saw blade is drawn lightly across the wood in one direction only
Figure U25 - The junior hack saw blade is drawn lightly across the wood in one direction only

For these steps the AMATI Master Cut art. 7368 (Figure U26) was adapted to make identical steps from the 0.5 x 3mm Walnut. Each step is approximately 7mm in width but this is really a process of 'trial and error' until the correct width in relation to the slot is achieved.

Figure U26 - An adapted AMATI Master Cut to make the ladder steps
Figure U26 - An adapted AMATI Master Cut to make the ladder steps

The completed ladder (Figure U27) is now ready to be assembled in the jig.

Figure U27 - Components for making the forecastle ladder
Figure U27 - Components for making the forecastle ladder

The steps are checked in the jig (Figure U28) and any that do not look correct are changed.

Figure U28 - The 7 steps are checked in the jig
Figure U28 - The 7 steps are checked in the jig

The sides of the ladder are fitted to the jig and steps; it could be that final adjustments will need to be done to ensure that all the components fit correctly together (Figure U29).

Figure U29 - Ladder loosely assembled
Figure U29 - Ladder loosely assembled

The steps will need to be glued to the side supports, however the glue must not be allowed to stick to the jig otherwise the ladder cannot be removed. Through experimentation it was found that if Vaseline was rubbed into the jig this would prevent the ladder from becoming glued to the jig (Figure U30).

Once this has been rubbed over the jig any excess is removed paying particular attention to the slots where the steps will go. These were cleared of any Vaseline by running through a scrap piece of 0.5 x 3mm wood and wiping it clean each time it was put into the slot.

Figure U30 - Vaseline is rubbed into the jig
Figure U30 - Vaseline is rubbed into the jig

EVO-STIK wood adhesive is applied with a pin both to the slot and the edge of each step (Figure U31).

Figure U31 - EVO-STIK wood adhesive is applied to each slot and edge of step
Figure U31 - EVO-STIK wood adhesive is applied to each slot and edge of step

One side of the ladder is assembled and then the same process is repeated for the other side; once the two sides are assembled they are carefully pressed together ensuring that all the steps are fully engaged into the slots. A bulldog clip is used to hold the sides firmly together on the jig for several hours whilst the adhesive sets (Figure U32).

Figure U32 - Bulldog clip ensure sides of ladder are held firmly on the jig
Figure U32 - Bulldog clip ensure sides of ladder are held firmly on the jig

The removal of the steps from the jig requires a little care and patience; the jig is held between two blocks of wood resting on the ladder edges. The blocks of wood are taped together so preventing any movement. The end of a lollipop stick is shaped so it will fit between the steps; this is then gently tapped between each step with a light hammer; they will gradually break away from the jig. Do ensure that when the steps are being tapped out they are kept as square as possible to the jig. These steps are illustrated in Figure U33, Figure U34 and the completed ladder in Figure U35.

Figure U33 - The ladder is being removed from the jig
Figure U33 - The ladder is being removed from the jig

Figure U34 - The jig is almost clear of the ladder
Figure U34 - The jig is almost clear of the ladder

Figure U35 - Completed ladder removed from jig
Figure U35 - Completed ladder removed from jig

When two ladders have been completed they are sanded together on P400 & P1200 abrasive paper, both on their sides, fronts and back as we have shown in Figure U36 and Figure U37.

Figure U36 - The ladders are sanded together on their front and back
Figure U36 - The ladders are sanded together on their front and back

Figure U37 - The ladders are sanded on their two sides
Figure U37 - The ladders are sanded on their two sides

At this point the ladders can be left until they are required to be fitted, or initial adjustments can be made.

For initial fitting the forecastle bulkhead is temporarily placed into position as illustrated in Figure U38, by using packing pieces behind bulkhead number four.

Figure U38 - The forecastle bulkhead is fixed temporarily into position
Figure U38 - The forecastle bulkhead is fixed temporarily into position

The positioning of the ladders can be made easier by placing pieces of wood at the bottom and side of the ladders as illustrated in Figure U39 and Figure U40. These will need to be kept and used again when the ladders are permanently fixed into place.

Figure U39 - Pieces of wood used to adjust the ladders into the correct position
Figure U39 - Pieces of wood used to adjust the ladders into the correct position

Figure U40 - Port and starboard forecastle ladders in position
Figure U40 - Port and starboard forecastle ladders in position

The additional four step positions shown in Figure U14 and Figure U35 will be useful in determining the position of the bottom and top steps of the ladder as shown in Figure U41.

Figure U41 - Position of the steps to help determine the top and bottom of the ladder
Figure U41 - Position of the steps to help determine the top and bottom of the ladder

The final touch to the ladders is to show the steps slightly worn on the top leading edge Figure U42; this is achieved with a needle file. It is a matter of choice whether to leave them new or as we have shown. Before the final fixing of the ladders they will be given a coat of Flat Matt Varnish to protect the wood from bleaching in any sunlight.

Figure U43 - Top leading edge of each step is worn
Figure U43 - Top leading edge of each step is worn

Lloyd Matthews – February 2016 ©

So there you have it. A fairly easy build for this part of the Fly.

Thanks Lloyd.

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