The Slayer of the Seas Ship

Unlike many others which rapidly make way for new ones, my Wrath of Tides model has long been a favourite of mine that I had been loathe to dismantle. Based on an imaginary sailing ship of my own design, I have constantly resisted the thought of letting it make way for something different and so in the need for day-to-day space, it has long resided decommissioned in a corner of the garage, not befitting of its favourite status.

As much as I liked it, and I did a lot, I knew that I had still compromised the model’s true potential by being guilty of constructing and then not wanting to undo much of the laborious work I had just achieved, to fine tune the new ideas that keep on coming. That is part of the drawback of creating freelance models; the potential for what you are doing keeps on developing and the changes needed keep on coming and eventually you have to commit to finishing something, even with improved ideas already formed.

With so much rigging tirelessly set up already, I could not find it in me to undo it all to make the design improvements I so would have wanted. That said, I was still very proud of the finished model, just that somewhere in me, I knew it should have been even more.

I guess it comes as no surprise then, given my recent spat of upgrading existing models to something new, that I finally decided the spirit of Wrath of Tides should sail once more in the altogether superior vessel it did deserve, and it was with a sense of relish that I retrieved it from the shadows of the garage and brought it back into daylight.

My first priority was to tackle the shape of the bow which was a little out of proportion with the rest of the ship, dismantling it and increasing its length, making it slicker and more suited to cutting through water. There was no short cuts available though as I needed to undo all riggings and fittings and the front mast before I could even start but eventually free from all the fastenings, I was able to add the additional flex plates increasing the ships length by a full five inches. With this more balanced look complete, I set about increasing the depth of complete hull which was far too shallow for such a ship of might, although I hadn? t originally concerned myself with what would normally be under water, but I knew that it had kind of cheated, and so I refitted the hull with an increase in depth of 2½” in red flexible plates all the way round, reinforcing the carcass of the vessel at both sides and bottom to make it very strong and rigid.

The mast was repositioned into a more natural and realistic position and then new riggings were added making many intricate modifications from the previous model, and when at last I had implemented those, I also decided to build an two extras overhanging cabin lodgings to facilitate a more of a galleon look from the rear end, where I also refitted the rudder so it was more secure.

Once again I constructed a transport aid in the form of a tilted platform which is attached to the side of the ship but serves only to keep the model safe and secure in transit, which due to its complicated shape would otherwise receive endless damage.

The ship being Meccano and aimed for display on a table top rather than in a bed of water, needs a base to mount it, but as I had with its predecessor, I was keen to be able to simulate the motion as if it were truly afloat and with that I dismantled the previous base where the old model used to rest with the motor for its bobbing action, and an improved housing unit was built which was better by far and much easier with the Meccano axle that had fitted across the whole of the hull being removed to give way to two heavier axles which now simply slot onto two channels I built in two towers that come up from the base.

Finally with much of the flaws that clashed with me from the previous model now addressed, I only had to find a moving device to rock the ship in its new configuration. At first I tried two motors and gears system but later I removed that and implemented a simpler small geared system, a slow moving motor pulling the bow downwards and with an accurate balancing weight distribution made at either end of the ship, the pulling action to simulate the waves was easily achieved, though I did need to make some adjustment to rock the ship only just slightly with a gentle tilt so four extras axles fitted across the base restricted the moving angle of the ship to almost a perfect motion.

The ‘Wrath of Tides’ was something that I was very proud of when it last sailed away, but it has come back again on different tides and emerged out from the horizon a far bigger beast and in another guise shed of all its imperfections, and in its new shell the vessel is something different.

There is a reason I couldn’t bring myself to dismantle it, it still had unfinished business and new seas to slay, and I am very happy with the thought of any new waves it might be making!

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