Winch Machinery

Day 282.

The last remaining piece of ‘deck stuff’ is the winch machinery.  This bit of equipment connects the windlass and counter shaft to the engine box.

The winch machinery is made up of several parts that are provided as cast metal pieces in the Model Shipways Bluenose kit.  These parts are mounted onto the jumbo jib boom crutch, a wooden structure built from laser-cut pieces.

To get started, I need to build the jumbo jib boom crutch since everything else mounts to this.  This part is made from some provided laser-cut pieces (for the top and the knees), along with some strip wood for the posts.  When choosing strip wood for the posts, be sure to select some with the same thickness as the laser cut pieces.  It seems like some kits provided that laser cut sheet in a different size.

The wooden parts that will make up the jumbo jib boom crutch.

The pieces all need a good bit of sanding to remove laser char before they can be glued together.  The top piece is very, very small (about 3/4″ long), so extra care must be taken not to break it.

The jumbo jib boom crutch assembled.

Gluing the pieces together is pretty simple, although I found the joints at the top were not very strong.  During painting, they quickly started to flex a little.  I ended up applying some CA glue to strengthen the joint.  It shouldn’t be noticeable once it is painted over.

I also applied some wood filler around the seams to even things out.

The entire structure was primered, sanded, and airbrushed white.

After filling, sanding and painting.

With the jumbo jib boom crutch complete, it is time to start working on all the various stuff that will mount to it.  The kit provides a few different bits of cast metal pieces.

The kit delivers several of the parts for the winch on this bar, but they can be easily removed.

The winch shaft assembly actually contains several parts.  The metal rod has the two end pieces installed, as well as one of the mounting brackets and one of the gears.  All of these are slid onto the rod, and can be removed.

A big gear.

The kit also includes the larger gear, as well as the other mounting bracket, two very tiny pawls (small ‘hooks’ that will catch some gears), and a second bar with a gear to be used as the clutch assembly.

For these pieces, I started by completely disassembling what the kit provided.  I took everything off the metal bar and cleaned them all up with a metal file.

In most builds, you would probably just paint all this stuff black.  That would be most historically accurate.  However, I think that a little color variation can help make the different parts stand out, and that can make the model look a little more detailed to a casual observer.  So, I’m going to paint things a few different colors here.

To start, there are several pieces that do need to be painted black.  I’ll do that with an airbrush first, then touchup later as needed with a brush.

To make painting these tiny parts easier, I strung them together with some string and used blue tape to keep them separated.  This way I can just hold up the string by the tape and spray everything.

The small parts were strung together so they wouldn’t get lost during painting.

I’ll be painting the two gears for the winch, along with the clutch assembly. I had the metal bar all ready to go, but decided not to paint it yet as the paint would just rub off when I reassembled everything.

Once those were painted, I moved on to some other parts.  I’m painting the two mounting brackets brass, so they stand out against both the jumbo jib boom crutch and the machinery.  I’ll be painting the ‘end caps’ white to match the similar pieces on the windlass, except for their gears, which will be black.  I’ll be painting the pawls black, with white mounting brackets.

After painting the black parts, the mounting brackets were painted with brass paint by hand.

The next step was to actually start assembling stuff.  First I glued the mounting brackets onto the wooden structure.  I used a thin brass rod pushed through both of them to ensure they lined up.  These were installed right in the middle of the posts.

The mounting brackets are installed first.

Next the bar was slid through one side.  Then the two gears were installed before the the bar was slid through the second mounting bracket.

Once the rod was secured, the end caps were installed.  The bar had to be trimmed a bit so the end caps didn’t sit too far away from the posts (they need to be close so the pawls can reach them).

The large gear goes close to the port side.  It just needs to line up with the clutch gear, which is also glued on at this time.  The smaller gear on the rod needs to line up evenly with the counter shaft assembly gear we installed with the windlass.  So it was positioned right in the middle of the bar.

The bar is put in place with the two gears.  End caps are installed along with the clutch gear below the main gear.

Once everything was glued in place, I finished painting.  The pawls were painted a combination of black and white and glued in place.  The end caps were painted white to match the ones on the windlass.  The gears on the end caps, along with the bar, were painted black.  I also touched up anything that had gotten a little scuffed during assembly.

The winch had a bar to help control it.  This was made from several moving parts on the actual ship, but I’m just going to simulate it with some brass wire.

The assembly was then glued onto the deck.  The black rod on the port side that comes out from the clutch gear needs to fit into a slot that we cut in the engine box.  This is where the winch machinery connects to the engine.

Pawls are installed as is the brass control bar, and the rest of the paint is finished up.

With the piece in place, there are only two things left to finish this up.

First, we need to install the engine box’s control bar.  This is another bar that was used to control the machinery.  This one comes up from within the engine box through the hole we made in the top.  I made this by simply gluing in a brass bar.  (I made the control bars brass so they would stand out a little – they would have likely been black metal).

A brass control bar is mounted on the engine box.

Finally, we need to connect the winch to the windlass.  On the ship, a chain was used for this that was similar to what you’d have on a bicycle.  Obviously they don’t make bicycle chains this small, so we have to simulate it with something.

The instructions suggest using string or wire.  I decided to make my life more complicated and use some tiny chain.  My wife donated some very, very thin chain from her jewelry business.  It was pretty fancy silver chain.  Since it was so nice, I quickly dunked it in a bottle of black paint.

Attaching the chain was a pain, and I’m not thrilled with how it turned out.  I had to glue one end to one gear, then wrap it around the other gear while gluing that in place, then glue the loose end back on the first gear.  It was a lot of trial and error, and it was difficult to do with everything crowding the deck.

A very thin chain is run between the winch and the windlass.

I did finally get it installed.  Not thrilled, but content with the results

Done with deck structures!

And now I’m finished with the ‘deck stuff’.  I’ve finished all the buildings and structures that are permanent fixtures on the deck.  There are few more things that ‘go on the deck’ like anchors and dories (fishing boats), but those are more accessories than part of the deck, so I’m considering those a different ‘phase’ of construction.