A year ago when I built the toy ship HMS Unicorn for one of my nephews, I did not know how well it would survive either the interest or the rough handling of a seven-year-old. As it turns out, the Unicorn is still much adored and other than the loss of the horn of the figurehead and the unraveling of one of the anchor rodes, it has survived and is in excellent shape. When I saw the nephew in question early in December he brought out the Unicorn and began to ask all kinds of questions about how 18th Century ships functioned. As we talked it became very clear that HMS Unicorn was in desperate need of ships boats.
“Cutting out expeditions” need ships boats, that house is full of wooden toy ships just begging to be cut out. The sailors need to be able to get to and from the shore, the crew of bears aboard Unicorn has not had shore leave in a year…anyway, it was time to remedy the situation.
As with almost all the toys I make I started with rough sketches drawn to actual size and then shaped the hulls for the ships cutter and jolly boat based on those sketches.
The boats themselves were not that challenging to make, but the crews took a little time. Templates helped speed up the repetitive process of carving the crews for both boats.
The idea was to have each rower positioned such that an oar could either be shipped with the loom in the rowing position,
or the oar could be removed and set in the “oars up” position for coming along side.
The cutter has an officer and coxswain and the jolly boat has a midshipmen in charge. “Away all boats!”