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Bottled Ship Builder


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Lubber123 last won the day on April 4

Lubber123 had the most liked content!

About Lubber123

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    Vermont, USA
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    Building SIBs, Other scale ship models

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  1. Thanks Jim! I would have preferred that I knew what ship it was supposed to be before I started building it. However, now that I know I'm seeing so many variations on other models I don't know what is supposed to be accurate. I'm using the model as a practice exercise. I have had to manufacture many of my own parts which I haven't done before so that's slow going with a lot of trial and error. The model won't look as polished as an accurate scale kit build will but as I progress it is kind of endearing its self in me.
  2. I'm just about done with the deck details. I included as many upgrades, embellishments, improvements and details (also mistakes) as I dared. I had some materials left over from two other models that I put to use. I early abandoned all hope of historical accuracy and the scale of the model is too small for true accuracy so I decided to make the model "my own": I upgraded the cannon barrels and carriages and lashed them down; I included two swivel guns in the aft; I fashioned cannon balls from pin heads and mounted them into the ball racks; I made belaying pins from brass wire (I also had some left-overs); I made jackstay eyebolts from brass wire and put the rings in the ring boxes; I found some chain for the anchors and I improved the bowsprit construction. I am most particularly proud of the 21 ft ship's boat that I fashioned out of scrap planking and made a mini planked-up boat out of. This was my first attempt at trying to do this and I planked the boat onto a false frame that I then later chiseled out. I decided to go with the "ship that's been to sea look" than the "ship that came right out of the ship yard" look so somethings look ragged, worn, rusted and damaged (at least that's my excuse!). I'm finishing the bowsprit rigging now. I also fashioned some deadeyes from 3/16" dowel (maybe not the right scale) and mounted them on brass wire chain plates and decided on a "double channel" mounting for them because they would be too difficult to rig if I mounted them against the side boards. On to the foremast next!
  3. Thanks, she's at the armory now getting fitted for guns.
  4. I began this tread under the title "Cheap-O Plank on Frame Brig" hoping that someone might help me identify exactly what this kit might be. Well I figured it out by researching riggings for sloops, which led me to schooners which led me to Baltimore Clippers which led me to the Harvey (The Pride of Baltimore is a different ship) which has the exact deck plan as this model. True to modern day fashion, there is a You Tube Video of someone who experienced exactly my same plight and bought one of these kits and then figured it out. Of course by now I have made various blunders trying to do things the way I thought they should be done since I didn't really have much for instructions. I gave her a coat of paint, which hides a lot of sins but the paint scheme is more 1747 instead of 1847 ( I needed a lot of oakum and tallow on the hull). I have to say the quality control on the kit is lax; many of the parts that were suppose to mate don't, A few parts are missing, some parts I don't know what they are for but that became fewer as I pieced together the deck furniture and I can figure out where some of the left over parts go. The sail plan doesn't include the square sails on the main mast and I had to research the lengths of the masts, yards, booms and gaffs which I found. Apparently there are more accessories that I can buy that include brass cannons and belaying pins but I don't see any blocks or deadeyes available. Since this is a SIB site I won't bore the audience with the rest of the build. I may post a final picture when I finish. But the Harvey is an interesting ship, actually it was a merchant ship outfitted with guns for protection against pirates which were then still numerous. She sailed the California coast around the days of the Gold Rush so she may have had precious cargo. I was defiantly more "intellectually engaged' trying to solve this puzzle then if I had a kit that was well planned and easier to assemble - but I won't end up with a museum piece, which would have been unlikely in any case! Experience is the only way to grow.
  5. After a fashion I managed to plank the hull, which wasn't an easy task without a sheer line plan. Also the ribs on the bulkheads weren't quite precise and I had no plan to fair them up to. The transom didn't make much sense to me and I was sure I was missing a part for it so I ended up fashioning a piece and had to change the lines of the hull somewhat. It worked better on the starboard side than on the port side. I don't think the model would win any prizes if closely examined by experts but then again it isn't a "museum quality" model kit; it's another generic "Privateer" - a merchant ship that was converted for military use. I assembled all the various deck furnishings and ended up with extra pieces I can't identify, one of which I think was the transom piece I was looking for, I think. I loosely placed some of the deck furnishings for the photo. I think the cannons look a little hokey and I can't quite decide to include them or not. I may liven up the carriages for them by painting them red, which I've seen on historically restored cannons. Next step is painting the hull then trying to figure out the masts and rigging. I have no dimensions for the masts and spars but was provided with a actual scale sail plan that I can back- solve from.
  6. I misspoke about the scale, the scale of the model is stated as 1:130. Also, it isn't a brig, it's more of a sloop. The closest model I've seen it resemble is "The Black Prince" which almost matches except for the number of guns.
  7. The model is marked at 1:300 but accuracy is probably not its strong point. While writing this I realized that the kit doesn't contain any blocks, pulleys, deadeyes or any wire or metal parts. All the cordage it contains is a small skein of blue sewing thread. It's a mystery wrapped in an enigma surrounded by a headache.
  8. While I was searching eBay for SIB kits, I came across this plank-on-frame brig kit for sale for $15 (USD). It is a made-in-China set of laser cut wood parts, not too much different from my Model Shipways plank-on-frame 18th Century Long Boat kit except my MS kit had an excellent instruction booklet and well labeled parts. In typical made-in-China cheap-o fashion, this kit has a double sided sheet of a poorly labeled diagram for construction instructions, some of the parts aren't labeled, there is no (English) alphabetic order to the sequence of construction, or a color photo of what the final build should look like. So of the parts I have no idea what they are suppose to be and it took me about two hours to figure out which part was the transom. But, I've spent a lot more money for a lot less entertainment. Since I have some plank-on-frame experience and a copy of Charles G. Davis' "The Built Up Ship Model" which features the build of the brig-of-was USS Lexington, which this model kind of resembles, I may as well have some fun trying to make something of this. I don't suggest a kit like this for someone who doesn't know how to bend a plank to make a planked up hull and there are no instructions on how to paint the model, or make the sails or even how to rig it so beginners steer clear. -do=add#.url -do=add#.url -do=add#.url -do=add#.url -do=add#.url -do=add#.url -do=add#.url
  9. I finished rigging my "Privateer" and she looked very ship-shape on the rigging stand. I prepared my putty sea using plumber's putty that I had colored with oil paints. I had some left over from about a year ago which was just the right consistency. I tried not to over do the sea and used uncolored putty for the white foam. Next was setting her to "sea". I found I had a very tight fit and probably should have trimmed the hull just a bit thinner. I found this to be a general issue with most of the parts in the kit that they all needed some trimming down or fairing out. The bottle didn't quite fit the stand correctly so the stand needed to be shaped down before I epoxied the bottle to it. The inside of the cap would have needed to be thinned out in order to fit over the bottle treads but I just glued a cork stopper into it to make it removable. All didn't go very smoothly. I ripped a sail on the main mast off off its yardarm during insertion. The sail material is a stiff fabric which allows the sails to be shaped nicely before insertion but holds a crease and I ended up creasing the spanker sail with no hope of reshaping it. The model ended up a bit more "wind blown" then I would have liked and took some damage during insertion but I finished her off anyway with a decorative knot on the neck using the provided yarn. I have had better luck with models I made from scratch using my own materials and plans. I suppose the down fall of kit construction is not knowing what shapes are reliable and not having any previous experience with the provided materials so one doesn't know how they will behave. The beginner has to trust that all the materials in the kit have been proven and tested, which may be a naïve assumption. So for a kit that was suppose to be "beginner level", this wasn't some "snap the pieces together and be done" affair and requires a bit of sophistication. I always learn something every time I build a kit or follow a build from a book which allows me the knowledge to do my own scratch builds. I have a good collection of kits so I'll post more when I build them.
  10. Finally got back to the AM Privateer kit. I find the most interesting part of the kit to be the nice "Dutch Flask" bottle and stand so this build is more a "bottle with a ship in it" then a "ship built into a bottle". The ship is a generic brig with no real historical content but some of the materials are nice, especially the hull and a nice set of sail materials. The spool of thread included with the kit is useless but the bamboo cocktail skewer material for the mast and spars sanded down nicely. Of course the putty for the sea is too hardened to be of use. I had to fair out the stand to fit the form of the bottle better. I first gave the stand a coat of wood conditioner and a light coat of clear stain but then I decided to give it a deeper antiqued look with some dark walnut stain. I also glued the wooded stopper ornament to a cork to make a better stopper for the neck. I have all the mast and spars shaped and assembled. The plans don't call for stepped mast so I didn't step them. However the rigging plan is a little skimpy and out of experience I know that the erection in the bottle might be difficult without stabilizing mast shrouds and backstays so I included them. I just "eyeballed" their placement. I also intent to put stays on the yardarms so I can get them aligned properly in the bottle. The sail material is stiff enough to hold a curve in the sails and I didn't think to shape them until I had glued them in place. The instructions don't call this out but I was still able to shape them after they were mounted. Also, don't throw away the small scraps of trimmings from the cut away sails. I used some to make small pendants and I can use them on other models also. So at this point I'm going to use my own construction instinct instead of trying to follow the instructions. At least the booklet has a scaled plan for the hull, masts and spars and is an interesting read even if the rigging is skimpy. I realize that this is suppose to be a beginner level kit but skimpy rigging can cause more problems then it presents. It isn't hard to improve it. I've got the foremast erected on the rigging jig and the other masts are hinged in place and collapsed behind waiting to be rigged upright. She'll be out of dry dock before too long.
  11. I just got back to SIB activity and noticed some interest in on Authentic Models "Privateer" kit. I had started this build last spring and left it on my work table until now. I completed the hull last spring, my favorite part, but got bogged down by the tedious sanding down of masts and spars and just couldn't bring myself back to it. I suppose I suffered a little bit of model ship burn out after my sprint to finish my large scale models and the various SIB's I finished from Needham's book. I find this kit to be pleasant enough but since it lacks a bit of authenticity to it I found I lost interest in it for a while. But it is good practice. I plan to go my own way with it a bit since the model is meant to be a beginner's level but isn't too basic that some skill isn't required. I plan to apply some level of staining to the model, which means I need to finish shaping all the masts, spars and gaffs before I stain them. I did assemble the base and I found that it needs to be shaped out a bit so that the bottle fits properly on it. I still at odds about using the included sails since they look a bit hookey and I have plenty of sail material to make my own versions. I'm also not quite in agreement with the rigging plan and plan to include stays for the yard arms which aren't specified. Here are some pics of my progress.
  12. Hi Rudi, the instructions are rather rudimentary but if I can find a few minutes I'll copy mine and send them too your email. I just got back to this build. Since it isn't ment to be a "museum quality" exact build I feel free to take liberties with the instructions. One confusion is the way they recommend how to drill the holes in the mast for the yardarms so they properly kant. I don't think this is necessary and is unduly complicated. The yards usually have enough play so that they can be adjusted in the bottle but one needs to add the yard arm riggings which are missing in the directions. So a bit a "mashing" might be appropriate.
  13. Hi Jeff, the Brig Lexington is extensively covered in Charles G Davis "The Built Up Ship Model", which I think can still be found. I built a SIB version back in 1980 for a wedding gift for a cousin which I considered my best best work. I put it in a very unique "Rock n Rye" bottle which has a oversized neck and a nice rectangular shape with a nicely scrolled neck. I've wanted to recreate one for a while and have had a carved up and painted hull sitting on a rigging board for some years. Unfortunately I didn't make a water line hull and the full hull is a bit much for most bottles so I can't decide what to do with my oversized hull. I was thinking of making a miniature in a glass box instead. Maybe. Anyway once in a while I try to transcribe the dimensions from the book plan to a smaller scale so that I can complete the masts and spars, etc. It's on the back burner. The SIB plan for the future and might always will be. Thanks for the inspiration.
  14. As I have been posting, I have been collecting ship in the bottle kits lately. Most of these escaped me in my youth since they came during my hiatus from modeling. At a certain age, one’s interests mature and things of youth are left behind. It takes a certain amount of curiosity to become interested in the less superficial aspects of modeling and requires a certain maturity to appreciate historical significance and fine craftsmanship. I’ve encountered a variety of different compositions of these kits. All the ones I’ve reported on so far are some variation of materials to be placed inside a glass bottle. The tradition of the activity has been building a model from wood and placing it inside a glass bottle with a sea made of putty since these are the materials that a person at sea may have had available to the them. To make the activity more accessible to the common person, lately more modern materials have been incorporated and some techniques have been improved and modified. Our seafaring predecessors may have appreciated some of these materials, such as CA “super glue” and tools such as small spiral drills and pin vises - not to mention accurate plans. And maybe they would have been repulsed by some other ideas. I like to stay as close to a traditional build as possible, but I do appreciate some modern conveniences such as my tiny drill bits and CA. This kit deviates from the tradition in that it is a plastic model of a ship to be placed into a glass bottle. It actually has a very nice glass bottle and a neat little stand for it. The introduction on the instruction sheet states: “In this kit, modern methods and materials have been used to allow you to re-create this fascinating craft and learn age-old skills. None of the original ingenuity has been lost!” But in reality I’m gluing together a pre-fabricated plastic hull and parts to be placed inside a glass bottle. How much ingenuity is that? So here I present the kit made by Airfix (Humbrol limited) “Cutty Sark” # 6003. There were also two other kits in this series: the “Mayflower” and “Charles W. Morgan”. These are all well know historical ships with the “Cutty Sark” and the “C.W.Morgan” still preserved for observation so there should be some expectation of detailed accuracy. The kit is well presented in very nice packaging and a very elaborate instruction sheet with various language interpretations. But it contains no historical information about the ship. My first impression when I received the box was how large the kit is. The box measures 12”x 14.5”. The kit contains a very nice large rectangular flask type bottle that measures 8.5” x 4.5” (from the tip of the neck). The neck opening is so large I can put my thumb into it. Also included is the only wooden part, a nice stand to place the bottle on complete with plastic whale carvings. A long with the plastic parts for the hull, masts and spars and a sheet of plasticized paper sails are a set of paints with small brush, tubes of glue for paper and plastic, rigging thread and cordage for neck decoration, a metal tool for model insertion and a cork for the neck - and of course the completely hardened by now white and blue modeling clay. There is also a plastic rigging stand that doesn’t look like it could be repurposed for use with a wooden model. Also included are little plastic dolphins and a small light house for embellishments to be placed in the putty sea. One of the reasons I bought this kit was for my preparation to build a “Cutty Sark” model which is the final model in the Jack Needham book. I didn’t have a bottle large enough for his dimensions and I wanted a sail plan. So my initial plan is to repurpose the bottle and some materials perhaps to build a wooden model using the dimensions from the plastic one and repurpose the sails. It just seems like a shame to put a plastic ship into such a nice bottle. I haven’t built a plastic model since my pre-teen years and I wasn’t that enthusiastic about it then. I think it does require some sophistication to build a convincing plastic model and that it is a legitimate modeling hobby but it strays a bit far from the tradition of putting a ship in a bottle. But the kit is a nice kit for what it is.
  15. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you, but we all have to start somewhere. I'm glad you kept it; I like looking back on early work and reflecting on how I could improve. Most of these higher quality kits either weren't around yet or were out of reach for me in my youth. It's better to have tried and failed then to never had tried at all - unless you really need the money for something more important!
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