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Bottled Ship Builder

Lubber123

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Lubber123 last won the day on April 15

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About Lubber123

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    Cadet

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Vermont, USA
  • Interests
    Building SIBs, Other scale ship models

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  1. My recent experiments have caused me to fall back on plumbers putty (window glazing would work also) colored with artist's grade oil paint. I would suggest Water Soluble type oil paints (Holbein and also Winsor and Newton make these) for easier clean up. They absorb into the putty relatively quickly and handles without mess in a day or two. Also one can mix a nice color with Ultramarine Blue and Viridian Green or other colors to match a nice sea. The base color of the putty is an off white which works well for waves. Plus it is a traditional way to produce a sea and I like sticking with traditional methods. I found a plumbers putty with a modern formulation for granite countertops that behaved quite nicely. I tried a modeling clay product but I don't like the color of the blue - it's more a sky blue than a sea blue. I tried to color this with acrylic paint but instead of mixing into the clay, it sort of sits on top of it and it never dried (acrylic paint usually dried in twenty minutes but this stuff made a mess!). I do use the brown modeling clay for backgrounds however. Guy Demarco's book has some good suggestions for making a sea and explains most of the methods that are mentioned in the previous post. Essential is to have a good stout rod of some sort to press the sea down and smooth it. Demarco suggest a bent knitting needle.
  2. That's too bad! My hull isn't anything too special and I'm sure you can make one from the plans. I like the hull I got in the AM Privateer though, it's top notch. The bottle I got with my AM Princess Royal is actually very nice, it was made in Germany, not France, the AM Privateer bottle I have was made in France. So for £3 you got ship plans, a nice set of instructions, a suit of sails, a nice bottle stand and some bamboo skewers. Mine cost six times that but I got a complete package. I really can't justify the cost of these kits but having a ship plan and a bottle to fit the plan is essential.
  3. Hi James, I just bought one of these kits also but not at the bargain you got. The putty will be hardened and useless by now but no big deal since putty availability is not a problem. My bottle was made in France and doesn't have the imprint on it. But these Authentic Model kits are just about the best I've seen at the price ( the Amati models look superb but are almost $100 USD). I also have an AM "Privateer" that I think is a better kit but not modeled on an historic model. The Privateer kit has a nice hardwood hull that I had trouble getting an electric drill to hole. It also comes in a neat little wood box. I couldn't resist starting to build the model but had to shelve it for a while so it's still in "dry dock". The instruction sheet is excellent. I've collected about six different kits now and these are my favorite. I'm sure you will enjoy this build.
  4. Wow John, yours is fantastic! Your ship is very nicely formed and a great shaped bottle with a nice finish on the neck. And I like the "left hand" placement which is a great way to introduce some variety to a collection. My ship looks sloppy compared to yours, you must have a more practiced hand. I get a little carried away with making a whole diorama with the ship just being part of it. I'm still struggling with the miniature sails although I was very pleased with the sails I put on my large scale model, my first time making a true suit of sails. Maybe I'm too easily impressed with myself! Well, I have more practice ahead...thanks for sharing.
  5. Thanks Jeff! Each model is its own challenge...no two seem exactly alike.
  6. I have been working my way through the examples in Jack Needham’s “Modeling Ships in Bottles”. Here I’ve completed his third of four exercises, “The Waterwitch” which is modeled after an actual historical ship although I am having some difficulty confirming his back-story about the ship since there seems to have been many ships named the Waterwitch. The exercise here was to graduate to making yardarms and square sails which are present here only on the foremast. In my youth I had skipped over all the preliminary exercises and went right into square rigged ships but here I felt I wanted to go back and practice my basics. I also wanted to make use of my collection of bar bottles left over from my father’s bar tending days and here I made use of a Dubouchet liqueur bottle which I felt was nicely ornamented. I also practiced my hand at another head-land back ground with some obligatory sea-side buildings and a little greenery in the hill side. I switched over to a sea made from plumber’s putty colored with artist grade water soluble oil paints which seems nicely compatible and I think this will be my future go-to formula. I also went back and tried making paper sails but I think I prefer cloth sails. I just found some nice antiqued sail cloth which I think will make nice sails for my future SIBs. I also have some tan resume paper which might also be worth trying. I made another attempt at a Turk’s Head knot again using my jig but I think I need to start with a bit more length of cord. Anyway, again the photograph doesn’t do the model justice and I’m happy to have this one in my fleet.
  7. Thanks for this Jim. Has some nice tricks that go beyond the basics.
  8. Thanks Bernard! The model sort of came together on its own. Once I built the Lumber Schooner, it looked so lonely in the back of the bottle I just had to give it company. And once I built the accompanying fishing schooner, I found some spare parts for the skipjack that just filled the neck. I never had a plan, it just came together on its own.
  9. Thanks, I'll have to do a few more of these now...triple the fun!
  10. Thanks James, that bottle had been sitting in my basement for quite a long time. I just needed some inspiration to figure out what to do with it. It was all serendipity, very little planning.
  11. Thanks Jeff! Actually, I don't think the photograph does it justice. There's a bit of distortion from the angle and a bit of glare on the top edge. It's a tough bottle to photograph, the model looks more impressive in real life. Step by step, I'm learning new tricks...
  12. I’ve been continuing to follow the examples in Jack Needham’s “Modeling Ships in Bottles”. I had already finished the first example “A Simple Model for Beginners”. Although I am more experienced than a basic beginner, I found making the basic model to be a good refresher. I don’t follow Needham’s method of rigging; I don’t use as many control lines as he suggests and I rig the shrouds in to holes in the gunnels instead of rigging them through the underside of the hull. Here I progressed to his second model, a four masted lumber schooner. I had the dilemma of trying to find an appropriate bottle for it since the model is long but not very tall. I also had a uniquely shaped bottle that my father had saved for me many years ago with the thought that “maybe you could put a ship in it someday”. It’s a long tapered triangle shaped bottle that once contained Sicilian Gold Marsala. So as a tribute to my Sicilian ancestry I wanted to use the bottle. I switched over from the clay-dough modeling clay I had previously used and instead purchased some plumber’s putty that I colored with water-soluble artist grade oil paints mixing Ultramarine Blue with some Viridian Green for the sea, using the base neutral color for the wave tops. I also switched back to cloth sails which I seem to prefer. Once I placed the lumber schooner into the back end of the bottle, I realized it looked a little lonely so I repeated Needham’s “Exercise One” and made a basic two masted fishing schooner to keep it company. Once I added the fishing schooner, I still had some “dead space” in the neck to fill so I added a small headland background with a few buildings and put a small skipjack sailboat in front of that to give the illusion of all three running into port. I finished the neck with a “Turk’s Head” knot that I built a special jig for so I could get it right this time. It’s still tough to make, even with a jig. So here is my diorama “fleet” heading into port. This is the first time I put multiple ships in a bottle and I’m encouraged enough to use this method again on some of my longer bottles.
  13. Thanks CharlieB! Amundsen's story was powerful inspiration to do a good job.
  14. Thanks! Yes, it was a bit of a challenge to work the model in with the long neck and I had to pull it out a few times to get it adjusted the way I wanted. I have a collection of bottles my father saved for me from his bartending days and I seem to be on a mission to find a ship for all of them.
  15. Since I decided to revive my interest in ship in the bottle builds, I revisited my original first kit builds from the “Ships A Sailin’” line from the 1970’s. My first ever build was their “Lively Lady” and my second ever build was another of their kits. I pulled out the instruction sheet that I still have from this series which has no identification for the ship on it. For many years I was under the impression that this build was their “Skeeter” but after finding an old kit for sale I realized that I had actually built their “Goja”. I first started to perfunctorily build this ship accordingly to the dimensions I had on the instruction sheet when I remembered that I was never quite pleased with my first result. I had given this build away as a gift so I no longer had it for reference. I looked at the squat dimensions of the whole ship on the instruction sheet and the cautionary words that the model had been modified to adapt it to the bottle when I wondered if this was actually a historical representation. At the time I had no idea what the “Goja” was, my “Lively Lady” certainly wasn’t a historically accurate ship so I assumed that this was another fanciful creation. After a cursory investigation, I was hooked. The “Goja” is the ship that Norwegian Explorer Roald Amundsen sailed to make the first successful voyage across the North West Passage in 1906. The ship still exists today in a museum in Fram, Norway and previously had spent many years in a park in San Francisco, Ca so it is well documented and photographed. I managed to find a sail and rigging plan and pulled up a few photos to help me get as historically close to the ship as possible. I even watched a video documentary about the Arctic Explorers and the quest to find the North West Passage. After Amundsen completed the passage, he landed in Alaska and had to Nordic ski 500 miles just to send a telegraph to announce his completion. I was so impressed with this story I decided I had to do this model due diligence and effort. I didn’t want to end up with a “bottle with a ship model in it” I wanted a “ship model that happened to be encased in a glass bottle” instead. I found a nice bottle in my collection that complemented the dimensions of the plan although it was a bit challenging to work in. I tried to match the color scheme of the hull, I made a nice suit of sails from cloth instead of paper (I really prefer the cloth sails to paper now), I took some care with trying to make a flat Arctic sea with ice floes and an Arctic tundra backdrop and I sealed the bottle with a Scandinavian coin (OK, it’s Swedish, not Norwegian and it isn’t from 1906 but it looks cool) and made another “decorative braid” knot for the neck. I even tried my hand at a miniature Norwegian flag to fly from its ensign line. Had I had the presence of mind, I would have made a Norwegian flag of the banner but the flag was an afterthought. Most of these details are not visible in the photograph. After it was completed it struck me how the bottle mounted on its side mimics the silhouette of the ship with the neck being its prow. So here it is, my homage to Roald Amundsen, my eighth ever SIB.
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