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Bottled Ship Builder


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  1. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Jeff B in What's on your workbench?   
    HMS Waterwitch is done. Just need a proper bottle. I used  the plans/ instructions in Jack Needham's  Modeling Ships In Bottles. 

  2. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Onni in HMS Terror   
    Before I permanently fix the foremast in place, I position lifeboat davits on the port side complete with hanging lifeboat and add some more deck features. Next will be fixing the jib. The advantage for me in adding each mast separately is you don't have to deal with a vast amount of tangled  threads as one usually has with the traditional folding masts. Not saying this is a better way of doing them but it works alright for me. Most of my earlier ships I built with folding masts,copied from 'Sailing in Glass' and Jack Needham's book but found the hulls were a bit on the small side ,so I began experimenting with split hulls and individual masts too allow bigger vessels. Still learning though ..... use a lot of styrene in builds nowadays because it is so versatile and easy to cut and use instead of thin wood veneers.

  3. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Lubber123 in Kit Review - Airfix "Cutty Sark"   
    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.


  4. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Onni in HMS Terror   
    Main mast goes in.Because this is a bigger bottle than I originally intended to use,she looks a bit on the small size but it would of entailed an almost complete rebuild or at least reworking the masts to be higher. At least there is good space to work inside the bottle and I can fill out the empty ice pack with tents/huts/stores etc..

  5. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Onni in What's on your workbench?   
    'Viggen' (Thunderbolt) Cabin cruiser.

  6. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Onni in HMS Terror   
    Mizzen mast in place complete with spanker sail. Ship's double wheel is under the spanker but a little difficult to make out. Lifeboat hoist in front of the mizzen mast. I decided to make a weather beaten canvas awning,with the date and name of the ship incorporated into the stand. I think some of the fun of building ship in bottles, is coming up with your own unique stand designs.

  7. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Jeff B in What's on your workbench?   
    HMS Waterwitch

  8. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Lubber123 in Kit Review: Shipyard Crafts "Flying Cloud"   
    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!
  9. Like
    JesseLee got a reaction from James w rogers in Kit Review: Shipyard Crafts "Flying Cloud"   
    This was my first SIB build back in the early 1980s. I had no SIB skills and I call it my Shipwreck-in-a-bottle. I still have it.
  10. Like
    JesseLee reacted to DSiemens in HMS Terror   
    Its always so crazy to see a ship in so many pieces and so fun to see it all come together. 
  11. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Onni in HMS Terror   
    It's nice when all the pieces come together as they should ... inside the bottle!
  12. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Onni in HMS Terror   
    The first two quarters of the starboard side of the hull are in. I did not  glued them together because they are already a good tight fit without glue.When the port side is glued together with the starboard side they will support each other (hopefully) For lifting the hull pieces together in place in the bottle, I use a piece of twisted iron ( as used in reinforced concrete) with some blu tac on the bent end to position them and then tap them together. The iron rod is heavy enough to act like a mini hammer. Steamed the deck veneer and got it through the bottle neck in one piece so that the deck does not show any cuts or joins. I just glue these all with ordinary white wood glue. The completed hull will be glued down with clear resin so that it will be a solid platform to erect the masts etc..

  13. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Onni in HMS Terror   
    Ready to go in!

  14. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Lubber123 in Kit Review: Paper Ship - USS Constitution   
    As I last reported, I’ve been collecting ship in the bottle kits. I reviewed a nice kit from Authentic Models that I found to be of high quality and worth building in the traditional sense. In this review I’d like to present a kit that gives opportunity to all, but just not in a traditional building method.
    At first I wanted to be unkind and snarky about this kit, but I reflected and found some merits to it. I had to realize that I have been blessed with average manual dexterity and my hands are still fairly steady and my eyesight is good for my age. I am also good at problem solving and sequencing tasks. I would assume that most readers of this website are also similarly blessed. However, I am personally acquainted with people who aren’t so blessed and who would find the construction of this kit to be challenging and who would be quite please with this accomplishment.
    Now a description of what this kit is: This kit is of a ship model of the USS Constitution constructed totally of folded paper, to be glued to a paper sea inside a glass bottle which is mounted on a stand made of paper with a real cork inserted in its neck which is decorated with a paper image of a cord and seal. The only wood included in the kit is a tapered stick provided as an insertion tool (which may as well end up in my gadget box). There is also a small spool of thread provided for the ersatz rigging which consist of one stay for erecting the masts. The glass bottle is a nicely shaped “Dutch Flask” design but isn’t of the highest of quality glass. Even the cork looks cheap. At least it is a real glass bottle and not plastic.
    However, the kit does include a very nice reference booklet containing the description and history of various tall ships. And I like the packaging which I may reuse for a more authentic build. I was hoping that at least I could use the sail pattern or cut the sails out and reuse them but I doubt their authenticity. They aren’t individual sails; they are actually part of the paper masts.
    I think this kit might be mildly entertaining for an averagely intelligent eight year old. Of course there are people who are not able to or who should not be using sharp implements like razor blades and woodworking tools and none are required here. I believe scissors are only required to cut the thread for the rigging since the paper pieces are pre-cut and pop out. The rigging is cut outside the bottle after being trapped by the cork so there is no need for a razor blade.
    So now there is no excuse why anyone should not be able to build a ship in a real glass bottle. We live in an age of inclusivity and now that extends to ship in the bottle building.

  15. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Onni in How do you make Dolphin Strikers.   
    Drill a small hole in the bowsprit the thickness of a needle,cut the pointed end off of a sewing needle and then glue the needle into the hole that you made earlier in the bowsprit. Thread your line through the eye of the needle and that's your dolphin striker made.

  16. Like
    JesseLee reacted to IgorSky in Captain Jack Sparrow arrives in Port Royal in bottle - 1:72   
    And finally, Jack took his place on the mast.

  17. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Onni in HMS Terror   
    More of the rigging completed,sails cut and glued in place.Constructed lifeboat hangers and fashioned a small lifeboat. (The crew dismantled the other lifeboats to provide shelter 😉 )
    Made a rookie mistake on measuring the inside height of the bottle ( a 750 ml whisky bottle) and found that the masts would be touching the top of the inside of the bottle and as I did not want to cut down the masts or sand down the bottom of the hull; I switched to a larger 1,5 L bottle. Now the problem was to fill the extra space, so made a tent,shed and other store supplies to give it a bit of a diorama feel and fill up the bottle a bit.

  18. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Jeff B in NCC-1701   
    Playing with bottle and plans.

  19. Like
    JesseLee reacted to cog in How to Build a Bermuda Sloop (for beginners)   
    Nice instruction. I would like to add that if you are using CA and e.g. a piece of metal rod or a pin as applicator, you can clean it by burning it off with a lighter. I am building some plastic kits with a lot of PE on MSW and to apply the CA I use a needle, stuck in a piece of wood as a handle, with the top of the eye cut off, so a fork is created which can hold the CA. You do need to burn the build up of CA regularly.
  20. Like
    JesseLee reacted to IgorSky in What's on your workbench?   
    Schooner ATLANTIC in progress...

  21. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Lubber123 in Kit Review - AM "Privateer"   
    I’ve been collecting SIB kits lately. I’m up to seven different model kits, all of various quality and contents. I was going to post these in some sort of order, like least favorite to most favorite, but one got under my skin right away and I decided to start building it so I wanted to post it before I got too far with its construction. And it is similar to a kit that Jim Rogers posted about so I thought I’d add to it.
    I became interested in kits because that is where I started, but that was more than forty years ago and I’ve been away from the hobby for a long time so I missed a lot of developments. Kits can vary in complexity and quality and initially I felt that they were for novice with undeveloped skills but I’m beginning to appreciate some of their benefits. The better kits model a named historic ship, have good ship plans and quality materials and a nicely shaped bottle to match the ship. There are some that are even “museum quality” – and expensive. There are cheaper kits for beginners but these may not offer a good learning experience.
    I started SIB modeling with a kit from the “Ships A Sailin’” line and have experienced all three of their offerings. However I’ve discovered that the ship plans were highly modified to fit the modest quality bottle that was offered with the kit. These kits allowed some learning in miniature woodworking and the basics of a traditional build but didn’t produce the highest of quality experience. So, I’ve been interested in what else has been offered and what kind of quality experience they provide.
    This kit is one of my favorites so far. It is an offering from the Authentic Models Company: “The Privateer – Pirate Ship in a Bottle SM043”. It wasn’t very expensive, it has high quality components and a nice instruction booklet and I think it could provide a satisfying experience for any skill level. The claim on the packaging is that it is for anyone age 8 to 98 but I think that to be a bit of an exaggeration. I think an eight year old would have to be pretty sophisticated to accomplish this build and I can only hope I have the steady hands and eyesight required when I turn ninety-eight.
    I like just about everything about this kit. It even comes in a nice wooden storage box that smells like cedar, has high quality materials and a nice instruction booklet. The bottle is a high quality “Dutch Flask” style (Made in France) which is unique to my collection. The hull construction was a three piece arrangement and the wood was so hard that I had difficulty drilling it in order to screw it to my rigging board (the board is not included). The “Made in Germany” plasticine for the sea material is now too hard to be of any use but was probably nice stuff when it was new. It also has a nice bag of wooden dowels and parts, a spool of thread and a kit of cloth sails already marked up along with a nice hardwood cradle for the flask.
    I’ve seen other kits from Authentic Models and they look top notch. I have another of their offerings and I’ll review that separately but it is the same one that Jim Rogers posted about.
    I even learned a bit of trivia from the instruction booklet: “The earliest known examples of ships in bottles do not date back earlier than the 1830’s, probably because it was not until then that dark glass began to give way to clear glass and that the shape of the bottle itself began to change to a one better suited to holding a ship.”  The booklet goes on and describes more history about ship in bottles.
    Just about the only fault I can find with the kit is that it isn’t for a researched named historic ship but for a generic “Privateer”. Just about anything that could float and hold a gun or two could have been granted a license to privateer, so a “Privateer” isn’t much of a ship description. I’m also not keen on the sail arrangement on the missen mast, it looks a little clumsy to me but I’ll probably rig it that way. It’s nice sometime to just follow the instructions.
    I’ve seen various versions of this kit. One is called “Passage through a Bottle’s Neck”. I also saw a kit that stated it was made expressly for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and was a model of the “Flying Cloud” but the picture on the box and in the instruction booklet was the same as the “Privateer” – which isn’t the “Flying Cloud” clipper ship I know. I didn’t bother to buy that one - I found a more reliable model for the “Flying Cloud”.
    I can’t determine what the vintage of this kit is since there is no dating in the booklet. However it does mention using a CA glue like “Zap” which I didn’t see available until the early 1990’s so this kit could be some twenty five years old or so.
    So I started the kit and got as far as finishing the hull and adding the bowsprit (what I call the fun part) but got bogged down in the drudgery of shaping mast and spars and now I’m distracted with another project(s). Ok, I’ll come clean, I got sucked into building a plank on frame 18th century longboat since I always wanted to do a full built up ship plank on frame model – so the “Privateer” will have to wait.
    If you want a nice kit of parts and a good instructional read, buy one of these kits and I’m sure it’ll be a rewarding experience. I go mine for about $20 (excluding shipping).

  22. Like
    JesseLee reacted to cog in Hello From Holland   
    Feels good to be among friends, and see what gems you are creating! Thanks for your warm welcome
  23. Like
    JesseLee got a reaction from cog in Hello From Holland   
    Welcome over here Carl! We are a smaller group but a really good one.
  24. Like
    JesseLee got a reaction from Chasseur in Hello From Holland   
    Welcome over here Carl! We are a smaller group but a really good one.
  25. Like
    JesseLee reacted to Bruce Foxworthy in How to do water   
    Exwafoo and Jeff B:
    Thanks so much for your share on this topic. The neatest thing about this forum is that there is an abundant amount of knowledge flowing here. So often times with this art I've found myself out on a limb. So many experiments gone awry. It's been some 30 plus years since I've done this and I can't believe how many methods I never knew about before I'm finding here. Back in the eighties pretty much all I had to work with was knowledge from books published long ago. I've been reading all over this forum for the past two weeks and I still have a lot to discover.
    Grateful for all your combined insights.
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