Jump to content
Bottled Ship Builder
Lubber123

Kit Review - AM "Privateer"

Recommended Posts

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).

 

DSC_2237.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Jeff! I agree it is Bark like, but I rather not arbitrarily assign non historically correct names. I'm confused by the sails on the missen mast, there are two gaff sails above the spanker which I've never seen before and seem to defy logic - one large one would seem to be sufficient. But then again, I'm not a naval historian (yet) or much of a sailor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Got me curious. Nothing better to do, so I did more checking. A Barque is a 3 masted sailing ship with the fore  and main mast square rigged. The Mizzen is rigged fire and aft. (Definition)

Looking at sail diagrams, those sails between the mizzen and main are called "staysails."  A lot of tall ships have them. Clippers do. I reckon the manufacturer chose not to include them. 

5 sails on the main and foremast puts it in the time frame of 1870 ish. In 1875, 6 sails on each became the norm.

See US Revenue Cutter Salmon P. Chase 1878-1907.

fair winds, 

the other Jeff

Edited by Jeff B
More

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again Jeff! One thing I just noticed about my "Privateer" is that it has no guns or gun ports ( or pseudo gun ports)! I guess they just rappeled into their intended prey, boarded and fought hand to hand like real men (ha!). Gees, even clipper merchant ships had fake gun ports to give the illusion that they were armed. So this thing is a fanciful creation and a good exercise for a build and will look interesting to the uninformed so I'm not going to sweat the details. Just relax and enjoy the ride I guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi lubber, sounds like you'll be busy for a while! I have to confess I am not building my kit at the moment, due to lack of pictures of this ship, I will want to add some more detail. Secondly I've just also started a larger planked ship build, although I'm getting ichy fingers to build another ship in bottle as I much prefer small scale. 😁 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks James! Keep us posted on your finds about the Princess Royal since I'll be interested for my build. I even bought a second kit of it that I found for half of what I paid for the first. I too am working on a plank on frame, my first, and I'm almost up to the rigging. However soon the outdoors will beckon with activities and chores and my ship building will slow to the occasional shaping of a mast or spar. Let's see your plank up when your done...L.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...