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Bottled Ship Builder

Ship #2, Galleon


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After a couple months break it is time to start the next project! This time I’m going for a galleon which I’m expecting to have some unique challenges over the schooner I made last. This will be my first try at a square rig and the neck of my chosen bottle is smaller than my last build so hopefully I won’t be biting off more than I can chew. 

For this build I’ll be taking inspiration from the art on the label of a bottle of Kraken Rum and this wonderful model I saw on Instagram by iniciacionmodelismonaval



I started as before with estimating the inner diameters of the bottle and sketching out a plan that should fit.


next I rough cut the hull shape on a piece of walnut. This wood is actually scrap cut offs from the bottle stand of my last build. 

I faired the hull roughly with a dremel and various sanding and grinding bits and then did a final smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. 

On my last build I used wire to make some railings on the deck but didn’t think it would look very good at this scale and it was also very time consuming. This time I went for a recessed deck and carved out gunwales. I did this with linoleum carving tools as I still don’t own a good chisel set. 

With the hull looking pretty good I shifted my attention to spars, masts, and the bowsprit. 

To achieve a nice taper on the round dowels, I clamped the dowel in the chuck of the dremel and then gently held fine sandpaper against it as it spun. This effectively creates a very tiny lathe. I made up the spar for the sprit sail and did a little bit of tiny dremel carving to make a bit of a figurehead. 

then finally I put some tea on and dropped some cotton scraps in to dye them an off-white/brown colour in preparation for sails later on. In my last build I used paper for the sails but when I put it through the neck of the bottle they got some ugly creases in them so I think using the cloth will be better. 
That’s all I’ve got for now. Next I’ll finish up the masts and get them installed before rigging and sails. 

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Hello all, I’ve been very busy with work but I got back to working on the galleon a little more. Next up I install the masts using the same simple wire hinge method I used on my first build. I like this method because it’s easy and with the cheap bottles I’m using, the glass clarity is such that you can hardly see the hinge anyway once it’s in the bottle. 
I used super glue to glue the hinges into the deck and when I did so I made quite a mess of glue by mistake. It didn’t look very good in patches so I instead just put an even coat of glue on all of the deck surfaces to hide my error. It ends up not looking bad, it comes out with a semi gloss finish and just looks like I gave the deck an oil finish. 
Next I rigged up all the lines. This was a bit tricky in planning because my last ship had only 2 masts and I wasn’t following someone else’s plan this time but I think it worked out. All the masts can be raised by pulling on the strings with only minor poking with a stick. I also added some wood strips to cover the string ends. On my first ship I left them bare even though it didn’t look that good because I was working within a fraction of a millimetre of the ship being too wide for the bottle. This time that is not the case so I made it look a little more complete. IMG_9393.thumb.jpeg.f17cb7743310e8073a4ac8cc314f6525.jpegIMG_9395.thumb.jpeg.f53f9590c4e6d8e120a611e8b283e20a.jpeg
Next I cut up my sail cloth and glued it on to the spars. I think the one for the aft mast is okay but I will probably try to take the sails off the main masts and put some on that are a little smaller. These ones just aren’t quite the right shape. 
I actually went out and bought a smaller bottle before doing this because I thought this tiny ship would be a bit lost in the 750ml bottle I had originally chosen. A quick transfer of the contents into my large bottle and some time under a fan to dry it out and the bottle was ready for resin. 
I poured the resin in the same manner as I did last time but it was much less daunting this time seeing as I had done it once before. 
The long tube and funnel prevents the resin from making a mess in the neck of the bottle. 

That’s it for now! Next time I’ll probably fix those sails and get ready to set it in the bottle. 

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The last instalment of the galleon build is here! 
I started by taking off the sails and replacing them with smaller ones. I think this makes the whole ship look a lot less messy. I still think I made the mainsail a little too small but by this point I didn’t want to take it off and put it back on again so I left it in a state of “good enough”. 


 Next I folded up the masts and did a couple test fits to experiment with the best way to hold it while it went into the bottle. I ended up using the same long bent coat hanger forceps I used for the last ship. They aren’t very good and are quite difficult to grip with but it got the job done. 

It was a bit tricky to get the sails to stand up this time and required lots of poking and prodding with a long hook. I also kept getting the strings tangled in the neck of the bottle and forgetting which line ran to which masts. To solve this problem I tied different coloured strings to the end of each. Green was for the foremost mast, yellow was the main mast, and red was the aft mast, this helped me keep all the loose ends straight. 

I put some glue on the end of a rod and reached in to put a small dab on the bowsprit in each place where a line went through to hold it all in place once I cut the lines. While I waited for that to dry, I put together a little display stand. In this photo you can also see my multicoloured string ends I mentioned earlier. 
I also put a coat of tung oil on the wood which gives it a much darker look that matches the ship better. I’m not sure why the ship and the stand were such a different colour because the wood for both was cut from the same plank. 
Once the glue had finished drying it was a simple act of taping a craft knife blade to the end of a stick, reaching in and, cutting the lines off. This was actually kind of tricky because the sprit sail was a little in the way. 


So that’s the galleon all finished! It was a bit more tricky than the schooner I made before but I think it still turned out quite nice. I look forward to hearing what you all think of it!


Next on my list I want to do a junk rig or a Viking ship, not sure which I’ll do first. 

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