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Bottled Ship Builder

East African 1895


Shipbuilder
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The steel-hulled British  barque East African, completed by Robert Duncan, Port Glasgow in 1895.    With a gross tonnage of 1,731, the East African had a length of 252.5 feet, and a beam of 39 feet.     When completed, she was decorated with painted ports, but in later years, the hull was painted grey for economical reasons.  In 1911, the ship was sold, and renamed Risor, later Skomedal.    She was converted to a hulk in 1918.   The model will show the vessel as new, with painted ports.   It will be a full hulled type with furled sails.     I started construction a few days ago.      The basic hull has been assembled using the bread-and butter method.

It will be in a dispaly case rather than a bottle!     Bottled models are rather too difficult for me! :o

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Hi Bob


"It will be in a dispaly case rather than a bottle!     Bottled models are rather too difficult for me!  :o" I am sure that with your skills you would be more than capable of managing a SIB. However, I am a firm believer in doing what suits you best and your models attest to you being very good at what you do. I am sure this will be a fine model as are all the others you have shown on this forum. 


Bernard.

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Thanks Bernard,

I would have no chance with a bottle - don't have the right temprement.   I just couldn't be bothered trying to make it all fold down and up again.    I don't like knots which is why I never use them, and all the rigging is wire glued on.     It looks pretty rough at the moment, but very soon it will smarten up!

Bob

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Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Some progress has been made with the clipper bow, and raised forecastle.  The scored maindeck, and forecastle decks are in position.    The bowsprit is temporarily in its socket, but will need to be tapered down quite a lot before it is fitted permanently.   The next task will be to fit the raised poop and counter stern, and then the bulwarks along the maindeck.

Bob

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I have now done a lot more smoothing and shaping, and the hull is beginning to look a bit better.     As far as general interest is concerned, this one is proving to be a bit of a "damp squib."      But I feel that it is going to be a "good one."     I particularly dislike this stage of a build where it is all a bit of a mess and dust everywhere due to the shaping and smoothing.    But I am not far off the "fitting out" stage, that I can begin after the bulwarks are fitted and the hull painted.

Bob

 

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Thanks, maybe popular here, but elsewhere very little interest.    I have asked a few modellers why, and the answers are usually the same.    Too small, and cargo-carrying merchant ships simply do not have the "romance" of warships! :wacko:       When the local club puts on exhibitions, most vistors would just pass them by with a casual glance at most, and head for the larger models, bristling with guns, fancy carvings and flags! :blink: 

Bob

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I can't understand that. Big has it's merits but so does small. It's harder to include more detail the smaller it is. As for "romance" any tall ship at sea does it for me. Warship, cargo ship, it doesn't matter, I love it all.  Your modeling is outstanding to me.

 

Jesse

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Thank you.     It has always been the same though, whatver the size.   Commercial merchant ships will always take a "back seat" when compared to warships.      Apart from the ever-popular Cutty Sark and Titanic, of course!          The general public, the world over, seem to make it a point of honour to refer to merchant ships as "boats," but you never ever hear them referring to large  naval vessels as battleboats, warboats etc, although the gunboat is legitimately named! :wacko:

The reason I am here, and not on other forums, is because we all specialise in small to miniature models, and are not generally under the thumb of "kit" manufacturers who now dominate all other fields of ship modelling!

Bob

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I have now fitted the poop half-round, and poop deck planking.    The side plating to the forecastle has been fitted.   The portholes are simply drilled in and look neat enough.     The black bulwarks have been painted, and the decks varnished with picture varnish.     The bulwark panels look a bit messy in places, but this is of no great concern as in that area, they will be hidden under the rope coils.    If you peer at it closely enough, the deck planking has becomre visible since it was varnished.     You will all be aware how close-up images can make the work look pretty awful, but when more detail is fitted, it will look a lot neater, as people tend to look at the model as a whole, rather than focussing on one particular spot.   The next task will be to fit the white belt of plating with the painted ports on it.    Then the hull plating below that, paint the lower part with red oxide, and finally, the grey between the ports and the red.     Finally, make and fit the rudder and figurehead.   Then the more intersting work of "fitting out" can begin.

Bob

 

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As far as the earlier conversation I agree. We have had a people's choice type award in our club and the same few people always won because they built massive ships of the line with tons of guns. The ships in bottles get noticed because of the wow factor of fitting a model into a bottle but that's as far as they look. Miniatures are hardly noticed. I think people probably associate them with toys and don't realise the inovation that goes into them.

I also like not being constrained to kits. I tell people all the time the best part about scratch building is the freedom. You literally can do anything you want. I think people view as more technical then it really is.

The deck does look great. I see what you mean with some mistakes. A few lines aren't quite as even as they should be. I've started planking decks with this method and the hardest part is making those darn lines evenly spaced. You are right though with the fittings no one will notice. It's takes a macro photo for us to notice.

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After looking at the last images, I decided that the bulwark panels were not good enough, so I removed them!   The new ones were to my old pattern of white panels on a brown background, rather than the other way round.   As the actual panel colour scheme on the East African is not known to me, this area is guesswork only.      I have now put the painted ports on one side, not the easiest of tasks.   It requires great care, but I am happy with the result.   After the ports are on the other side, I will plate the hull below them, and then complete the hull  painting.

Bob

 

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Yes indeed.     I find the masting & rigging very easy.       Also, I find steamers very much more complicated than sailing ships because of the numerous decks, rails, portholes, boats, ladders, windows, deck machinery etc.

East African will soom be progressing a lot faster.

Bob

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I have now put the painted ports on the port side, and plated the hull with alternate strips of writing paper.    When painted, this will give an accurate portrayal of the raised and sunken strake method of plating that was always used in iron and steel sailing ships of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.     The next task will be to spray paint the red oxide underwater colouring.    Then, the grey area, between the ports and red oxide, will be painted on by hand, and then, the black stripe under the ports will be added.      The outside of the hull will be completed by the addition of the rudder and figurehead.

Bob 

 

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I have now made and fitted rudder, figurehead, bowsprit and hawsepipes.    The model is now fixed to the building board so that I do not need to touch it during the rest of the build.     The boring part is now over, and the more interesting work is about to begin.

Bob

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Although I don't appear to have done much in the last few days, I have assembled the display case, complete with its wood moulding around the base.     As far as the ship is concerned, I have fitted the poop and forecastle bulkheads, complete with portholes and doors.     The portholes are again, just drilled in.    The rope coils have been fitted along the inside of the bulwarks in the way of fore, main and mizzen masts.    Three short mast stubs have been fitted in the hull, and the three lower masts have been temporarily slid over them.      The next task is to make and fit the pin rails round the base of each mast.   Then I can move on to the rest of the deck fittings..

Bob

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