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Bottled Ship Builder

Falls of Foyers


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Not too many four masted ship rigged ships out there, I bet you could count them on your hands and feet? it leads me to wonder where you discover the existence of these ships and how do you research them? I bet you have a nice library of ship books.  Also, you always have the consistent and very good photography of your subjects, a lot of people dont take the trouble to photograph their work with any skill or preparation. And finally I'm starting to wonder about the famous pen. Is it the same pen in each shot? Does the pan live in a special box and only comes out for "camera day"? Or do you just have a workbench full of them?

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There were quite a number of them about.      Wright & Graham who owned Falls of Foyers, was quite keen on them, and also had Falls of:  Clyde, Earn, Afton, Bruar, Dee and Ettrick.   Craig's had County of Peebles, Caithness, Inverness, Cromarty, Dumfries, Kinross, Haddington, Selkirk, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Roxburgh and Linlithgow.   My wife's grandfather sailed in County of Peebles in the late 1890s.     County of Roxburgh model attached.    Lots of other companies had them as well, but most eventually got reduced to four-masted barques by taking the square sails off the jigger masts.     I do have a good library of books and old shipbilding journals.    I also got some plans from shipbuilders before the yards closed down.   Unfortunately a lot of the yard plans eventually fell into the hands of the National Maritime Museum whose charges for copies are exhorbitant!:(       As there is a marked reluctance on the part of museums, archives etc, to allow one to use their plans without paying enormous fees, I took to drawing my own up - See attached, four-masted full-rigged ship West Lothian.

For photography, I am not very keen on the ever-popular "crumpled sheet" background, and used a curved piece of card, so there is no join between the horizontal and vertical backgrounds.      I never use flash, but only natural daylight.      Flash produces harsh shadows, but seems to be the most popular method of model photography.    

Over the years, there have been several pens, and I only change them if they get glue on them or half-melted by carelessly placed soldering irons :lol:

I did begin producing various ship "downloads" for nominal prices, containing my home-drawn plans, but they have not proved very popular. (See attached).

I think the problem is that 99% of ship modellers do not like merchant ships, the general feeling being that warships are more "romantic," :dance: but I have never felt that way, but I wouldn't, being ex merchant navy.:) 


More details on Website: http://miniatureships.blogspot.co.uk/


County of Roxburgh.JPG

West Lothian - Final with lettering (Medium).jpg

Plan selection (Large).JPG

East African (Medium).jpg

Edited by Shipbuilder
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I can testify to the standard of Bob’s models. I’ve bought some of his books because although not for SIBs, a lot of the miniature work techniques can be read across to SIBs, such as the deck planking scoring tool. I had bought one of the printed versions and Bob contacted me as it transpires I only live 30 mins away to see if I wanted to pick it up and save postage, so off I went and was treated to see some of the ships ‘live’. The photos just don’t do them justice. It seemed to me as if a magic wand had been waved and shrunk the real thing. I’ve got a target to aim for in my builds now. I didn’t see the famous pen though.


I’ve started a thread on ship books with plans in them. I’ll also upload plans for a set of Home Made Proportional Dividers to scale drawings. I used these homemade ones for about 5 years before I found a set on e-bay at a good price from an architect’s office that was closing down.


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