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Charles W Morgan


JerseyCity Frankie
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Welcome to my Charles W Morgan build log, I'm starting this on December 17 2016. The Morgan needs no introduction I hope? The last wooden square rigged whale ship ,either afloat or otherwise, and also one of the few authentic historic wooden ships still afloat and in a sailing condition, built in 1841! I love ships and I love the history of whaling, so this was an obvious choice for me.

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
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Again I started the building process with the bottle. As I have said in other posts my neighborhood has some sketchy characters who drink alcohol and are not scrupulous about the brand or the way they dispose of the empties. SO I went for a walk one night with a flashlight and scanned dark corners and came home with some authentic bottles. Who knows what my neighbors thought I was up to? I'm making the Morgan out of basswood for the hull, as I always do. The bottle I chose is a flat pint bottle so I will depict Morgan with all sail set and her yards braced hard up in order to fit inside the flat bottle.

Some of you know this means I either need a bottle with a very wide opening- as wide as the widest yard- or I need to make the yards so that they can swivel around within the bottle after they travel through the bottleneck sideways. So my yards are all going to need control lines on them in the form of braces, and I don't remember having done this before. Up till now I THINK all my yards were bent on kinda tightly and unable to swivel very much but this time I'm going for the classic square-rig-in-a-bottle-with-all-the-rigging.

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I carved the hull to plans found READILY available with the quickest of web searches. In photoshop I sized the sail plan image on my laptop screen so it was the size of the inside of my selected bottle then I traced the image directly off the laptop screen and this will be my plan for the model. Also on the website Modelshipbuilder.com there are a bunch of build logs for the Model Shipways Morgan kit and the photos of the large authentic kit being built and documented by model builders on that website provided very useful detail photos of deck furniture and layout.

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
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As you will know if you have read my other build logs, I try to make use of colored paper wherever I can so as to avoid having to use paint. I mentioned I get assortments of colored Japanese oragami paper and here is a shot of the package I got recently. The assortment of color is pretty wide so there is a near match for any color I need. As you can see it was a bit pricey at USD $16.00 but on the other hand what would I pay for a set of paints and brushes to do what the paper can do for me? There IS a problem with using the paper though I have found. I use oil based plastecene clay for my fake ocean and over time the hull of the ship soaks up the oil like a wick and when it gets to the paper it darkens the color considerably, especially the lighter colors. So now I try to paint an acrylic sealer over all surfaces before the insertion and I hope this will prevent the oil saturation.

Anyway, I laminate together different thicknesses of the paper in order to make "building stock" so I can cut deck furniture out of thicker pieces. The Actual Morgan has buff color on all deck furniture and fittings so I laminated three different thicknesses of buff paper laminations and this is what I will be cutting all my fittings out of. Also the real Morgan has a dark band painted at the base of all the hatches so to duplicate this I glued a piece of black paper on the bottom of all the hatches. Instant black stripe!

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
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I have been making Bulwarks on Ships in Bottles the same way for years: I use a strip of colored paper. I glue two or more pieces together so that I have in inboard color and an outboard color. I find that on real ships there are seldom bullwarks that are the same color inboard and outboard. Also I put inboard detail on with either pencil or more paper as in this case. In this photo you can see the lamination causes the paper to curve and this actually helps to match the hull profile. The laminations can make the bullwarks thick, so in the case of this model I cut a rabbit out of the hull to fit the paper neatly onto the hull. This whole process is a lot easier than it looks and the results you get are pretty dramatic. Once again, with the use of the paper to achieve the color, you don't have to rely on your skill with paint and a brush and the demarcations between colors are always perfect. Trimming the final hull bullwark profile, the top edge of the bullwarks, is done easily with a small scissors.

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
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Working pretty fast on this project, it's a Christmas present for my brother in law. I'm cutting some corners since I'm out of time. For instance the real Morgan has split topsails and royals, but I'm just going to have full size topsails and only go as high as the t'galants.

im disappointed in the heavy thread I used for the shrouds, its too springy. It's man made fiber and too tightly laid to be able to turn sharp corners. I tied it with overhand knots over the masthead so each portion would have a port and starboard leg. But as the material exits the knot horizontally on each side, it does not want to bend sharply at that point to make it down to deck level. You can see in the photos it's bowed out, particularly on the mizzenmast. Lesson learned.

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I have STRONG OPINIONS about every aspect of canvas sails as depicted on models, I'm like a broken record on the subject. First and foremost: I ALWAYS include them. Second, I NEVER leave them pure white. Sure, on real ships they are "white" in a general sense but in practical terms they are never really pure white. They start life as a pleasant cream color. A white sheet of paper laying on raw canvas will show the contrast between the two examples of "white" materials. As a ship goes through its sailing life, the sails only get more worn and dirty. They are never cleaned, nobody is laundering sails on a big sailing vessel. After just a few months of use a sail darkens and takes on a grey tone.

so I make my sails of paper that I have stained to give it a more authentic grey weathered tone.

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I need fairleads at the yard arms for the running rigging. I use fine wire middled then an eye is formed at the center by twisting it around a needle so I wind up with an eye with two long legs. I made the yards out of brass rod then I twisted the wire around the yards leaving eyes at each yardarm. Painted it white( "real" white as in actual practice, giving a contrast between the weathered white of the sails as mentioned above). To each side of my cut out paper sails I glue a length of fly tying thread. These are going to be the Braces of the yards below so they are long enough to exit the bottle. At the heads of the sails I leave these lines longer and after I glue the sail to the yard I take these longer ends up around the yard then back down to the sail and glue them along the leach and this bonds the sail to the yard in a way that helps to insure it won't pull away later. I tie a "hailyard" at the center of each yard with an overhand knot leaving two legs long enough for me to tie around the mast and this is how I attach the yards. 

So let's take the topsail: I tie the yard to the mast,put a drop of glue on the knot and cut the ends after the glue is dried. I take the two long pieces of fly tying thread which were glued along each leach of the square sails and lead them through the wire eyes on the yard arms of the course yard below and then from there on down and through holes bored through the hull and from there out the neck of the bottle. Now the yards can cockbill on the masts to get through the neck of the bottle, and when in position I can square the yards up again by adjusting the braces,which are also acting as sheets on the sails.

 

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
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Frankie, nice work!  I love the Morgan, having visited her a few years ago.  I'm currently working on the Model Shipways 1:64 scale model (taking a break now from adding the stanchions for the bulwarks at the moment actually).  One of these days I want to build a Morgan in a bottle :) 

I agree on trying to avoid paint if possible.  I try to avoid it on my 1:64 models, and when I get back to my SIBs, I'm going to try to avoid it on them as well.  I'm also using different colored woods on my current builds.  For the Morgan, I'm using ebony for the black areas, holly for the white, and yellowheart for the ochre.  Not sure if those woods are easy to use at this scale, as they can be tricky even at 1:64.  I also find stains are a nice option.  Pear is a really great wood for modeling, hard to find any better, and it takes stains very nicely.  I'm using General Finishes stains on pear and boxwood on another build I am working on to represent colors like dark brown and even blue.  I have those logs up on Modelshipworld in case you are interested.

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Jesse I was able to grip the bow of each whaleboat with long tweezers and get them into position. First I put a generous glob of Weldbond brand white glue onto the bulwarks of the ship itself where I wanted the boat. I made each boat with Davits attached, a pair of wires pierce the hulls from above at bow and stern and bend up and over the side then cut off at a point above the keel of each whaleboat so the boat and davits are one unit. When the Weldbond has had a chance to get tacky I plop the boat right into it and the boats all were grabbed by the glue on the first go with little trouble.

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