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Having built many different ships over that years,  I have found myself drawn to TopSail Schooners.  I don't know for sure what it is about this type, (maybe the sail plan, the lines, etc) but this is the type that has caught my eye.  

 

So I wonder,  what types are others drawn to.

 

Also, I was thinking it would be fun to build a small personal fleet of as many different types as I can while I am still able to model.

 

Gwyl

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I'm also drawn to topsail schooners. Perhaps it's the radical rake that makes them look like they're doing 20 knots even when they're only just making enough way to steer. Perhaps it's the place held in history by these vessels as privateers, pirates and slave traders from the Revolution through the Mexican-American War. They were the mainstays of the US Revenue Cutter Service, which was the closest thing the US had to a Navy at the start of the Quasi-War with France, and remained important to this forerunner of the US Coast Guard well into the post-Civil War period. Most likely I like them because they are uniquely American.

 

Early in my ship bottling I came across the book Architectura Navalis Mercatoria by Fredrik Henrik af Chapman (1768) and one plate which provided me with SiB plans for several years of building. In those pre-internet days research was very time consuming, so rather than building a named historical vessel I gravitated towards building types using this plate and drawings from other sources. BTW, this book is still in print and available as a large format paperback for US$16.95 from the usual sources. It's fascinating for the awesome wood-cut prints of hull-lines but has little use for masting and rigging. Masts and spars are rarely shown on older ship drawings because these were done by standardized formulas that used waterline length and beam to determine, for example, the height above the deck for the lower mainmast and its diameter. 

 

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Plate from Chapman I used to build several "type" models. I found these drawings useful for many years of building SiBs.

These drawings are all to the same scale. Notice the scale that relates the Spanish, English and French foot to each other.

I added the legend which was on a different page in the book. A 10.4MB version (my scan from the book) is available

for the asking, just PM me with your e-mail address.

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Hi Dave,

 

Interesting what you say about the topsail schooners and the radical rake that they have.  I think you hit on something there for me.  I think the rake, in my mind lends itself to being somewhat defiant, and straying from the, "up till then", normal way of rigging etc.  I guess to me, the designers of  the topsail schooners were thinking somewhat outside the box, for their time period.

 

Thanks for the words concerning the book Architectura Navalis Mercatoria by Fredrik Henrik af Chapman, and including the plate. It's fun to look at the different types of sailing vessels there are.

 

Gwyl 

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When I was a young guy I collected 1/700 waterline models. They were the big ticket then and in some circles they are still going strong. I wish I would have kept those models. Then I did a few bigger WW2 scale models of cruisers and battleships. The aforementioned models went into the garbage as cars and girls took over. Then I built the USS Constitution in 1/96 scale with a full set of sails. I also really like early Ironclads with sails/rigging as well and hope to model some eventually. Basically I am a fan of anything that floats on the water or underneath as well.

Dave ... your plate reminds me of the book Sailing Ships by Bjorn Landstrom - Better World Books -0-385-14408-3. His book has similiar plates in it like Chapman's.

Gwyl ...Regarding schooner's hands down Bluenose I and II are by far my favourite east coast fishing vessels.

Jeff

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Hi Jeff,

 

Yes, the Bluenose I & II are some of my all time favorites.  I have a MSW Bluenose II kit that I purchased to build someday.  But most importantly, I bought the kit so as to have the plans to build a scaled down version in a bottle.  I finally found the bottle for it last year, so I am in the planning stage of her build.  The bottle is  a lab bottle/carboy.  I believe (but not sure) that is around a 6 gallon bottle.  This will allow for a lot of detail, and a  lot of new techniques to be discovered in the process.  

When I come across any extra Canadian dimes, I keep those, as I like to carry around the Bluenose with me.

 

I think my next favorite ship would be the Brigantine, followed closely by the Brig.

 

Gwyl

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Dave ... your plate reminds me of the book Sailing Ships by Bjorn Landstrom - Better World Books -0-385-14408-3. His book has similiar plates in it like Chapman's.

Jeff

 

Jeff:

 

Good eye. Individual vessels from the plate were used by Bjorn Landstrom in his books The Ship and Sailing Ships, which were both important sources for my early work. It was later that I found where those little black and white waterline drawings, that were about the right size and sufficiently detailed to use as SiB plans, came from.

 

Chapman's book is quite possibly the most important work in the development of more efficient hull forms. Part of the book is devoted to his use of the mathematics (calculus) invented by Newton to prove its application in hydrodynamics. Prior to Chapman, efficient hull forms were found by trial and error guided by the experience of the shipbuilers; after publication of his work calculus could be used to direct those trials and reduce the errors. The same math, with refinements by other naval architects since, is still used today in hull design. That may partially explain why this book is still in print more than 245 years later.

 

Dave

Edited by Dave Fellingham
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I love topsail schooners as well.  As well as frequently appearing as the rakish privateers, smugglers and other fast craft of the 18th and 19th Centuries, many topsail schooners led humbler lives.  A favorite of mine is the coasting schooner Eagle, taken from the plans of the Model Shipways kit years ago.  It has interesting detail on the deck and the square sail makes the rig a little more involved that a simples schooner's.  This is my first model of the Eagle from 25 years ago, when I was still using plumber's putty.  I've made 3 more since this and used this vessel twice for classes for experienced builders.  I have her plans but wonder if putting them in here might be a copyright issue.

 

Alex

 

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Alex,

 

Your Eagle looks amazingly detailed and fills the bottle well.  The Topsail Schooner certainly has a style all her own. :)

 

I appreciate your concern about the copyright issue.  I would prefer to always error on the conservative side of this issue. I am going to reach out to Model Expo and  a few other kit manufactures and ask for permission of post copies for use. It may fly, and it may not.  

 

There is also a clause in the copyright act that allows for "fair use", in educational and other settings.  It is kind of vague and leaves a lot for interpretation.  I need to get a better understanding of this before I am comfortable with it.

 

Gwyl

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a fun topic.  Lost of varied interests and ideas.

 

 

  I stick to 19th century vessels generally, and will take a crack at anything that catches my eye from back then. More and more i find myself modeling without specific plans; just trying to capture what it is about sailing ships in general that appeals to me.

 

TJ

 

I like this approach TJ.  I too have built models of no particular ships, but like you, tried to capture a feeling, or look that was pleasing to me.  I look back and ponder about this, and these were probably my most enjoyable builds.

 

Gwyl

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 Gwyl,

 

  Even when working from plans, i'll deviate if it suits my notions about what looks good. If there's just too much rigging abaft the mizzen, i'll route some of it forward, don't care if the sailors have to search all night to find where something's belayed!

 

TJ

 

TJ, I like it ^^^.  

 

Each of us has a different modeling style and each style has it's own needs. also, if we are modeling for a client, we do our best to accommodate their  needs,  if it is for ourselves, as gifts, or on speculation, then we accommodate our needs.  

 

Gwyl

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I am not so arrogant to believe that I can possibly improve upon the appearance of any historical ship, so I build as close as I am able to what is known. Viewers of models of historic ships naturally assume that the builder has exercised due diligence and that his or her models are reasonably accurate. Deliberate deviations and errors are, in effect, lies in three dimensions and I hold myself to the standard of being honest in my work. I recognize that our medium sometimes requires some adjustments, particularly in the rigging, but I make my best effort to keep those adjustments to a minimum and un-noticeable. I require of myself nothing but my best effort.

 

I don't expect anyone to adhere to the standards I have set for myself. If someone does sloppy, careless and/or inaccurate work and they're content with that, it's fine with me, but I have the right to that opinion of their work and to view that person's work as lessons for myself of what not to do. Complacency is the enemy of excellence and "good enough" is not good enough in my work. And if anyone is somehow offended by expressing my opinions about my own work, that's just too bad.

 

"Edited - Admin"

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I like sloops and xebecs best.  Something about the triangular sails of xebecs make that look incredible.  I've recently been getting more into junks as well.  I've been asked by a private school to come teach about pirates and ships in bottles to a girl who's interested in both.  Last time I did this I built a small Bermuda Sloop in a bottle to give to the boy interested in pirates.  This time I'm building a junk and I thought I'd talk about the greatest pirate in history Ching Shih.  

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Daniel,  I like xebecs as well.  I have never modeled one.  I have seen a few from other builders that I think were done very well.

 

You mentions sloops too.  As that is my 1:1 sailboat, some day I would like to model her in a bottle, once the right bottle comes along.

 

Gwyl

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I've done one xebec and it turned out ok.  It's funny that most people comment on the background and the bottle more than the ship.  All well.  I think you should totally build your sailboat in a bottle.  Don't wait to long just do it.  You can always do it again when a better bottle comes a long.  Then you'll have the practice and make it twice as nice.  If I ever build my 1:1 (hopefully the next couple years) I plan on putting a model of her in a bottle too.  

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Don't wait to long just do it.  You can always do it again when a better bottle comes a long.  Then you'll have the practice and make it twice as nice.  If I ever build my 1:1 (hopefully the next couple years) I plan on putting a model of her in a bottle too.  

Daniel,

 

I think you are encouraging me to start a build log of my 1:1.   :D     I will do just that.  I really have waited to long to build it. Look for a posting of my start this weekend :)

 

Gwyl

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