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Bottled Ship Builder

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Some of us have sort of hijacked a build log with a discussion of bottles so I decided to re-start the discussion as its own topic.


I was looking at boiling flasks and came across this photo. I'm sure the micro-miniaturist in all of us will be intrigued by it.



3/4 inch / 19 mm diameter, 1 1/4 inch / 32 mm tall boiling flask.


I found this on Etsy:    https://www.etsy.com/listing/61977606/miniature-boiling-flask-hand-blown-glass


This seller specializes in miniature glassware and I suspect he can custom blow whatever miniature pieces we might want. This piece sold for about US$ 38 based on his price for a same sized Erlenmeyer flask. I found all his miniature work in glass delightful. As miniaturists ourselves I suspect we have a greater than average appreciation for miniature work in any medium.



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Dave,  Good call on starting a new topic for bottles.


I went to the Etsy site you listed above,  there are some really nice miniature bottles.  I agree that the miniaturist inside all of us, can appreciate this small work.


This example looks to have real clear glass.  For those who work in such small scales, these little bottles could be a real treat.



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After looking over the miniature bottles and such at the Etsy site I posted above, I made a purchase.



Mini Erlenmeyer flask made from borosilicate glass - about 2 inch / 50 mm tall, 1.25 inch / 32 mm diameter.


I have acquired more than enough bottles without having a specific project in mind for any of them, but I had to have this, just in case.



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  • 2 weeks later...

TJ wrote on another forum (First SIBs and Wrecks) about the frustration in trying to find good bottles in one of the most traditional places, a liquor store.  It may be an occupational hazard of the art, and I think many of us have gone through the disappointment of not finding something appropriate there.  The glass looks a lot better when it's full, and when empty to have to face how bad the distortion really is, and maybe by then you're no longer sober either. 


As traditional as the ship in bottle in a liquor or wine bottle may be, rarely do they live up to what we might expect and efforts to improve the accuracy and quality of detail get lost in cheap bottles.  Similarly, novelty and antique bottles can be pretty limited.  How often has someone given you a bottle thinking you'd find it interesting, but you'd have to drink a lot more than the bottle in question might hold to seriously consider trying to put a ship in it.


Exceptions are usually larger bottles, where the size can minimize distortion.  The smallest I ever try is a typical 1.5 liter wine bottle.  Here is a destroyer escort in one, done for a change of pace, and this bottle was one of the better ones of its kind for clarity.  I also have to say the clarity here has more to do with the quality of the photographer, John Guley, a ship in bottler from Lynnfield, MA, than the quality of the glass.



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  It certainly seems that one of the poorer choices for bottling a model is the traditional liquor bottle, since the optics obscure both details and proportions. Interestingly, one of the better bottles i've seen contained a sweatshop model. Rather than having been mould blown from a glob of glass, the bottle appeared to have been formed from a thin-walled tube of about three inches in diameter. My experience with glass blowing is limited to laboratory glass, but i have made very clear, though rather small bottles, by drawing 1/2" o.d. tubing out to form a narrowed neck, and then heat sealing and flattening the other end. The sweatshop model may have been made through an industrial version of a similar process.


  My preference though is for the 375ml. hip flask. With a hip flask the model is closer to the glass than in a round bottle, which decreases the effect of the distortion. Obviously hip flasks are quite limiting though. There is very little room inside to operate with tools, and the mere size tends to constrain model scale to around 1:500-1:1000 for models with multiple masts.

  The worst problem regarding 375's though, which i have bewailed in a couple of posts already, is that the liquor industry has almost entirely replaced them with plastic bottles, at least around where i live in Massachusetts. Yesterday i bit the bullet, and ordered a 12 bottle case of empties online, and was astonished that they arrved this morning. The company, E-BOTTLES, is located in Bethel, Connecticut, which may explain the speedy delivery.


  In cross section the bottles are generally rectangular, but the rectagle is curved;  creating a convex face on one side, and a concave face on the other. I've seen this shape before and have generally avoided it in preference to bottles with two more or less equally flat sides. The neck i.d. is 3/4, which is usual for 375's in my experience, the bottle's height measured outside is 3-3/4"; a bit more generous than either Beefeater or Mcgillicuddy's which are 3-3/8".


  Probably anything modelled in these bottles is going to have a "good" side and a "bad" side based on the bottle's curvature, which may prove interesting, only time will tell. In the immortal words of Ralph Preston though, it's time to "hit the bottle".




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While I like bottles with no distortion whatsoever I also like bottle with just a little distortion as well.  I think it adds a bit of charm and almost dream like look that adds to the adventure of the scene.  It has to be done right though and that's hard to explain.  I think ships in pinch bottles might be a good example.  I need to get some of those.


I have once built in a bottle just for the challenge of it.  The bottle was a Japanese Ramune bottle.  It's different in that it has a glass marble that keeps the soda sealed.  You open it by pushing the marble into the bottle.  The marble sits in a separate chamber from the rest of the bottle.      




The plastic cap is deceiving in that it looks like it comes off but it doesn't.  Most ramune bottles it's set in such a way that you would have to cut it off.  A very few of them it screws off clockwise.  The bottle I used the plastic cap didn't come off so I split the hull to get the ship in.  The clarity actually isn't bad.  The tricky part is getting the ship through the bottle neck, over the marble, then into the second chamber.  Working the tools around the marble is hard too.   







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