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Bottled Ship Builder

Preussen Clipper


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Got a chance to do a little work so here is an update. The first photograph shows what the endgame will look like. I am trying to stuff as much detail into the forecastle area as humanly possible. I have the two marker light reflectors built and installed and working on the marker lights. Two chicken coups are built as well. I turned the domes from 1.5mm solid brass and they are glued to 1.5mm brass pipe. "GS Hypo Cement works wonders here."



Next shot is my lathe set up turning a dome.



Next two shots are the reflectors built and installed respectively port and starboard.



I built a special tool for sanding and profiling out of an old hacksaw. Works good and I can super glue any type of grit onto it as my heart desires.



Next shot shows a dome glued onto a pipe. I also filed a notch into it which will later show the glass part that covers the marker light on the real ship.


Next two shots shows a ring fabricated out of Extra Fine copper wire. A bit of fiddling here!



Last shot shows the ring glued onto the lower part of dome. Notice the notch below the ring? I have to build the light bezel and cover next. Slow going here but its enjoying just the same.


Just like watchmaking almost! LOL..... Jeff






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Hi Bob,

regarding the porthole spacing I am going off of a builder in Germany that has a pretty accurate and precise model of the Preussen. According to him the forward bunks at the front had a rating according to crew rank so one room was smaller than the other henceforth the spacing of the holes. I also checked my plan drawing and he is correct. The two holes abaft are somewhat  siamesed in comparison to the front three. It's subtle but its there. Other drawings I have seen do not show this. I don't think it really matters in the long run as long as 5 holes are modeled.


Notice the rear two have a different spacing in relation to the front three.


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I thought there must be some reason, although I would always go by the plan rather than someone else's model.     According to my plan, there is no living accommodation in the forecastle anyway.    On the starboard side (pictured above), the  portholes left to right open into the lamp room, washbasins, bath and WC, (four rooms) with the fifth porthole at the front opening into the forecastle itself.    But as you say, the porholes are so tiny, it will not matter anyway as hardly anyone will see them.



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Yeah no living accommodation per say. However apparently some hammocks were strung where possible (don't really know where) to accommodate an extra crew member/travellers if I translate correctly. It's been awhile since I corresponded with him (2 years) and there is a lot to say about Google Translate. Sometimes the meaning and the language is a barrier.

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Very unlilely that they had hammocks in the forecastle, as I have never heard of hammocks in merchant ships of any nationality, and most of the forecastle was open to the elements anyway.    The enclosed spaces behind the forecastle portholes were far too small to take either bunks or hammocks!       But however it was arranged, I doubt if anyone will notice.      Ships altered so much over their lives, I never even try to show models at any specific time.   I stick as close to the plan as possible, thus depicting the ship "as built!"      Preussen didn't really last long enought to be altered much!        My models are often described by others as "perfect in every detail," but this never has, and never will be, true!      I am a long way from being a purist, but it helps if anyone queries things to be able to say, "well, it's built according to the plan!"    On models of passenger liners, I often have to be content with guessing the porthole positions, as they don't always show them on both sides, but I don't recall anyone ever saying they were wrong!     


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Today I spent a little time on the marker lights but focused more on test fitting the seas and test fitting the hull. I made a few decisions on moving forward. I decided to build the model “Ralph Preston style” so I can get more detail into the model regarding the running rigging etc. Each of the 5 masts will be inserted separately moving from stern to stem one at a time. I had to build a special insertion tool today to test fit the upper deck section of the hull to the lower part of hull as there are two parts to this hull build. Tool fits into hole where bowsprit goes.

This way I can reduce the amount of lines to mess with coming out of the bottle neck so each mast, yards, rigging etc. are in modules.

So there will be no folding masts utilizing the Hinkley hinge as most builders tend to do. The build will take longer however I am in no rush whatsoever.





So that's it... Steady as she goes!


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  • 2 weeks later...

Today I managed to get the port side bulwark on and primed. Once the paint dries overnight I’ll get out some 600 grit and work towards 2000 to polish out the imperfections and get things nice and smooth. I am leaning towards using some paper on the hull to depict the plating on the Preussen. Note sure how crazy I am going to get here. Also some paper gussets to hold the main rails to the bulwarks are up soon.




I have been thinking about starting on the masts and yards and in particular how I want to secure the ratlines, back-stays and fore-stays. Everything has to come apart before she goes into the bottle so I have to put on my Engineers hat and figure this out in more detail. McCaffery’s below and Underhill’s book has been some inspiration as of late.


Lots of work ahead ... Jeff

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Last few days I had a chance to get to it. Starboard bulwark installed and primed. I built a tool rest for the mini lathe and a new addition a mini grinder/sander/ jack of all trades. I also scratched out the 5 masts ready to be soldered. The mini grinder was wonderful for this project. I had this old 4.8 volt rechargeable type of Dremel rotary tool from Sears Craftsman. I threw away the recharging station and battery pack as they both sucked! I wired it in directly to my power pack and rheostat. Go to go! Pictures as follows ... Jeff :dance:








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Really nice work!  Can I ask what the "Ralph Preston style" entails?  It's funny, I just posted the same question on one of Igor's build logs, but I was curious how you plan to insert the mast into the deck - is there a hole in the deck, and you use a string connected through the bottom of the mast that you pull through the hole in the deck?  If so, where does the string exit?  I have a split hull SIB that I'm hoping to avoid hinges on as well, just scratching my head on how to pull it off.

Thanks in advance!

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There is plenty about Ralph Preston on the internet if you put

Ralph Preston bottle models

in Google.    Here is a Utube link:    https://youtu.be/b69tPHEDIqU    He used very big bottles.      He must have had an awful lot of patience.    I could not even contemplate attempting such a project on any scale!


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On 3/8/2017 at 9:44 PM, Chasseur said:


Yes Mike there is a hole in the deck and goes right through the upper removable section.


Sorry to be a little dense on this - but where does the line go after it exits the bottom of the upper removable section?  Do you terminate it there (between the two sections), or do you run it out somewhere else?  

I guess what I'm asking is, you use the line the help pull the mast into position on the deck.  What happens first?  Do you fix the mast (and line) to the upper removable section and then glue the upper section to the lower section, or do you attach the upper section to the lower section, then tug the line to pull the mast in position (and if so, where does the line exit and how is it hidden so you don't have a stub of line protruding from the hull?

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Hi Mike,

I my situation once things are where I want them I will probably terminate at the bottom of the removable upper deck where the mast goes through. However other guys/gals will run the lines through the bottom of the deck and John Fox III actually has a technique whereby he runs his lines out the Hawser holes and then terminates. I am along way off before I get to this stage. I hope this answers your question.


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  • 1 month later...

Well it’s been quit awhile since I have had a chance to hobby. My Father-in-Law passed away suddenly from Parkinson’s disease and my Aunt Sadie passed away as well. We expected the passing of my Aunt but not my Father-in-Law. So it’s been pretty solemn around here lately. It’s been really hard on the Vice Admiral. Work has been really busy as well so I apologize for the long lag.

I started on the 5 cross tree’s for the lower masts and completed them. I also built a special ergonomic workstation to alleviate some stress on my back when working hunched over on small parts. The cross trees are made from paper glued to thin card and then paper for the supports and end trim. Cyano in combination with white glue worked well here.

I also started on the upper mast cross tree's complete with spreader bars and cross braces. I had to build a jig to fabricate them and there are 5 in total to build. I find working at this scale I am constantly fabricating part holders of some sort!



Above is my raised work platform to save my back! It's built from an old electric fireplace glass cover holder.




Above 1 of 5 for lower masts. I still need to turn a taper on the upper section of this mast. Piano wire soldered to the brass pipe. 0.39" twist drill to show scale.


Above is the plan drawing of the upper mast cross trees with spreader bars. Bars keep yards from fouling with the back stays and running rigging.


Above-Number 11 surgical scalpel blade to show scale. GS Hypo Cement works well here gluing stainless wire to paper. Wax paper in between to allow release of part after drying.


I find a neat way to mark this small wire is glue it to waxed paper with cyano then mark the dimension to cut on the paper.

More to come Lord willing ... Jeff

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  • 2 months later...

Life has got in the way of my hobbies since my last post, renovations/painting on the house, washing machine cratered; my eldest son slipped a disc in his back, work is busy, and we finally got my youngest son’s 73 Nova SS on the road. So henceforth no man cave time whatsoever. Today I finally got back into the build and started on all of the yards/spars and built myself a gizmo from an old Phillips shaver to taper the ends on the yards and spars.

First two pictures is the work started for the upper cross trees. Last post I was developing my technique for gluing however I need to refine it as I didn't like how it turned out after I painted one.



Next 2 pictures is the gizmo I built from the can motor and Frankenstein power supply. Inside the shaver is a step down transformer from 110 AC to 6 volt D.C. I mounted the transformer in a box and the can motor on a swiveling pedestal. The stone is from a Dremel tool glued to the little blue ring gear.



Next picture is start of all of the spar and yard work. Sewing Needles and extremely small diameter wire for the aforementioned.


Next picture is the upper cross-tree and the braces I have to model coming off of the tree to keep the standing rigging from fouling with the yards.


Last picture is the upper Forecastle area with the port and starboard running lights installed.


I want to get some detail work done on the Forecastle area and slowly pick away at the upper cross-trees. Also my youngest son got me back into playing chess which is very cool.

More to come eventually ... Jeff

Edited by Chasseur
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  • 6 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/2/2015 at 12:33 AM, Chasseur said:

Yes... might do some work on her tomorrow!

Spent all day today working on the son's Nova SS.


So much to learn, thanks...

On 4/15/2015 at 10:08 PM, Chasseur said:

The majority of my build is found on Model Ship World from its inception however... I'll post a few pictures here as well for people to view.  http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/7581-preussen-clipper-by-chasseur-ship-in-bottle/

Steady as she goes!








I had some time the last couple of days to get back into the hobby and do some work in my Man Cave. I am just in the stage of roughing out the hull and getting all of the sheer lines correct etc. The stern will be a hurdle in itself as I have to get the waist just right as it curves up to the rudder section.


Jeff  B)


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Looking fantastic Jeff.  I think the weathering will be fun.  Its not often that you see ships weathered.  

As far as the portholes I heard of a trick that might be worth trying for making windows.  A miniature builder in my club said he uses gum arabic for the windows.  He drills a hole then uses a needle to put a drop in.  The gum apparently forms a thin film in the hole that looks like a window.  I haven't tried it yet but it might be worth experimenting.   

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