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Bottled Ship Builder

Kit Review: Shipyard Crafts "Flying Cloud"

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As I have been posting, I’ve been collecting SIB kits lately. In my last post I reported about a non- traditional build of a paper model placed into a glass bottle. In this post I’m returning to a more traditional model type which is actually my favorite kit I’ve found to date.

The kit is for a model of the 1851 Boston Clipper “Flying Cloud”, a historical ship which was well documented. The scale size is 1” = 70’ which produces a ship model of 4 ½” long – 10 ¾” overall with bottle. The kit was made by a company called “Shipyard Crafts” located in San Lorenzo, California, copyright 1976 D.R. La Field, Ship Model Kit #100. The kit contains high quality materials, a clear 4/5 Quart bottle (commonly called a “fifth” which is about 750ml), and well written and complete instructions. The only other kit I’ve seen from this company is for an 1889 Essex built fishing schooner “Fredonia” Ship Model #200 which looks of the same quality.

The model seems to be accurately proportioned and not modified to fit a bottle. Instructions for building with or without sails are included. There are also materials and instructions for making a “carved sea” instead of messing with putty. This is something I have not tried to do yet although I have a fondness for putty seas which I believe to be more traditional.

The wooden materials are of sugar pine, birch, spruce and mahogany for the stand. A press board rigging stand is included. The materials look generous and provide a duplicate hull in case one blunders the first try. The kit even has a nice spool of ATCO CS-33 “G” size nylon thread.

The kit came to me in what looks like completely unused condition. The only thing I don’t see included in the kit is a cork stopper which is easily obtained. The kit also contains a somewhat hokey gold braid facsimile of a “Turk’s Head” knot which I am ambivalent about.

This kit looks like a fun build and I’m eager to try my hand at the carved sea. I think this kit will help build my skills and fits all my requirements for a first rate build.








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1 hour ago, JesseLee said:

This was my first SIB build back in the early 1980s. I had no SIB skills and I call it my Shipwreck-in-a-bottle. I still have it.


I'm sorry it didn't work out for you, but we all have to start somewhere. I'm glad you kept it; I like looking back on early work and reflecting on how I could improve. Most of these higher quality kits either weren't around yet or were out of reach for me in my youth. It's better to have tried and failed then to never had tried at all - unless you really need the money for something more important!

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  • 4 years later...

Hi Chris, I haven't gotten to this kit either but it looks more reasonable than the "roll your own" model that I'm stuck on. It looks well worth a try and seems like a high quality kit.

I've been somewhat inactive since I got side tracked by other hobbies but hope to do a kit build this winter.

Give this a try and let us know how you made out...Lubber.

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