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Bottled Ship Builder

Colvic Watson 28


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A friend asked me to make a SIB of a boat that is owned by one of their friends. The boat is a Colvic Watson 28 ft as shown in Figs 1 and 2.


Figure 1: The drawings


Figure 2: the actual boat

I had a few other photos to work from as well. I drew up some plans, shown in figure 3.


Figure 3: Working plans

The hull block was made and shaping started, shown in Figs 4 & 5


Figure 4: Hull block


Figure 5: Shaping Started


Figure 6: Basic outline.

The hull is split just off centre to port and has an upper, mid (from styrene) and a lower. The aim is to give sharp horizontal paint lines for the boot topping,


Figure 7: Cabin made, under-coated and the planking.

I made the planking from watercolour paper, printed on the PC with different weights of line thickness and shade. I used watercolour paint to try different shades of ‘wood’ colour, then picked the one that looked best at this scale.



Figure 9: Top-coated

The lower hull sections were painted separately, royal blue for the boot topping and red oxide for below the waterline.


Figure 8: Sea started.

The sea was made from plasticine, with a description of the SIB and makers name label under it.



Figure 10: Starting the woodwork and masts.

I used a red hardwood veneer for the woodwork, Small pieces were reinforced with thin CA glue before cutting and sanding to shape. Once attached to the SIB I used diluted clear acrylic varnish on them.

The masts were made from brass tube and rods. This SIB had the luxury of actually having a large hinge at the foot of the mainmast. The main and mizzen sails are of the modern variety that are slotted into rails on the mast and are furled on a rotating assembly on the boom. The foresail is furled around a rotating steel forestay. Cutting the slots in the tubing was ‘fun’. I used a small photo-etched saw from http://www.radubstore.com. Took a while but it worked,


Figure 11: Main mast


Figure 12: Most of the woodwork fitted


Figure 13: Masts and sails

I used some type of translucent parchment that my wife gave me for the sails. Stitching was simulated using a black pencil, and they were coloured with watercolour, This allowed them to retain the translucent effect, They were a bit waxy, and I had a bit of trouble getting them to stay stuck in the slots on the masts. They held a good shape though.


Figure 14: Rigging Underway

I used a silver coloured thread for the rigging to simulate the stainless steel on the real boat. The railings were made from brass rod and painted chrome.


Figure 15: Almost done. Windows ‘fitted’

I used DIY water slide decals for the windows and name. This is the first time I’ve tried this and have been pleased with the result. A pack of 5 A4 sheets of decal material cost about £5 and I’ve used half of on sheet. First I printed a couple of different sizes and colours on paper for trialing next to the SIB for size and effect. Then printed out 3 sets of the chosen ones on my ink jet, to allow for slip ups. When dry, a couple of light coats of clear acrylic varnish was sprayed over them. Once dry, the decals are cut out, placed in a saucer of warm water and when they float off of the backing are applied using a wet paintbrush and very gentle use of tweezers, left to dry then varnished over to seal and protect them. They went on very nicely first attempt.


Figure 16: Ready for bottling


Figure 17: In the bottle.

By special request, the lighthouse is an attempt at Walney Island Lighthouse at the north end of Morecambe Bay where the owner sails to sometimes.

Regards to all





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Thanks for your comments. Much appreciated.  There was a pub lunch involved in the handover and a nice donation for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. In the UK, the coastal lifeboats are manned by RNLI volunteers, and the RNLI  itself is supported by public donations, etc. So, all for an excellent cause.



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