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Bottled Ship Builder

Authenic Models Privateer


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Finally got back to the AM Privateer kit. I find the most interesting part of the kit to be the nice "Dutch Flask" bottle and stand so this build is more a "bottle with a ship in it" then a "ship built into a bottle". The ship is a generic brig with no real historical content but some of the materials are nice, especially the hull and a nice set of sail materials. The spool of thread included with the kit is useless but the bamboo cocktail skewer material for the mast and spars sanded down nicely. Of course the putty for the sea is too hardened to be of use. 

I had to fair out the stand to fit the form of the bottle better. I first gave the stand a coat of wood conditioner and a light coat of clear stain but then I decided to give it a deeper antiqued look with some dark walnut stain. I also glued the wooded stopper ornament to a cork to make a better stopper for the neck.

I have all the mast and spars shaped and assembled. The plans don't call for stepped mast so I didn't step them. However the rigging plan is a little skimpy and out of experience I know that the erection in the bottle might be difficult without stabilizing mast shrouds and backstays so I included them. I just "eyeballed" their placement. I also intent to put stays on the yardarms so I can get them aligned properly in the bottle.

The sail material is stiff enough to hold a curve in the sails and I didn't think to shape them until I had glued them in place. The instructions don't call this out but I was still able to shape them after they were mounted. Also, don't throw away the small scraps of trimmings from the cut away sails. I used some to make small pendants and I can use them on other models also.

So at this point I'm going to use my own construction instinct instead of trying to follow the instructions. At least the booklet has a scaled plan for the hull, masts and spars and is an interesting read even if the rigging is skimpy. I realize that this is suppose to be a beginner level kit but skimpy rigging can cause more problems then it presents. It isn't hard to improve it.

I've got the foremast erected on the rigging jig and the other masts are hinged in place and collapsed behind waiting to be rigged upright. She'll be out of dry dock before too long. 








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I finished rigging my "Privateer" and she looked very ship-shape on the rigging stand.





I prepared my putty sea using plumber's putty that I had colored with oil paints. I had some left over from about a year ago which was just the right consistency. I tried not to over do the sea and used uncolored putty for the white foam.



Next was setting her to "sea". I found I had a very tight fit and probably should have trimmed the hull just a bit thinner. I found this to be a general issue with most of the parts in the kit that they all needed some trimming down or fairing out. The bottle didn't quite fit the stand correctly so the stand needed to be shaped down before I epoxied the bottle to it. The inside of the cap would have needed to be thinned out in order to fit over the bottle treads but I just glued a cork stopper into it to make it removable.




All didn't go very smoothly. I ripped a sail on the main mast off off its yardarm during insertion. The sail material is a stiff fabric which allows the sails to be shaped nicely before insertion but holds a crease and I ended up creasing the spanker sail with no hope of reshaping it. The model ended up a bit more "wind blown" then I would have liked and took some damage during insertion but I finished her off anyway with a decorative knot on the neck using the provided yarn.




I have had better luck with models I made from scratch using my own materials and plans. I suppose the down fall of kit construction is not knowing what shapes are reliable and not having any previous experience with the provided materials so one doesn't know how they will behave. The beginner has to trust that all the materials in the kit have been proven and tested, which may be a naïve assumption. So for a kit that was suppose to be "beginner level", this wasn't some "snap the pieces together and be done" affair and requires a bit of sophistication. I always learn something every time I build a kit or follow a build from a book which allows me the knowledge to do my own scratch builds. I have a good collection of kits so I'll post more when I build them.



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