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Bottled Ship Builder

Cheap-O Plank on Frame Brig Kit


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While I was searching eBay for SIB kits, I came across this plank-on-frame brig kit for sale for $15 (USD). It is a made-in-China set of laser cut wood parts, not too much different from my Model Shipways plank-on-frame 18th Century Long Boat kit except my MS kit had an excellent instruction booklet and well labeled parts. In typical made-in-China cheap-o fashion, this kit has a double sided sheet of a poorly labeled diagram for construction instructions, some of the parts aren't labeled, there is no (English) alphabetic order to the sequence of construction, or a color photo of what the final build should look like. So of the parts I have no idea what they are suppose to be and it took me about two hours to figure out which part was the transom. But, I've spent a lot more money for a lot less entertainment. Since I have some plank-on-frame experience and a copy of Charles G. Davis' "The Built Up Ship Model" which features the build of the brig-of-was USS Lexington, which this model kind of resembles, I may as well have some fun trying to make something of this.

I don't suggest a kit like this for someone who doesn't know how to bend a plank to make a planked up hull and there are no instructions on how to paint the model, or make the sails or even how to rig it so beginners steer clear.









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The model is marked at 1:300 but accuracy is probably not its strong point. While writing this I realized that the kit doesn't contain any blocks, pulleys, deadeyes  or any wire or metal parts. All the cordage it contains is a small skein of blue sewing thread. It's a mystery wrapped in an enigma surrounded by a headache.

6 hours ago, James w rogers said:

What scale is that? 


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After a fashion I managed to plank the hull, which wasn't an easy task without a sheer line plan.  Also the ribs on the bulkheads weren't quite precise and I had no plan to fair them up to. The transom didn't make much sense to me and I was sure I was missing a part for it so I ended up fashioning a piece and had to change the lines of the hull somewhat. It worked better on the starboard side than on the port side. I don't think the model would win any prizes if closely examined by experts but then again it isn't a "museum quality" model kit; it's another generic "Privateer" - a merchant ship that was converted for military use. I assembled all the various deck furnishings and ended up with extra pieces I can't identify, one of which I think was the transom piece I was looking for, I think.

I loosely placed some of the deck furnishings for the photo. I think the cannons look a little hokey and I can't quite decide to include them or not. I may liven up the carriages for them by painting them red, which I've seen on historically restored cannons. Next step is painting the hull then trying to figure out the masts and rigging. I have no dimensions for the masts and spars but was provided with a actual scale sail plan that I can back- solve from.




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