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Bottled Ship Builder

Please help with unusual bottled side effects

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I am on my fifth model, in different sized bottles. I tend to make a historical scenes, the latest HMS Victory at the battle of trafalgar firing upon a french man of war in a 5 litre demijohn, a three month project My biggest problem is the slight fur growths on some parts of the models. I have tried to eliminate this by inserting a pod of slica beads inside of the drilled out stopper, these can be replaced with ease when required . I am not sure if this is caused by the paint, material or varnish or any other strange anomaly. I would appreciate any advice for a cure if any members have suffered with this problem. I am based in southern Crete and although it is very hot the humidity can be high. Galinivin.

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I thank the members for their replies. My choice of sea material is an elastomeric putty that is suitable for filling cracks and joints in the building trade, coloured with acrilic paint. The hull is pine, masts of bamboo skewers, some deck furniture in bamboo or balsa. Most is either coloured with acrilic or humbrol enamel and then coated with clear nail varnish. This fur growth only appears to affect small isolated parts of the models, as seen in the attatched  photos. The two safety boats on the deck directly in front of the main mast are virtually hidden by this green grass looking growth.This occurred on another model but only affected the mizzen mast which with careful attention I cleaned and coated again with nail varnish and it appears to have solved the problem. I often wonder if it is possible to create a vacuum after inserting all the models.I would appreciate any advice on this matter.

Thanking all in anticipation of a solution.     




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I haven't seen anything as to what might be causing the growth other than just the climate.  Looking at pictures of different mold I found a webpage that has what seems to be a similar mold.  http://www.mlptp.net/index.php?threads/tutorial-mold-removal-and-prevention-for-those-in-humid-climates.77646/ They suggest periodic cleaning with vinegar, sunlight and dehumidifying with a dehumidifier as well as the silica beads you have already been using.  I read some where else that borax can be used to kill mold and help keep it from growing back.  It's easier said than done but if there's a way you can clean the area with vinegar or borax and remove as much of the growth as you can.  (Ammonia kills mold too but I don't suggest it since it can also darken woods like cherry and oak).  Then put the ship in bottle in the sun for 30 minutes.  Also get a dehumidifying machine and dehumidify the room with the cork left off the bottle.  Put in some silica beads in the bottle when you seal it back up.  Between the cork keeping the dry air in and the silica beads it might keep the humidity in the bottle down though you may have to repeat the process every now and then.  


That doesn't help future models but it might help this one.  I don't know if building with a dehumidifier in the room would help.  Maybe treating parts with sunlight and borax before putting them in the bottle.  Borax seems to be one of the few chemicals that keeps mold from growing back.  I hope that's helpful but I'm not sure I've said anything you don't already know.  


Your model is impressive though.  I think it really captures the fury and danger of this type of sea battle.  I can't imagine fighting in such tight space with cannon balls and shrapnel flying in all directions.  It would be terrifying.       

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Galinivin.

I live in Tenerife which can also get very humid with temperatures in the high 30s. I had a similar problem but with a white, dusty substance. If I put a scene in a bottle I use plastilina for the sea and some of the landscape. I have to kneed this putty type substance and I thought that maybe it was perspiration off my hands that could be causing the problem. What I do now is to wash the bottle with a glass cleaner and then with a solution of distilled malt vinegar (which is clear like water) and water at about 25% vinegar. I let it dry and then bottle the ship. When I have everything in position I place a tissue in the neck of the bottle and stand it up on end. I leave it for a couple of days and then stopper the bottle and complete it. It seems to have done the trick and the bottles I still have here are showing no signs of the problem.

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Hi to all the members that have responded to my problem. I am in the process of trying out some of the suggestions and will post the results as they develop. Thanks to Able Seaman in Tenerife as I appreciate that he would face a simular climate. Not that I am complaining about living in the mediterranean though , it has its compensations.

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