Insertion into bottle
At this point, I have the sea in the bottle and the ship is done. Next up, getting it into the bottle.
This stage was very stressful. The diameter of the opening to the bottle is less than an American quarter! So, you have to fold the masts down nice and flat to have any chance of getting it in. This process was incredibly stressful. First, I couldn't get the rear mast folded down due to the way that I ran the rigging. For some reason, the jib staysail (the inner one) was restricting the mast from fully lowering. I ended up having to cut the line from the top of the main mast, tied that line (on which the jib staysail was) to one of the spars, and ran a separate line from the top of the main mast to the exit hole.
Once that issue was resolved, I tried to figure out a better tool to insert it into the bottle than the string technique the kit calls for. The model is too heavy for the string technique, which essentially involves creating a noose to go around the hull where one side is brass wire and the other, a string that completes the loop around the hull. I ended up taking a piece of annealed copper wire (which i use in my other hobby, bonsai), bent it to the same configuration as the other wire piece, and taped it to the handle. When the ship was in the bottle, I cut the tape and both sides of the tool slipped out.
The bottle opening is incredibly tight. I filed down the inside bottom edge of the bottle to help get the ship in. Because I had added the sea, I decided to file off the keel bottom. Even without the keel bottom, it was still hard to get the ship in and required heavier pressure than I thought. A lot of prayers and finger crossing as I pushed it through the bottle's neck!
Now my goal was to insert the ship and drop it onto the pedestals. Using the pedestal base as a guide, I tried to build up the sea as much as possible outside the base. But, some of the sea got onto the base, and so I figured I would need some wiggle room with the holes in the bottom of the ship. So, I drilled larger holes to accommodate any necessary shift - since the unexpected usually should be expected. I put some 5-min epoxy into the holes and pushed the ship in.
That's where things went wrong. I apparently hadn't gotten the sea far enough from the pedestal base, so the ship couldn't sit cleanly on the pedestals. This freaked me out because the holes had the epoxy in them and I was afraid that it would leak out and get onto the sea or the sides of the bottle. So, I tilted the bottle to its side and using a long bamboo skewer, I quickly dabbed a bunch of epoxy along the pedestal bottom and sea. Thankfully, I was able to position the ship a certain way where it was able to sit on the front post, and lean against one of the middle posts at the back of the bottle. Another nerve-wracking experience, but it went without a hitch.
With the ship in the bottle, I raised the masts. I had one problem where the main mast was bent pretty bad. I'm not sure if this was because of the insertion, or that it came about when the masts were raised and the lines pulled taut. I was really worried that bending it back would cause it to snap. Using two putty knives with extended handles, i was able to straighten it out and again, the modeling gods were with me and it didn't snap. I had to do a couple of touch ups of glue and paint (against, stressful while the model is in bottle), but it worked out. After all the touchups and arranging the sails the way I would like to see them, I cut the cords using the blade that came with the kit (pictured below), glued the cap on and affixed the felt circles to the bottle's bottom.
[picture of tool to come]
Edited by Landlubber Mike, 10 March 2015 - 01:10 PM.