JerseyCity Frankie

S.V. Carl Vinnan by JerseyCity Frankie - BOTTLE

After building a bunch of ships in bottles I started keeping my eye out for interesting bottles. I found a perfect bottle in an antique store in Hoboken. It has a look of being some sort of laboratory or medical related bottle, its hefty and square. Then I started looking around for a proper subject to inhabit the bottle. I had found that the interior volume of the bottle needs to be filled to a certain degree, a ship with too short a waterline looks like it has too much sea room in a longer bottle. So I began looking for something a bit longer and why not something off the beaten track? I decided the S.V. Carl Vinnen would be perfect.  Below is a B&W photo of the actual Vinnan, a schooner with a very unusual rig. Built in 1922 by Krups and one of five sister ships Carl Vinnen had five masts with a square rig on the foremast AND a square rig on the third mast (apparently known as the Middle Mast) but with no squares on the Main (or 2nd) mast. Searching the internet I found this German website with nice drawings of the Vinnen: http://www.jocham-schiffe.de/vinnen/vinnen_plan.html

and I also had a copy of an Underhill plan of her from one of his books. 

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Like all my models this one has a basswood hull. On this model I dispensed with bamboo masts and went over to solid brass rod, which is so much easier to drill through at this diameter than wood. I found wood masts at this scale, even if stiffened with cyano,  to be so weakened by having a hole put through that they often failed during the testing of the folding mechenisim.

I make all the deck furniture and houses with laminated cardstock. I hinge the masts at deck level and put temporary forestays on them so the masts will be erect when I put the shrouds on them. I glue the shrouds to the hull and “plate over” the hull with colored paper I have prepared. At this scale I find it easier to plate the outer hull with a sandwich of paper. The inner layer is white and will be the inner face of the bulwarks, I draw a pin rail and other details onto it with a mechanical pencil. To the back of that I glue a piece of grey paper to represent the outer aspect of the hull and to the bottom of this I glue a red piece of paper with a boot topping drawn in black pen to represent the waterline. At this scale its easier to get an accurate crisp line this way than with paint and a brush. Since the shrouds are glued to the basswood hull I just glue this paper sandwich on the outside of the hull leaving the bulwarks proud of the deck. This way the ends of the shrouds terminate neatly at the waterway inboard. I trim it at the bow and stern and it looks fine. One problem though is you have to seal the paper to prevent it from soaking up the oil from the plastecine sea later on when the hull is embedded. I learned this the hard way when I noticed a once grey hull had turned nearly black from the oil it had soaked up!

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The “secret” to the ship in a bottle is that the masts fold and thus squashed, you can slip the hull through the neck of the bottle. Pulling on strings that are long enough to reach out of the neck of the bottle raises the masts. The surprise lesson I learned the day I tried to make my first ship in a bottle is that you need a separate line to raise each mast. I had assumed I could take one line from the top of the Mizzen, run it to the Main and from there to the Fore and run the line down to the Bowsprit and out the neck of the bottle. Pulling this one line SHOULD raise all the masts, Right? Not so. The geometry of the path each masthead is bound by as it swings up necessitates each mast must have its own line to haul it up. The “sea” is made from plastescene and I took some pains to add grey to the blue clay I had. Right out of the box, the blue clay looked too vividly blue.A tiny pinch of red clay well kneaded into the blue took some of the edge off the intense blue too. I roll the clay into “snakes” and get them into the bottom of the bottle, I tamp them down a bit with a shaped stick but the secret I have learned is to put the bottle into a warm oven at this stage and let the clay melt a bit- this ensures its as stuck to the glass as it may well get. Then, with everything cool again,  I roll up some very thin white clay snakes and drape them in over the blue each about an inch apart and at a diagonal to the centerline of the bottle and smear them into the blue with the stick- this gives a nice sea-like appearance.

 

 

You have to make a lot of sticks to use as tools to work things around within the bottle. One task is to cut a hole the shape of the waterline into the “sea” and for that I put a dull#11 blade into a notch cut in a bamboo skewer to cut the hole in the water to drop the ship into. When you get the ship in there you have to use other blunt ended sticks to tamp the clay sea up against the hull. Here again I use a white “snake” of clay and mash it up against the hull while at the same time smearing it into the blue of the “sea” so it blends and this makes a bow wave and a wake. The clay is the only thing holding the hull to the sea. And when you pull the strings to erect the masts, the adhesion of the waterline and whatever clay that remains under the hull is the only thing resisting the pull of the strings your using to raise the masts, so err on the side of “stuck in the clay as much as possible”.

 

 

I build and rig the model outside the bottle on a construction jig with two tiny screws holding the hull in place. All the rigging goes off to one end of the jig and is literally belayed there on pins made of short lengths of bamboo skewers. Its nice to be able to adjust them since you wind up testing the folding mechanism a lot as you build and rig. The more important lines are numbered with a tape tag on the working end since they will all look the same when the ship is in the bottle. All the lines come down to the deck and pass through holes drilled right through to the bottom. The lines from the foremast go through difficult to drill holes in the brass rod bowsprit. The ones coming up from the under the hull simply emerge from the clay at the bow and exit the neck of the bottle. The “fairleads” are very thin wire eyes with tails that twist around the various spars. Its possible to drill holes in the spars but I find this is the source of most of the trouble and breakage when I do this sort of work and I gladly trade off the ability to spot the wire eyes if you look for them against the heartache of having a nearly finished rig ruined by a last minute spar snapping.

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You wind up doing the insertion a few times. Things break, you have to adjust something, you wind up removing it and then re-inserting it. In this case the first time I tried the insertion the hull was too high, I had to shave off some basswood below the waterline. There was a pinch at the center of the neck of the bottle I had not measured for and this could have been a disaster! Once bedded in the “sea”, you erect the masts and tape the lines to the outside of the neck of the bottle. Then with a stick with a little loop of wire on the end holding a dab of five minute epoxy, reach in and dab epoxy at the points were the lines exit the hull- at the waterline at the bow and from the bowsprit. Let it dry and cut them off later with a bit of blade attached to a stick. I accidentally touched the inside of the bottle with the epoxy but no problem: once dry it chips off since it can’t hold to the glass.

Traditionally you tie a Turks Head knot on the neck of the bottle, but I found that in this case it was over the top so I left it as you see it here. Corked, the model is safe from the elements. I sometimes keep this bottle model, and others like it, in the shower. It looks great in there. I have given away most of the ships in bottles I have made over the years, they make great gifts. They don’t really take that long to build compared to nearly any other type of model and they look impressive sitting on the shelf.

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That, sir, is impressive.  Very nice tutorial - I would get so confused trying to figure out which line went where that I would probably get tangled and need rescue to cut me out of the mess!

 

Beautiful result of a very interesting ship.

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I never thought I would try a ship in a bottle but at a used bookstore a long time ago I came across a paperback of this guys ships in bottles and how he built them. They were pretty crude and I said to myself "I could do that, easy" and so I did. If the models in the book had looked nicer I probably never would have tried it! I think anyone who has built a model, any of the people who have stuff on this website, would have little trouble making one of these.

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I love these short builds.  Like reading a magazine article short sweet and interesting.  Your very good she's a beautiful ship.  Last time I tried that many lines coming out of the bottle it was a total catastrophe. Your rigging work is incredible.  Great work.     

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Frankie, what an impressive looking ship in that bottle, yes i can see how that would look great on a shelf above a desk. One looks up from their concentration sees the ship and wanders off to some far off ocean for a couple of minutes.

 

Michael

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I have a question since I use plasticine as well.  I have never tried baking it though.  What temperature do you set the oven and how long do you keep the bottle in there?  I'm sure the bottle can take some heat but I wouldn't want to over do it or risk burning the plasticine.

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I just came across your build log and I am so :angry: that you beat me to the Carl Vinnan!   :D  I've been looking for just the right bottle for her for quite a while.

 

Seriously, very well done! She's a beauty!

 

I noticed that you label the lines that come out the bottle - a must when there are more than just a few lines.

 

I look forward to your next build.

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DSiemens

Sorry Daniel I am just now noticing your question about the "sea" in the bottle. You asked and showed concern about using the heat of an oven to set the clay. I preheat my oven to get it hot then shut it off and allow it to cool to a temperature that feels hot but not too hot. Not hot enough to cook food but still so hot I wouldn't want to touch the metal within the oven. I put the bottle on a cookie sheet and slide it into this environment and let it sit in there for ten minutes or so. As you can see there is no point in this procedure that could be mistaken for Science. If you are concerned about the glass breaking (and I know I was  a bit too at the time) err on the side of a cooler oven.

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I have a question since I use plasticine as well.  I have never tried baking it though.  What temperature do you set the oven and how long do you keep the bottle in there?  I'm sure the bottle can take some heat but I wouldn't want to over do it or risk burning the plasticine.

The directions for what I use, Fimo, says 230 F for 30 minutes, not hot enough to damage a bottle. Go to the manufacturer's website of the product you're using for their recommendation.

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Thank you for your responses. I gave it a shot and really liked the result.  I noticed the package said the melting point was 150 so I set the oven for as low as it would go which was 170.  It was slow to melt so I went as high as 230 and that was much better.  It seems to stick to the bottle much better which was a problem with a lot of my early ships.  I like mild wavy look as well.  That would be next to impossible with the put in and push together method I have been using.  

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Hello Frankie,

 

I am also a ship in bottler currently building Carl Vinnen and also speaking to a ship model club in Boston this week about the Vinnen schooners.  I am very grateful for the link to the plans and will post pictures of my own Carl Vinnen when done.

She seems to be a ship appealing to ship in bottlers more than regular modelers.

 

 

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Hi Shipinbottler! Thanks for writing in about the Vinan. I wish I  could visit your lecture, I am sure you will have a lot to say about the ships history that I have not been able to learn. What I gathered is that the Vinnan and her sisters all had bad luck and short lives, is this so? I sent a photo of my finished Vinnan in  a bottle to the address on that German guys website but never heard back from him. Whoever he is he seams to have access to a lot of Vinnan information and I wonder how and where he got it all.

I wish I lived in Nerburyport, its a beautiful town with a great deal of shipbuilding history, I was lucky enough to visit briefly once. I am sure I speak for many of us here that we are looking forward to your build log! 

-Frankie

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