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US Brig Niagara I’m starting this build log for the Model Shipways Niagara in April of 2018. I received this kit as a gift! I’m worried it’s too big for my apartment but on the other hand I know where my priorities lie. Niagara needs no introduction , she’s famous from her role in the historic past but she’s also famous as the modern day sail training vessel operated by the Erie Maritime Museum in the present day. Among modern tall ship sailors she enjoys an unparalleled reputation for the competence and professionalism of her crew. People who’ve crewed on Niagara are some of the best traditional rig sailors you’re likely to meet. The ship is beautiful. . Looking at the kit contents I was slightly disappointed. The large full-scale diagrams are fine but the instruction manual should be rewritten. The wood included in my kit is fine but the thicker laser cut parts show the mathematical shortcomings of the laser beam not always being perpendicular to the sheet it’s cutting. The rigging line provided in the kit is a travesty. The running rigging is a very odd color and nearly iridescent. All of it is too shiny. It’s inclusion in the kit suggests the manufacturer isn’t as dedicated to quality as I’d imagined. Plus as I move along on the build I’m finding discrepancies between the actual ship and the model. If you’ve read ANY of my build logs you will see my strong opinion, endlessly reinforced, that ALL SAILING SHIP MODELS SHOULD HAVE SAILS. I know it’s a minority opinion. But I can NOT imagine building Niagara or Pride, two ships with MAGNIFICENT suits of sails, without modeling all sail set. As of this writing I find nearly forty build logs for Niagara here on MSW! One of the most popular subjects. Eight are complete, a bunch appear stalled at the start but most are pretty active. Only one of the dozen or so completed kits appears to have sail set. My intention is to build Niagara as she appears in the present day, as the sail training vessel so well documented in thousands of photos, which differs in many small details from the kit. Here’s a painting I made years ago of Niagara.
Starting this log on July 29th 2017. Against my own better judgement I purchased a damaged Constitution model at a Housing Works NYC, a charity based second hand store. It was less than $30. But it's Bowsprit was broken and it was FESTOONED in what I take to have been "fake cobwebs" and dusty. But not anywhere near as dirty as any of the other ship Models I have restored. I took it home and removed all the fake cobwebs I could then I did something I don't recommend: I took it into the shower with me and scrubbed it with a toothbrush under the shower spray. When it was dry I assessed what I had: an unknown Constitution model with broken spars. It's solid hull and deck fittings had been completed and painted with very thick glossy paint. There were many white metal parts incorporated and all were still very well and firmly attached. the deadeyes and lanyards were all one-piece white metal castings too and these are all glued to the shroud assemblies. These shroud assemblies were completed off the model then glued into position as units, there were no shroud gangs or shroud eyes over any mastheads, the upper ends of all the shrouds were just glue-glommed onto the masts under the Trestle Trees. All the rigging was the same diameter, both Standing and Running. The running rigging was put on VERY haphazardly and although the workmanship of every other aspect of the hull and spars was not amazing but rather competent and not egregious, the running rigging is a train wreck. it looks like at the outset the rigger tried to be fastidious. There are blocks rove on the Lifts and Braces. But at a certain point near the end the rigger adopted the practice seen more usually on Gift Shop Models originating in third world countries: winding the rig onto the model in one long continuous length off a single spool, taking three or four sloppy turns around a yardarm here then more turns around the masthead there, then back down to another yardarm, and so on. It's an oddly inconsistent way to wrap up the model since the bulk of the craftsmanship prior to the second half of the rigging was OK. Visible in one of the photos below, take note of how great bundles of running rigging is "belayed" on deck by making a single overhand knot of all of it at once on the Starboard side of the Fife Rails on deck. A very odd lapse for the model builder. this hurried rigging completion AND the odd "fake cobwebs" ( which looked exactly like polyester down fill sold for quiltmaking) makes me believe this model was used as a prop in a haunted house. Those fake cobwebs were APPLIED to the model, not accidentally attached due to some odd quilting disaster. Anyway thanks for reading this far. Here are photos taken today.