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    Beach Park, IL and Eastport, ME
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    Retired from career in construction engineering.
    Returning to ship modeling as vehicle for better understanding shipbuilding technology and history.
    Currently researching clippership Grey Feather built in Eastport, ME in 1850. Current builds include rigging Connie started 48 years ago; kit-bash of Baltimore clipper Dapper Tom; scratch build of US Brig Cabot..

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  1. Srodbro

    Song Title Game

    Sail Away — Randy Newman
  2. Srodbro

    Song Title Game

    White Room — Cream
  3. Srodbro

    Song Title Game

    River Deep-Mountain High Tina Turner
  4. Srodbro

    Song Title Game

    Boy Named Sue ... Johnny Cash
  5. Srodbro

    Song Title Game

    Born to be Wild — Steppenwolf
  6. Frankie: I am in the process of building what I am calling Lawrence, essentially a scratch version of Niagara’s sister, based on the Modelshipway plans, and I am currently working on the tops. In one of your earlier posts, you showed one of your tops in a box of assembled components. I have a question about the construction of the tops, and thought I might ask your opinion. I’m including a pic from TomE’s build log, just to give context for my question. In this pic, which reflects the drawings, the laser cut molding is on top of the laser cut platform piece. Since I’m scratch building, I’ll be fabricating the top from many pieces. The general arrangement of the top is: Cheeks support trestletrees, which together with crosstrees support the platform, which supports the molding pieces. The drawings say that on the real ship platform is fore and aft planks. If that’s the case, are those planks attached to the underside of the structure that appears above the platform ( the moulding)? Seems backwards ... seems the platform planking ought to be supported by the structural grid represented by the moulding piece. Or, might the planking of the platform actually be short pieces, fitted between the members of a structural grid? Unfortunately, the pics I took while aboard Niagara several years ago weren’t detailed enough to enlighten me. Comment appreciated. Thanks. Just to clarify: I am suggesting that it seems to me the construction of the tops would make more sense if they looked more like EdT’s tops on Young America. (Granted there may be significant differences between a warship and a merchant built 40 years later). Tkanks again for comments, and, Frankie, sorry to hi-jack your log.
  7. Joe: Can you say where your illustration comes from? Does it have accompanying text? Grandpa was a blacksmith, and I think there are a couple pieces of iron shaped like those in the pic deep down in the cellar. A reference might help me identify them. Thanks.
  8. Fra Berlanga cargo handling booms were arranged with four booms occurring on each of two boom tables elevated above the deck, fore and aft, and two “jumbo” heavy booms, each located near one of the boom tables, on the deck, to serve the larger fore and aft hatches. I fabricated the booms of telescoping brass and copper tubing. The gooseneck that hinges the boom at its base was made of polystyrene and a fine brass nut and bolt, and steel washers at the base. It does look like a goose, with a big cigar! Winches were modeled with polystyrene, brass tubing and steel flat washers. These elements were of sufficient detail to illustrate the basic working of the rigging. I wanted my Fra Berlanga to represent a ship handling cargo at dockside, with booms active in several configurations. Some booms are in a stowed position; a single lightweight boom is active at the aftermost hatch; two booms are active at the after kingposts; at the forward main hatch the jumbo boom is active; and at the foreword most hatch, two light booms are active. Modeling the single after hatch boom was pretty straightforward, but it did present the problem of what to do with the port side guy, which should terminate anywhere between ship centerline and near the port side rail, which in my half-model doesn’t exist. I decided to include this guy, but just have it terminate at the deck at the ship centerline. At the after main hatch, I have the activity of the two booms from the port and starboard kingposts. I wanted to include the portside boom, since it extends to the starboard side of the centerline, so I included the upper portion of this boom, and just allowed the lower portion to “disappear “ into the background. Here, a temporary backboard is mounted hold rigging until the final backboard is added. I used a similar arrangement at the forward hatch being served by two booms mounted on the boom table. Again, the portside boom and it’s rigging elements from that side disappear into the background. The final bit of rigging was the stays and radio antenna. Finally, Fra Berlanga was ready for mounting onto a backboard. Finished backboard, with appropriate rigging disappearing into it. Fra Berlanga was a good project. I learned a lot about cargo ships, United Fruit Company, “Banana Republics” and some modeling techniques, while being able to provide a friend with a piece of family history. Overall, very rewarding hobby. Thanks for following, and for kind comments.
  9. Please accept a comment from an absolute novice: I have often thought that the “16th century planking rule” you mention must have applied (except, perhaps, on the day they were launched) to nearly all wooden ships, especially warships, that went on multi-year voyages, far from home ports. I find it hard to believe that after several years at sea, battling foul weather and reefs, not to mention cannonballs, and the lack of good timber remote from home or friendly ports, that given such conditions, planking rules other than the one you mention were the norm. Of course, all evidence of my theory probably rests at the bottom of the sea. Absolutely enjoy your wonderful build.
  10. The masts and kingposts were only temporarily fitted in the previous pic, and were removed for addition of additional deck details. I used brass accommodation ladders and rails from Blue Jacket. Here I departed from what Fra would have actually looked like, by leaving them natural brass ... I’m sure a working ship would never have these, no matter how much of a “spit-and-polish” Captain she may have. A concession to artistic license. Funnels, ventilation goosenecks, lifeboat stanchions and boats, portholes, and her name, were also added. Oh, yeah .. the propeller shaft nacelle was extended, and the propeller added just prior to detailing the decks. Not being familiar with the rigging of mid-20th Century cargo ship, and wanting my Fra model to represent the characteristic cargo handling equipment, I began an internet search for information. Several diagrams were instructive. Several lessons were immediately evident. First ... there is a lot more rigging than I ever thought. Second... one, two or even four booms might be attached to a single “hook” to handle cargo out of a single hatch. Third ... Fra was equipped with a “Jumbo” boom at each mast. [Images from HyperWar Foundation, ibibilio.org] Depicting these schemes on a half-hull model will present some unique modeling challenges.
  11. The deck structures are rather simple. There is a catwalk and machine house for rudder control equipment, then the rear after cargo hatch, the raised hoist table, the fore after cargo hatch, then the midship section with four superstructure decks. Forward of the midship superstructure is the main forward cargo hatch, the forward hoist table, and the smaller fore hatch. The several decks of the superstructure are made of thin sheet polystyrene. To fabricate the curved front of the superstructure, I created a curved form and laminated together three pieces of 1mm thick polystyrene. In my initial attempts, I used CA to glue together the pieces. To my surprise, the styrene was weakened by the CA, and the pieces soon snapped while clamping. I then repeated the process using modeling cement made for styrene. Then used CA to fasten the molded polystyrene pieces to the wooden superstructure pieces. After completing the deck structures, the foremast, mizzenmast and fore- and aft kingposts were added. These were fabricated of copper and brass tubing. Fra’s red and white hull colors were added, as well as United Fruit’s characteristic stack colors.
  12. I thought I would add a couple comments about scale and level of detail of my project. Scale I listed the scale of my model as 1:96, or 1/8”=1’-0”. The truth is, I don’t know what the scale really is. The resources I was able to consult while developing the plans varied in the length listed, as I mentioned earlier. The issue was further confused by data given about Fra Berlanga’s many sister ships. Also, I could never really reconcile the length of the test tank model (about 20’-4”) with any of the referenced ship lengths. The test tank model appears to be have been built closest to a scale of 1:24 ( or, 1/2”=1’-0”) but that results in a hull length of about 490 feet, which far exceeds any referenced length. Since my field measurements of the test tank model are the basis of the lines of my model ( mine being really a model-of-a-model-of-a-ship), and since I built to 25% of the field measurements, I can only say that my Fra is about 1:96. In the end, that’s probably good enough. Level of Detail I never imagined detailing this model to the same level as I have done on ships of sail (think: belaying pins, deadeyes), but wanted enough detail to evoke an image of the function and character of the ship. I thought the image below, enhanced with representative colors, was a good guide. It is included in a US Maritime Commission listing of cargo ship types. (Drawing by Karsten-Kunibert Krueger-Kopiske). It gives a good representation of the general arrangement of the cargo handling rig, location of superstructure, and suggestion of hull shape and proportions. Lastly, while I am calling this a scratch built model, I am clearly using some manufactured components (propeller, anchor, lifeboat stanchions, rails and ladders and a few other items from Blue Jacket) which takes me out of the rarified level of EdT’s Young America and Sr Amilio’s Montanes as well as many other purists (the work of whom I am in awe of), I am equally as clearly not building a kit. Nonetheless, this project has presented its own lessons and opportunities to learn the craft. Enough talk ... on to modeling.
  13. Ah-ha. Too bad. So be it. Thanks for the response.
  14. Sometime ago I was following a build log by a fellow who was doing a diorama of a shipwreck on a beach of a pirate ship. It was really cool. I have not not been able to locate it, searching many of these forums. Anyone recall this, or know what happened to it? I’d like to see how it was completed. Thanks.
  15. Assembling the “sandwich” by glueing together each cutout was next. You can never have too many clamps. The width of each of the layers of the sandwich is ( obviously) from the ship centerline to the outboard curve of the hull. Because a half-hull generally stops at the centerline, this creates a problem for modeling masts, or other features that are located on the centerline. Either those features must be cut in half (difficult with masts), mounted off-center, or the hull model must be more than a half-hull. I chose the last option by adding a “spine” at the port side of the centerline. This 3/4” thick spine makes my model a “half-hull-plus-six-foot” model. Not only does this allow mounting fill diameter masts, but adds adds another dimension ( pun intended) to the visual impression of the bow shape (more on that later). Attacking the sandwich with bench planes, spokeshave, rasp, chisels, gouges and sand paper, the near final hull emerged. I chiseled out a portion of the hull to insert a separate carving of the propeller shaft nacelle, and also added the keel and rudder, topside bulwarks and the first application of wood filler. Applied the first coat of primer, which highlighted the many defects. After a sequence of further sanding-filling-sanding-filling-priming-sanding-filling-priming, (sometimes I think my models are equal parts of wood, filler, and paint) she was deemed good enough to return to the shipyard for fitting of the rudiments of a superstructure. Here the extra six feet width created by the “spine” adds depth to the bow.

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