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JerseyCity Frankie

US Brig Niagara by JerseyCity Frankie - Model Shipways - scale: 1:64 - as modern sail training ship of today

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11 hours ago, Landlubber Mike said:

Great work Frankie!  

 

Are you still on bottledshipbuilder?  I haven’t been on there recently but was wondering if you had posted your recent SIBs there.

 

 

Yah I had a build log for the 74 Ramalies. I put it in the bottle then tuned it up but I’ve still not snipped off the lose ends even though it’s been MONTHS.

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It’s now of this writing January 13th. In three months it will be an entire year on this build, how far will I get this winter? Winter is the best ship model building season, no question. And now we’ve got the holidays behind us and can focus. Here’s photos of my Niagara taken this morning. 

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This is a good time to take stock and look at how things are. I still agree with and am sticking with my decision to make this a “modern” 21st century Niagara, a model of how she looks today. But I have learned a few things that would have surprised me to know last year. I had assumed that I had adequate photo documentation to work with and that having photos of every detail would make my job easier. Not so. I  DONT have photos of every part of the ship and I CANT always go and find new photos on the web of the areas I need. It’s true new photos appear all the time, but I’m finding that many parts of the ship never atract the casual photographer visiting the ship. But certainly I have a tremendous amount of documentation nonetheless. But this too adds to the difficulty. Because now instead of being blissfully unaware of how certain aspects appear, now I know exactly how it appears and building the parts to match the photos takes a lot more time than if I just had to build a plausible part that looks like generic period-correct ship equipment. 

Early in this build I was voicing my annoyance at the kit manufacturer and this has continued straight on through. I’m  not using very many of the laser cut parts since they so often disappoint and fall short of reasonable expectation. This isn’t due to the time period I’m working in, this is due to poor scale size and shape. I acknowledge though that this is an older kit and hopefully the manufacturer has improved. I know nothing about ship kit manufacturing economics so maybe it would be prohibitively expensive? But I know this kit could be greatly improved if the instruction book was completely overhauled and the patterns for the laser cut parts were redrawn. But on the other hand maybe they ran off ten thousand kits and stoppped production a decade ago and now just draw on the inventory they laid in back in the early 90’s?

looking at the future I’m really pleased and optimistic about being able to look at the rigging and be done with deck details. I still intend to make wind-filled sails and a realistic point of sail with every bit of rigging represented. 

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I always build all the subassemblies and set them aside in plastic trays until needed. Now I’m ready to step the masts so I’m gluing on the fiferails and will likely glue all the deck details in the coming days since once the shrouds are on I won’t have clear and easy access to the deck. I decided to put the topsmast deadeyes onto the tops first and then decided to attach the futtock shrouds now rather than later to make it easier. I’m not using actual hooks but the wire for the deadeye irons has a loop in the bottoms to take the futtock shroud eyes in one neat package. Even if I had the beautiful photo etched hooks that Chuck made available, I’m not convinced I could get them into this small space with eyes small enough to match the scale. As it is I’m using a magnifying visor and can barely manage the twisted wire representation you see here.

also note the color of the futtock shrouds and their eyes: I’m painting all the standing rigging using acrylic. In photos of the actual rig the standing rigging has a lot of color variation ranging from dark grey to a light brown or olive color. I’m painting lengths of standing rigging before and after application on the model.

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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In trying to replicate the gear as it appeared in photos AND stay in scale rather than attempting to do it “the right way” I’ve taken a different approach to block stropping and seizing and lashing. I’m using black wire bent around the blocks and then crimped where the seizing would go on a real block. At this juncture I smear on a tiny amount of modeling paste, which later gets painted to look like a marlin seizing. The two legs of the wire are then glued directly into holes borred in the model, and that’s it. No scale thread, no “real” seizing. It’s possible to make real seizings but very hard to do it and not wind up with a bulky and out of scale excrescences on the neck of the block. This method looks good and is also super easy, at this scale. 

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Incidentally I’m trying to identify these two odd double blocks and why are they so peculiarly attached? Any guesses? 

>UPDATE< it’s the truss Pendants according to social media sailor types. Still no word on it’s odd method of attachment. The big black nippered coils hanging above are topsail yard lifts and are not relate. 

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Carronades. Since the modern ship has only four, I’m able to skip the repetitive unending task of rigging all those guns! As it was, the four were tedious enough. I’m coppying photos of the modern ship and they’re using a breaching rope but only one pair of tackle, the tackle that pulls the slide outboard. the training tackle isn’t in evidence, they must have decided they didn’t need it. They only fire salutes after all, there’s no need to train the guns.

this also marks the beginning of the running rigging. Sort of. The modern ship uses natural fiber line so I’ll be trying to match the Manila color. Speaking of color, the seizings on the breaching ropes are simply painted on. The eyes seized around the iron rings are merely glued. This is for the sake of scale. Trying to wrap thin thread around and around to make seizings would be accurate, but I believe it would be far too thick.

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Sailor figures. I never see modern crew figures represented in ship models and I’m building a modern day Niagara so I want the crew to look like young competent sailors in authentic clothing. I’m VERY unhappy with 80% of the commercially available scale sailor figures I see and all of them are of the “breeches and muskets” variety. Too many of them look like cartoons with squat short bodies with clownish enormous heads feet and hands. And Niagara is 1:64 scale and I don’t see much available for this scale. So I’m making my own out of wire, modeling paste, acrylic jell and painted paper. It’s a tremendous amount of work but today I put some clothing on the first three and I’m really happy with them now. D98A3339-3143-46A8-B7A2-2FDF984525A9.thumb.jpeg.aeded677e546418d12ab2f771fc5668b.jpeg

first, drove nails over a paper silhouette.B618EE63-7C89-49F8-9A21-F1970215D626.thumb.jpeg.373a148bfe4c736da959c33702531370.jpeg

next, wrap wire around nails. This should give me a consistent height for my crew. 728A04C8-7C34-47F8-8FF6-66B6E66B1EE9.thumb.jpeg.bbe4d43d489ef0578f4e43924ce0c0b2.jpeg

glom acrylic jell and acrylic modeling paste on to fill out form. 20F20308-F83C-493E-A8A8-22C306BC657B.thumb.jpeg.802cb2246af7337550be9eb38a3efea6.jpeg

there were many steps of letting this dry, trimming the globs, then applying more acrylic.EB982761-B9E2-46B9-A03F-3ECECB78E2A8.thumb.jpeg.7e5cfb35468847d35d0d7d2bcdf237b7.jpeg

paint everything flesh.9E719433-CDAD-400E-81EA-0AEDE30BEBD3.thumb.jpeg.e851d41063bc321609e61a32e65f5595.jpeg

glueing paper on in small pieces with lots of Elmer’s glue. 83A78774-441E-4561-AEF6-F3A0B6F0F7AA.thumb.jpeg.cca994cded93bf29104c24a78c5422e5.jpegBBE61406-A02C-4258-B985-28286CCD9C9C.thumb.jpeg.f438b16d946d2536e99fd9554f70c7a6.jpeg

surprisingly improved by clothing. As are MOST OF US I SUSPECT! FC723DDE-88B5-444E-97FF-57D0B056FB60.thumb.jpeg.f30557c6a6ad33db8443abfa6a82201b.jpeg

more detail will come but I’m pleased already.0127962D-A887-477C-9C9C-A60363BA151D.thumb.jpeg.947bc6e6f6f0af6c516b2f430441b4b1.jpeg

this guy is wearing modern Grunden fowlies.

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Much as I was loving those figures I’ve been making, when I looked at them critically they were too big. They would be eight feet tall. Their wire armatures were ok but when I started applying acrylic paste and paper clothing they grew. Should have taken that into account. Maybe I can use them on a 1:48 ship in the future. 

Anyway, back to the drawing board. This time around I’m using Sculpy to make torsos, then drilling and gluing wire limbs. 

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BC708D06-48D8-4EB2-842D-56335BA87435.jpegThe red line represents the height of the bulwarks and in photos this height corresponded with most of the crews shoulders.

14C577FC-1856-49A0-9CCB-3450877561A0.jpegHere I’ve bent and trimmed the wires and added Velejo Acrylic Plastic Putty

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Clothing. It’s all tissue paper that’s been painted numerous colors using thinned acrylics. When dry I apply it in tiny overlapping patches to the figures which have been heavily painted with white glue. The paint accentuated how unfacelike the faces are so I imagine I’ll try to improve the heads with more acrylic modeling paste.

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Grundens.

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Carharts.

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I intend to drill holes in the deck into which the wires of their legs will go. Some will be aloft.

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This should add a lot of color on deck. The relentless buff color used all over the ship is kinda dull.

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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The state of things on my Niagara as of February 2nd 2019. I’ve been working on spars and the collars for the standing rigging. The Bowsprit and headrig assembly are very complex, Niagara is overcanvased for the sake of better speed but this makes her headrig almost clownishly long. So far all the heart and bullseye collars I’ve made have been wire not fiber line. In every case I see on the real ship these collars have been wormed parceled and served and they no longer show the score of three stranded line, they look like smooth cylindrical bands so using painted wire looks more realistic to my eye. Since he wire remains where you put it and holds the shape you’ve bent it into the seizings don’t need to be functional and can be made of paper or modeling paste or as seen here just some blue tape. Everything’s going to get painted. As I mentioned elsewhere I feel that at this scale an actual seizing made of real thread is a tough sell since it nearly always comes out too bulky and thick when compared to real world seizings, which are in most cases made of marline no thicker than a bootlace and at their thickest-as seen on the larger elements of the standing rigging-is still thinner than any of the running rigging. 

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The boomkins are to be found on the modern Niagara, as is the grating incorporated into the forward pinrail. The kit Niagara omits the grating and the rail is much simplified.

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Wire sling and tape seizing on the course yard

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Planning the sequence of rigging the headrig is becoming annoying. We’ve all seen kit diagrams depicting standing rigging terminating or orriginating at a single mathematical point on the mast, with no description of how most of the rigging is arranged at that busy little point. I’ve got ten or fifteen photos of the Bowsprit jibboom and flying jibboom but since the standing rigging is all black in photos the areas where it overlaps is difficult to make out. My issue is determining which colar went on first when considering the stays. There are martingale stays, jib stays, tagalant stays, Bowsprit shrouds and they converge and diverge from the heads of the jibboom and flying jibboom. Some of these have spliced eyes, some seized eyes. Some split at the martingale into two smaller stays. Some is served and parceled, some is tarred three strand. It’s chaotic. The reference photos that show the complete rig also have furled sails bent on and they obscure everything.

theres a heal rope that keeps the jibboom from running inboard and I can’t make out what hardwear is on it near the cap, in every photo there’s always something else obscuring the crucial part. I’m on my third hand drawn diagram and I’m certainly making progress, but comprehension is slow in dawning. 

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Just sent you some pics by PM.

hope they are somehow helpful.

I have a bunch of other rigging, on deck and below deck photos if you are interested.

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3 minutes ago, AON said:

Just sent you some pics by PM.

hope they are somehow helpful.

I have a bunch of other rigging, on deck and below deck photos if you are interested.

Thanks some of these are new to me. Particularly the first shot of the Starboard side of the headrig showing the healrope! I’ve got a similar one of the port side but needed a Starboard one.  I’ve been amassing a pile of Niagara photos here:  https://www.flickr.com/gp/140039433@N06/52xn53.  There’s over 400 photos in there now! 

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Prominently visible in nearly every photo of Niagara is the large stack of sweeps on the gallows, which form a roof midships and upon which the folding gangway and lighter spars and other gear are usually stowed. Making 18 of these had zero appeal for me but turned out to be a project I finished in two sittings.

I turned Square stock in my dremel while gripping it with sandpaper to make it round, then I cut the four corners of the end portion that remained square into the octagon gripping end. To make the odd handle on each sweep I inserted a short piece of wire and this I dipped into Mr Surfacer 500, a very thick primer used by plastic kit modelers for soothing imperfections and making textures. This left a big gooey teardrop over the wire and it hardened overnight and stayed in that shape without needing the sweeps to be hung vertically. 

The blade end was cardstock white glued onto an exacto-shaved flat spot on the end. I smoothed acrylic modeling paste at the juncture of wood and paper and this was ground smooth with an abrasive bit the next day. I’m more happy with the blade ends than the handle ends but mostly I’m just glad I’m done with this part and also very glad that it all went to plan without any surprises.

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And yes I’m making the coolers.

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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I  Built the deck houses months ago and was happy enough with them. Like always I left the glass out of the equation and simply had open holes where the windows were. But as I laid out the deck furniture on the more worked-up model the naked openings now looked fake and drew attention so I decided to back them up with colored paper. To represent the brass rods I drew lines in pencil and white ink on the grey paper and simply glued theimageproxy.php?img=&key=8f45093723bba175 paper onto the backs of the openings. 

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Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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