Jump to content

Schooner Annie by josh44 - Bottle - FINISHED - 1/150 scale

Recommended Posts

This will be my first Build Log, and 6th scratch ship in a bottle.


This will be a present for a friend named Annie. She will appreciate the obvious choice of ship name.


One of the best things about building scratch ships in bottles, is that you can choose pretty much any ship, based upon the occasion, recipient, bottle shape, or whatever your mood may be.  I like choosing less well known ships, perhaps from obscure sources or stories or tales.  I was happy to find a perky little schooner named Annie from New York, complete with a fine little backstory. 


I found a few pictures from which to work.




Edited by josh44

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Next I create a master sketch, 1:1 for the actual model.



Many ships dont have recorded or complete mesurements, and this is where the replication gets a little tricky. I'm a novice at this, but I aspire to optimal proportion, as well as clean lines and authentic color.  The small size make it difficult for proportional integrity, especially with the masts and spars.  But this is part of the challenge and fun.


If the rigging will be more complex, eg with a Barque or Brig, then I would also sketch out the rigging and drill holes on the masts as well.  


I neglected to state the obvious, which is the choosing of the bottle. Finding bottles is actually one of the most difficult phases of this.  I like one pint whiskey bottles, with a wide stout neck.  Anything with an inner diameter under 1.7cm will be really challenging   I dont like the classic rounded bottles, because the convexity of the bottle makes it appear as though the ship  is 'sunk'  down at the bottom no matter what kind of base you make.  Once I find a bottle that feels like a good match, then I decide on the base within in the bottle.  This can be a tiny stand, clay, or silicone.  For this ship, I am going to try silicone for the first time. 


I transfer the sketch to tracing paper, in preparation for the cutting of the hull. Thats tomorrow.  

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cutting the hull blank:


the template is copies or traced onto a block of bass wood, then rough cut with a table-top band saw.


till I get a decent hull blankIMG_6421.jpg.5735fb95b79a4e2acf88ecd15901109f.jpg

then lots of grinding down and fine shaping with a dremel / spinning tool, and tons of sanding.


At this point, all the traces and sketches go out the window, and I have to try to make some nice curves and reasonable lines. (Sincere apologies to all the real ship and model builders!)



Its definitely not my worst work. And I still have all my fingers, which is a bonus!


Next step will be prepping the hull with varnish and paint, and preparing the masts.  

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Priming, Painting, and Deck Work


After a little more work carving down the curves, rudder, and keel, I sanded down to 300, and applied some primer.1.thumb.jpg.f67c7ab47ffd2f7a133a88a78dc45e4a.jpg


and sanded down again, and then painted with basic acrylics, mixed to resemble the colors of the real Annie.


Then, I must admit, I was inspired by some of the work I had seen on this site, especially Igorsky and his phenomenal work in miniature!  While I will never be able to approach his level of detail, I wanted to try to elevate my game a bit; instead of scoring the deck, or painting decking, I decided to lay down some decking made of 1/32" cherry strips. 


Not perfect, but I'll do better next time!

Then I added a top rail from the same 1/32" cherry strip. (I originally bought this in the hopes of using it for masts and yards, but it's way to thin. Glad I kept it, and now I wish I bought more).  



Next stop: more sanding, and starting the masts. 


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Josh


Great job on the hull and decking so far.  I reckon she’s going to shape up to be a little beauty.


Good luck with the rest of the build.  I’ll be watching and enjoying the journey.





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Preparing the masts and sails


After a few extra coats of acrylic, and a coat of medium gloss varnish, she is looking better.



Masts and gaffs were fashioned from 3/64" dowels; previously I thought them too flimsy, but I got bolder after I laid down a few coats of super glue.  My first main mast splintered after I drilled the  final hole for the gaff, but I glued extra and drilled more carefully. 


The bowsprit I shaved from a stouter dowel, since this will be taking more strain. I secured it to the deck with a tiny wire nail.



Tiny holes are drill into the masts and gaff at precise points with a pin vise hand drill, using jewelers bits, typically around 0.5 mm.   These are for the standing rigging (to attach mast hinge, booms and gaffs, and shrouds), as well as for the running rigging (which is pulled through holes to help raise the masts in the bottle).  Booms and gaffs are knotted twice - on this ship I am using simple nylon thread.  Sometimes I Use silk or fireline, depending upon the job!


I measure out and trace sails on to a bolt of muslin. After I glue the edges with CA to minimize shredding.  For this simple schooner I simply glue the sails to the boom and then the gaff.  




I dont like the traditional methods to fold down my masts, and am always looking for ways to improve upon how the masts collapses.  For now I have settled on making my own tiny hinges from cord ends, found in beading and crafting stores.


 I use 2 two to make one hinge: I pry open the arms to make it flat, then clip off the extra wings and base


then I jam them into small slots which I carved in to the deck.


and then I can pass a wire through (a tiny drilled hole in) the base of the foremast!

image.png.fc4247930d4e1a2cbff57b9fd4daa043.png So far, so good... but everything always comes down to the launch in the bottle.

I will repeat the same with the Main mast, then will work on the deck houses, and the rest of the rigging. In a few days...


Edited by josh44

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I made the main mast the same as the foremast. Cord ends were fashioned into hinges for the mast.  




I found some silver plated bead tubes for the masts and the bow sprit.


For the 2 shroud lines I used brass crimp beads as pass throughs for the thread, instead of drilling more  holes in the railing.  



This worked out great, keeping the shroud holes below the deck level; except the bead on the starboard foremast isnt glueing properly tonight.


For this model I am really trying to keep it simple, with few rigging lines, both standing and running: 1) because it's a simple small schooner and I dont want to junk it up, and 2) because the masts I chose are really weak, and I am already seeing some stress fractures - cant afford to be drilling and tugging any more than the minimum.   


In fact I might get away with a single running rigging line from the main gaff up and fore to the bowsprit.  


image.png.3d344fd8f523df6b03af2f0bee97c875.pngThe deck houses are on; attention to small detail definitely not my sstrong suit, but itl'll do.

image.png.d00161ee47c87d3d876d5e3155ea4611.pngMy baby's almost all grown up!


 For anyone reading this: Please  correct me when I misuse any terms. I am learning, so please feel free to educate me.


Next:   the jib sail, then the base and bottle work

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jos


I love that last photo because it shows just how tiny your ship is.


Great job, so far.





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

At this point, things are looking fine, but with only one running rig line from the main gaff, I worry about not having enough straightening power on the foremast.  I bite the bullet and decide to drill another small hole - this one afore - above the foremast shroud hole. This will simply attach to the foremast and run parallel with the jib line, and  down to another hole on the bowsprit.  


I glued the jib onto its line - this time applying the glue directly to the thread. Still trying to figure out the best way to adhere the sail cloth to the lines.  Glue stains are bothering me quite a bit.  


A few more touch-ups are required on the deck house, sail edges and masts.

Then its ready for the pedestal.  


I made a rookie mistake by forgetting to drill  the pedastal holes in the hull prior to doing all the sail work.  (Cut the blue wire.  But not before you cut the red one!)

I got the holes in fine, but probably not employing OSHA best practices.  


The pedastel is cut and carved from 1/8" bass, and then gussied up with brass eyelets and black dowels.


One tip I learned the bad way is to let all the CA dry and cure before putting the ships in the bottles; otherwise you are at risk for "blooming" - the white precipitation of the excess CA onto the inside of the bottle and all over ship.  Like a deadly frost.  


Here she waits, while the bottle gets prepped, and the CA sets.



Next will be bottle work.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Josh


All of a sudden, Annie’s looking oh, so grown up with her masts and sails. 







Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Patrick,

One of the things I like about bottled ship building is that within only a few weeks, your little project can go from scratch to hatched. 

The next post will be interesting, as the launch into the bottle always brings unexpected and unwelcome challenges. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bottle Work and Repairs -  This is going to get messy.


The Schooner Annie is ready for her launch.


I tried a new trick this time, using glass etching to add some interest to the bottle - a few waves and a cartoon sun.


The ecthing came out fine on the posterior glass, albeit hardly visible.


I undestand  - and apologize! - that this firmly puts my project at risk for kitsch, but I knew that her recipient will apreciate any degree of detail and thought.  


Initially I had thought originally to try a silicone sea in the wonderful manner of IgorSky, I havent figured out the coloring of that, so I decided to present her on my standard little pedestal.  Furthermore, the Mrs and kids here do not approve of my clay oceans.


image.png.8e88193fd9845d1385f3eb0d3dffd84e.png Having the proper tools really helps. Launching my initial kit ships with coat hangers was  a disaster.

image.png.be73fe153b1ea65bc5fcd727b4286314.pngHartman Alligator forceps - not too expensive on amazon!


image.png.f72b001d2c96f0798878d202ca41ee6c.pngThis is as small as I can paint.  I first tried etching with an electric etcher, but that didnt work well.

image.png.d496ae9c987cec102a2e98319905c23e.pngIt's crunch time! The muslin sails with Loctite CA became too stiif for the small thin gaffs and masts.

image.png.f98be362eba16fa7269670e2a1256af3.pngNo loud snaps or cracks, so that was encouraging, however, there were many critical threats to come...

image.png.e04a6692bef6e30a87a1c3e731afbb9a.pngSometime need two hartmans to see what's what.

image.png.4b36bf07f99f68c0e58d1c8dd65e74f8.pngDiagnosis: Dislocation of the Foremast from the Fore Gaff! Inside the bottle!

image.png.6b30ff145953d81e0f69b8386f2c6d46.pngThe patient is ready for surgery.

image.png.c4479d729a84f881eac6cd1cc59f1009.pngI plan to thread this hole in the fore gaff. It is not large.

image.png.d45aa97b2f4f93c0ae88decb9c6f300e.png Money shot: Required two Hartmanns 

All seemed fine until I noticed this other little beauty:


image.png.31ff105e7a5484ff005488ee05346278.pngForemast fractured just above the hinge.  Not sure whats keeping it together....


image.png.71b883123f0ae226a4cb586e4a90dbe0.pngHead on view in the bottle: That's a 45' fracture!

image.png.8dd555f90a7c319f5a8a70475db8049e.pngI braced it with some spare brass on the 'leeward' side of the ship.

 After about a million other minor repairs, cheats, nips and tucks, she's all set!

image.png.2a03f073ec0717476725e9905b2b7362.pngFrom the Lee side- the silly etching and the etched inscription can be seen. Shes gonna love it!


Not perfect, and I have some major gripes with the stiff sails, gaff placement, and of course my ill-advised choice of thin masts and gaffs.

But she'll definitely do, and I learned a lot on her.

At a later date, I will close out the log when I build the stand and get the brass plate. 😁





Edited by josh44
unwanted pictures removed; spelling corrected

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Josh


I always hold my breath when I hear that a SIB is being placed in the bottle.  A million things can/could go wrong, but despite that, it’s always an amazing achievement once it’s done.


Congratulations. Annie looks great.





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Patrick!

Yes each SIB launch has its own challenges. Part of the joy and sorrow of this strange hobby. 

Cheers, till next time!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, IgorSky said:

Hi Josh!
My congrats!

Igor, thank you! I was just reviewing and enjoying the gallery of your many excellent past posts!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model shipcraft.

The Nautical Research Guild puts on ship modeling seminars, yearly conferences, and juried competitions. We publish books on ship modeling techniques as well as our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, whose pages are full of articles by master ship modelers who show you how they build those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you what details to build.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research