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  1. Hi All. This is Gary from Austin, Texas making my first post. I have recently acquired the 1/48th scale America kit from Bluejacket and hope to log its build here. I have been lurking here a bit, very impressed by the knowledge and craftsmanship shown in many of the build logs. And frankly I am a bit intimidated as well. But I did not find any other build logs for the large Bluejacket America model so I hope my efforts add to the community, if only because of that. I have seen several build logs of the Mamoli version, and I am sure I will reference them more in the future. Over the last many years, I have built a handful of wooden boats and ships. The most ambitious project was Model Expo's Niagara. Sadly while building that I realized two things: 1) I do not enjoy rigging 2) I am more interested in small work or pleasure boats than warships. The Niagara has spent maybe 8 years in my closet with the standing rigging half done while I went on a boat building hiatus. Then in October, 2015, completely by accident, I drove by Bluejacket's HQ/Store/Gallery in Searsport, Maine while making my way from Boston to Acadia National Park. I made a quick U-turn and stopped in. I guess I left there inspired, as since then I built their Swampscott Dory and their Lobster Boat. Around the beginning of this year I decided to challenge myself a bit and ordered their plank-on-frame America. And yes I realize it requires some rigging, but it is minimal enough that I should get through it! Don't expect quick progress. I still work full time and have too many other hobbies. I've had the kit for about 2 months and have worked on it less than 30 hours so far. Progress will appear to be quick initially as I'll make posts to summarize those 2 months of work. But first here is a picture of the freshly opened box when I got the kit:
  2. Started on a simple kit of a Cape Cod Catboat by BlueJacket. I suggested that I built this model boat for my sister as she had one made in true scale. The specs of her boat is as follows: Cabin Catboat 18'-0" by 17'-7' by 8'-6" by 2'-0" Scale 1/2" = 1 FT F.C.W - April 27 - 1932 Fenwick Cushing Williams Jones Cove, South Bristol, Maine 04568 History of the Catboat. A catboat or a cat-rigged sailboat, is a sailing vessel characterized by a single mast carried well forward (typically near its bow). Generally a catboat has a light and shallow draft hull, wide beam approximately half its length, is gaff rigged, and carries a centerboard. Although any boat with a single sail and a mast carried well forward is 'technically' a catboat, some catboats such as the Barnegat Bay type and more modern designs carry a Bermuda sail. A jib is sometimes added, but this may require a bowsprit, and technically creates a sloop sail-plan. A typical New England style has a very long boom that extends over the transom and may carry foresails stayed from a bowsprit. It is generally accepted that the origin of the catboat type was in New York around 1840 and from there spread east and south as the virtues of the type — simplicity, ease of handling, shallow draft, large capacity — were discovered. Historically, they were used for fishing and transport in the coastal waters around Cape Cod, Narragansett Bay, New York and New Jersey. Some were fitted with bowsprits for sword fishing and others were used as 'party boats' with canvas-sided, wood-framed summer cabins that could be rolled up. Designer Fenwick Williams summarized the original design philosophy as: “The ample beam made the use of stone ballast feasible the high bow provided good support for the unstayed mast the barn door rudder provided adequate strength high coamings served to keep water out of the large open cockpit side decks provided a handy ledge on which to set a lobster trap." Modern catboat fans appreciate the catboat's traditional design and classic appearance and the features that make it a versatile recreational boat: simplicity, large capacity, shallow draft, stability, and safety in a boat that is easy to sail. The Kit. Cape Cod Catboat scale ¾”-1’ Model will be approximately 19” long, 28” high and 8” beam. The overall kit is good. The plans are accurate and easy to read, the laser cut parts are accurate as well there is plenty of strip wood and the metal Britannia pieces look good. Instructions are so-so and there not enough pictures in the manual. It is suggested this kit is for a beginner but I must disagree. The instructions on what to do is sparse or non-existent. It is pretty much a guessing game. If I have the energy I might re-write the instructions and add more pictures and submit this to Bluejacket. The model is also of a size to be a R/C pond-boat. The kit-bashing department. I will built the kit pretty much the way it should be but will also incorporate the way my sister’s boat looks. Trying to make it look as much as her boat. Furthermore, the blocks, cleats and chocks are from Britannia and are nice but I will not use those. I am making them from wood (more realistic). I will forego the rigging line and use the material from Chuck (Syren). Not making the mast hoops from metal wire but instead using a method by Bob F. Stropping blocks will be with rope and not wire. Pictures of the actual Catboat Original plans used to built the boat and plans from the kit.
  3. We are upgrading our lobster trap kits that go in our r/c lobster boat, Maine lobster boat, and Red Baron. The old kit design had laser cut hoops and stick wood construction.
  4. Hi everybody. My name is Kurt Hauptfuehrer. You can just call me Kurt H when replying. I am new to this site, and, as you can see, new to the process of posting build logs. The Bluejacket Constitution is my first build. I chose this one because you can completely outfit the gun deck. This kit is excellent in many respects, but it is a very challenging build, especially for a novice like me. I wanted to share my build logs because, even though there are a multitude of sins, there are some aspects of my build that you may merit your attention (I hope). At any rate, my sharing of the experiences I had and the mistakes I made my benefit other novices who are doing this build.
  5. I'm going to be building a model of the Continental Navy Frigate ALFRED using Bluejacket's solid hull kit. The ALFRED was one of the first ships commissioned into the Continental Navy in 1775. Converted from a new merchant ship she was John Paul Jones' first ship. I picked this kit because I've never done a 3-masted ship model before, and as much as I would love to build a clipper ship I simply don't have room for it, or to be more precise, as far as my wife is concerned there is not enough room in our house for both me and a large cased sailing ship model. Bluejacket's ALFRED meets my needs perfectly because the completed model is only about 18 inches long and 13 inches high but is fully detailed and it will fit on one of my bookcase shelves. I need to point out that this kit is NOT a good choice for a first build. BlueJacket uses a 1-9 scale to rate the complexity of their kits and this one gets a solid "9". Before choosing this kit you should have experience working with a solid hull kit and also with sailing ship rigging - this one has as much as a clipper ship kit but on a hull that is only about 1/3 as long so the rigging it will be an adventure. If you think you might like this one I encourage to call BlueJacket and talk to them - they are very helpful and can assist you in your decision. My next post will show the kit's contents.
  6. Plans glued to decks to aid shaping of hull. Section lines marked on hull. Section line templates created for shaping the hull. Beginning to shape the stern. Rough shaping of stern.
  7. For my next model ship I chose the BlueJacket USS Perry - a brig that was heralded as “the fasted ship in the navy” when it was launched. I chose this model to continue building my skills, in general ship construction as well as copper plating and more complex rigging. The kids has a machine carved basswood hull, an extensive laser cut wood kit, many cast fittings, a rigging kit, and quite a few photo etched parts as well. I also ordered the optional paint kit, photo CD, and copper plates. The kit comes in a heavy cardboard box with a color label with a description of the ship. After copper plating the Revenue Cutter I am excited to try my hand again with my additional learnings. The kit contains a number of well done cast fittings. With the Revenue Cutter only having three different sizes of rigging this is certainly a step up! The color instruction manual is very detailed with many great illustrations to complement the photos on the photo CD. The book begins with a nice photo of the completed ship. Super looking forward to diving into this model! Also, I believe this is the first build log of this particular model so I would really appreciate peoples input and comments as I move along.
  8. My wife wanted “a big sailboat” to go on top of the living room bookcases, so I’m happy to oblige! I chose the Bluejacket Shipcrafters 46” long plank on bulkhead kit. The plan is to build it as an RC model.... The kit is an old Laughing Whale design, one that hasn’t gone through BlueJacket’s updating process yet. But the kit still makes a fine impression upon opening- bundles of nice wood strips (basswood, mostly, with some Mahogany), and nicely packed fittings in typical BJ style. There are multiple sheets of lovely laser cut parts. There are three large plan sheets, one with profile and deck plans, one with all the laser cut parts plus extra detail and illustrations, and a sail plan. The instructions are perhaps the weakest part of the kit - they look like what you got from Laughing Whale back in the 80s, as opposed to the more detailed instructions you’d find in a more modern kit. The instructions for installing the RC gear are OK for an experienced RC sailor, but a first (RC) timer would need outside help..... (My intention is to use this build log to organize and capture my thoughts, and provide some feedback to Nic at BJ.) Warning to readers: I am a slow builder. My last model took about 200 hours over the course of nine months to complete- that’s averaging 23 hours a month!
  9. Got this kit from BlueJacket because I want to make transition to scratch built from kits. I hope it will help with some techniques, hopefully. The kit seems good, lots of material and fittings
  10. I purchased this model kit about a year ago while I was finishing up my second model, first scratch (USS ENGAGE). Now that I am done with that model (with the exception of building the display base) I am moving on to something more challenging. However, I am not a fan of the kits solid hull and only having the gun deck and main deck visible. There is a lot more to the CONSTITUTION than those two decks. My plan, therefore is to mix this as a kit and a scratch. The hull is going to be plank on frame. One side of the ship (probably the starboard) will be completely planked and painted; the other side (port side) will be open, so that someone can see all decks of this fine ship. Additionally, I am going to be as true to the construction of this model as to the original. I am going to use white oak and yellow pine through out the hull. I recognize this will be a significant challenge and will consume years (USS ENGAGE took me 12 years to complete, granted it sat idle for significant portions of that period). Everything else will be as per the model kit instructions. My first step in this process is the framing. Using the hull lines plan from the model instruction book I traced out one side of the frame and scanned the tracing into a PDF. I have attached the tracing for Frame "7". After scanning into my computer, I adjusted the scale to 100% (they were coming out at 139%) and took a screen shot of just the tracing from the centerline out just past the frame. I then pasted that screen shot onto a Power Point slide, increased the size to 108% (I came to that percentage after trial and error of getting the print out accurate size). I copied the half and flipped it to make the entire frame - port and starboard side (see the attached photo). Once I have all the frames and keel complete, I will glue them onto white oak plank and commence cutting. I have a concern about the strength of the frame, especially where it narrows at the top, above the main deck. My gut tells me to glue two or three planks with their grains perpendicular to then one next to it and then plane that down to the thickness of the frame. I am open to suggestions here, and welcome them as I am still tracing out the frames. CCF07272019_00002.pdf
  11. Portland by jbelwood and norm1116 - BlueJacket Kits Pre-laser kit purchased 1996 The 2019 Kit This is the order of construction per the BlueJacket manual. The Hull Priming by John Painting by John Partial deck mock up Paddle Wheels By John By Norm Paddle Wheel Boxes By Norm Walking Beam By Norm Sponsons By John and Clarence By Norm Keel, Stem, Stern post Rudder Waterline by John by Norm Cabin Profiles and Decks Main deck to saloon deck Cabin Sheathing and Paneling Rub Rails Trim Moldings Saloon Deck Hurricane Deck and Officer's Cabins Pilothouse Hurricane Deck Skylight By John There are 3 posts on the skylight! Deck Fittings Davits and Vents Masts and Gaffs Stanchions and Railings Paddle Box Fronts Installation of Paddle Wheels Rigging Final Details Other: Walking beam at Annapolis Naval Academy Museum Other Annapolis Naval Academy Museum photos
  12. My first attempt at a builders log (we all know that long before it became a fashionable term, that is what "blog" referred to). I write this as I am a couple of months into the build. I expect to have the blog catch up to real time over the next week or so). * * * Joshua Slocum left Boston in April 1895 aboard the 35 foot sloop Spray, finishing his circumnavigation of the world over three years later, in July of 1898. He was the first to circle the globe alone. We know quite a lot about that trip since the definitive book on the subject, Sailing Alone Around the World, was written by none other than Joshua Slocum. Less well known is that he left New England in 1909 for South America, sailing alone again on Spray, never to be heard from again. While working on Model Shipways’ Yacht America, I decided to look to Blue Jacket for my next build, and while exploring its many interesting offerings, I skipped over Spray several times as not being interesting enough a boat, not realizing its historical significance. But about a year ago the name Slocum caught my eye, and Spray stepped into my on-deck circle. This was inspired in part by an imminent trip to Patagonia, including a short cruise on a small ship visiting the Straights of Magellan (where Slocum sailed), Beagle Channel, and Cape Horn. First thing, of course, upon getting the kit in the mail, I inventoried the parts (all present and accounted for), quickly read through the instructions, and examined the two sheets of plans with some care. The plans are in my view quite clear and detailed--here’s a small excerpt. The instructions are less detailed than I am used to (at least compared with Model Shipways). They include a separate booklet with general instructions for planked kits. BlueJacket identifies this kit as one of its more difficult ones (rated 7 on a scale of 1 to 9, although BlueJacket doesn’t rate its kits with numbers like that). Eight months later, after finishing America, I opened the box again, took another close look at the plans, and began cutting out the laser cut bulkheads. The bulkheads are referred to in the kit as “frames”, numbered from 2 (oddly) to 12. That aside, they are sharply and precisely cut and easy to remove from the sheets they were cut from. I also took a close look at the keel. It was slightly warped, but not sufficiently so to cause me any concern. You have to look closely to see it in the photos below. I later noticed that the warp has a slight twist to it (so the stem and stern portions are not quite in the same vertical plane), but again, not enough to be of any real concern. Using the plans as my guide, I marked the bulkhead locations and the water line on the keel. While cutting out the bulkheads, I quickly glanced at the instructions and noticed an oddity--the plans have this warning written on one sheet, while the instructions imply the opposite. Oh well, it certainly is easy to be critical; I shudder to think what my plans and instructions would look like were I to try to manufacture a kit. The instructions say that the fit between the keel and the bulkheads should be snug, but they warn that some bulkhead slots may need to be sanded to open them up a bit and avoid splitting the bulkheads. I had the exact opposite problem; most of the bulkheads were too loose to stand up unassisted. I cut a thin strip of construction paper and glued shims to the inside of the slots on most of the bulkheads--that took care of the issue. Here are the bulkheads dry fitted to the keel. Next installment, my first mistake. . .
  13. I'm at the very first stage of the build of Blue Jacket's Constitution build. Unlike Model Shipway's plank on bulkhead construction seen here in other builds, I opted for this semi-solid hull build. I say "semi" as although the focus is not on hull construction but on detail in the gun and spar decks. Despite having some experience with Blue Jacket ( i built the Portland several years ago) I have already had a few questions swiftly answered by the good folks at Blue Jacket. This is far from a "cut it out and glue it together" build. I'm looking forward to the challenge. Stay tuned.
  14. Time to start a new model. Made in Rockland, Maine in 1853, the Red Jacket was a clipper ship, one of the largest and fastest ever built. She was also the first ship of the White Star Line company. She was named after Sagoyewatha, a famous Seneca Indian chief, called "Red Jacket" by settlers.She was lost in a gale in 1885.On her first voyage, Red Jacket set the speed record for sailing ships crossing the Atlantic by traveling from New York to Liverpool in 13 days, 1 hour, 25 minutes, dock to dock. That record still stands today for commercial sailing vessels. The BlueJacket kit has 5 sheets of plans. Sheet 1 has the pre-carved hull laid on top of it. This is going to be a large model! (41" LOA)
  15. Liberty Ship SS Stephen Hopkins - BlueJacket Shipcrafters - 1/192 scale While mulling over what kit to select for my next build I was giving some thought to taking a break from warships and BlueJacket’s Liberty ship kit caught my attention because of the amount of rigging on it: Although I never served on any type of cargo or replenishment ship I figured “How complicated can it be?” Doing some photo research I came across the next photo of BIG CHAINS hanging from the masts of the SS John Brown and realized there is a lot I don’t know about cargo rigging and that this might be a good way to learn about it so I will be building BlueJacket’s kit of the Liberty ship SS Jeremiah O’Brian, which is still operating in San Francisco (BTW, I eventually found out that the chains are called Bull Chains). The next decision was what Liberty ship to model. With over 2700 Liberty ships built between 1941 and 1945 there is an embarrassment of ships to choose from but after a little research the choice was obvious. Although the Stephen Hopkins had a very brief life, being sunk on her maiden voyage, she would be a contender in any contest to name the greatest fighting ship in American history, despite being an “SS” vice a “USS.” It’s an amazing story, one that I’m surprised Hollywood hasn’t pick up on. So I won’t be taking a break from building warships after all . . . You can read her full story at http://www.armed-guard.com/hoppy.html, but in brief, after fitting out in San Francisco as one of the earliest Libertys, the Hopkins crossed the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, steaming alone and entered the South Atlantic where on 27 Sep 1942, in low visibility, she encountered at the range of about a mile two ships laying to. The ships turned out to be the heavily armed German raider Stier and the blockade runner Tannenfels. With a crew of 340, six 6-inch guns, torpedoes and numerous smaller caliber weapons the Stier had the armament of a light cruiser, in fact ten months earlier the similarly armed raider Komoran sank the cruiser HMAS Sydney off the West coast of Australia, although the Komoran was sunk also. The Stier opened fire immediately and the Hopkins’ Master decided to fight it out rather than surrender as most ships in her position would have done. The Hopkins’ single, obsolete 4-inch gun was moved by hand cranks and manually loaded but her Naval Armed Guard had been practicing at every opportunity and it began to show. The Hopkins quickly knocked out the Stier’s steering and repetitive hits along the waterline soon caused fires to break out in the Stier’s engineering spaces and she went dead in the water, as the Hopkins did too, with her boilers disabled. Both ships continued to drift and fight at about a thousand yards distance, like something out of the War of 1812. The heavy firepower of the Stier began to tell and after about 20 minutes the Hopkins was afire and sinking with two-thirds of her crew of 55 dead. Engineering Cadet Edwin O’Hara, from the US Merchant Marine Academy, made his way to the 4-inch gun after the engineering spaces were abandoned. He found the gun crew dead and the magazine destroyed but was able to locate 5 loose shells and single-handedly fired them at the Stier just before before he was killed. Nineteen survivors from the Hopkins managed to launch the one undamaged lifeboat. Meanwhile the Stier’s crew was unable to control the fires spreading out of the engine room and she had to be scuttled. Her survivors were recovered by the Tannenfels, who made no effort to aid the Hopkins survivors. Under the command of the 3rd Engineer and without any charts or navigation instruments except a compass the Hopkins’ boat set out to cross the Atlantic to Brazil. Amazingly enough they made it 30 days later with 15 men still alive. The ships were built in 18 purpose-built yards, which themselves were constructed in remarkably short time, turning mudflats into complex shipyards in just a few months. Locations of the yards were based on available manpower, however untrained, and political considerations to “spread the wealth” of government contracts across the coastlines. The Libertys were based on the then yet-to be built British “Ocean” design that was, in turn, based on successful coasters. The goal was to design a ship that was both inexpensive and quick to build, simple enough in design that inexperienced shipyards and workers could build them, that could make 11 knots and carry a significant amount of cargo. They departed from the British design in that they were largely welded, most of the accommodations were in a large deckhouse, rather than divided among the foc’sle, midships and aft.. Their boilers were water tube vice Scotch, and were oil-fired rather than coal. Without having to accommodate coal bunkers they could be fitted with heavier masts rather than king posts. Although by 1941 the advantages of turbines over reciprocating steam engines were well known, the technical skill required to build turbines was much greater and the small number of plants capable of producing them were all dedicated to warship construction so the decision was made to go with reciprocating engines. The Ocean design was further simplified to minimize the amount of curved plates in the hull and wherever possible bulkhead penetrations for piping were avoided by running them outside the skin of the ship. Cost saving measures included waiving a large number of US regulations related to Merchant ship safety, comfort and, ominously for the Hopkins, fireproofing. The ships had little in the way of forced ventilation and had the reputation of being hot and uncomfortable in most climates. Although the building time varied between shipyards , the common trend was that as they gained experience the time required to complete the ships steadily dropped. The first few could take up to 5 months to launch, although most only required a few weeks. The record was set by the SS Robert E. Peary, while admittedly a publicity stunt involving a lot of pre-fabrication and unlimited manpower, required only 4 days, 15 hours from keel laying to launch. By the end of the war an average of 3 Liberty ships a day were being launched. If you are interested in learning more about the Liberty ships this URL will take you to a decent study produced by the American Bureau of Shipping: https://www.eagle.org/eagleExternalPortalWEB/ShowProperty/BEA%20Repository/News%20&%20Events/Publications/WorkhorseOfTheFleet and this one will take you to a one-hour, color, wartime documentary film about the ships and the shipyard in Richmond, CA where the Hopkins was built: https://archive.org/details/cubanc_00004# I'll be using the following references: SS John W. Brown, a working Liberty ship berthed in Baltimore. Although she has some modifications from her conversion to carry troops and as a school ship in NYC she is still in remarkably good condition and largely unchanged from her WWII days. I was able to spend a few hours onboard, take a lot of photos, and watch the cargo booms at work. She takes day trips from ports along the East Coast. A Call to Arms by Maury Klein. Although the book covers the entire US WWII industrial mobilization, the chapter on shipbuilding is well done. Ships for Victory by Frederic C. Lane. Thank God I was able to get this from the library rather than spend any money on it. If 900+ pages of meeting by meeting and memo by memo descriptions of bureaucracy at work excites you then this is your book. Even while skimming it I was worried that I would pass out and then drown in the puddle of my own drool. The book provided some insight into the welding problems encountered in the early program but that was about it. Websites devoted to the SS John W. Brown, SS Jeremiah O’Brian, and SS Hellenic Victory all have extensive onboard photos to help with details 5) http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/55-17/ch3.htm is a webpage that has extensive info on cargo rigging, it will be my primary reference for rigging. In the next post I’ll give an overview of what comes in the kit
  16. I finished the Fannie A. Gorham (three masted schooner) this morning and have the Charles P. Notman (4 masted schooner) ready to start but first need to clean up and reorganize the workshop. This kit will be a first for me as the Notman used galvanized wire for the standing rigging so no Black/Dark Brown thread during this build. Since the workbench is still a mess I will have to start with a picture of the box on the shelf. I did open it already and will take a look at the instructions and drawings when I get a spot cleaned off enough. It seems I must have taken out/used every tool, box, container and bottle in the course of building the Gorham. What a mess. Famous last words - "I will clean up and put things away as they are no longer needed - THIS TIME!"
  17. To the best of my knowledge this is the first build log on MSW for this kit. Here is the apparently obligatory first picture of the kit box on the work bench. Given the season I will probably not get to much done in the near future 🎅
  18. For those of you who didn't catch my intro on the New Members forum, this is my very first model. I have zero experience with wooden model building and only a small amount of experience with plastic model cars and planes, but that was over 20 years ago and generally ended with my fingers glued to the model. As a beginner I selected The Red Baron for a few reasons: The kits contains just about everything one would need to complete, including paints. The extensive instruction manual that comes with the kit The excellent build log by @schooner, which I reviewed countless times before buying this kit. Despite the above there are a few times where I’ve already feel like I need more advice and some clarification on the instructions. Which is why I am glad this community exists. Because this is a kit for an absolute beginner I am going to try to keep a very detailed build log. I haven’t decided if I will post every agonizing documented step here - as I don’t want to bore you all with the details of how I figured out how to sand that little piece where fingers don’t fit - or publish it later as a PDF or something like that. One thing I have decided on is that I am going to try to do the whole build with just what was provided in the kit and if I do supplement any tools, etc I will try to make them a simple and inexpensive as possible. As someone who is brand new to this I don’t want to invest a ton of money in speciality tools which I may never use again if this model ends up flying out the window in a fit of rage. That being said- is their anything you’d recommend buying now to minimize pain and maximize quality. Something like a specialty body filler, 600 grit paper, a brush upgrade in the $10 range? Off to work… more to come very soon- along with my first plea for help!
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