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  1. Among my many builds I have been planning a diorama build of the magnificent medium clipper, Donald McKay..the final ship of the quartet of Boston Built ships ordered by James Baines for his Black Ball line. She was a wonderful combination of beauty and strength. She was designed to be a heavy cargo and passenger carrier...unlike most extreme clippers that only had space for broken stowage..the McKay was slightly concaved below, she was also decidedly convex above and thus her great capacity. Her figurehead was a representation of a Highlander, painted in the his Tartan array of the ancient McKay clan. She employed the recently devised Howes double topsails..a improvement over the the common rig of the day. The lower topsail yard was trussed to the topmast cap and instead of slings, was supported from below by a crane upon the head of the topmast. the lower topsail was set entirely by the sheets. The upper topsail set upon the mast above the cap and had it;s foot laced to the jackstay upon the yard below. The ship could be reduced to close-reefed topsails at any time by lowering the upper topsails which would then lay calmly before the topsails...and if required, could be reefed without the use of reef tackle. A modern application that require far less men then the old system. It was an inovation that worked at sea extremely well. Unlike most clippers of the period, her masts were not raked, but straight up...this prevented the sails from chafing during calms and reduced the backstay stress. She was 2594 tons and was considered the second largest ship to sail next to the Great Republic. Her best days sailing is recorded as 421 miles in a 24 hour period and she regularly sped along at 18 knots. I chose her because of her unique deck layout and that she was designed a passenger carrier by James Baines rather then for speed......and that she was proudly named of her builder...and that she was the last of a famous quartet..during the height of American production. She will be set in an open ocean scene during a Cape Horn crossing. Today I took a modified 1/96 Revell Cutty Sark hull and set it into its initial foam base. Once the foam is set, I will remove the hull and begin modeling the water. Rob
  2. Preussen Clipper - Ship in Bottle - 1:857 scale Background For about six or seven years I have wanted to get into modelling ships in bottles. The last few years I have been tied up with miniature wargaming, editing a Naval Wargaming journal, and writing for another journal. There is a season for everything in life and the latter chapter needed to end. For the last 7 months I conducted extensive research into the hobby and read quit a few books on modelling ships, reviewed a few books in my current library, and read articles on the Internet. Books reviewed or purchased are; Ship models in miniature – Donald McNarry How to make a clipper ship model – E.A. McCann The ship model builder assistant – Charles G. Davis The Nitrate Clippers – Basil Lubbock – courtesy of ‘Davyboy’ from MSW Ships in bottles – Guy DeMarco How to make a ship in a bottle – Clive Monk Ships in miniature (a new manual for model makers) - Lloyd McCaffery Sailing ship rigs and rigging – Harold A. Underhill Ships-In-Bottles: A Step-By-Step Guide to a Venerable Nautical Craft Paperback - Don Hubbard Internet Articles read are; Preussen German 5 masted full-rigged ship 25’=1” – Robert A. Wilson The Five Masters – Nev Wade Recommended tools and equipment for scale modeling – Mike Ashey The Esmerelda build on MSW - Dave Fellingham BonHomme Richard as a ship in a light bulb model – John Fox III Heather Gabriel Rogers – Facebook Page Three masted ship in bottle – Michel Bardet Numerous other sites and activities concerning ships in bottles The Build What I have come to realize is everyone is different when it comes to modelling ships in bottles. There are 3 basic techniques however there are different styles of building and displaying ship models in bottles. My motto for my build is; “Go big or go home.” I have always wanted to model the Preussen in a bottle and to display the vessel in a carved wooden sea with painted waves and wake. The clipper is a sailing machine and the German Preussen is no exception. She is built for speed and everything about her is designed to haul cargo. The biggest issue I debated over with her initially was how much detail was I willing to model and … at a scale of 1:857 this was going to get dicey in a big way! Specifications Seas will be carved from Douglas Fir Hull will be carved from Western Red Cedar Masts, & bow sprit from aluminum, brass and steel Yards and spars from cherry wood veneer laminated and turned All running rigging, rat lines etc. from fly tying thread Sails from expensive paper hand drawn pen and ink Bottle is to be a 1.5 Liter wine bottle for display One of the biggest errors I see, and please this is my own opinion is … some modellers “get stuck on too much detail.” At a scale of 1:857 how much detail is really necessary to get onto a model to get it believable? I looked at a lot of pictures of the Preussen on the internet whether by; B & W photos, paintings, and various models of her. It’s all about perspective and what the eye sees. The real ship has 1260 blocks and 248 rigging screws so there was no way on this earth I am going even to try to represent the aforementioned. I’ll put some detail into it where appropriate and skip the rest. A bottle stand I knew I needed to build myself a bottle stand so my bottle wouldn’t roll off of my work bench. I built the following stand from some left over balsa wood and made it to fit 2 common sizes of bottles for now. Bottle in Position, note elastic band to secure it Some wood to carve, Western Red Cedar on top, Douglas Fir flooring plank on the bottom My home made stand to mount the hull on to work and keep all the running rigging from tangling up. A close up In my next post I talk about the plans, cutting the wood up and the carving details … Jeff
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