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I decided on this kit for my next build because it will, if finished in time, become a Christmas gift for my daughter and son-in-law, both of whom enjoy eating lobster and vacationing in Maine. I'll probably put granddaughter's name on the finished model. I decided to do a build log because as far as I can find out this kit has never had one. Bluejacket sells 3 different lobster boat kits; this one which is 12’’ long, a 23” POB/POF kit, and a 3 ft honker with a fiberglass hull intended for RC. I went with this size because it will fit neatly on a bookshelf. The Red Baron is famous in lobstering circles, she won a lobster boat race a few years back, clocking in at a record 57 knots! I’ll show what’s in the box but if you are interested you can go to BlueJacket’s homepage and click on the “What’s in the box” tab where a video of this kit is shown, along with some shots of the completed model. Plans - one sheet of plans showing side and overhead views and the layout of the laser-cut wood pieces Instruction book - Bluejacket rates this kit as appropriate for beginners so the instructions are more detailed than what I am used to from their more advanced kits. The instructions tell you what to do, how to do it and provide warnings where needed to help prevent mistakes. There are also a lot of photos and drawings. Pre-carved hull: The hull already has its basic shape and the cockpit area is carved out so this should only take a little sanding to bring it into its final shape and then to smooth it up for painting Laser cut wood: Most of the wood provided in the kit is laser cut, including several templates that will be used to check the final shape of the hull near the bow and the curve of the stem. Metal fittings: A bag of brass and britannia metal fittings is provided, giving this kit more detail than I expected. Tools and supplies: The kit comes with basic tools like a hobby knife, sand paper, a pin vise with 2 drill bits, tweezers, a wooden ruler, and paintbrushes. Medium CA glue, debonder and all required paints are included. There is also a bag of white powder which I could not figure out until I read the directions - it’s wood filler that can be mixed with water. Lobster traps: Material and instructions to build 3 lobster traps are included.
BlueJacket Shipcrafters seems to be under-represented in build logs on MSW, despite their reputation as a quality American model company that’s been in business a very long time. I recently completed their Lobster Boat kit and thought I’d write up a quick review, as there aren’t any build logs for this kit on MSW (I didn’t do a log myself as I wanted a break from documenting model work and intended this to be a relatively quick, relaxing build). Overall, I enjoyed building this kit, though there were a few things future builders might consider. Above is my finished model, built and named for my mother, who has long loved Maine, especially the Schoodic Peninsula. The number boards commemorate this year's birthday, when she'll receive this model. It's finished in the same green and white color as my current house. Positives: Good-quality materials. All the wood was solid and easy to work with, and the castings were clean and straightforward. Clear and accurate plans. These matched the kit’s parts and were helpful as a reference. I could have used them to scratchbuild this without the instructions or materials. Not too complicated. The kit might be tough for a complete beginner as it assumes a bit of knowledge, but almost anyone could figure these bits out and it’s pretty straightforward overall. It doesn’t have a lot of detail, which I think is good as it keeps the cost down and lets you choose whether you want to invest the time and money into creating a more detailed custom version. Concerns: The written instruction booklet is less than ideal. The black-and-white photos are very grainy and make it difficult to see any useful detail. For example, I was essentially unable to determine the planking pattern used because the photo was so blurry. Also, the text is presented in a long, linear block that could really use better organization and editing. Photos and drawings are often placed nowhere near their relevant text, resulting in lots of flipping back and forth trying to make sense of a given step. There is some "curse of knowledge" in places, where the instructions refer to a given part without defining what that is in real life or providing a clear diagram or label for the model. Bow design. The kit’s default is to use a large carved block at the bow, rather than planking all the way to the stem. With no experience, I had a very hard time carving and shaping this properly and finally gave up and reverted to planking the whole hull, something I have more experience in. That may just be my own problem, but it’s something a beginner should consider. Also, the added material needed to plank the whole hull (rather than just up to the bow block) meant that I exhausted the kit material and had to use a few pieces of my own scrap to complete the work. Beware of this potential if you decide to fully plank the hull rather than carving the bow. A few oddities in the proper fit and size of pieces. For example, several of the hull frames really didn’t line up with the others, requiring me to add a 1/8” strip along the frame to match the flow of the planking or to carve/sand away material. Some of the cabin pieces also needed significant sanding or additions to form up properly. None of this was particularly difficult, but did mean that builders should be careful to check everything before gluing. For example, see the following two photos: In the photo above, note that the run of lower planking really bows upward at the third frame from the stern. I somehow missed this when checking my fairing and planking run. It isn't really noticeable on the finished model because both the paint and position hide it from clear view, but this clearly needed extra material added to the frame. In the photo above, you can see the thickness of extra material I needed to add to both sides of the second frame from the bow to match the natural flow of the planks. It's more obvious on the right side due to the shadow effect, but it's the same for both. The fourth frame from the bow has similar material attached to widen it, while other frames needed to be sanded down by a similar margin. Getting a smooth run of planking was more work than I expected, though not particularly difficult. Here are two more photos of the completed model from various perspectives: Overall, I certainly recommend this model as a fun build. True beginners should be cautious and would benefit from carefully thinking through every step, test-fitting everything, and doing some research on the side to understand certain aspects of kit-building that are taken for granted by the instructions. Although I mildly criticize the instructions and a few parts above, they were still far better than those of the Corel Ranger that I built before this. Overall, the concerns were minor and easily dealt with by common sense and careful work, and the result is a quite attractive model (in my humble opinion). It has a lot of potential for adding extra detail if you really want a realistic appearance; for my mother, I was happy with a representative model that captures the feel of these iconic American work boats without much fuss. This was my first BlueJacket kit and I would definitely purchase another.