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The Sea Witch clipper ship by xcountryx - Scientific


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Well let me start off by saying this is my first wood build. Ive done plastic models for many years though and im very excited to start a new journey!

 

So agian its called The Sea Witch. The kit is made by Scientific. The kit its self was made in 1970 which is kinda cool since its almost 10 years older then i am.

 

When i opened the box everything looks good. The solid hull needs sanded just a lil in a few spots but not to bad. The parts are not laser cut like most models ive seen but again it was made in 1970. My dremel will work great on this build.

 

A few things bother. The sails are not cloth like the box says. Ita just printed on heavy paper. I will just go out and buy fabric. Also there are decals for aome pieces on the deck. Im not sure im gona use these it just seems kinda tacky. Do people usually use the decals or stickers? The instructions are not what im use to! Everything is numbers which helps but otherwise it will be different then what im use to. It will be fine though.

 

Again this is my first build and i dont have much experience with wood but im a good learner and any help would be greatly appreciated! So lets do this im extremely excited to get working on it!

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I will follow along on your journey and try to help you out when I can. I would plan on not using those decals and either making or painting your self depending on what they are a decal of. I cannot think of any model ship I have seen to use decals of any sort but as you said this is an older kit so that was probably more normal when it was made.

 

As to the sails, I have used artificial sails on my plastic Constitution models, see link in my signature if interested, and although they were fine at the time I built those models, my skills and personal standards have grown since then and I no longer really like the look. Sails are a tricky part to model right. A lot of builders leave them off completely as bad looking sails can ruin the overall appearance of a model. Also not having the sails allows for a better showing of the ships extensive rigging. You have plenty of time to decide what you wan to do for that so I would spend the time reading through the site to see what others have done for sails. There are a few great models with them.

 

Take your time and plan several steps ahead as you go. Make sure there are no hidden parts or pieces that need to be installed before a certain point or that are fragile and should wait a while longer before installation. There is no rush as we all understand the time it takes to build these ships. We want you to succeed in your build and to be satisfied with it when done.

 

Best of luck and I look forward to seeing your Flying Fish come together.

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Looking forward to following you on  this journey. These Scientific kits are waaaaayyy underrated. They  are inexpensive, reasonably accurate (with even a little research and basic modelling skills they can be made very accurate indeed), and they are a great display size. Looking forward to seeing a completed ship model, which, as it turns out, is the best ship model.

   steve

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I sanded the hull and dry fit the deck a few times before glueing. So far it looks pretty good. But ive already hit a slight snag of sorts. It say the forecastle is cemented on the forward end of the deck in the location marked. So i trimmed the forecastle out of the block it came in and its way bigger then the empty spot on the deck. So should i just glue it to the empty spot and trim after dry? I think this is what i should do cause if you look it will cover up other spots if not.

 

Oh and welcome to everyone following along! This should be realy fun!

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I believe the forecastle is raised slightly so my guess is that it may be larger to fit the space as the bulwarks widen outward the higher up they go. Is the forecastle made as a solid block of wood or multiple pieces? If solid then once glued in place you probably have to sand it on an angle to match the contours of the hull. They probably gave you the oversized piece to allow for the multiple angles that the hull takes.   

 

If it is multiple pieces then you might look ahead and see if the instructions show how the other parts fit together.

 

With wood it is always best to be oversized and have to cut/sand down then be too small to start with. :)

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The only thing i see is figure A where it says to trim. I wish they would have given me a front view of the ship. Either way if you look at figure A it shows to gollow the contour of the hull but the hull is flat on the front. Im gona move past this step for a moment and get some other parts cut out. Im sure we can figure this out

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I just notied figure A is a front shot just cut in half. I cut out the poop and its kinda the same way but just hangs over the back. I think im gona hold off on cutting the angles for now till i have more on there to see how it will go. It will proly be easier

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Ok, I think I see what they are wanting now. I would glue your stem piece on before the forecastle block for alignment purposes. It looks like the point of the forecastle should be even or just back from the front edge of your stem. The flat portion is to allow room for the fish and the bowsprit to have a place to mount into. You will need to shape the block at the point to slope back into the hull as shown on the drawing.

 

As to the side to side just split the overhang evenly and then you can sand down the sides to match the hull's contours.

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Thanks EJ! Ok so here we go both the forecastle and the poop have been added and angled. It wasnt to bad i believe (good ole dremel). I also put the main bulwark on and did my best to match the angle of the forecastle. The glue is gona set for a lil bit to finish drying and next im supposed to sand everything smooth.after that it talks about hull sealing. But thats for painting correct? I think im gona nix the plans of paint on this model completely except for gold on a few pieces. I would realy like to have a nice wood color out of everything. But the plans call for alot of blue red and whites. Just sounds tacky idk. Any ideas would be great. Other then that everythings coming along nicely!

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Thanks Cobr@! Im realy enjoying the build too!

 

So what do you guys think the cut out behind where the rudder goes? Ive looked ahead and dont see anything and the plans dont show it either. Ive mocked up the rudder and stern and its just an empty spot. So if i have to ill fill it with a piece of extra wood off something in the box lol. Im gona try and figure out the stain colors tonight.

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So ive been looking for the rudder gudgeons and pintels for a lil while now and couldnt find anything. Well i was packing everything up for the night and heres what i found. I mean seriously they are painted on paper? Well im gona have to figure something else out for them. Besides i dont have the rudder on yet anyways cause im still not sure whats goin on back there it looks weird when i mock it up. Idk

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Slow your roll player, I know this is your first wood ship model, but you need to slow it down a bit and not attach to much to that hull. The hull needs to be faired or sanded smooth. I built this same kit many years ago and it will make into a nice model that you can be proud of as long as you take your time with it. I thought there were some fairing stencils on the plans to give you an idea of how much to take off of the hull in various places. But I could be wrong since it has been quite a few years since I built this model. The Scientific Sea Witch that I built also came with the stickers and the heavy paper sails that I used. The stickers actually turned out rather nice and the sails, I used some diluted white paint and covered them with it to help stiffen then and bleach them a bit since they were pretty well stained from age. I then took some fine wire, which I glued and  sewed along the outside edges of the sails which helped them hold their shape with a bit of a billowed effect. I also has some very thin mahogany planking from a previous kit that I used to cover the solid hull, which turned out nice with a natural wood finish.

 

I was able to find a picture of mine that I had built, which was later sold. I bought the kit from someone who found it in a basement where it had been sitting since the 1960's I believe.

 

mike     

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Edited by mtdoramike
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You can make this kit as nice and as detailed as you want by adding after market scaled parts to it. I think I replaced what they supplied for deadeyes and used some extras that I had laying around. By the way, the notch you refer to at the stern or back end of the model should not be there. It seems that it was knocked off. When I started this kit, there were chunks of wood left over from the carving of the hull on both the stern section and the bow, which had to be carved off and faired to match the lines of the hull. The notch is no problem, just fill it in with a spare piece of wood or wood filler depending on how you intend on finishing the hull.

 

mike

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Now as far as what the kit supplied you with to attach the rudder to the stern post, I opted to replace it with some brass strapping that I had laying around and used small nails for the pins between the rudder and stern so that the rudder is moveable and not stationary, which it would have if built their way.

 

Since this is your first wooden ship model, let me say a few things here, a ship model kit is only the starting point for you. It is up to YOU the builder to make the best representation of that particular model as you can. Most times you will have to chunk some or a lot of the kit away if you want an extrodinarily nice model. You may also need to do a bit of research on that particular model or style of model to help you accomplish this. A kit manufacture can only give the basics, but it is up to the modeler to supply the patience, eye for detail, persistence and skill level to make a great model with what they have supplied you with. I have built numerous ship models from kits and I have NEVER come across a bad kit from any manufacture because the above is the mentality that I use with each kit I build. If the model doesn't turn out the way I had hoped, it is NEVER the fault of the kit, it's my fault for not doing the best that I could have or should have.

 

Anyway, good luck with your build, it's a decent kit that will make into a nice model

 

mike       

Edited by mtdoramike
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Also, now that I look again at your picture of that notch on the stern, this should be your guide mark as to HOW MUCH WOOD TO REMOVE from the stern to that your rudder and stern post will be set into the stern and not sticking out. So you will not only have to remove from the notch towards the deck, but also on both sides of the hull to match the width of the stern post and rudder. So don't fill that in, remove that wood.

 

 

mike

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Hey Mike! Thanks for the advice! I have done quite a bit in one day but i wanted to get to where the hull would be faired to match the lines of the ship. Which is where im at not. Over the next few days ill be sanding everything to blend together. But one thing your saying the transum will match the size of the stern and rudder? Would that be the whole size of them top to bottom then taper up to the edges of the poop from there? I havnt seen anything in the box to help form the hull but that would have been great. Your model looks realy good! Again im not set on the finish yet just tossing a few ideas around. Again thank you for all you advice!

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Yes, that notch serves the purpose of how much wood needs to be removed in order for the rudder and post to attach to the stern and then taper the hull to match the thickness of the stern post, which should also be the thickness of the stern post, while the hull will flare up to the transom. It shouldn't take a lot of sanding from where you are at now.

 

 

mike 

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You might need to watch sanding with the dremel
My brother used a dremel sanding the first layer of planking and had the hull so thin in some places your finger would punch right through the hull. He then gave up on it and turned it over to me. I replaced most of the planking, finished the model and gave it back to him.

 

Here is a awful attempt at a drawing of what I did to the stern section of my Sea Witch in order to get the rudder to set in even with the stern because I actually used a stern or rudder post, which I'm not sure they instructed to do. So I removed a bit more wood than just where the notch was. I also used some mahogany wood strips that I had laying around from previous kits, laminated them together to make the rudder and rudder post because my intention from the git go was to finish her in natural wood finish, which helped sell her to a lady for her sons room. As you can tell from the drawing, I have no artistic ability at all so when I say a monkey could do what I do if he has enough patience, eye for detail and stick to it mentality he could do the same thing.  :P             


Mike

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Edited by mtdoramike
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I agree that these kits can be made into beautiful serious models with care, patience, and research.  The advice that everyone has given is spot-on.  The plans do provide the templates for the hull shapes; these should be traced and cut out on paper, then copied onto heavy cardboard before being used. Just ask if you need help. I have every one of the clippers and am looking forward to eventually building them.  Good luck!

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Model ship kits are no different than any other type of model kit. By using the parts and directions provided you will end up with a nice model. However, if a person takes time to research the model to learn about how it should look in real life, how it was built and find those missing details a kit can become much more than just a nice model. This will mean either modifying or replacing many of the kit provided parts with custom built pieces and reading between the steps on the instructions.

 

That is where this site is a goldmine. If the effort is taken to search through and read many of the build logs not only for the ship you are building but others of similar style you can learn ways to vastly improve the model. Of course this is all relative to both a persons experience and skills with modeling and there is absolutely nothing wrong with building a basic kit especially the first time out. I have stated before in other posts that I do not compare myself to others but to myself. With every model I have done since I was 7 years old I always try to make the next one a little better. As long as I am progressing in what I build I am happy as ultimately I model for my own enjoyment and that is, in my opinion, what this hobby is about. 

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Thanks everyone! I havnt worked on the ship in a day or so but will be back at it soon. Bill you said there is templates for this build in the plan? I must be missing something then but would be great! I still have some sanding to do to the rear to get it to match the stern and rudder but so far happy with what i have. Thanks again

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Ok guys im back. Ive done exactly what bill advised with the templates. I was actually not that far off which was great! So once i finished that i wrnt ahead and stained the hull. So far very pleased with it. The next step i have to figure out how to bend 2 pieces to match the forecastle curve. Any thoughts? And btw thanks guys for helping me get the hull where it should be!

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