Jump to content

Bluenose by Jond - radio - 1:24 scale Racing Schooner

Recommended Posts

This new building log is meant to tell a long and broken tale of model building. The serious work began a few months ago when I decided to try to rescue this model and take it further along. Perhaps to stop it with a deck only completion since it would be so big to include rigging, or to breeze through and design removable rigging to allow sailing.  Before we get in to that dialogue I thought it best to tell the saga of the 15 years to get it here.  Fortunately that will only take a few posts. so here we go again


I started to learn the trade, and truly I still am really only  learning, by setting up a small shop in the early 1990's, at a former summer home here in Maine and building a wooden kit of a Dark Harbor 17 at 1:12 scale sometime in the later 90's.  Like many I was working away and had dreams to be relaxing in a shop but realty kept us away. I never worked closer than 3 hours from this summer home and usually further.   


During these years I thought  about wanting to build models that would sail.  I had roughly ten years to go before retirement and thought that was time to try a few things and figure it out. 

  • post-9397-0-48384500-1475352566_thumb.jpg My first venture was to buy an Antique Marblehead Pond yacht, vintage 1936.  I restored it partially and then copied it building a new replica.



In august 2001  I went to the  wooden boat school in Brooklin Maine with my son for a fun vacation and learned to build a 50 inch new Marblehead class pond yacht. They were called Naskeags.    They are pretty but built purely for the challenge of sailing. 


Then looking at the half built  dark harbor hull, at 17 inches, and the half built Marblehead Naskeag  at 50 inches I decided on a goal.  I would continue to build kits or scratch of classic boats to develop some skill.  I would continue to read and read some more about the maritime history as well as model building, and thirdly i would continue to build sailable pond yachts to get some to sail.  Ultimately I would learn to scratch build classic boats at a large enough scale that would respect the design but also try their luck in the sea....harbor or pond at least.  Gloucester Schooners were also first on my mind for a challenge.


When did we start this build???


Some of you have followed my earlier attempts with a four masted schooner the Charles Notman and the classic 1938 Boothbay Harbor One design racing sloops .  Well here we have a boat construction that spans the whole period of 2001 until now.

  • post-9397-0-29519900-1475354181_thumb.jpg Here we see the 1992 to 2004 shop. I got to spend a few weeks a year there prior to 2000 and then weekends.  You can see the two Marblehead pond yachts that filled much of my time .  Hidden just out of the picture on the right is the partially built Dark harbor model. Most important on the back left is the building board and stations for a scratch build Gloucester fishing schooner that will become the basis of this build. This photo is dated 2002

At the time I built this frame, my memory tells me incorrectly as I recently figured out, that is built it up form Gertrude's lines.  With the outgrowth of windows 98 and Auto CAD lt 97 it is not surprising that I no longer have any of the cad I did for this build. 


Here you can see the roughness of the build. I was clearly over my head at the time and fortunately stopped. 


  • post-9397-0-57128700-1475352574_thumb.jpg The keelson assembly  is  made of three laminated 1/2 sheets of plywood so it is strong and true.  [ It includes keel,  stem, keelson and made up structure up to the the transom based on pond yacht construction methods...  See my other log for detail]   This method  is Good for sailing but the forward stem  is a problem [ you will see later].

Is she Gertrude Thebaud, Columbia or Bluenose???

I could write for pages but the short version is as follows.  I read that Columbia was the same size as Bluenose and considered to be the fastest ever built. Unfortunately she died young.  Here is the text from Ship Wiki  ...remember length on deck 141 feet

  • ·         Columbia is a Gloucester Fishing Schooner. It was built by Arthur Dana Story from the design of Starling Burgess, at Essex, MA, 1923. The Columbia represents the final development of the Gloucester fishing schooner, famous for speed and seaworthiness. It participated a number of international races, including the one against Bluenose in Halifax. In August 1927 when it was hit by the two Gales, the well-known "Graveyard of the Atlantic", Columbia was lost with all hands off Sable Island.


For years my memory was I had decided to build Gertrude.  All my files said it etc.  anyway  part of the reason is in the following text from wikipedi....remember length on deck 135 feet


I further learned that she went to the arctic in 1934 with MacMillan one year as Bowdoin stayed home.  I continued to think I was going to build her and I remembered incorrectly that I  had taken measurements from her scanned set of prints when I built the frame.......you'll see


Bluenose.  Here is intro from wiki pedia ....and again please remember length on deck 143 feet




The question again...which to build


There are so many Bluenose models I thought for a long time about making an American boat.  The designers Starling Burgess and Frank Paine come up again and again. The 1937 Ranger for us here in Maine is a big deal.    The fact a new replica of Columbia sails and all who see her say she is a  marvel.  [ Images of the replica is easy to find on the net].  Well to be honest there is a funny story here on me how in the end the model became Bluenose.


To make the original frame in 2001-2002 I obtained the 3/16 scale rough model plans  from Piel Craftman in Newburyport, MA for both models BN and GT.  While I was in his shop however I fell in love with another boat named Dancing feather.  My rear admiral feels the feather is one of prettiest schooners she has seen so guess what took priority.


  • post-9397-0-14693400-1475352575.jpg On again off again working on vacations and moving houses to our current home [ means rebuild a shop] only it took from 2004 to 2012 to get this one far along and it was a real rough job much of which may be redone. Here she is a year ago moving away to live in the new sail loft and thus make room for Charles Notman to hold the shop entrance way display area. I had made her 3/4 scale to size at 50 inches on deck.  I will never work in that odd scale again.



In the mean time, I was assigned to work in Canada for 3 plus years and while I was there came across a set of really nice 1/4 scale drawings of Bluenose.  These I now see are easy to get on line as are similar plans for Columbia. They are both drawing by Philip Eisnor and available though a sister site modleshipbuilder.


Finally...we start again

It is summer 2012. I am assigned to travel overseas but spend several weeks through the summer here in Maine.  What to do......


Please look at my other two builds [ Charles Notman and Boothbay Harbor one design] for detailed discussions on the sailable hull  build method.  


  • post-9397-0-00565000-1475352576_thumb.jpg The plans were scanned, plumbed and inserted to CAD.  The white paper inside on aft stations was printed off and attached to luan plywood. Blue tape separated a 1/32 birch plywood strip rib.  The cedar is rough milled from 1"/6" stock to be 5/32 [ which only means 1/8 - 0 +1/16 tolerance] by 5/16 .  We want to start faring the hull with no less than 1/8th wood thickness. Planks soaked in ammonia water then wood glue and toothpick pinning to the sstations through the ribs..


  • post-9397-0-18912000-1475352577_thumb.jpg Here the laminations for the Keelson assembly are clear [see Notman build] . Notice there is  no transom at this point.


  • post-9397-0-37789700-1475352578_thumb.jpg almost finished. See the roughness of the bow.  As I said i was way over my head when I started this hull.


  • post-9397-0-08793700-1475352579.jpg Here we have all planking on and sanded.


  • post-9397-0-59691200-1475352582_thumb.jpg  And here she goes back up to the ceiling for storage....it's 2012. and I am still thinking we are building Gertrude Thebaud.

They sent me away for work again and it was another year before I could really focus on my modeling goals.  This was the year I found forums like this one and started reading articles , sites like models of dummies, practicums and building logs.  I was getting ready






Link to comment
Share on other sites

CATCH UP POST 2...2013-2015



Progress in 2013/14


I retired in 2013 and started on many projects.

  • post-9397-0-14810200-1475441059.jpg I started the year building 3 kits in 1/4 scale to teach myself the skills needed before the big build of Charles Notman. I also spent a lion share of the year working on dancing feather making sails, and continuing the study of large Downeast schooners.

  • post-9397-0-04036800-1475441209_thumb.jpg In 2014, I not only began Charles Notman, but made a trip that I recommend to everyone who loves schooners. We took the fancy ferry from Portland, Me to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and drove to Lunenburg. Wow three times over. Later in the build I will share some photos that help one study both schooners and all fishing vessels especially of the early vintage. One of the models of 2013 was a Gloucester Schooner, so I was up on detail and felt I knew what to look for in Lunenburg. You can learn much there from both the model collection and the schooners dockside to help understand deck level detail. Bluenose II was there and I photoed all I could and had fun talking with the crew.



Let's build a skin 2015..


Well here we are in the late summer of last year. Charles Notman had sailed and was set in her new place of honor. I will continue to build her out and that story is in its own log. I was also gathering information and getting ready to build the Boothbay Harbor One Design racing sloops, so what to do during those warm days of September when I can take it outside....let's work on fiberglass skils needed to improve for the next builds and get 'gertude??' skinned up.

  • post-9397-0-33317500-1475439884.jpg Starting off we had to rescue the transom. Setting blocks with dowels and then carving with files and sanding has gotten easier for me. This build will be a possible sailing boat [ the hull at least] and it will have a fiber-glassed hull, so nice planking detail is not a focus.here.
  • post-9397-0-82078100-1475439884.jpg With the transom done we have also used water putty and wood fillers to prep for glass and resin. Putty has the risk of being tougher than the cedar, so I would not use it for a static model. It is the best though for filling gaps at this scale.
  • post-9397-0-25771600-1475439885.jpg Here again we are using 6 oz cloth for strength to the hull to sail.
  • post-9397-0-66312600-1475439885.jpg the first coat of resin is rough. I was told by a true artist who makes amazing hulls for RC to take coarse 40 and 120 grit sanding and don't be bashful in between coats of resin.
  • post-9397-0-18509400-1475439886.jpg. here is coat three done and sanded with120 to 240 grit.
  • post-9397-0-78354300-1475439886.jpg here is good old bondo full coat sanded with 400 and then solid coat of auto body putty at 600 grit.
  • post-9397-0-17913800-1475439887.jpg finally here is the auto body filler primer.
  • post-9397-0-66708800-1475439887.jpg Here I like to do the base with two coats of rattle can red. It will get over coats but is a good base.
  • post-9397-0-18835300-1475439888.jpg Here we are again with a double base coat of black. This will get painted again a few times as we build the deck, add chain plates etc.
  • post-9397-0-60809500-1475439898.jpg I love the shape overall . But here one can see 15 years ago when I started this build, the over simple lamination for the keelson assembly will make her sail well, but was not feathered out as it should have been.

I love this view of the hull...it looks just like a graceful dolphin breaching.....

  • post-9397-0-03332400-1475439899.jpg Well here we are, it is fall 2015 and it was time to start Boothbay harbor one designs and put what I still thought to be Gertrude back up on the ceiling.


    The surprise is still coming

cheers Edited by Jond
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Jond:


The trip to Lunenburg is definitely worth it. I grew up just up the road from you in New Brunswick (spent a bit of time in Portland and Bangor as well). Anyway, I wish I had the kind of space you've got for modelling! This will be a really interesting project to see come together.


current builds: Corel HMS Bellona (1780)
previous builds: MS Phantom (scuttled, 2017); MS Sultana (1767); Corel Brittany Sloop (scuttled, 2022); MS Kate Cory; MS Armed Virginia Sloop (in need of a refit); Corel Flattie; Mamoli Gretel; Amati Bluenose (1921) (scuttled, 2023); AL San Francisco (destroyed by land krakens [i.e., cats]); Corel Toulonnaise (1823); 
MS Glad Tidings (1937) (in need of a refit)HMS Blandford (1719) from Corel HMS GreyhoundFair Rosamund (1832) from OcCre Dos Amigos (missing in action); Amati Hannah (ship in a bottle); Mamoli America (1851)Bluenose fishing schooner (1921) (scratch)
under the bench: Admiralty Echo cross-section; MS Emma C Barry; MS USS Constitution; MS Flying Fish; Corel Berlin; a wood supplier Colonial Schooner Hannah; Victory Models H.M.S. Fly; CAF Models HMS Granado; MS USS Confederacy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Patrick and Hamilton


I am working on building the winch and other gear. One good thing about this large scale is you can get you fingers onto the parts. I have taken the photos from the Nova Scotia archive and find the late timing , post racing,wonderful.   With all the grit and oil tanks and other stuff on the deck. even light snow in one picture.  Looking closely I now believe by example that under light snow, the waterways were dark......unfortunately mine are still white...oops.  more later 



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very interesting timelines here. In the second picture in the lower left corner you have a vintage brass coloured looking device. I haven't seen anything like it before. Looks like something right out of the Sherlock Holmes movies. What pray tell is it?


P.S. Love the RC models you are building especially the Marblehead Pond Yacht.

Very impressive Jond!




A mighty fortress is our God a bulwark never failing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to comment
Share on other sites



you are looking at a theodolite.  they are for surveying. We used them in school 50 years ago and working both summers on property survey and for the first year or so in construction.  They became antiques quickly as technology improved in the early 70's.


You can check out pond yachts through AMYA.org  the major site is focused on all classes and racing.  Then go to the Vintage model yacht class to find the beautiful pond yachts that survive.  In the early 20th century, central park NYC, and other similar ponds in Boston etc were filled with vane controlled models.  the Marblehead class was one considered for the 1936 Olympics.   Some of the old timers I met with while working there in say 2000   were founding members of what remains a very active group and club in Marblehead, MA..   easy to fine on the web



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Starting again 2016


OK it is August this year and I am playing around in between projects.  I decided first to give myself 6 weeks to get a deck on Gerturde and then hang her up again.  Let's see what happens.


  • post-9397-0-46547000-1475673561.jpg the first thing to do is to cut off the building board and build her a stand.  This style stand I now use regularly because the straps allow rotation to get gunnels up and free for work and way down the line to put a heel on the boat.[ very helpful while working on rigging]  It is also good for carrying around, setting on the ground etc.  Best of all it allows using up those many cut offs and scraps of lumber in the shop.


  • post-9397-0-95220400-1475673561.jpg  next step....probably several days later... it is time to cut out the interior molds leaving the strip ribs.


  • post-9397-0-33728900-1475673562.jpg This removal starts rough and then ends with sanding to get ready to receive a coat of resin.


  • post-9397-0-86429000-1475673562.jpg  let's see what we have. All the interior is clean and we are ready to go forward.  Here we are visiting Charles Notman while I go sailing in the real Boothbay Harbor One design.


  • post-9397-0-40448300-1475674211.jpg  Just FYI here we are sailing Bittersweet the real BHOD. You can see now why summer is not a productive modeling season.


  • post-9397-0-23572500-1475673563.jpg  now we have the real test. I have set up with levels and squares to measure everything before we get into deck design.....and what does one find when this step is added.....the mysterious truth


I stater scratching my head when the deck dimension was 71.5 inches.  the beam maxed out around just under 14 inches


  • lets see....gertrude is how long?????   135 feet on deck  or....ah   ah   ah..67.5 iches
  • let's see  gertrude is how wide              23.5..................or    ah   ah    ah   11.75



Ok I said I was over my head 15 years ago when I started this.  I made a beginners mistake......I should have reduced the molds for the 1/32 strip ribs and 1/8 planking and say 1/32 fiberglass.   I did not, so I should accept....and admit I am too wide by 2 times 3/16 or up to 3/8........



The truth so to speak...... if i had scanned an plotted the other set of plans that I bought at the same time 15 years ago it would have been Bluenose.


  • let's see  Bluenose is how long???    143 on deck  or ah .....71.5 inches
  • let's see  Bluenose is how wide          27 feet    or ah......  13.5 inches......add up to 3/8 for my begineer mistake ont he sizing of the forms=    13.78 inches



Bingo...     I am building....a 143 foot boat.   I thought for a few seconds about switching to Columbia.  The other American boat but decided against it.  Let's face it... Nova Scotia  and better Lunenburg created the best and fastest schooner.  She beat the US boats in all matched races except one set.  Therefore I am  rescuing and building out Bluenose



there you have it 



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Jond for letting me know about the Theodolite. 50 years ago I was only 9 years old. At first glance I thought it was either a funky Steampunk Sextant or some crude surveyors device but wasn't sure. Thanks for the link to AMYA. I will certainly check it out! I look forward to your build ... Jeff

A mighty fortress is our God a bulwark never failing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moving forward I recall my first intent was to work through September and get a deck on.  Funny how we get sucked in more and more.  


The first thing is to lay out the deck beams and then figure out openings that will be used for sailing. . I ripped stock to create a supply of deck beams. they are 3/4" by 5/16".  My thought was as before they are deep enough that I can cut them to camber.  I then chose a production method  on a trial basis to see if it saves time. 

  • post-9397-0-85585800-1475787117.jpg   I used the cedar planks to double the shear line and set the deck line fore and aft. Then I laid out the deck beams on an common span same as frame stations of the 1/4 inch scale plans.  Notice the beams have no camber cut and they are notched into the sides.


  • post-9397-0-51064900-1475787118.jpg  I then added 1/16 "by 1/4" strips, edge to edge on top of the beams and a second to the mid point base on center .  I then carved and sanded the cambers.   It was actually quite fast, but I think not much time saving over cambering all the beams first. I had chosen this method because of the small camber on this boat compared to others I have done.   If I ever do this way again I would delay this camber step until all the RC adjustments were made.   That will be clear in the next sequence. My bottom line is not a great alternate.....camber first!


  • post-9397-0-87209200-1475787118.jpg  The sub deck here is agian 1/16" birch plywood.  The sections are laid out to allow working one at a time to coordinate revisions in frame needed for RC


  • post-9397-0-23361000-1475787119.jpg  Here is the first lay out to use the two center hatches for access.  beams had to be moved around. the two sticks could be screwed together through a mid hatch.  The forward end will have a block attached to a shock [ bungee] cord and be pushed way up to the bow.   This makes a loop that goes of a drum winch and controls the sail sheets.   [ not flying, or working jib]


  • post-9397-0-55952200-1475787119.jpg  here is the other second design for the servo location and sail sheet loop etc. This sheet has the worked out framing changes, and is what I meant about designing the deck.


  • post-9397-0-96259100-1475787119.jpg  Here I have made the framing for the small hatch opening.  This hatch gives access to the rudder servo.  unfortunately the sharp angle of the rudder does not allow direct connection like most pond yachts where the rudder post is vertical.


  • post-9397-0-34583800-1475787120.jpg  here is a lesson learned from my marbleheads.  I took scrap 1/16 plywood and laid in a lower deck so the sticks holding sail loop block can slide on it as they are pushed forward from the aft hatch access.  You can also see in this shot the first section of under deck including the small hatch is secured, so this forward section will be made to it.


  • post-9397-0-79729800-1475787120.jpg  Here is the adjustments to the after deck house opening and the rudder access.  The issue of using flat beams and then adding strips etc. just adds another nuisance step to get these right. One thing to notice here and the previous two photos is the darker color of the interior of the hull.  It has a complete coat of resin to totally seal up the hull.  Also in this photo you can see the internal carving of the 1.5 inch plywood keelson assembly and the block transom to fit the RC equipment and make the inside shape of the transom work.  

We are getting to the point where I originally planned to hang up the model for another year.  but I find doing these steps my mind is on the three or four next steps and it gets harder to stop. It was at this time that I decided to use 1/32 decking [not a great decision by the way] and ordered it along with many strips to allow building up the bulkheads.  I started looking at the deck equipment and at this scale knowing I needed to figure out gears and things.....but the masts?  I can make them but where would I put this boat????  You can see the two short dowels sitting in place......???


Also for sailing,  the two jibs have sheets that go on outer sides of the forestaysail rigging, so I cannot sail them like other boats with a single loop.  I would need a 3rd Servo and all that logic. Alternately ones leaves them furled or worse choses to shrink them to self tack.   I leave this stage with enough room in the after deck house opening to put a servo on each side and try to do that,   That is the point of this build ....I am building it so it could sail, I am not committed yet to take it that far.  I may not even put in real masts.


all for now


cheers .



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now that we have the sailing components figured out, we can continue to build out the deck.   It is possible due to the large size of this model, that I will only build a deck model including stub masts just tall enough to hold the booms.   We'll see. There is one option then to have removable masts, more in a pond yacht style, with attachable rigging only for sailing.  


With the plywood sub deck in place, it is now time to figure our the water ways, stanchions, bulkheads and planking. To complete the study and decide on a color scheme I followed this thought process:

  1. I chose to rely on the Phillip Eisnor model and plans I bought  viewable on the modelshipbuilder site
  2. I read and re read the wonderful practicum, written by Gene Bodner and edited by site manager Winston Scoville of Modelshipworld for many of my thoughts.  
  3. In the Nova Scotia photo archive view 200330717  shows tones.  under the light snow the water way is clearly darker than the white. It is very similar to the deck tone and obviously lighter than the black associated with the winch posts etc. This finding means for older boat...darker older decks and not black water way may be right. 
  4. Bluenose II chose black water way and curbs and 6 inch dark shinny planking.  
  5. The Eisnor model photos clearly used brown as the interpreted color for water ways and curbs. 
  6. the Gene Bodnar practicum used a light brown stain for water ways. 
  7. the model in the Lunenburg Fishermans Museum used green for both waterways and cabin roof



I took these sources and decided I was going to try to achieve and older boat, A little beat up with oil tanks on deck and fish barrels more than racing colors.  I am not sure how this will come out but that is where I am starting

  • post-9397-0-37654600-1476107511_thumb.jpg  here we have a photo I took of Bluenose ll deck.  They have a high gloss finish on dark stained plank that when counted supports 6 inch width.  Comparing the 3/16 plans and the 1/4 scale plans counting planks we also get a 6 inch planking.  So we decide on 1/4" planking and shall use 1/32" bass wood strips with black magic marker  on one side edge.


  • post-9397-0-42464700-1476107512.jpg  next we have to figure out the planking lay out.  The practicum says we should figure out and install nibbing strakes first and plank to them.  I agree and I hope a few years from now i get good enough to do that.   I chose here to figure out the deck hatches and laying the planks based on that. I start in the center and cut nibs in the waterway plank when I get there. On the fore deck shown here, the hatch is 1-1/2" or 6 planks.  Therefore a joint is dead center and then planks spread outward.  


  •  post-9397-0-91460300-1476107512.jpg before setting any decking we need to get the water way and stanchions all set.  While doing this I also have to build up the bulkheads to get the grades all right.  Here we are putting the first waterway that rides under the stanchions.


  • post-9397-0-28828100-1476107513.jpg  Here you can see strips being added for shaping of the bulkhead. Wet strips are held by pins until the wood drys to shape.  The glue and pin again. I snipped and kept the pins in many connections for strength.


  • post-9397-0-70265600-1476107513.jpg Here the outer waterway and stanchions are all in. I must say taking 1/4" square stock, cutting and canting and installing is so much easier than the tiny 3/32" square strips on the small scale boats.  I can use push pins and even leave them in for strength where I feel it is needed.


  • post-9397-0-43997000-1476107514.jpg  here we go forward and complete this phase.


  • post-9397-0-48862900-1476109021.jpg  Now we have all the waterways and stanchions painted out in white. It's time for the rails.


  • post-9397-0-00381500-1476109022.jpg  The after deck is a little different.  It is 9 planks to cover the hatch and the after deck behind the cabin is all tapered to keep consistent planking.  I chose here to follow my logic of whole planks for the hatch and openings.  I needed a center plank unlike the forward deck as 9 planks spread the  hatch opening and 23 planks at the cabin forward corners.


  • post-9397-0-38845300-1476109022.jpg  here all the planks are in going aft. I covered the rudder opening and that is a knock out I will show later.  


  • post-9397-0-84988400-1476109022.jpg Here we go starting to  install the forward decking. You can see more clearly what I meant about my using the hatch dimensions as a control.  I approached as I would planking a deck. I hope the difference in two decks gets lost.


  • post-9397-0-23726000-1476109023.jpg  While installing deck planking we need to get rails on.  I chose to build this realistically.  to side bend 12 inch planks may have happened.  I chose to bend 6 inch [ 1/4" in scale and to do inner and outer rail halves.  With ammonia water only I would lay out inner rail with push pins down into the stanchions.  After the glue set I snipped the pin and hammered it home to stay and strengthen the rails. As glue was drying on the inner plank I would set the wet outer plank and pin it to dry to shape before gluing it.  The rails are two layers of 1/16" to get the right 1/8" thickness.


  • post-9397-0-66920900-1476109023.jpg to get an older deck my process has been a two step staining.  Here I used a cherry stain to get the warm color as seen in the Bluenose ll. call it step 1.


  • post-9397-0-05143400-1476109024.jpg  I will play with this color choice a lot.   Here one can see the light color that could alternately take clear finish. I feel that would demonstrate a nice new deck and I want to replicate a boat of some age. 


  • post-9397-0-37504200-1476109024.jpg  looking at this overview I decided to go. forward with the second step which is an over wash of walnut stain on the cherry [  charles notman deck] 

all for now 




Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are wise to use a scale figure that we see on deck next to the barrels. I find using scale figures keeps everything in perspective and takes a lot of guesswork and extra measuring out of the equation. Interesting trick with the ammonia water, I haven't heard of that before till now.


A mighty fortress is our God a bulwark never failing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Jond, an enjoyable journey. I am glad to see that i am not the only one who works in odd fits and starts. It is also encouraging to see how you were able to persevere and get to the place you are now at with the Bluenose. There is a great satisfaction working at a large model for the reason you mention about getting your fingers into the work. It also require a different mindset because you can't hide anything.


I will be following along.



Current builds  Bristol Pilot Cutter 1:8;      Skipjack 19 foot Launch 1:8;       Herreshoff Buzzards Bay 14 1:8

Other projects  Pilot Cutter 1:500 ;   Maria, 1:2  Now just a memory    

Future model Gill Smith Catboat Pauline 1:8

Finished projects  A Bassett Lowke steamship Albertic 1:100  


Anything you can imagine is possible, when you put your mind to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jeff and Michael


thanks for your comments


more coming as my build is currently still ahead of my posting. I am struggling making the break levers for the anchor winch and getting chain to stay on gears.  The figures came from my  brothers model train shop.  I am told they are g scale I​ think.  Not sure what is in the brief case of the commuter I have used so far.   I will be adding some standing figures that are not painted.... a whole new area.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wanted to add a few details that I left out involving getting the rails and deck on and  getting the hull in shape. [ rescued ]


I mentioned earlier that the "crude" pond yacht method gave us a 1-1/2 inch keel which made the bow stems ' awkward' and ugly.  With no real keel meant for detail. 


  • post-9397-0-14022000-1476367543.jpg  first of all I built up the rails and rough fit the bow sprit .  Here I have removed the spar and need to build out the bow exterior.


  • post-9397-0-54514300-1476367543.jpg  I used small piece of scrap wood as a base.  I then chose to add on a bow stem to make the full assembly work out. It is the stem that supports the bowsprit and gives that graceful look.  In this picture it looks like I should have gone further with the added stem to perhaps have a thin keel.  Because that would effectively enlarged the boat, I chose to compromise and add it here for the detailing and move on.


  • post-9397-0-86756400-1476367543.jpg Here all is in place and the 1st putty is in place. I used hammered copper #14 wire for the hawse ring.  I can tell you know that paint, sand putty and paint was done twice up here.

Next comes the monkey rail.

  • post-9397-0-75499800-1476367544.jpg I used the buildup method of damp wood and pins to dry and hold during glue up.


  • post-9397-0-20125800-1476367545.jpg I kept the pins in place , snipping and driving them home after glue set for strength.


  • post-9397-0-23099400-1476369267.jpg for the curved section at he forward end of the monkey rail, I use 1/32" plywood soaked and dry wrapped around  pipe for the right diameter. I glued and screwed to hold shape then removed screws to finish. This is another example where this detail is easier at the large scale.


  • post-9397-0-33940100-1476367544.jpg  for the transom, I made a pattern in 3/8" scrap plywood off the lower railand wrapped laminated and soaked 3 layers of 1/32" birch plywood. After drying  I glued and re wrapped the layers tight on the form.  The lower and top rails are 1/8 plywood at the transom and built up two layers, side by side  1/4" by 1/16" again for the rails.


  • post-9397-0-66525000-1476367545.jpg  I mentioned before that the first coat of paint on the hull was indeed only that. Building up the rails made is necessary to smooth out the whole outside top edge with putty and get ready to paint.  I will get the chain plates on next after painting out the rails and then repaint the hull.

all for now cheers


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought it to be good to share some visuals from my research.  They explain some of the decisions I have made as I move forward to build out the deck equipment.  The research started with a trip to the Fisherman's Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia a few years ago. My vocabulary is probably off on several of the following items. It would be fun to learn of some sources where I could learn more about this equipment, its proper nomenclature and operations.

  • post-9397-0-91569600-1476732221.jpg One key feature is shown here in their website image and description of the schooner Theresa E Connor. She was built in the same ship yard as Bluenose in 1938. She is smaller, but I trust many features are very similar.  

The following 6 views I took while on board. They focus on the anchor and running line winches on the fore deck and I used these to figure out what I needed to build.


  • post-9397-0-35703600-1476732222.jpg here we are looking aft at the pivot style break levers for the anchors.


  • post-9397-0-76857800-1476732222.jpg  here we walk a bit aft and see the running line winch and the chain drive that goes to the anchor winch.


  • post-9397-0-22949200-1476732223.jpg as we turn around we see a few things.  First the engine box is just that...a box.  The drive chain comes out the side inboard and runs forward with a guard board above and one on the side shown later on Bluenose. The drive wheel axle for the winch is housed on a bracket off the engine box.  [ this is a smaller rig than Bluenose].  Also see the posts simply sit on the deck planking.  The vertical clutch arm engages the chain drive going forward.  I believe but did not see if the spools are un-engaged while transferring to the anchor winch.  I fear not!


  • post-9397-0-73138800-1476732223.jpg  Here the full anchor rig  is visible including details of the "wild cat" [i have been told]. Dumb me thought that chain goes to the 'wild cat' [ starboard side with palls etc. to control the chain] and the rope [for deeper anchoring] goes on the smooth barrel to port.  Hold that thought for a moment..I was obviously wrong.


  • post-9397-0-18067100-1476732224.jpg I show this hatch because it has doors.  Doors are simple and much more practical for a fishing voyage.  The Philip Eisnor plan show planks.  I suggest planks are OK  for occasional racing, but I think I vote for doors on Bluenose.  I would love to hear other's comments.


  • post-9397-0-71783900-1476732224.jpg In this view we see the smooth barrel and notice no larger planks under the winch posts and rails.  Small added planks are under the steel drive assembly.  I am concerned about load transferred from the anchor into deck planking....see below

Here I borrow cut and cropped images from photos on line with the Nova Scotia Archives. Their image number is in the link


  • post-9397-0-09320700-1476732225_thumb.jpg Here one can see a few things that I am  using for my interpretation of the older fishing schooner...
    • Through the snow you can see the waterways are dark...the same tone as the planking..but lighter than black.

    • through the snow you see a thick plank under the anchor winch supports.  I have added those to my boat  and painted them white...  I may change them to brown.

    • Note the anchor chain goes directly from hawse to smooth barrel  then lays on deck back toward the chain box.  Chain box only on port side.   I have something to learn here.

  • post-9397-0-50016600-1476732226_thumb.jpg Here are a few more items for consideration:
    • In this cut image one can see the black tool box that sits forward of the engine box.  It is backed up to the guard boards above and inboard  the chain drive for the hoists. I used the photo of Theresa E Connor to complete this. Smaller scale models keep one out of this dialogue

    • One can also see dead eyes are similar top and bottom...that is for later.

  • post-9397-0-54826600-1476734106_thumb.jpg  here there are also a few points almost completing my study of this area:
    • see the legs of the winch support are black...I think they are clad on top after much ware. They probably started out white.

    • See the inboard guard rail on the drive chain off the engine box and tool box on the left.

    • see the mystery box in the foreground.  I think it is another vent hatch from below....not sure.  that is what I am building
    • oh no!  just looking now I see I need to add a sheet metal guard on the large anchor drive wheel

    • note the thick lines under what I thought was the wild cat head chain barrel....It looks like I have had it backwards for some time.  Line on the starboard side chain to port...OK got it.  

OK next post we try to make this stuff.. fun trips to the hardware store




Link to comment
Share on other sites


I can't remember if it was here on MSW or on Model Ship Builder a guy posted a PDF of a complete build of Bluenose II and it was absolutely amazing. Maybe Mark can remember if it was here. If not I'll look on MSB when time permits.

A mighty fortress is our God a bulwark never failing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Jond:


Finally took a slow stroll through your build log. What an odyssey! I will certainly be following this with great interest as I develop my (much more modest) Bluenose. I'm very curious about how you will tackle the anchor winch and windlass....I too have read through Gene Bodnar's Bluenose practicum and he suggests a way of making these parts that does not involve any metal work.....but I'm not sure of how the results will look.....especially at 3/16 (let alone 1/4) scale.....


I also really like your approach to marking out the hatch areas during the deck planking - so simple! Yet I had never thought of it! I will definitely be using that approach on this and all my other builds so I can nest the hatches and yet have nice deck planking too. Thanks for posting this log and I'm excited to see how your build develops!


current builds: Corel HMS Bellona (1780)
previous builds: MS Phantom (scuttled, 2017); MS Sultana (1767); Corel Brittany Sloop (scuttled, 2022); MS Kate Cory; MS Armed Virginia Sloop (in need of a refit); Corel Flattie; Mamoli Gretel; Amati Bluenose (1921) (scuttled, 2023); AL San Francisco (destroyed by land krakens [i.e., cats]); Corel Toulonnaise (1823); 
MS Glad Tidings (1937) (in need of a refit)HMS Blandford (1719) from Corel HMS GreyhoundFair Rosamund (1832) from OcCre Dos Amigos (missing in action); Amati Hannah (ship in a bottle); Mamoli America (1851)Bluenose fishing schooner (1921) (scratch)
under the bench: Admiralty Echo cross-section; MS Emma C Barry; MS USS Constitution; MS Flying Fish; Corel Berlin; a wood supplier Colonial Schooner Hannah; Victory Models H.M.S. Fly; CAF Models HMS Granado; MS USS Confederacy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Jond,

The PDF file is to big to post here. Please PM me with an email address and I'll send it to you. Also I was mistaken about the author it's actually Gene Bodnar.

You'll love this practicum ...he goes through the build from start to finish and in great detail. He has your answers your looking for.


A mighty fortress is our God a bulwark never failing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jeff and Hamilton


Thanks for your comments.   Jeff thanks also for getting me to Gene Bodnar work; I have his practicum pdf.  I studied it a few years back and agree he is terrific and their model links are great too. They are available through their website....modelshipbuilderdotcom.  FYI  they say it is Philip Eisnor...and show him and his work as well as offer plans for sale.


Someday I plan to start slowly and to learn how to do plank on frame.  When I am able to do I, It hope to build some schooners like Bluenose and follow Genes guidance.  I am not ready to do that yet. also it will not be a 1/2 " to a foot scale!!!


I am doing some repairs today and getting ready to attach the first equipment...i will post it later and Jeff  my approach is amateurish but the metal work is not difficult.


cheers .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is round one of making deck equipment.  Also the saga of the deck color continues.  Let's see how far we get in this posting. I started off thinking that the main element of the windless is the large wooden center section. I figured if I got that going I could take each component one at a time and get going.


  • post-9397-0-72325600-1476817935.jpg So here we go. I grabbed a scrap dowel and started using files and things to make a practice winch.   I took it to our guild meeting in mid September to ask the guys what they thought.  One guy said I should be turning our gears on a metal lathe....oh   I have no skill there.  another said you can never get the teeth right if you cut them by hand.....oh    I can cut soft things by hand. they then repeated a long time lecture about my needed to work more and learn to solder because without soldering I will never succeed making these parts.....oh  well let's see...after i came home I figured the turning was OK so I am using it.  the taper on the left side was going in the wrong direction so i had to cut it off and build up again...practice helps...


  • post-9397-0-24191200-1476817938_thumb.jpg  I put the winch aboard just to get more of an idea what I was after.  I was still struggling with the deck at this point because of its high gloss.   Since I want to be able to sail this model I needed to build up 4-5 layers of spar varnish over the thin 1/32" deck.  I had some good spar varnish that I used and I thought I could just lightly sand it and add a coat of satin finish to flatten it out.....It didn't work.  more on that later.


  • post-9397-0-23221400-1476817935.jpg I had a Eureka moment while sifting through drawers at the hardware store. I am used to getting copper, brass or aluminum washers or other material  when I made winches and things for the Boothbay Harbor One Design build last year.  I picked up two gray conduit elbows that gave me the right diameter for the large gears and some copper washers that are easy to work with for the small chain drives. On another trip I found the nylon.....  


  • post-9397-0-20649600-1476817939.jpg  One of the guys had suggested I use the lathe to set radial measurements for the gears.  I took the bowl chuck,put a small piece of plywood on it  and then turned to the 24 points marking it all around.  I then set the chuck on the work bench and started using it to mark the sliced conduit for the large gears.


  • post-9397-0-53781200-1476817939.jpg  Here I simply cut with razor saw sliced with x-acto and filed to get the teeth. I ended up using conduit, copper and nylon washers and spacers.


  • post-9397-0-91226100-1476817940_thumb.jpg here I did the same process with smaller copper washersto get the chain drives....two sizes. you can see on the left side just cut lines and on the right side i had files to get the shape.  


  • post-9397-0-95038900-1476817941_thumb.jpg here is the first attempt to put things together.



  • post-9397-0-08408100-1476817943_thumb.jpg  Now I need the large break that sits aft of the Samson Post. I found nylon washers and spacers and they solved my missing problems and sizes.  The copper rings are left over from Charles Notman [mast hoops where chose light copper for strength.] were perfect to make the side rails for the break


  • post-9397-0-79338600-1476817943.jpg  here are some large gears


in the mean time I was fooling around setting things aboard and playing with the color and shine. I have since added chain plates and repainted the hull as well.



more coming









Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent work here Jond. You are a true artisan.


I love when nay sayers think things can't be done old school. People fail to believe things can't be sucessesfully scratch-built just as good as store bought or a 3D printer. Your gears look perfect to me and my experience when I worked off-shore was things looked a bit beat up and never perfect so your scale RC model will be very realistic and up to snuff!


Looking good my friend ... Jeff

A mighty fortress is our God a bulwark never failing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For this next installment of deck equipment, I want to divert to the issue I had with the deck color.  Like most folks these are parallel efforts, so we shall continue the story that way. Sort of multitasking




  • post-9397-0-68464300-1476909939.jpg  I think I have figured out my approach to the equipment, so lets start to put it together and see what we need to do. Here we see the block forms I made for the engine box and tool box and unpainted gears.


  • post-9397-0-19400700-1476909940.jpg here is my first attempt with the intermediate drive gear.  I quickly learned I needed to replicate the steel frame and reduce the shaft size as it will attach to the tool box. this large 1/8" wood dowel shaft is convenient for the ID of the gears but wrong.  


  • post-9397-0-57145100-1476909940.jpg here I am starting to build up cabin and hatches.  [ too much deck shine}


  • post-9397-0-99119400-1476909940.jpg  Lets put the windless on deck and think about sequencing.[ too much deck shine]


  • post-9397-0-41389600-1476909941.jpg  I love this view.



  • post-9397-0-59096400-1476909942.jpg You can see I am playing with the fuel tanks aft of the main mast that showed up in the 1940 survey photos 



  • post-9397-0-03518300-1476909943.jpg  while working on the forward hatch, I realized I had made the skylight too big.  I changed out the luan building block and needed new decking.  here it is just basswood [ blond].


  • post-9397-0-54074900-1476909943.jpg  here you can see the cherry stain that gets the warm look we need.


  • post-9397-0-70283300-1476909971.jpg  here you can see [ despite the flash] the affect of aging the walnut stain provides.  Also note this is a matte stain only finish.  


  • I put on just the satin and it looked different.  so to match it in I had to build up three coats of spar again then satin.  It looked like the rest but   TOO MUCH SHINE!!!


  • post-9397-0-17291600-1476909972.jpg  Here I bit the bullet and really sanded everything.  The risk and result is I hit high points exposing the light wood and needed to tone that down.


  • post-9397-0-00085600-1476909973.jpg  here it is all sanded and ready to come back


  • post-9397-0-66074600-1476909973.jpg here I had added a satin old maple Minwax poly shade to grab the blond areas and bring all more together.   My logic was I thought to use two step stain now with so much varnish still on the  just sanded deck would be a waste of time.  I  need a thicker finish for outside use than a static model and to  get on with things this coat should help.  I thought it worked out ok.


  • post-9397-0-08278700-1476909974.jpg  here we are with another 2 coats of satin poly.  It still shines but is better than befgore and I need to move on


back to the fittings and hull

  • post-9397-0-83831200-1476909941.jpg here you can see the combined copper rings and nylon cut gear getting painted out to be the main windless break.


  • post-9397-0-12432100-1476909942.jpg  alright ...I did it ...two rings for the the aft hawse;  hammered copper joined and soldered before installing.  


all for now cheers 



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...