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RFP

Guidance, Encouragement, or just a Sanity Check

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In late 1988, I completed a Bluejacket USS Constitution.  It was my second wood ship model kit, and turned out light years better than my first: Billlings' 'Jylland.'  I built the Constitution on the kitchen table, having to clear off and clean up after every session... no sense in making my long suffering wife suffer even more!  Also, I was working full time and doing house remodeling throughout the build.  I must truly be insane.

 

Now, some twenty-nine years later, I've run out of 'projects,' and my thoughts keep returning to another ship build... wanting something without cannons, I'm especially drawn to the Charles W. Morgan.  And here is where I need guidance, encouragement, or just a plain ol' sanity check (perhaps even therapy).

 

Today, I'm seventy seven and long, long retired.  My health is good, eyesight excellent (thank you very much, cataract surgeon!), and my hands are steady.  The kitchen table would not be needed in that I can set up a suitable work area in the 'office' of our modest home.  

 

But I've read and re-read many of the build logs of the excellent Morgan builders here and genuinely feel that I'm just out of my league.  I'm concerned about taking on a challenge the scope and detail of the Morgan, while - on the other hand - that's likely just why I'm drawn to it.  My sweetie-pie wife (of fifty seven years) is quite encouraging... she says 'do it'... saying that even I fail to finish, I'll have great fun.

 

So, I don't know... seventy-seven yeas old and a Charges W. Morgan.... seems like it might prove to be a poor combination.  

 

So, what would you do if you were an old geezer like me with limited experience?

 

Oh, I've attached a couple of photos of my Constitution, NOT for compliments (which it doesn't deserve) but just to show my general capabilities.

 

Thanks for your consideration and whatever light you may shed on this dilemma!

 

Rob Pritchett 

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Rob, model making is an affair of the heart and a journey of discovery.  It looks like you've made a pretty good fist of your Constitution, so if your heart says that you really want to try the Morgan, then I'd say go for it.

 

If you start a build log here you'll not only have your wife to encourage you, but the MSW family as well.

 

John

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Rob, I'm 79 and building a Skipjack with my next project the scratch-build of the brig "Leon" (Underhills) followed by a scratch-build of a late 1800's tug "Alva B".

 That should get me into my 90's. Would also encourage you to find and join a ship modeling club. Good modeling................feathermerchant.

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OK, I guess I must be pretty easy (!)  I'm going to do it...

 

Heartfelt thanks to the encouragement... I'm delighted to see that there are other "grown ups" here and so willing to help.

 

I will do a build log, I can see that is the very, very best way to get expert - and sympathetic - help along the way.  It'll be a while before I start, I'll be in the setting-up-and-gathering-stuff stage for a while, not to mention the requisite and enjoyable research.

 

Thanks again for the warm welcome!

 

Rob

 

[ snip ]  If you start a build log here you'll not only have your wife to encourage you, but the MSW family as well.

 

John

 

 

Absolutely go for it, Rob. [ snip ]

 

Bob

 

 

[ snip ] Would also encourage you to find and join a ship modeling club. Good modeling................feathermerchant.

 

 

Definitely, go for it.  [ snip ]

 

 

I agree with everyone ! Go for it !  [ snip ]

Edited by RFP

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Rob,

 

Have you looked into a model of the whaling brig Kate Corey? This model was based on information developed by Eric Ronnberg. Eric is an excellent model builder and researcher of New England fishing and whaling vessels. I have not built this kit and cannot voucher for its quality but as far as research and plans are concerned what Eric does is more than first class.

 

Roger

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Rob

My Morgan (build log in progress) is the first fully rigged ship I've attempted. Been working on it for 3 years. With more time now that I'm retired (I'm 67). The end of the running rigging is in sight!

It is a challenging build with a lot of scratch work but I've learned a lot, and if the result is not contest worthy it (so far) is certainly "living room" worthy and I love just looking at it. I'm glad I took the challenge. Have fun and consult John's (texxn5) build log and his website at.charleswmorganmodel.com. Saved me multiple times.from errors.

Bruce

Edited by Bruce Evans

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Rob,

 

Have you looked into a model of the whaling brig Kate Corey? [ snip ]

Roger

 

Thanks, Roger, for the suggestion.  Yes, the Kate Corey is lovely, and would be a good bit less complicated than the Morgan.  That said, I'm going to go ahead with the Morgan, I'm looking forward (well, kind of!) to the plank-on-bulkhead construction and all those glorious deck structures.  Yep, I'm hooked already.

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Rob

My Morgan (build log in progress) is the first fully rigged ship I've attempted. Been working on it for 3 years. With more time now that I'm retired (I'm 67). The end of the running rigging is in sight! [snip ]

Bruce

 

Bruce, actually your Morgan build log is one of the very first that I ran across, and I've read it 'cover to cover' more than once!  I really like that the Morgan is still around, just as the Constitution is; that probably played into my decision to choose it over another ship.  

 

Rob

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I am 73 and recently started Model Shipways Chaperon, leaving 2 ships unfinished (Victory and Grenado) as i desperately wanted to get away from masts and rigging! I strongly recommend Chaperon as a totally different build experience.

 

Ron

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Rob,

 

I am a 68 soon to be 70 approaching old geezer status. Never have any doubts or wonder what if I had done this, what if I had done that. Never have any regrets life is to short. I can tell this is a project you really want to do, jump off the cliff and go for it. Sounds like you got a good cheering section, and the bonus is you do not have to clear off the dining room table now.

 

Good luck John :cheers:  

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Hey Rob, I'd also say you should go for it!  I think the most important thing is that you find a subject your heart is into, given that these are very long term projects.  I saw the Morgan in person a few years ago, and knew it was a ship I had to build.

 

I just started the Morgan, and it certainly is a little more complicated than many of the model kits that are out there.  But, the good news is that there are a lot more Morgan build logs going here than there used to be - so, you have a treasure trove of resources.  Just take your time on it, study the plans, ask questions.  For me, building these ships is more about the journey, and not the destination anyway.

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Hi Rob, isn't it nice to have so much encouragement. I built the Morgan starting in 2000 and finished her in 2004. The kit was from Marine Model and solid hull and was bought from an Episcopalian pastor who started the original build in the 70's. The kit was of the Morgan when she was in the movie "Java".  Included with the kit was a set of plans from Mystic seaport as she was in the 1895-1906 period and a contact number for Mystic Seaport. It took a bit of bashing to change her appearance. I had her on display at the Manitowoc Model Ship Show and she now is displayed in my sons accounting office conference room. I get to visit it periodically. Two things; 1, you and your lovely wife should visit the Morgan at Mystic (she is a living museum) and 2, when you have questions call them, they are the experts. It is not often that you can walk the deck of a square rigged ship that you are in the process of modeling.............feathermerchant   

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Hi Rob, forgot to mention that John F. Leavitt published an historical paperback called "The Charles W. Morgan" through Mystic seaport. The book included ships plans for the Morgan. John was Associate Curator at Mystic seaport. Original published in 1973 and reprinted in 1998.....feathermerchant

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Rob,

 

Have you looked into a model of the whaling brig Kate Corey? This model was based on information developed by Eric Ronnberg. Eric is an excellent model builder and researcher of New England fishing and whaling vessels. I have not built this kit and cannot voucher for its quality but as far as research and plans are concerned what Eric does is more than first class.

 

Roger

 

OK, Roger... so, I'm wishy-washy!

 

Since your response to my plea for guidance, I've dug around quite a bit, looking at the Kate Corey.  Oh, it is a beautiful ship, I love the lines and looking a 'Google Images,' there are many gorgeous models of the Kate Corey.  

 

Although I had my heart set on [another] POB model, if I decide to build the Kate Corey, I could always plank over the solid hull just as I did my Constitution.  

 

So, I'm going to revisit this decision... I may still go with the Charles W. Morgan, but the Kate Corey is now a solid contender.  I'm grateful for your kind suggestion!

 

Rob 

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Go for it- life is short and building something that you WANT to build is half the battle.

 

I had a supervisor in the Navy who used to say "Do you know how you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." Get started, concentrate on whatever the immediate task at hand is, take your time, and don't settle if you are not happy with your work. As I tell my kids all the time- don't be scared off by the "what-if's!"

 

-Chad

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The Kate Cory is a lovely ship. The readily available kit for it is a solid hull as you know, but it makes for a fun and detailed build with opportunities for as much ingenuity and kit bashing as one wishes. Plans for her are available from the New Bedford Whaling Museum: https://www.whalingmuseum.org/ 

In all cases: encouragement! Go for it!  Have fun!  Go at whatever pace your heart desires.  :)

~john

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I'm 37 rather than 77, so it's easy for me to say Go For It, but I do. Think of it this way: most of our projects have value primarily to ourselves. Few of our models will ever be good enough, or unique enough, to matter much to other folks down the road. It's the process that matters, the joy and occupation and mental stimulation that we get out of pursuing these projects. If you never finish, whatever you've accomplished kept you interested and happy during that time, and that's what matters most. A complete or half-complete model will essentially be the same thing long enough down the road, though if you do complete it there will be that much more happiness in your life.

 

I've known, and known of, too many people that can't find anything productive or interesting to do with their time, retired or otherwise, and it makes me sad, as I feel I could have five lifetimes to explore all that I'm interested in. Think of the joy that it will bring, not only to yourself, but to all that care about you, that you have a project and a passion to interests and pleases you. Think of it as some of the cheapest health care you can find.

 

Go for it.

Edited by Cathead

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Rob,

 

To the great advice you been given, I'll add two more... follow your heart.  If the Morgan is the one, go for it.   And the last... "listen to your wife".  They know us best.

Edited by mtaylor

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