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Generic Brigantine by mikiek - FINISHED - Megow's Models - Restoration


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Took my dad to see an old friend he hadn't seen in years. Way,way back we used to live in the same neighborhood.

 

Ever since I started modeling I've had this vision - I was a child and in someone's house (some friend of parents) there was a wooden model ship in their hallway. No idea who it was.

 

I kinda suspected it might be this old friend and sure enough it was. He still had the model and one other. This guy is almost 90 and it was over 50 years ago when I used to go to their house. Kept out in the open, you can probably imagine what they look like now. The gentleman was truly excited when I told him I built boats, and asked if I would have a look at his. Long story short, I now have 2 restoration projects. One boat is Constitution not sure of the scale but it's pretty small. The other is Hispaniola, The boat from the book Treasure Island. I guess due to the small scale they are both pretty simple with just some basic rigging. They do both have sails. Hispaniola's are set - Constitution's are furled.

 

Overall they are not in terrible shape. Structurally sound. Most rigging is still in place or hanging off where it should be. Sails are filthy and mildewed. Everything has a thick layer of dust. Here's a few shots of Hispaniola.

 

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Never done a restore before so I have some general questions.

1. Sails need a cleaning or replacement. I imagine that means removal. For this and general rigging, do you try to save the original work or just cut it all away and replace?

 

2. Removing parts - no idea what glue was used but both are all wood builds. Short of prying them up, is there any tricks I should try to loosen the old glue?

 

3. You've seen the dust. It doesn't blow off, it doesn't wipe off with your finger. Just go with water or is there a mild solvent that might clean better?

 

4. No idea what type of paint was used. Overall it is in decent shape, but if I needed to touch up or paint over something  what's best for that?

 

5. Given my memory these days I imagine the first thing to do is take tons of pix.

 

 

Neither of these models is particularly nice. If you saw them at a flea market you'd probably walk right by. However, they do hold a lot of sentimental value both for the owner and to a lesser extent to me. So I don't mind putting some $$$ and elbow grease into fixing them up.

 

I don't see a lot of posts about restores here at MSW. If you know of any other resources I would appreciate hearing about them.

 

Oh man, what has he done now :default_wallbash:

 

Edited by mikiek
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Well, good luck as you go about restoring these models to some of their former glory! To answer some of your questions:

 

1) Whether you try to save the sails or replace them, they should come off. You might try a very dilute bleach in a lukewarm bath. A little detergent may also help clean. Whether the mildew will go or not - you'll need to see. Before experimenting, make a pattern of the sail, in case it disintegrates.

 

2) Old glue is usually amenable to either water or (gentle) heat. Sometimes it is so brittle the part will come away with a light tap.

 

3) Try very dilute detergent on Q-tips. Roll the tip rather than scrub! You will need a lot of patience for this.

 

4) Old models were generally painted with enamels. I generally retouch in missing areas with acrylics.

 

Hope this helps. Always try a new technique on a spot that isn't noticable!

 

 

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Thanks druxey. I'm thinking I need to go interview this guy now that I've had a closer look. He claims he did the builds when he was in high school so that would make them about 70 years old. Hopefully he may have a few details he can add.

 

Good call on the sails. Only problem is they are shaped  and hardened as if they are under a wind - and a good job he did at that - so I am going to have to soften them up just to get them spread out so I can get a pattern. Not sure if they were kit sails, but someone did a real good job sewing a hem. It also looks like he stiffened up some rope (maybe with glue) to help shape the sails. This stiffened rope is inside the hem. I've not heard of this technique but it actually makes the jibs very life like.

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Before you remove the sails, see if you can find a local shop that does the "Detailing" for the used car dealers. They may be able to point you towards the stuff they use to remove mold from fabric seat upholstery. It may work on the sails, in place. I don't know what that stuff may be, but I do know that my car needed this done to it, as the previous owner left a window down for a year, before I bought it. My Brother-In-Law had the mold removed before I bought it. He was selling it for one of his friends. (Yes, I knew about the mold before I bought it, it is a good car, for a good price.)

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Had in mind trying Murphys wood & furniture cleaner. It sure does a nice job on our cabinets. Problem is I will just about have to remove everything on the deck to be able to get into all the nooks & crannies.

 

Thought the sails could use a soak in some weak Oxi-Clean.  Personally I like the look of the sails as they are. They look well used.

 

On a slightly different note, the shrouds & rats are pretty well done and other than being dirty they are in good shape. I'm kinda torn between trying to salvage those or replacing. If I replace,  I end up with a hull that the gentleman made and everything else I replaced. That just doesn't sit real well with me.

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I'm with you Per.  Think how hard we try to get the sails colored just like that.  I'll talk to the owner. Maybe just getting the dust off will be enough.

 

Also, the sails have a very nice "action" to them. They look like they're blowing and the material is slightly hardened. I don't know if that is from being 70 years old or if it is something the builder did on purpose way back

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This model is someone's impressionistic idea of a ship, and its value is its unique style created by the builder.  The more that you remove and replace the more that you destroy that style that you cannot replicate because you have your own style.  I would avoid replacing anything unless absolutely necessary.

 

Roger

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5 hours ago, thibaultron said:

Before you remove the sails, see if you can find a local shop that does the "Detailing" for the used car dealers. They may be able to point you towards the stuff they use to remove mold from fabric seat upholstery. It may work on the sails, in place. I don't know what that stuff may be, but I do know that my car needed this done to it, as the previous owner left a window down for a year, before I bought it. My Brother-In-Law had the mold removed before I bought it. He was selling it for one of his friends. (Yes, I knew about the mold before I bought it, it is a good car, for a good price.)

My wife (second one) was a restorer of antique maps.  I recollect that she used to use liquid hydrocortisone to remove mould marks.  Was usually pretty effective.

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Wow. Spit rules! Didn't use it on the deck but it sure does loosen up the knots/glue. A good slimy finger full then drip it on the knot, wait about 2 minutes and then just start fiddling with it using some very pointed tweezers. No problem.

 

Based on the notion of a good clean up and a few repairs I decided to pull the masts with everything intact. Got the rear one out and started in on the deck. I'm going with the Murphies wood soap. I can see it is going to take several passes, but you can see the improvement.

 

The only problem I see so far is the transom, the upper part of which is crunched. Cutting that part out and replacing will not be too big a deal. However there is some artwork on the outer side and my cut would go right thru the middle of that. The pattern is reproducible but it almost looks  like it was done with a fountain pen not a brush.

 

Oh one other thing. The "blocks" appear to be made from a dowel with a hole drilled out and then sliced. Like little donuts. I broke one and another was already broken so I'll have to come up with a way to make a few of these.

 

I guess a lot is going to depend on if the owner wants clean sails or not. There is also some slight damage to the edges of a few sails but I may leave that unless they will be replaced.

 

Ropes bring up some questions as well. If I just clean and put back together I'll leave them be. But if I have to replace any there's going to be an obvious mismatch. What's on there now looks kind of like a woven fishing line. Odd color too - dark, dark brown.

 

Found a good cleaning tool(s) - make up brushes. They come in all sizes and some have very soft bristles while others are fairly stiff. That dust is wreaking havoc on my nose. I may consider a mask :D

 

Ya know I'm not sure if this post belongs here now or over in one of the build forums.

 

 

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Edited by mikiek
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Thanks Ron. I need to look into the string thing a little further. I can't tell if is was hardened with something or not. It seems pretty stiff considering how thin it is. But then, I have no experience working with 70 year old string. If I can use new rope and put it back on the way it was that might be an option and IMO would not interfere with the spirit and intentions of the original builder.

 

This project is quite interesting. There's a big angle to this that I have not experienced in a build before.

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Hi Mike,

 

I visited your Niagara project and saw this link.  Cleaning dirty old ship models is a task for sure.   Every couple of years I give my fleet a bath too.  The first time I did this was after many years, afterwards I learned every three of four years is good.  All of my ships are on open shelves, between floor to ceiling bookshelves.

 

The 40+ year old plastic Cutty Sarks & Co. are not a problem, some even have cloth sails, are had become quite grungy.  Even cloth sails can get clean again, not to worry.

 

My two wooden ships get bathed as well.  The grimy dust does not blow off with compressed air, just the recent dust levels, no grunge though.

 

I spray mine with a strong household cleaner, pump spray type, let it soak a couple of minutes, and start scrubbing with different small paintbrushes.  Spray again and rinse off under a shower!  Yep.  The ship gets a big storm of water.  Blow the water off with comp. air or use a hair dryer.

 

First off, the wood on my models has been sealed in some form or another. No risk here that wood will loose color.  The sails get even a better looking patina!  Cleaner too.

 

All ship models can be easily cleaned.  Even the rigging gets rid of dirty dust bunnies. 

 

I'm not aware of current household cleaning agents currently on the US market.  Just I'd recommend a type that does not develop too much foam, as this could make for a mess in connection with a water rinsing.

 

Michael

 

 

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Mike,

 

Get the "best" paper ones (if that's all that's available) you can find.  Most don't filter out the really fine stuff but a bit of wandering around the local home improvement shop should turn of some disposables that work on the fine stuff at a reasonable price.  

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Dang Michael - sounds pretty rough. But if it works for ya then here's to it. :cheers:

 

Not sure how many of these restores I will ever do. Hadn't planned on these.  They are intriguing though. All my personal builds are in cases and I must say they look as good today as the day they went under and I live with 2 cats and an admiral that hates housekeeping :rolleyes:. But in full disclosure, nothing is very old yet.

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I'll be getting back to it this weekend so I'll let you know how that worked druxey.

 

I've been debating the sails a lot. Discolored and mildewed. We work hard to make our stuff look just like that. There just doesn't seem to be any way to test if I could clean them 'a little'. No obscure places to try anything. It seems like I am going to have to either dive in and commit to doing it or do nothing.

 

And if I decide to do it, I keep thinking it would be best to make new sails - there are some small holes and tears in the current ones. Not bad, but I imagine they'll get worse going thru a cleaning process. Then I'll need to get the Admiral and her sewing machine involved :o

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First off I welcome you to this thread. It was started in the General Discussion forum. I was just going to ask a couple of questions regarding restoration. Things kinda snowballed and I realized what it all was turning into so I asked to have the thread moved to one of the build forums. The moderator figured it was a scratch build and she landed here. More on that in a second. Since this is a restore of a build done approximately 70 years ago I have no plans or boxes to show.

 

So at the moment, as would be expected, I am dismantling parts of the boat so that I can get down to the deck for some serious cleanup. The rear mast (is it still the main when it's a fore/aft?) is out and as previous pix show I am making a dent in all the dust. I was having trouble getting into some corners around the main cabin so I pulled it off. When I did I found something interesting

 

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As you can see I am making some progress on the deck.

 

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You've probably read my debate regarding the sails. Leave them? Clean them? Replace them? So I finally dunked one in some water & OXI-Clean for about a minute. Pretty disappointing. Maybe ti dulled down the mildew spots a bit but that is about all. So I think cleaning them is out. Closer inspection also shows holes in the hem areas where I supposed wire, that was in the hem, corroded and damaged the fabric.

 

Problem with new sails is I don't have a clue how to sew hems. As you can see in the pix, the hemming is quite good. And almost all of them have either wire or rope inside them.

 

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Aha -- I see that at least one of your model's mysteries has come to light. Now at last we have this project in the right forum. :)  Megow's Models was a manufacturer of wood model kits from 1929 to 1949. They offered a wide variety of subjects -- ships, vehicles, aircraft (both flying and static). You can read about Fred Megow and his company here, and you can see a similar Megow kit for sale here. So you do have a bit of modeling nostalgia there!

 

 

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Cool Chris. A $1000 or a hidden letter from JFK would have been better, but this will do. I saw a lot of adds for them in the vintage Popular Science mags. I didn't see if sails came with that kit or not. It didn't state specifically. I've been trying to determine if the sails on this build came with the kit or were made by the builder. The sewing on the hems is very well done, especially considering there is rope or wire inside most of them.

 

Gonna have to decide pretty quick whether I want a sewn hem in the replacements or just use some of that spray on stuff.

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