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Bowdoin by ESF - Finished - Bluejacket - Scale 1:48 - First build


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Hello from a newbie and second year NRG member.  This is a log of the Bowdoin arctic explorer schooner kit by Bluejacket Shipcrafters.  I started model building many, many years ago, mostly with plastic cars, at a time when it was more fun to rush through the build than to paint.  But I always admired wooden ship models, and when I decided it was time for the plunge I looked for a kit where I could learn the skills of planking and rigging on a more modest scale.  The Bowdoin seemed a good fit, being about 24 inches long and with two masts.  And I liked that the kit is manufactured in Maine.

 

The Bowdoin was constructed for Donald MacMillan in 1921 by Hodgdon Brothers in East Boothbay, Maine.  A good history is available in The Arctic Schooner Bowdoin A Biography, by Virginia Thorndike, 1995 published by North Country Press, Unity, Maine.  The Bowdoin was eventually transferred to the Maine Maritime Academy and is used for student training.  The Academy has a wonderful series of ship photos from various student voyages and from the ship restoration in the 20-teens.

 

The log is retrospective and condensed, based on 90 pages of notes and photos gathered from the keel laying in June 2017 to completion in May 2018.  Part of the reason for holding off was abject fear that my work would fall far short of the very high bar you have all demonstrated.  You have been my teachers this past year and I would never have gotten through the build without your tips, techniques, articles and enthusiasm for ship building.  So I have decided to throw caution to the wind and put the Bowdoin out there for all to see.  If my execution has misinterpreted what I have seen and read please jump in.  I welcome your comments on what I have done to help prepare me for my second build.

 

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My work area is my old professional drafting table from my former architectural practice, which I squeezed into our combination laundry room, pantry coat closet.  It’s a great table with hydraulic lift, tilting top and a laminated rubber cover (Borco) over the wood surface.  The lamps are great since they can be positioned wherever you need over the work.

 

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The building base is two pieces of pine anchored at one end to an old saw vice which is mounted on the table and with C-clamps at either end of the keel.

 

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The bulkheads went in without incident although a few laser cut slots needed sanding.

 

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The subdeck consists of two pieces that must be glued along the edge.  The instruction manual, which is well written, makes some assumptions  regarding knowledge of nautical terminology - lazy jacks were a stumper.  But the manual also includes helpful tips, such as adding drops of CA mixed with sawdust on the underside of the subdeck to strengthen the joint line.  I made ample use of rubber bands, clothes pins (full and sawed off) and binder clips for the deck and plank work.

 

Edited by ESF
marked build as finished
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Johnroy, thank you for the like.

 

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The instructions call for installing the deck planking before starting the hull planking.  The deck planking is several sheets of basswood embossed with plank lines.  The embossing is well done but doesn’t give much contrast so I highlighted each groove with a 0.5 mm HB lead in a drafting leadholder.  I also simulated 20 ft plank lengths with a 1-3-5-2-4 pattern where every step is a scale 4 ft.

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The deck plank sheets are installed with contact cement, using a slip sheet between the deck plank sheet and the subdeck, to allow fine tuning of the placement before pressing the sheets together.  The stern block is laser cut but the inside curve is vertical, requiring carving to achieve the beveled form.  A utility knife with a sharp blade works well as a scraper.  The sheer planks, and all other planks, are first soaked in boiling water for about 2 hours, using a 24 inch piece of PVC pipe capped on one end and wire tied in a vertical position to the hot water radiator in the room!  The planks tend to bob up out of the water so they are weighted down with a clothes pin spanning across the top of the pipe.  The downside of soaking is the planks shrink a bit when drying and I should have allowed a bit of extra length when forming.

 

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Since the grandchildren showed interest a few of their little people make occasional shipyard visits, and photos of the visits are duly transmitted with the requisite site report.

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After fairing, shimming where fairing went too far, and creation of tick strips, planking gets underway.  At the bow it is challenging to effectively clamp the planks, but I found that heavy string threaded through the hull and twisted above the deck with a clothes pin works well in pulling the plank tight to its neighbor.

 

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Being completely clueless about how the planks should finish at the stern, and about shaped blocking at the bow and stern I attempted to twist the planks flat.  As the stern gradually looked worse with each tortured plank I called the Bluejacket help line.  Charlie was most helpful, reminding me that ship modeling is a construction project where bad work can be cut out.  He suggested cutting back the offending plank parts and reinstalling new pieces with a smooth transition to the stern.  The photo shows the before and after appearance.

 

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Next up is the waterway.  I missed the instruction to install it before hull planking and was concerned that I would have no way to clamp it while drying, but blue painter’s tape did the job.

 

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Presently building Bowdoin. About to start the rigging. This is a real nice model and produces many hours of enjoyment.

                                                                                          Good luck and enjoy     Bobporter  Randolph Maine

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russ, Tom E and Ryland Craze, thank you for the likes.

 

Bobporter, thank you for your like and for your comment.  i hope to see your progress.  Regarding rigging I was initially quite intimidated but found that I like it.

 

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After forming the waterways I painted them before final gluing to the deck.  Maybe I’ll try joggling(?) on the next ship, but for now at least the deck is clean.

 

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After much more reading and observing I began to understand how a planking fan and tick strips interact.  In manual architectural drafting when we needed to divide a line into even segments we called it expanding the scale.  We marked both ends of the line, drew a perpendicular line at one end, then set one end of the architectural scale at the other end of the  line.  We then moved the opposite end of the scale up and down the perpendicular line until we hit the correct number of evenly spaced segments along the scale.  We’d put a dot at each point on the scale, then drop a perpendicular line from each point to the line to be segmented.  No measuring required, perfect spacing and just like sliding a tick strip along the fan!  The fan pic also shows a sketch so I could understand how a drop plank works.  Bowdoin required a few drop planks and some stealers.

 

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Another learning experience was how to modify a binder clip to make a planking clamp by removing the wire gripper from another clip and installing it in the first clip.  Very handy and easily customizable by bending the gripper to exert more or less force on the plank.

 

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Per the instructions I worked both sides of the hull to keep planking stresses even.  This seemed to keep the keel straight.  The photo shows the last gap starboard, ready for a spiled plank.  Look closely and you can see a few drop planks, a double and two singles, and a small stealer.

 

PlankingFromStern.thumb.jpg.1dcfbf720ace931843d02260de71bc2e.jpg157.5 hours (I'm counting the half) after the keel laying the hull planking is finished, except for bulwarks, and ready for filling and sanding.  Bowdoin is a painted ship, thank goodness, giving ample opportunity to correct flat spots, divots and other indignities.

Edited by ESF
typo
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ESF,

Its great to see a Bowdoin build.

As a native New Englander, Bluejacket is a well known company up here.

I've admired there products for a long time.

I bought the Bowdoin kit last March and is my next project.

 

I've been able to keep my hands off the kit so far! 

But that's been getting difficult watching your build!

Looking awesome!

 

Tom E 

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Jack12477, thank you for the like.  bob porter thank you again for your like.

 

Tom E, thank you again for your like and for your comment.  I have no experience with other kits but I have found Bluejacket’s to be high quality and very complete.  I purchased a few more Brittania metal blocks and bullseyes for the optional lazy jacks and dory hook rigging, and I replaced the parrel beads, which were a bit large and too few, with some minuscule black ones from the local crafts store, but that was about it.  If I built one again I’d replace the kit mast hoops, which are brass rings and a bit pudgy, with Bluejacket’s wood hoops.  If you pull your Bowdoin box off the shelf I think you’ll enjoy it.

 

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Once the planking was installed I gave it a quick sanding to see what I had to work with.  The hull filling, sanding, re-filling, sanding, priming, spot filling, sanding, spot priming, sanding, masking, painting, rub out (paper towels on flexible sanding pad followed by Kleenex rub) and clear coating was about a 24 hour process.

 

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When I was speaking with Charlie at Bluejacket about the stern planking disaster he said he used a product called MH Ready Patch for hull filling, and suggested buttering the entire hull and then sanding back to the wood.  I picked up a can.  It’s like a super spackle, much denser than standard gypsum board compound and with very little shrinkage, but still smooth and workable.  I don’t know if my idea of buttering matches Charlie’s vision.  The photo reminds me of a story from my youth, when we were all just getting into shaving.  My best buddy told me that he had gone to see another of our friends and caught him in the act.  He said he almost died laughing when he saw our friend’s face covered with giant globs of shaving cream.  On my next build I’ll try to be more barber-like when buttering.

 

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In preparation for establishing the waterline I consulted the full size side elevation drawing to determine the angle at which to clamp the keel.  I drew a baseline on the drawing parallel to the waterline and constructed a small jig to give the keel the proper tilt.  Then I relocated the keel clamping boards to the middle of the desk to give me a work surface for the waterline marker.

 

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The waterline marking jig from wood scraps has a T-shaped footprint which helps with stability.  At the stern the pencil was almost parallel with the undersurface of the hull which made marking a bit of a challenge but overall the jig worked well.

 

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The inspector signed off on the hull painting.  A big day for the shipyard.

 

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Jack12477, Grant Goodale and Tom E, thank you for your likes.

 

cog, thank you for your like and compliment.

 

Tim Curtis, thank you for your like.  It’s nice to hear from a fellow architect.  I’m in upstate New York, which is basically anywhere that is not New York City or Long Island.

 

MrBlueJacket (Nic), thank you for your like and compliment.  I wish I was that fast.  This is a retrospective and condensed version of a build that consumed over 500 hours between June 2017 and May 2018, using 90 pages of my build notes and a lot of photos.

 

Thanks again to all.  And away we go.

 

Steve

 

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Emboldened with the success of finishing the hull I set about cutting and placing 78 false timberheads.  I set a small stop in my razor saw miter box which greatly sped up the task.  I used several small spacers to control placement.  Once I had a pile of the heads I installed the lower bulwark plank in the rabbet at the top of the hull, followed by some widely spaced heads to support the upper bulwark.  The curve of the sheer is fairly gentle so once I had the timberhead in the middle of the run set plumb, the spacers controlled the vertical alignment of each one thereafter.  I didn’t worry about whether the spacer bottom was in full contact with the waterway, only that the vertical edge was snugged tightly to the previously installed piece.  I should correct my earlier comment about painting the waterway.  Before placing it I painted the exposed edge only, not the whole waterway.  This allowed me to have a good glue bond between the waterway and the timberheads.  The work in progress is below.

 

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Bowdoin has many scuppers, one at the forward edge of every foredeck timberhead and one on each side of every main deck timberhead.  Each scupper is 1/16” x 3/32” and the bottom of the scupper must align with the top of the waterway.  A true test of X-acto no. 11 control in every way.  To help with marking I made a little scupper jig.  After grounding the jig inside the bulwark on the waterway, and up against a timberhead, I marked a line on the jig to coincide with the top of the bulwark, then moved the jig to the outside of the bulwark, realigned the pencil mark to the bulwark, and template-marked the scupper.  This allowed cutting the scupper from the outside of the bulwark while ensuring the bottom and side of the scupper would align with the waterway and timberhead.  A few scuppers are off-spaced in the backlit photo below due to a few mental lapses in timberhead spacing, which was not recognized until after the scuppers were cut.

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MicroFile.thumb.jpg.1b848a9f628144c6aa69b8d132a463a6.jpgA handy little tool during scupper work was a little micro-file which comes in a pack of 12.  It was good for enlarging hawse holes, cleaning scupper fuzz and other fiddly bits.

 

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Following thorough sanding of the bulwark and timberhead tops, the instructions call for a two-piece cap rail, an inside and outside strip which looked massively problematic.  Picking up on another great tip I purchased some sheet stock, glued it on the long edge, then flipped the hull over and traced the bulwark perimeter.  After offsetting the trace line both ways I cut out a one piece cap rail, slightly oversized to allow fine tuning during placement.  I trimmed, sanded and rounded the edges to the final profile after it was glued in place.

 

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Safety rope stanchions were next.  These are brass tubes set through the cap rail into the timberheads.  In hindsight I think they are a bit heavy but it was the smallest diameter in the kit.  They will be finished off with eyes.

 

 

Caprail.jpg

Edited by ESF
typos in text, and eliminated duplicate cap rail photo
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When you have them double in your edit box at the bottom where you upload the images to show in your post, you should throw one out, it will disapear  from the posting, at least, I presume that is the matter

Carl

"Desperate affairs require desperate measures." Lord Nelson
Search and you might find a log ...

 

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Carl, thank you for your ongoing interest and your suggestion.  I tried dragging a photo off the edit box but it didn't seem to want to go.  I'm not sure if that is a function of being on a Mac or if it's a one way trip for photo uploads.  Not a big deal and I actually prefer the vertically oriented cap rail pic anyway.

 

Bob Porter, thanks for your ongoing interest.

 

Steve

 

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Moving on up, work started on cabins, deck furniture, masts, booms and gaffs.  I added internal bracing to the laser cut cabins to help square them up.  I made the mistake of trying to bend the thin mahogany sheet to follow the cabin roof curve without soaking it.  After it split in half I replaced it with basswood and painted all the roofs.  As it turns out they are painted on the original ship.

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The brass portholes were inverted and taped down to wax paper, then filled with clear silicone.  This kept the silicone from sticking and gave a reasonably smooth, glasslike surface to the exposed face.

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An interesting feature on Bowdoin is the pickle barrel, shown being test fit, where the lookout would freeze while scanning the horizon for icebergs.  The bands are black striping tape.  I would rate it about a C+ since the eight sided barrel managed to end up with 7 faces.

 

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My new found love of little jigs continued with the spreader construction.  Soaking the spreader bars in hot water helped greatly when forming the bends.

 

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An old tube of wallpaper repair adhesive came in handy when wrapping a dowel with a paper strip to make the stove pipe tops and boom jaw rests.  It had enough open time to run a bead along the entire strip, and gripped quickly when I rolled the strip around the dowel.

 

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I added brackets under the paper strip boom jaw rest, with a little bump out on one bracket to allow clearance for the ship’s bell.

 

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The curved fife rails were laser cut but the boom rest and other parts were cut and carved from stock.

 

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The main boom traveler, shown resting near its final location, was fabricated from brass wire.  The engine exhaust is a Brittania metal casting.  An awkward installation since it has to set into a hole in the deck and into an angled hole drilled through the transom block to daylight.

 

BoomCleat.thumb.jpg.233b7858426118dd10f37724b1f2226a.jpgSeveral small cleats were needed and were cut and sanded before removing them from the wood strip.

 

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Don't drag, use the bin icon on the image itself.

 

Very nice, and crisp detail. You really did a wonderful job there

Carl

"Desperate affairs require desperate measures." Lord Nelson
Search and you might find a log ...

 

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John Cheevers, thank you for your like.

 

Bob Porter, thanks for your continuing likes.

 

Carl, thanks again.  Your suggestion re the photo edit worked well.

 

Steve

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The cabin skylight guards are built up from mahogany laser cut strips and brass wire.  I used some wipe on poly to seal the strips before assembly.

 

DeckFurnitureSkylight.thumb.jpg.ca592280b82c1c24155fab4d8012b9ef.jpgTest fitting of deck items is underway.

 

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Photos of Bowdoin show wood trim around the base of the capstan, a polished brass top and the safety rail around the capstan is shown wrapped (served and parcelled?), presumably for better grip during rough weather.  The thread to simulate it, which hadn’t been run through beeswax, is a bit fuzzy.

 

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The overview of progress.  It was about this time that i realized I had a construction error in the main boom rest.  I had installed the support on each side in a single piece of brass, extending from the deck, drilled through the wood and dropping to the transom cap rail.  The construction should have been in two pieces each side, with the vertical rod from the cap rail wrapping up and over the edge of the wood.  The later photo below shows the reconstruction which is a better representation of the real condition.  I need more experience in keeping wire straight.  I did try pre-stretching which helped but didn’t eliminate the waviness.  The photo below also picks up the shackle on the main boom which probably should have been drilled through the boom or otherwise fastened rather than resting on top of it.

 

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After the deck work, after mast, boom and gaff prep, and the spreader installation, the rigging was finally in sight.  I dipped my toes in the water with a tryout on the main boom topping lift, not because it was first but because it looked pretty straightforward.

 

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A question was how to finish off the top of the masts.  The real mast, shown during reconstruction in the photo above, courtesy of the Maine Maritime Academy, has a ball top with a rod support to a black base that is secured to the mast top.  In post-reconstruction photos the ball is shown in yellow.  I end-drilled a scrap piece of dowel a short depth, then cut the dowel off beyond the drilling, to make a little cap to which I fastened a round head pin with most of its shaft cut off.  The result is below in a photo from much later in the build.  The cap should be a bit shallower in depth and thinner in its wall thickness but it was an interesting experiment.

 

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The kit specifies wire for the standing rigging which shows in the photo above.  I’m guessing there is a better tool than needle nose pliers to crimp the aluminum tube swaging so it would come out rounder rather than flat.

 

Edited by ESF
changed restoration to reconstruction in mast top text
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the details you added are very fine. Haven't seen such very often on kit builds. Well done

Carl

"Desperate affairs require desperate measures." Lord Nelson
Search and you might find a log ...

 

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Tom E and Tim Curtis, thank you for your likes.

 

Steve, Carl and Bob, thank you for your likes, your compliments and support.  They mean a lot coming from such fine craftsmen.

 

Bob, thank you for the wire straightener suggestion.  I have an unfair advantage in that this is a retrospective look at the 500 plus hours it took to complete Bowdoin over the last year.  But my guess is that in the end you'll beat the hour count handily.

 

And away we go.

 

Steve

 

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Rigging continued, with a focus on rat boards using 1/32” square stock, and helped along with a template tip picked up from many other members.  After fastening with a combination of thin and medium CA I tried lashing with black 6/0 Uni-thread, but a tight square lashing was barely visible on the black rat board background.  When I checked the Bowdoin mast reconstruction photos, I found that the rat boards were integrated into the shrouds with no visible lashing.  So I decided to call it a day for that part of the Bowdoin build.

 

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The real rat boards, during the mast reconstruction, courtesy of the Maine Maritime Academy.

 

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Bowdoin includes a drawing for optional dory construction.  The dory shell is constructed inverted over a simple former, then turned upright to install the ribs and mahogany seats.

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I chose to build one dory, rather than the suggested two, partly because I was running out of stock.  At some point when my skills improve I may add oarlocks and some oars.

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An overall view and another view from the port stern showing rigging progress, less the lazy jacks and dory hooks.  The kit includes tan thread for most rigging, thinner white for lighter gauge work, black for some strops, a heavier white for the safety rope, and wire as noted earlier for standing rigging.  The tan photographs more white than brown, and I did not attempt to dye the white.  While it may not be accurate I think the combination of the tan and white complements the white of the hull, cabins and deck furniture.  If rigging color is not an allowable choice in ship building I would appreciate your input.

 

I chose to display with the gaffs in a lower position since it adds to the rigging appearance.  This taught me why rigging charts measure rope lengths in hundreds of feet.  One length, which I installed backward once, and from the wrong end of the block the second time, was almost eight feet long (384 feet at 1:48 scale).

 

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Above is a view amidship and a closeup of some rope loops.   These views show the mast hoop bulk, partly due to the material (brass rings which required gluing) and partly due to multiple coats of paint.  Wood hoops next time.  I intentionally avoided perfect symmetry in the rope loops since ship photos I have seen usually show some variation from loop to loop.

 

Seizing at blocks is typically 6/0 Uni-thread, either black or tan, following the method shown in J Brent’s youtube video.  Once I got the hang of working at such a small scale it was quite enjoyable, although it’s guaranteed to make you bug-eyed after awhile.  It’s good to have something else to work on to give your eyes a break.  On the plans the boom jaws show shorter in length than the gaff jaws.  Understandable since the gaffs slope sharply in the raised position but it seemed to make the gaff jaws look different, more angular than rounded.  Of course, it could also have just been poor fabrication.  See below - booms at bottom, gaffs at top.  This earlier photo did not have the final parrels.  If you have suggestions for better jaw consistency on future builds please chime in.  Thanks.

BoomJaws.thumb.jpg.9f787e5bbf25305c0323d7691a59b170.jpg  

 

 

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Tigersteve and cog, thanks for your likes and for hanging in there.

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The Bowdoin is finished.  From the keel laying in June 2017 to completion in May 2018 my first build was a great experience, more than I could ever have hoped.  I learned a lot on the trip but I would never have reached port without your willingness to post your spectacular work and share your journeys.  I’m so glad I discovered and can be a part of NRG and Modelshipworld;  a truly special community.

 

Above and below are Bowdoin in the fresh air before retiring to its permanent home.

 

Thank you

 

Steve

 

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Steve, it was just a "short hanging", I enjoyed the ride, short as it may seem now, but I wouldn't have wanted to miss it for the world. You can be extremely proud of what you have achieved with your build. I do hope you will have something new for us to feast our eyes upon soon. Thanks for sharing ...

Carl

"Desperate affairs require desperate measures." Lord Nelson
Search and you might find a log ...

 

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To all those who gave likes, thank you and thanks for stopping in.

 

Steve, Carl and Bob, you have been with me right along.  Your ongoing interest and appreciation of my maiden voyage meant a lot to me.

 

I've been casting about for a new project.  I have lived near the Hudson River my entire life and have thought about a Hudson River sloop, or perhaps one of the boats out of the former Matton and Sons shipyard, which was active when my friends and I would sneak down to the river to watch the activity on the opposite shore.  I've also considered the Zebulon B. Vance, the Liberty Ship turned hospital ship turned tramp steamer (as my mother referred to it after sailing on it as a war bride from England).  Deans Marine has a model of the St. Olaf, which is identical (at least to me) to the late version of the Vance, but it is almost five feet long and we've no place to put it.  Bluejacket has a Liberty Ship but I can't seem to find a source of drawings that might help kitbashing for the Liberty to hospital ship conversion.  But I'll keep looking.  In the meantime I'm anxious to see what all of you have been doing so I'll be trolling the logs.

 

Thanks again.

Steve

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Steve, that's a beautiful model of a beautiful vessel. With such high quality of workmanship it's hard to believe it's your first build.

 

Steven

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Steven,

 

Thank you for your like and interest in my work.  My career as an architect helped - I know my way around a no. 11 blade and reading drawings.  I have assembled a Pocher Bugatti and a bunch of plastic models, but Bowdoin was my first wooden ship.

 

I wish you best of luck with your dromon.  Thanks for sharing your exhaustive research.  

 

Steve  

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ESF - Incredible Job!  I'm just starting mine now; it's my first build too.  As you know the pictures in the instructions are not much help because of their poor quality.  Your pictures however, are a treasure trove of info and answers!  Thank you so much for posting all of the pictures and showing off your work.  I've been a bit bogged down by the details and lack of answers, but your pictures have given me the inspiration to keep pushing forward.

 

I do have a few questions right off the bat, and I'm sure I'll have more as the build progresses. 

 

1. - What did you use to stain your masts and booms?

2. - As a first time builder, what threads or resources did you find most useful with this project? 

3. - Are there any "lessons learned" if you were going to do this project again?  Anything you learned along the way you wish you had known ahead of time? 

4. - Could you describe the 1-3-5-2-4 pattern in reference to the pencil marks on the deck? 

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Koa4225,

 

Thanks for looking in and for your interest.  The pictures in the manual are somewhat muddy but I realized after awhile that they contain good information if you take your time and study them closely.

 

For the masts, booms and gaffs I used Minwax Golden Oak stain and after that dried, two coats of Minwax Wipe-On Poly, Clear Satin.  

 

The NRG Articles section is a treasure trove of information.  The build logs on MSW are spilling over with tips, techniques and ideas, generously shared by all the members.  If you read enough you'll begin to see there are a variety of ways to accomplish different tasks, each with its own adherents.  Take hull plank bending as an example.  Some prefer steaming over the kitchen kettle, some prefer dry heat, some soak the planks in boiling water (me), some use water mixed with ammonia and a few resort to crimping with a plank bending tool that looks like a pair of pliers, although some builders feel that way disfigures and weakens the wood.  

 

Youtube is another source of information.  I learned a few techniques on stropping blocks, seizing and making rope coils through some videos by J Brent which were well presented, short and easy to understand.  But that's just one way.  You may find something you like better, either in video format or in the build logs and articles.

 

I also purchased books on rigging techniques, nautical knots and ropework and a practicum (essentially a book-length build log).  Many of these are referenced in various areas of the NRG site.  I recommend joining NRG.  The annual fee is paid back many times over in access to an incredible amount of shipbuilding information, advice and examples of wonderful work.

 

A headset magnifier was absolutely necessary for me.  The one I have has a neat LED headlight and a choice of four different strength magnifier inserts.

 

Working at such a small scale requires tools that can grip, cut, drill and otherwise manipulate tiny pieces of wood and thread.  Spend wisely and get good stuff, as you need it.  I did Bowdoin with hand tools, an old Dremel tool (good for cutting brass tube and rod), tiny paintbrushes and an old electric drill for a few holes that were too big for the pin vise (it's a little hand drill for very tiny drill bits).  The hand tools are all available on specialist websites. 

 

Since you have a Bluejacket product I suggest subscribing to their newsletter which contains many tips.  The site also has a link to past newsletters.  Bluejacket has a help line for their customers that proved invaluable to me when I messed up some planking.

 

I learned lessons at every step of the build, but the most important was to study hard before every step, and to be patient.  Study the instructions, study the drawings and photos, study how others do it, look at the real ship (Maine Maritime Academy has many wonderful photos), learn nautical terminology so you know what they are talking about and then take your time.  But don't panic or be afraid to move forward.  Charlie at Bluejacket gave me great advice when he said that model ship building is a construction project.  If something doesn't work you can cut it out and do it over.  That was very liberating.

 

When you are reading the manual, read ahead and think ahead so you don't install something, only to find that it is in the way of something to be installed later in the build.  For example, on Bowdoin the small wood block (I think it's the wheelhouse but don't quote me) that holds the ships wheel is very close to the rigging between the main boom and the boom traveler.  I held off installing it until after the rigging was in place, even though it showed being installed earlier.

 

The numbers refer to a pattern of offsets between the ends of planks.  The kit planking is several sheets of basswood with lines pressed into it to simulate individual planks, but there are no lines across the planks.  On a real ship an individual plank is not the entire length of the ship.  It might be 16 or 20 feet long and the joints at the ends of the planks would be offset, similar to what you would see in wood flooring for a house.  I did some web searching and found examples of different offset patterns so I chose one that I liked and seemed to fit the ship, and I marked the planking sheets accordingly.  I'm sure the NRG veterans could give you guidance if you want to know what would be the truly correct pattern for the ship.  It all depends upon how deep you want to go to simulate reality.

 

I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck.

 

Steve

 

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Steve,

 

I must have gotten a really bad copy of the pictures in my manual.

 

I went out into town today and picked up a few tools, and made an order with BlueJacket for some additional tools, paints, and supplies.  I've learned through the years, the right tool is always worth the investment, and good tools make work easier and more comfortable!  I'm actually a Maine Maritime Academy Alumni, and did sail on the Bowdoin a few times throughout my education there.  Like you, I have found their cruise logs, and Facebook page a great source for pictures. 

 

Looking over your pictures, I was wondering what technique you used for getting your little eye-screws for the rigging affixed so perfect and straight into the dowels?  Any advice?

 

Zachary

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Zachary,

 

If you have sailed on Bowdoin you are way ahead of me in your research.

 

The holes for the eyebolts in the rigging were all pre-drilled.  Early in the build you will need to cut the bottom of each mast into a rectangular shape to fit into the mast step, a little slot you will form into the keel area.  After I cut the rectangular shape I marked each mast below the deck line so I always knew which side was port, which was starboard and which side was toward the bow.  Then whenever I laid something out on the mast I made sure it was aligned with proper direction I had marked on the mast.  For the eyes I drew a line along the mast from the center of the mast rectangular shape and used that as a centerline for the eyebolt holes.  I used the drawing of the ship to determine the vertical location of each eyebolt.  The holes were drilled with a pin vise, making sure to keep the drill bit vertical.

 

Good luck!

 

Steve

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