Jump to content

Spanish Galleon by DSiemens - E. Armitage McCann model - Restoration

Recommended Posts

I have had an interest for some time in the E. Armitage McCann models and always thought I'd try one someday.  I came across a 1927 version of his Pirate fellucca and Spanish Galleon book on Amazon for $11 and decided to make the purchase.  It was in great condition for a 91 year old book.  It even had the plans in the back sleeve. 


A friend of mine if the Rocky Mountain Ship wrights happened to be restoring a McCann Constitution so I thought I'd show it to him.  He recognized it right away as he has a 1926 copy and he asked how interested I was in building a McCann model.  I told him I was very interested.  He then told me he had a Spanish Galleon that needed some restoration amd that if I planned on restoring it he would let me have it.  I jumped at the chance.  I love old ship models.  The older the better.  I spent a bit of money on a 1915 ship in bottle just to have one from the era when ships in bottles became popular.  So owneing an old McCann style model was right up my alley.  


Admitably I started work on her right away.  So this is after some clean up but here she is.  


Note the receipt.  The ship was sold at one point in 1973 so I know it is at least that old.  To the best of my knowledge it between 50 to 90 years old.  It is incredibly fragile.  The rigging about fell apart looking at it.  All of the rigging needs to be redone.  Its bowsprit was broken and in need of repair.  Surprisingly all cannons were present.  Some of the stern sections were broken off and needed replacing.  I have my work cut out for me.  








Good news is I have the 91 year old instruction manual.  Bad news is I don't think theres such a thing as a notions counter anymore.  😜


I've been pouring through the book getting an idea of what goes where.  The original builder stayed pretty close to the book but did do his own thing on some parts.  I plan on doing a mix of the two.  Bring some parts closer to the book and leave some parts as the builder had them.  


I started with the rigging.  It all has to be removed.  I saved what dead eyes I could but they are equally fragile.  I may need to buy a celluloid knitting needle to teplace them as recomended by McCann. 


I then turned my attention to the deck.  McCann states it should be a lighter color.  The original builder painted it dark.  This is where thing got a little funny as the admiral looking over my shoulder said, "The deck isnt right, its to dark." I told her I was thinking that and thought about painting it lighter per the book.  She said, "No, you have taught me to much.  It won't look right unless you plank it."  She is right, theres nothing better than a nicely planked deck but, this is a McCann model.  It was supposed to be simple.  I fear my club and I have raised the admirals expectations in ship models.  I guess thats not all bad.  


 I'm still stuck in the middle on this idea but I purchased some wood to plank it with.  (I needed more ship in bottle veneer anyway)  From there I investigated the deck.  With a little sanding I found,the upper decks are wood.  I can sand them down to the wood and call it good.  The main deck however is a some sort of composite and doesn't have a wood grain.  The main deck will need planking.  



I purchased some wood from cards of wood that is paper thin.  If I do plank it the increased height of the deck will be very minimal.  


Thats the question though.  Do I paint it per the book or plank it because it would look better?  I would plan on a weathered look on the planking to keep this ship looking old.  There's a lot of charm in an old ship model and I don't want to lose that.



Link to post
Share on other sites

McCann seems to have kept his models simple, for the DIY'er of the day. However in his later models, such as Constitution he includes a more prototypical rigging information, from Lever's Sheet Anchor, for those that wanted additional detail. So I don't think he would have frowned on additional detail.


You'll have to decide what it is that is charming about the old model and try to preserve it. The old girl will never be accurate but can still be a looker if cleaned up!


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the comments.  I agree bdb accuracy is not the goal here at all.  Ours funny because McCann mentions that in his book.  Instead of building cross trees he has the builder use thread to tie the masts together.  He called it throwing seaman ship to the wind.  He meant it to be simple not accurate. 


Actually after reading through the book I'm somewhat surprised there aren't any McCann style builds on this forum.  For some one wanting to learn scratch building its a great start.  


I picked up a bit of paint and went to touching up some spots.  I want to keep the model looking old so I used a dry brush technique.  Wetting the brush the painting on a piece of paper until the paint was almost gone and then painting the model.  






I need better lighting but you can see how the colors come out but not by to much. 


I then turned my attention to the stern.  I'm not sure what the original artist was going for.




I decided to change this up all together.  I was given a color photo of a magazine cover for this ship.  






Here you can see the two lions on top per the book and a pegasus.  The book says to get a picture from a cigar box or catholic literature.  I looked at some from the 1930s and got some good ideas.  I like the pegasus though so I looked up 1930 pegasus.  What I found was interesting. 



This pegasus looks very similar to the one on the magazine cover.  So I think that's what I'll use.  

I went ahead and painted the stern and added the two lions per the book.  The stern is somewhat different as built but I think I can mix the book plans in just enough to look good.  



Link to post
Share on other sites

A bit more work done.  I decided to go with paint on deck.  I could have planked it but I figured id follow the book on this one.  I went light so that it still has an aged look.  The lighter deck does make the rest of the ship pop out more.  Got the head boards redone and in place as well as the cat heads.  Interestingly enough the book caled for a touch of silver on the head boards so ibpainted that on.  It does give a little more depth.  Got all the gun port lids replaced.  With the exception of the stern I'm about ready for rigging.  I've been cutting off the old rigging here and there saving the dead eyes and blocks, at least those that don't fall apart.  






Link to post
Share on other sites

A little more progress....



In regards to the windows the book calls for tin foil painted with transparent blue paint.  I didn't have any transparent blue and paint didn't seem to stick to the aluminum foil so I just used the foil as is.  I had thought I saw the window cross hatch pattern before and found it again in some lace.  I ended up cutting the windowsills out of paper and then glueing them onto the foil with the lace inbetween.  Once the glue dried I cut the window out of the foil, painted the sills and put it on the ship.  







Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, popeye the sailor said:

I see you finally sized up  ;)    got some good bones there........should make for a really nice model when your finished.   your doing a great job so far.


now I'm REALLY glad I poked my head into the scratch build forum :) 

Yep  you chased me over this way didn't you mate.🙂



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...

Thanks every one.  This has been a fun build.  Work is slow but sure.  I finished the transom and I think it turned out nice.




I wish I could say I did all the wood carving on this but the reality is its not wood.  I saw some one on this forum say they used polymer clay for the intricate carvings.  So I decided to try it out.  Its not to bad.


The transom was slightly different then it is in the book so I couldn't just copy the book directly but I got it pretty close. 


Work on the rigging continues.







Link to post
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...