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Charles W. Morgan by David Lester - Model Shipways - 1/64th scale - FINISHED

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The main thing to consider about all of this is that it is more of an art form than anything else.  We are our own worst critics,and it is ourselves whom we must first satisfy. Some while back one of the other Morgan builders was contemplating a means of representing the cabin and dining area that would be visible from deck looking down through the skylight.At first,that seemed an awful lot of effort for something that would not be seen,especially once in a display case,and could only be viewed from the side.But the more I thought about the idea,the more I realized that he would always see it every time he looked at his creation,and that is the most important consideration of all. I will be looking forward to seeing your results when you are ready to show it to us. I think I have about single- handedly worn out John's website looking at the Morgan pictures.I also think I will have built mine about three times as I spend more time redoing stuff than actually making real headway,not to mention getting diverted to other stuff for long periods.           Gary

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Richvee - Thanks, I think it's going to work just fine. A question though - what colour does everyone think the rods (thread) should be? The plans say all ochre. On the ship as it stands today, the rods on the base are painted ochre, but the ones on the roof panels are black. I'm tending to leaving all of it black as the contrast makes it stand out a little more, but I think I'll pick up some ochre coloured thread tomorrow and do a test run with it before deciding.


Thanks again for comments and likes.


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I'm wondering if the bars were different colors through the renovations...??

Here they look black...


Here, ochre...


and here it's tough to tell


I'd say the choice is yours. I wouldn't think either would be "wrong" 

Personal opinion. I like the black for a little contrast. On a model I think it would make that detail "pop". 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good Morning,

I've been working away at this and that. There are so many details to be added to this hull, that it's almost paralyzing figuring out what to do next. I've been playing around with some of the deck structures.


The "houses" at the stern end and the "head" have to be let into the bulwarks and rail and this is a bit tricky. I knew I had to use templates, but even creating them seemed problematic, so I built the templates up from components with a new piece at each point where the profile changed and taped them together.




I then made a decent one piece template.




Then I fine tuned the one-piece template.



And finally, the piece itself.



I used a piece of 1/32" sheet material for the back and then faced it with 1/32" x 1/16" strips. (The blocks in the picture held in place by the clips are just spacers to help me locate the rail.)


Here's the powder room ☺️ fitted to the bulwarks (just placed temporarily at this point.




Many thanks for looking in, likes etc.




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  • 2 weeks later...

Good Morning,

I've been working away at this and that. I spent a lot of time yesterday (raining all day, couldn't rake leaves) working on the lettering for the stern. I don't know what the decorative "f" in the centre is property called; whether it's simply a decoration or some old-fashioned contraction for "of". In any case it presented a bit of a challenge to duplicate. There is an elaborate "f" in the special characters section of Word, but it wasn't quite right. In the end I downloaded this image from Google:



Then I doctored it with Photoshop and the result isn't too bad:





The next photo shows my lettering above the lettering on the actual ship:



And finally, on my model:



I also finished the skylight:



Using sewing thread for the rods worked quite well. Because it's so fine, I was able to get the same number of them in place as on the ship. For the bottom portion, I had stiffened the thread with CA glue, but for the upper portion, I tried it without adding the CA glue and it actually worked a little better.


I am now working on a number of small details to the hull - portholes, etc before turning the hull upside down and staring on the copper plating.


Again, thanks for likes and comments.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Good Morning,

I have a bit of progress to report. I've finished up quite a few details on the hull including the coppering as well as a couple of more pieces of the deck details. (All are just sitting on the deck for the photos - none is actually installed yet.)


There are a number of portholes etc that are not included in the kit, so I ordered a few different ones. It took a bit of research finding the right sizes but in the end I found some nice small ones - only 1.2mm - for the smallest openings and a couple of different bigger sizes for the others.






The oblong mooring chocks are a bit of a mystery to me. The plans indicate four of them on the starboard side and none on the port size, but the kit comes with six. So that's more than needed for the outboard side of the openings, but not enough for both the outboard and inboard sides of the openings. So I used the four kit supplied ones on the outboard side and then used new brass portholes which I bent into an oblong shape for the inboard side and it seems to work well enough. You can see them clearly below.




Stern details finished -



I always find finishing the decking to be a challenge. The basswood takes the stain so poorly that it's hard to get a nice consistent finish. I also like to try to simulate the grayed out look that decks usually have on the real ship. I'm fairly happy with the result I got this time, but don't ask me to duplicate it! It was a lengthy series of experimental steps. This time I used acrylic artists' paint.I started with a thinned mixture of black, white, dark brown and yellow, mixed to achieve a sort of taupe colour. I brushed it on and rubbed it down. Then there was miserable series of steps - adding more brown because it was too gray; adding more black because it was too brown; adding more white because it was too dark; adding more yellow because - well because it was the only colour left to add and then going through the whole process over and over again. When I was finally reasonably happy, I rubbed the whole thing down with steel wool which resulted in a very nice finish and a colour that I think looks ok.


(Also, while I'm on the topic of decking - this kit has no sub-decking. The decking planks are 1/16" thick and install directly on the bulkheads. If I was doing it again, I would buy 1/32" sheets and make a sub-deck and then install 1/32" planks over that. It would be much easier to get a good even surface and there would be no concerns about plank butts not lining up with the bulkheads.)



The bigger challenge though, was getting a crisp line along the top edge of the upper white stripe. This is the outboard edge of the top rail and according to the pictures I've seen, the white should only be on the vertical surface, not the horizontal surface. After many failed attempts at painting, I realized I would never get a good clean line where the white and black meet. The upper edge of that white line is highly visible and the least deviation jumped out at me.

I considered using a styrene strip which would give a good sharp line. I'm not opposed to using styrene in principal, but in this case it was just too front and centre so I abandoned that idea. In the end, I painted a piece of paper and applied that. I have some really nice black paper that I used to simulate small iron fittings etc. It's not as heavy as card stock, but heavier than regular paper. It painted beautifully, without any wrinkling. I cut narrow strips of it and glued it on and it solved the problem!



The pump handles are another kit mystery. They provide a small centre fitting, but then you are supposed to attached extended handles to it. I couldn't see any way to do that easily or nicely, so I discarded it and fabricated the whole part as one from brass -



So that's where I'm at so far. Next up is the tryworks, which looks like it will present some fresh challenges too.


This is one of the most enjoyable builds I have done yet, and if anyone is considering this kit, I would definitely recommend it.


Again, many thanks for comments and likes.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Good Morning,

I've spent the last little while working on the tryworks and it's now finished. I used the method described by Gerald Spargo and which is available in the resources section on the NRG main site.


It was a pretty straightforward endeavour. The only really difficult aspect is once you get to the top, it appears as though there will not be enough room for the pots, chimneys, trim etc. So it takes a bit of tweaking to get it all to fit. It's also a bit tricky to keep the walls plumb.


Gerald advised strongly to use emamel paint for the bricks and not acrylic. (Perhaps it's difficult to wipe the joint filler off acrylic paint cleanly, I'm not sure.) So I used some Humbrol flat enamel. I understand that the top surface and chimneys are copper that has blackened over time. So I painted them with Humbrol copper enamel and then dry brushed flat black over top. I'm not sure how clearly it shows up in the pictures, but you can just see bits of copper showing through. I did the same thing for the cooling tank.


















So that's it for now. Many thanks for looking in.


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Hi Mike,

Thanks very much. The deck finish is a long story - it's basswood. Deck finishing is my nemesis. Basswood never takes a stain very nicely and usually comes out blotchy, sometimes even with only polyurethane. Also, I tend to like the grayed out look of decks on real ships. I'm fairly happy with how this one turned out, but it was a process that I would have a hard time duplicating exactly. I used artists' acrylic paint and mixed up a batch of a toupe colour using black, white, dark brown and yellow continually adjusting until I was reasonably satisfied. (It approximated Tamiya's 'deck tan'.) I applied it thinned down with water and after it dried I applied more over the "bad" areas that still showed through. Sometimes I would use the original taupe mixture, sometimes just brown, sometimes yellow etc. Sometimes I would apply it thinned down and sometimes full strength. Each application was an attempt to compensate for the poor results of the previous one. Before I knew it I had too much paint on it and it just looked like a painted deck. So I masked off the bulwarks and removed it all with paint stripper. It left the deck effectively stained and I was surprised to discover that it didn't look too bad, so I rubbed it down with fine steel wool and the result is what you see. I've built several models now and no two of my decks look similar, but I think this is my favourite one. I'm glad you like it too.

Thanks again,


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I would never have guessed that’s what you did, but have to say I really like the results!  Very nice and realistic looking.


I meant to also thank you for testing out thread in the skylight.  I am using yellowheart for the yellow ochre areas on my Morgan, and was wondering if I could run the wood through a drawplate to get skinny rods like that (yellowheart is very splintery at times).  I considered using brass rod as a fallback, but thread looks to work really nicely.

Edited by Landlubber Mike
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  • 2 weeks later...

Good Morning,

A little update -

I have finished the deck structures at the stern. I expected the skylight and the tryworks to be difficult, but they proved to be easier than I anticipated. These little "houses" on the other hand, took me by surprise and proved to be quite hard to do, and difficult to do any one aspect of them in isolation. Each step seemed to depend on something else being done first. The first step is installing the rudder-


I tried making the pintles and gudgeons copper. I used styrene stips covered with copper tape. (the top one will be painted black.)It worked fairly well and it's certainly a little more forgiving than if they contrast sharply with the hull.



Some components just dry-fitted, but the steering mechanism has to be installed before the cabins can be attached-



Rigging the steering before final installation of the cabins-




Cabins in place-



More or less finished, just some details such as ladder and smoke stack to add as well as a couple of touch-ups-





I'm currently working on the fife rail, which you can see in the above photo. It's just dry-fitted when the photo was taken and doesn't fit quite right yet. Once it's done, I will pretty much finished the deck details and will turn my attention to the details on the exterior of the hull.


Many thanks for comments, likes and just looking in.


I'm going out to get our Christmas tree later today. Every year I unsuccessfully lobby for an artificial tree as I never look forward to the effort and mess of cutting and setting up a real tree, but I have to admit when it's done, I'm always glad I made the effort!


Happy holidays to all.



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Thanks for checking in Joe and Dave!

Dave, I very much want to visit the Morgan too and I'm sure it won't be too long before we make the trip. It's not actually all that far from where we live - about a seven hour drive, so quite doable as a mini holiday. When we were in the UK last year we visited a number ships and it's quite a bit of fun.


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Good Morning,

My wife Nancy is generally very supportive of my model building even though it's an interest she doesn't share. However she does not find the idea of whaling as an enterprise to be to her liking, so is a little dubious about the Charles W. Morgan. You may recall from one of my earlier posts that she refers to it as the "William H. Macy." (War ships on the other hand don't seem to bother her.) Last night she made a rare trip into my workshop to see how I was doing. Noticing that I had installed the belaying pins she asked "What are all those little clubs for? Whacking fish on the head I imagine!" Oh well.


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Hello All:


I've been working on a couple of different things:


I couldn't seem to make the cast metal bilge pumps fit properly. There is a bracket on the handle which is supposed to attach to the fife rail. I couldn't see how to bend the handle to make that work without breaking it and/or creating a strange shape. So I made new ones from scratch and will use an small eyebolt to attach it at the fife rail. The picture below shows the supplied cast one and one of my new ones:


(sorry, it's poorly focused)


I wanted a change of pace from deck and hull details so decided to jump ahead to something completely out of sequence and turn my attention to the life hoops on the fore and main masts. There is very little reference to them in the plans and I've been unsure about how best to deal with them. So today, I've been experimenting and think I've come up with an acceptable approach.


I found this picture in John's (Texxn5) build log and I hope he doesn't mind if I share it with you here:



It appears that the hoops are wrapped with canvas. I know I could simply paint the hoops white, but I was wondering how to replicate the covered look and came up with the idea of using plumbers' thread sealing tape.


I made the rings by wrapping some brass wire around a 5/16" dowel and then soldered them to a piece of brass strip which will wrap around the mast. I then wrapped the rings with the tape and I think it gives a pretty good result. I'll glue the assembly to the mast at a later time and paint the brass strip white along with the mast.





So that's my diversion for today. I've been stalling on the hull details because there are so many different elements (5 sets of davits, supports for the roof structure, channels, etc.) all to be fitted in with little wiggle room and no room for error. The location of each seems to rely on the placement of something else and I can't seem to settle on a starting point. However I will have to before much longer.


Thanks again for checking in, comments and likes.




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