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David Lester

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

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Very nice job on the pump and handle refab. The Model Shipways Morgan plans do seem to require a lot of attention to confirm all of the dimensions. Build is coming along nicely.

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Beautiful work. Great thing about whale ships.— There’s plenty of diversions. Another diversion you may want to think about is at least one whale boat carved to its final shape and size.  You can get to the details whenever, but It’s a big help having one the right size when figuring where to mount the davits, the height of the cranes outboard for the whale boats to rest on, etc.  Don’t be in a rush to mount them. All they do is get in the way when rigging. You’ll want to drill any holes, etc, to make sure things line up nice, but delay the final mounting. I got standing rigging done on my Kate Cory before I made the cranes and installed them and still haven’t installed the davits permanently yet. 

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Thanks for the kind comments everyone.

 

Dave, I thought up the plumbers' tape idea for the hoops lying in bed one morning around 5 am. (I have a very exciting life😀.)

 

Richvee - thank you very much for the idea of building up one whale boat before installing the davits. That's one thought that hadn't occurred to me lying in bed and I think it's a good one.

 

See Hoss - You should keep the CWM on your wish list; it's a really great model kit.

 

Scoot - Yeah, the plans are really pretty good; there's a ton of information on them, but it sure does take a great deal of scrutinizing to find it all.

 

Thanks again,

David

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Good Morning All

I took a detour from working on the hull and have been spending the last month or so working on the seven boats. I have to say that they have driven me completely crazy. (Admittedly, it's an easy drive!)

 

I don't recall which build log I saw it in, but there was a suggestion to glue up the boats, except for the bottom, then cut them in half lengthwise in order to make it easier to shape the interiors. I tried this and it works really well. After the interiors are shaped, just glue them back together and add the bottoms

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The plans show plenty of detail. On the one hand, the more the better, but on the other hand, if it can't be done half decently, better to leave it out. This took a bit of experimenting. It's a balancing act. For example,  I simply couldn't manage to make the knees for the thwarts well enough, so I decided to let them go.

 

It was a bit difficult to decipher what some of the detail shown in the plans was. I found it helpful to refer to download the instructions for the MS 1:16 whaleboat as well as John Fleming's build log for that model.

 

Most of the finishing is wood, but I used styrene for the ribs, because 1/32 x 1/32 wood seemed just a bit over scale. Also I used card stock for the thwarts and lion's tongue.

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Working on the exteriors  of the hulls is where it turned into a "Groundhog Day" type of experience for me and I thought I would never get out of the loop. It was a month long process of painting one component, waiting for it to dry, then painting the adjacent component, not being satisfied with the result, waiting for it to dry, repainting the first component, being reasonable satisfied, waiting for it to dry, touching the paint with glue on my finger, swearing, trying to scrap the glue off, ruining the paint job completely, swearing, using stripper to remove all the paint, then repeat and repeat and repeat.

 

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In the end I managed to get an acceptable result by cutting a piece of card stock to the size and shape of the coloured stripe along the hull and gluing it on. It gave a crisp edge along which to change paint colour.

 

Thankfully, they are all now finished (apart from adding the rudders) and I can set them aside and return to the relative sanity of hull details.

 

David

 

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Hi David, wonderful build, everything is looking great. I was cutting the boats in half when shaping them, made it a lot easier.

 

I like what you did with the hoops. In that same picture you showed of the actual hoops, has anyone noticed that some of the ropes are siezed in the same manner. I played around with that idea with the plumbing tape, and it does work, but it's also rather time consuming.

 

BTW, the reason I suggested not to use acrylic paint on the tryworks, is because it smears when wiping the spackling off, and turns it pink.

 

Keep up the great work. I've been enjoying watching these Morgan's come together on here, and seeing all the great ideas. Me of course have fallen way behind.

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Thank you for dropping in, Gerald. It was in fact your build where I got the ideal of cutting the boats in half. I remembered the technique, but I'd forgotten where I'd seen it. I'm glad you reminded me. I also used your method for building the tryworks. I was tempted to just use acrylic paint, (which I can find easily here where I live), for the bricks. However, I took your advice and ordered some Humbrol enamel and it sounds as if I avoided a potential problem. 

 

Your build is nothing short of exquisite; I can only dream of producing such fine work. However I'm still having a lot fun.

 

Thanks all for comments and likes.

David

 

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The boats look great Dave! And only a month?? It took me a month to do the first one on my Kate Cory...Now I’m thinking about stealing your idea for the card stock stripe. So maybe I don’t even have one finished yet!  

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Hi Everyone,

I've been working away on my Morgan (when not shoveling snow!) I'm working on the various hull details. With all models I know it's necessary to think several steps ahead but that's really the case with this one.

 

I installed the anchor deck, but in order to do that the main stay has to be first located. In order to get the angle right, I needed to put the main mast in place to get the starting height of the stay and to located the holes in the anchor deck in the right spots.

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Then I started in on the hull details which is a very tricky endeavour. There are many components to be added along the length of the hull and it requires quite a bit of careful layout to get them more or less right. I've been marking the locations of davits and various other things with masking tape:

 

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I started with the canopy supports -  

 

 

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I've made the roof, but it's not actually installed; I'll do that later.

 

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I'm currently working on the channels and chain plates and had to do some experimenting and have had a few false starts. The plans show one continues piece of wire wrapped around the deadeye at the top and forming an eye at the bottom. I found it difficult to make them look half decent and almost impossible to control their lengths. So, I wrapped the wire around the deadeye, soldered it and left the ends loose.

 

Here they are in place just to gauge their length (they're still rough looking at this point and I scrapped a couple of them):

 

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I then cut them to length and soldered an eyebolt to the bottom end. This works very well as I can fine tune the length if need be by sliding the eyebolt up or down and resoldering it. Here's one after a little refinement that should look just fine when installed and painted flat black:

 

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I started with the mizzen channels as there are no other components to interfere with them and I'm still fine tuning them. The main and fore channels have to be fit around davits etc. so that's next on the agenda.

 

Thanks again for looking in

David

 

 

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Outstanding. Everything is so crisp and clean. Really enjoying following this build. 

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A little progress to report -

I've finished attaching the lower deadeyes and chainplates which more or less finishes the hull. The boat davits and cutting in stage have to be added, but that will come a little later.

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I had previously made the bowsprit assembly, so have now installed it along with the dolphin striker. I'm not very comfortable making small brass components, but I managed to get an acceptable result for the fitting at the bottom of the dolphin striker.

 

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I've been working on shaping the masts and yards which are now all done and the enormity of the task of assembling them all is just now beginning to dawn on me.

 

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There is a lot more hardware on these spars than I have ever encountered in my previous models. I guess it's related to the time period of the ship. All my others are late18th century and this one is mid 19th century. The questions are (a)- how to attach it and (b) when is the best time to attach it. The three lower yards on the fore and main mast are attached with metal brackets, but how to attach them. On the real ship iron bands with flanges on the aft side wrapped around the yard and the bracket was attached with a pin. I guess the most correct way to attach these brackets on the model would be to wrap a small brass strip around the yard, bend the ends into flanges and drill a hole through them.

 

I just know that there is no way I could do that in a neat and attractive way, so I am developing an alternative solution. I filed two grooves around the yard and will attach the bracket by threading wire through its holes and then wrapping it around the yard in the grooves so that the wire lays flush with the surface of the yard. Some glue will secure the wire in place and then I'll wrap a small strip of construction paper around the yard simulating the iron band. Then the whole thing gets painted white. Now I just have to figure out something similar for attaching it to the mast.

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There are dozens of eyebolts to go on these yards and I never know when to attach them. It's always easier to do on the bench before mounting the yard, but if a line has to be seized to the eyebolt later, that's hard to do after the yard is mounted. If I attach all the lines to the eyebolts before mounting the yard then I end up with a real mess of lines which always gets me into trouble. Perhaps the answer is to drill the holes and place the eyebolts without gluing, then after the yards are mounted, take them out one by one to seize the line to it and then glue it in place. 

 

I will ponder this some more over a cup of coffee. It's 3 o'clock which is my coffee time  (even though I'm retired I take prescribed coffee breaks at 10 am and 3 pm as if I actually needed a break from anything - old habits sometimes really hang on.)

 

David

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Hello Everyone,

A bit more progress to report. I've been working away at the masts and yards and have them almost finished.

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There's a lot of iron work to be attached to these yards, and every time I look at the plans I find another piece to be added. I'll do as much as possible on the bench before mounting them on the model.

 

The next picture shows how the lower masts will eventually be attached.

 

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I've also started rigging the bowsprit. Some of the stays and shrouds are chain. The larger size (bobstays) isn't too hard to work with, but the smaller stuff is very difficult to seize nicely to the deadeyes and eyebolts. It's possible to get a piece of .02" line through the end link, but it takes many attempts and much attendant swearing. I guess I could use finer thread, but I want the connection to have some strength and security

 

Where the chain terminates with a deadeye and lanyard it isn't difficult to get the length right because there is some adjustment possible in the lanyard, but I am worried about attaching the two martingale stays as they both run from jibboom to the the dolphin striker and are attached directly without a lanyard. There isn't room for any adjustment. If there was just one on the fore side of the dolphin striker it wouldn't be too bad, as I could adjust the tension with the line running aft to the hull, but there are two of them and they will have to fit perfectly in relation to one another and I haven't quite figured out how to make that happen.

 

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Anyway, that's all for now. Many thanks for comments and 'likes'

David

 

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Good Morning,

Yesterday I worked on the tricky martingale stays and finally managed to get an acceptable result -

 

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The challenge was cutting the two chains on the fore side of the dolphin striker to the right lengths to maintain similar tension in each one.

 

It took me two attempts and the secret was to install one chain first, then install the two lines running aft of the dolphin striker. (I always used to secure and fix one end of such a line to the eyebolt first and then try to adjust tension through the deadeyes and lanyard on the other end. I now think it's easier to secure and fix the lanyard first and then adjust the tension through the seizing at the eyebolt end.) Then lastly I attached the second chain by eyeballing its length and cutting it a fraction long. I had to reduce its length by a couple of links before I had it right. This was a slow process, but not quite as difficult as I had anticipated. There is plenty more of this chain to be installed on this model, so it's going to be an interesting learning curve.

 

David

 

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Brief update -

I've been working on the netting that goes over the bowsprit.

 

I had imagined that I would just use the same stuff that I used for the hammock netting on my Constitution, but when I got it out, I realized it was much too fine. The bowsprit netting on the Morgan is very large. So, I made some up. It was really just like making shrouds and ratlines.

 

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I made a grid and then strung some vertical lines. (A you can see I made the grid wider than than I needed to have.) I used simple sewing thread, the kind I use for seizing. For the verticals, I doubled it. I used single thickness for the horizontal lines. The netting pattern is diamond shape, but  I thought that would be too hard to do in a consistent way, so I tied on two diagonal lines to represent the outer edges of the netting. Then I was able to tie all the horizontal lines on at right angles to the  vertical lines.

 

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I secured all the knots with diluted white glue and when it was dry, I cut it out and lashed it to the support lines on the bowsprit.

 

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There isn't too much more I can do by means of stalling before starting the rigging proper, which always seems like a big threshold to me. Anyway, I'm just about ready to bit the bullet and get serious about it.

 

Thanks again for looking in, comments and likes.

 

David

 

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After some experimentation with upgraded blocks, I'm now ready to get going on rigging. I had decided to upgrade the blocks for this kit, which is something I hadn't done before. I was torn between Bluejacket and Syren. I could see advantages to both. It was really a toss-up, but I decided to order Bluejacket blocks. So what I found is this - at larger sizes they are absolutely superb and are beautifully detailed. At the smallest sizes however, they are difficult to work with. Because they're cast, they need to be cleaned up, which is ok at 3/16 and up but is quite difficult at 1/8" and 3/32". After many attempts, I discovered that I was never going to have success with the 3/32" ones in particular, so I decided to replace the 3/32" and 1/8" ones with Syren which are very beautifully made and will be easy enough to work with. So I'm going to have a combination of blocks on this model.

 

There are also internally stropped blocks on this ship and I will use the Bluejacket ones for those. I can manage them even at the 3/32" size, as I don't have to wrap a line around the block.

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first row - Bluejacket 5/16". You can see the great detailing

second row - Bluejacket 3/16", rope stropped and internally stopped

third row - Bluejacket 1/8"
fourth row - Bluejacket 3/32", internally stropped and rope stropped, the unpainted one requires some filing

fifth row - Syren, 1/8" and 3/32"

 

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painting the blocks -several thin coats works best

 

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I'm rigging as much as possible prior to mounting the masts. For some reason there are no bullseyes included in the kit, yet the plans call for many of them. Picture above are Bluejacket 3/32" which are great. I will also be using a number of them at 1/16". They are very good. I think even the smallest wooden ones tend to look too large.

 

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Here is the combination of Syren and Bluejacket blocks (I still have to touch up the brass bits with black paint)

 

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Top mast - on the real ship, the rings are metal covered in canvass. To duplicate the look, I made loops out of brass wire and then covered them with white plumbers' tape.

 

So that's my progress so far and my mini review of Syren and Bluejacket blocks. I don't think I'll ever do another model again without upgrading the blocks. They are so superior to the ones in the kit. I would recommend both, with the caveat that the Bluejacket ones will be difficult to work with in the smallest sizes.

 

David

DSCN2463.JPG

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Do you know whether the internally stropped blocks were original to the Morgan or were added later in her long career. I've got an old Marin Models Morgan kit that I've been thinking of building one of these days. It's plans are from the 1930's and show her as she was launched carrying a ship rig. I suspect that her 1840 rigging was renewed over time with newer blocks, but I'm not sure when internally stropped and externally iron-stropped blocks came into common usage. I suppose there may be some information somewhere on her original rigging, but I thought I'd ask since you've been doing such a great job on her.

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Hi Bob,

With respect to the internally stropped blocks, I'm mainly going on the strength of this note which appears on the plans:

 

"Note that most all of the blocks currently on Morgan are rope stropped. The only blocks observed to be internal iron stropped are upper & lower topsail halliard chain block and sheet blocks, and upper topsail downhaul blocks. The lower cutting tackle blocks are external iron strop blocks painted white, strops black. Lower cutting-in blocks are not painted (weathered wood.)"

 

This note is in the instruction book:

 

"Model Shipways’ Charles W. Morgan kit was developed in 1994-’97. Plans are based on drawings and other information provided by Mystic Seaport, and from photographs taken by the author in 1994. The Model Shipways plans and instructions were reviewed by Mystic Seaport for accuracy. In 1983, Mystic restored Morgan as a double topsail bark. The museum relied on photographs and other documentation to depict the whaler as she appeared between 1892 and 1908. Those wishing to build the model in another configuration should consult the bibliography and the numerous photographs showing changes made throughout Morgan’s career. © 1997 Model Shipways"

 

The ship was restored again in 2008-2013. Thanks to John at www.charleswmorganmodel.com, we all have access to his many and excellent recent photographs. Internal stropped blocks are in evidence in the photographs and because of the note on the plans I think it's reasonably safe to assume that they are not just a recent addition/change. I have been comparing the photos to the plans and generally I have noticed very few discrepancies. However, It does appear to me from the photographs that there are more internally stropped blocks on the ship today than are indicated by the note in the plan.

 

When I have come across a minor discrepancy, I have been trying to stay true to the plans rather than the photographs. It's not always easy (for me, at least) to tell in the photographs what blocks I'm looking at, but so far as I'm able to discern it, I'm going to limit the number of internally stropped blocks to those identified by the note in the plans.

 

Not sure if this lengthy epistle helps or hinders!

David

 

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18 hours ago, David Lester said:

Not sure if this lengthy epistle helps or hinders!

It' helps! Thanks for taking the time to explain it. It was as I thought. They probably used what they had whenever a block was replaced.

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Good Morning,

I'm into the rigging for real now and have just finished the lower shrouds. I am always torn between using black or tan line for the lanyards. In theory, I guess, it should be tan, but it often looks very black on actual ships. I assume it's just dirty as opposed to being tarred.  In any event I opted for tan on this model.

 

I always think the easiest way to get the deadeyes (more or less) level is to just draw a line on a card, set it on the channel and use it as a guide.

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I always seem to have a bit of trouble tying off the lanyard without having to add a lot of glue, however I didn't have too much trouble this time. Thanks to John's (texxn5) photographs, it's quite clear how it's done on this ship.

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It's just a simple loop around the shroud and the end is left to hang just below the level of the rail.

 

It wasn't too hard to achieve a decent result using this method and the loop holds really well when drawn tight, without using a bucket of glue. Just a light dab is all that's needed to secure it.

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Whenever I start the rigging portion of a build, I always have to find my "sea legs" again and it usually takes a bit of time before I get in the groove. As a result, this weekend I ripped out all the rigging I had done on the bowsprit and am now in the process to doing it over.

 

'til next time,

David

 

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Good Morning,

So this is pretty much a recap of where I am at the moment. Lower shrouds and stays are finished -

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The main stay passes through fairleads on the side of the fore mast and since the end point of the stay was previously established under the anchor deck, I knew I'd never position the fairleads correctly in order for the two sides of the stay to pass through without bending. So I didn't attach the fairleads to the mast first, but rather threaded them onto the stay, secured the stay in position and then attached them to the sides of the mast.

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You can just make out the port one threaded onto the unattached stay.

 

 

 

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Next up is the cutting in tackle, which in some ways is the centrepiece of this model. I'm following the advice of John (Texxn5) who suggests doing it at this point in the process.

 

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Here are some of the components prepared. I have never worked with 5/16" blocks before and boy are they ever easier to seize than 3/32"! I'm thinking maybe I'll replace all the 3/32" ones on this model with 5/16". How big a difference can it make? :P (Just kidding)

 

Many thanks for checking in, comments and "likes"

David

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Great work, David! The color scheme is spot on, with the ochre a dead match for the current paint job at Mystic.  Even the deck color is perfect!  Bravo, sir!  Yours may be the best Charles W. Morgan model I’ve seen

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Thanks Dave, I really appreciate it.

 

I was worried about how to handle that ochre colour. I knew it didn't match any of the standard model paint colours. I contemplated mixing some to approximate the real thing and was pretty sure I could do that, but I knew I would never be able to repeat it and if I ran out or didn't have enough for touchups I'd be in real trouble. So I broke a cardinal rule and went to Home Depot and bought some sample sized house paint. There was a bit of trial and error; I probably have enough jars of "close but no cigar" shades of ochre to paint a small room, but in the end I got a decent result. I know using this kind of paint is a bad practice and I don't make a habit of it, but if you do it, Home Depot is the way to go. All the other paint suppliers only offer samples in one finish, which is flat. HD offers several different finishes in their sample sized jars and you can get the one you need. (By the way the larger Home Depot paint chips are a great size and weight to use as palettes for acrylic paints!)

 

Thanks again,

David

 

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About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

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NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

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Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
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