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Rainbow J Class by Barry1 - FINISHED - Amati - Scale 1:80 - America’s Cup 1934 defender

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I decided to build this as something different than a square rig, schooner or clipper ship. Amati lists this as an easy to build model. The kit  looks pretty straight forward. I plan to finish it with a walnut lower hull and painted top hull. This is not how the Rainbow looked when it raced but it’s a nicer look I think. The image on the box cover is how I will go as well. 



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I finished the second planking today. Also added the rudder. Will work on the mast and boom a bit for a break from planking, then back to planking the deck.  I am looking for any details on the original colors of the Rainbow when she raced for the Cup in 1934. Looks like the top part of the hull was white. If anyone knows a good source please let me know. 



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I worked on both the boom and the mast shaping the boom, adding the rigging parts and fitting the hinge and pin. The mast is built for gluing 2 sets of 3 sectioned wood, half round dowel and end strip. Lots of sanding and lots of eyelets to add. Total length is 625mm. Cross trees are brass tube. Interesting process.  I will paint a bit later on. Back to planking the deck now. A1EF9BD1-67C4-484D-9BCB-E296DF4635C4.thumb.jpeg.0b889fe5f3dec64b4a6bbb6d8f83dcd4.jpeg




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Hi Barry


As soon as I saw the word "Rainbow" pop up on MSW, I just had to have a look at your Build Log (it's not often that I get to check out the Kit Forum).


Top job you're doing!  The planking you've done looks great.  Are you going to be painting the hull, or varnishing it?


BTW, I've always loved the J Class boats.  They're just beautiful and powerful.


If you're interested, you can check out my Rainbow model as well (just follow the link in my signature block).


All the best for the build.






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Thanks all. The J Class is a classic look. I am enjoying the build so far. Working on planking the deck then I have to decide how to finish the hull. When I started the build I planned to paint above the waterline and varnish below. The more I think about this it would not really be a true look at the hull was metal not wood. So I am now thinking of painting the full hull. I am searching for a reference to the colors Rainbow was in back in 1934. I found a painting showing a white hull above the waterline. If you have a good reference please let me know. I am not sure if the new Rainbow was true to the 1934 colors. 

Patrick, I did look at your Rainbow and it is a beauty.  I marvel at how you can work at such a small scale. 

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Finished deck planking and made holes for the deck railings and the rigging secured to the deck. Added a stain and two coats of poly. Next  up will be smoothing out the hull for painting. After more thought I decided to paint both upper and lower portions of the hull. While the walnut would have looked great the Rainbow did not have a wooden hull but metal. Hopefully it will come out ok.  


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Thanks Yves. You are right. I know there is always a good debate between natural wood color and paint. While it is a personal preference ultimately I believe if you build to “model” an historic ship you need to be true to its look if you want to achieve your objective. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been working on painting the hull. I chose to use a semi gloss white on top portion and a metallic copper on the lower portion. 3 coats of white and 2 of copper. I added 1 coat of clear poly so far. Getting the white right took some work. Will put on stripes for water line and accent near top to finish the hull. It’s not great but I am satisfied with it now. Next up is the deck work- structures, rails and hardware. 




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I made some good progress this past weekend. I painted and polyed the mast, added the rails and deck structures and prepared most of the blocks. Working with 2mm blocks is a challenge. Slow and steady though. I also added some of the standing rigging to the mast. I will put on the blocks and the rest of the standing rigging as I put on the sails. 






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I thought I would also add a brief write up of the Rainbow and it’s rebuilt version the Rainbow JH2. The write up is courtesy of the J Class Association. 

On May the 15th 1934, the William Starling Burgess Design J Class Rainbow was launched at the Herreshoff Yard in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA. She was built to defend the America’s Cup against “Endeavour” in 1934. The first 2 races were tough for Rainbow but the last 4 races she beat the Challenger Endeavour. Owner Vanderbilt laid Rainbow up in a dry dock and then refitted her. In 1937 she was sold to Chandler Hovey and contended for Defence of the Cup. Sadly for her, Ranger won and became the new defender for the next Cup. In 1940 Rainbow was sold for scrap.


Dykstra Naval Architects were chosen to give Rainbow a new life. A repeat client, the former owner of Windrose of Amsterdam, showed his trust in the Dykstra team to be the Naval Architects and designers for this new J Class yacht. The 46 meter schooner Windrose of Amsterdam set the Trans Atlantic schooner record at 10.5 days in 2005, the previous record of 12 days was set by Charley Barr with Atlantic in 1905.

The 40 metre J Class Rainbow is built in aluminum and designed according to the JCA (J Class Association) maximum performance rules. She launched in 2012.

After 78 years the famous J Class yacht ‘Rainbow’ sails again. This replica of the America’s Cup winner from 1934 was built by Holland Jachtbouw in Zaandam.

Rainbow was designed by Starling Burgess in 1933 and re-designed by Dykstra Naval Architects. She sails under the number JH-2.

Since her launch, Rainbow has won multiple awards, including Sailing Yacht of the Year (39m+) at the Superyacht Awards and the European Spirit of Tradition class at the inaugural 2013 Classic Boat Awards.



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  • 5 months later...


Building: 1:64 HMS Revenge (Victory Models plans)

1:64 Cat Esther (17th Century Dutch Merchant Ships)

On the building slip: 1:72 French Ironclad Magenta (original shipyard plans)


On hold: 1:98 Mantua HMS Victory (kit bash), 1:96 Shipyard HMS Mercury


Favorite finished builds:  1:60 Sampang Good Fortune (Amati plans), 1:200 Orel Ironclad Solferino, 1:72 Schooner Hannah (Hahn plans), 1:72 Privateer Prince de Neufchatel (Chapelle plans), Model Shipways Sultana, Heller La Reale, Encore USS Olympia


Goal: Become better than I was yesterday


"The hardest part is deciding to try." - me

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  • 1 month later...

It’s one of the mysteries of life😉. I used something from the sewing world. I am not sure what’s it’s called but it is a small very thin wired needle threaded. The eye of the needle is similar to any small block so principle is the same. You can buy these in packs of several at stores like Michael’s or JoAnn Fabrics. Hope this works for you. 

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  • 7 months later...
On 12/27/2018 at 7:53 PM, Barry1 said:

I have added the two jib sails and related rigging. The Rainbow is completed. I may add some rope coils in the future. Not sure yet. It was a fun build and interesting to learn about the ships history. 

Barry, I am building this model as a beginner and am having some issues. Is there any way I can get in contact with you to ask a couple questions? Email possibly? -Mitch

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