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mtdoramike

Bluejackets Charles P. Notman (what have I just gotten into)

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Well, I did it again. I saw a thread on another forum regarding the selling of an orphaned Bluejacket Charles P. Notman kit. It had been started with the hull half planked and frame work still attached to the building board. It seems the previous owner/builder if they could be called that, moved out and left the half started kit in the basement of a house. The new owners of the house didn't want it and posted for sale. As usual, I had to ask what the shipping would be. I hate to see half started kits being passed from pillar to post without anyone taking a little initiative and trying to finish it.

Now I have always said that any wooden ship kit can be fixed, but this one might be putting that statement to the test big time. Who ever the previous "builder" was made the decision rather than fix a problem, just putty the hell out of it. The very least, the planking or putty will have to be replaced. The etched brass sheet with the chain plates is long gone, so I will have to look for those. Some how I over paid for this thing even if it was just the $40.00 for the cost of shipping.

 

mike   

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Edited by mtdoramike

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Oh, boy ... looks like removing the existing planking and starting over is the way to go. Doesn't look like they did much hull fairing, either. I wish you well!

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I know what you mean Chris, I'm hoping the plans have full size templates of the frames, might be easier to cut new frames and keel unless by some hook or crook the keel is not warped or twisted. But by the looks of the planking job I would say that is wishful thinking. 

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You'll certainly need a little "elbow grease" on this one, but for that price, well worth it.  Looks like it builds into a gorgeous model (big!), so once you take the two steps backward, you'll be having a lot of fun.  I'm going to follow along on this one if you don't mind - love the subject!

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Posted (edited)

Me too, I have been eyeing the Notman for years. I have always wanted to build a 4 mast schooner and I love Bluejacket kits. I'm a firm believer in if you know ahead of time you intend to paint a hull, I'm not adverse to using putty for any misgivings that may occur during the planking process. But putty should never make up for half or better of the hull. It's kind of like a car with bondo filler, the less you use the better you are and the better the car is.  

Edited by mtdoramike

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Mike,

The Notman was a pleasure to build; there are challenges to the hull, especially the stern- however, nothing an experienced builder can't resolve successfully. This Bluejacket model is a classic and when I built mine a couple years ago, it was a commission for a church votive model; I re-badged her as HMS Godspeed. It is large, which suited my client perfectly. Here's a couple pics of how she turned out. I'm still shaking thinking about all fabricating all those sails and proper rigging!!!

 

People love this "boat", the pastor tells me. 

 

You'll love the results too, Mike.

 

Ron

 

 

 

GodspeedPadtorHenk.thumb.JPG.bbc9e776eb1e6aad40c4e4a936af88ef.JPGDSC_0147.thumb.JPG.4aa5de8b6ec4470bc65841c2ccf20df5.JPG

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Posted (edited)

WOW Ron, you did her proud, fantastic work. I love the look of the sails. But I will most likely do mine without sail. But then again, if who ever chooses to buy her before it's completed, they will have the say as to sail or no sail. Then again, it could also wind up being a donation piece, if no interest in the Notman when complete. The seller who is shipping me this unfinished kit, who referred to it as a POS hahahahaha thinks he might be interested in it once I'm finished and even talked about driving down to Florida from Colorado to see it while taking in a family vacation, Disney don't know. I'm quite curious as to what is being shipped, I have rescued at least ten orphaned boat and ship models over the years and so far it has worked out well. But there is always a first, so we'll see.

 

mike 

Edited by mtdoramike

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Thanks Mike.

 

I hope my pics inspire you! The model looks great without sails too. The church council (my client) and their pastor voted for sails "on the boat." Frankly, this was my part of my "incentive" to tackle realistic-looking sails, my first extensive set (16) on a period ship. I recall staring at the sail plans provided with the kit and swallowing hard; scary. But she turned-out fine once I got the hang of fabrication procedures and the unique rigging of 19th-C schooners. 

 

Most important, the client (and the congregation) are very pleased with HMS (His Majesty's Ship) Godspeed.

 

Keep Calm. Carry On.

Ron

 

PS This coming Winter's NRG Journal will have an article I've authored on my research into votive ship models and elements of my build for Godspeed.

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Mike/Mark:

Thanks, guys. It's a really interesting backstory. Had I not been asked to build a "votive model" I probably would never have been the wiser; it's another unique cul-de-sac in our wide-ranging hobby landscape that relates to some fascinating maritime history.

 

I forgot to mention that if you haven't done so already, contact Nic Damuck at Bluejacket about the bits n' pieces you'll need to make this model. Obviously, you'll also need the plans if you don't have them - then, the P/E, numerous cast metal items - like nicely scaled and cast turnbuckles - and some laser cut basswood sheets. 

 

When your rescue project gets you to the rigging, give me a shout-out; I've got some tips (as well as materials) to suggest that will create a more realistically-rigged model (even without sails). Here you can see some details on how I handled all the shrouds. I substituted a grey colored (somewhat shiny polyester) thread for the shrouds since by the late-1870's they were starting to be fabricated with wire rope (not hemp) and terminated at the steel turnbuckles with swaged metal fittings. Overlook the big brass cup hook: these are for the four-point suspension "rigging" I devised to hang the "boat." 😎

 

Ron

 

 

GodspeedStemClose.JPG

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WOW, what a beauty Ron, I love the details on the Notman that you have done or shall we say Godspeed.

 

Well, I received the kit and caboodle of the Notman and lets just say my worst fears were answered today. The front of the keel from about the 4th to 5th frame forward has a very noticeable bend to the left or port side. Yes, all planking will have to come off. I have contacted Bluejacket and spoke with a lady there who is looking up the part or stock numbers for the keel and frames to see what it will cost me to just start fresh. If not, I will have to gingerly cut between the first 3-4 and possible 5th frame and try and remove the filler blocks to see if there is any way to straighten the keel without having to cut sections out and patch it back together, which I have had to do before.

 

Unfortunately, there is no full sized or scaled drawings of the keel or frames to use as a template to cut new ones and Bluejacket has a strict copy right policy. So I assumed that was going to be the case right off. Now there was numerous bits and pieces as well as the brass etched door facings that were removed from the brass sheet. So I think I'm good there at least for the time being. These loose pieces were packed and shipped in a Bluejacket Smuggler box hahahahaha, The guy never said anything about a second kit so the Smuggler might have went into the trash years ago.

 

 

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59 minutes ago, mtdoramike said:

I have contacted Bluejacket and spoke with a lady there who is looking up the part or stock numbers for the keel and frames to see what it will cost me to just start fresh.

Have you thought about contacting Nic (MrBlueJacket) here to see if he can do something to nudge this project along?

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I sent Nic from Bluejacket last night to see how it goes. Hoping to hear back from Bluejacket ship crafters today to see what they can do.

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Nic was Johnny on the spot and came through for me in record time. This is what I love about Bluejacket as well as most all U.S. companies, the assistance is top notch. He's shipping me out the frames, keel, instruction manual and brass PE sheet. Nic is saving me a lot of extra work here because sometimes it's just easier to start over and by the warp in this keel that is the way to go. 

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Couple of things - if you're interested in the history of the shipyard in Bath, Maine that built Notman (Percy and Small), I can highly recommend the book, A Shipyard in Maine by Douglass  K. Lee and Ralph Linwood Snow. It's a large book with lots of wonderful, historic photos as well as two plans of Notman. One is a reconstructed deck and profile plan and the other is a reconstructed sail, spar, and outboard profile plan.

 

As I was reading the book for the second time last year, I ran across a sentence I hadn't noticed before:

 

“It [the Alice E. Clark] was to be fitted with wire standing rigging, but unlike the Notman (but like the Blackburn) the rigging was set up with modern rigging-screws (turnbuckles) rather than the traditional deadeyes and lanyards.”

 

That came as a surprise to me since I knew the Bluejacket kit used turnbuckles. I wrote to the Maine Maritime Museum to ask if they could tell me when/if Notman was converted to turnbuckles. Here is their reply:

 

This note is sent on behalf of Kelly Page, registrar for the Maine Maritime Museum. The Notman was built with dead-eyes, and later re-rigged with turnbuckles. Kelly says she doesn’t know specifically what year the vessel was re-rigged, but the Notman was definitely launched with dead-eyes. We hope this is helpful to you, and are grateful to your careful reading of the documents!

 

So you could build your version either way.

I know Maine is a long way from Florida, but it you ever get a chance to visit the museum, it is well worth at least a whole day if not two. One of the great ones!

 

Cheers -

John

 

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Thanks John, I'm going to look for the book "A Shipyard In Maine" sounds like an interesting read. I'm going to build it the way Bluejacket has the Notman represented. I try not to deviate to much from what the kit manufactures intent is, unless there are glaring errors. I do not build museum quality models, I build models to suit me as well as anyone interested in them. But they are basically what I like to call shelf display models and not to be considered 100% historically accurate. I do try to build as close a representation of the subject that I can within reason though. The only thing I enjoy more than the building is the research of the subject in question. 

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Here you can see the pronounced curve towards the left side of the bow. What the original builder did, which most newbies would do is install filler blocks and start the planking while the keel and frames are still attached or glued to the building board upside down. You can not do it like that because if the filler blocks aren't the exact fit, they will force a bend in the keel just exactly what happened here and unless the builder is really studious, they will miss the warp or bend until it is too late. Also, NEVER plank a hull upside down unless you have the keel in a keel vice to keep or at least minimize any bends or warps while planking. 

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Posted (edited)

And don't get me started on the stern section hahahaha. I sure wished new model builders or first timers would read some tutorials or a ship model planking book before attempting their first model or at least a video on YouTube, it would make my job a bit easier who adopts orphaned kits such as this. 

Edited by mtdoramike

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I may be wrong (I haven't see the instructions), but I believe the kit is designed so that the hull is built upside down with the the bulkheads glued to the build board. Not sure if you're aware, but Nic built the kit himself starting back in 2016. There are several pics of his build in the newsletters. In this one you can see him working on the hull upside down.

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1105166336677&ca=59b5ef72-1771-4451-8404-b15f53e6d827

 

Cheers -

John

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This is a clear case of not reading the instructions. The Notman is designed to guarantee a straight hull IF YOU READ THE DIRECTIONS.

 

You are supposed to install the sub-decks before gluing the hull upside down. The sub-decks go on either side of the keel, sandwiching it. Because the edges of the sub-decks are straight, it follows that the keel must be straight. Mike, see page 4 when you get the manual.

 

Nic

 

PS - can you tell that reading the instructions is one of my hot buttons?

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Yes I can hahahaha. I usually don't go by instructions that much, I build mainly by the plans. But instructions are helpful especially in areas such as when to lay down the decking. 

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I received the new keel and framing from Bluejacket as well as the brass etched sheet (which is beautiful by the way and quite thick) and also the building manual. I usually build mainly by plans, but this is one of those tricky builds so I figure it never hurts to hedge my bet by obtaining the build manual to try and stay two or three steps ahead. 

DSC00698.JPG

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I put in an order through Tower Hobbies for the hull planking strips, they were the cheapest around at about $36.00 shipped for them, 42 strips to a bundle and I bought 2 bundles. The hull calls for 60 strips, so I figure to get a few extra so I don't have to use a ton of putty on the hull like the initial builder did. The putty was so thick and the gaps so big that there was as much putty inside the hull as there were outside of it.   

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I'm in awe of ship kit manufactures. The amount of detail, from the plans to the instruction and the materials supplied in kits are amazing considering the cost of kits. I just don't see how kit manufactures can make any money on their kits, especially like Bluejacket, and Model Shipways. In my opinion their stuff is unparalleled for materials, instructions and such detailed plans. I have built over 50 ship and boat models over the years, to the point I can't even remember all of them, but I can say for certainty that Model Shipways and Bluejacket are among the best kit manufactures that I have built.        

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I am surprised to hear that Tower is still in business. Last I checked, they were gone. Any idea who revived Tower? At one point, the employees had taken ownership then the next thing I knew, they were gone.

Glad to hear they are back.

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I received the hull planking strips via Fedex this morning. I didn't realize Fedex worked on Sunday. So if there is any doubt Tower Hobbies is still in business, back in business or what ever, I don't have any because this is my second order from them in the last several weeks. I'm thrilled, Tower has always been my go to online store for most everything.  

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On 10/24/2019 at 4:03 PM, CDW said:

I am surprised to hear that Tower is still in business. Last I checked, they were gone. Any idea who revived Tower? At one point, the employees had taken ownership then the next thing I knew, they were gone.

Glad to hear they are back.

Hobbico filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early January 2018.  They owned a variety of hobby companies, including Tower Hobbies, Estes Rockets, and Revell-Monogram.  
About 3 months later:   Horizon Hobbies bought Tower and the rest of the RC business, but had no interest in the plastic models.  A group of investors in Germany bought Revell-Monogram and Revell Germany and combined the companies under the Revell Germany name as a German company.  
 

Tower hobbies continued to operate throughout the period, but lots of stuff was out of stock as few ( none?) suppliers would ship product knowing they would likely never get paid.   After Horizon took ownership, Tower was back in business. 

 

As I understand it, the employee-owners (and the rest of the owners, too) lost everything.   Hobbico reportedly had roughly $50 million in assets and $200 million in debt.  There wouldn’t have  been anything left for the owners after paying the creditors only a quarter of what they were owed...!

 

Lots of stories and court documents online - just google “Hobbico bankruptcy “.

-Bill

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