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Blue Pilot

Smuggler by Blue Pilot - BlueJacket Shipcrafters - 1/4" scale - 1877 Gloucester Schooner

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Hello again,

 

I have had this kit in the wings for a long time but life seems to take me away from this hobby.  I do drop in from time to time to look at all the amazing work going on here by all of you.  All in all this is a fine kit.  The wood is nice and the basic hull has some tool markings and excess wood fore and aft where the machine tools were attached that cut the hull.  This is not a negative, it is completely normal for this style of kit and anticipated.  Blue Jacket calls this a beginner to intermediate kit, which I think is accurate. In my opinion this is great first or second ship for a novice like myself.   It includes a detailed instruction book.  It also has 3 very large sheets of well drawn plans.  So a complete beginner might find this a challenge, but no more so then say the AVS which was my second model.  Compared to the AVS there will be two mast to rig but no guns to rig, gun ports to fuss with, or hull planking as this is a solid hull kit.  However, having finished a couple ships and a third planked and a partially completed Pride of Baltimore II, I think it will be a great challenge for me.  Bottom line this looks to be a fabulous kit there is a good amount of information available as well as a few build logs here.  If you are looking for for your first ship this is certainly doable thanks to the great support you can get on this forum and also Blue Jacket (BJ) themselves.  This will be my second BJ kit.  So without further ado here is what's in the box:15777A5C-0EA3-4FE8-A548-522C5ACD5036_1_201_a.thumb.jpeg.4152eddcf59079793f670e4e800dd5a8.jpegEFC82BC3-1DD4-4C97-B32E-16046CB4F8D6_1_201_a.thumb.jpeg.8e02ff70ebf728116262352b5e9ef684.jpeg

Edited by Blue Pilot

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    There was a five part article in the now out of print Ships In Scale magazine running from the Jan/Feb 2012 issue to the Sept/Oct issue by Robert N. Steinbrunn where he did a highly modified version of that Smuggler kit from Bluejacket Ship Crafters.  I would suggest that you get a hold of those issues that are available from the NRG store on disc or flash drive. If nothing else it will show you just what is possible with this medium. From this shot of the article below you can see some of the remarkable details that he added to this kit that made it a truly museum quality model.

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8 hours ago, Blue Pilot said:

......  While this could be a great first ship for a beginner it lacks a detailed instruction book.  ......

Hm,,,,, this is strange. My Smuggler kit includes very, very detailed step by step instructions (by Erik Ronneberg)

I cannot see the book in your pics, may be your package was not delivered complete?

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Thank you juju I actually I looked more closely at the box last night after posting this  and it does say that a manual is included.  I will call Blue Jacket today to ask about a new one and amend this post.  My experience in the past with BJ has always been positive so I am sure they will work with me.  

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Thanks Nic and Juhu.  I sent BJ an email and received a fast response.  However, I also spent some time in my shed where most of my ship model books and tools have been stashed away in boxes.  After a lengthy search my initial comments were in error and I have edited my original post.  My kit did come with a manual.   I found it buried away in one of the boxes.  I don't recall separating it from the box but clearly I did.  Sorry for the confusion, and for this senior moment.

 

In the mean time I contacted NRG and ordered the Ships in Scale data BetaQDave mentioned and will be working on making some hull templates before I do any more shaping to the hull and I my start with making the keel pieces.

Edited by Blue Pilot

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I imagine that I am not unique on MSW in my love of history.  It's hard to imagine anyone here on this forum that doesn't share that love.  One aspect I love about modeling is reading books on the subject.  I especially love books that focus more on the people and the time they lived in and their personal stories.  As I started to read the forward in the Gloucester Clipper Fishing Schooners the manual that comes with the kit by Erik A.R Ronnberg Jr.  I was delighted to see a list of suggested readings.  I was even more excited that I had a few of these already sitting on my shelf.  There is also a nice bit of history and actual photographs of some of these ships included in the building guide.  I have been particularly enjoying a second reading of Down to the Sea by Joseph E. Garland.  I admire the strength, courage, and determination of the people how sailed these ships.  Their story is as fascinating as the ships they sailed.  Years ago I read a quote at the Experimental Aircraft Associations gathering in Oshkosh, WI.  It said something like "So that no story should go untold"?  I thought that was a great line.  I love all history but especially the history that is more obscure or perhaps a better way to say it is the stories that don't get told or talked about very often.

 

In addition to some general modeling books not shown here are a few I will be referring to on this build.  I also picked up the data disc Dave suggested and the article on the Smuggler really has me thinking, and no good ever comes from that!  It has me thinking of taking my original modest plans for this build and pushing myself to take this ship to a much higher level.  This article is probably going to result in several more years being added the length of this build so thanks Dave for that! 😀 

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Edited by Blue Pilot

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I managed to get some preliminary items out of the way today.  I sat down and went through the entire kit and inventoried everything.  All the wood looks nice and the bowls all looked straight and true.  The fittings and decals included look nice too.  

 

I went to a printer yesterday and had him make copies of the hull plans.  I cut our the plans and used spray adhesive to glue them unto a couple sheets of cardboard.  I will be on the road a lot so cutting out the templates will give me a nice way to fill my down time at the hotel.   I bought that little roller and the spray adhesive at the hobby store.  The roller isn't a must have, but it sure worked nice and made the process faster and cleaner and I am sure it will last my lifetime.  I also cut a piece of scrap wood which eventually be used to hold the hull in a vise for sanding. This is mentioned in the instructions.  


 

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Edited by Blue Pilot

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More exciting news:

 

I have been giving a lot of thought to what I want to do with the Smuggler.  I think it's good to have a basic plan before you start and set some goals for the finished ship.  I have wanted to build this model for so long; I have decided I am going to really challenge myself and make this a bit of a kit bash.  The biggest change for starters is I am going to be fully planking the hull.  This will be quite a challenge for me as I have never done this on a solid hull kit and their is no guide for me to refer too.  I have planked two hulls in the past.  I know I will have to decrease the hull overall thickness to accommodate for the additional planking.  I haven't wrapped my head around how best to do that yet.  Any guidance from the experts would be appreciated.  

 

The finished model will be painted.  I have not decided on the color scheme yet, but I will want it to be historically accurate.  I plan to add some additional detail to the deck, such as salt barrels, tools, netting.  I am taking many of the ideas from Ships In Scale magazine running from the Jan/Feb 2012 issue to the Sept/Oct issue by Robert N. Steinbrunn.  I will replace the cast rigging blocks with wooden ones for sure and I may try scratch build some of the other cast fittings from wood on deck.  I haven't decided if I want to scratch build the Dory and Seine Boat or use those available from Blue Jacket.  I do know I will have one of each.  The kit came with a dory kit which looks very nice and they have a full hull Seine Boat kit as well I believe.   I could use those and just add additional details or go full hard core and go the scratch route.  Thats a decision for a much later date.

 

There are two cast decorative pieces that are attached at the steam head.  I have been looking at the carving group build logs on MSW and wondering if I could carve them myself.  That is so far over my head and skill It gives me the shakes just considering it!   I think I may give it a try anyway.  I can always revert to the cast pieces if I can't pull off the job. 

 

Please forgive my rambling.  One of the nice things about a build log is it serves as a journal for yourself and I am getting to the age where that's a good thing.............................what was I saying?   

 

 

Edited by Blue Pilot

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If you get our planking strips, they are only .020" thick, so the reduction in hull size is minimal. Bob Steinbrunn's model is a magnificent piece of work. If I recall, he scribed the solid hull to get his planked appearance.

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Thanks Nic.  I will be putting an order in eventually with BJ.  I need to order some sheets of mahogany for my POB II build as well as sheets or strips for the Smuggler.  My wife bought me a Barnes saw some time back for Christmas but I have not used it much so this is a good time to start.  Does BJ sell precut planking packages for the Smuggler?

 

I have been reading Bob Steinbrunn's article with interest.  What he did was glue full length strips of planks onto the solid hull then he scribed the but joint lines.  This is an interesting approach.  It always fascinates me to see how many different ways to do things there are.  In my case my plan is to cut the planks to length with staggered butt joints as the real ship would have been done. At least that's the plan.  Executing it will be another matter entirely.  Thankfully, with you and so many others here for expert advice I think it will turn out nice in the end.

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I got a little bit done today. my templates are a bit flimsyer then I hoped but they will do the job.  The stern is coming in nicely.  The bow still has a way to go.  I used a carving knife to take off most of the excess wood.  Then I switched to a Dremal tool on low speed to get things closer.  The basic shape is there I think.IMG_1671.thumb.jpeg.587773b499462459fbf81f10373ba0b2.jpegIMG_1670.thumb.jpeg.7b55e93a036394b2e24124894a650aa3.jpegIMG_1669.thumb.jpeg.bed73a4d00cb82de1e754dbdc9a5ef1a.jpeg

Edited by Blue Pilot

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I am hoping for some input Nic or from others here with experience with solid hulls.  I am having trouble with fairing the bow.  I am afraid to take any more off of the forward portion of the bow.  I hope from the images here and above you can see the gap near the bow.  The gap is smaller then when I started but I am struggling to bring that  fully in.  It could be the cardboard template, it does have some flex.  The stern looks good now after a lot of rasping and sanding.  I have placed a level on the flat area where the keel will be glued to illustrate.  I am thinking perhaps I need to shave this down more on the forward portion to correct my problem.  I did do a bit with a thumb plane but not sure if I should take any more off.  I got a little carried away at the stem with the disc sander so I may be a little short in overall length now so I am hesitant to take any more from the leading edge of the bow.  I hope these pictures will show what I am trying to say.  Perhaps it is good enough and I can just make further adjustments  when I make and fit the keel pieces. However, I have learned sometimes these kind of errors can come back to haunt me later if I don't get it right now.

 

Any thoughts?

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At this point, I woulds go one of two ways:

1- Get some Bondo and fill out the bow curve. - See me doing that at the stern of the Red Jacket thread.

2- Glue on the keel pieces, then use filler to fill the gaps.

 

I think #1 would yield a better hull, but #2 is easier.

 

Nic

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Thanks Nic I had not thought of either of those solutions.  I will keep fairing the hull for now and make the keel pieces and see then how it fits.  Then I will have a better idea of the actual fit and I can decide which of your solutions seems best.

 

Thanks for your guidance.

 

Mark 

Edited by Blue Pilot

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