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scroggwe

New Member from Texas

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I am a newbie here on the forum. However, although I am new to wooden ship model building, I am not a new ship model builder. I have built many plastic kit ship models over the last 58 years. I built my first ship model when I was about 12 years old. I am now 70 years old. I had an intense interest in ships of all types from about the age of 8 years old. I was especially interested in sailing ships of all types. I’m not sure where this interest came from at such an early age and living so far from the sea in Fort Worth, Texas. This interest in sailing ships bordered on obsession, actually. I read every book that I could find on the sea and seafaring. I read all of the classic sea novels while in elementary school and junior high school (Moby Dick, Captains Courageous, Two Years Before the Mast, Billy Budd Foretopman, etc.). After I discovered C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series, I devoured all of them (I did not know about Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey-Maturin series until many years later.). About that time I became interested in the Royal Navy of Nelson’s era. Also the US Navy from the Revolution to just before the Civil War.

The ship models I built were manufactured by the major plastic ship model companies at that time (Revell, Monogram, etc.). My very first ship model was a small scale model of Cutty Sark. I don’t remember who it was made by. Later I built most all of the large scale ships produced by Revell (USS Constitution, USS United States, Cutty Sark, Thermopylae). I also built other models, but mostly ship models both modern and sailing ships.

In 1968 I enlisted in the US Navy and was assigned as a crew member to a brand new destroyer escort for the next 3 ½ years. The ship was moored at the same pier as USS Constitution for commissioning in Boston. I spent much of my spare time across the pier on “Old Ironsides”. I got to know most of her crew. I used to love going over there and talking to them and exploring the ship. Some of the crew members used to tell me stories about the ship being haunted. Many of them would not go below the spar deck at night. Her crew lived in barracks at the Boston Naval Shipyard, not on the ship itself. After commissioning my destroyer moved to the west coast to San Diego.

Anyway, after my 4 year enlistment was up, I got out of the Navy and went back to civilian life. I enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard and retired from the Guard in 1991.

I just recently completed a model of the Titanic and am now about to complete a Trumpeter model of the USS Texas (BB-35). For the last 6 months I have been doing a lot of research on wooden ship models and decided to I wanted to build one. I know everyone here says to start with a simple model, but if I have no interest in those simple models, I promise you they will not be completed. I decided to build the USS Syren by Model Shipways and have already ordered it. I haven’t yet received it. Over the years the part of ship modeling that I have always had the most difficult time with was the rigging. I have found that the larger the scale of the model, the easier it was for me rig them and hold my interest. I just spent the last two days reading the build manual for Syren. It’s going to be a challenge, but definitely doable.

I don’t believe I will have much trouble rigging the Syren at 1/64 scale. Plus she is a brig, therefore there is less rigging than a full rigged ship. Sailing ship rigging is not new to me. I am very familiar with the rigging on a sailing ship and how it works. I have first-hand knowledge of this. I was a crew member of the iron hulled barque, Elissa, for about 6 years. The Elissa is a working museum ship in Galveston, Texas. I sailed on Elissa many times and spent hundreds of hours doing maintenance work on her rigging.

Sorry this post is overly long and it’s time to stop boring all of you. I will not be doing a build log, but will be here reading  other folks work.

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