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Charles W. Morgan by John Ruy - Marine Model Company - 5/32”=1’ (1/76 scale) - Vintage Solid Hull Kit


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Just starting the bulwarks and planning to finish deck and lower masts prior to exterior hull trim with davits. Seems like that right approach. Please fell free to chime in with advise, the general instructions are very vague. That’s the reason I’m on here. Hoping you all can keep me on the right path. ThanksA754ADDA-7D16-4C5E-8F50-47F46B8FD1AB.thumb.jpeg.ce435a5c61c7ef5e82240fe012290680.jpeg

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Next up... Pin rails and other planking on the inside of the bulwarks. 

So far I have spent 44 hours in the last 30 days on this build. Lots of time for something to do during the Maine winters. My USS Constitution build took 687 hours over 1 year and three months. That was a plastic kit this already feels more time consuming but very interesting. I’ll keep you all posted. Thanks for taking a look. 😎

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As I build this vintage kit, I am finding the metal detail parts are lacking some detail when compared to actual photos of the Morgan as she sits in Mystic. 
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The windlass is where I will start developing my micro carpentry skills. 

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You have got to love plastic wood. It really works well. imageproxy.php?img=&key=4f3b55ae31fcd018

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I think it’s almost there. Needs some molding on the top plate and some tarnish on the bell. Next the windlass its self. 

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I am really enjoying the wood modeling detailing opportunities are endless. 😆

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Call it “obsessive compulsive” if you will, but I love it. It’s either the HD photos or the magnifying work light, but my obsessive tendencies are being fed by this hobby. I just couldn’t move on without adding some detail to the windlass. 2CC681E1-E95C-49BC-BE04-CB1B0F734057.thumb.jpeg.7c2b3b2c8c44f7a7d3f8d4270202e08d.jpeg

I started with adding wood to the spindles and larger pulleys. 

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Then came the building of the handles. 

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T-Pins make great pump handles. 

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I found that the CA glue works as well as solder as suggested in the instructions. 

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A bit of wood detail on the T-Pins worked for some realist detail. 

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Touched up the bell with some tarnish and the windlass with some rust and off to the next step. 

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Can someone tell me how and where the Anchor chains were stored once they were brought across the windlass? 
 

I am having trouble finding that bit of detail. 

 

Thanks 😊 

 

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Looks good John. I love the detail you are putting into it. The Morgan is on my build list. I’m a native son of Southeastern CT and visited Mystic Seaport dozens of times. A great American museum!
I’ll keep checking your build log here to learn how it’s done. Sorry, I can’t answer your question about the anchor chains.

 

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1 hour ago, Voyageur said:

Looks good John. I love the detail you are putting into it. The Morgan is on my build list. I’m a native son of Southeastern CT and visited Mystic Seaport dozens of times. A great American museum!
I’ll keep checking your build log here to learn how it’s done. Sorry, I can’t answer your question about the anchor chains.

 

Thanks for the 👍on my build, I am really trying to bring lots of detail to this my first wood model. Did some more research on the Anchor Chain found a document on Mystic’s site regarding storage of the chain in a chain locker just aft of the main mast. Found the detail in a drawing I photographed at the museum. 
 

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On 2/26/2020 at 7:18 PM, John Ruy said:

Can someone tell me how and where the Anchor chains were stored once they were brought across the windlass? 

The anchoring chains run aft to chain pipes in the deck aft of and to port and starboard of the mainmast, running into the chain locker below, as pictured in the bottom picture of a model below. (Chain, due to its weight, was commonly stowed amidships so it wouldn't negatively affect the vessel's trim.) I can't say offhand whether the anchor chains were left shackled to the anchors when at sea. It would seem to me that when "off soundings," they would have been stowed below entirely and not left on the windlass or run across the deck. Whalers were floating factories and it doesn't seem that they'd want a couple of  lengths of heavy chain running down the decks right across the working space where the whales were being butchered and the blubber cut up for the try works. They'd serve no purpose and just be underfoot. The Morgan would have had stud-link mooring chain, at least for most of her lifespan, not the plain link chain supplied with the kit.  (Date of the first below picture unknown.) You may want to replace the kit-supplied chain, if you can find stud-link chain in the proper scale. Making your own at 5/32" scale would be a bit tedious!

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I've had the Marine Models Company Morgan kit now for over 45 years and I suppose I will get around to building it one of these days, sooner or later. A good practicum of sorts for the Morgan model can be found at https://www.charleswmorganmodel.com/ if you haven't found it already. That one is for the Model Shipways kit. There is also series of YouTube videos by a fellow chronicling his build of the Marine Models Company version we have. 

 

 

I haven't built the model as yet because 1) years ago, I realized I needed to develop my skills before tackling such a complex build and 2) when I developed my skills I realized along the way that this model was hopelessly dated and it would not be possible to build it to my then-established expectations except as a scratch-build, as is my current intention... one of these days. In the interim, I've continued to collect extensive photographic files and related written data on the Morgan, including visiting her and examining her with an eye to modeling her.

 

The Marine Models kit I have is somewhat rare at this point and there are many more common Morgan kits. It's scale at 5/32" to the foot, which is somewhat of an oddball scale that will occasion some inconvenient math to accommodate. That's not a problem once started, though, as my mind "gets in the groove" and I start thinking in that scale. Your post says it's 1/64" to the foot. I'm not familiar with that Marine Models Company version. Are you sure your model isn't 5/32" to the foot scale? Your pictures certainly appear to be that.

 

I'll share a few bits of information of which you may, or may not, be aware. 

 

This is an old kit. The plans were drawn in 1939, a couple of years before she came to Mystic Seaport. They were carefully researched and represent the vessel as launched, not as presently configured. Notably, the plans depict her with her original ship rig, not the bark rig she later came to carry. If I remember correctly, there was also an overhead built over the tryworks at some point later in her life. If you are building her to her original 1841 "as launched" configuration as in the Marine Model Co. plans, you'll find some discrepancies in the published Model Shipways practicum which I see from your photos that you are consulting. Whether the stern windows were present at launch and closed up later will require further research. (I think not.) They weren't there in 1901, at least.

 

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As an old kit, the standards of quality and accuracy are far below what we aspire to today. Marine Models Co. put out some of the best kits in their day, but kits have come a long way since then. They went out of business in 1970 or so and this kit was last updated in 1957, as I recall from my plans set. Major problem number one: The metal fittings contain lead and will eventually corrode. There's really no cure for this. Paint won't stick to them worth a darn... or at least will be a crap shoot. At worst, they will turn to dust and crumble away to nothing. They all will have to be discarded to avoid the risk of this occurring. That, alone, brings you to "scratch-build level." Sometimes, if the phase of the moon is just right, these lead-based metal fittings do seem to survive to some extent and nobody really knows why, but it's just not worth bothering with them. Once they begin to turn to dust, replacing them is a nightmare because access becomes very difficult in many places on the model. These will have to be rebuilt from scratch or, perhaps, new pieces molded of epoxy or baked Fimo modeling clay, using the originals, if they are suitable, as patterns.

 

Some of the prefabricated parts are crudely fashioned. This is notably so with the rudder casting, which merely has pins cast in the edge and was intended to just be stuck into the stern post. Today, such a rudder on a model of this scale would be made of wood and copper or brass pintels and gudgeons fashioned for hanging it. The kit-provided whaleboats, of cast lead, are of a weight that probably would challenge the strength of the model. Securing the lead cast davits to hold them would be a challenge. Tedious as it may be, the whaleboats really should be made of wood or card stock with their interior details visible. It's details like this that really make the Morgan a special subject. Some research should be done to ensure the whaleboats are correct for the period of Morgan's service that is being depicted. Importantly, whaleboat designs changed over time and didn't last much more than a single voyage. Morgan was launched in 1841. Whaleboats didn't have centerboards until the mid- to late-1850's when the sperm whale was hunted. (The sperm whales were "spook-ier" and they had to be approached silently against the wind so they wouldn't hear or smell the whalers. The centerboard permitted better upwind sailing performance.) Earlier whaleboats were partially clinker-planked, as well.

 

What seems to be the biggest value of the Marine Models Company kit are the hull blank, which is by now well-seasoned and of good quality basswood, and the plans. The plans were drawn by somebody who really knew what they were doing at a time when there were still people alive who had sailed on the vessel and knew her history, perhaps even as far back as the Civil War period when most of the rest of the American whaling fleet was destroyed by the Confederate commerce raiders. Drawn for modeling purposes, they are highly detailed and presumably accurate. Not only is the Morgan still extant, but she's been extensively photographically documented throughout much of her long life and a lot of these photographs are conveniently available on the internet. Mystic Seaport even has "as built" construction plans for her available for purchase (for a price) if one were to want to build a plank on frame model of her.

 

Drying sails, whaler CHARLES W. MORGAN [in dock]

 

I'm going to watch your build log with great interest. I expect it will be a very rewarding build and a learning experience for me.

 

 

 

 

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Bob, I want to thank you for lots of great information. This is why I want to be here on MSW. 👍 I do appreciate any guidance I can get on this hobby. I do have a few questions though regarding your information. First let me clear up the scale of this model. 5/32nd = 1 foot is stated on the plans. It does appear that we have the same kit. 

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As for the windows in the stern, she was refitted at some point due to the windows being stove in due to high seas striking the ship from the rear. I don’t recall when that occurred exactly but the information came from a book by John F Leavitt. This has been a great book to learn about her history and operation. I plan to outfit this model as she appeared during her whaling career. Again I do appreciate your insights and please do offer your advice as I continue and you follow along. I will say you have raised the bar and I feel it will probably a long ride but I will get her done. 
 

My question for you is, about the lead parts. The parts are all in very good shape and so far been very workable. Is that because the parts were still in there original packaging, or is the deterioration due to storage conditions? When you say turn to powder, how long would that be? 
 

Based on what your saying I will probably scratch build the finer pieces. Should I be concerned about the larger pieces I have already completed? The rudder, Trail boards and windlass?

 

thanks again Bob, keep the feedback coming. It is all good stuff. 
 

John :cheers: 
 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, John Ruy said:

My question for you is, about the lead parts. The parts are all in very good shape and so far been very workable. Is that because the parts were still in there original packaging, or is the deterioration due to storage conditions? When you say turn to powder, how long would that be? 
 

Based on what your saying I will probably scratch build the finer pieces. Should I be concerned about the larger pieces I have already completed? The rudder, Trail boards and windlass?

Lead corrosion is primarily a function of its reaction to acids. Sealed in plastic bags may have provided an anaerobic environment that slowed or prevented entirely the process of the lead turning to lead carbonate. The rest of the process is "above my pay grade," as they say. Just about everything a modeler might want to know about lead corrosion in ship models is in this research paper from the Curator of Navy Ship Models, Naval Sea Systems Command, the office in charge of all the US Navy's hundreds of ship models. It's something anybody building an older kit model should read.

 

https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NSWC-Carderock/Resources/Curator-of-Navy-Ship-Models/Lead-Corrosion-in-Exhibition-Ship-Models/

 

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20 hours ago, Bob Cleek said:

Just about everything a modeler might want to know about lead corrosion in ship models is in this research paper from the Curator of Navy Ship Models, Naval Sea Systems Command, the office in charge of all the US Navy's hundreds of ship models. It's something anybody building an older kit model should read.

 

https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NSWC-Carderock/Resources/Curator-of-Navy-Ship-Models/Lead-Corrosion-in-Exhibition-Ship-Models/


Thanks Bob...  This was a great read and helps considerably when making decisions regarding “vintage” modeling with lead parts. I think you are correct to consider this kit mostly a scratch build. Although my model may not get displayed in a museum and the parts would likely out live my remaining time here, I would like it to survive a few generations of handing down to family. 
 

John

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16 hours ago, Voyageur said:

I’ve been reading through the www.charleswmorgsnmodel.com for the past week and it is amazing.

I agree, this site is a great resource and I am using it as my guide. I can only hope to aspire to such greatness in the MSW. 😎

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On 3/4/2020 at 10:38 AM, John Ruy said:

. 1/64th scale refers to 5/32nd = 1 foot stated on the plans. It does appear that we have the same kit. 

My bad 🤗 5/32nd = 1/76 scale. 
Im going to fix that now. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

After finishing up Yacht America and setting up the Viking Ship, I got back to the Charles W Morgan this week. Looks like we are all going to have a bit more time this year beyond winter to stay busy in our shops. Please everybody stay safe and stay home. 👍

 

Thought I would work on exterior hull work before continuing with the deck furniture. 

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Bow molding became a challenge, as I discovered I needed to realign previously installed sheer molding and main rail to align with the bow properly. That’s what we call a learning curve, right. Everything can be reworked. We just don’t want to do that but, that’s how we learn and grow with this hobby. I’ll finish the painting later. 
 

Moving on to the stern...

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Ordered 1/8” stars from a supplier of military medals 🎖 They worked great. Printed out a paper decal and used clear fabric glue to decoupage it into place. 
 

Moving on to Channels for Deadeye Chainplate to anchor shrouds. 
 

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My fist attempt was not bad, but as with most things I wanted to improve things a bit before moving on. 
 

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Decided to replace the vintage parts with their contemporary counter parts. 
 

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As usual the rework was an improvement. 

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Moving on to the rest of the Channels. 👍

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Started modifying the vintage metal parts this week. 

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Filed smooth the poor etchings. 

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pasted on card stock windows

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Added wood trim and metal bars

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added additional window sills and wood workbench top
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painting my new favorite color Yellow Orche. 
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Stained the workbench top Early American, what else?

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I call it “Micro Carpentry” from home. 
Stay in and Stay Safe. 

 

 

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