Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Here is the nutshell version of my Bluenose build log to date. I previously had this build log on another forum, which I have now left and want to get it up and running here.

Hull, Deck and Rails:




The early stages of this build are very quick and easy. It’s not a difficult hull to plank. The deck is not too challenging either. I never know how best to finish the deck. Basswood takes a stain so poorly, so this time I simply used amber shellac which seems to work well enough.


I know that many builders have found that the stern section of the rail doesn’t fit property. Mine didn’t quite fit either, so it necessitated making a new stern section.

I did the rest of the rail in sections.


The buffalo rail at the bow is an easy detail to add.




The monkey rail which wraps around the stern and half way down the main rail is a bit tricky.

I laminated two thin strips to make the curved portion at the stern.




I had to make a decision about how to approach the deadeyes. On the real Bluenose, they are secured with a bit of hardware that sits between the deadeye and the rail (not sure what it’s called.) The options were to try to recreate it with some brass wire, which I have seen many modelers do, or omit this detail altogether or opt for these cast pieces from BlueJacket.

As you can see, I opted for the cast pieces. They capture the look of the real thing and I knew that I could never recreate the effect successfully myself without it looking too big and awkward.



According to the plans and as shown in this picture, the chainplates are flush with the hull.


The integral chainplates with these deadeyes would have been long enough to use them for the fore mast, but were too short to use for the main mast. On top of that, I knew I would never be able to inlay all twenty of them skillfully enough, so I cut them off at the waist


I added strips of black construction paper.




When all painted, it’s a compromise that I can easily live with.


I used 1/16” masking tape for the white stripe, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do the yellow stripe. According to the plans, the stripe is actually a groove running the length of the hull and is very narrow. There is almost no space above the scuppers to fit in and I was convinced it had to be very narrow to look right.

So again, I made a compromise. I actually used a piece of styrene strip, .01” x .04” I painted it yellow, then glued it on. It's not strictly speaking correct, but if gives the effect and I know I could not have achieved a neater look any other way.



I practiced painting the decorations on black paper with a template cut out to the size and shape with key reference points marked.



From a normal viewing distance of let’s say 50’ 🤗 it won’t look too bad.



For the stern lettering I opted for the Masonic emblem rather than the Odd Fellows emblem. It was the Masonic one that it was launched with. I outlined my detective work on this subject in a separate thread:





So that catches everybody up. Now on to the deck details.

Thanks for looking in!



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

They say that in life there are only two certainties - death and taxes. Well, I think there are four - death, taxes, you will get an email today from Model Expo and your fife rail will crumble at even the lightest touch.


Obviously, I've been working on the deck details and for some reason, even though there aren't all that many, it's been slow going. I've all but finished them now except for the complicated bit of machinery that connects the motor to the windlass that looks like it was designed by Rube Goldberg. It may be simpler than it seems; I haven't quite given it my undivided attention yet.


Apart from having to build the fife rail from scratch, the components have all been straightforward to build.






The skylight in the old pictures was quite different from the one in the plans. Mine more closely matches the photos rather than the plans and I've use black rigging line for the bars.




So, here's how I arrived at my painting scheme for the parts. I rely on the notes in the plans to a large degree and everything is indicated as being either "white" or "burnt umber." Burnt umber is a paint colour, so I took it to mean that it's painted dark brown, rather than left a natural finish. I'm pretty sure that the plans would have said "natural mahogany" or "douglas fir" or something like that if it was meant to be a natural finish.






I have gathered together a number of old photos of the Bluenose and for the most part the plans are very consistent with the photos.  In a couple of cases where there are discrepancies, I've opted for the paint scheme in the photos. I don't think it means the plans are wrong but rather that the details were painted slightly differently at different times.




The dories were not difficult to build. The little framing system that the kit provides works very well. There are eight dories provided, but I think I will only use four of them - two stacks of two. They looked a bit odd to me stacked four high. Of course, it's only the top two that need to be finished inside.


So, that's it for now as I try to figure out the conglomeration of gears etc that go together at the bow.


Thanks for looking in!


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello All,

I little more work on the deck details. Here is the mechanism that operates the windlass.



This is a little bit tricky, mainly because the cast parts are so poorly done. I like MS kits on the whole, but I have to say that these parts are not really very good.  It's odd to me that a number of the gears are all molded on the axle as one piece. This would be ok, except for the fact that one gear is molded separately but needs to be located on the axle between two of the already molded in place gears.


So, the piece needs to be cut. Probably for the best anyway. The axle is so small and fragile that it's easy to break it in any case. I ended up cutting off all of the gears and drilling holes through them and using brass rod as the axle.


I was worried about the placement of all the components, but the trick was to start with the bowsprit and get it and its post correctly located, then simply work backwards from there.


I used a piece of fine copper chain that I had for the chain drive and I built up the starboard side of the windlass with wooden pieces and the port side with small styrene strips.












Link to post
Share on other sites

That is weird,  they must have had a reason for doing that.  I have no idea what that would be.  But it looks great.   You did a very neat job on those parts.  I often brush some weathering powder on all parts that are metal or iron....just to help set them apart from other areas just painted black.  It something you might want to try.  They are the only areas I use weather powder on as I dont want that weathered look for my models and just want to make the metal parts a bit different in appearance.



Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not a bad idea. I always struggle with whether a model should look "showroom" or weathered. I notice that railroad modelers always go for the weathered look, but ship modelers more often go for the pristine look.


If you look at my previous post, maybe the effect you're talking about is more like the way I did the vent on the cabin. I painted it black and then applied a "watery" coat of aluminum paint. I did that because in the old black and white photos I have, the vent does not appear to have been black at all, but rather a metallic colour. I think I'll give that a try on these gears etc. Thanks for the idea!


Link to post
Share on other sites

David,  you are ahead of me in my build so I am watching your progress attentatively.  I think your winch and windlass turned out great and the detail is nice; The teeth on the gears are well defined.  It looks to me that if I threw the winch clutch lever, you'd be weighing anchor.  Good Job.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the comments guys!

Schooners - still one more bit to add to the machinery. There is a guard that goes over the big gear on the windlass. So I have that yet to do.

Per - I like these deadeyes too. They're cast ones from BlueJacket and they're authentic in style to the ones on the Bluenose. I know many other builders have made this style themselves by bending wire in a loop on each side of the deadeye and attaching the chainplate directly to it with a pin, they even articulate when made this way. They're very cool, but I knew in my case "that way madness lies." So I opted for this alternative. But I have to be very careful with them. Too much bending and they can break off.

Thanks again,




Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Schooners said:

I have a question for you David "The Sleuth" Lester.  What is that round "unidentified object" just port of the ship's wheel?  Is it stowage?  Or just a seat for the helmsman?

What I understand, it is still an "unidentified object" or UDO as I would call it.... "unidentified deck object".
I don't think we have got the explanation to it....
Maybe there is, and it just passed me by..

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it might be a big cookie tin.




To be honest I haven't really paid it too much attention, although I thought it was pretty odd for even the plans to call it "unidentified object."  It reminds me of the time in public school when I assembled a rock collection for a science project and labeled most of the specimens "unknown rocks."


The lazarette hatch idea seems feasible. It appears to be about the size of a manhole and seems to have a lid. Being elevated would prevent water from getting down.


I think I'll email the people at Bluenose II and see if they can shed any light on it. They were very helpful when I was tracking down the Masonic and Odd Fellows connections.




Link to post
Share on other sites

Good Morning All,

A little progress to report:


I've now finished all of the deck details and all have been added except the boom crutches and the catheads, for fear of breaking them. I'll add them at a later point.






I built new catheads, because the included cast ones are too fragile and it's almost impossible to attach the various items to them. I'll paint these white and add them a little later.




There is a lot of metal work on all the spars of the Bluenose, so I had to make a decision as to how best to replicate it. I know that many modelers have done very impressive brass work to recreate all the bands, shackles and the like. That is not a good option for me because I know I could not do a good enough job at the necessary scale. A lot of messy overscaled brass work would not be an asset, so I've chosen to simplify it considerably and represent the metal work with construction paper, eyebolts and in some cases, brass wire. While not completely accurate in every case, I know the overall effect will be better.


My first inclination was to use black construction paper for the bands, but I noticed that the plans indicate that the bands are supposed to be all either galvanized or painted white. So I went searching for photos and while there are many of the hull and deck available, there are almost none of the masts and rigging that are clear enough to be an indication. However I did find this one:



To my eye it looks like the bands are a little darker than the white spreaders but certainly not black. I took this as an indication that they are galvanized metal, so that's how I chose to represent them. I painted black construction paper with aluminum metallic paint.







While looking at these pictures, it also appeared to me that the mast hoops are white, so I painted mine. (They are a nightmare to paint by the way.)






I attempted one other detail with the mast coats. The plans indicate that they are covered with canvas, so I applied teflon plumbers' tape, then painted it off white. It doesn't show up in the picture, but I added a little texture to it by pressing it with sandpaper. The overall effect isn't especially great, but on the other hand, it's not terrible either.


The shiny metal piece around the mast mast is a piece from a coffee can seal. It was just the right weight for the job.


So that's it for now. It's nice and cool in my basement. The outside temperature is in the low 30's today, so it's too hot to do too much out there.




Link to post
Share on other sites

David, I think your approach with paper isn't bad at all. Think from a guest point of view,  at a distance of 2ft plus it would be hard to tell, specially if you don't know the difference. 

I think the mast hoops were made out of metal and covered with zink, this to withstand the saltwater from the Atlantic ocean. 

Link to post
Share on other sites


With respect to the "unidentified object" on the deck, I emailed the people at Bluenose II and received an answer this morning. They confirmed that the object is the lazarette hatch. You were right on the money, jamcdonel!


This made me curious about the word lazarette which seems like an odd word. I was surprised to discover that it is a reference to Lazarus. If Wikipedia is to be believed, on old ships this area below deck was originally where bodies of "important" passengers and crew were stored rather than being buried at sea. More recently, it refers to the area where the steering mechanism is located.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Continuing work on the masts. I'm simplifying much of the hardware on the masts by using paper strips and eyebolts, but at the same time not eliminating any of it. That will allow me attach all of the rigging yet stay within my comfort zone.


Nevertheless it's not possible to avoid all of the metal work and I soldered brass strips for the mast caps.



This is not my forte, nor of much interest me, but I thought the mast caps needed to be structural.

I have also learned from experience not to use basswood for the crosstrees when they are quite long as they are on the Bluenose; they are quite likely to break during rigging and then of course, they're very difficult to repair or replace. Some walnut will work better.




The fore mast in particular has a lot of points of attachment.



I have always had trouble attaching futtock shrouds to the mast without making a big oversized mess, so I have developed my own, (not entirely authentic) method, that leaves a neater appearance. Instead of wire, I use rigging line. (I can never seem to get wire to stay straight or taut.) At the point of attachment, I drill a largish hole all the way through the mast. Once the lines are attached to the bullseyes or deadeyes on the crosstrees, I draw every line all the way through the one hole and out the other side. In this case, two lines passing through left to right and two lines passing through right to left. I glue them in place and then trim them flush.





Another hardware feature on this model is a number of turnbuckles. If I had noticed them on the Bluejacket website sooner, I would have just bought them and added them to my last order. However, I didn't so I had to figure out how to represent them. I have seen a few builders making quite realistic ones out of brass and Tom Lauria has a video where he makes unbelievably detailed ones. This was out of the question for me, but nevertheless I wanted to represent them.


The main objective for me is to get them small enough. If they are oversized, I think it ruins the look. Id' prefer to have them look a bit fake, rather than be oversized. I decided to use two small eyebolts attached to a central "cylinder" but I couldn't come up with what to use for a cylinder that was small enough yet still allowed me to drill holes for the eyebolts. The central part of the turnbuckle should be just 5/32" long. Here is what I came up with. The cylinder is a piece of solder. I drilled a hole in each end and glued in the eyebolts. I then gave the solder a squeeze with my pliers to slightly flatten them. I think when these are incorporated into the rigging they will be ok. They aren't perfect, but at least they are exactly the right size which I think is half the battle.




That's it for now. Many thanks for checking in, "like" etc.



Link to post
Share on other sites


They're kinda on a par, but I suppose the Bluenose is the easier build. I have found the MS plans for both kits to be very accurate. I visited the Pride of Baltimore last summer and took many photographs, and I found almost no discrepancies between the plans and the actual ship. For the Bluenose I am having to rely on the old photographs that I have found on line, but again, the plans seem to reflect reality very closely. Photos of the Bluenose II are not of any help, because the details are considerably different.


So, to answer your question, it probably makes sense to begin with the Bluenose. It's an easy hull to plank and the rigging is relatively simple. In addition to the build logs on the forum, have you discovered this website:  https://suburbanshipmodeler.com/    This guy has a pretty comprehensive build log of his Bluenose.


Most old pictures of the Bluenose can be found at the Nova Scotia archives -  https://novascotia.ca/archives/bluenose/  but the site is not much fun to navigate; you have to wade through page after page to find the pictures, but it's worth it. They can be quite helpful when something is not quite clear in the plans.


Anyway, those are my thoughts for what they're worth. I hope they're of some help to you.



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

My masts, booms and gaffs are pretty much ready and it looks like I'm into the rigging now.


All of the blocks on the Bluenose were internally stropped and it appears from old photos that they were all painted white. This is a detail that I wanted to include. There seem to be two options for internally stropped blocks: one is the wooden ones from Syren and the other is the cast metal ones from BlueJacket. I weighed the pros and cons of each and in the end settled on the BlueJacket ones for two reasons. The first is the Syren ones are not available in the smallest size that is called for on the Bluenose plus they are so exquisite that I didn't think I had the heart to paint them. On the other hand, the BlueJacket ones are available in all the specified sizes and they are intended to be painted, so they seemed the right choice for this project.




Many of the blocks on the Bluenose were attached with shackles. I have no confidence in my ability to replicate them skillfully enough at this scale, so I have opted to seize the blocks to eyebolts which I know will look better in the end.


The bowsprit is installed and rigged, including my fake turnbuckles -




The foremast is held in place with temporary "stays" while I start in on the lower shrouds







That's it for now.





Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

I am the world's worst maintainer of build logs. I forget to take pictures until I realize that I am quite a way along since my last update and then for some reason, the longer it goes, the harder it seems to be to do the update. So better late than never, here are some pictures of my completed Bluenose.


To be honest you haven't missed much during the rigging as this is a pretty simple model and the rigging couldn't be more straight forward. There isn't too much of it, and there are no unique problems to overcome.




















The trickiest thing about this kit is deciding how to handle all of the metal work on the rigging. I've chosen to eliminate much of the metal work as I doubted my ability to recreate it well enough. I did use some around the mast tops and I made some turnbuckles.


One detail that I did choose to include was the use of internally stropped blocks, which I purchased from BlueJacket and they seem to recreate the look of the original Bluenose quite nicely.


I can see why the Bluenose is such a popular kit. Apart from being a very handsome model, it isn't too difficult to do, doesn't take too long to do, but at the same time is a very satisfying.


So now that this one is done, I have decided to jump off the deep end and launch into a challenging new build - the HMS Ontario from Maris Stella. I had been unaware of this ship until reading about it on this site, and I find it to be of interest because it's so local to me. I live a five minute walk from the shore of Lake Ontario and it's only about 40 miles across the lake to the site of the wreck.


So far, I have built Model Shipways kits almost exclusively and have gotten pretty comfortable with them. So I expect the Ontario will present some new challenges for me which I am looking forward to.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...