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Zooker

Sea Witch 1846 by Zooker - RESTORATION

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Zooker, this could be a very rewarding build, but I'd agree - take your time, record everything as you go, and don't rush into it. You might like to look at the build log for the Great Harry (Henry Grace a Dieu) that the Central Ohio Shipwrights are doing - 

In my opinion they're doing a very good job, taking their time, cleaning and tidying to a point where they're starting with what amounts to a clean slate, rather than "find a problem - correct it, find another problem - correct it", which can get very messy. But they've done their research, recorded everything and worked out what to do before rushing in (something I'm sorry to say is one of my own faults).

 

To get this model back to its former glory you need to be methodical, step by step. And do some reading on the rigging of this kind of ship so you know what you're aiming at.

 

It's likely to be a big job, but with patience and care you'll end up with something to be really proud of, and a good memorial to your uncle.

 

Oh, and nearly forgot - "PM" = Private message - click on the ikon of two "speech bubbles" at the top right hand side of the page. And if there's a message waiting for you there's normally a white number in a red square (from memory) to let you know.

 

 

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Thanks, Louie.  One of the things that worries me is how I'm going to replace the rail that runs the width of the stern.  How do you duplicate such a small piece?

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On 6/7/2020 at 2:15 PM, ccoyle said:

The only Sea Witch kit that I know of what the old Scientific Models kit, which is long since out of production. Restoration work is challenging to be sure, but we have some members here who can give you pointers. A clipper like yours is one of the most difficult ship types to rig, so they will probably also suggest some reference works for you to peruse.

 

Good luck on your project!

Scientific manufactured a wood solid hull kit, as did the defunct Marine Model Company of New York.  Marx produced a plastic kit with a steel deck. Lindberg modified the Marx kit to include a plastic deck.

 

What are the dimensions of your model?  If it is the old Scientific or Marine Models kit, I can supply parts to you if you would like.  I have several of each kit.

 

Bill

 

 

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Thank you Bill and Louie, for stepping up and helping with good recommendations when it comes the restoration. It's not easy when seeing the ship only by pictures. This is what Modelshipworld is about.

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I believe this to be the Marine Model Kit No. 1079 from he photograph.    About 2 years ago I acquired a partially built model from this kit that had damage from a move.    I started the restoration but decided to not fully rig the ship leaving it as it may have been when launched.   The plans were originally drawn in the 30s.   It was a quality kit and well worth restoring if you have the time and passion.  From time to time these kits show up on eBay.   

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There's quite a few logs that deal with restorations.  Use the keyword "restoration" in the search feature.   Some of them are pretty simple and others are really in depth.

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15 hours ago, Zooker said:

One of the things that worries me is how I'm going to replace the rail that runs the width of the stern.  How do you duplicate such a small piece?

It's a bit hard to tell from the photos how that railing is made. Is it cast plastic or made out of individual pieces of wood? Can you provide some close-ups with better detail?

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Thanks, Zooker. The uprights seem to be relatively ok - it seems to be just the railing itself that is missing or damaged. It seems to have been just glued on top of the uprights, and could probably be replaced with a similar piece of wood, after you've cleaned any excess paint, glue etc from the uprights, and the dirt from the top of the middle rail.

 

That's for that part of the ship. But I'd suggest a very systematic approach to the whole vessel. In my view you'd be best to keep everything you possibly can of the original model and only replace with new when you have to. Repair rather than replace.

 

First, take LOTS of photos, from every conceivable angle, to record how everything is fixed to everything else in its current state. Where each rope goes, what it's fixed to and how etc etc, particularly where damage has occurred.

 

Then, gently and systematically remove damaged parts, ropes etc, keeping track of what belongs where. Perhaps put the ropes, spars etc for each particular mast in its own box or envelope. Some ropes go between two masts - that's a matter for judgment - gently unfix it from one end and keep it attached to the other. Depending on the type of glue was used on the model you have various options to remove it - white glue (PVA) succimbs to ru bbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol or isopropanol), and I'm told CA (superglue) dissolves in  nailpolish remover.  Try it out on a relatively unseen part and see what results you get.

 

Once all the damaged stuff is removed, what you have left is the hull and the parts that are in good condition, and you're free to start cleaning up. Apparently the best method of cleaning (which is what museum restorers use) is cotton buds (Q-tips) and saliva, replacing the buds as they get dirty.

 

After everything's clean, you can start in on the repairs.

 

What I wouldn't recommend is to (say) glue a broken mast together while it's still got all the ropes attached - at least not have ropes running from the broken mast to somewhere else. They'll impose uneven forces on the spar and it's almost certain to mend crooked. Work on relatively minor parts that aren't glaringly obvious firstly, so if you make a mistake it doesn't show too much. As you gain experience and confidence, move to the more major items. Oh, and often when a mistake occurs (and they will), it's possible to undo it and do over properly.

 

Just take it methodically and don't hurry. One good repair is worth any number of rushed, half-done ones. Eventually it will start looking like a ship. And in the long run you'll have something you'll be proud to put in a display cabinet and show to your admiring friends.

 

Good luck, and have fun with it!    

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Louie:

 

Are you suggesting that it might be best to remove all the rigging and then start from scratch after all else is repaired/replaced?

 

 

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Hi Zooker,

 

It's a bit of a judgment call. If the rigging and spars are intact, you're probably best to leave them in place. However, anything damaged or messed up is likely to cause you trouble if you do a half-a*sed job of it - in that case it's probably better to strip the damaged stuff down to "square one" to give yourself a free hand with repair - but keep it, and everything that can be put back in place should be - once you've repaired what you need to.

 

I've been restoring the model I made of the Henry Grace a Dieu back when I was a teenager. 

What I've had to do is far more drastic than what you're up against. I had to strip mine right down. But I kept everything I possibly could and put it back in place whenever possible. I only made new stuff when I absolutely had to, and that includes the rigging.

 

As I said, it's a judgment call. I'd say remove as little as you absolutely have to, but don't hold back if it's really necessary. Trying to fix things on deck by reaching past broken spars and tangled rigging is giving yourself a much more difficult job than you need.

 

This is only my own opinion, and I'd hate to send you off on the wrong track.  Perhaps more experienced modellers can weigh in with their own advice.

 

Best wishes with the restoration. Take your time, and put photos up as you go, so others can help with tips and advice.

 

And do start a build log. Though I know you haven't actually taken your first step in restoration, this discussion is past the point where belongs in "New Member Introductions" - it should be in a build log, so others can see it and add helpful suggestions.

 

 

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OK, so how do I start a build log and move all this stuff that has been written thus far?

 

Also, Jim Lad earlier recommended that I get a copy of Harold Underhill's "Masting and Rigging: The Clipper Ship And Ocean Carrier"  This would cover the  rigging of the actual ship and not a model, correct?

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Hi Zooker,

 

The instructions for starting a (scratch-built - which is the most appropriate category to what you're doing) build log are here

 

 

To move your text and photos, probably the easiest thing to do would be to just write a bit of appropriate text to introduce the subject plus re-upload (or copy and paste) the photos you've included so far. And then go on from there as you make progress in your restoration.

 

And ask lots of questions if you need help or advice - there is  no such thing as a stupid question!

 

Yes the book you've been recommended to read relates to the rigging of real ships. It's then up to you how accurately you wish to copy that rigging, bearing in mind the practicalities of making everything much smaller. The smaller the scale of the build, the simpler most people make everything - it's often better to leave out a lot of the fiddly bits at a small scale because (a) they're hard to make and (b) sometimes they actually detract from the overall impression you're trying to achieve. It's your decision, your model. As you're restoring an existing model, it's probably best to try to get it back to the way it was originally built, using the book as a guide in case of doubt.

 

And there's a whole section in the forum on "Masting, Rigging and Sails" - good for seeing how others have done it, and for getting your own specific questions answered by those "in the know".

 

Good luck with it, and have fun! (which is why we do this, after all).

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I haven't seen the book before, but at first glance it looks good and fills a gap that I don't think anything else does.

 

Not sure about specialised tools for rigging - long-nosed tweezers would be good. But there are some clever ideas in some of the build logs for jigs etc, particularly one for getting all your deadeyes perfectly spaced apart. Unfortunately I don't seem to have bookmarked that one, but as far as I can see you're not likely to need it because your deadeyes are already made and positioned. 

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There are some areas on the deck that are pretty cruddy due to years of gathering dust.  I have Q-tips on long sticks like those used in medicine and I'm wondering what -if anything - I should use to dampen them that would aid in the cleaning?  Water?  Alcohol?  Thanks.

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7 hours ago, Zooker said:

There are some areas on the deck that are pretty cruddy due to years of gathering dust.  I have Q-tips on long sticks like those used in medicine and I'm wondering what -if anything - I should use to dampen them that would aid in the cleaning?  Water?  Alcohol?  Thanks.

Saliva... i.e.: spit.   The enzymes in it will actually help clean off the dust and debris faster without harming the finish or the wood.

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Well, I think I'd need more than a few lemon slices.   The solution for me, however, is to just spit into a small plastic cup and keep dipping the swabs into it.  But you guys are right:  It works! 

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Yep, works for me, too. Cleaned off over 50 years of accumulated crud from the forecastle deck of my Great Harry. But I never thought of a cup for the saliva. I could have saved myself a lot of YUK. :P

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That model you have was built by the marine model company for sure,how i know is that i am building the exact same model right now. The company is no longer in existance and i have the set of 4 blue prints for that model which was givin to me by a friend,ironicaly his uncle that passed away. Since he knew i built models gave it to me went on line to see other models by this company to see how i am doing when i came across your perdicament. This is a nice model well designed and solid!

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