Jump to content

Schooner Caroline by josh44 - BOTTLE - 1/240 scale - Finished

Recommended Posts


I took off about a year in between Ship in Bottle projects.  I completed the restoration on my Dad's Santa Maria model, and was able to upgrade the workshop a bit.  Mostly, I needed to take a break, and rebalance my free time.


Over a year ago, I promised a nurse colleague named Caroline that I would make her a ship in a bottle.  This was hanging over my head during my hiatus, so I was happy to return with this gift project for her.


I found a smart looking schooner yacht named Caroline.  She's a Malabar IV model. And I believe she is still for sale!!



I always start  with the hope of achieving crisp lines and smooth sails. I'm kidding my self, but that's my goal.


I was concerned that over the past 12 months or so, I would have forgotten many of the tips that learned over my first dozen or so SIBs.  That may be so, but in return I also brought a fresh perspective, and the gumption to try new things.


For this project I returned to solid hull blank - not saggital cuts.





I got some nice wood scraps from a mill nearby - I think its cherry but I dont know for sure. Certainly an upgrade form the bass wood I had been using.  


For my birthday last year, eldest brother bought me a mini belt sander, which came in super handy for the shaping of the hull. Upgrade #2!



In the past I fashioned mast hinges out of beading cord ends.  This time I tried something new: drill across the beam, and insert an axle attached to the mast.



The idea was that the two masts would fold aft, all the way down, for launch into the bottle. This would require a channel aft of each mast in which they would lie (with their sails and rigging) during insertion.



Here's one of the axles being drilled to hold the mast


And here is a still of the brass rod 1.19mm sitting in the wooden axle.




Here i'm testing the main mast as it folds down


And here are both masts, folding aft into the channel as I had hoped




So far so good!


Next: The Calm Before the Storm


Link to post
Share on other sites

As is usual for me, I plan to go light on the miniature details, since that is a weak point for me. Am hoping that a well-planned design, with simple  construction will win the day. I still have a lot to learn.



thumbnail_IMG_4287.jpg.d6590dc34af8e3c723573593255748e9.jpgApplying primer to a sanded hull.


In general, i  dislike drilling dozens of timy holes in the yards and masts, so am trying to minimize that process as well.

thumbnail_IMG_4304.jpg.66942e2571338eb8f38f70bea3d71e08.jpg Simple attachment of the yards to the painted brass masts.


thumbnail_IMG_4318.jpg.f00467b0775908ad6523dd98d40b502d.jpgFast forward to 3 / 4 Sails up, with the only decoratiove flourishes I will add: the mast lines, and the highly functional bead cap ends atop the masts.


thumbnail_IMG_4322.jpg.b10660e6e2e26055b7382ccb71e79fbd.jpgI cut the deck house in two, to allow for the masts to fold back.  I will drop them down after launch. This is where trouble starts: I think I'm clever by threading the line from the foremast yard down through the fore deck house.  This will come back to haunt me. 




thumbnail_IMG_4331.jpg.7a5c5bede41bf6c3f8fb8ca93c9a9667.jpg Folds back well! And despite lots of sanding, layers of primer, and clear latex primer, I still cant get that smooth sheen.



thumbnail_IMG_4335-1.jpg.b8ce637434bb7fb75efd84bc9af46f4d.jpgAttaching the staysail and the jib was tricky. I needed them secured to rigging of course, but the rigging had to be able to 'run' when i folded down the masts.  So i made little loops.


At this point I'm still debating upon how to mount the ship inside the bottle: Dry pedestal mount Vs clear mount with slilicone sea. I opt for the latter, but need something to raise the ship up from the bottom of the bottle's inside convexity.


I opt to try 5 lucite rods, which i drop in and glue to the bottom, making a little raft of clear support.

As seen from the bottle's mouth.


thumbnail_IMG_4338.jpg.bfa09fa35c755e3f941cf98bc440cf56.jpgand side.


thumbnail_IMG_4339.jpg.68341e1d88e5c70f9f69c81a1eca2bb5.jpgShe heads in easily enough - am happy with the new axle system for folding the masts.

thumbnail_IMG_4340.jpg.31543ef0da201dd7b6d55589218378eb.jpgAnd she rests easily away from the lucite base.

However,  i rushed the next part, which lead to near disastrous results.




Next: Lost in Uncharted Waters & Salvation






Link to post
Share on other sites

Really nice work Josh!  Can't believe I missed your other logs.  I wish I had more time in the day to work on SIB builds, but have other stuff on the bench.  However, now that I think about it, I guess I can say that I'm diligently working on the bottle part of the build - last night I finished a 1.75 liter tequila bottle that will make a nice home for one. 😁


Good luck on the completion of the project!

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/21/2020 at 12:01 PM, Landlubber Mike said:

Really nice work Josh!  Can't believe I missed your other logs.  I wish I had more time in the day to work on SIB builds, but have other stuff on the bench.  However, now that I think about it, I guess I can say that I'm diligently working on the bottle part of the build - last night I finished a 1.75 liter tequila bottle that will make a nice home for one. 😁


Good luck on the completion of the project!

Thank you, Mike!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Part Three: The End!


So the launch itself went fine, the masts collapsed, and all the rigging folded in well enough.


The problem was that I didnt ensure that the hull was fixed well enough to the lucite base inside the bottle. I used CA, but I guess not enough. And as this impatient SIB builder got exciited to complete the project, I  rushed the process, and poured in the silicone sea too soon.  I think part of me was foolishly hoping that the curing of the silicone would be enough of a fix for the hull.


Well, something weird was happening in that bottle, because neither the CA was setting, nor was the silicone. Typically the silicone will cure after 24 hours, but by day 7, it was still a loose, gloppy mess. And all of my fussing had ensured only one thing - that the entire ship was coated with a thin, slimey coat of uncured aquamarine dyed silicone gel.  


Most all of the running rigging was covered, as was the jib, and that stupid fore deckhouse!


thumbnail_IMG_4383.jpg.fc09d4f1727200841e7a831f5a75f5d9.jpg  Yellow arrow is the slimed up jib, red arrow is the deck house. Everything is a wet tangled mess, and I dont have the one thing I need to easily fix it: A hull properly fixed to the bottom!


thumbnail_IMG_4384.jpg.795e0d3ff8f7fd8283da8dd0f1dbbbae.jpgRed arrow: deck house in pincers, yellow circle: A sad tangle of jellied rigging.


I didnt want to toss it into the scrap heap, or break the bottle, or extract the ship.  So I decided to try to make it work with 11" alligator forceps and a lot of hope.  My CA had been rendered useless by the miasma within that bottle. Neither did Bondic plastic welding work - too far from the UV source.  But what did work was Sil-Poxy silicone epoxy! I was able to slowly, joint by joint, afix each yard and mast with the silicone adhesive. This part of the work was the worst, and I was not in the mood to take pictures. 


Most of the five yards were rendered functionally untethered by this entire process, so I needed to make new running rigging and attach them from within, creating the tension required for snappy sails. 


In the absense of a fixed hull, I did figure   to pull the ship towards the bottle, and use that as an anchor point.



Eventually, I was able to get the masts and yards in place, all the rigging just so, and the deck house in place. The deck house I had to snip  off of the line from the fore mast yard arm - it was a bad idea to begin with.


What remained was an interesting build: The ship was now in full sail, but unfixed, and able to glide a bit atop the uncured silicone goop.


thumbnail_IMG_4401.jpg.d95ea6a55216dd987ed2d298bd6652bf.jpgand aft.


Here is a video:


Was defintiely not my intention, but still kind of cool.


Of course theinside of the bottle got all mucked up with all the commotion I had been stirring up.  I cleaned the glass as best I could with goo gone, and did the requisite touch ups with paint over the epoxy. 


Here she sits on her custom stand.  I will order the brass plaque and present her to the real Caroline soon!

Thank you for reading!









Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Mike, Kevin, and Mark! It came out better than i had expected, that's for sure.  

I gave it to Caroline and the entire nursing team loves it!


While I'm getting pretty good at salvaging my launch disasters,  I just wish i didn't have so much practice!😱

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...