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Muirneag 1903 by Blue Ensign – FINISHED - 1:64 scale - A Scottish Zulu Fishing Boat Based on the Vanguard Models Zulu Kit

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Post 39

Completion of the hull


Three months of fairly consistent working and the hull and deck fittings are complete.


Time for a photo shoot before I clear the work bench and move onto the second stage of Mast making and rigging.























Modifying this excellent kit to reflect a specific boat has added immensely to the build enjoyment for me, and my thanks go out to Chris for providing the makings.


The high basic accuracy of the kit make it a good subject for modification, and had I decided to model the Zulu Fidelity (BF 1479) very little reconstruction work would have been required.







Edited by Blue Ensign
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BE -- I just to have to comment on your phone call -- the thought that someone would actually answer nowadays, and that two strangers could have a talk about a shared interest is deeply gratifying.  Maybe a bit of civility still exists in the world, at least among ship modellers!





Edited by Martin W
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Thank you all for your 'likes' and generous comments.

@ Martin, - I was surprised when the phone was answered, he sounded a really nice chap, and I don’t think us modellers need much of an excuse to talk endlessly about the subject.😃

@ Glenn and John – I did think about making some scale ‘silver darlings’ when doing my Fifie build, but then reality kicked in.😉

I will however make a set of Cran baskets, quite relaxing basket weaving.



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Hello Blue Ensign,


years ago I've seen scale "silver darlings" made from caraway seed airbrushed with silver paint. From a distance they looked quite convincing.

Be sure to use the right caraway fruits; cumin fruits ar shorter and thicker!  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caraway  


b rgds




Caraway fruits Kümmel_2012-07-08-9523 wikipedia.jpg

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Thank you for the suggestion cotrecerf. 👍

 According to the reference caraway seeds are 2mm in length.

At my scale the herrings would be around 3.5mm - 5mm in length, still you have given me something to think about, and painted and piled  into a cran basket may do the trick.







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Post 40

Mast making.

There are only minor differences between the Underhill plan dimensions and the  kit dimensions, and I will be working with the kit dimensions, not least because the expensive  but very nice kit sails are presumably cut to suit the given dimensions.

I am using Walnut Square stock for both Fore and Mizen masts.



Allowing for extra length to fit in the lathe chuck and tail stock, the square sections are marked to the correct point above the partners and the taper was marked at the quarters on a card  to allow for a running check on progress.



I start the process by shaving the square stock into eights on a ‘V’ jig and scraping with a scalpel blade.



The rounding and tapering are completed on the lathe using sanding papers and emery cloth.

Always worth wearing a face mask when doing this job, Walnut dust is nasty stuff.

Fairly straightforward and there are few fittings on the mast.



1½ sheaves at the Fore Masthead, iron straps and a band with an eye to secure the Fore Burton stay.

The Mizen mast has a single sheave and a band with an eye for the Burton stay.




Secured on the fore face of the squared Fore mast is a plate to take a wire strop to secure the hooks of the jib halyard when not in use.


The yards.

Only two to make, and here I am following the Underhill arrangement.


Fore Yard

This comprises a 38’ spar with an offset taper. At the slings the diameter is 12½” tapering to 4” on the long end and 5” at the short end.



At scale this equates to 180mm length, 4.9mm ø at the slings, 1.6mm ø at the head, and 2mm at the fore.

Atop the centre part is an iron plate with an eye for the yard halyard hook. This portion of the yard is served both to secure the iron plate and for protection.


Mizen Yard

The Mizen yard has the same set up

It comprises a 32’ spar with an offset taper. At the slings the diameter is 7” tapering to 3¾” on the long end and 4¾” at the short end.

At scale this equates to 152.4mm length, 3.0mm ø at the slings, 1.5mm ø at the head, and 2mm at the fore.



The yards before they are stained, and the serving is applied.




The yards are stained with Dark Jacobean Oak and served with 0.1mm line.



The Underhill plans show an overall length of 49’ (233mm) which is a scale 16mm shorter than the kit length, not much in the overall scheme of things.



At the inboard end there is a shoulder cut to butt against the saddle.






I left the ladderway open but decided to otherwise enclose the ‘skeegs/Skegs’ (Mast Housing) with boarding cannibalized from the fish hatch cover.



At the Bowsprit outer end, a half sheave is cut to take the jib outhaul. An iron band is fitted over the end, and a Cranse iron is yet to be fitted.

The kit does provide a brass etched cranse of sorts (PE12) but it is a simplified version.

I won’t actually fit the Bowsprit for a while yet, too much risk of catching the end whilst rotating the model.

It will in any case be secured without glue when the time comes.




Wedges can be seen aft of the masts used to secure the angle of rake required.

The Mizen wedge has yet to be cut to length.






I think that will do for the sticks for a while, time to check out the Boys own book of sail enhancement. 😉





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Thank you Rusty and Bob, and for the 'likes'


Post 41




The sail set comprises, Fore, Mizen, and Jib.


I am using the nicely made but expensive kit provided addition, but even these can be enhanced by the addition of reef points. It is a tiresome exercise but certainly appropriate at this scale.


One other item I need to consider is whether to add cringles to the luff and leech of the lug sails.


Underhill indicates rope cringles around iron thimbles for the leech and iron ‘D’ type thimbles for the Luff.


My first job is to check that the sails fit the yards and add the details to the kit sail plan.




The sails are a good fit to the plan



The Reef points and cringles are marked on the plan.


Just the small matter of adding 268 14mm knotted lines to the sails. Wonderful.🙄

This will be done after the sails are dyed.


Colouring the sails



This is the description given in the Sailing Drifter book by Edgar J March.



Sails were ‘barked’ a rich, dark brown, almost black colour. They were seldom tanned the warm Red of the English drifters.



From my experience with the sails on my Fifie build I am aware that the sail stitching and bolt ropes do not take dye at all, leaving them stubbornly white, which is annoying against the rich brown sails.



The Dye blurb says add salt for cotton, rayon, or linen, and vinegar for nylon, silk, and wool. That is white vinegar, not the stuff you put on your fish and chips.


To replicate the colour, I am using Rit brand (cocoa brown) dye powder.



The recipe’ and procedure I used was as follows:-



Before I start I wash the sails gently and iron out the creases, well Mrs W does.



Into a plastic bowl I poured 4 pints of hot water.



4 teaspoons of dye powder (virtually the whole packet) were dissolved in a 1 pint jug of near boiling water from the kettle.



This was added to the bowl followed by a dessert spoon of salt, and two dessert spoons of white vinegar.

The mixture was well stirred, and the sails added.



I am mindful that the jibs were coloured but were only lightly dressed so it was immersed first for only a few minutes.



I stirred the lugs around for approx 20 minutes which gave me the depth of colour I thought was ok.



The sails were then rinsed in cool water until the water ran all but clear.



They were then hand washed in warm water with a mild detergent added, rinsed, and put to dry flat on an old towel.




Still wet, the colour difference of the Jib reflects the much lighter dressing applied to this sail.




The sails have dried a little lighter in shade, and there is also a little shrinkage in the lug sails, no doubt due to their longer immersion in hot water.



As with the Fifie sails the bolt ropes and seams have not taken the dye so I suspect they are of polyester. I tried samples of silk (Which took the dye) and polyester (Morope) which didn’t.


It looks like I will need to use a fine point waterproof marker to colour the bolt ropes and reduce the starkness of the white.


The seam stitches are more problematic as there is a high risk of overspill.




This concludes Part one of the sail saga.










Edited by Blue Ensign
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1 hour ago, Blue Ensign said:


Just the small matter of adding 268 14mm knotted lines to the sails. Wonderful.🙄

Oh man, I do not like those seemingly never ending, repetitive tasks that are common in ship modeling. The sails look wonderful and, although I'm sure it's not historically correct, I rather like seeing the contrast of the white stitching to the darker color of the sails. 

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After you do the 268 reefing ties, you could get a fine point Xylene technical marker in a dark brown color, and color the stitching.  It would be a pain, but it's achievable. All it would take would be a magnifier, and lot of time and patience. :)


I have to say that your build log is really helping me map out my Zulu process.  It's like looking into the future, so that I can anticipate the issues I'll be dealing with a month down the line.  Bless you, BE! 

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3 hours ago, Blue Ensign said:

add cringles to the luff and leech of the lug sails.


Underhill indicates rope cringles around iron thimbles for the leech and iron ‘D’ type thimbles for the Luff

That you know what any of this means is impressive enough on its own, I have no idea what you said 🤣😂

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Cheers Guys,


@ Richard, -  I feel for me too, but it has to be done.🙂


@ Bob, - the stitching does seems to become less obvious over time, I don’t notice it as much on the Fifie now.


@ Erik -  Marking the bolt ropes is no problem, but the stitching on the sails is so fine that the risk of bleed onto the sails is too high for my tired old eyes.

It all gets a bit complicated with dyes, it comes down to relative proportions with combined materials, but the clincher is that  hot dyeing would be required and there is no way that Mrs W is going to let me loose on her induction hob with a pot of dye. 😄


@ Glenn, - a few hours ago neither did I, 😉 but it sounds good,  still not sure how to go about it yet.🤔

I'd better make a start on those reef points.



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Post 42


Fettlin’ the sails



Reef points are a tiresome thing but add realism to a sail.

To fit them properly a double length line is passed thro’ a hole in the sail and knotted at the top each side.



The issue with this at scale is that getting them to hang naturally can be problematic without resorting to use of pva to hold them down on the sail.

This risks marking the previously dyed material.



My approach is to simply glue the points to the sail at the knot. This way the point lies flat, and the application of glue is better controlled.



Even So it is exceeding dull work, knot, trim, and glue, 88 times each side for the large fore lug sail, which has six rows of reef points.




For gluing the sail is taped over the plan and a steel rule used to level the points across the sail.






Three days later and the Reef points are completed on the large Fore Lug sail.



I now turn my attention to the Luff cringles, which as everyone knows run down the leading edge of a sail. 😉



These are of an iron ‘D’ shape and there are eight of them on the Fore Lug.



For these I have used 2.5mm ø fine brass rings to which the ‘D’ shape is imparted and the joint silver soldered for security.




To aid fixing these tiny fittings I used a smear of ca to hold them in position atop the bolt rope whilst a needle and thread is used to secure them to the sail.




My recent acquisition proved very useful to hold the sail for this exercise.




I used 0.1mm Morope line to secure the rings thro’ the Tabling (Hem) of the sail.




Sail completed by the addition of the Leech cringles.




The same procedure will be repeated to complete the Mizen Lug.








Edited by Blue Ensign
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Looking good. Bet you're so glad the reef points are all done now 🙂 But they really do add to the look of the sails....once you've seen sails with reef points you can't unsee them on other boats.


And I like the 'recent acquisition'...I've had one on my Amazon Wishlist for a while but haven't pulled the trigger yet. I hadn't thought of it as a 'sail holder' but it seems ideal for that...as no doubt many other uses. Hmm.











Edited by Rik Thistle
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Not quite done yet Richard, I have the whole process to repeat again on the Mizen sail.


Having struggled for years with various methods of holding things this QuadHands is a wonder, every serious ship modeller should aim to add one to their tool stock.



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Thank you Thomas,


The sails are an  (expensive) extra with the kit, but the material is as fine as I have seen for model purposes. They are obtained  from Master Korabel in Russia.


Chris Watton has only recently confirmed to me that the material is cotton, and the sail  bolt ropes and stitching are of polyester.


This does mean that the sail cloth takes a dye very well but the polyester not so.


It could possibly be got around with a more complicated dye process, but I simply resorted to staining the bolt ropes with a waterproof marker. The panel stitching is fine and  beautifully done and I left it well alone.



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  • Ryland Craze changed the title to Muirneag 1903 by Blue Ensign – FINISHED - 1:64 scale - A Scottish Zulu Fishing Boat Based on the Vanguard Models Zulu Kit

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