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Hi everyone. I am based in the UK and am taking on what I expect will be a substantial project.


I am not new to modelling, as a teenager, I built numerous Airfix kits, starting out just assembling them out of the box and finishing up filling my bedroom with Aircraft and Warships completed with detailed paint jobs and made to look as realistic as I could. Joined the Model Club at me Secondary School where we built balsa and tissue flight ready models, I made a free flight glider and later on a Powered Cesna for Radio Control flight.


I was born in 1958, and my father, who was a keen modeller, died in 59 so have little to remember him with. Some time in 57, after the Cutty Sark was opened to the public, he started a model of the ship, built from scratch, and finished it before his death in 59. The model was sold, not by me and a sore point, but was restored to me about 5 years ago, but was in a sorry state. It had lost all its rigging and the deck fittings were either missing or damaged.


Over the last few years, I have wanted to restore her to her former glory, and I had immediately gave her a fresh covering to her deck and re-did the painting on the hull. Then I stalled. I had no plans to look at and much of what I had got back showed that Dads versions were a little crude. I wanted to restore her but also wanted to improve on his version, thinking that there are much more in the way of resources available to me than were to him. However, I do not want to turn this into a totally new model and intend to use as much of the original parts as I can.


Its been a while since I did any detailed modelling so am a bit out of practice and have never taken on such a daunting task, so appreciate the article on reviewing build logs of newcomers to the hobby, but I hope that my reason for selecting such a complex task is clear. I am lucky in that I live in London so have access to Greenwich. I did visit the ship when I was i my early 20's, long before the fire of 2007, I watched the tv coverage of the fire when getting ready for work, ending up being late for work as I could't take my eyes of the images on the screen. I keep promising myself a revisit now she has been restored and is once again open to the public but never seem to get the time.


The hull is very similar in size to a 1:90 scale and my budget is limited, so much of what I need to make has to be from scratch. There are some things that I am just not going to be able to fabricate so will have to buy them, such as Deadeyes and Blocks and others will just have to have simulated as I can afford to buy 70-80 Chainplates.


So I will be doing my best to stay true to the ship but I also have to stay true to dads vision of the ship, so forgive me if I have to take a bit of poetic licence when recreating some things.





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  • ccoyle changed the title to Cutty Sark by My Fathers Son - Restoration

Hello, and a warm welcome to the forum from 'Down Under'.


What a great thing to get your father's model back, but how sad to see it in that condition.  I couldn't think of a better project than to restore your father's work to its former glory.



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What a wonderful project!


I think if it were up to me (which it isn't) I'd stick as close to your father's initial approach rather than doing too much to update the model. The connection to your father's handwork could be quite valuable.


I'm sure there are many good sources on the Cutty Sark, especially in England, however if you can find a copy of Nepean Longridge's The "Cutty Sark" that isn't too expensive you might enjoy it and get some useful direction in modeling the Sark. My dog eared copy was published here in the US in 59.



Edited by jlefever
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Thanks for the support and the comments, it is greatly appreciated. jlefever, the book is an interesting suggestion and worth looking into, I have searched briefly and found copies at varying prices, but most of the Used copies are missing the drawings/plans and New copies are beyond my budget.


I do agree that it is of great value to have something of your fathers to cherish. I too have a son, so intend that he should inherit something of both myself and the grandfather he never knew.


I have been practicing some of my skills in attempting to recreate some of her boats, they are work in progress and will post images but lack of decent scale plans means I think my first attempt is a bit off in scale. Also, made a few errors in cutting out that have carried through into my planking. so if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.




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Ok, so I have not been totally idol this week but there is a fait bit going on in my life at the moment, so have not been able to devote as much time as I would like.


When I got the boat back, I did a fair bit of cleaning to her, but in doing so, quite a few bits of damage became more evident. I removed the masts and deck houses, cleared up the decks and it was clear that I was not going to be able to get away with just cleaning it. Apparently, she had been played with in the bath, not realising that she would would need about 2 pound of lead shot and glue in the keel to keep her upright, and the deck timbers had shrunk and cracked. Rather than remove the old deck, I just laid a fresh deck over the top of the old one as the previous damage was now stabalised and there was no worping. 


All I had at the time was a lot of images of the actual boat and so attempted to use these and the dimensions of dads original pieces, to create the three main deck houses. I used basic marquetry to give the impression of doors. I am not sure if the proportions are precisely right, and certainly looks a little more detailed and should suffice. 


I had also made the rear deck house and the Poop deck structure as well in the same fashion but stalled at this point as I was struggling without any decent drawings of how to set out the deck. I realise there is a lot of equipment that would normally be there, pumps, winches and windlass's and I had no idea on how to rigg the ship. While I knew this was a long way into the build, I knew that I would have to do a lot of preparation that would not be possible once the rigging was underway.


So I spent a lot of time just searching on the net and had all but given up, the hull and parts had sat on a shelf in the front room and it was not until I decorated the room and had to move her, that I started to look again. 


This time I had a little more success. For instance, I stumbled accross this site and read through the build loggs and was amazed at the detailed models and instructions that were available, with an absolutely marvelous example of Cutty Sark. The spark was relit.


When I made the new deck houses, I noted that the ships boats sat on top and dads originals were missing. I did remember that they were simple blocks, mounted on slides next to the rear deck house. I did attempt to repeat dads examples, they woud be adequate to display upside down but not in the correct way once I have constructed the bridge structure over the rear deck house, so I drew out skeleton frames based on some drawings i had seen on Pinterest. No compass small enough so all the curves are curtasy of 2p and 5p coins.


I have made 2 lifeboats, 1 jolly boat and the captains gig. Not sure I have the scale right on all of them, and spent a lot of time unsticking my fingers from the superglue, and my planking is crude to say the least. They dont bare close scrutinary, and the planks are very thin. I have no idea what the wood is but is about 0.5mm thick and quite fragile, but once they are all stuck together, they are quite sturdy. 


I may redo these, they are my very first attempt at planking, but I will keep these for now. In reality, they would have canvas covers while at sea and may do that, unless my next efforts improve significantly.


Next week, I hope to add some detail to the deck houses, I have some brass rods and tubes that I can use for hand rails. I have a few portoles I bought from an excellent Model shop based in Cornwall. I would be like a kid in a cholotate factory if I ever managed to set foot in there but they are 150 miles from me and would likely get arrested and fined under Covid regulations if I tried. Fortunately, they have an excellent mail order service but to make sure, I order a few examples and if they look right, I reorder a few more. 


Just a thought, but has anyone made a ships wheel at this scale, I can buy one but as I have a supply of brass and 1.5mm ply, I was curious to see if this had been done by anyone here.

Front Deck House.jpg

Carved Life boat 1.jpg

Carved Life boat 2.jpg

Planked Lifeboat 1.jpg

Planked Lifeboat 2.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all,


One of the problems with a lot of enthusiasm and lack of project management is that it results in duplicated effort, something I am definitely guilty of.


I find myself perusing the images on this forum and am astounded and amazed at the quality of the work being done, I ansolutely love Kathys "Cutty". I on the other hand find myself making an effort and sitting down looking at the result and cant help but feel disappointed. However, to quote Harry Callaghan, "A mans gotta know his own limitations".  That doesn't mean that I do not have or cant develop the skill to do this but I need to make my mind up what I am going to do. The previous efforts I made such as the Forward Deck House and Lifeboat and shown on my last post were both better than my fathers pieces, but they fall short on what I want to display. I dont know if dad had any plans, the boat had only been installed in her dry dock months before he would have started his model. I dont think this is a kit because I just cant nail down the scale, it appears to be somewhere between 1:100 and 1:110. I do not have proper plans either, so am using a lot of images I can find on the net (an advantage I have over dad, he was a keen photographer so would have taken photos of her at the time) and looking at proportions to work out the scale for individual items. So I have remade the Deck house, my previous effort was to narrow and too small, not by much but noticeably so. So I have remade this from Lite Ply, some spars and Starbucks stirrers for the roof (I need to do this on a budget, so am looking to source materials from what I can lay my hands on). This is a better proportion for the existing deck. 


I remember dads small boats were carved blocks and were installed upside down on the roof and racks, but that is not the way they are displayed on her at Greenwich, so I had to do better. What I have shown here is my fourth effort at a clinker built boat, and I have finally managed to unstick the tips of my fingers, and am relatively happy with this. I will be installing this one on the deck house displayed. I have two lifeboats in progress and the remaining boat will have to wait until I source some more thin stips for the planks.


Time to go to work so TTFN, I will be doing more over the weekend and will post on my progress.






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Have spent the majority of the weekend planning on what I am doing, trial and error and "Having a go at what I fancy" is not working for me. That said, I still spent sunday afternoon working on the ships Jolly Boat.


A Lack of plans is a problem and so I am looking at what I can do to draw a few of my own. This should let me set things out as the size of the hull is a done deal. The only trouble with that is the proprortions are wrong. The hull is 71cm from stem to stern and Cutty is 212.5 ft so this suggests a scale of 1:90 or there abouts. However, she has a Beam of 36ft and my hull is 11.4cm and this comes out at about 1:110 or a little less. Overall, this should not be a problem if I work to 1:100 as a general scale so that the overall effect wont be too far out. 


I had made a Liverpool house and the size is not far out but its a bit too angled and the whole thing is in Walnut. I will be making a new one, a little longer that the current one with a smoother curve to the sides to match the shape of the deck. You can see the difference in sizes based on the ratio alone as the images attached have the two stencils I drew up. I will have to temporarily stick a paper to the deck and then run a compass around the deck with an arbitary size for the gangway. As she is now, there is only one door at the front of the Liverpool house and that is how dad had her, so I will omit the rear door. This will be made from Lite ply with beech planking on th roof to match the deckhouses, thank you Starbucks.  


Being in Lockdown is getting very frustrating as I would much rather go and buy what I need as I need it, there are, or at least were, modeling shops in South London, although only a few that stocked the materials I will need but thats out, so I am stuck with mail order and the Cornwall shop is the only reasonably priced place. The only real problem with that is I like to see what I am buying and you have to plan ahead, which I have not been doing so far. Other wise, I am sourcing materials from where ever I can get it and coffee stirrer sticks make good roofing materials, but you have to forgive me the scale issue.


Time for work, more to come.




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Hi Keith,


This was the first thread that I read in the forum followed closely by Kathy's equally excellent model. I do not aspire to replicate their work as that would necessitate redoing the Hull and would not then be dad's legacy. I will use these as a good guide for designing and setting out the deck but I need to be a little stylearised to be true to dad's original.


I took the model down and started laying out the deck fittings and the space is starting to look a little cramped.  To make the decision houses the right width, I have made them a little long down to the scale error in the Hull. 


I am redoing the toilets as they were too short, and the most crowded area is going to be between the fore deck and fore mast. I have no choice but to play with the scale of the Fife rail, winch and hold cover to create a little space between each item.


I will be making these parts myself so won't be stuck with sizes on stock parts. We will have to see what my metal work skills are, hope they live up to my woodwork skills, even if they are still a little rusty.


The fore deck is solid balsa so I can't do anything for the crew accommodation and piggery that was under there, but I have started on the chicken coups. Lite ply and thinned toothpicks will do for that.



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4 hours ago, My Fathers Son said:

I will use these as a good guide

 And that what I sought to convey, to use their efforts as a guide, not to necessarily replicate their work.

 MFS, I wish you only the best in the restoration of your father's model. If there is something you think I might be able to help you with, please ask.

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My Liverpool house is doing well as I have a nice shape and the proportions to the poop deck look of. The cover for the front door is a little to high, so I will reduce this. The door will remain the same size though and is the same size as the immitation doors in the two deck houses. I will plank the roof with beech sticks, install a surround at the top and bottom of the sides and simulate a door from. The sides will be stained mahogany and the roof painted white and distressed a bit.


Next will be the steering gearbox and ships wheel. I have been looking for a suitable wheel, and I am thinking something in th eregion of 20mm to 24mm and there are a few options in my favourite store. I have looked at the Mantua wooden ones and they look a little chunky for my taste. I am leaning towards the ones with a finer look. 


It is interesting that the image of Captain Woodgett in 1927 shows a rather plain 8 spoke wheel but the one on her today has a brass hub and a brass inlay in the outer ring. The spokes are more akin to victorian stair rail with a square base and turned pattern.


I am just asking what size wheel I should be looing for considering the scale I am looking for is between 1:90 and 1:110.



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Thanks Keith, I was leaning towards 20mm as this would have a radius of 10mm. This is mounted just below the roof level of the gearbox  and the bottom of the wheel just clears the deck. I am planning the Gearbox to have 2-3mm legs at the front and be 8-10mm in height so it is in scale to the liverpool house which tops out at 12mm without its dressing up, which will only add 1mm to its overall height

Current Wheel.png

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MSF, at 1:110, 6.6 foot tall wheel = 16.764mm. a 7 foot tall wheel = 17.78mm.......I think? Someone please check my math. If my math is correct, a 20mm tall wheel would be 7.5 feet. That's a huge wheel. Were it I, I'd lean more toward the 16mm wheel with 18mm being the max. But as I said, someone please check my math. 

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Thanks Keith, the magic number for me was 6'6" as I didn't know that.  There are 2 scales in play here as she is 1:90 on length and 1:110 on width. Working on an average of 1:100 and 24.5mm to the inch, this cones out as 19mm, so using 18mm makes sense. There are a couple of brass 8 spoke wheels on Cornwall model boats site so I will go for one of those.


Really appreciate the help. 

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The doors are 16mm. I lowered the roof and took out the sill above the doors. At a scale of 1:100 that would be about 5'6". The average sailor in the 19th century could walk through with only a small duck of the head. I have stained the side walls and planked the roof with beech sticks. The sky light was interesting, the window frames took a bit of fiddling gluing 1mm square beech stips, these still need to be glazed before I stick them in. I am quite pleased with this, not too fancy to be so far from what dad started but true to the spirit of the ship.


Next will be the steering gearbox.  


Must start that shopping list before long.


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Hi all,


Had my covid jab yesterday so feeling a bit off today, but woke early and after making a coffee, set out my workshop. 


I finshed the Steering gear box yesterday and am waiting on the postman for the wheel. Looking at the deck it seems I have lots of things with the main construction done but nothing is actually finished, so I have tried to sort a few of them out.


I started with constructing the roof mounts for the Captains Gig, glued it up then painted the roof white. Another coat and I can install the brass rings to secure the ropes that will hold the Gig in place.


I was lucky to get my delivery from Cornwall Model Boats today, pleasantly surprised at the speed of the delivery.


The Ships wheel I ordered was included but as you can see, some assembly is required. The spokes dont actually click in place and keep falling back out. Will CA glue hold this or do I have to solder them? 



I carried on with painting, but it all needs to be rubbed back down and another coat applied.



I can then apply the final trim aound the houses in Mahogany strip. I still need to work on the hull as I need to round of the curve on the rear, its quite obvious in such close up images.





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On 2/27/2021 at 9:00 PM, Keith Black said:

MFS. CA will work for the wheel. 

Thats for the help Keith, I finally got round to finishing of the Wheel and Gearbox yesterday.20210307_103507.jpg.62a14dda4e862475b59b42d667ce6560.jpg


The wheel is retained by an Earring backstay mounted between the outer board and an inner piece so it turns. The name plate is sheet brass and used a Dymo printer on clear tape. My hands are far too shaky to get that to look nice otherwise. I have some clear auto lacquer and will coat this so it retains its shine.


I added a little detailing to the Liverpool house prior and getting ready to install the hand rail but I read from someone that this is likely to get bent out of shape when rigging so may hold of from this. 20210307_103511.thumb.jpg.0479de3836656fcde78b58560c3e4678.jpg


Half way through the meat barrel last night I slipped with a craft knife so gave up for the evening, but is true now that this is a labour of blood and sweat, if not tears, bringing the model back to life. The two fife rails are constructed but not installed as I can't determine the correct position until I have a better idea where the deadeyes are going for the mizen mast, I dont want to crowd the area until I have this set out, much to the dismay of she who shall be adored, who thinks I need to be more methodical. She is right of coarse as I have drifted from task to task a bit.

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