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Trying to identify an inherited solid hulled model

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Hello, Last year I started to rehab a solid hulled ship I was given by my great Aunt. I believe it has been in my family going back 3-6 generations to when those grandfathers were sailors.


This model was in pieces when I got it, with some rigging saved. The Hull itself about 24 inches long.


I don't know if it was handbuilt or was a kit way back.  With the exception of the 3 largest mast pieces and 2 smaller mast pieces replaced with wood, remaining mast pieces appear to be made from Whales Teeth.

When I machined remaining pieces it smelled like a Dentists office!!


I was hoping someone might be able to identify which ship this model might be modeled after. I do know my ancesters spent their time on the east coast, including Marthas Vineyard, New Bedford, and Rockland, Me.

To rookie me, this model seems very similar to models of the Sovereign of the Seas and The Red Jacket.


It would be easier for me if I had a Ship to copy, and it would make sense that whichever ancestor

built this model used their own Ship as a model. I do understand at least one of my ancestors was Master of a ship that sailed to tjhe Orient.


Thanx, Dean Hillman

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It appears to be a partially completed kit for an American clipper of the 1850s. If you could find a catalog for "Scientific " or one of the other older manufacturers of models you might just find it. It is not the Cutty Sark or the Seawitch.

Drown you may, but go you must and your reward shall be a man's pay or a hero's grave

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I also think it is 1850's vintage. 

With the purpose of starting a discussion, I make some observations based on little evidence:

The masts and yards seem to be over scale.

The hull lines look clipper-like, but with only topgallants on all three masts, it is more like a coastal packet.

I see no evidence of deck hatches, how would she carry any cargo?

The forecastle and catheads look twice as large - like the hull is 1/8" scale and they are 1/4" scale.

The bulwark height does not match scale with deckhouse size.

Scientific kits had pre-made shrouds with ratlines, but you would be better served mounting the shrouds individually and doing the ratlines in place.

This may not be a kit at all and not made from plans of a real vessel.

NRG member 50 years




HMS Ajax 1767 - 74-gun 3rd rate - 1:192 POF exploration - works but too intense -no margin for error

HMS Centurion 1732 - 60-gun 4th rate - POF Navall Timber framing

HMS Beagle 1831 refiit  10-gun brig with a small mizzen - POF Navall (ish) Timber framing

The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1838-1842
Flying Fish 1838  pilot schooner - POF framed - ready for stern timbers
Porpose II  1836  brigantine/brig - POF framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers
Vincennes  1825  Sloop-of-War  - POF timbers assembled, need shaping
Peacock  1828  Sloop-of -War  - POF timbers ready for assembly
Sea Gull  1838  pilot schooner - POF timbers ready for assembly
Relief  1835 packet hull USN ship - POF timbers ready for assembly


Portsmouth  1843  Sloop-of-War  - POF timbers ready for assembly
Le Commerce de Marseilles  1788   118 cannons - POF framed

La Renommee 1744 Frigate - POF framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers


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I did a quick look through Chapelle's 'Search for Speed Under Sail'.  There are 'China Packets' and 'Clipper Ships' of the late 1840s and early 1850s with that hull form and pointed deck at the bows.  The Clippers didn't burst forth fully formed from the brow of Donald McKay, there is a traceable development.  Where the lack of hatches and large deck houses came from I cannot say.  Obviously you would have needed a way to get the cargo below decks.

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Thanx to all who offered their expertise on my Model. The last of my grandfathers who spent time at sea moved from Rockland, Me to Pelham, NH around 1860, and he and later his son ran a sawmill in Pelham for many years. So everything you guys said seems to mesh. I think this model may be of a ship one of them sailed on, and was handmade by one of these men. I also think the ship sailed from Rockland. 

So I am trying to restore it, but as many have pointed out, there is much about it that is not correct. I am slowly adding items as I learn this Hobby. Soon I want to build a case to protect it, a Diorama type with a print of a ship at sea for the back side, from which I will be able to slide the model out from the back still attached to a removeable base so I can work on it.


I look forward to help/suggestions.  Dean H.

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There is still value as a 'vernacular' or 'folk art' piece, especially with your family connection.  Your plans for a display seem sound.  I would suggest just going ahead and restoring the rigging as best you can work out.  There are lots of books dealing with ships of this period which I am sure this forum can advise you with.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would also add that you should take plenty of photos of what you have and make a record of what you do to preserve it.

this way if you hand it down to your children they will have a record of what is known so that later folks will understand what they have.

also as it is as much folk art as model do not worry too much on the ships details being out of scale. try to preserve as best you can what they built and the way they built it. that will be more authentic and I think it will have a better value in years to come.

also you might try to find any records of the ships they did sail on and lookup the plans or the type and see if you can make a model of one that is best match for that ship. then folks can compare them to see how well they did making a ship from memory. and add more info on what they did on the actual ship if you can.


this is history that you can save and pass on.

Holding at Rigging stage :

MS Bluenose 1:64, rigging and finish work


Building Hull :

MS Fair American 1:48


In the yard:  18th Century Longboat, Model Shipways Kit

Done: AL Bounty Jolly Boat

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