After 49 hours work (timed on a stopwatch), spread over 32 days, the hull is now complete, and all ready for the masting and rigging. The hardest part is now over, as rigging these miniatures is far easier than making the hull and deck details. The ship will be shown in a sea, under full sail. I have already assembled the display case, but not veneered the edges yet. The sea and sea base have also been made, but not finalised yet. This model has followed the usual path as far as interest by fellow ship modellers is concerned. Namely, a small number who are interested, to begin with, but trailing off as the build progresses. Merchants ships (so I am often told), do not possess the appeal of warships, and therefore, we do not often see many models of them!
I have now begun the masting and rigging, starting with the shrouds and ratlines on the fore lower mast, topmast and t'gallant mast, plus the forestay and cap stays. The next task will be to set up similar rigging on the main and mizzen. Then with the three masts firmly stayed, I will move on to setting and rigging the fore and aft sails before completing the standing rigging. Sometimes, I wonder if any other fellow model shipbuilders build, or even like, this type of ship, as I haven't seen any others around in ages!
For anyone interested in this type of model ship construction, various details with illustrations are given in the 30-page practicum : Scratchbuilding Merchant Sailing Ships, A Dying Art. This is one of the first practicums that I made, and although it has no plans in it, it gives a lot of basic modelling hints and tips, including making the seas with the polystyrene foam method, namely, the steel barque Marjory Glen, shown here . The practicum is 30 pages in length. Click this link, and scroll down to read the synopsis. Then, if you wish to purchase a download, a Paypal button is provided for £2.49. http://payhip.com/b/RnMf
I have now completed the remainder of the shrouds and ratlines, but not yet fitted them. They are made from tinned copper wire, soldered together. The silver ones show a pair of them before spraying with black paint. This is not a difficult, or even time-consuming process. Unfortunately, however, most ship modellers decide that it is too difficult, and return to the time-honoured methods of setting up each shroud separately, and then settling down to tie hundreds of tiny knots to put the ratlines on. I am very grateful that I do not possess the patience and dedication to even contemplate that sort of thing!
I have now completed all 16 sets of shrouds and backstays, plus the capstays on each mast. The bowsprit stays have also been fitted. The next task is quite a boring one, set and rig 13 jibs and staysails.
Monday, 21st May, 2018
I have now set and rigged seven of the 13 jibs and staysails - quite a tedious task. I am now 39 days into the build, having worked a total of 65 hours on it so far. Interest in this build by fellow ship-modellers has remained at the consistent low level that I have become accustomed to over the years. Nevertheless, I am very pleased with how it is going. It has an unusual number of jibs and staysails, and I will be glad when they are complete, and I can move on to completing the standing rigging, and setting and rigging the twelve square sails, spanker and gaff topsail. Bob
Today, I fitted four three topmasts backstays, one topmast capstay, two t'gallant backstays, one t'gallant capstay and one royal backstay on each side of the foremast. Also, the topmast, t'gallant and royal halliards on the foremast. The foremast standing rigging is now complete. That all took one hour and six minutes, something that would be impossible using conventional methods of twine and knots. Little or no interest in it has been displayed by my fellow modelmakers who live locally, and have already see the model in the early stages of construction. Large models of ships of war continue to dominate the scene here in Lancashire UK, although I find one sea battle is pretty much like another, and cannot compare with the adventures to be had in merchant ships, whilst engaged in their lawful activities of peaceful trading, where the only enemy was the sea!
I think a lot of modelers like these merchant ships and clippers very much, due to their beautiful shapes, their lines etc. I love them. But from a modeler Point of view it is starting to get more complicated to build them. There is much more „metal works“ to do, comparing with the old ship of lines or frigates......my experience in soldering, welding, turning brass are very limited to make in scratch a ship in bigger scale. And there are a very small number of kits available. Look at the barque kit from marisstella.....beautiful.....
When I first started miniatures, I went from 8 feet to 1 inch to 32 feet to 1 inche literally overnight, and the first thing I realised was how much easier it was to rig in wire. As most of the wire is just glued on, there is very littel soldering. Plating a hull with paper plates is a lot easier than laboriously planking a wooden hull. The brass turning is very simple, usually done in a small 12 Volt electric drill, using files to do the shaping. Fortunately, there are no kits for miniature merchant ships these days, and I would not like that to change as I don't like building models where there are thousands of identical ones around! I am quite convinced that anyone who can build a kit can scratchbuild. I am off to the monthly model shipwright society tomorrow, and I will be amazed if anyone takes much notice of my iron barque. Yet, collectors love them.
I am now moving on to the final completion of the iron barque, having only ten more square sails to set and rig. At the local ship model society on Saturday, my models attracted very little interest, as I fully expected. We were having an open day, and a collector was there, who was pleased to purchase my model barquentine Bellmore, and the topsail schooner Julia, displayed here on SOS. So, despite a general lack of interest, I left several hundred pounds better off, and so felt well-pleased with myself. There is only a few days work left in the iron barque, and I will be glad when it is complete, as I am now growing a bit weary of it.