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Dreamsof51

First Sailing Ship tips

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Well I've really done it this time. For some reason I've yet to understand, I asked for Zvezdas 1/72 scale pirate ship "Black Swan'" from the last review list. I'm an aircraft and car modeler normally. This is the first sailing ship model I've ever built. The kit looks great in the box and I'm really looking forward to it. My issue is the paints that are called out. The box art shows a worn faded wood while the photos on the back show a clean brightly painted ship with a cream colored lower hull. My questions are as follows:

 

1. What time period would a vessel like this have been built and by whom?

 

2. What class of ship would you call it?

 

3. Are the bright colors really what a ship like this would have? Would the wood surfaces have been varnished?

 

 

As you can tell from my questions, I really don't have a clue so any information or links would be most welcome.

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i believe it was originally intended to be the "Black Pearl" from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. So that might be a good reference.

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Well I've really done it this time. For some reason I've yet to understand, I asked for Zvezdas 1/72 scale pirate ship "Black Swan'" from the last review list. I'm an aircraft and car modeler normally. This is the first sailing ship model I've ever built. The kit looks great in the box and I'm really looking forward to it. My issue is the paints that are called out. The box art shows a worn faded wood while the photos on the back show a clean brightly painted ship with a cream colored lower hull. My questions are as follows:

 

1. What time period would a vessel like this have been built and by whom?

 

17th or early 18th century.

 

2. What class of ship would you call it?

Roughly a brigantine, although it could be called a frigate depending on which country built the ship and how they classified it. And definitions changed so that a 17th cent frigate is different than the later 18th or 19th cent frigates.

Bottom line, few pirate ships were built that way, pirates couldn't afford that, nor were they that organized -- they became pirate ships after capture. Complicating things is that after capture they might have been modified to carry more guns, more sail, etc.

 

3. Are the bright colors really what a ship like this would have? Would the wood surfaces have been varnished?

 

As you can tell from my questions, I really don't have a clue so any information or links would be most welcome.

 

Probably not; really depends on when in the ship's life cycle it was captured and how then maintained. Pirates weren't just drunken thieves, but real seamen usually operating under a set of community rules; maintenance of their vessel would be important. OTOH, time was money, so it is unlikely they'd spend much port time on a repaint.

 

Then again, it's like an airplane or a tank -- do you want it to look 'out of the factory', mildly used, rode hard and put away wet -- weathering is your choice & who's to argue.

 

Neat looking model ... I must resist, I must resist ....

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Hanson, After a quick look at the movie, I agree it does look 99 percent like the black pearl. John thanks for the answers. I want to age it for sure but the sails are an issue. Since they are injection moulded, im not inclined to tear them up much. I may just dirty them up. What little I've read would indicate the hull below the waterline, would be covered with pitch (black) in lieu of bright white. It's a beautiful kit. I'll be posting part one soon which is a peak in the box. This ones going to take a while.

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I'd view this as an opportunity to have some fun. Look at the flicks, play the LEGO PotC game (SWMBO & I are playing it now), do some simple (even LEGO-like?) figures of the main characters ....

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The kit was, indeed, the Black Pearl, until Zvezda lost the Disney license. The only difference is the small sprue containing the figurehead. Disney pirate movies aside, above the waterline, painted wooden surfaces might have indeed been brightly colored for visibility, but that practice was more common to warships than merchant ships. Below the waterline, the hull could have been whet, dark brown, or black, depending on the type of antifouling voting used. Warships typically were protected by a white lead slurry. Pitch or pitch mixed with brimstone was used more often on merchant ships. Vertical surfaces of bare wood, such as the masts, sides and bulwarks would have been varnished or shellacked in port, and treaded with oil periodically to keep the wood from drying out. The decks would have been a light ash - almost white - due to regular holystoning. Standing rigging, such as the ratlines and lashings on the mast and spars would have been black, as the line was tarred to prevent decay. Running rigging (any line used to haul or make fast) would have been cotton or hemp.

 

The most important thing, though, is that it's YOUR ship, so paint it however it pleases you!

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Bob,

 

Thats great information. Are there any good books out there that address the nomenclature and methods for sailing ship construction?

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A few picks from my library:

Ship Modeling from Stem to Stern, Milton Roth, ISBN 0-8306-2844-4 (The Focus is on scratch building but it's also great insight on how the full sized ships were constructed.)

The Ship Model Builder's Assistant, Charles G Davis, ISBN 0-486-25584-0

The Rigging of Ships in the Days of the Spritsail Topmast, 1600-1720, R.C. Anderson, ISBN 0-486-27960

All are available on Amazon.

Edited by BobPauly

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Well Its finished at last! Please take a look at part three in the review section. This was the most challenging build I've ever done. While there are areas I will do better next time. I'm pretty happy with the result for the first time out. Any comments on areas I could improve would be a great help to me. This wont be my last sailing ship model. Thanks for the advice and resources. It really helped.

 

Chris

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Thanks Bob

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I can remember my first ever model was a pirate ship The Black Falcon that was released by Merit in the UK way back in the 50's. Some time ago around the milennium I spotted same kit in a shop under an east european manufacturer's label, possibly SMER.

The ship was a brigantine with 2 masts as far as I can remember, so maybe it has resurfaced again under a new name.

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