BlueJacket blue sailor logo

April 2014
Vol 4, Issue 4


News,Tips and Happenings

Dear Shipmate:
Update on our rigging class:  We have had a couple of cancellations, so there are two spots open.  The class will run May 5th to May 9th.  You can email me if you are interested in more details.
We've reorganized our Gallery for 2014! Our fittings area is now next to the cashier's station instead of all the way across the gallery. The shipping area is more efficient, and magazines are on a wall rack instead of on the tables.  Some display tables were rearranged, and new backdrops put up. All in all, it has a nice traffic flow and good access to the models on display.  Here's some during and after shots:

In This Issue
Nautical terms
Model of the Month
Something Fun
Tip of the Month
final message
Quick Links

 Visit BlueJacket's website

Download our Catalog

oin our Mailing List!



Facebook Icon

 "Like" us on Facebook to get the latest information on kits, products, and news! We keep you informed on the weekly happenings at Bluejacket and encourage our fans to share photos, stories, and tips of their experiences. Please join us!


Nautical terms and origins
Anemometer - A device for measuring wind velocity.  The term comes from the Greek words anem, wind, and metron, measure.

Clinker (also Clinker-built) - A method of ship and boat construction dating from Viking-ship days, of overlapping planks or strakes.  A British term is clench-built, and the word relationship is apparent, as both are derived from the Old English, klenken, to hold fast.

Lubber's Hole - A hole in a square rigger's top next to the mast through which the heads of the shrouds pass to the mast.  It is so named as a passage aloft for a lubber, the real sailor going "out and around" on the futtuck shrouds.

Pinnace - Earlier, a small ocean-going vessel; later, any of a variety of ship's boats.  The derivation appears to be Old French espiance, for small boat; it also could be early French, pinasse, something built of pine, ergo of light construction.  It may also have come from early Italian, pinacia, a type of small boat.

Information is from the book "Origins of Sea Terms" by John G. Rogers
copyright 1985 Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc. and available from BlueJacket. 
New kits coming out this summer
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle of the USS Kearsarge and the CSS Alabama, BlueJacket is making a limited edition of just 150 of each model.  The battle was fought just off the coast of France on June 19, 1864.  Kearsarge was the victor, partly because anchor chain was hung in close pendants at her midside, creating armor that protected the boilers and other vital parts.

Both ships were "steam sloops" meaning they had steam-driven propellers and a full compliment of sails.  In those days, coal could not be reliably procured at every port of call.

The kits will be 1/8" = 1' scale, POB, with a length of about 33" overall.  The Kearsarge model will have the chain armor, while the Alabama will have a double reveal to show both the actual rib structure, then the wood and iron cross-bracing behind the ribs.

You can reserve your model and pick your number (if available) for $100.  This is the same way BlueJacket sold the Maine and the Olympia limited kits.  The expected sell price will be in the $700-750 range.  A $50 discount is available if you purchase both kits.  Should you like a finished model, they will each run $10,800.

Painting of the famous battle

Model of the Month  -  Queen Mary 
This magnificent Queen Mary is our featured model.  Made by Mitch of Massachusetts, she was actually over 30 years in the making!  When he started, Mitch wanted to make an R/C model, so he carved a plug, made a mold, and laid up his own fiberglass.  The model is 1/16" = 1' ( scale 1:192) for an overall length of just over 64 inches.  In 1980, the model had the hull and basic superstructure in place, then went into mothballs until May 2013.  By that June, Mitch gave up on the R/C idea, so finished it as a display model.

The promenade deck is a 3 foot piece of 1/4" balsa, laminated between two pieces of 1/32 plexi.  Mitch says it is light, strong, and stable. decking is scribed wood.

Mitch approached BlueJacket about getting pedestals and having a case made.  We did a custom Mahogany gloss finish base with 1/2" brass edging on the glass.

The first class lounge is the semi-circular area just behind the cowl vents.  To get all the windows to be the same, Mitch made a master from 1/32" lead sheet, then had white metal castings made (lots of them.)  The same windows are on the promenade, and another shape worked for the bridge. trimming the lounge windows to just one pane made perfect windows for another section of the ship as well.

Behind the fore stack, you can see the tennis court markings.  The twin brass horns were a purchased item, but look spot on gorgeous!  To get the rigging lines tight, Mitch had to try 6 different times.  His final solution came from discussing his problem with other modelers.  He waxed the line, then tensioned it  with clothespins for weight, and then made "strangulation knots" also of waxed line.  He says the wax provided enough stickiness that the lines stayed in place while the glue dried. After that, even accidentally tweaking the lines didn't disturb them.  They attach to 130 hand-twisted eyebolts.

The stack funnels were a project all on their own.  Mitch carved balsa plugs, then wrapped them in 5 mil copper sheet.  The top of the plug could be removed, but stayed in place until the ship was mounted so the thin copper would not dent.  To make grooves to hold the black circumference wire, he used a pizza cutter!  That idea also came from discussions.

The masts are....are you ready? custom made conductor's batons!  Genius idea.  Mitch says the baton manufacturer ( a small business in the midwest) was so delighted to do this job that he did them immediately, and had them in the mail that very same day.  They are hard maple, and arrived with a flawless surface.

The propellors were commercial units off the internet, and have the correct right-hand and left-hand configuration. Lastly, BlueJacket laser-cut the lettering for the bow and stern from Avery label paper.  According to Mitch  "it was finicky, but it worked."  He had to spray clear over them to seal them down, and is very happy with the outcome.  We couldn't agree more.  Well done, Mitch!
Something fun
 A pretty young woman at the farmer's market asked the male vendor the price of his apples.  He winked at her and said "One kiss a piece."

The young woman paused, then smiled and asked for a dozen.

the vendor gladly complied.  Upon handing over the produce, he declared that he was owed a dozen kisses.

The young woman winked at him, and pointed to the elderly gentleman behind her.  "Grandpa's paying" she said.
Tip of the Month  - Coloring Rigging Line
Some kits come with line that is black and tan, or black and white.  Actual observation is that tarred rigging (standing rigging) is actually a very very dark brown color.  The running rigging is generally a more or less pale tan color, depending on the fiber used (mostly hemp up through the early 1900's.) So quite a few modelers stain their rigging line to make their models look more realistic.

Modelers are an inventive bunch.  While Googling for ways to stain rigging line, I came up with nine different ways people do this.  I'm sure there are probably nine dozen more ways, but these are all good solid solutions.  Although several people use coffee or tea, they contain acids and I would stay away from those methods.

One method that came up multiple times is to use RIT fabric dye.  An extra tip is to add some Kodak Photo-Flo to the water to reduce surface tension, letting the dye penetrate into the fibers better.  As with all water-based stains, the line has to dry before you wind it on a spool or card.

Minwax wood stain was another popular choice, as was "General Finishes" brand of water-based wood stain.  The famous author and modeler Underhill used shellac to color his lines.

One person uses colored beeswax, which a Google search revealed that it is readily available, and used in candles.  Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Color and wax at once.

Thinned down oil and acrylic paints also came up frequently, especially because of the almost infinite variety of colors.

Personally, I have used two methods.  In the past, I would get Kiwi liquid shoe polish, made sure the foam applicator was soaked in the polish, then run the line across it.  Like beeswax, you get the benefit of doing two things at once, since the shoe polish has wax in it.

My current method is to buy Prismacolor brand artist markers, and run the line across the tip. Most craft stores carry this brand.  I find the "sand" color #70 is a good hemp shade.  Being artists supply, I am reasonably sure the colors won't fade out.

Thanks for your support


My final message in this newsletter will always be the same because it is what BlueJacket has done for 109 years, and we're not about to stop.


We appreciate our customers, we exist for our customers, and we listen to our customers. What we do is fun, just as I will try to make this newsletter. If you have any suggestions or comments, still, as always, please just give us a shout!


There's nothing I'd rather do than work on, or talk about model boats. Have fun!  




Nic Damuck

BlueJacket Shipcrafters, Inc.