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JULY 2013
Vol 3, Issue7


News,Tips and Happenings

Dear Shipmate:



In last month's issue of ShipShape, I mentioned that Suzi and I were considering retirement, and that we were starting to look for potential new ownership for BlueJacket. Our major goals are to make sure that BlueJacket continues into the foreseeable future, that the company will be operated in the same manner as has been our tradition, and to insure the well-being of our employees.


Suzi and I have received innumerable emails and calls from BlueJacket's many friends, with their support and understanding. Many of these have brought a tear to our eyes, and we have endeavored to answer each and every one of them. We are very touched at just how many great people there are that it has been our privilege to get to know, because of our association with BlueJacket.


Unfortunately, as with many things in life, my comments have been entirely misconstrued by a few. Reports have been filtering back to me that, in various "modeling chat rooms" and websites, it is being definitively reported that "BlueJacket is closing or going out of business". Maybe some people just plainly didn't understand what I wrote, or maybe some see an economic advantage in reporting erroneous information.

To be as perfectly clear as I can be, BlueJacket has issued the following statement in the chat rooms with which we are familiar.

"Reports have filtered back to us that people have stated, on various modeling websites, that BlueJacket Shipcrafters is "going out of business".


I can tell you, categorically, that this just "ain't so". To quote Mark Twain..."THE REPORTS OF MY DEATH HAVE BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED".


To set the record straight, what was said by Bluejacket was that our owners, Jeff and Suzi Marger, are considering retirement. In order to assure the 100+ year old continuance of BlueJacket, new ownership is being considered. It is of utmost importance that the service, quality, and tradition of BlueJacket be continued for many more years, and the Marger's will not relinquish BlueJacket until they are firmly convinced that new ownership has the same degree of passion, committment and integrity that has become BlueJacket's legacy."


Enough said.  


In This Issue
Model of the Month-CHARLOTTE W. WHITE
Tip of the month-Diorama wakes
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 Model of the Month-Restoration of CHARLOTTE W. WHITE

Painting of CHARLOTTE W. WHITE by Percy Sanborn 
The full rigged ship, CHARLOTTE W. WHITE, was built and launched in 1858 by the White & Conner Shipyard of Belfast, ME, just about 6 miles from BlueJacket's home in Searsport. The model that we restored was built sometime between 1858 and 1876, because in that year there is a letter stating that John White, the former owner of White & Conner, moved to Elmira, NY taking with him a ship's model of the CHARLOTTE W. WHITE.
guilded lead bottom plates
guilded lead bottom plates

Researchers from the Belfast Historical Society discovered that the ship model was donated in 1914 to the Steele Memorial Library in Elmira.  Because of the local historical significance and after a great many letters and phone calls, the Board of Trustees of the Library unanimously voted to donate the model to the Belfast Historical Society.

Charlie Cook examining the CHARLOTTE
Charlie Cook examining CHARLOTTE upon receipt
Members of the Historical Society picked up the model in Elmira and directly transported it to BlueJacket for restoration.

They delivered an absolutely gorgeous model, in remarkable condition for being almost 150 years old.  This lovely model had a guilded lead bottom, in need of much tender loving care. Her painted port topsides and bright finished starboard topsides were in remarkable condition. In addition to her bottom plates,  a great many lead fittings were used on the model, all of which showed the effects of oxidation and needing replacement. There was some physical damage to her spars and railings as well as UV damage to her rigging, but certainly less than I
some of CHARLOTTE'S corroded lead fittings
some of the corroded lead fittings
would have expected in an antique model of her vintage.

The scope of our restoration included repair of the aft port quarterdeck rail, repair of the foremast top, build foremast stuns'l booms and rings, repair main topmast, build main stuns'l booms and rings, replace/repair oxidized lead fittings, replace UV damaged rigging, replace bowsprite chain, replace davits, hang jolly boats, build and hang new rudder, replace guilded lead bottom plates with copper plates aged with a patina, etc. etc.
starboard "bright" finished-restored

Many of you know the name Charlie Cook. Charlie is a very skilled professional modeler who has worked for BlueJacket for over 30 years and is the very friendly, helpful voice at the end of BlueJacket's help line. Charlie is the gentleman who is responsible for this magnificent restoration.

BlueJacket is very proud of the part that we played in this outstanding model's restoration. CHARLOTTE W. WHITE is displayed, in all her glory,in the Belfast (ME) Historical Museum!
CHARLOTTE's painted port side

Tip of the month....Realistic wakes for dioramas

For any of you who have attempted to create realistic looking wakes for models that you wish to portray as moving, you know the challenges that you faced.

Unless you wish to portray your vessel at anchor, the wake pattern creates interest and drama for a model that is displayed as a moving ship. Most vessels that we model are "displacement" boats, i.e. push through the water rather than merely floating on the very surface,

When a boat pushes through the water, it creates a wave which foams up at the bow, a half wave which extends along the hull and out to the sides, and a stern wake. All displacement created waves are governed by the laws of hydrodynamics, which I only marginally understand (not being a naval architect). Suffice to say, the faster a boat moves, the more wave action is created. Also, the larger the displacement hull, the larger are the wakes.

It is important to keep these points in mind while creating your model's wake, so that the height and degree of turbidity are in approximate scale to the size of the model and her supposed speed.
diorama mounted on shower door

There are many methods to create "water". One of more common methods is to use a piece of a plastic shower door, especially if it has a wavy pattern.

The harbor scene depicted here was created by just such a method. It was created by painting the underside of the plastic shower door a blue color. The white wakes were created by painting the surface of the "water".  While very attractive and effective, it is not totally authentic looking because there is no "height" to the waves nor the boats wakes.

A more realistic method might be using either epoxie or a clear resin gel, both of
acrylic gel medium
which are somewhat difficult to work with. Epoxies generate a lot of heat while curing, and are very messy. Resin gel gives less than satisfactory results attempting to create wave peaks.

A really useful material can be obtained from art supply stores, acrylic gel medium which can be obtained in large tubes and squeezed out like toothpaste.

Acrylic gel dries to an opaque white, necessitating painting. Mild heat from a hair dryer helps speed up the drying process. You can create a base of either a smooth or rough sea, and paint it an overall flat blue-green. After mounting your model in the "sea", you can work the gel up around the bow creating a wave, out from the sides and from the stern, creating a wake. You might want to mask the sides of your hull with blue masking tape, if you intend any further painting or touch up of the water around your model.

You will find that you can achieve different effects with the gel. For example, if you wish rough, choppy seas, you can build up the gel layers and also swirl the surface. A little rubbing alcohol will remove any gel that might inadvertently end up on your model.

When you have achieved the 3 dimensional effect that you wish, it is time to finish the "water". Apply another thin coat of blue-green to the base, with a coat of lighter blue on top of that. A nice effect is to paint the wave tops a light green/white, leaving the foam at the bow and the stern white. You can achieve a nice glossy surface by using a clear gloss on the surface of your "water". 

Experiment both with the 3 dimensional capabilities of building up layers and also painting effects. With a little experience, you will create realistic, dramatic dioramas.

Thanks for your support


My final message in these newsletters is always the same because it is the underlying truth to what we do and how we conduct ourselves. 


In these really tough economic times, your support and words of encouragement  mean more to us than ever before. They are very appreciated.   


BlueJacket has been in business for over 100 years because what we do is fun, just as I have tried to make this newsletter. If you have any suggestions or comments, as always, just give us a shout!


Ain't nothin' we'd rather be doing than messing with, or talking about boats. Have fun!  



 "Jeff" signature  

Jeff Marger

BlueJacket Shipcrafters, Inc.