BlueJacket blue sailor logo

January 2014
Vol 4, Issue 1


News,Tips and Happenings

Dear Shipmate:
I trust everyone enjoyed their holiday season and are looking forward to building models across the winter.  I know many of you received a BlueJacket model kit because our Elves have been working their little pointy ears off making them!

Other than the ice storm in December, winter here in Maine is, well, like all the postcards you've seen, only it is better in person.  Actually, I have to drive across the Belfast bridge to come to BlueJacket, and on clear mornings it is really pretty to see the wisps of mist (called "sea smoke") rising up from the harbor, with Acadia National park and Cadillac mountain in the distance across the Penobscot bay. Did you know that Cadillac mountain is the highest peak on the eastern coast of the USA, and during certain times of the year it is the first place to see sunshine in the morning.

In This Issue
Model of the Month
Something Fun
Tip of the Month
final message
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Model of the Month  -  Optimist Dinghy
Actually, perhaps this should probably be called the "modeler of the month." We received an email from the mother of James, aged 11 from Sidney Australia.  It seems that James actually sails an Optimist, and enjoys it very much.  Mom had some discussions with our Lisa, and the two of them decided that James would be able to tackle the building of our kit.  Here's what the kit looks like, and comes complete with tools, paint and glue:
And boy, did he ever build it!  to quote mom's email
"...My son completed his dinghy and is really happy with it. :-)
We did some modifications to make it look as much as possible like his real one - so we got some sailcloth for the sail, cut out the window and covered with cellophane, plus cut out little numbers to give him his real numbers.  We also used some old foam and bits of a seat cover to make airbags that look like his blue ones.  Apart from that I think we stuck mainly to the plan.
Looks absolutely fantastic, and everyone has admired it.  We have a few friends asking where we bought the kit, so will refer them to you.....
Here are photos of the finished article, plus the real thing."
Here at BlueJacket we are all saying  "Well done, James!"
Something fun
Once you lick the frosting off a cupcake, it becomes a muffin, and muffins are healthy!

No need to thank me..........
Tip of the Month - painting fittings
First, I am defining "fittings" as all of the blocks, deadeyes, chainplates, mast hoops, bitts, bollards, hawse lips, davits, mast coats and all manner of smaller parts that go onto a model.

The two most popular methods are chemical blackening and painting.  Chemical blackening (or brass brown) involves a solution of chemicals that actually changes the top layers of molecules on a part, similar to the action of rusting.  The big advantage of this method is there is no build up over the part, so no detail is covered over. Since it is on the surface only, it is advisable to put a clear coat on the part afterwards.  This method is especially useful to blacken brass chain.  The process only takes a few minutes.

If you are going to paint, you have many options. Rattle can, airbrush, paintbrush, other applicator (like a Q-tip). The bigger question is how are you going to hold those little parts? There are many inventive ways modelers have done this.  You can put parts on toothpicks if there is a hole, then jam the toothpick into a block of styrofoam, or even tape it to the edge of your bench.  If the part has no hole, a bit of beeswax on the toothpick works, too. Wire works well, again if the part has a hole, like a block or deadeye.  Some modelers use forceps, which are like small locking pliers.  One professional modeler I talked to puts pieces on a wire, then dips them in paint, and uses an empty airbrush to blow off the excess paint!

But a lot of modelers use double sided tape or masking tape sticky side up.  The photos that follow are this method.  No matter what method you use, it is VERY IMPORTANT to clean the parts.  Easiest way is to immerse them in lacquer thinner, and swish around with a disposable brush.

Once the parts are clean, drain the excess thinner, and dump the parts onto a clean paper towel.  From this point on, do not touch the parts with your bare fingers. 

Now pull off a length of masking tape and two short pieces.  stick the short pieces halfway onto the sticky side of the ends of the length, and tape down to a piece of cardboard. the sticky side of the length should be facing away from the cardboard.  Now you can take tweezers and place all the parts you want to paint (of the same color of course) onto the tape, and they will stay put.

Now you can spray paint the parts.  Be sure to have adequate ventilation, and spray down at a 45 degree angle across all 4 sides.

Once the parts have dried, you can lift the parts with a tweezer and flip them over, placing them back down on the spot you just pulled them up from.

And here are all the parts flipped, ready to get their other side painted.  Such a simple way to paint multiple parts!

Found this on the internet
It's called the "Mbius ship" at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and is fascinating: 
Revisiting the custom model "Lane Victory"
Back in the August issue, Jeff showed a picture of the hull layup for a custom model Bluejacket is doing.  Here is a shot of her current state of completion, she is really shaping up nicely.  If you look along the bulwarks, you can see a couple hundred support gussets. These were done on our laser machine, which does a nice job of exactly duplicating multiple parts.  Did you know we also quote custom laser work?  You would be surprised at how economical it is.

Thanks for your support


My final message in this newsletter will always be the same because it is what BlueJacket has done for 108 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.