BlueJacket blue sailor logo

December 2014
Vol 4, Issue 12


News,Tips and Happenings

Dear Shipmate:


As our gift to you, for the month of December, we are offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders of a kit plus a display case kit. Both items must be on the same order, placed by December 31st, and request promotion code Dec14K+K.

Don't forget that our Ensign series kits make great gifts for the budding modeler, because they include everything you need.  Xacto knife, pin vise & drills, tweezers, pliers, paint, glue, even sandpaper and a measuring gage. The directions are specifically written for the person who is unfamiliar with modeling, and includes lots of pictures.


In This Issue
Nautical Terms
Model of the month
Something Fun
Tip of the Month
final message
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Nautical terms and origins

Clinometer - A device for measuring the angle of roll, heel, or list.  The term is made-up, from the Greek clino, cause to lean, and metron, measure.

Douse - (also Dowse) To take down, as a sail.  Also to put out, as a lamp or light.  It comes from both Dutch and German, dossen, of the same meaning.

Racking - Fastening two opposing parts of a tackle together to keep it from moving.  The origin is obscure, it may be Old English or Middle Dutch.

Slumgullion - A stew for the crew's mess.  The derivation is not too appetizing; slum is an old word for slime, and gullion, English slang for stomach-ache.

Information is from the book "Origins of Sea Terms" by John G. Rogers
copyright 1985 Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc. and available from BlueJacket. 
Model of the Month - 1930 Tugboat
This model comes from Tom K. of Derby, CT. He got it at a railroad show some time ago, it was made by the now-defunct Marine Model Company of Long Island. Scale is 1/8"=1', and it was a full-hull model.  Tom wanted to make it a waterline model, but didn't know how to display it.  Here's his solution:

I wish to thank Blue Jacket and Nic for clearing up a long time problem I have had with a waterline model, which was "How do you display a waterline model" unlike full hull models that you put on pedestals you can't do that with a waterline model (Half the hull is missing)


Two things I had to do the first was mount the model to a base the second was to make it look like it belonged there. How do you do that with a waterline model? That's easy you set it in water. I have seen waterline models mounted on carved pine "water" They look great they also take a very long time to carve and if half way through you should make a mistake how would you fix it ?


Then the answer came a few months ago in the Blue Jackets' newsletter. They were doing a waterline model IN water and it looked great and took a lot less time than carving water and if you didn't like the way it came out you just peel it up and start over (don't worry this wont happen)


This is how I did mine the materials used are simple and easy to get. You could use taping compound or any like material I used DAP patch & paint it's a small container just the right size for my model.


To start I masked off around my base � inch in from the edge My model was mounted to my base and I drew a line around the model then removed the model and started spreading my DAP. Just slap it on go just over the pencil line and up on the masking tape Now the fun part I put on a pair of surgical rubber gloves and going down both sides of the outline of the model pressed my fingers into the DAP slanting from forward to stern of the ship to make my waves. That done, I covered my model with plastic wrap and pressed it into the DAP then pulled it back out (this puts the finished waves right next to the ship) The base was then set aside to dry a bit. When it has set up some what I took the model and pressed it down into the space where it was going to be mounted This flattened any waves that had gotten under the model. Remove the model and anything that looks out of place before the DAP hardens solid also scrape out any unwanted DAP that's under the model.


When the "water" was set up I used a light blue spray paint sprayed at an angle from all four sides of the base followed by a very light dusting of white Next came a dark green spray this is not a thick coat of paint you want some of the light blue to show through. When this had dried, using a brush and acrylic paint, I first used Ocean Blue then Navy Blue Marine craft paint You don't want a solid coat of either paint you want the other coats to be seen I dry brushed white acrylic craft paint over the tops of the waves and somewhat down the backside of the waves Now remount he model At this point the water looks dry. What I used to make my water look "wet" was clear gloss nail polish using the small brush that comes with it. I did wave by wave and even up on to the sides of the model When all is set and the paint etc has dried its time to take off the masking tape. Just take a corner of the tape and slowly pull it back, it will come up leavening a straight line. All I had to do was go around the four sides with a little blue paint and touch up.


Now my waterline tug boat looks like its on its way to a job


One note on mounting waterline models I think they should be mounted on an angle to the base this lets you see the waves on both sides of the model as well a more detail of the model itself.




I think Tom did an excellent job on this very old kit.  He says the plans were dated 1938.

What's on the workbench?

All hands are finishing up the CSS Alabama display model so we can take a finished photo for the label, and box them up for shipping. Honestly, I didn't realize just how many hours are involved, but the end is in sight!  The model has over 400 photo-etched pieces. Here's some photos for your interest.

Midships, the bridge and base of the smokestack.

Side reveal, 3 layers deep.  Notice the gunport hinges.

Forward swivel gun.  25 pieces needed to make the gun.

Mizzen mast is rigged.

Rear swivel gun and steering gear.

Cannon ready to be rigged. Also notice the turnbuckles of the mainstay.

Something fun

Tip of the Month  -  Ratlines
Good ratlines really improve the look of a model ship. Some  common errors are to have the lines too thick, improperly spaced, uneven or angled, huge or wrong knots, or too tight. Let's address each one of these problems:

Lines too thick - ships ratlines are typically 1/2 inch diameter rope.  In 1:48 (1/4"=1') scale, that works out to .010 inches.  In 1:96 scale (1/8"=1') it is only .005 inches. BlueJacket sells black cotton lines this thin.

Improper spacing - real ratlines were 14-16" apart. This makes them very close to each other on a model. Here is where artistry and accuracy are at odds. At accurate spacing, they look too "busy" to many people.  Too far apart, and the model looks "toy-like." You have to make your own judgement. Personally, I like to space ratlines at scale 24".

Uneven or angled - ratlines should always be parallel to the waterline, and evenly spaced. A simple lined guide will make this easy. See the picture below.

Huge knots - Needs no explanation.

Wrong knots - Ratlines have eye splices at the ends, and clove hitches in the middle.  At most scales, eye splices are impossible, most modelers use either a clove hitch or an overhand knot as a substitute. Using overhand knots in the middle causes a real problem, because one end want to point upward, and the other end to point downward.  Clove hitches go straight across.

Too tight - This causes the shrouds to bow inward towards each other, creating an hourglass effect.  Ratlines should have slack between each shroud.

Modelers use three main ways to attach ratlines.  Clove hitches, as mentioned above, is the most accurate. But in small scales, it can be problematic. The next best way is to sew the lines through the shrouds. For a more accurate look, you should sew through the shroud, then bring the line back, and sew it a second time in the same direction.  This creates a loop of line on the front of the shroud, making it look like a knot. The last method is to glue the ratlines to the front of the shroud.

Image courtesy of "Ship Modeling from Stem to Stern"
 by Milton Roth, TAB Books copyright 1988
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.