BlueJacket blue sailor logo

July 2014
Vol 4, Issue 7


News,Tips and Happenings

Dear Shipmate:

July in Maine is gorgeous!  Warm, but not hot breezes, white puffy clouds, flowers blooming, the smell of fresh-cut grass.  It makes you feel good just to be here.  In fact, after this winter, we all went outside for this group picture:

Left to Right:   Evan, Josh. Lee Anne, Ruthie,
Jamie, Al, Fred, Billy, Nic, Lisa, Kristyn

At the end of this newsletter, I have included a survey to find out which model kits you would like to see us produce.  Please take a few minutes and complete the survey.

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

Bluenose - is the name given to men and vessels of Nova Scotia.  there are two possible origins, of which I prefer the first, which is the obvious effect of the weather in that part of the world.  The other is that both are named for the Nova Scotia Bluenose potato, which is considered by some to be the best there is.

Counter - The definitions of this term vary, but a safe one is the underside of the after overhang, including the transom if any.  A reason for the difficulty in defining is the changing of ships' and boats' sterns since the XVI and XVII centuries, when the term appeared. The origin is uncertain too, but it may be a simple one: the French term contre arcasse, the curves of the stern.

Nautical - The general word pertaining to ships and the sea.  It came from the Latin nauticus, and that from the Greek nautikos, both of this same meaning.

Spreaders - This is an older term than is generally known.  They are short horizontal spars to hold various stays in a desirable position or angle.  On square-riggers they were usually diagonal to the centerline and abaft the crosstrees.  On modern sailboats the usually are about athwartships.

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 - Yankee Hero

This model is one of our "Ensign" series, designed for the first-time modeler and has everything needed to complete the model - glue, paint, sandpaper, assorted tools, paintbrushes, even a ruler!  This makes an excellent gift for an aspiring modeler of any age.  So let's explore how the kit goes together.

The hull needs a little sanding and fitting to get the stem, keel and sternposts to fit correctly, we provide a template to do just that.

The pre-cut and lined deck glues to the hull, using the mast as a locating pin, then the edges are trimmed to fit.

The laser-cut cockpit well and cabin literally fall together because of the interlocking tabs and slots, which just fit perfectly snug enough to hold together while the glue dries.

A little paint (included), a couple of laser-cut mahogany parts, cast windows and cleats, and the cabin is finished and ready to drop into the hole in the deck.  Very simple!

Here's the bottom of the hull, primed, sanded, and ready for paint.  We even include a bracket in the kit to properly mark the waterline.

After painting the hull, the cabin assembly literally drops into the cutout in the deck and hull, the glue goes on the underside of the cabin. Put on the trim coaming around the cabin and we are ready to do the mast and rigging as our final steps.

Here is the beginning of the rigging process.  Note the masking tape used to hold the mast hoops out of the way while the boom is installed.

And with the rigging complete, the Yankee Hero is ready for the display case in our gallery.

Something fun

Tip of the Month  -  Stepping masts

Stepping the masts can make or break the looks of your model. Masts that are not aligned with each other laterally, or are angled wrong, are glaring errors readily visible.

We need to look at three distinct areas: placing the mast hole on the deck, making the mast perpendicular to the beam, and setting the proper rake to each mast.  Let's look at some definitions. Stepping the mast means to put it on your model.  In real ships, a mast step was a piece attached to the keel that held the end (foot) of the mast, preventing it from moving around. The mast rake is the angle the mast makes with the waterline, as measured fore and aft.  That can be very different from the angle the mast makes with the deck centerline, due to deck sheer.  With very few exceptions, masts are placed on the centerline of the vessel, and are perpendicular to the deck laterally (left and right.)

Plank on bulkhead kits and plank on frame kits usually take care of the alignment by providing a pocket or guide cut-out on the keel piece. Of course, you will still have to take care in the final alignment, but generally, you are tweaking within small limits of adjustment.

Most solid hull kits do not have pre-drilled mast holes.  You first have to mark the deck according to the plans.  It is handy to drill a shallow hole of a diameter less than the mast as a starter.  Then you need to make a guide out of stiff paper or cardboard to set the rake angle of the mast WITH THE DECK. You can tape this guide to the deck about 1/8" away from the edge of the mast, usually behind it.

You can then use this guide as a visual aide to drill your hole (still, smaller diameter than the mast.)  The tricky part is that you need to look at the drilling from the side to get the rake correct, and at the same time look for and aft to make sure the mast is straight.  This is much easier if you have another person to help you.  Once the hole is drilled, take our the drill bit, and place it in the hole.  Now look critically at it from every angle, to make sure you are satisfied that it is correct.

Now, go to the final drill size, and re-drill the hole.  Because there is a pilot hole, this should go easily.  Trial-fit the mast, and check again.  If you find the mast is not correct, you can re-drill the hole a little oversize, and shim the mast to correct angles.

I recommend that you do not glue the mast into the hole, but let the standing rigging do its job instead. That way, you can still make small adjustments with the shrouds and stays so the masts are perfectly aligned.
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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.