BlueJacket blue sailor logo

May 2014
Vol 4, Issue 5


News,Tips and Happenings

Dear Shipmate:

Last month's tip on coloring rigging line brought back a few other suggestions from our readers.

Kurt also uses a marker, but puts it in a vise, slits the marker end, and then draws the line through it.

Spencer finds that "Briwax-dark brown wood wax stain" replicates tarred rigging, and has subtle variations as you move around the model.

Randy uses this website to order stain and fabric:



Today we finished up our rigging class. Participants learned different ways of attaching blocks and tying lines.  We will probably hold this class again next spring.  Here's a couple of shots of the happy students.

Kneeling (L to R) Jack (TX) Jim (PA) Larry (VA) Jon (ME)
Standing (L to R) Dave (IA) Bob (CA) Larry (SC) Fred (NH)

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

Bolster - A shaped and smooth piece of softwood on the trestletrees of a vessel's mast, to impede chafe.  Also the rounded "lip" on a hawsehole or fairlead, for the same purpose.  Its origin is the Old Norse Bolstr, pad.

Keckling - Old line wrapped or served around a hawser, especially the anchor cable, before the days of chain, to inhibit chafe.  The origin is not known; it could be from the Dutch.

Parcel - To cover or wrap a rope to protect from weather or from chafe.  The origin is probably Middle French, parcager, to wrap up.

Worming - To lay small stuff in the grooves or contlines of rope, preparatory to parcelling and serving.  It probably is simply a whimsical word from the appearance of the material used.

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

This one came in from John, who added LED lighting to his Nantucket Lightship.  Here's what he has to say about how he did it:


"I just finished my Nantucket and thought you might like to see a little modification I did. Instead of the 3/16" dowels for the light masts, I used 3/16" brass tube and installed LED's in them. 




I carved a hole in the deck for batteries, and a channel in the deck to the foremast. Instead of the solid block for the radio shack, I built it up to make room for the batteries and switch, and made it removable.





I had to wrap the top end of the stays and shrouds around the masts, but that isn't too obvious in the finished product.


Lessons learned: when you attack the deck with a chisel, do it before you attach the keel. It didn't take the pounding very well. But it came out okay after I made a new one. Also, may I suggest that for the flagpoles, 1/16" styrene rod is much more forgiving than 1/16" wood dowels. It is easy to work with and takes paint well.


Anyway, it's an interesting kit and I had a lot of fun with it."


Thank you, John, for sharing with us.  A very practical way to add a stunning effect to your model.  It's beautiful!


Something fun
Q - What did the bartender say when Charles Dickens ordered a Martini?

A - Olive or Twist?

Tip of the Month  - A method of making water

Recently we built a small model for a customer and set it on an ocean base, as you can see above. Needing to do another one for a different model, I thought it would make a good tip to see the process step-by-step.  Of course there are other ways to do this, but this way looks pretty good I think.

First, you need to position your model and anything else (like a nameplate) on the base where you want them to be.  Try different positions, angles, etc. until you are happy with the look.

The next step is to mask off the areas where you do not want the water to be.  SInce we will be using spackle, you don't have to worry about anything bleeding under the tape edge.

OK we're ready to start.  Get  a craft stick and slather on some spackle.  I use a lightweight version that "doesn't shrink."  You don't have to be neat, just get enough on there to barely cover the base.

Now use that stick with a very little water to cover the base.  Don't worry about waves just yet, just get it covered.

Now we make waves!  Put on a disposable glove, wet your fingers a bit, and tap on the base.  This will make troughs, peaks, and small ripples.  Remember, it's only spackle.  If you ruin it, scrape it off and try again. Eventually you will get a wave pattern that pleases you.

Once you are happy, take your waterline model and wrap the bottom in Saran Wrap, then place it firmly where you want it to be.  Then, just walk away and let the spackle dry!

OK, spackle is dry, you pulled the model off, and now we start with some medium blue spray paint.  Makes no difference if it is flat or glossy, just get a nice even layer of paint.  You will notice that the spackle soaks up the paint and it changes color a bit.  That's OK.

Now for the secret steps:  Take LIGHT blue paint, and dust the waves in one direction only at a very shallow angle like you see here.  Go gently, and check your progress.  You don't want the light blue to be even, but just noticeable on some of the wave fronts.

Now the killer step: in the OPPOSITE direction, spray green paint, again at a shallow angle and very sparingly.  At this point, to err with less paint is better than too much.  I think you will be pleased with the way the colors play off each other.

After the paint dries, the water will look dull and unappealing. That's because real water is, well, wet and shiny.  A really great way to get that shiny look is to paint it with Future Acrylic floor finish.  My bottle is about 10 years old, the current name is Pledge acrylic floor and tile finish, or something like that.  Let the first coat dry, then apply a second coat.

After that coat dries, strip off the masking tape, and glue your model down (I use silicone bathtub calk) and get out an old paint brush.  Dip it in flat white paint, then wipe most of the paint off the brush. dab the brush onto the wave tops, adding a little at a time.  Big globs of white do not look real.  If you are modeling windy water, like I am here, the waves are pretty high (remember the glove step?) and I'm adding a decent amount of whitecaps with this technique.

And here's the bow and stern view of the finished product.  You can see all the colors that were applied, and the water looks "wet."  That's all there is to it!

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.