BlueJacket blue sailor logo

May 2013
Vol 3, Issue5


News,Tips and Happenings

Dear Shipmate:


This is a really fun time of the year. Boxes and boxes are being received by us. This is merchandise that Suzi and I have ordered while attending the Boston Gift Show. We're busy unpacking and making our gallery attractive and inviting.

During the summer, many visitors stop into our gallery without a clue as to what we do, who we are, etc. They may have a marginal interest in ship models, want a
A small sampling of our "decorator" models and gifts
"nautical" souvenir to remember their trip to Maine, or wish a decorative item for their home. This group of people has no deep interest in ship models nor nautical history. They have absolutely no inclination to build a ship model, and usually are shocked at the cost of an accurate scale model. I'm not demeaning these people, they just have other interests than we do.

To appeal to our casual summer visitors, we offer very attractive fully built, modestly priced "decorator" ship
an assortment of antique "ships in bottle" models
models and all sorts of nautically themed items, including many that are appropriate for children. These are the only things that we sell that we don't build on our premises. We don't show these items on line or in our catalog, because we are not a "gift" shop, nor can we control our inventory, we either have an item or not, because we don't make these items. As stated before, these items are meant for the very casual summer visitor---but we have fun with them and they dress up the gallery. 

If you are in the area, please drop by to say hello and browse our gallery, which is often described as a "museum". Besides the decorator items, the bulk of our gallery is taken up with approx. 100 "serious" models, including built examples (which are available for purchase) of our kits.

Reverting back to my usual "modeling" mode, and on a totally different topic, I wanted to share a portion of a letter that we just received from one of our longtime modelers living in Marshfield, WI.  He writes "I wish to comment on my purchase of your Brass Black 52 and Pewter Black 51 and the luck I have with it. After years of painting those non-ferrous items, I can tell you that the black pewter/brass chemical treatments are rated top notch. After I clean the parts with acetone, I string the parts on a "clothesline" made with nails and very fine wire. I am very pleased with the results." 
I couldn't have said it better myself!
Britannia metal deadeyes and cannon, treated with "Pewter Black"

In This Issue
Model of the Month-Custom lobster yacht
Tip of the month-Painting your model
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 Model of the Month-Custom lobster yacht


Obviously outfitted for some heavy duty sportfishing, this very lovely lobster yacht is based upon the very classic, seaworthy Maine type lobster boat. Her hull is a Calvin Beal 38, one of the most recognizable names in Maine. She was built by Mr. Stuart Workman and his great crew, at SW Boatworks, Lemoine, Maine.

BlueJacket Shipcrafters was commissioned to build this model in a scale of 1/2"=1' (1:24), which yielded a model 19" loa (length over all). The model was is housed in a case built with an oiled cherry base, brass frames and glass, sized 24"L x 10"W x 14.5"H. In building this model, we had the full cooperation of SW Boatworks. They supplied us with a half hull model of the Calvin Beal 38, from which we took the lines in order to accurately build the hull.  The boat was made available to us whenever we needed to photograph it, enabling us to include the many details seen in the cockpit which are highly unusual in either a typical lobster yacht or working lobster boat
One of the first things that draws your attention are the multiple rod holders on the cabin roof. The two end holders extend through the roof and can be rotated by the black handles seen in this photo. Next to these handles are hi fi speakers. On the port side, there is a fully functional sink, and on the right side is an outside helm station, next to the lobster pot hauler. One of the features that lets us know that this is a serious boat are the commercial deck access hatches.

This muscular beauty was built with all of the "bells and whistles". Her impressive array of antennae speaks to her full array of sophisticated electronics. This is a boat that was created for an owner who knows what is important to him in a boat. She will serve him well fishing, be a safe, seakindly vessel, and be luxurious for an overnight or while at anchor.

Tip of the month....Painting your model

I am frequently asked about painting models. As in most things, the more that you practice, the better the results will be. Of course, a few tips and pointers along the way will save many long hours of sanding, repainting and general angst.

There are a number of basic precepts to keep in mind. First of all, and in spite of what is commonly shown on the $50.00 Ebay "museum quality models", avoid shiny finishes-especially for all period ships and working boats. BlueJacket has been using Testor Floquil paints for years. These are flat, solvent based enamels. There are many other types and brands of paint, but this is the one that works for us.

Always prepare the surface of the wood. Fill any voids with your choice of filler, and then sand the surface with a medium grit sandpaper, making sure to clean the wood surface of any dust with a "tack" cloth. In fact, always use a tack cloth after sanding.

Unless you plan upon leaving your model or various parts "bright", i.e. unpainted or varnished, always use a "primer" coat before applying color. In the case of Floquil, the primer is a light grey in color.
hull painted with primer

A good practice is to always lightly sand each layer of primer or paint after it has dried, using fine sandpaper (wet-or-dry 600 grit) or fine steel wool (0000). Don't forget to use a tack cloth after each sanding.

There are some general rules to keep in mind while you paint your model: 1) You will obtain better results using multiple thin coats of paint, rather than fewer thicker coats of paint, even though it is more work. 2) Stir your paint well before using it. 3) Use good brushes, and clean them well after use. 4) Brush paint in only one direction. 5) Paint parts that will be installed on either a non-painted or differently colored surface, before installing. 6) Use Scotch "blue" masking tape. 7) Don't apply masking tape to any painted surface that hasn't dried for at least 2 days.  8) Do not remove tape until paint is completely dried
RED JACKET, red bottom air brushed before black topsides-paint light to dark
9) If you have two colors next to each other, paint the light color first.

Now, I'm going to open up a box of worms. Hand brush or air brush??? Probably 90% of all models built are hand brushed. BlueJacket air brushes our custom models. In the hands of a skilled modeler, you can obtain better results by air brushing, but don't rush out and purchase a compressor and air brush equipment which is relatively expensive. There is a steep learning curve.  Even if you have the equipment, you have to learn how to use it properly, which is often a frustrating exercise. For most modelers, and particularly for work boats or period models, you will get perfectly good results using hand brushes. If you are building a contemporary yacht model that requires a high gloss finish, the only way to achieve a really good result, without brush marks, is to use an air brush. The chances are overwhelming that you won't achieve a good result attempting to hand brush high gloss paint.
A lovely, high gloss paint job can only be achieved by air brushing

I'm going to end this article the same way that I started. THE MORE THAT YOU PRACTICE, THE BETTER THE RESULTS WILL BE!

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.