Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Building The HMS Bounty

I am long over due a new post and have been contemplating what to write next.  There is actually a lot of new techniques I have picked up in the last while due to a community build in the SIB community.

I'm sure most have heard now of the sad sinking of the HMS Bounty in hurricane Sandy and with it the tragic loss of her Captain Robin Wallbridge and crew Claudine Christian.  For me it was an instance of you don't know what you had until you lost it.  In truth I barely knew the ship existed previous to her sinking. I was soon awaken from my obliviousness as the model ship building community took the news very hard.  I've read many posts of sadness, commemoration and memories of visiting the ship.

I guess it's no surprise that I never knew much about the Bounty.  I have always lived in one land locked state or another.  What I found though was that I didn't grow up seeing this ship on the ocean but seeing it on the silver screen.  From Treasure Island to Pirates of the Caribbean I had seen this ship several times.  I didn't know the ship but yet I did.

The SIB Facebook forum was no different in lament and commemoration of the HMS Bounty and her lost crew members.  Photos, memories and plans filled the forum.  It was then suggested that a community build be done in commemoration of the HMS Bounty.  The rules were simple.  Build the Bounty and post your progress.  Size, plan, and length of time didn't matter.  Which I think is the true beauty of the ship in bottle art.  The only constraint is it has to go into a bottle.  So a bunch of us began our logs and started posting progress.

SIB builders on the forum have since been building the Bounty.  Greg Alvey, who created and updates an incredible site, created a page where all of the current builds can be seen together.  Here's the link. 

The great thing about the community build is it has created a way to learn and try new techniques from more experienced SIB builders.  I have been able to glean information I would never have thought of.  Some of these new techniques I will include in this post.

I started the usual way by carving out the hull.  I decided on doing a really small build.  I had been reading a lot on miniature SIB's and figured I'd try it out.

I then worked on the forecastle.  I ended up cutting match sticks to splinters and gluing the splinters on the ship.  Other builders used styrene which I may have to try out.

I continued using match sticks to create the channels and chain plates.

I painted the ship with acrylics and after checking it against a few photos I decided that my bulwarks were to high.  So as I cut the top of the ship down to size.

I did worry a little that the gun ports would not be big enough to put the cannons through but they ended up ok.  You can also see in these photo's a much nicer deck then I usually have.  The great part about the community build is that I was able to get ideas from other builders doing the same ship.  As I watched Cecil Tiller build his ship I noticed his deck planking looked great.  So I asked how he did it.  He told me to take clear finger nail polish and coat the deck.  After it dry's use a razor blade to cut the lines where the planking should go.  Then stain the deck.  The interesting thing about this method is that the stain darkens everything but where the nail polish is.  Creating awesome and very visable contrast in the deck planking.  To see more of Cecil's work click the link  

I went on to add the bow and the deck furniture.  The helm was made by cutting a seed bead in half.  This was kind of crazy but it worked.  The cannons are pieces of wire.  I build the launch out of match sticks using the same method I outlined in a former post "Ready the Longboats."  The winch was made from match sticks and bamboo.  The great thing about bamboo is that it remains strong even when it's cut very thin.  The capstan is just a splinter glued in a hole with the top painted red.  

The hatches were tricky and I stumbled upon a new technique in creating them.  I noticed that Greg Alvey did a terrific job on his hatches and I asked how he did it.  He explained that he took the picture of the deck plan stained the hatches and glued the paper down as the hatch.  I couldn't get my printer to print small enough with out the lines running together so I initially thought I will just stain some paper and no one would notice there were no lines in the hatch anyways.  As I was gluing the paper down I pressed it down firmly with the exacto knife I was using to position it.  I noticed the knife left a small divot in the paper.  I then started lining up divots until I had all the lines in the hatches.      

I like to add anchors on all of my ships and the Bounty was no different.  This time I got some smaller wire and made them particularly small.  

It was then off to the rigging yard.  The masts and yards were all made from bamboo with paper and paint making up the platforms.  I tied a lot of thread blocks since the masts were to small to drill through.

I wanted to go with a more realistic rigging but then chickened out and used a usual SIB rigging.  This constitutes the sheets all running aft to either the stay or mast behind the yards they control.  That sentence was a bit technical for a beginners blog.  Kudos to those that understood that.  In lay mans terms the tan lines that control the sails are run towards the back of the ship.

My rigging was a little different with this ship.  I used a shallow hole to set the masts instead of the usual hinge method.  This gave me a little more flexibility getting the ship in the bottle.  I made it so the masts still folded backwards but used a slightly different technique on the mizzen mast.  Since the forward stay ended at the base of the fore mast and I didn't want to drill a hole through my ship I had the line exit the top of the mizzen mast.  I did this specifically because of the bottle and sea method I was using would allow it.  Typically I wouldn't rig the line that way.

I found a couple new methods on the shrouds that worked out well.  I had recently seen a technique where the back stays are weaved back and forth through the ship. I wanted to try this technique but the size of the ship and angle I would have to drill made it all but impossible to go through the ship.  So I drilled three holes below my chain plates where the chains would have been attached to the ship.  I bent a small piece of wire a U shape with a gap just big enough to put thread through the U.  I glued the wire in the hole and bent it upwards to act as the chain.  I tried to make them so the came just below the bottom of the chain plate.  I then threaded my back stays through the U of the chains back and forth as I had seen in the threading technique.  With the ship being so small I only had to dab paint on the lines going over the chain plate to make it look like they were going through the chain plate.

The other method I used for the shrouds above the platforms.  I really got tired of gluing tiny piece of thread to the back stays and decided to make a jig that would help me make ratlines.  I tried using pins and wood and things but they all just failed.  Then I found tape.  I used my finger nail polish bottle to wrap masking tape around so that it was sticky side up.  I then carefully measured and applied thread to the sticky side of the tape with three lines to create the stays and a row of lines to create the rat lines.  Once they were all pressed firmly onto the tape I slid the bottle out leaving my rat lines in mid air attached to the tape.  I poured on the super glue and blew off the excess so I didn't have any between the lines.  Once it dried I cut out my shrouds and glued them onto my masts.

Once the rigging was done I used drawing paper to make my sails.  It was probably a bit thick but it holds it's shape well which gives it a good full of wind effect.

Once the sails were complete it was time to build the sea and bottle the ship.  For the sea I used a technique from a video posted on the facebook site a while back.  Robert Little explains the technique better then I can so I will let him tell you.  The explanation starts at the 4:40 second mark.

Using Robert Little's technique this is what I came up with.  I used cardboard instead of wood since it was more readily available.  

Once that was done I put the ship in the bottle.  The bottle I originally planned the Bounty to go into a light bulb but it didn't clean out well so I used a Christmas ornament turned upside down.  The Bounty is a little small for it but not overly so.    

You can see with the sea being able to move around in the bottle why I didn't worry about having lines coming off the front and back of the ship.

Here you see the ship is all set up and ready for the finishing touches on the sea.  I added a little clay to make it appear to cut through the water as well as a small wake behind her.

Here is the completed HMS Bounty in a bottle. I cut a hole in a block of wood and glued the top, now bottom of the ornament into it.  I then painted on the name as well as my name and year completed.

This one was a lot of work.  The small size and amount of detail put it made for a very long build.  At least longer then I'm used to.  In then end I'm pleased with the results.  Thank you for reading and if you haven't yet seen the other HMS Bounty build logs please check them out.  They are all very well done.