Happy Accidents

I suppose that building ship models appeals to me for a number of reasons. Seems less “fringe-y” than building airplanes (Kurt Vonnegut won’t accuse you some kind of neurosis.  I might.) It might grow into something that pays (you never know!). It is, ultimately, something that I only barely understand and would like to learn more about.

Airplanes I understand pretty well. No, I’m not a pilot. Being a pilot requires one of three thing 1) Really good vision, or 2) Lots of money, or 3) The kind of fanaticism that makes Kurt Vonnegut into a prophet.I don’t have any of those things.

But if I were in one of those situations where the pilot suddenly is “stricken” and you have to land the plane, I would try it. I’m not saying I could land any plane at any time, but I’d give it a pretty good effort.

Ships, not so much. If the captain suddenly died, I would not have the foggiest idea of what to do with the sails. It’s a mystery to me. On the other hand, a plane can kill you faster than a ship. Wait a minute–maybe that makes learning a little nautical science MORE important, not less. After all, in a plane it’s BOOM your dead. On a ship it’s drift for weeks and slowly starve. Ewww.

So here’s what you do if you want to learn more about the ways of the sea. You build a kit like the Golden Hind or Mayflower from Revell (the OLD boxings). They have good instructions. Then you can “upgrade” to something like the plank-on-frame model of the Mayflower from Model Shipways. This 1/76 scale kit comes with complete instructions. They’re written in “sailor speak” but they are complete. Few “wooden” ship kits are so endowed.

Let’s face it, if you don’t know diddly about ships, you’re going to need to learn, if you intend to be a “serious” model ship builder. But if you’re going to be “serious”–then you will happily start learning ship lingo in your spare time. It works that way. You learn easily what you love. No love=Battle of Verdun. Not fun.

I’m an airplane nut and will never be able to learn anything about ships as easily as I learn airplane stuff, and that’s that. Here’s a little fatherly advice for any youngster who may read this:

“Do what you love and the money will follow” is bullshit. But doing something that is close to what you love is not being a “wanna be.” “Wanna be” is snob language. Stick with what you know. If you happen to love investment banking, then welcome to rich guy land. If you love model ships, then do that. If you love airplanes, and you can’t fly them, then make up your mind to do something that keeps you in the industry you love and pays the rent and kid’s education. Don’t let the snobs have the upper hand. They’re ignorant.


I don’t own much Revell paint. Unfortunately (and stupidly) it’s not sold in the USA. But some kind people in Europe sent some to me, and I have three colors. Green, earth, and gray. Well, the “earth” color just happens to match the color of the “wood” that I “created” on this plastic kit. So, instead of having to paint tan (RLM 79) and then coat with a wash, I can just paint on the Revell earth and go to town. This is a happy accident.

I’m quietly moving in on the final assembly here and moving into rigging land. The black on the masts looks VERY cool and is, I think, authentic.

Revell’s masts, and other parts, fit well. They don’t fit perfectly. So getting the masts to “seat” is a challenge. The front mast (SORRY, the…the…something mast) seemed to fit better when I installed it “front end in back” and then twisted it into place.

I finally got the boat looking like I want it.

Much better. I’m going to omit the doors (gun hatches? boom things?) and the anchor and the stern lantern (HA!) until after the rigging. They’ll just get in the way, snag things and be torn off.


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