Member and Sponsor of THE NAUTICAL RESEARCH GUILD
Member and Sponsor of MODEL SHIP WORLD
I am a 70 year old "semi" professional Model Shipwright in Willis, Texas. I have been building models since I was about 6 or 7, and began scratch building about 30 years ago. I began constructing a Revell 1:96 scale USS Constitution when I was 19 and in college and managed to finally get it completed in April of 2013 (see "Gallery" for photos). The Charles W Morgan model, started April 16, 2013. It is much different from plastic and I find wood quite forgiving as well as extremely rewarding. Each piece must be made rather than finding a part and gluing it together. I did find that if you can build in plastic, then you can build in wood. Different tools are necessary and will be discussed in detail on the "Tools and Resources" page.
When beginning to research what and how I was going to build the Morgan. I chose Model Shipways No. 2140 in 1:64 or 3/16 scale for a base knowing that 95-98% of the build is scratch built. What's provided is most of the materials needed in laser cut bulkheads, false keel, different size strips of basswood, rigging lines of various sizes, cast metal parts, wire and a good set of plans. It would be very easy to completely scratch build this model. All that is needed is the set of plans. I only used the bulkheads, stem and stern boards, plankshear, boat lifts, davits, windlass, and a couple of yard fittings and all the rest was scratch built. I had to scratch build the False Keel right off the bat as it warped considerably and I transferred the dimensions to a piece of 3/16" wood sheet from Hobby Lobby and cut it out in one piece with my Proxxon Scroll Saw. My disappointments primarily were in the manual it wasn't even referred to. Even though I spent time in the Navy these were wood ships with sails, not steel ships with engines and props, so some terms and understanding of how these ships function needed to be learned as I progress in construction. The thing that seemed lacking in the research was that there are no build logs or progressive photographs of any models being built that I could locate. There was no resource that had "how to's" for a novice ship modeler. That is what this website will hopefully address - to fill the gap between instructions and real life model construction that is almost completely scratch built. Tools are a big concern, and one can spend a lot of money for tools that may or may not work for the job intended. Resources for finding certain tools are scarce and some are needed and some are not, therefore there is a "Tool" page discussing certain tools and what they are used for depending on one's particular needs, skills and level of detail desired. There is a "Gallery" page for reference of the real life Morgan, the $6,000,000 6 year restoration of the Morgan, other Morgan models and other ship models in general. Being born and raised in South Texas, and living in Houston since 1975, oddly enough I have been aboard the Morgan 4 times, which is one reason I chose her to build as a model. The "Build Log" pages consists of actual photos of my construction of the model. It has a description of what is being done and photos of the completed step. I have chosen to rig the ship without the sails. Sail plans are available from Mystic Seaport Museum Archives. I have provided information on how to obtain these on a page titled "Mystic Seaport Museum Archives and Plans Used".
As with any model it is the choice of the builder as to how the ship will look when completed. Mistakes are made and either corrected or left alone. Decisions are made concerning planking of the ship depending upon the end result desired. Each model is different and I hope to provide another modeler some ideas and assistance as well as hopefully avoiding some pitfalls that I have already encountered.
Please feel free to email me with questions and I invite you to sign up to receive emails and maybe soon in the future a Newsletter. You will not be solicited.
****THE MORGAN MODEL WAS COMPLETED 12-23-2015****
****MOUNTED TO THE BASE - SEMI DIORAMA WITH A SPERM WHALE AND WHALEBOAT - 1-10-2015****