KENYA (Yet another "damp squib" - moan!) - Ships Nostalgia
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KENYA (Yet another "damp squib" - moan!)

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  #1  
Old 18th June 2010, 18:59
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KENYA (Yet another "damp squib" - moan!)

I started this one off in the B.I. (British India) section thinking it might be of interest, but response was virtually zero.

Let's try again here, but I feel I am again "batting on a sticky wicket!"

I can't help feeling "scratchbuild" has at last gone beyond the bounds of comprehension on a world-wide scale!

Every time I display the progress on this one, I can almost sense the "curtains" coming down, "brick walls" and the "glazed eyes!"

Bob
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Old 18th June 2010, 23:02
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I think scratch built ships are excellent. I tried my hand at it once but failed miserably.
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Old 19th June 2010, 03:00
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Bob, as an ex BI man I think your model is progressing beautifully.
I have long been an ardent admirer of the models in glass cases that used to be seen in ship owners offices. Nowadays they all seem to be the plastic type completely lacking the quality and detail of those that were craftsmen built.
Having absolutely no talent in the area of model buiding I generally refrain from comment until the final product is revealed and then I can give the builder a well done or no comment if I fail to find it good enough.
That may seem rather harsh as I have no talent and I fail to acknowledge the hours of labour undertaken by the model builder however I am a bit of a perfectionist and I would rather save any accolades for those who I feel really deserve them rather than encourage mediocrity.
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Old 19th June 2010, 03:44
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"Every time I display the progress on this one, I can almost sense the "curtains" coming down, "brick walls" and the "glazed eyes!"
Yet you continue to display the progress.
I would hazard a guess and posit that if a subject interests people. they may be inclined to leave comment. If your subject doesnt interest them, for whatever reason, no matter how many hours of skill and dedication you may have put into it, they most likely will not comment. Many, like JB would prefer to see the finished product before commenting.


"I can't help feeling "scratchbuild" has at last gone beyond the bounds of comprehension on a world-wide scale!"
What brings you to that conclusion? Surely not the fact that no-one commented on your unfinished model.
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Old 19th June 2010, 07:46
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Thanks for the replies.
No, it is not the lack of comments that leads me to a "lack of interest in scratchbuild" conclusion.

It is more to do with the statistics. When I first planned this build, I was hard-pushed to find anyone who even remembered the KENYA, (surprising in itself) and was sufficiently interested to help me with a few simple questions regarding colours, deck details not shown on the plan etc.

Looking at the statistics for the model. When I put it in the B.I. section here on NOS, 76 read it which is quite good viewing figures, but of those, only 28 bothered to open the picture even if it was only out of curiosity.

Here in the Model Ships section, 160 have looked at it since (excellent figures) I posted it last night, but only 25 moved themselves to looking at the picture.

On another forum, I have run a complete building log from day 1, starting in May this year and 3,263 have looked at with ten members coming up with comments. But in the kit section, each kit get hundreds of comments during the building.

I like to look at other peoples scratchbuilt models, but find they are virtually non-existant, the most common (and rather odd) statement is usually "I don't have the time!" When I ask how long it takes them to make assemble a kit, the answer is usally months and months or even years and years. I don't think the KENYA has even passed the 70-hour mark yet (I must check it today). I time all the work on a stopwatch and enter it in the computer after each session for adding up when it is complete.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned on several forums that books seemed to be going out of fashion and libraries were selling off Lloyds Registers, Shipbuilding & Shipping Records etc and was told on a ship model forum that I was a "dinasaur" who couldn't grasp the fact that books had no part to play in the modern world and it was all "on line." This came from a "modern ship modeller" who had never even built a steam or motor ship, but was stuck in the days of the single topsail. (Talk about dinasaurs, har har).

Patience - I have none - I like to get them finished as soon as possible! KENYA is Nr. 242 since I started counting when I left the sea in October '92!

None of this is "sour grapes" because they are all sold except the last three and one of them, we have decided to keep anyway. If everyone was building them, I don't think I would have been able to get rid of them.

Skill was developed over the years, with plodding persistance. I had very little when I started.

Anyway, I am glad you have at last started talking and I really would be interested in seeing what others produce in the way of scratchbuilding.

Bob
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Old 19th June 2010, 09:29
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Further notes.

I have always felt that it may be more interesting to those viewing, by showing all of the construction of a ship model on a day-to-day basis, rather that just shoving a completed model under their nose! I quickly discontinue day-to-day updates if insufficient visitors view the progress pictures.

Here are some statistics about the KENYA model that you may, or may not find interesting.

Work began on the17th April 2009, but was more-or-less suspended as I was having difficulty getting essential information on small items not shown clearly on the plan.

Worked spasmodically on it between the above date and the 22nd August, 2009 when I suspended all work on it, the lethargy having overwhelmed me as well (What is it about KENYA?).

Began again in earnest on the 13th May this year and will now carry on until completion no matter what.

Total days worked on model since 17th April, 2009: 24 days.
Least work done in any one day: 0.3 hours (painting funnel)
Most hours worked in one day: 2.90 hours ( promenade deck and etching of side stanchions)
Total hours work from commencement until today just under 47 hours.

Here is the model on completion of the first three hours work.

Bob
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Old 19th June 2010, 11:29
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You have hit the nail on the head, to see a completed scratch built model and told to go and do the same is totally overwhelming. But your email and photo illustrates that it is not some mysterious black art requiring the skills of a magician and you demonstrate that the building of the basic model is not so difficult.
However, having said that, I know that whilst I could probably make a good stab at the basic model I do not have the skills to produce the quality of painting, stanchions, etc. That after all is the difference between the high quality that you do and warrants the price that people will pay for your models and the general home builder.
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Old 19th June 2010, 12:42
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You are quite right, there is no great mystery in how to do it. neither is there any great skill required in the painting. For instance with the KENYA, the only painting that has gone into the model so far (not counting the funnel) is the white hull, red underwater and red forecastle deck. Because I am almost totally lacking in painting skills, this paintwork was done with aerosol sprays obtained from Halfords. The red is Red Oxide Primer and the white is White Primer - both dry within minutes to a matt finish. There is no paint at all on the upperworks. The wooden accommodation is faced with white plasticard sheet glued on with contact adhesive. I made the windows and doors on the computer, printed them onto self-adhesive sheet, cut them out and stuck them on. The funnel was initially painted white using the spray paint. I then stuck three narrow black bands round it to mark the boundaries of the white section (the centre one being the black band around the white) and then painted the black by hand, but that was no big deal anyway. The deck rails were all soldered 38 swg tinned copper wire. Quite easy to mass produce after winding them on a frame edged with threaded rod to get the spacing. The completed rails were spray painted white.

I think most people convince themselves that they could never build one with a simple statement "I could never do anything like that!" When I saw my first detailed miniature ship by Donlad McNarry in the local history museum in Durban in 1968 I thought "I wonder how he does that. I will make a point of finding out!" I wrote to him and asked. He referred me to his book Shipbuilding in Miniature. I purchased it and found that there were lots of special techniques that made it quite easy and not very time-consuming. I immediately stopped building large models and took it from there.

You can see more of my models by clicking on "Miniature Merchant Ships" below.

But I have never claimed any especial skills - it is just that most people don't even bother trying!

Bob
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Old 19th June 2010, 13:05
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I forgot to mention the stanchions. That is no big deal either. I draw them onto a sheet of 2 'thou brass shim using an etch resistant pen. I then spray the back with paint and clip the whole thing to a piece of glass using pieces cut from a plastic slide-binder. Then I put them in weak etching fluid and it about two hours, all that remains is the stanchions and the paint, the rest having been etched away. Here are the stanchions for the KENYA in preparation. The red splodges between the stachions is just to reduce the area of brass that has to be eaten away. The finished stanchions are cleaned with methylated spirit and spray painted white before sticking on.

The glass ensures the whole lot sinks in the fluid. Painting the back stops the fluid etching the whole lot away from behind.

I think the model ships section could be livened up a great deal by modellers coming on and showing how they do things rather than the "Look, I built this" approach!

I know I have been guilty of the "Look I built this" myself recently, but that was only after earlier efforts to show the whole build just met with silence!

Bob
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Old 19th June 2010, 13:24
Don Matheson Don Matheson is offline  
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Bob Fear not, there are plenty of model makers out there but you have to admit that miniatures are a rather specialist and thus a limited field.
Build and have build models for years with a range starting from plastic kits to radio controlled model ships, two of them in progress at the moment. Last one I finished had the help of several USCG members so I do tend to do a lot of research on them just as you do. I also build and paint model figurines and am a member of our local club which covers a good range of subjects. Now that I am forced into retirement I am rebuilding my railway in the attic, 200 meters of track and 38 locomotives. Time is my enemy as far as modeling is concerned, as well as to big a range of subjects but I always have time to admire your work and in doing so I open the pictures and then enlarge them so I do inspect them closely.
I do admire your work and your range of vessels, find your work outstanding and an inspiration to other modelers. Keep up the good work!

Don
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Old 19th June 2010, 13:40
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Don,
Thanks for reply. I often think railway modellers are more abundant than ship modellers and seem to produce a great amount of outstanding work.

I don't think miniatures are all that "specialist." Years ago, I built ships at 8'=1", but found it very inconvenient and horribly time-consuming. It was inconvenient because I was at sea and was limited in the tools and materials that I could carry round with me. To say nothing of getting the completed model home. When I changed (literally overnight) to miniatures, I found that the problem was solved immediately. I could build them very quickly and found that it was much easier to make small items than large ones when using the special techniques.

I find model shipbuilders very few and far between in Lancashire. At the local ship model club, we have over 60 members, but there are usually only two or three models brought to each meeting and most of them are confined to Napoleonic type warships.

I find the greatest interest is in the USA and Australia, but as far as Britain is concerned, most of the general public still thinks the QUEEN ELIZABETH was a "boat!"

Bob
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Old 19th June 2010, 15:47
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Bob,

As a "scratch builder" living in Lancashire, I have listened too, and made comments on your posts many times about what differences we have, but have never made comment on your personal view before.

I have to say though, that with such a subjective view as you hold towards modelling in general, and what other modellers get up to, I wonder why you comment at all, because the answers are the same, and so are your arguments,and nothing you say will make one iota of differenceto other modellers, iether on this or any other site, I am sad [for you] to say..

You will not change the views of other modellers no matter how many times you comment, or hope for better times to come.

The last time I commented that you were perhaps in the wrong club because others didn't give your models but a fleeting glance, you nearly bit my head off, but as already has been stated on this thread, perhaps people aren't interested in minatures and there is no way in which you can force that on others.

I don't accuse you of being insular,but I find it hard to understand that you make such comments when you do not you take yourself off to other clubs where you would see there is plenty of scratch building going on, and close to your home in Preston.
Southport, Fleetwood, Blackpool and district, Chorley, Blackburn, Haigh Hall, Wigan and Warrington, to name but a few, all have plenty of scratch builders, so how you can possibly say that scratch building is dying off is a mystery and a myth.
Just because they don't delve into your own realms it doesn't mean that the art is dying out.
OH! and by the way, no harm in the uneducated and uninitiated, calling a ship a boat...........not really the crime of the century is it...........I think there are much more important things in this world to worry about.....like the crap performance of the England squad for one thing??!!!

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Old 19th June 2010, 16:23
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I get the impression it is dying of because I never seem to see much of it. Occasionally, someone comes up with something here, but they seldom go into any details on how they made anything, it is usually just the finished object, full stop!

My main aim is to get people talking about their methods, but it is generally "flogging a dead horse!"

No, it isn't a crime calling a ship a boat, but why do most people simply refuse to call things by their proper names when it is so easy to get it correct. I never call railway enthusiasts "train spotters" and neither do I refer to steam locomotives as "Choo Choo Trains!"

As for the performance of the "England Squad" as you call them, I couldn't care less whether they win or loose. I have never been to a football match in my life and never intend to go to one either. Even so, intolerable as football is to me, I couldn't stand the continuous blare of the "Mukkinese Battle-Horns" that they are experiencing at the moment, even if I was interested - they would drive me more crazy than I am now!

Anyway, I don't go on about scratchbuilding all the time, I just bring it up from time to time. I just thought that here on Nostalgia, where probably more than 90% of the members have spent years at sea, there may be more that actually build models of the type of ship most of us sailed in.

I know for a fact that when I first went to sea (early '61), the hobby was quite widespread onboard and equally divided between officers and crew!

Perhaps I should have said scratchbuilding of Merchant Ships with a definate lean towards steam and diesel driven vessels.

Don't worry, I will soon tire of this and disappear again for a while.

Bob
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Old 19th June 2010, 17:07
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i'd love to do a build blog of any of my scratchers, bob, but they take me so long, first doing the grp plugs and moulds, then doing the masters for fittings and casting them, then building the damn things that it would bore people to death, and put any budding modeller off for life.i do always enjoy yours though, because they are so quick in the build, and then onto the next.
sadly for me though......they're just too small to get a motor and r/c into.
great models though, as i have said many times. by the way, you'd always be welcome round my gaff for a chat and a brew.
next time your coming up fleetwood way, give me a shout.
neil.
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Old 19th June 2010, 18:08
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Neil,
I don't see why it should bore anyone to death. Probably quite a lot out there wondering how it is done. The only thing that would probably put me off GRP is that I suspect that messing about with stuff like that produces horribly toxic pongs, but don't really know. When I build models, I take photographs as I go along and it doesn't take long to write a few words on various forums, but, as you know, I have little patience and if folk don't view the builds, I just stop posting. Thanks for offer of chat in Fleetwood, we haven't been for some time now. Last visit was to sail our R/C 3-masted schooner in the lake a few years ago, but I hear they have filled the small lake in now!
Pity no water closer, apart from the River Ribble.

Today, I veneered the display case for KENYA and damaged my thumb in the process. Whilst smoothing the veneer down with wet & dry, I managed to separate the nail from top of thumb for about 1/8 inch inwards. The number of times I have done this, and I never learn. It will take about three days to get better I suppose.

Spent the afternoon writing up the construction of GLENMOOR, see lower down for picture of GLENMOOR (Motor tramp). Despite so few people building Merchant Ship models these write-ups seem to be ever-popular.

Just finishing at the moment and going off for a glass or two of vino.

Bob
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Old 19th June 2010, 19:51
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no, Bob, the little lake at the end of the main yachting lake is still there.

The council were planning to fill in but got so many objections, have left it.

There is a thriving scale sailing every wednesday afternoon throughout the season.....last wednesday there were at least 20 scale schooners and other sailing craft on the water at one time.......a very pretty and relaxing time.

As for Grp.......it's a Marmite job.....you either love it or hate it,,,,,,,,,...........sadly i'm one of thoSe nutters that love the smell and mess..not every ones cup o' tea though. lol
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Old 19th June 2010, 20:52
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I have just had another look on Google Earth and can see the small lake is still there. There is a small parking ground to the left. Is this "open to all" or members only and that sort of thing. Last time we went, someone told us to drive right down on the grass next to the small lake, it was OK. We did so and no-one said anything, but is it actually OK?
Bob
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Old 19th June 2010, 20:59
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I remember when you were building the 8' to 1" models in 1966. I also recall your tale about selling one to some local shop for a fiver.... it had 'RW, 1965' on the stand... when you next saw it in their window it was covered in dust and had an ask of 25 quid... and 'RW 1865' on the base...
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Old 19th June 2010, 21:37
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Bob, sadly for us old duffers that can't carry a boat too far these days, they blocked off the path over the grass woth large kerb slabs, and you have to park in the car park or the promenade, but the car park and lake for sailing is totally open to none members at all times.
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Old 20th June 2010, 07:42
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Thanks for replies.
Cisco, when I first saw the your reply, I wondered who one earth could remember that far back until I saw your name. The model was the brigantine MERLIN that I built aboard the ore carrier SAGAMORE in 1963. It was plank on frame and quite large - took me months to build. Quite annoying to see it passed off as "antique." For info to other readers of this post, in about 1965, Cisco and I became shipmates aboard WINDSOR CASTLE and next-door-neighbours on the boat deck. Both on the 8-12 watch in different departments I was always sure of getting wakened on time by the sounds of some good old Aussie sonds coming from the tape recorder next door. "Click go the Shears Boys, Click Click Click." Heard it the other day and it took me right back to the WINDSOR CASTLE.
Bob

Neil,
Thanks for infor on lake.

Bob
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Old 20th June 2010, 19:20
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There is discussion of the KENYA here; I bet they'd be interested in seeing your beautiful model.

Keep up the good works!

TG
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Old 20th June 2010, 19:24
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It is not the same KENYA though, but a much earlier one, owned by British India. This KENYA is the 1951 version.
Bob
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Old 20th June 2010, 19:45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shipbuilder View Post
Thanks for replies.
Cisco, when I first saw the your reply, I wondered who on earth could remember that far back until I saw your name.

Bob
I can remember all sorts of ancient stuff like that... now where did I put my glasses.......???
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Old 20th June 2010, 20:01
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So can I. We must have brains like CD ROMS! Do you remember when those in authority on WINDSOR CASTLE told us to stop referring to her as WINDSOR MARU?
Also, the joker who nicked a hand-cranked alarm from somewhere and worked it in our alleyway one dark night and got all the engineers to rush below?

Great days!

Bob
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Old 20th June 2010, 20:31
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I recall the 'Windsor Maru' and also 'outer space and inner Mongolia' but not the alarm incident...
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