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Aurora Wanderer Whaleship

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  • Member since
    March, 2011
  • From: Gateway to Cape Cod MA
Aurora Wanderer Whaleship
Posted by jb4406 on Friday, May 11, 2018 7:55 PM

Greetings All,

Haven't posted in a couple of years due sadly, to a divorce (she apparently having a mid-life crisis & now doing it on my dime).

Got another kick in the !!! recently when my dad passed away.

While helping mom clean out the attic, my younger brother and I came across some of dads old models, most notably, his Aurora Wanderer, which I can remember him working on at the kitchen table way back in the 60's. We remembered fondly playing with this kit when we were young, as it looked like a pirate ship to us back then. When I got older, I had always wanted this kit, but when I found it on auctions it was way out of my price range.

A couple of weeks ago, I looked on ebay, just for "giggles & grins", & found one for sale (at a reasonable price). I placed a bid and was amazed when I won! (my 14yo daughter told me that "Grampy" must have wanted me to get it). I received the kit and inventoried it, finding a couple of pieces missing (nothing that I can't fabricate).

I want to build this kit as a tribute to my dad. I have access to a lot of research material as I live in Fairhaven, MA, right across the harbor from New Bedford (my dad was a docent at the Whaling Museum after he retired from his engineering job). Also, the town of Mattapoisett, MA is directly east of my town, and this is where the actual Wanderer was built. I have also dived the wreck site several times, as it is only about 3 miles (as the crow flies) from where I live.

Has anyone built this kit, and if so, any hints/suggestions? I know the whaleboats are not accurate but I might just cast new ones for it. I also have the sails w/yards from dads original build, as he never finished it, and I found the box w/the unused parts, so I can make a mistake or 2. I havent decided weither to build it "under sail" or with the sails stowed (more scratch building).

I am an aircraft guy (WWII & Korea USMC/USN mostly),  so I will be working WAY outside of my comfort zone or area of expertise. I plan on taking my time and doing this one slowly, as I work on my other projects as well. Any suggestions/advice/help from you "old salts" would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks......... Jim

"The difficult, I do  right away. The impossible will take a little longer."

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, May 11, 2018 8:32 PM

With your prelude, it's not possible or even appropriate to be critical. If you can solve the yards by building new ones and replace the boats, it's going to be a reasonable kit.

This from Dr. Tilley:

"The big problem with that kit (other than those awful "sails" molded integrally with the yards) concerns that whaleboats.  The boats, of course, are a key feature of any whaler model.  The Aurora versions are caricatures of the real things, with gross, swooping sheerlines instead of the beautiful, subtle curves o the real things.  They look slightly more like the whaleboats used by the Azores Islanders.

If I remember correctly (highly questionable these days), the old movie Movie *** used Azores whaleboats bought or rented for the purpose.  They look ridiculous, too.  Maybe the movie inspired the Aurora designers."

I think Walter Channing, who drew lots of whaler and whaleboat plans, did a set for the Wanderer.  You might be able to get a set through Taubmann's, or maybe from the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  (The museum used to sell all sorts of plans through its gift shop.  I don't know whether it still does or not.)  Another pretty good source is Albert Cook Church's book Whaleships and Whaling.  It's a book of photos, including some of the Wanderer."

And replace the awful kit base with a wood one with brass pedestals.

Look forward to the build.



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