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Lindberg Sea Witch

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  • Member since
    August 2006
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Lindberg Sea Witch
Posted by Robert on Sunday, March 2, 2008 3:12 AM
Does anyone know if this kit has been recently re issued? What sort of quality is it? It looks like an intersting kit to build and I have noticed it on eBay and would like to have a crack at it.  
  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, March 2, 2008 6:57 AM

Lindberg, as I understand it, was taken over by new management a few months back.  The new owners have a nice new website, which shows dozens of old Lindberg kits (including some that were originally from the long-defunct Pyro) and a few new ones (most notably a couple of 1/72 Japanese submarines.  The Sea Witch is on the list:  http://www.lindberg-models.com/water_model70812.html

This kit has a long, confusing history, which I'm not at all certain I understand.  It apparently originated with ITC, the plastic model branch of the Ideal Toy Company, in the mid-fifties.  (Putting two and two together, I suspect ITC "borrowed" the design from a solid-hull wood kit that Marine Models was selling at the time.)  I've heard that Marx, another toy company that occasionally ventured into plastic kits, also sold it for a while.  (Marx made at least one other ship:  the clipper Swordfish.  That one had one very odd feature:  a stamped steel deck.  I think the Marx version of the Sea Witch may have had one too.  Or maybe Marx and ITC sold completely different Sea Witches.  I don't know; maybe some other Forum member has sorted this out.)

The first time I saw the kit (and the only time I bought it) was in the very late sixties, when it was marketed by Aurora.  That company brought out a series of four sailing ships:  the Sea Witch, the Bonhomme Richard, the U.S.S. Hartford, and the whaler Wanderer.  The latter three were genuinely new kits, but the Sea Witch apparently was a modified reissue of the old ITC one.  (Several Forum participants have agreed with me about that point, but I've recently had my doubts.  See below.)  They were about two feet long, and packaged in nice, glitzy boxes; I think Aurora was trying to fill a gap in the market between the large and small Revell sailing ship kits.  All four of them had a feature that really turned me off:  grossly thick, injection-molded "sails" cast integrally with the yards.  That prevented me from finishing any of them.

Otherwise, my recollection is that the Aurora Sea Witch was a pretty nice kit.  Like most other plastic sailing ships, it suffered from some limitations:  some parts (e.g., the pinrails inside the bulwarks) were cast integrally that really should have been separate pieces.  And I don't think there was any representation of the copper sheathing on hull.  (I may be wrong about that one.)  But the basic shapes were about right, and the basis for a serious scale model certainly was there.

Aurora went belly-up sometime in the seventies.  Shortly thereafter Lindberg started selling its Sea Witch kit - with vac-formed "sails" and separate spars.  I assume that's the kit the new Lindberg is about to re-release (if it hasn't done so already).

It seems to be generally assumed that the ITC, Aurora, and Lindberg kits are, except for the treatment of the spars and sails, essentially identical.  The more I look at the pictures on the Lindberg website, though, the less certain I am about that.  The website says the kit is on 1/96 scale, with an overall length of 33 inches.  I don't think the Aurora one was that big.  And some of the details in the pictures don't match my admittedly vague recollection of what the Aurora kit looked like.  (I sure don't remember those crew figures - and that's the kind of thing my Halfzeimer's-afflicted brain usually does remember.)  I'm starting to think that this convoluted story may actually involve at least two completely different kits.  Maybe the Aurora one was a genuine original; maybe the ITC one was bigger, and the Lindberg one's a reissue of it. Does anybody out there have actual specimens of the Aurora, ITC, and Lindberg kits for comparison?

Bottom line:  it looks to me like the "new" Lindberg kit is pretty good, and worth the trouble to build it.  If it is indeed on 1/96 scale, it's by far the largest plastic American clipper on the market.  And the ship herself was a beautiful, important subject.  It looks to me like the kit would respond to a lot of careful work and is capable of producing a fine model.

I can recommend two books to anybody thinking about a model of this ship.  Ship Models:  How To Build Them, by Charles G. Davis, is an old manual dating from the 1920s - one of the first published books about serious scale ship modeling as a hobby.  It's pretty basic, and refers, obviously, to lots of techniques and materials that aren't terribly relevant to the modern plastic modeler.  But Davis was a good, knowledgable modeler, and he used the Sea Witch as his example in this book.  It includes a couple of fold-out plans, which are pretty basic but, I think, reasonably accurate.  And the price of the modern Dover Books reprint is right:  http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Ship-Models/Charles-G-Davis/e/9780486251707/?itm=2

The other book is a grand old historical novel, The Sea Witch, by Alexander Laing.  He divided his time between fiction and non-fiction; when it came to sea stories he knew what he was talking about.  This novel is guaranteed to whip up enthusiasm for building a model of the Sea Witch.  I don't think it's currently in print, but used copies are easy to find on the web - and not expensive.  It's worth seeking out one of the editions with illustrations by the great marine artist Gordon Grant.

Hope that helps a little.  Good luck.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

jpk
  • Member since
    August 2006
Posted by jpk on Sunday, March 2, 2008 7:20 AM
jtilley, I recall when I was a kit my dad was building the Sea Witch. I don't recall the box itself but I do remember it having a stamped metal litho deck and I also remember the Marx logo being somewhere for some reason. This was very early 60's. I remember it getting trashed in a move across country.
  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, March 2, 2008 7:41 AM

Well, JPK confirms that there was a Marx Sea Witch - with a metal deck.  (I wonder who came up with that idea - and why?  Was it an attempt at a solution to the problem of warping in big, flat plastic parts?) 

We seem to be dealing with an interesting story here.  It looks to me like there probably are at least two different players, and maybe as many as three:  ITC, Marx, and Aurora.  (I think the Lindberg kit is a reissue of some other manufacturer's product, but at this point I'm not at all sure which one.) 

Does anybody out there have the old Aurora version?  If so, how does it compare to the photos on the Lindberg website?

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    July 2005
Posted by caramonraistlin on Sunday, March 2, 2008 8:07 AM

Robert:

 

I have the 1/96 scale Marx Kit and I have the 1/96 scale Lindberg. The Lindberg is a copy of the Marx with new directions and a plastic deck/deck houses whereas the Marx kit had these made out of some type of pre-painted thin metal. Both kits have vacuum formed sails and the hull is black colored plastic without the lower copper colored plastic of the Revell Cutty Sark model. Also the hull is smooth without the plating cast in. The box says the model is 33 inches long. The kit number I have is No. 813. The deadeyes for each mast are one piece or set with the chain plates cast with them. The directions expect one to glue these in place and then run individual thread from the top of each deadeye to the mast tops. Then one is expected to run individual ratlines spaced 3/16" apart. This method appears to be better than the Revell ready made plasticised shrouds and should provided a more realistic looking set of shrouds. The kit in a way does expect you to do more work than any of the large Revell kits as you have to drill out all the holes in the blocks. The directions also show you how to go about tying the blocks. One other unique touch is they also provide instructions on how to make a display case for the finished model. I  haven't built it yet but I would rate it on par with the Revell kits and slightly better in how they handled the assembly of the shrouds. It really is a pretty good kit and one could build it into an impressive model. I hope this helps. 

 

  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: arizona
Posted by cthulhu77 on Sunday, March 2, 2008 8:25 AM

Len Roberto did a really fine build up of the kit for review:

 http://modelingmadness.com/reviews/misc/ships/robertosw.htm

 

It comes out as a real nice sailing ship, and you just can't get a better name!

             Greg

http://www.ewaldbros.com
  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: vernon hills illinois
Posted by sumpter250 on Sunday, March 2, 2008 12:28 PM
  The kit I built was, as I remember, a Marx. The hull was one piece plastic, the decks (fo'c'sl, main and quarter) were printed sheet metal, the houses, and remaining detail were plastic. The Marine Models plans, drawn by R. L. Bittner, in the 1930's, and the hull of that old kit are both 1/96 scale. I have never seen the Aurora kit out of the box, but I know that the "Wanderer" is 1/87 scale, based on her reported dimensions, and measurements taken from the kit hull. The Aurora box didn't look big enough to hold either a 1/96, or 1/87 scale clipper. I have seen the Lindberg "Sea Witch" built up, and the hull I have is identical to the Lindberg.

Lead me not into temptation ..................I can find it myself

  • Member since
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  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Robert on Sunday, March 2, 2008 4:54 PM
Many thanks to all for all the information. It certainly looks like a kit worth making.
jpk
  • Member since
    August 2006
Posted by jpk on Sunday, March 2, 2008 5:54 PM
jtilley........I don't know why Marx would have included a litho metal deck rather than plastic but back then Marx produced all sorts of toy play sets and many of them included structural parts made of litho metal. I think maybe it was just part of their toy design mind set. One set I know had the metal panels was the Cape Canaveral set. It had a building or buildings that were metal. I'm sure there were several others.
  • Member since
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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, March 3, 2008 12:36 AM

Sheesh - I hadn't thought about those Marx "playsets" in decades!  Now I remember the painted, stamped metal walls of the forts, castles, etc.  The wall panels had rolled-over tops and bottoms, and hooks on their ends to attach them to the plastic parts at the corners. A kid had to be careful not to cut a finger on the exposed edges.  The flexible plastic figures that came in those sets were wonderful.  I remember my father, who had quite a bit of training in sculpture, studying those Marx figures with his bifocals and shaking his head in awe.

It looks like we've established a few things here.  The Lindberg and Marx Sea Witch kits apparently were/are essentially identical (except for the switch from metal to plastic decks).  I'm wondering now whether the ITC kit ever existed outside my senile memory; maybe the old kit I saw was in fact a Marx one.  At any rate, the Aurora kit apparently was something completely different.

I wonder if Lindberg expects the modeler to drill out the blocks.  If so, that's not such a bad solution to the old problem of how to cast a block or deadeye in styrene.  (A rigid, two-piece mold can't reproduce an object with a hole through it and a groove around it.)  It sounds like Marx/Lindberg used about the same approach to the shrouds, ratlines, deadeyes, and lanyards that the old fifties-vintage Pyro kits did.  (Pyro called the deadeye/lanyard assemblies "combo units.") If the photos on the Lindberg website are to be believed, the holes for the shrouds go through the deadeyes in the wrong direction.  (Pyro handled that particular detail a little better.)  I'm inclined to agree, though, that the finished product would look better than the Revell plastic-coated thread concoctions.

If the Lindberg kit is indeed smooth on the bottom (i.e., doesn't include any indication of the copper sheathing), there's a good solution.  Model Expo sells pressure-sensitive copper tape, in rolls.  (I think it's the same stuff that's used in the making of stained glass windows.  It's probably too wide for 1/96 scale, but it can be cut easily enough.)  I used it on the hull of my little cast-resin Model Shipways Phantom; I don't see any reason why the stuff wouldn't stick to styrene just as well.  (Roughing up the surface with sandpaper might help.)

Looks to me like the Lindberg kit is definitely worth the trouble - and a significant addition to the meager range of good-sized plastic sailing ships on the market.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: Carmel, CA
Posted by bondoman on Monday, March 3, 2008 1:34 AM

The Louis Marx Company lasted from 1919 to 1971. They were a tinplate company that was very successful in toy trains, and along with American Flyer sold train sets in 3/16" scale, which was an affordable alternative to 1/4" scale; later becoming S scale.

Their last successful product was that sockum robot thing. Sad.

But in their heyday they had the corner on tinplate technology, undercut Lionel and the other 1/48 train companies.

It is understandable to me that they would have tried their tinplate on ship models, though obviously it was a pretty limited application.

ITC imported trains in the 60's but I don't know much about them except that given the era I'd guess they were selling asian products which at that time prefered to remain anonymous. Funny, that.

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, March 3, 2008 6:44 AM

I remember Marx as a big name in my childhood.  As I remember, the company made toys of just about every conceivable variety.  I think I remember Marx cap pistols - and cap rifles.  And I think there were Marx dolls (though I hasten to add I had no direct experience with them).  My first HO train set was a Marx, though by then the company had abandoned tinplate, at least in its HO line, and was making its cars and locomotives from plastic.  What I don't remember, personally, are Marx scale model kits.  I got into models, with considerable enthusiasm, in 1956; I can remember ITC, Strombecker, Premier, Renwall, and quite a few others that are long defunct.  I guess it was just coincidence that my parents never (to my knowledge) bought me a Marx kit.

It's customary these days for serious modelers to laugh about those early days of the plastic kit industry - and some of the products in question were indeed pretty crude by modern standards.  We should also remember, though, that some of those companies were really adventurous in terms of subject matter.  ITC, for instance, released quite a few airplane, ship, and tank subjects that have never been duplicated - at least by mainstream manufacturers.  I'm thinking of such kits as the U.S.S. Oregon, the Coast Guard surfboat, the WWI subchaser, and the yachts Atlantic and Corsair.  (We should be grateful to Glencoe for bringing some, at least, of those kits back.)  There's always a danger, especially among Olde Phogies like me, of remembering days gone by with rose-colored glasses.  The standards of the hobby certainly have gone up since then.  But it was indeed, in quite a few ways, a "golden age" of model kits.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
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  • From: vernon hills illinois
Posted by sumpter250 on Monday, March 3, 2008 1:42 PM

There's always a danger, especially among Olde Phogies like me, of remembering days gone by with rose-colored glasses.  The standards of the hobby certainly have gone up since then.  But it was indeed, in quite a few ways, a "golden age" of model kits.

Strombecker!...the B-29! Now, there was a KIT......yeah, I guess my glasses are beyond "rose colored". I remember the name Renwal, but not the product, and I have no memory of Premier. Interesting. I do remember building the Hobbyline "Berkshire", and switcher kits, and being somewhat impressed by "all the detail". By todays standards, even the brass locos of the day were lacking in fine detail. Well, those kits may have been....basic?.....but we learned how to build models from them, and we learned how to research the prototypes, and make improvements. We showed that "it could be done", and manufacturers learned that "it should be done", and we are here, now, with PE, and resin add-ons becoming part of Multimedia kits. I wonder if the beginners of today will be able to look back, and see the same range of progress, in scale modeling, that we have seen. Someday, my old Marx "Sea Witch" will have wood decks, and deck houses, spars, blocks, and deadeyes, and will "sail" again.

Lead me not into temptation ..................I can find it myself

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, March 3, 2008 8:27 PM

Renwall was a remarkably progressive company with quite a few ranges of kits.  Maybe the best were its sophisticated (by 1950s standards) 1/32 military vehicles - mainly contemporary.  They had lots of parts, good detail, operating features (most memorably a Patton tank whose commander and loader popped out of the turret hatches when the gun barrel was lowered, and went back in when it was raised), and some of the most ludicrously malproportioned crew figures ever seen.  There was also a small range of 1/500 ships (with pride of place going to the North Carolina and an Essex-class carrier), a really nice range of 1/48 classic cars (each with its own display case), and the notorious "Aero-Skin" 1/48 and 1/72 vintage airplanes.  (The latter featured a fine-textured tissue paper, with the markings printed on it, to cover virtually the entire airframe. The Aero-Skin planes looked pretty good initially, but as the glue dried the wings warped horribly.)  And it was Renwall that introduced the "Visible" series of anatomy kits:  The Visible Man, Visible Woman, Visible Horse, Visible Dog, Visible V-8, etc., etc.  Some of those are still around, under the labels of various other companies.

Premier was a small company that, as I remember, mainly issued extremely crude military vehicles.  If a serious (by 10-year-old standards) bought a Premier kit, he was unlikely to buy another one.  I don't think the company lasted long.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    March 2004
  • From: Spartanburg, SC
Posted by subfixer on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 11:48 AM

 jpk wrote:
jtilley........I don't know why Marx would have included a litho metal deck rather than plastic but back then Marx produced all sorts of toy play sets and many of them included structural parts made of litho metal. I think maybe it was just part of their toy design mind set. One set I know had the metal panels was the Cape Canaveral set. It had a building or buildings that were metal. I'm sure there were several others.

I remember getting that Cape Canaveral set back in 1960 or 1961. It was complete with lithograph chainlink fences showing the beach and sky in them.  Very detailed in a two dimensional way. The spring-loaded missile launchers were another memorable feature.

I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

  • Member since
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Posted by bad hat on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 7:51 PM

The Marx Sea Witch was the first large scale sailing ship model to be marketed. Appearing in 1956, it pre-dates the Revell Cutty Sark by three years. One year later, Marx released the Swordfish clipper. This was the same model as the Sea Witch, the only  exception was the added on beakhead and figurehead that was rivited to the upper front of the hull. Also, the display base was different.

The tin lithographed decks featured the planking lines drawn in scale. Marx was the lithography king, and this feature really gave the finished models an extra touch.

ITC never sold the Sea Witch or Swordfish. Their model was called the Waterwitch. It was a 2 masted schooner rigged yacht that was the same mode as the beautiful Yacht Atlantic, the only difference was the rig.It was issued around the Christmas season in 1962, the same time as the ocean liner France.

The only sailing ship model ITC sold in the 50s {beside the Atlantic} was the Us Constitution, Old Ironsides.Smaller than the Revell kit, it was a nice model even though the lower gun deck featured closed gunports. It did not come with sails, but it did have molded plastic ratlines and shrouds that were overscale. As far as I know, it never was re-issued, but Aurora might have based their Constitution model on this when it appeared in 1967. It had hard plastic sails molded to the yards and the same type ratlines and shrouds.

These were small scale kits in a scale of appx 1-250. The clippers were appx 1-96 scale.

The Lindberg Sea Witch is the re-issued Marx model. However, it does not have the litho metal decks. Lindberg also re-issued the Sandpiper, another Marx kit from the 50s. It is a Baltimore Clipper privateer from the War of 1812. It even has the Marx instructions, but the Marx name has been blotted out.

I hope this answers some of the questions you guys have  been asking. I realize some of these posts are old, but since I just discovered this website, I`m having fun replying to them. Since I consider myself a plastic ship model historian, I hope that I have been of some use.

Next post, I`ll discuss the Aurora "large scale" ship models of the late 60s. Stay tuned.

  • Member since
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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 10:43 PM

bad hat

The Marx Sea Witch was the first large scale sailing ship model to be marketed.

Probably true - if we insert the rather important word "plastic" into the sentence.  (Wood sailing ship kits had been on the market for at least twenty-five years by 1956.) 

I think I have the Sea Witch story more-or-less straight now.  I could have sworn I saw one in an ITC box back in the seventies (in the possession of a collector), but I'm perfectly willing to believe it was in fact Marx.  It's been pretty firmly established, here and elsewhere, that the "new" Lindberg kit, and previous Lindberg iterations of it, are reissues of the Marx one, with the sheet metal decks replaced by plastic parts.  And the old Aurora kit was a completely different product.

I remember those four "big" Aurora ships, Sea Witch, Wanderer, Hartford, and Bonhomme Richard, fairly clearly.  I was never among their fans; those heavy, injection-molded "sails" cast integrally with the yards thoroughly turned me off.  But by those days new plastic sailing ship kits were rare enough that I tended to grab every one that appeared - and in terms of subject matter they filled some yawning gaps in what was available.  (I was in high school at the time, and couldn't be convinced that wood was within my capacity.)

One interesting feature of those Aurora kits that I remember:  it was pretty obvious that the "sails" on at least one of them - the whaler, I think - had been based on the vac-form sails in the Revell Cutty Sark or Thermopylae kit..  The big clue:  such things as reef points, clewlines, and leechlines, which the manufacturers insisted on molding in with the sails, were represented as raised lines on the fronts of the sails and countersunk lines on the backs.  (That's a natural consequence of the vacuum-forming process, but makes no sense in injection-molding - unless a vac-formed part has been used as the master.)  That, at any rate, is how my poor old brain remembers the story.  I should acknowledge that I haven't seen any of those old kits in many years - and I'm not among those who are longing for their reappearance.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
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Posted by bad hat on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 12:05 AM

Yeah, those injection molded plastic sails with the yards molded on, and the way overscale injection ratlines and shrouds were the scourge of many a plastic ship model. 

When I run across them nowadays, I simply toss `em in the garbage, afler I measure the proper lenght of the yards.

I recently won the old Lindberg-ex Pyro Revenge galleon  on E Bay for a dollar. Not a bad little model.  I intend to do the ratlines and shrouds on the evil, dreaded and feared Heller loom, and do the yards out of wood. Maybe I`m putting more effort into this model than its worth, but the end results should  result n a nice little display model.

I wish I knew how to upload photos to this-and other sites. Maybe someday I`ll learn how to do it.

  • Member since
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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 9:47 AM

For what little it's worth, I personally don't "dread" the Heller (or Airfix) "ratline loom."  I just think it's silly.

The Great Ratline Problem, in my opinion, is mostly a hoax perpetrated by model kit manufacturers.  Revell probably started it, with the plastic-coated thread "preformed ratlines" in its 1/192 Constitution back in 1956.  since then various companies have come up with all sorts of clever ideas for avoiding the tying of all those little knots - and, I'm afraid, have convinced generations of modelers that they simply don't have the skill to do it to scale.  Hokey "ratlines" also are, I think, one of the big reasons why so many self-proclaimed purists turn up their noses at plastic sailing ship models.  (And that, in turn, is one of many reasons why that phase of the plastic modeling hobby has never been more popular than it has.)

The truth of the matter is that rigging ratlines to scale (or nearly so) is no more difficult than plenty of other jobs that go into the building of a model.  If you can rig a sailing ship model at all, you probably can rig the ratlines - without the help of a jig or any other sort of gadget.  We've discussed the subject quite a few times in this Forum over the years.  In every single case in which somebody's gotten up the nerve to try it, he's had the same reaction:  "Geez, why didn't I do that before?  It really isn't hard - and what a difference it makes!"

There are two old, traditional ways to do it.  The most realistic, obviously, is to secure the ratlines with individual clove hitches.  That takes a fair amount of time - but less than most people seem to think. 

The human brain and hand are remarkable contraptions.  They have an immense and sophisticated capacity to learn.  The learning curve for rigging ratlines is kind of steep, but surprisingly short - if the modeler will just give his/her fingers a chance.  My guess is that rigging the first ratline on a mast will take between fifteen minutes and half an hour.  By the time you get to the masthead, though, you'll be rigging one every two or three minutes and wondering what all the fuss was about.

Some consideration needs to be given to the model's scale.  Generally speaking, the smaller the scale, the more difficult the rigging.  I think most modelers who have some experience probably are perfectly capable of rigging ratlines to near-scale (i.e., with clove hitches) on scales from about 1/100 up.  On smaller scales than that, it becomes difficult to make the knots tidy enough - and any problems with eyesight get magnified.

I rigged the ratlines on my little model of the frigate Hancock, which is on the scale of 3/32" = 1', with nickel-chromium wire.  I don't think I'd want to try that on a smaller scale - and nowadays I'm not sure my 59-year-old eyeballs would be up to the job even on the Hancock''s scale.  (I built that model between 1978 and 1984.  Here, courtesy of our good Forum friend Michelvrtg, are some pictures:  http://www.hmsvictoryscalemodels.be/JohnTilleyHancock/index.html .)

On smaller scales I recommend the old, tried-and-true "needle through the shroud" method.  Charge up a fine, sharp needle with the finest thread you can find.  Grab the shroud firmly with a pair of tweezers and ram the needle through it.  When you've gotten through all the shrouds in the gang, put a tiny drop of white glue on the intersection of the ratline and the last shroud.  When the glue is dry (REALLY dry), slice off the excess length of ratline.  Done carefully, this trick can produce extremely neat and impressive results.

In either technique there are two important things to do.  First - set the shrouds up first, and get them nice and tight.  (Forget about trying to rig the ratlines off the model.)  Second - give yourself some help with the spacing.  I personally use a simple device consisting of an index card with a series of lines, spaced like the ratlines, drawn on it.  The card fits inside the shrouds. 

If both those techniques prove beyond you for some reason (e.g., arthritis or  bad eyesight - with both of which I profoundly sympathize), don't despair.  Consider leaving the ratlines off completely.  If the rest of the rigging is neatly done the model probably will look fine - and better than one with sloppily-rigged ratlines.  (The museum where I used to work had a series of small-scale ship models, whose builder's name I've long since forgotten.  Each was mounted in a beautifully made little glass case, with the baseboard in the form of a reproduction map.  Those models were very nicely executed, and filled to the brim with that indefinable thing called "atmosphere" or "character."  Few, if any, visitors noticed that the models had no ratlines.) 

Again - this is a hobby, and how every modeler wants to go about it is that modeler's business (and certainly not mine).  But I do urge every ship modeler to at least give rigging ratlines "by hand" a try.  My guess is that you'll find it easier than you thought. 

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Lacombe, LA.
Posted by Big Jake on Friday, May 14, 2010 11:00 AM

I agree with you John, if you can rig the model you can tie the ratlines, it's just BORING.  I do this with the sailing ships I restore and build. YES it is a PITA, but worth it. I look at it as a stage of the model , usually takes 6-12 hours, (an hour per section), some good music, and maybe a glass of tea and 'get her done'.  IF you replace the tea with GROG, the lines get nice and wavy, don't ask how I know.

Jake "cross-eyed" Groby

 

 

  • Member since
    April 2010
Posted by bad hat on Friday, May 14, 2010 2:37 PM

This is exactly the same way the Marx instructions for the Sea Witch and Swordfish tell you how to do it. It is a lethally dull job and a -itch to do, but if you have the patience, it is worthwhile.  Personall , I can live without the "droop" on the hand and needle method, but if `m building something special, I`ll probably take the time to do it right. Until next time....

GAF
  • Member since
    June 2012
  • From: Anniston, AL
Posted by GAF on Sunday, August 30, 2020 12:47 AM

I thought I would drag this old thread back to the top as while checking Ollie's again today I found a couple of these Lindberg "Sea Witch" models for $50 (49.99) and considered getting one.

Now I'm not a ship guy, and my closet is full of unfinished models.  It would probably sit gathering dust along with the Star Trek 1/350 scale Enterprise model.  Still, I thought I would ask some folks here as it seems to get a favorable view per the above posts.

Suggestions?

Gary

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Sunday, August 30, 2020 1:11 PM

It's $ 103 on Amazon.

You should buy it if funds allow. 

As you are not 'a ship guy", I'll offer a few comments. Rigging the ship is a big job that will ask for some outside references to do it right. If you do buy the kit, I can give you a couple that aren't expensive and will get you started.

The model is big, and being a ship; will not take kindly to being put back in the box between sessions. Think of a place where you can display a partially built kit that's probably close to 30" long and slightly less tall. To me that's an object of interest, consult the home team.

I'm a really really slow builder, so for me the previous paragraph would have a year or more written into it.

Oh, as I just reread the whole thread- one last thing. There's mention of the need to drill out the blocks (lubber term would be pulleys). That's a big deal and something I'd avoid. 

They're easy enough to buy as AM, and at a wide range of prices depending on quality. I'd probably factor in another $ 25 to $ 50 unless you went the drilling route.

Thanks MUCH for retrieving the thread. It's a good one and will be bookmarked. I'm a collector of Tilleyisms, sort of reminds me of reading Chesterton.

Bill

Modeling is an excuse to buy books

 

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Sunday, August 30, 2020 2:26 PM

GMorrison
Thanks MUCH for retrieving the thread. It's a good one and will be bookmarked. I'm a collector of Tilleyisms, sort of reminds me of reading Chesterton. Bill

Ain't that the truth.

Never had the pleasure of interacting with Prof. Tilley other than on this forum...but I miss his vast experience and wry wisdom.

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Sunday, August 30, 2020 10:25 PM

Bill and Greg,

I too miss John Tilley on this forum ... a fount of modeling knowledge, a gentleman, and the main reason I have so many unbuilt sailing ship kits in my closets. He was so generous with his knowledge and the time he took to explain ship terminology in relation to model building I feel like a national treasure has been lost. But his posts remain for those who would seek to learn from him.

I also have the Sea Witch in my stash ... maybe someday it'll be brought out from one the closets of the unbuilt.

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

GAF
  • Member since
    June 2012
  • From: Anniston, AL
Posted by GAF on Sunday, August 30, 2020 11:30 PM

Bill,

Thank you for replying.  After seeing the "Sea Witch" at Ollie's, I came back to do some research on the kit.  When I found that Prof. Tilley had a not unfavorable view of it, I had to wonder if it might be worth picking up, just as an investment.

I, too, am not the fastest builder in the world.  Slow as molasses.  So that year might stretch into several.  However, I consider sailing ship building to be the "high art" of modeling, so a sailing ship project might be the test of my limited abilities.  And it looks good on a shelf or mantle.

I'm going to compromise a bit, and leave things to chance.  Next Thursday is payday, so if the model (there were two) is still at Ollie's, I'll pick one up.  If it's not, then it just was not meant to be.  I've already reached the limit for my model buying for this month.  The "Sea Witch" would fill my quota for next month.

Thanks again!

Gary

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, August 31, 2020 12:44 AM

I will be more than pleased to be a part of your research and hopefully build advisor.

The ship itself was a monument to sailing ship design. She was a Griffeths design, the next generation being those of McKay which led to the composite ships.

American designed and built clippers in plastic are rare, this being one of a couple.

 

Modeling is an excuse to buy books

 

  • Member since
    December 2012
Posted by rwiederrich on Monday, August 31, 2020 1:14 PM

Bill...I was pleasantly suprised to see this post reintroduced.  It quickly reminded me of all the conversations I had with Mr Tilley.  He surely was a vault of information that was easily applicable.

I own both the Sea witch and the Swordfish in my stash currently and much research is needed to deliniate the two from a common mold issue.

I have built the Sea Witch 2 other times in my history, but when I tackle it again, I will make any corrections that I can that I failed to make then.  I will also be replacing the printed metal deck of the Swordfish.  These two famous clippers are important contributers to the design, but they still have to wait for my attention untill I finish by 1/96 scratch built McKay clipper Glory of the Seas and the newer scratch built hull model of the same name in 1/75 scale.

Love the subject dearly.

Rob

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: 37deg 40.13' N 95deg 29.10'W
Posted by scottrc on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 7:52 AM

Rob,

So the Swordfish kit, which I did not know existed as a model until I saw this thread, and the Seawitch kits are from the same molds?

I'm interested in anything Seawitch since I have the Scientific kit that I am in the process of starting, that is once I get a room finished and case build to house the 1/96 Constitution thats sitting on my bench. 

BTW, I too was a loyal student of the Professor.  I miss his emails that he would send about a subject that I would inquire about.  They were always well written and full of enthusiasm.  He never stopped teaching. 

Scott

  • Member since
    December 2012
Posted by rwiederrich on Thursday, September 3, 2020 7:53 AM

Scott...I'm not fully sure.  I think I read that somewhere before.  The Swordfish is a Marx model and the Sea witch is a Lindberg.  I'll have to actually check when I get home from work.

If Tilley was here....he'd know.  Maybe someone else has that information.  They are both 1/96 scale

Rob

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