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Imagine if Revell made a 1/96th. McKay ship

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  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Lacombe, LA.
Imagine if Revell made a 1/96th. McKay ship
Posted by Big Jake on Sunday, December 19, 2004 9:30 PM
I got into a discussion with a neighbor who knows I do models and he asked a question.... Why did Revell never make a large Donald McKay clipper ship?

That was a good one and the only answer I could come up with was lack of interest / sales. But Lindberg did make the Sov. of the seas, detail was not all that good. Can you think how nice it would have looked if revell undertook the task?.............ahhhhhhh. One can dream.

Jake

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, December 19, 2004 11:02 PM
Big Jake, you've scored one on me. My poor old senile memory doesn't remember a Lindberg Sovereign of the Seas - at least not the clipper of that name. There was a Pyro version of the warship Sovereign of the Seas - the infamous budget-buster of King Charles I - that turned up in a Lindberg box. And there was the Sea Witch, which was originally ITC, then Aurora, then Lindberg. And I believe Lindberg had a Flying Cloud in its catalog for a while - a smaller version of the Revell kit. But that's all my beleaguered memory cells can rustle up.

I could prepare a huge list of ships I wish Revell had done in their three-foot-long, 1/96 series. Actually they only did three different ones: the Cutty Sark, the Kearsarge, and the Constitution. (The Thermopylae was a slightly-modified Cutty Sark, the Alabama a considerably modified Kearsarge, and the United States a very slightly modified Constitution. I'm not counting that...thing...they called a "Spanish Galleon" and later reissued as an "Elizabethan Man-o-War." It may be a nice decoration, but it's not a scale model.)

The best commercial version of a McKay clipper that I'm aware of is the Model Shipways Flying Fish. It's on 1/96 scale, with a plank-on-bulkhead hull and cast Britannia metal fittings. Its plans have been through several incarnations. The latest version is by Ben Lankford, an excellent researcher who really did his homework. (He made some goofs in the spar dimensions initially, but several other enthusiasts jumped down his throat and he did a revised version.) The kit costs quite a few sheckels and demands quite a bit of work, but can produce an outstanding model.

Just as surprising to me is that there have been so few kits of ships designed by McKay's greatest competitor, William Webb. The long-defunct Marine Model Company made a wood kit of his medium clipper Swordfish, and both Model Shipways (wood) and Pyro (plastic - currently reissued by Lindberg) did his steam revenue cutter Harriet Lane. And Model Shipways used to make a small-scale Young America. But so far as I know, that's it. I'm working on a scratchbuilt Young America at the moment, based on a superb set of plans by Hornsby and Crothers. She was a beautiful ship - and conspicuously different from McKay's clippers. McKay's ships, for instance, generally had their greatest beam almost exactly at the midpoint of the keel. The Young America's greatest beam is well forward of that.

Bluejacket has just released a solid-hull kit of the Red Jacket, which was designed by Samuel Pook. I've only seen photos of the kit, but it looks like a beauty.

Actually it's surprising how few really good models of American clipper ships one encounters. Experienced modelers, I'm afraid, regard them as hackneyed subjects and avoid them. Hackneyed or not, they make beautiful models.

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 Monday, December 20, 2004 8:01 AM
Uh, my mistake I meant to say Sea Witch, Sorry.

Jake

 

 

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: 37deg 40.13' N 95deg 29.10'W
Posted by scottrc on Monday, December 20, 2004 8:33 AM
I think we were lucky to get what we got from Revell at the time. Although the race between the Cuttysark and Thermopylae were famous, they represent the twilight of the true wooded clipper era. I too would like to see the Sea Witch or Fair American with the 1/96 Revell quality.

Scott

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, December 20, 2004 12:18 PM
I'm afraid scottrc is right: those big Revell sailing ships were a brief flash of inspiration, not likely to be repeated. But who knows? A few years ago I would have laughed at the suggestion that I could buy 1/700 photo-etched guardrails. Or a vast line of Russian warship kits from the Russo-Japanese War. We can always hope.

A few years ago Model Shipways had an interesting idea: a sailing ship with a cast resin hull. They made one, the New York pilot boat Phantom. (Their solid wood hull version of it had been around since the sixties; the resin version used the same plans and fittings.) I was one of the apparently few people who bought one. The resin hull had some problems regarding accuracy, but I think the concept was sound. The deck planking pattern was nicely rendered, and the bulwarks were cast in place. The copper sheathing wasn't - the kit came with a roll of real copper, with pressure-sensitive adhesive on the back. (It was twice as wide as it should have been, but after I cut it in half it worked fine.) Apparently, though, the kit was a dud in terms of sales. They're now selling the Phantom with a solid wood hull again.

I'm aware of a handful of other resin-hulled sailing vessels - most of them twentieth-century racing yachts, which do seem like a good match for the characteristics of resin. But I think Model Shipways was on to something in using resin to represent a wood hull. Maybe some other firm will try it.

At this point I'd welcome virtually any new, reasonably accurate plastic sailing ship kit. The species is in danger of becoming extinct.

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 Tuesday, December 21, 2004 11:43 AM
Hey I got an idea (I'm sure they have medicine for this)Confused [%-)]

Maybe we could start a letter writing group to instill a a little pride back at Revell/Monogram. Hell, I'm sure it really can''t cost that much to have a mold cut in CHINA anymore as compared to the US side of the ponds! Pirate [oX)]

Jake

 

 

  • Member since
    July 2020
Posted by modlerbob on Monday, September 27, 2021 6:31 PM

I, quite by accident ended up with the phantom kit with the resin hull.  Being a long time plastic modeler who has built all of the Revell 1/96 scale sailing ships I thought it was a great idea.  One great wood ship modeler creates a good looking finished hull and deck and then Model Shipways created a master mold and replaced the carved wood hull in the kit.  The problem was that diehard wood ship builders regarded it as cheating while plastic ship modelers didn't catch on that the hull was basically finished and probably balked at the price so Model Shipways ended up dropping the resin hull and went back to the carved hull.  You can onlt get so many castings from one mold. Personally I love the multi-media concept.

  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 9:36 AM

I would love to see a McKay clipper in 1:96.  I would guess our best bet would be Revell(g), since Tamiya or Trumpeter would likely charge a fortune.  Maybe it is time to do a letter writing campaign.  Would Heller ever do something like that?

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July 2015
Posted by MR TOM SCHRY on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 1:35 PM

I'm a little in the dark about the McKay clipper ships.  What feature(s) set them apart from the other clipper ships of the time?

TJS

TJS

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 2:16 PM

The Sea Witch...

Wasn't there a movie about a ship that sank and during the hearings that followed it seemed a possible murder may have happened at that time.  A diver was sent down to look over the wreck of the Sea Witch but the ship ended up sliding of the edge of the ridge it was reesting on, taking the diver with it as he fund evidence aboiut the murder and sinking.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 2:31 PM

MR TOM SCHRY

I'm a little in the dark about the McKay clipper ships.  What feature(s) set them apart from the other clipper ships of the time?

TJS

 

I think for the purposes of this discussion, the point was really "any clipper ship in 1/96 scale other than the Cutty Sark?", or more defined- "any American clipper ship".

Donald McKay was a prominent American (shipyard location) ship builder whose large and fast clippers are pretty much not represented in any scale as plastic models. For that matter, the same is true for the other American clipper ship builders.

The one really notable exception is the old Revell Flying Cloud, at a much smaller scale.

To answer a part of your question, more (alot more) here:

http://cs.finescale.com/fsm/modeling_subjects/f/7/t/70879.aspx

 

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    December 2012
Posted by rwiederrich on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 1:15 PM

I have been asking this question for oh so many years.  I gave up and began to build my own McKay vessels.  Starting with a HEAVILY modified 1/96 Cutty Sark hull, I built a version of the Glory of the Seas.  I put that down at its near completion point, to start another more accurate 1/96 version of the Glory of the Seas. POB build...Which I am currently  working on, on Model Ship World's forum.   I also built the 1/128th scale Great Republic as well.

 

Donald McKay was IMHV the best clipper builder.

His contribution in ship design has NEVER been fully recognized in the model ship world.

 

Rob

  • Member since
    July 2020
Posted by modlerbob on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 5:02 PM

When I was a teenager and had already built the Revell Cutty Sark I had also read books about Donald McKay and his clipper ships.  The Flying Cloud, Stag Hound, Lightning and others. Revell did make smaller scale models of the Flying Cloud and Stag Hound.  Nice models but too small for my fat fingers to do a complete rigging job. As a matter of fact I have both models on a shelf in my house with a superficial rigging job applied, just enough to make them presentable. The Lindberg Sea Witch (I have one) is a nice kit with exceptions.  There is no real deck detail, limited amount of rigging blocks and almost no instructions for doing an accurate rigging job.  It can be built into an impressive model, (Do a google image search and you will see examples of how well it can be built). A dedicated sailing ship modeler skilled in building wood models and rigging them would create a fine model.  The thing is an experienced wooden ship modeler wouldn't be caught dead working on a plastic model.  Model Shipways has a couple of McKays clippers in kit form but I was never brave enough to attempt to build that large of a sailing ship model as well as no place to put it if I ever finished it.  Heck I haven't even finished the model of the pilot boat Phantom and it is ever so close to completion.  Several years ago I decided that the largest sailing ship model I will even attempt to build will be a Baltimore Clipper also known as a topsail schooner.  Smaller overall dimensions and a simpler rig.  I have the Lindberg revenue cutter which is a nice scale again about 80% complete.  I also have a kit from Cottage Industries (he does mostly civil war ironclads all in 1/96th scale) of the revenue cutter Hamilton. It is a multi-media kit with a beautiful resin hull, wooden masts and spars and white metal rigging blocks and fittings.  I have started this model but lost the urge to work on it for some reason.  These are somewhat expensive kits.

I would recommend looking for the Revell Gorch Fock (also released by Heller) 1/150th scale. This is a sister ship to the USCG cutter Eagle built in Germany.  It is a large model and very well detailed and rigged as a barque.  But again the rigging instructions leave a lot to be desired and as I recall the builder would have to buy rigging blocks and fitting to do a complete job. Also lastly Constructo, a Spanish wooden sailing ship model kit manufacturer has a large scale kit of the USCG cutter Eagle with a pre-painted plastic hull.  The rest of the kit is similar to all wood kits with wooden masts and spars and various white metal fittings.  I think it is priced around $100.

I doubt that Revell or any other manufacturer will ever produce an all plastic kit of a McKay clipper along the lines of the classic 1/96th scale Cutty Sark and if they did it would most likely be astronomically expensive.  I'm too old now to even consider buying one as I would most likely never live to finish it,

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: 37deg 40.13' N 95deg 29.10'W
Posted by scottrc on Thursday, September 30, 2021 8:52 AM

rwiederrich

I have been asking this question for oh so many years.  I gave up and began to build my own McKay vessels.  Starting with a HEAVILY modified 1/96 Cutty Sark hull, I built a version of the Glory of the Seas.  I put that down at its near completion point, to start another more accurate 1/96 version of the Glory of the Seas. POB build...Which I am currently  working on, on Model Ship World's forum.   I also built the 1/128th scale Great Republic as well.

 

Donald McKay was IMHV the best clipper builder.

His contribution in ship design has NEVER been fully recognized in the model ship world.

 

Rob

 

Rob,

When I saw this thread had been reborn, I immediately thought of your builds and the in depth discussion going on at MSW.

Scott

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Thursday, September 30, 2021 5:16 PM

For some raw numbers, the moulds for a 1/350 battleship run to $50-75,000 to produce, not incudng he desgn costs involved whch are repored to be in the $15-20K range.

And the steel moulds have a "life" of about 10,000 "shots", and only the first third of those w/o flash or defects creepng in.  Tha's for "simple" moulds, anything needing exensive slide moulding adds to the cost.

Making the moulds has some "art" instread of "engineering" built in.  See, the plastic is injected hot (yeah, I know, "duh").  But, that means it shrinks as it cools (and to chill it out of the mould, too).  The amount of shrink varies based on the exact formula of the styrene used.  So, you have to cut the moulds o allow for hat change in dimension out o the moulds.

Now, if you already have the moulds cut, there are, now, ways to repar them. EDM and MIM, for instance can build up worn edges, and those can be re-machined to shape.  Some.

But, you need a market predction that people wll buy enough of your product at the rate you are chargng to make back the money you spent to provide the thing.

And, the manufacturers (we hope) have learned that they cannot simply slap a new name on a kit, and we will happily buy and build it.  All the time wondering why a Spitfire looks exactly like a Hurricane.

And, the ship modeling community is a tough crowd.  "We" are kind of inured to havng to do copious research on nearly everythng, as "out of the box" is generally only "socially distanced" correct (looks good at six feet).  So, by the time you have invested in plans, and in the skills required, there's not much reason to not just scratchbuild to get just what you want.

And, yes, I should not have gotten on ether the Anycubic or Elegoo web sites . . .

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