Clipper Ship:  the Flying Cloud

     I am currenlty building a clipper ship, the Flying Cloud.  I am building it using a Mamoli kit, but it will be extensively  kit bashed.   I put together the kit's bulkheads, false keel and decks and found that there was a twist to the forecastle and poop deck sections that was unacceptable.  I then scraped the entire thing and made new pieces.  This model is double planked.  I used the wood supplied with the kit for the first layer of planking, but cut my own wood for the second layer.  The Flying Cloud was black in color and with my wanting to use the natural colors of the wood, I used ebony for the second layer of planking.  I cut maple for the deck planking and used silver maple and holly for the bulwarks and cap rails.  The stand shown is temporary  for the model will be mounted on pedestals.


     As seen in the photos, I planked with ebony from just below the waterline up to the cap rails.  In the photos, the ebony has yet to receive a natural stain to enrich its color.  I am waiting for the things that need to be glued to the hull to be glued, then add the stain.  If you look at the last photo in this section, you can see the round stern.  That presented a big problem, since ebony is extremely difficult to bend.  I had seen a solution on another model and used it for the second planking of the stern.  The planks there are vertical with the very top part being a solid piece of wood cut to the shape needed.  The thicker wales in the stern are sistered pieces of ebony glued together and then cut to fit.  It took some real patience, but overall I liked the result.  The hull is still not completely finished, but I thought it was time to post some photos.  This group of photos is the result of 134 and a half hours of work.


     In the first photo below I am drilling a hole in the channel plates.  I am not using the chain plates supplied by Mamoli since they didn't look historical correct.  In the next two photos one can see the construction of windows made out of boxwood.  The belay pin racks are made out of holly or silver maple.  Also in the photos below one can see the light blue paint I used for the cabin roofs.  The color of the light blue in the photos is close to what it looks like in person, but the exact color is hard to pick up by my camera.  In addition one can see the process I use to make gratings.  The slots I cut in boxwood using my Byrnes table saw and a jig.  Finally the structures were glued on to the deck.

     What I am doing now is the fun part of the build.  I really enjoy making the things that go on the deck.  The lettering for the transom is dry transfer letters.  They are very fragile, so after placing two letters on, I would take some clear matte acrylic and using a fine tip brush, coat the letters.  I would add 3-4 coats during the day, trying to seal the letters from harm.  The ornamental cloud design has yet to be added.  The skylight parts can be seen in the middle photos.  If you look closely you can see the tilted blade I used on my Proxxon table saw for cutting the top part of the skylight.  The completed skylight can be seen in the bottom left photo.  The cat heads were made from ebony and were slotted into the hull.  This  last group of photos reflects about 237 hours of work.

     I have continued working on the deck and hull.  Making the deck fittings and furniture is one of the most pleasurable aspects of making wooden ship models for me.  The four capstans I made out of walnut and the four ships boats were made out of silver maple and boxwood.  Two of the ships boats were going to be mounted on the main cabin upside down, so they were made of layers of wood and sanded to the shape needed.  The inside details were not made since they were not going to be seen.  The other two ship's boats would be hollowed out in the middle to make room for the frames and fittings for the boat.  These ship's boats were made in the bread and butter method.  The fire buckets I made out of wood and painted them red.  Some of the photos show the light blue as an aqua color.  Those photos do not really show the true color of the actual model.

     These photos represent 316 hours and 15 minutes of work.  The "cloud" design on the stern was made out of thin pieces of silver maple and then given a white wash.  The lettering were dry transfer letters.  I studied the plans and started attaching blocks to the deck, as they are much easier to do at this stage of the construction.  There are some eyebolts that still have to be attached.  As I was looking at the photos I took, I saw areas where I still need to take some steel wool and lightly sand or polish there to enhance the apperance.  This I will do before I get to putting the masts in place.  I will be putting this part of the model away for awhile as I begin working on making the masts and yards.

     I have been working on making the masts and the yards for the wooden clipper ship model, the Flying Cloud.  I used my Proxxon milling machine to make sections of the masts square or have certain sides milled flat.  All of the yards were made and blocks were tied to them and the masts.  Many of the metal parts for the masts and yards that came with the Mamoli kit had to be discarded or modified.  I  made many of them from brass tubing, soldered together.  The making of the masts and yards took 103 hours and 15 minutes.  The masts were then set in place.  The last of this group of photos entails just a hair less than 424 hours of work.  The standing rigging is next on the agenda.

     In this phase I have begun working on the standing rigging.  There were three tiers of shrouds and ratlines that had to be done.  This was rather tedious and it took me 65 hours and 2 minutes to complete.  The small size of the deadeyes made it a difficult task at times.  I then proceded to work on the stays.  This task was more enjoyable.  After the stays were done, I did about half of the back stays in the photos.  I have decided to wait awhile to complete the others as their position will hinder me in other aspects of the rigging.  This group of photos reflects 514 hours and 16 minutes of work.  The color on the top of the cabins is actually a light blue.  When I use a flash on the camera in some of the shots, the color in those photos appears to be an aqua hue.  Overall the model has a very attractive and appealing look to it that I wish I could actually capture in photos.  What I am trying to say is that the model looks better in person than it does in the photos.  Now to the yards.

     Here are photos of the completion of my build of a wooden ship model of the clipper ship, the Flying Cloud (1851).  The total time for the build was 623 hours and 52 minutes.  Some people would think it should have taken a longer time to make this model with its complex rigging, but I do not have my timer running when I am studying the plans and trying to figure out where the lines are supposed to begin and end.  Only when I am about to actually work on the lines/rigging, do I turn on the timer.  Two black brass name plates will be later added to either side of the base identifying the model.

     More of the final photos of the Flying Cloud.  I worked on this model for 198 days spanning a 7 month and 10 day period.  If you were to total the number of days from the start, February 11, 2008 to my completion on September 21, 2008, one could surmise that I took like 3 days off each month.  I usually work everyday, but sometimes things happen that don't allow me to work.  Overall I was very pleased with how the model looks.  The photos are good, but they don't really capture the essence of how she looks in person.   Once again the black on the hull is ebony.  I used silver maple and holly for bulwarks, deck plans and cabins.  Even though this model began as a Mamoli kit, what you see in these final photos is about 80-85% scratch built.  I really enjoyed making this model.  The one spot of bother was the tedious work of the shrouds and the tying of the ratlines for this 1/96 scale model.

     I have taken the Flying Cloud to two contests in 2008.  The first in Austin, Texas and the second in Little Rock, Arkansas.  It won 6 awards in those contests.  In Austin, it won 1st in the Sailing division and won the category award for Best Ship.  In Little Rock it won 1st in the Scratch Built and Conversion division and the category award for Best Ship.  In addition it won the Herman Hankins Award for People's Choice and the Civilian Best of Show.  Below are 3 photos from the Little Rock Region 6 Convention/Contest held on my 56th birthday, October 18, 2008.