Cutty Sark ship model (Zvezda Kit 9009)

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Kit manufacturer: Zvezda

Vehicle type: Civic

Engine type: Sailing and rowing

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Model scale: 1: 144

When I was choosing for my birthday a brigantine, my dad persuaded me to take “Cutty Sark” – he likes it. A clipper – it is certainly good, but I would like another ship, though I took the wishes of my father into consideration. As a result, for the new year 2007 he was given a box with that the ship.

I started the assemble not immediately, so in March, our shipyards were very loaded: in addition to “Cutty Sark” in parallel a rowboat and a lightship were being assembled, which I have already mentioned, for the International Women’s Day.

cutty sark 1869 model ship

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cutty sark ship model

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Painting Cutty Sark ship model

The assembly instructions say that the bottom should be red – on a real ship it was studded with copper sheets in order for the bottom not to be overgrown with clams. But such a banal version didn’t suit us, because there were two cans of bronze and copper metallic. An idea visited by dad, to give the bottom a “multi-effect”: the bottom is painted with the first color at the first angle, and with the second color at the second angle. As a result, when viewed from different angles, with different lighting, plating below the waterline shines from one shade to another. Unfortunately, not a single picture, of course, is able to transmit this effect in full.

However, we had no luck with white paint at that time. Recently, my father and I became too lazy to establish at home every time the compressor for painting, airbrush, to mix the color palettes, besides my mother has allergy to all that chemistry, and began using spray cans in the staircase. But white color betrayed us: ink coverage was disgusting, it shrinked when drying and cracked, and the sprayer head was spitting with lumps. Part of the situation was saved by thin sand-paper, although, generally speaking, the details have been spoiled, and upon closer inspection, excessive roughness of the coating and the deck structures catches the eye.

cutty sark ship model

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cutty sark ship model

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Rigging and masts of Cutty Sark 1869 model ship

The next step was the construction of the forest of masts, which became another stumbling block: the masts themselves, topmasts and yards were so thin and their attachments so fragile that they were breaking down almost from a light breeze!

Looking ahead, I will say that the bare yards, without sails, with a minimum, just a microscopic impact area, we falling off because of a weak water pressure when while cleaning the shelves I was washing the ship in the shower.

My desire to make “Katya” (as we gently and amicably dubbed it) with studdingsails became my obsession! My dad resisted for long, but still glued studdingsails-boomss handed down. But for a number of reasons, including the shift back to the airplanes, helicopters, cars, the work on the ship stopped for as much as several years.

cutty sark ship

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Difficult destiny of the original Cutty Sark ship

During idle time of the model the original ship burned away in the dry docks of Greenwich, which came as a shock and a lot of frustration for all sailing enthusiasts. The investigation revealed that the cause was not arson but negligence – before the weekend someone forgot to turn off the vacuum cleaner, and on Monday morning, its engine caught fire on the lower deck in the stern of the vessel. Fortunately, the ship will be restored, as more than a half of its main components (including head figure) have been removed and taken away – at the moment of the tragedy “Katya” was under renovation.

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Back to the Cutty Sark ship model construction

Finally, after a long period of pause the works on the model were renewed with the main change in the plan: it will be finished without sails for several reasons. First, “the great broke”. Second, the already mentioned fragility. The risk of damage or break what is already there is great, putting the “sheets”, and even a more great risk is washing. As I have already said, even the bare yards were falling off, and with such a force application area, like sails … Third, to achieve the similarity with the original, the look that the clipper had until its untimely death in the flames of negligence.

The second desicion was the construction of guard devices. The scale declared by “Zvezda” – 1/130 – causes many doubts, and other modelers say that up to their measurements and calculations the true scale is 1/180. For me it doesn’t matter – in any case, the scale was quite small for the manufacturer to make only the designation of the handrails over the side with the vertical columns – and still not everywhere. We thought it was very insufficient.

cutty sark ship

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Sufferings over the ship model construction continued

After the division of manganin wire into pieces of desired length and installing them as pillars of guard railing the rales themselves were stretched – from threads which were fastened to the metal with “super-glue”. This design was painted in white and… became a global disappointment. The calculation was that the paint will smooth, stick together shaggy threads, but everything turned out to be exactly the opposite! All the fibers fluffed up and reared. Well, it will be a lesson for the future descendants – how it shouldn’t be done.

The next puzzle after the rales were yards. Studdingsail booms were neatly cut with end clippers and glued in the retracted state. Once again, repeating about the fragility of the mounting of the yards, I’ll say that those of them that fell off had to be re-attached.

Next there were woven remaining gears of running rigging with repeated fastening of rails that werefalling like autumn leaves – yes, again and again! The hit became a cracked fore-topgallant with a ray, dangling on strings. After the “spider” works, that are very simplified version of the original, I had to tint all small things: fixing points of studdingsail booms in the extended position, not painted parts of the deck structures, anchors, pale waterline and tarnished gilding. Yes, and the originally gilded by mistake and “out of habit” figure received the original white color.

Unfortunately, the problems with a long-suffering, “Katya” didn’t end: somewhere under the influence of adhesive the filaments of the rigging gave uneven shrinkage, and yards turned in different directions, here and there masts became twisted. Somewhere not so noticeable, but on the foremast they turned almost like a hand fan.

Be that as it may, we are more or less satisfied with the results of our work, we had so many problems with this ship that they can’t be compared with all the others put together!

I won’t give here the history of the ship and the appearance of her name, because these are very well-known facts, described in details in other sources.

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