In Part 3, I talk a bit about how I dealt with filling the gaps in historical information. It will also conclude this series on the project.
Many people ask me how I feel about human figures on ship models. My answer is I really don’t care for them. So, who’s that guy standing by the fore shrouds (Kate Cory, Call him Ishmael)? That’s Ishmael. He’s not a permanent member of the ship’s company. After what happened his last voyage, he only goes on board when the ship is in port. He’s really there to keep me on track with respect to scale. Ishmael is 6’ tall, a bit large for the average height of the day, but not unreasonable. He proved to be a very helpful fellow to have around. There were plenty of times during the building process when I had photographic information on something, but no dimensional data. A good example of this situation is the group of tools on the cooper’s bench (Kate Cory, Bench, hooks, ground tackle AND Kate Cory, Coopers Bench). I had many good, clear photos of these items being used, but no sizes for any of them. I did, however, know the dimensions of other things in the photograph, like the tryworks and the height of the platform a crewman was standing on while using the tools. Gauging the height of the crewman standing at the tryworks and using myself as a full sized stand in, I was able to estimate how thick the handles of the tools were, or how far apart my hands would be while using them, and so on. Using this photographic algebra, I was able to come very close to the actual sizes of these things. When I thought I had things right, I’d hand them to Ishmael. If they looked proportional to him, as they did with the men in the pictures, I knew I had come very close to the real thing. Another example is the mincing tub you’ll find forward of the main pin rail on the port side of the ship (Kate Cory, Mincing Tub). I had to make the tub, the cutting board with the guides, a mincing knife and a small hand-held hook used to keep the blubber from sliding around. Here again, I had great photos, but no dimensions. By looking at the details in the pictures of the items in actual use, I was able to come up with all the dimensions I needed to make these parts. And once again, after getting Ishmael’s seal of approval, I found they could be installed on the model and they would look appropriate for the job they need to do.
At this point the model was just about done, except for some “tweaking” here and there.
So, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this summery of the process. If you’d like to know more, there will be a full article coming out in “Ships in Scale” magazine in the near future. As soon as a publishing date becomes available, I will post it on my “Events” page. Keep an eye out!
And check back for notes on my next project, the schooner, Alice S. Wentworth.