The Cutty Sark

With the Viper and Galactica models I’ve shown, it might be easy to assume that Karl’s Shipyard (TM) only builds space craft. Not so. I also build historical models.

The Cutty Sark was a 19th century tea clipper, one of the fastest there was. She needed to be fast in order to get tea back from India to the UK before anyone else in order to maximise her profits. She’s no longer afloat, but rests in permanent dry-dock in Greenwich, London.

This is the Cutty Sark kit produced by Airfix. Took about a year to build, but I wasn’t constantly working on her and there were long periods during which I did no work on her at all. The rigging took approximately 30 hours (I know this because I watched two whole series of Babylon 5 while I was doing it!), and I decided to leave the sails off, as the ones provided in the kit were made of cheap, horrible plastic and would have spoiled the look.

I tried to paint her as accurately as I could, but I took some artistic license on the deck and cabins. The wood effect on the deck was achieved with a flat brush and a number of different inks, and then a gloss varnish was applied over the top. The rigging ropes were soaked in tea overnight in order to give them an aged look (the rigging thread provided was bright white).

Feel free to comment.

Work in progress showing the ship prior to rigging:
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My messy work area in my old house:
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The first shrouds I made. They were made using the Airfix “rigging machine”, which allows you to lay out the thread in position and then glue it at the joins. Then once it’s dry it can be cut out and attached to the ship:
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The top shrouds in place:
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Rigging halfway complete. I’m watching B5 on my computer as I work.
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The finished ship:
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