17 year old boat cruise.

  • Advertise with us
Project by LittleBlackDuck posted 07-26-2017 05:57 PM 4016 views 5 times favorited 58 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The short story… Started in 2000, finished July 2017.

Now for the goss…

I’d hate to have counted the number of beards my dear old granny could have grown while I was in the process of building this “ark”.

Why do I call it the “ark” you may ask? If you didn’t, I’ll ask it for you. Duck you idiot, why do you call it the “ark”. We’ll, there was all doom and gloom predicted for Y2K in the last millennium and that is why I bought and built the boat… a safety measure for the impending armagedon. My family called me Noah the Duck, but it was my future nefarious deeds that changed my christian name from Noah to Black.

I didn’t realise that the predicted doom was on the cusp of 1999 and 2000, and buying it in June 2000 was a tad late and I missed the boat.

Just to backtrack a tad and let you catch up with my twisted phylosophy. One day I was dying for a drink (not necessarily abnormal for me), missed the pub and accidentally waltzed into Hearns Hobbies in Melbourne (one of our long standing hobby shop). While I was there I decided to look at their models. I remembered (vaguely) as a kid, I always bought plastic models on the principle of the “more parts” the better (Tim the Toolman take a bow) and found the modern day servings were lacking in such gratifying offerings. Hidden in a dusty corner (of the same shop) I caught a glimpse of a wooden model boat and bemused… that has a lot of parts… Next thing I remembered (if I still remember correctly) was catching a tram and bustling my way on it with a 900×600 x 200 package (mm not feet) under my armpit.

Now at this point, let’s not get carried away with terminology of the difference between a ship and boat. The build is mine so I insist in calling it a boat. While technically it is a ship, if you get confused just look at the pictures to reconfigure your brainwave to what I’m referring to. Not only that, if I referred to it as a ship, quoting above, “missed the ship”, just doesn’t roll off the tongue.

I set up base in one of the bedrooms of my then residence, laid out the parts and began the build,

The kit came predominantly in strips of timber, dowels, sheets of thin laminated boards and a few stamped pre-fab forms. Some of the pre-fab parts supplied (and I will mention for the overall build there wasn’t that much) were items like the sails,



belaying pins, chains, anchor,

figure head,




hull frame (ribs),

the 2 deck bases and cabin walls,

and the cannons,

Nevertheless the deck and cabin walls needed to be lined with strips of timber (the nails in the lower deck were “driven” in by the dexterous use of a fine tip texta pen [Sharpie was yet to be invented]).

Real nails were reserved for the upper deck and the hull.

I was also fortunate that it also included the rope required so I didn’t have to go out and kill a few sheep to weave my own woollen threads. ‘How to’ came in the form of written instructions, some basic photos and a parts list (cutting list). If you do decide on the pilgrimage of looking at the photos (more on that below), the first few pages will give you an idea of what was supplied and that way you can decide how soon YOU will undertake such an Endeavour (sorry, different boat). After the deck assembly, for the sails and the rigging, all I had to go by was the “blueprints”,

rope lengths parts list and follow a numbered diagram to ascertain where to tie off the ropes. It was a challenge.

Progress was quite quick while I was working on the main deck as I could rotate the piece to suit my posture. I used a LARGE bag of rice

to support the curved hull on and after the hull was finished, the rice kept me fed for the next year or two (moral of the story is… building a boat keeps you fed). Unfortunately when I reached the masts, my cushy little bedroom setup was not conducive to 360° access around the model and I found I had to move the body around the model rather than the model around the body. I found that the only plausible solution (considering manoeuvrability, access and lighting) was the kitchen table… I only owned a small 1m diameter round “dinning” table.

While progressing with the build, I quickly found I was losing too much weight by not being able to eat as the table was full of timber, sail cloth and rope… no juicy meat pies and the fish weren’t bitting.

I found that far too often I mover the model back to the bedroom where it stood neglected until I had another fit of conscience, brought back to the table only to starve and then repeat the cycle for the first 10 years, with the boat being left unattended for up to 6 months at a time.

The boat somehow followed me when I migrated to Churchill in 2010 but remained dormant on a portable computer table gathering dust

as I still had the notion that the dining table was the only logical means of continued construction as the workshop was too dusty. About 2 years ago (2015) I got a guilt pang and decided to fit the remaining 5 sails. Gathering more dust the guilt complex took over again and mid 2017 (I was going to say a couple of days ago… but then it was a long time ago if you read this in a few years time, so I won’t say it) I decided to bite the bullet and finish the sails and the running rigging… (after my return from the dentist as the bullet broke a tooth).

I have now finished all that I’m prepared to do. The last rope being tied off,

Unfortunately age has taken the better part of my 20/20 vision and trying to use loupe glasses is hindered by the obtrusive spars and rope. Furthermore the fingers are no longer as nimble as they used to be and a lot of the rope work has to be done around the base of the masts that is near inaccessible to this quickly aging model builder. The only consoling factor is that only the old sailors would notice the missing rigging and they were silenced after the first mutiny and the rest went down with the Titanic.

You may have guessed that the flip side of the boat is open. That is not a Titanic impersonation but rather to show what the inside of the Bounty looked like. Cargo was just tossed into the hold as I couldn’t fit in there to arrange it neatly,

It is obvious it was built years ago as there are no sprinklers fitted above the stove…

those occupational health and safety boffins would have had a pink fit… no wonder there was a mutiny.

You may notice there are a swag of buckets…

they had no indoor loos!

I did take quite a few progress photos over the years and after 17 odd years there a few odd pictures (no… not of me… sorry). Rather than scatter more pictures here, anyone interested can wade through them in the PDF file I have amassed them into and uploaded to DropBox (don’t know what is happening with all the other dodgy links I have lately encountered above, however, this to the left, is my only legitimate link that I have posted). If you are interested, you will need to download it as I believe it is too big to view online. There are nearly 300 pickies (approximately 272) which unfortunately have not been culled due to my pacifist nature.

For all you old salts and Popeye impersonators, you may have picked up on the square rigging. That was not by design but an early build mistake which made it impossible to correct as I slowly progressed with additional rigging before detecting the oopsie. Hell, if you close one eye you will hardly notice it and if you close both, you certainly won’t… and if you hold your breath for 10 minutes, you’ll never worry yourself or me about it again.
I do recommend you look at some of the photos in the DropBox PDF before you finally conclude that this was a total waste of your time.

PS. Checkout the CRT display in the early photos that confirm dating of the build’s beginning.

PPS. The missus sends a heartfelt thanks to LJ. I had to mop the kitchen floor to be able to take the pictures of the “blueprints”. But then again, I ask the obvious… why did the kitchen floor need mopping… by me? Excuse me… after that comment, I’m getting ready for some thorough henpecking if not a quick slap around!!!!!

PPPS. If you find this topic boring, please don’t bother to read it!

LATE PPPPS addition. I need a drink badly… I’m running out of P’s.
I lied above… after being confronted by my accountant(s) and a swag of legal eagles, it turns out from a check of my shady records I bought the boat in October 1999, so my armagedon prediction was true. However, there is no way I’m gonna regress my story by 1 year…

The history books will need to be rewritten!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

58 comments so far

View Ivan's profile


15969 posts in 3644 days

#1 posted 07-26-2017 06:08 PM

This is one awesome and nerves training hobby! Lot people from our Croatian/Adriatic region build such ships. Those ships when finished are priceles. Nobody could pay enough for that effort and patience. Extraordinary project with amaizing small details.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


4726 posts in 1597 days

#2 posted 07-26-2017 06:16 PM

Thanks maj’. Appreciate you comment. I had no idea what I was getting in to when I started. My only regret is that I took so long to finish.

It has a good layer of grey dust on it and to ensure that does not grow, I now have to build a glass box for it.., or maybe a wooden one, so no one can see the dust as it is now too “delicate” to “clean” :-(.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Dutchy's profile


3741 posts in 2945 days

#3 posted 07-26-2017 07:08 PM

Alex unbelievable. I’m speedless. So many years of work.


View bruce317's profile


404 posts in 1600 days

#4 posted 07-26-2017 07:10 PM

Well done, Ducky!! Of course I mean the boat. Many years ago, I started one. If I still have it in storage. When I find it, EBAY bound!

-- Bruce - Indiana - Sawdust is just, MAN GLITTER!

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3643 days

#5 posted 07-26-2017 07:31 PM

This is an outstanding model and beautifully done. This is such a beautiful piece and displays lots and lots of wonderful details and fine craftsmanship. This must have taken an impressive amount time, patience, and skill. It will obviously become a priceless heirloom for your family and will maybe eventually need to be housed in a museum to protect it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View peteg's profile


4436 posts in 3599 days

#6 posted 07-26-2017 07:59 PM

boy oh boy, what an astonishing piece of design & crafting, tip of the hat to your patience & attention to detail, it blows my socks of

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Dutchy's profile


3741 posts in 2945 days

#7 posted 07-26-2017 08:22 PM

Editor choice!


View cmmyakman's profile


286 posts in 3433 days

#8 posted 07-26-2017 08:32 PM

The small metal nail insertions alone are mind boggling. Really, that is a stupendous build. All that’s left is to take it apart and put it back together again within a clear bottle.

-- You can't fail if you don't give up.

View JohnMcClure's profile


1018 posts in 1417 days

#9 posted 07-26-2017 08:37 PM

What an amazing tale, a great read and a great model as well!.

Also, to disable those fake links you’ve noticed, simply google “opt out of viglink” or visit where you can “opt out” of seeing these awful ads. I just started noticing them about 3 days ago and thought I had a virus until I noticed it’s only on LJ. Apparently the website owners can generate additional $$ by foisting this on us, until we opt out.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View crowie's profile


3722 posts in 2727 days

#10 posted 07-26-2017 09:10 PM

What a magnificent model Ducky….
Do have the patience and skills to complete the ship over that long a period is just incredible sir…
The detailing is superb…You are a man of many many talents and this effort is so up there…

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2823 posts in 4369 days

#11 posted 07-26-2017 09:13 PM

WOW, sweet build!

-- Dennis Zongker

View diggerdelaney's profile


533 posts in 4527 days

#12 posted 07-26-2017 09:44 PM

Being someone who has built model boats from kits to scratch built I appreciate the many hours of fun and frustration that goes into the build of such a model. A well built boat and the end result is magnificent. Whats the next one or will you pick something which will not take so long to build

-- Derek, Kent, UK,

View JP Li's profile


12 posts in 1186 days

#13 posted 07-26-2017 09:44 PM

great work. my parents used to have ships like this when i was growing up. It always amazes me the amount of detail and scale needed for a project like this.

View ChuckV's profile


3310 posts in 4304 days

#14 posted 07-26-2017 10:41 PM

This is really amazing. Thank you for such an entertaining post!

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View htl's profile


5136 posts in 1936 days

#15 posted 07-26-2017 10:49 PM

Wow Super nice!!! and the tale if to be beleaved was interesting, can never understand how you can cry over a litttle reading and then do it to us. LOL.
Really a beautiful project.
And man there’s a lot a rails on that ship.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

showing 1 through 15 of 58 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics