Bluenose Canadian Schooner – Model Shipways

Day 1.

I’ve had this kit for about six months, but didn’t even open the box until I finished my Model Shipways Phantom a couple weeks ago. The Phantom was my first build, to get me exposure to basic ship modeling and rigging. I chose solid hull for that one so I wouldn’t have to tackle hull planking.

I chose the Model Shipways Bluenose for my second build because it still has relatively straight-forward rigging, and the hull planking doesn’t require a lot of complex work. It is also a little larger scale, which lets me focus more on detail.

About the Bluenose

The Bluenose was built in 1921 in Nova Scotia, Canada.  It served primarily as a fishing and racing boat.  The boat became an icon for Nova Scotia, later appearing on the Canadian dime.  The boat was lost in 1946.

In 1963, a replica of the Bluenose was built – the Bluenose II.  The Bluenose II has gone through a couple complete refits, and still sails today in Nova Scotia.  While the Bluenose II is intended to be a replica of the original Bluenose, there are many differences.  For example, the original Bluenose lacked any engine for propulsion, while the Bluenose II has two propellers in addition to its sails.  A number of additional differences are due to changes in safety requirements and construction techniques.

For more information on the original Bluenose:

For more information on the Bluenose II:

The Bluenose Kit

There are many different Bluenose kits available.  When selecting a Bluenose kit, the first choice is between the original Bluenose and the Bluenose II.  Kits exist of both.  Many of the details on the ship will be different depending on which version is being built.  The original Bluenose has the advantage of being more historic, while the Bluenose II has the advantage of still existing.  It is easy to find photos (both professional and tourist snapshots) showing almost any detail of the Bluenose II.  You can even go visit the Bluenose II yourself.

I chose to build the Model Shipways Bluenose kit.  Model Shipways is the sam manufacturer as my Phantom kit, so I’m familiar with how they do things.  The kit is 1:64 scale, so it is quite a bit bigger than my previous build.  The kit normally sells for about $220.  I ordered it when I saw it go on sale for $90, which is why this kit has been sitting on the shelf for a few months.

Some details about this kit:

  • 1:64 scale, 32″ long, 26″ tall.
  • 44 pages of instructions.
  • 6 full-sized sheets of plans.
  • Plank-on-bulkhead construction.
  • All required wood is provided.
  • 180+ basswood strips for construction and planking, totally over 375 feet of wood.
  • Over 200 laser-cut pieces in basswood and plywood for detailed parts.
  • 30+ cast metal pieces, 300+ brass fittings, 14 feet of brass wire and strip.
  • Provides 9 square feet of sail cloth material for making sails (optional).
  • Includes 180+ scale blocks and deadeyes for rigging.
  • 340+ feet of rigging line provided in various sizes.
  • Plans and instructions by Ben Langford.
  • Kit developed in 1996.

Getting Started

I spent about a week ‘preparing’. I scanned in all the plans, inventoried and labeled parts, etc. For this build, I’ve purchased Bob Hunt’s practicum, which I’ll be following only partly. I got the practicum because sometimes I just want to sit and read how somebody tackled the build – even if I end up going my own way.  I compiled all the plans, instructions, practicum, etc. into a couple “build books” that I can easily refer to.

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Model Shipways Bluenose kit, after the parts have been inventoried.

Knowing this was going to be my next build for some time, I’ve been following a number of Bluenose builds here on the forum. Build logs on Model Ship World have given me a ton of tips, a lot of inspiration, and a good deal of insecurity.

I expect this build to take me a little over a year.  My Phantom took six months, which included a two month break.  The Bluenose is considerably more complex, but I’m also considerably more experienced now.  So, a year feels about right.  We’ll see.