Side.jpg (49272 bytes)

Bluenose II by Billing Boats

by Martin Swire



The original Bluenose has a part in Canadian folk lore being a schooner launched in 1921 and built by Smith and Rhuland in Lunenburg; she was designed by W.J.Rhoe to contest the International Fisherman's Trophy, sponsored by the Halifax Herald. This trophy became a source of national pride and was contested by ships from Gloucester, Massachusetts, Lunenburg and Nova Scotia. Bluenose took the trophy in the year of her launch and never relinquished it. She was wrecked on a reef near Haiti in 1946 after she had been sold to the West Indian Trading Co.

Bluenose II was built from the original plans and by some of the same men who had built Bluenose. She was sponsored by the brewing Co. Oland and Sons to promote their Schooner Beer and launched in 1963. She still survives today after being sold by the brewing family to the province of Nova Scotia for one dollar. 


The model

Billing Boats make two kits of this ship, one being a large more detailed model than this one which measures approx 55cm long X 45 high.

The kit comes in a surprisingly small box which reveals mostly pieces of wood of different sizes, brass fittings, dozens of small rigging blocks and a small sprue of plastic parts for such as the anchors, radar equip, cross trees and hatch covers etc. The instruction manual is in a number of languages and is accompanied by a full size plan sheet printed on both sides.


The hull is made up of formers which are marked on wood sheets. The hull skeleton is made up and then individually planked. For this I used plenty of pins and a quick setting white glue. Some of the wood had to be bent against the grain and steaming helped this process. The hull was then sanded down and treated to a sanding primer to emphasize any imperfections before being painted with Humbrol black gloss and Gold satin. A red pin stripe was used for the plimsoll line.

The main deck and focastle deck pieces are marked with black lines to define the planking. These were overlaid with individual pieces using the lines as a pattern and then the decks given a diluted black wash to define the planks. This was then rubbed down flat and the decks given three coats of teak polyurethene varnish. The inner gunwhales were then detailed in white.

The aft deckhouse is of wood construction with brass portholes whilst the smaller ones are wooden blocks with plastic hatch covers.


The masts are made up by reference to the plan and these were also given three coats of varnish.

The kit is supplied with linen sails which require hemming and stitching but I had decided at the outset to display the model with standing rigging only. (I always think a ship looks silly in a display case with the sails on as these only look good when it is underway - maybe that is just a personal foibal)

I haven't counted the dozens of rigging blocks, which are about 3mm across and which have three holes for the rigging. The rigging was done with the help of plenty of needle threaders from my local shop - so many that the old lady there ran out of stock! I never told her what I wanted them for and I
think she thought I was some sort of weird serial sewer. (not the dirty underground type I hope!) 

The mast ladders were made up separately by tracing the plans and then reproducing this onto wood. Pins were then used to hold the lengths of thread and the ladder pieces individually knotted through each piece. Each knot was secured with CA glue. The ladders were then attached and all the rigging coloured using a wood stain and brush. All the rigging works correctly.

Well that doesn't sound like four years work, I wish it was a simple as it sounds! Here then are the attachments - I hope you like them.

Front threeqtr 2.jpg (34315 bytes)

Bow CU.jpg (56270 bytes)

Centre.jpg (62685 bytes)

midships.jpg (70677 bytes)

Threeqtr bow.jpg (64678 bytes)

Stern CU.jpg (62534 bytes)

Threeqtr rear.jpg (55235 bytes)

Upper rigging CU.jpg (32429 bytes)