Miniature Sailing Ship Construction - British Barque Gulf Stream

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Your book arrived today safe and sound. Excellent! I was a book designer for many years, so appreciate the work you have put into it.
I can't understand why you have such difficulty selling them. It should be pointed out to folk thinking of buying a copy.....this isn't knocked out on a home printer and slapped together like a chip wrapper. The text couldn't be more comprehensive, or the illustrations which are clear and well photographed; all well laid out and professionally printed on good quality paper. First edition, limited to 46 copies and signed by the author! What's not to like? Instant collectors item.
Thanks Bob, for all your efforts. People don't understand what they are missing.
 
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Thanks for your kind remarks. Very pleased that you like it, It is surprising what can be done these days. I wrote the book on the computer in Apache Open Office (A free publishing programme) , complete with all the images, and converted it to PDF via the same programme. Then I sent it via the "We transfer" free e-mailing system to the printers, Bookprinting UK. Phoned them up and paid by card. Ten days later, the books all arrived. They have printed a number of books for me, and I am impressed by the quality that they turn out. I took the images with a Fujilm Finepix S200EXR digital camera that I got 2nd hand from Cash Converters. I drew the diagrams myself on white card, photographed them, and coloured them in on the computer. No special programmes or anything - CAD is too expensive and complicated for me, so I stick to pen and ink! I don't really have much problem selling them, but this book slowed to so much, it doesn't really warrant a reprint. There are three left at the moment, and I am sure they will go sooner or later. As I said earlier, the main sticking point on this one was probably the unpopularity of the idea of modelling a commercial steel-hulled barque, plus the "I could never do that" attitude, that is quite common. The last one I did was 158 pages, and covered a number of different ships both sail and steam, and did really well, and was reprinted a number of times, and is currentl sold out. I did recover all the costs on the Gulf Stream book, so on the whole, I am happy about it, as earning money is not a matter of survival any more, but more a "labour of love." If there is more interest shown later on, I can always get more printed. I have had no formal training in any of this, I spent my working life at sea in the merchant navy, 1961 - 1992.
Bob
 
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Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Messages
267
Points
138

Thanks for your kind remarks. Very pleased that you like it, It is surprising what can be done these days. I wrote the book on the computer in Apache Open Office (A free publishing programme) , complete with all the images, and converted it to PDF via the same programme. Then I sent it via the "We transfer" free e-mailing system to the printers, Bookprinting UK. Phoned them up and paid by card. Ten days later, the books all arrived. They have printed a number of books for me, and I am impressed by the quality that they turn out. I took the images with a Fujilm Finepix S200EXR digital camera that I got 2nd hand from Cash Converters. I drew the diagrams myself on white card, photographed them, and coloured them in on the computer. No special programmes or anything - CAD is too expensive and complicated for me, so I stick to pen and ink! I don't really have much problem selling them, but this book slowed to so much, it doesn't really warrant a reprint. There are three left at the moment, and I am sure they will go sooner or later. As I said earlier, the main sticking point on this one was probably the unpopularity of the idea of modelling a commercial steel-hulled barque, plus the "I could never do that" attitude, that is quite common. The last one I did was 158 pages, and covered a number of different ships both sail and steam, and did really well, and was reprinted a number of times, and is currentl sold out. I did recover all the costs on the Gulf Stream book, so on the whole, I am happy about it, as earning money is not a matter of survival any more, but more a "labour of love." If there is more interest shown later on, I can always get more printed. Here is me on a book signing session a few weeks ago - I have had no formal training in any of this, I spent my working life at sea in the merchant navy, 1961 - 1992.
Bob
View attachment 131708
One point...the folk potentialy interested in motor vessels are a different breed to the sailing ship fraternity. It's the perception that all that rigging is a bit of a faff, which of course it is; but so rewarding once it's done.
 
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Even so, the vast majority will only consider building kits, and I have never really understood why. Some say they haven't the time to scratchbuild, but invariably take months or even years to put a kit together. Others say they don't like planking, but will not consider a metal hull that can be plated with wooden strips a lot faster. Others don't like rigging with loads of tiny knots, but will not consider a steamship with much less rigging. Then there are those who like to work slowly to gain more enjoyment, but then rely on a kit manufacturer to do all the time-consuming stuff!o_O Another common statement is that getting lots of power tools and hand tools is very expensive, so they spend hundreds of $ on kits!:rolleyes: But you don't really need power tools, and in the past, I have made quite large models just using a fretsaw (to saw the frames out), an archimedian drill, and a few simple hand tools. (See below - 32.5 inches long)
The top image was my last large model, the full-rigged ship Bay of Bengal, made with simple hand tools at 8 feet to 1 inch. The lower one was my first miniature of the same ship, at 32 feet to 1 inch. Neither of them are very good, but the satisfaction was gained in the knowledge that I had made everything myself.
I don't think that the situation will ever change, but it doesn't really matter to me, because even if kit producers move away from ships and into aircraft etc, it would not affect me in the slightest. I will continue writing, mainly because of the pleasure it brings me, and for the very few ship modellers who like to see "something different and original" :) I continue to get requests to write more, but my "fan club" still remains rather small.
Bob

Bay of Bengal Large & Small 1972.jpg
 
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23rd February, 2020. Finally sold out of the prnted version. Bit of a damp squib overall, despite a good start. Sales really trailed off in the last couple of months. Generally well-received, but mainly regarded as rather too complicated, and going too deeply into the construction. Consequently, I will not be having any more printed, but the download version will remain avaialble indefinitely.
Bob
 
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Well, Bob, I just skimmed through my copy and still maintain it is a complete monograph with every detail covered; what's complicated about that?
 
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I agree, but the fact remains, it was not really a great success, and I do not know of anyone who plans to build it!
Bob
 
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I'm sorry you were disappointed by the sales. It doesn't matter if no one will build THAT ship; what matters is you demonstrated your techniques to those who would not be intimidated, learn and build their own. That's the true value.
 
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I think it was just an unlucky ship from the start - lost with all her crew, and the model didn't fare much better! :(
Bob


Gulf Stream damage.JPG
 
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I fear that my printed book publications are now a thing of the past. Not because of the slow sales of the Gulf Stream book, but because Ebay is now altering their system to make it less user-friendy. Until now, I have had excellent results from putting them on Ebay, but of late, they have begun altering their listing rules that have made things far more difficult. Fixed Price, Buy it Now, listings, now have to be for at least a month, where I used to list for 5 days. I have found that this means that very few even see the listing until it has moved into the last week. This slows down the sales considerably. And now, this year, they are altering the payment methods, and making it compulsory to link your bank account to Ebay, and register bank details with them. At the moment, all my Ebay fees are paid via Paypal, and I find it more convenient to have all the book sales confined to Paypal. When all this comes into effect, I may confine myself to E-books which are far less trouble, and actually fetch greater returns than printed ones.
It is, however, nice to produce a printed book for one's personal satisfaction, but I do not want to go down the Print on Demand path, because from what I have seen, it costs a considerable amount to set up in the first place. Conventional publishers are out for me, because in my experience, they take months to decide if they want a manuscript, usually demand re-writes to their specifications, and then take a couple of years to bring the book out, and pay peanut-sized royalties!
At the moment, I am almost finished with writing my latest download on the building of miniature steam & motor ships. This should appeal to members of my Facebook group, but will probably be of little interest to most ship modellers.
My present download cover the building of the Glen Helen, steam coaster, and several others.
Glen Helen 20 complete but not in sea (Large).JPG
 
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Nearly finished now. 40 pages (A4), 9,467 words, 71 images, 5 plans, all of small steamers and motor ships. Only the checking and indexing to do now.
Bob
 
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