Monthly Archives: July 2017

New Tool Additions – Mini Block Plane and Carving Chisels

I don’t really write about tools much. I know a lot more about ship models than tools. But, I  acquired a few new tools that I thought I’d share here.

Miniature Block Plane

A few weeks ago, I was looking through a Lee Valley Tools catalog. They’re a Canadian based manufacturer and retailer of woodworking and wood restoration hardware. I get their catalog periodically after a fellow ship modeler recommended one of their products.

One thing that I’ve been trying to do more in ship modeling is using a plane in shaping square stock for masts and spars. But, regular hand planes seem overly large and bulky. There are razor planes made for hobbyists, but they are pretty low quality and I haven’t found them to be very useful in ship modeling work. Then, I spotted some miniature planes in the Lee Valley Tools catalog and decided to order one.


This is a miniature block plane from their own Veritas® line of tools. How miniature is it? Continue reading

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Two More New Easy Build Kits from Amati

These are pretty nice kits.

At $79 each, they might seem a bit pricey for kid’s kits, unless you want to get your budding ship modeler a kit that they can actually finish that looks good, has comprehensible instructions, and will be something they’ll really be proud of and will give them a positive introduction to wooden ship modeling.

Ages of Sail

Amati just released two more kits of their 1st Step series of easy to build ship model kits, bringing the series to a total of 6 kits.

Up to this point, we’ve had the Pirate Ship, the Elizabethan Galleon, the HMS Bounty and the Santa Maria. Amati has just added the Niña and the Mayflower, two famous ships that brought Europeans to the “New World”.

Amati’s 1st Step Mayflower

Amati’s 1st Step Niña

The new products are both about 1:135 scale like most of the 1st Step kits, and include pre-shaped hulls with a unique, self-aligning design that sandwiches a laser-cut board that includes the keel, stem and stern post, between two halves of the hull, making for a perfectly shaped hull.

The kit includes laser-cut parts, a variety of dowels and strip woods, wood and metal fittings, sail cloth, rigging line, a wooden stand and pedestals to display your…

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Tosa Wasen Youtube Video

Following on the heels of my Shinmei-zukiri shrine video is my Tosa wasen video. I hope you like it.

Wasen Modeler

This is my second youtube video, which is again actually a slide show. The first one was of the Shinmei-zukuri shrine model from Woody Joe that I built a few months ago. This time, I went back to my Tosa Wasen model from Thermal Studio.

I’m still learning how to use the Youtube editor, but I just found out that it’s going away on September 20th of this year. That’s actually okay, because it works very similarly to Apple’s iMovie software, which I’ve used before, and will just have to go back and use again. Also, iMovie has more control over audio tracks. With the Youtube editor, I’m mostly trying to fit the video to exact length of the audio, which is kind of a drag.

In any case, you can view the Tosa Wasen video below.

Again, I’m happy to hear from anyone with suggestions. Please check it out.

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Can a Kobaya be Built from Paris Plans?

Those interested in the early ships of the Japanese Shogun, or early Japanese warships might be interested in this.

Wasen Modeler

Kobaya is a term for a type of smaller military style vessel that is fast and maneuverable. Highly ornate versions of these and larger military vessels called Sekibune were used by Daimyo and their clans for ceremonial and other official purposes. I don’t know about the smaller ones, but the larger ones were called Gozabune.

Photo of a 30-oar Kobaya, of small fast-boat, from a display of models built by Yukio Nakayama. Photo is courtesy of The Rope.

Ship modelers building American or European subjects are accustomed to finding detailed drawingsfor the more popular of these vessels. There are even large numbers of plans made specifically for ship modelers. But, unlike with western subjects, there is a dearth of plans of Japanese watercraft. I’ve found plenty of sketches and there are basic line drawings that might be used, but these commonly don’t have the information needed to build a proper model.

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Higaki Kaisen Article Final Part and Ships in Scale Going Quarterly

The latest issue of Seaways’ Ships in Scale is out with two major pieces of information. First is the third and final installment of my build of the Higaki Kaisen Japanese coastal transport kit from the Japanese manufacturer Woody Joe.

The second bit of news is that Ships in Scale has now switched to a Quarterly format, down from its bi-monthly distribution. This generally has more to do with the time constraints of running the publication, rather than any issues regarding content or finances.

For authors of ship modeling articles, like myself, it mostly means that there will be a longer period of time between submission of an article and its appearance.

I still have an article to submit on building the HMS Alert. I suppose the sooner I get that sent along, the sooner it will appear. I’ll be looking at getting that sent off in the next several weeks.

Wasen Modeler

The third and final part of my Higaki Kaisen build article is out with the latest issue of Seaways’ Ships in Scale. While I was actually relieved to see the previous article, so those building the kit would have the information I’m trying to pass along, it’s kind of sad this time around. Though I’ve had other multi-part articles published in the magazine, I’d really like to keep writing about this kit to generate more interest in this and other Woody Joe kits.

Of course, there are other Woody Joe kits to write about. It’s been my plan to write about building the Hacchoro with modifications based on my visit to the replica boats in Yaizu harbor. But, it takes time and I have other projects I need to be working on. So, finding time for that one will be a bit rough.

But, at least all the information on…

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Last of our Mamoli Stock

Ages of Sail still has a stock of Mamoli kits, and they just posted a list of their remaining stock.

If you want one of them, you should take a look and see how many are left of what you’re interested in. You might need to act quick on some of these.

Ages of Sail

Mamoli kits were once a mainstay of the wooden ship modeling community, but after a big fire shut down Mamoli for good, our large stock of Mamoli kits has been shrinking steadily.

The Sao Miguel is one of the most unique kits available anywhere, representing a three-masted carrack from very early 16th century. We have five of these kits left at the moment, and when they’re gone, they’re gone!

Dusek Ship Kits has purchased the rights to produce Mamoli kits again, but it has taken until recently for them to re-release the Mini-Mamoli kits, which are simple designs. Chances are good that we will see a couple of these kits re-released later this year, but we have no information which ones they will be, or even if these will all be re-released.

Mamolis kit of the French Lugger Le Coureur

So, if you’ve been missing Mamoli kits and there is…

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My First Youtube Video

Yesterday, I created my first Youtube video, and I really like the way it turned out. It’s not about ship modeling, but it IS about a project that I posted about on this site. Also, it’s not exactly a movie, it’s more of a slide show, but it’s a start. The subject is the construction of the recently completed Japanese shrine kit that I got from Woody Joe (purchased from Zootoyz.jp) earlier this year.

It turns out that it was easy to use Youtube’s video editor. It was almost identical to the way Apple’s iMovie software, which I’m quite familiar with.

The slideshow I made isn’t perfect, but it makes the build look really good being presented with cross-fades to a nice musical score.

Hopefully, people are okay with the music. I personally get really sick of those modern canned scores that are most common with these Youtube videos. I did use one of the stock music scores, but, being particularly sensitive to them, I spent a LONG time listening to different pieces. It’s a bit limiting, looking for music that will fit a shinto shrine project. But, I think the music works okay. At least it has the sound of some Shakuhachi, Koto and Shamisen.

I promise this won’t be my last effort. This has inspired me to look at other projects to see what I have enough decent photos of that would be interesting to see in a similar slideshow format. Most of those look to be the Japanese models I’ve built in the last few years.

In the future, maybe I’ll try to do an actual video, but I usually find those boring, so it will be a major effort for me if I do try it.

Anyway, I’d be happy to hear from anyone with suggestions. Please check it out.

Two Billing Boats kits just added, Frigate Jylland and HMS Warrior

I’ve always really liked these sail/steam hybrid ships from the mid-19th century. Now, Ages of Sail has added two of these favorites from Billing Boats, and is offering limited time special pricing.

Also, check out the online shop Woodenmodelshipkit.com, which carries the same Jylland kit for only $429, though they don’t list the HMS Warrior.

Both these kits have been available through Billingboatsusa.com for quite some time, but are only just now appearing at Ages of Sail.

Ages of Sail

We’ve carried Billing Boats kits for quite a while, but we’re working now to expand our retail selection of these kits. There will be more Billing Boats kits forthcoming, including a couple fairly recent releases. But, for now, here are two classic warships from the transitionary period between sail and steam, the Danish frigate Jylland and the British iron-hulled warship HMS Warrior.

Both of the original ships are still in existence  and represent the last ships of their kind. They are available for public access, so you can still walk the decks of these beautiful vessels. And, if you can’t get to them, there should be plenty of photos on the Internet to help you make the most accurate build possible.

In fact, here are a couple photos we found on the web…

HMS Warrior

Frigate Jylland

Both Billing Boats kits are “Expert” level models, so we don’t recommend you…

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An Intro to Card Models – V108 Torpedo Boat

For those of you looking for nice tutorial on card model building, check out Chris Coyle’s tutorial on The Nautical Research Guild’s Model Ship World. In this tutorial, Chris uses a small, downloadable model of a German WWII V108 Torpedo Boat produced by Digital Navy.

The company produces several card models, that you can download for around $35 to $40. However, they have given Model Ship World permission to host the downloadable files for their tutorial and you can get these for free. You will, of course, need a color printer and some good quality card stock paper to print on.

https://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/2701-intro-and-table-of-contents/

 

Completed waterline version of the V108 card model built by Chris Coyle and featured in his tutorial

Since I’ve been working on a couple paper models, I thought it would be a good idea to follow this tutorial and try my hand at building this relatively simple card model myself. The startup cost is hard to beat, and you really need only very basic tools for start modeling in paper.

This is probably a lot more common type of paper modeling than what I’ve been building from Shipyard kits, which is why I want to run though the tutorial.

If you want to give it a try too, I encourage you to register with Model Ship World (it’s free) and start a build log there.

I started mine, which you can visit at: https://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/16325-v-108-torpedo-boat-by-catopower-digital-navy-1200-scale-card-msw-tutorial-build/

 

HMS Mercury Paper Model – The Build, Part 3

To begin with, I have to revise something I stated earlier about card modeling being challenging.

The biggest challenge about these Shipyard paper model kits is a mental one. When you get one of these kits, you instantly see a gazillion parts, and you have to cut out each and every one, plus you might decided to cut out windows instead of using printed windows, etc. That’s intimidating.

So, I’m finding that approaching construction of one of these kits is a lot like tying ratlines on a ship model. You can’t think about all those knots you have to tie – you just have to start and do one at a time until you get to the end. Building this model is about baby steps. You can’t count how many baby steps you have to take, you just have to take them one at a time and keep on going.

HMS Mercury Progress

First off, I glued the new pieces into place in the fo’csle and then added the doors back on. If you recall, I’d added the doors earlier and then decided I didn’t like printed windows. So, I removed them and the related partitions and cut out the window panes and used canopy glue to add the “glass”. In addition to the doors, I also finished the inner bulwarks pieces at the bow.

As you can see in the photo below, I still have to “edge” the gun port sills with red paint.

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