Monthly Archives: February 2019

Clare’s Pre-Springtime Update

It’s not officially Spring for another month, but after quite a bit of rainy weather, it’s a sunny day and the birds are happily flitting around the trees in the back yard, and my cat, Sierra, is eying them with glee. While I’m dreading the discovery of feathers all over the house, I thought it was time to provide an update on all the goings on in my ship modeling world.

HMS Victory and Clipper Ship rigging are still dragging along. Actually, these have both been at a standstill for a while due mostly to my work schedule and workspace constraints. But, they do progress a little in small spurts. I expect to be putting more effort into those shortly.

In the meantime, my Japanese boat display has one more week to run at the display window of the Union Bank’s community room in the Japan Center East Mall. I’m not so keen on all those models coming back home as I’ve kind of grown accustomed to having the extra space here.

Since my update last Spring, I’ve completed my Kamakura period trade boat and have partially completed a Kobaya, a small row galley of the Shōgun’s government, and have been developing drawings and models of a Tenma-zukuri chabune, a small cargo lighter. Being a follower of the work of boatbuilder Douglas Brooks, I’ve also tinkered with a 1/10-scale model of a Sado Island “tub boat”. These are all scratch projects. On the kit side of the world of Japanese traditional boats is the Woody Joe kit of the Kitamaebune, which you’ve probably seen posts about recently. Continue reading


Ages of Sail at IPMS Silicon Valley Scale Modelers 2019 Classic

If you happen to be in the area on Saturday, March 16, please stop by the Ages of Sail table at the IPMS show in San Jose, CA. I’ll be manning the table and this year I expect to enter a model or two. Most likely, I’ll enter one of my Japanese boats – probably the Higaki Kaisen, as it’s the most complicated and unusual in appearance. I’ll probably also enter the little paper lighthouse I made, since paper models are still pretty unusual. The Amati Swedish Gunboat may also make a final appearance before I move it to the display case at Ages of Sail.

The Ages of Sail table is always right next to the South Bay Model Shipwrights table, of which I’m a member, so I may bring a display model for their table, like the Mary Taylor.

Chances are that I’ll also have one or two things in-progress. My HMS Mercury is a good candidate for that since Ages of Sail sells the kit (maybe I’ll bring a couple kits) and people are usually intrigued that it’s a paper model.

And, while my Dana fishing boat is a possibility, I think people might be more interested in seeing my Amati “Arrow” American Gunboat. I haven’t really posted anything about that build, as it was intended as something I’d work on only while I was at the model shop at Hyde Street Pier. I’ve since brought it home, so I’ll probably get started with blog posts on that shortly.

In any case, hope to see you at the IPMS show. Please stop by and say hello!

Ages of Sail

The Silicon Valley Scale Modelers will be holding their model show again, the SVSM 2019 Classic on Saturday, March 17th, March 16th, 2019, and Ages of Sail will again be there.

Ages of Sail table at the Silicon Valley 2017 Classic.

The South Bay Model Shipwrights club is also expected to have a table there, and will likely be located right next door again, making for a whole ship modeling section at the event.

South Bay Model Shipwrights members manning their table next to ours at the SV 2017 Classic.

This is officially an IPMS event, which is the International Plastic Modelers Society. However, they include models of all types, including ones of resin, paper, and wood. Expect to see an increasing number of ship models and this and future events, as the South Bay Model Shipwrights takes a more active role of getting out in front of the public…

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Building Woody Joe’s 1/72-scale Kitamaebune Kit – Part 3b

A brief update on my build of the Woody Joe kit of the Edo period northern port coastal transport called a Kitamaebune.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

This is just a short update on the Kitamaebune build.

I added a couple pieces to the transom to simulate the plank that seems to show up on every benzaisen model or image I’ve seen.

In the above image, the red arrows point to the plank that I’m referring to. The blue arrow points to the very tip of the side planking at the stern. The piece in the Woody Joe kit is truncated close to where the dashed blue line is, and actually a bit lower than that, really.

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Building Woody Joe’s 1/72-scale Kitamaebune Kit – Part 3

The Woody Joe Kitamaebune project continues, though I hit a little snag with the fit of the hull planks. Here’s the latest update.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

Now is the time I find out how I did in the earlier steps of construction. The biggest challenge of kits with laser-cut parts, particularly hull planking, is that if you don’t get it exactly right, you end up with gaps or parts that don’t fit quite right. Even worse, it’s a sign that something else is off and may cause you more problems down the road. You just have to consider it a challenge.

So, the next steps involve adding bulwarks pieces that contains holes for all the beams. These nicely aligns all the beams. There are two pieces for each side of the hull that fit together end-to-end, with a neat, pre-cut scarf joint betweent. The diagram in the instructions, makes it look like you’re supposed to glue the pieces together, so you have one full-length piece for each side, but don’t do it. You’ll have problems fitting…

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Building a Beginning Billing Boats Kit, Dana Fishing Boat – Part 7: Painting and Preparation

Preparing the Blocks

At some point, we’re going to need to deal with one of the small details, namely the blocks. Billing Boats commonly includes pre-molded plastic block in many of their kits. I think they may use small wooden blocks for some things, but the blocks on this 1:60-scale kit come in plastic.

Now, you may not like plastic blocks and may want to substitute some 3rd party fittings instead.  The blocks in the kit are 3/16″ or 5mm single-sheave blocks. Amati makes 5mm single blocks in Walnut and you can find them at Ages of Sail here, at $2 for a pack of 20. Unfortunately, shipping far outweighs the cost of the blocks themselves. Not a problem if you’re already planning to order other things. But, personally, even though I have many choices of blocks on-hand, I just decided to try out the ones in the kit.

The blocks in the kit are molded in brown plastic. If you want to use them as-is, you can, but I decided to paint mine. I used Billing Boats tan for the wooden block, and Black, #11, for the stropping. Afterwards, I sprayed them with a dull cote lacquer finish. In the end, I think they look pretty decent. Anyway, I think they look good enough that once their rigged, you won’t really notice their plastic without looking really closely.

These are then set aside until needed. My kit had 12 blocks in it and it looks like 11 are needed to finish the kit. Now, given how easily I’ve lost blocks in the past, I strongly suggest keeping these safe in a small plastic parts box or zip lock bag or something until needed.

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Coming Soon!

I think I’m going to want to build this one. The only other wooden kit of this ship, HMS Beagle, is the one that was made by Mamoli way back, and it looks nothing like the real HMS Beagle.

Ages of Sail

I’m sure you can figure out what ship this is.

We don’t have an exact date of delivery, nor do we have pricing. But, this kit from OcCre of Spain is a 1:60-scale wooden ship model kit that will measure a bit over 28″ long and just under 19″ tall. We’re hoping to have them in March sometime.

Figured it out yet? Think ships of exploration…

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Shipyard Paper Block Sets Now Available at Ages of Sail

Here’s some good news for builders of Shipyard’s 1/96-scale paper model kits. Note, only whole blocks sets are available.

Ages of Sail

We’ve actually had these for a while, but just realized they weren’t on our web shop. So, here they are now!

These are the block sets for each of the 1/96-scale paper model ship kits produced by Model-Vessel for their Shipyard model kits and include both blocks and deadeyes.

These are the same style of blocks included in their 1/72-scale Laser Cardboard kits, but made for 1/96-scale. As such, they need to be assembled. Each block is made up of 3 or more layers that need to be glued together. Blocks come in groups on laser-cut sheets – one layer per sheet. This makes alignment easy. After the sheets are glued together, the completed blocks can be cut free. The blocks are then easily cleaned up and painted.

Each set includes more than enough blocks to complete your kit. Find there here:

Note that we only sell the blocks in…

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Building a Beginning Billing Boats Kit, Dana Fishing Boat – Part 6: Deck Details


Among the deck details are the portholes in the forward cabin. These are essentially black plastic flanges and are the same fittings used for the hawsepipe. There is one to mount on the port and starboard sides of the cabin. Mounting these requires cutting holes in the plastic cabin.

Since the flanges have no “glass”, I used some clear plastic I bought a long time ago from the manufacturer Plastruct, which makes all sorts of plastic shapes for architectural and craft projects. Hobby shops used to carry this stuff all the time, but those stores are becoming few in number. You can order direct from Plastruct if you need to, or in this case, you can cut a small piece from a clear acetate sheet protector, which you can get easily at Staples office supply.

The plastic just needs to be big enough to glue over the inside end of the porthole. If you glue the piece into place first, after the glue dries, you can then trim off as much excess as you can, to make it easiest to put the porthole into the hole you’ve made for it.

For glue, I used a product called Canopy Glue. This stuff dries fast and clear. Other glues, like CA or plastic cement, often mar or fog the clear plastic. This is another one of those things I picked up from the hobby shop. The item is specifically called “Formula 560” which comes in a 2 oz. bottle from a company called Pacer.

The portholes come pre-molded in black. They looked pretty good, so I didn’t bother to paint them.

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Building a Beginning Billing Boats Kit, Dana Fishing Boat – Part 5: Hull Details

The Prop

After painting the hull and adding the prop, I went ahead and decided that I didn’t like the position of the prop. Now, you may not care enough about it to want to change anything, but it was bugging me. Now, I may be wrong, but I’m glad I made the changes.

The prop points downward. On a real boat, this would drive the bow downwards, which may be the whole point. The boat may be more stable, operating with the bow not riding up above the water. But, the images of the completed model don’t seem to have the prop pointing down quite so much.

The main issue here is really that the shape of the rudder assembly prevents you from mounting the prop in a “nicer” fashion – the top of the prop hits the wooden frame. Really, all you need to do here is shave away enough of that frame to clear the prop when it’s mounted the way you want it.

If you build the kit straight out of the box, the prop points downward considerably.

Looking at Billing Boats instructions, you’ll need to trim the wooden frame to adjust angle of the prop. Test fit the prop as you go to see how much trimming you need to do.

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