Monthly Archives: July 2020

NRG Website Revamped

The Nautical Research Guild is a ship modeling society that dates back to the 1940s and today runs the world’s largest ship modeling forum, Model Ship World. The organization is the publisher of what I believe is the last ship modeling magazine in print, the Nautical Research Journal.

They recently revamped their website and it looks great. Very up to date, with improved navigation and organization. Check it out at https://thenrg.org.

If you don’t know about the NRG, but are interested in ship modeling, I strongly urge you to become a member. It’s not a requirement in order to be on the Model Ship World forum, but you’ll get the quarterly Journal subscription, and it’s a great organization to support. I highly recommend it. Just click the “Join” button in the upper right hand corner of their home page. Ω

 

 

 

Billing Boats’ Building Tips Booklet

Billing Boats kits instructions are pretty minimal, which can make them something of a challenge for those who’ve never built a wood ship model kit before. Apparently, some of the kits make reference to a Building Tips pamphlet, but I don’t know that it appears in every kit.

I only recently learned that you can download a copy of this guide. Now, it’s not really much more than another set of very simple, general hints, but it’s something. Here’s the link to the download: http://billingboats.com/images/stories/instructions/Modeling_Hints_EN.pdf

But, as a general helpful guide, I like to recommend the book Ship Modeling Simplified by Frank Mastini. It’s been around for a long time and it gives you some good guidelines to help the beginning shipmodeler. Plus, it gives you something interesting to read through when you get too frustrated doing the actual building!

Zoom Meetings for Ship Modelers

These days, It’s pretty tough on ship model clubs, not being able to gather together to swap model making stories. But, like other groups across the country, the South Bay Model Shipwrights recently tested out meeting using video conferencing. Zoom has practically become a household word now, though there are other systems available.

This past Thursday, the group had its first test meeting, which I was involved in. It was the first time I had seen some of my ship modeling friends in months, so it was a nice virtual gathering. Being a test meeting, it was just a subset of the whole club, but it wasn’t really all that much smaller than many of the physical meetings.

There were a few glitches to iron out, but overall it was a success. The main issue may be in the use of the free Zoom meeting accounts, which allow only 40 minute meetings. There are ways around this, which require members to log out and then back in, but this being the group’s first meeting, Zoom automatically extends it as a courtesy.

Next week, the group is going to attempt a meeting of the full members, at least those that have computers with video conferencing capabilities anyway. The hope is to meet regularly, maybe even every two weeks, as these meetings provide the only means for some of us to maintain some kind of normal-ish social contact. We’ll see how that works out.

Other Zoom Meetings

I’m personally considering setting up a Zoom paid subscription, as it will allow me to host meetings without such time limits. I’m hoping to get the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights together with a Zoom meeting, as this small group has all but disappeared. Other clubs have been holding similar meetings these days, including the Chicago club and the SMA in Fullerton.

Today, I missed out on a Zoom class by Douglas Brooks on half hull modeling. I think it was the first he’d done by Zoom. I’m interested to hear from him as to how it went.

Zoom and Wasen Modeling

I’ve personally been attending a Zoom meeting of a wasen (Japanese traditional boat) study group that meets every other week, and I have to say that of all the terrible things we have to deal with because of the Covid-19 crisis, by forcing groups into virtual meetings, it’s given me an opportunity to meet with folks and to participate in a way that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able. Hopefully, once things get better, some amount of these video meetings will continue to take place.

And while it’s not a ship model group, this group, called Wasen Kenkyu Kai, has finally given me an audience that is specifically interesting in the things I’ve been modeling so much lately. Sadly, my Japanese language skills are very poor, so it can be a frustrating experience. Time to really work on my conversational Japanese!

Regarding Zoom and my work on traditional Japanese boats, given the scattered interest in the subject, I’m starting to think I need to host a Zoom meeting of people who are interested enough in the subject to join a virtual meeting. I’m sure it would be a very small meeting, but it might at least prove interesting. Ω 

 

 

 

 

NRG Conference 2021

While the Nautical Research Guild conference was supposed to take place this Fall. It was canceled some time ago due to the unknowns of the Corona Virus outbreak. But, if things manage to improve over the next year, and let’s hope they actually do, the next NRG conference will then take place October 21 – 23, 2021.

The venue is unchanged, still set to take place at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum in Oxnard, California. No other details have been announced, but the event is more than a year away. Probably, more information will be available about this time next year.

This should give all you ship modelers some time to finish the awesome project you want to display at the event. Since the museum is one of my old haunts, we’ll before they moved anyway, and it’s just a drive down the coast from here, I expect I’ll try to have one of my models on display. Not sure which I would want to display. But, as I said, there should be plenty of time to work on one before then, so I guess I’d better get to work on something awesome.

For more information about the conference and the venue, visit the NRG website here. Ω

 

 

Ship Model Kits Come and Go at Ages of Sail – Plus, Vanguard Models News

With so many people staying at home these days, the stocks of ship model kits at Ages of Sail, particularly the newest kits, seem to come and go faster than ever.

OcCre’s newest release is the schooler Polaris, which bears a striking resemblence to Artesania Latina’s pilot boat Swift kit, was introduced and sold out in less than a month, though I’m told that a further shipment has come in, so they may be available again at the time of this writing.

 

About the same time they started selling the Polaris, Ages of Sail started carrying the new Vanguard Models kits, and there too, the HMS Speedy kit turned out to be more popular than expected and is now out of stock at Ages of Sail.

 

HMS Flirt – Vanguard Models

But Chris Watton, who’s the one-man development machine of Vanguard Models, has been working hard at getting a brand new kit ready for release: The brig-sloop HMS Flirt.

 

If you’ve been eying Vanguard’s HMS Speedy kit, this one will look very familiar to you, as the Flirt is of the Speedy class, so it’s essentially the same ship. However, the kit differs in that it does not have a coppered hull and has slightly different rigging, making this kit about a bit shorter than HMS Speedy.

In any case, this model of the 14-gun brig-sloop sure makes for a pretty-looking ship! This kit is expected to be releasee within a couple weeks. Hopefully, Ages of Sail will grab some of these up as well as a replenishment of their stock of HMS Speedy kits. Maybe they’ll get some of the pre-sewn sail sets for those nice-looking Zulu and Fifie kits at the same time.

Personally, I don’t understand why the Scottish Sailing Zulu kits haven’t run out yet – There’s a nice looking, unique ship model kit…

 

But, kits seem to be coming in all the time over at Ages of Sail, and I understand that many of the OcCre kits are back in stock now, including the popular Polaris kit and many others. Plus, as I posted previously, Constructo’s Gjøa kit, after many years out of production, appears to be back again, which is nice to see. Ω

 

 

 

 

Constructo’s Gjøa is Back

This is a kit that I haven’t seen on the market for many years. Certainly, Ages of Sail hasn’t been carrying it for a long time now. Nice to see this classic back.

The pre-sewn sails and the tools bundle is a nice touch. At $140, it seems like a very good deal.

Ages of Sail

I just received word that we are now stocking Constructo’s Gjøa kit. If memory serves me correctly, this is a plank-on-bulkhead wooden ship model kit that has been around for decades, but hasn’t been see here at Ages of Sail for a while.

This classic kit of Roald Amundsen’s Arctic exploration ship has been updated and now includes a set of basic tools plus pre-sewn sails. This 1/64-scale kit is considered one for the Advanced Beginner. The completed model measures a little over 19″ long and 18″ high.

In the years 1903 through 1906, the Gjøa was the first ship to successfully navigate the Northwest Passage. Other ships that attempted and failed include HMS Terror of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, the subject of another very popular kit we carry from OcCre Models.

After Amundsen’s arrival in San Francisco following completion of the Northwest Passage, the Gjøa was on display at…

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Simple Cargo for a Wasen Model

For diorama purposes, cargo adds a lot to a ship or a boat. Here’s how I made something very simple for a Japanese boat model.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

I’ve been thinking about making a diorama to include my recently completed tenma-zukuri  chabune. One of the uses of such a boat was for transporting cargo. So, a diorama is going to need something for the boat to carry. An empty boat is fine for displaying the boat itself, but it’s not going to look right in a diorama.

Possibilities include barrels of sake or miso, or bales of rice. But, I’ve found that these are can be just bit complicated due to their shape and the way that are wrapped. Sake barrels have a somewhat fat, squat shape, and at least in modern times, are wrapped with colorful logos and writing. They would be interesting to include, but a bit complex for what I want to do here, especially with the unique rope wrapping.

One of the simpler examples of a sake barrel I’ve found on the Internet.

Miso…

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Building a Tenma-Zukuri Chabune (伝間造茶船) – Part 5 – Final

Yes, I am capable of finishing a project. I’ve just been a bit burned out on traditional western ship models and have been spending more time on my Japanese boats lately.

Also, in general, the Covid-19 social separation seems to be getting to me, and I’ve been finding it harder to keep motivated on my project these days. But, I’m doing what I can and today, finally got around to updating my blogs a little.

Hope everyone out there is coping well!

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

First off, my apologies for taking so long to post an update on this project. The Tenma-zukuri Chabune is actually done. It sat for a long time with all the construction work done, needing only the coppering detail. I finally got the nerve to get back to it and it is now finished. But, when I last posted, there was still work to do, so let me take a step back to go over what was done.

Last we left off, the nail mortises had been cut and I was ready to add the decks at the bow and stern, or the omote and the tomo.

I don’t know if the boards that make up these decks were removable. Underneath, I left the ends open, so things could be tucked in there for storage, but only for smaller things, as the support posts of the beams cut the openings in half…

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