Monthly Archives: October 2020

Shipyard’s Dutch Fluit Schwarzer Rabe – A Paper Model Saves the Day

It’s a happy day when a paper model kit shows up to give me back a taste of ship modeling again. Last week, my Dutch fluit model kit showed up in the mail and it didn’t take me long to open it up and get started.

As I mentioned before, family health matters have me stuck in the house where I grew up, with no trace of ship modeling material except text and images on the Internet. In order to give me back a small part of my absent ship modeling self, I ordered the paper model kit from Ages of Sail. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to build the Dutch fluit Schwarzer Rabe (Black Raven) or the Dutch pinnace Papegojan. Both paper model kits are available and in 1/96-scale. I ended up buying the Schwazer Rabe for about $38. But, looking back, I realized that there is a special edition set, The Opponents of the Battle of Oliwa, which contains both kits. Didn’t really matter though, as Ages of Sail, where I got my kit, doesn’t stock that particular product. But, it’s out there somewhere.

Anyway, the Schwarzer Rabe kit is plenty of project work for the duration. The kit was a little under $40 from Ages of Sail and can be purchased here. The kit is a 1/96-scale paper model kit from Shipyard of Poland, and measures just about 16″ when complete.

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Shipmodeling and Blogging Withdrawls

After announcing my brief blog hiatus a little over a week ago, you might have noticed I’m still blogging. Well, it’s turned out that blogging is a good distraction from family health matters, so here I am writing again. In addition to needing to do a bit of blogging, I’m really finding myself going through some ship modeling withdrawals as well. Now, I don’t have a whole lot of time and space to be working on much, so I mostly think about ship modeling. But, I decided to go ahead and have the good folks at Ages of Sail send me a paper model kit.

Paper model kits require a minimum of tools, result in less mess than wooden ship models, and  the kits are very inexpensive. Perusing the Ages of Sail site was a fun distraction, but I finally settled on Shipyard’s paper kit number MK010, the Dutch fluit Schwartzer Rabe. The ship is a 3-masted armed cargo ship carrying 10 guns. The kit, like just about all of Shipyard’s paper kit series ships (the MK series) is 1/96-scale and this model will measure about 40.5cm or just about 16″ long when complete.

I chose this kit because it’s interesting and different. To be honest, I really wanted to get the Papegojan, which is a similar type of ship, as I’ve actually been eyeing the larger laser-cut card model. But, someone in my ship model club is building it, and I think it would be nice to work on something a little different from his.

The kit should arrive tomorrow, so I’ll post more about it after it arrives. However, I will mention that the Polish card model company GPM has a detail set available for this kit, which provides more laser-cut parts to make the paper model look nicer. I will probably be ordering that shortly. The extra parts shouldn’t be needed until later in the build, so the time it takes to get the set shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

OcCre Part Kits

So, you might think that getting the paper kit and ordering the detail set would be enough to overcome my shipmodeling withdrawals, but no. One of the things I’ve been thinking about for a long time, aside from the thought that I’ve got too many unfinished projects on-hand, is that some of those bigger kits of Spanish warships from the Spanish kit manufacturer OcCre are pretty cool.

Over the last year or so, I’ve taken a liking to the late 18th century Spanish warships. I particularly love the way the Spanish named some of their ships, and the way those names roll of the tongue in Spanish. Names like the Neustra Señiora de las Mercedes. Now, this kits are kind of pricey when purchased from US dealers and I’m not really sure why. It’s possible to order them from overseas, but the cost of the kit, plus shipping, is really more than I want to spend, so I started thinking about Part Kits or Packs, as OcCre likes to call them.

OcCre has four kits that can be purchased over 6 sets. The kits are the Santissima Trinidad, the San Ildefonso, the Nuestra Señiora del Pilar, and the Montañes. I know that in the long run, these kits cost more this way due to the extra shipping and the premium that the company charges for offering the kits in parts. But, I thought it might be fun to try.

Now, I actually looked at some of the de Agostini / Model-Space subscriptions, but those cost even more, and when I looked recently, most of the subscriptions were marked out of stock. So, I went with an OcCre kit. The model kit is the Montañes, a Spanish 3rd rate ship of the line, which is probably the one Spanish ship that has a short and less interesting name, but I like the ship, and she survived Trafalgar.

OcCre’s 1/70-scale 74-gun third rate ship of the line, Montañes

Anyway, I’m very interested in learning how these part kits work out. I’ll definitely be posting more about it in the very near future. So, if you’re interested in OcCre’s part kits and the experience of ordering and receiving them, stay tuned.  Ω



On the Horizon: Royal Yacht for the Dutchess of Kingston from Vanguard Models

Chris Watton’s own ship model kit production company, Vanguard Models, is rolling along with yet another kit coming out in just a matter of weeks! If you’re familiar with Amati’s Victory Model’s line of kits or Caldercraft’s Nelson’s Navy line, then you’re already familiar with Chris’s amazing work. He’s both talented AND prolific.

His latest release will be the sixth kit from Vanguard Models, and it looks like it’s going to be a real beauty – I hope you’ve saved a spot on your workbench to build this one.

The model is a 1/64-scale kit of an unnamed, 81-foot, three-masted yacht built for the Dutchess of Kingston, which was probably built in the 1770s. It closely resembles the royal yacht Caroline, which is a subject from Mantua/Panart that I’ve had my eye on for a long time. But, this model looks like it’s so nicely detailed that I would seriously consider building this instead. Price has not been announced yet, but Chris says this kit will be ready very soon.

Some manufacturers do take pride in their avoidance of plastic or resin parts, which this kit does use for cannon barrels and some of the stern carvings, etc. But, this does allow for a higher degree of detail and lower weight and cost. I don’t expect to hear many complaints from those who get this kit.

FYI, these are photos of the model under development. It will include masts and yards, including a lateen yard on the mizzen mast. I don’t believe there are sails included in the kit, but I am hoping some kind of sail plan will be included. Vanguard Models has sail sets for their Zulu and Fifie kits, but I don’t believe there is any sail detail included in the other kits.

Once released, expect to be able to order direct from the Vanguard Models website, or from their U.S. distributor Ages of Sail. I’ll spread the word as soon as I see it become available! Ω


On the Horizon: Amati’s German Battleship Bismark Kit

I mentioned recently that as a ship modeler, it’s nice to see new ship model releases. Vanguard Models’ and their imminent release of the royal yacht the Dutchess of Kingston is not the only new kit on the horizon. Italian kit maker Amati Model has apparently been working quietly on a new super-kit: A big scale model kit of the German battleship Bismark. 

I don’t know much about it, except that they’ve been hinting at the kit on their Facebook page. Then, today, Ages of Sail made an announcement of the kit’s upcoming release. Apparently, there are no specific detail announced yet on the kit or it’s exact release date, but it sounds like it should be out in the next month or so, and Ages of Sail will have the kit at the time of the official release. It’s also going to be a very big kit. 

Amati's Bismark

From Ages of Sail’s blog post

Any bets on the scale of the new kit? In any case, the photos shown on Ages of Sail’s blog post show some very fine detailing. I “borrowed” one of the photos to give you an idea. To see more visit their blog post here. Ω

The Latest: Carriage Kits from Disar Model of Spain

While not ship modeling related, Disar, another relatively recent Spanish wooden model kit manufacturer, has released some new carriage kits that actually look quite nice. I haven’t been a big fan of the earlier Disar kits in general, primarily because of their product design (though I think their galleon Santiago de Compostella looks pretty promising). But, I’ve taken a closer look at a couple of these kits and they’re interesting enough to make me want to trying build one. 

“Dog Cart” Country and Hunting Dog Carriage

Berlin Coupe

Faeton Siamese


Top Canopy Surrey

Part of the contents of the Dog Cart kit. Photo courtesy of Ages of Sail.

These new kits, all 1/16-scale and somewhere around 9″ long (dimensions in the kit descriptions appear to be of the assembled base), are now available in the U.S. at Ages of Sail for around $60. These kits all included bases that are made-up to look like cobblestone surfaces, making attractive displays. In any case, for a ship modeler, these might prove to be nice, quick distractions. Ω


On the Horizon: Shipyard’s Wooden Hanse Kogge von Bremen, 1380

As a ship modeler, it’s always nice to see new products come out. There are a few things I’ve spotted that maybe you didn’t know about. And, here is one from the Polish card model company known as Vessel, or more commonly by their ship model product line called Shipyard. The company has apparently released their newest WOODEN laser-cut kit. This company has been on a roll with their production of new kits of old medieval cogs, and their newest kit is the laser-cut wooden kit, the Hanse Kogge von Bremen, 1380.

The kit appears to be essentially identical to the card model kit of the same name that they released about a year ago, making it a 1/72-scale kit that measures about 13.3″ long (338mm) when complete.

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NRG Annual Membership Meeting

The Nautical Research Guild’s annual conference for 2020 is cancelled due to COVID issues, but they recently announced that they will be holding their annual membership meeting after all, only it will be a virtual meeting. Members will be able to attend the meeting from the safety and comfort of their own homes. The meeting, normally part of the conference, is scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 5th, at 11am Central / 9am Pacific.

The NRG is now asking members to RSVP, so they can plan on how much they need to upgrade their video conferencing service. Attending the membership meeting is free to all members, but it sounds like the NRG itself will need to pay for the upgraded service.

I haven’t seen any of this information actually posted on the NRG website yet. So, if you’re a member, please make sure to contact the main office with your response. Watch your email for more information. Ω

Brief Blog Hiatus

Those following this blog may have noticed that I haven’t been writing much lately, nor have I done any ship modeling work. It is a temporary hiatus, but should last at least a couple more weeks as my 95-year-old mother was diagnosed as having had a mini-stroke.

After a night in the ER and a few days in the hospital for observation, she was transferred to a convalescent center, where she was quarantined, isolated from other patients for about 10 days. After she had sufficiently recovered, I was able to take her to her home. But, she is in need of full-time assistance and observation. So, that’s all I’m able to do for the time being, aside from posting this little update. Everything else is on hold until other arrangements can be made for her care.

So, I hope you are able to find enough on this site to keep your interest. More will be posted in a few weeks. I’m very much looking forward to being able to work on my ship modeling projects again very soon!