Monthly Archives: January 2021

Another Model Kit of a Ship at the Battle of Trafalgar

Earlier this month, I wrote a post listing available kits of ships involved in the Battle of Trafalgar. Well, it turns out I missed one. I completely slipped my mind because it’s rather hard to find. That is a kit of the Spanish 112-gun, 3-decker Principe de Asturias, from the Spanish kit maker Disar Model.

Disar Model’s wooden model ship kit of the 112-gun Principe de Asturias

The main problem with the kit is that I’m not aware of any online retailer that carries it. Ages of Sail carries the line of Disar Model kits in North America, but for some reason doesn’t carry this particular kit. But, it appears to be out there, so I’m adding it to my list.

Anyway, I’ve righted a wrong, and updated my post on the Model Kits of the Ships at the Battle of Trafalgar. Ω


Taking Another Look: Navio Rayo Gun Section Kit

I wrote up this look at Disar Model’s Navio Rayo kit for Ages of Sail. This kit has been available for about three years, but the manufacture still seems to be somewhat obscure in the world of wooden ship modeling.

Now, there are a lot of kits they make that I’m not very impressed with, but there are a few that look pretty interesting, and this is one of them.

I don’t see a lot of this particular kit selling, but it seems to me that it should. It’s a large scale model kit of an interesting subject with plenty of interesting details.

I considered building this model myself, but I have so many projects to complete. But, even with it’s details, it should be a relatively quick build. Diorama builders could probably do some really interesting work using this kit, and I’d really love to see some model builders, not even necessarily ship modelers, take on this build.

Ages of Sail

It was about 3-1/2 years ago that Ages of Sail first introduced this new line of Spanish wooden model kits to North America. Among the first batch of kits was an often overlooked wood model kit of a section of the 18th-century Spanish warship Rayo. The Rayo was an 80-gun ship-of-the-line built in 1746.  The ship was rebuilt in Cartagena in 1803, transforming her into a three-decked ship of 100 guns.

If you’re interested in getting the kit, you’ll find it on our website here:,-wooden-kit-by-disar,-20148.html

Soon after, the Rayo joined the coalition of French and Spanish ships sailing out of Cadiz on 18 October, 1805. Three days later the combine French and Spanish fleet encountered the British fleet under Admiral Lord Nelson off Cape Trafalgar on the southwest coast of Spain.

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Building a Beginning Billing Boats Kit, Dana Fishing Boat – FINAL

The next sails to go on the model are the staysail and jib, the two triangular sails at the bow. To each, a length of line is attached at the top and bottom ends. At the top end, or head, is the halliard, while the line at the bottom corner, or tack, is the outhaul.

With these lines run through their respective blocks and temporarily secured using painter’s tape, the sail can then be secured to the stays, the fixed lines that support the mast from the bowsprit. I used a needle to help thread the line through the leading edge of the sail, then I tied a knot around the stay, securing the knot with a dab of Aleene’s Tacky Glue. When dried, the excess line can be trimmed away. Just be careful not to accidentally cut the stay itself.

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Model Kits of the Ships at the Battle of Trafalgar

[Updated 11/20/22]

The Battle of Trafalgar, which took place on October 21, 1805, was a decisive battle that took place between the British fleet and a combined fleet of French and Spanish warships. The battle took place during the early part of the Napoleonic Wars, and confirmed the dominance of British seapower. All together, some 60 ships of the line were involved in the engagement.

Click here for the Wikipedia entry on the Battle of Trafalgar

Corel HMS Victory is one of many HMS Victory kits on the market.

Many ship modelers are interested in modeling the most famous ship to both lead and survive that battle, the aptly named HMS Victory. But, the Victory, wasn’t the only ship at Trafalgar. As mentioned, there were nearly 60 other line-of-battle ships involved. So, what were these other ships? Or, more specifically, what ships were involved with kits available?

Let  me begin by point out that, for some reason, there are no kits that I am aware of for any of the French warships involved in the battle. Maybe it’s because there aren’t any manufacturers of French wooden ship model kits, at least none I am aware of. So, the French subjects get the raw end of the deal. But, if anyone is aware of a kit of a French line-of-battle ship that was at Trafalgar, please leave me a comment.

Of the British ships, we, of course, have HMS Victory, of which there are about a dozen kits, plus cross-section and bow section kits. Other British ships really include only the 64-gun ship HMS Agamemnon made by Caldercraft, and the 74-gun Bellerophon, which is one of the optional builds of Amati/Victory Models HMS Vanguard kit.

Amati Victory Models’ HMS Vanguard kit. While the Vanguard was not at Trafalgar, this kit includes optional parts to build it as HMS Bellerophon, which was at Trafalgar.

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New and Old Products Return to Artesania Latina

When Artesania Latina suddenly disappeared a year or two ago, it was something of a surprise. After all, their products were well distributed and probably the first exposure most of us had to wooden ship model kits. I remember my own experience seeing a wooden ship model on display at hobby shop (when those used to be common place) close to where I worked. The model was one of Artesania Latina’s simplest kits, the Swift.

AL’s Virginia Pilot Boat Swift.

That model wasn’t fancy. It wasn’t bristling with cannons, it wasn’t very big, it wasn’t super detailed. But, it was wooden, and it was well finished. And, while I’d never built anything from wood, save a couple model airplanes my dad coaxed me into building in my younger days, it really caught my eye.

Well, here it is, some 30 years later, and Artesania Latina has just re-started production of one of their significant, classic kits, the Spanish 74-gun ship San Juan Nepomuceno. This ship one of the Spanish warships that fought with the French against the British fleet at Trafalgar.

AL’s 1/90-scale San Juan Nepomuceno kit measures just under 38″ long.

I have fond connections with this ship model kit, as the late ship modeler Henry Alsky, of the Ventura County Maritime Museum Model Guild, was a friend of mine who had built the kit and was very proud of it.

At the moment, just about the only shop where this kit seems to be available is direct from Artesania Latina here:

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Building the Kanrin Maru – Japan’s First Screw Steamer – Part 3

Notice anything special about that photo of the fully planked hull in my last post? If you look closely, you may notice that the center section of some of the bulkheads are missing. If you’ve followed any of my wooden ship model building, you’d probably be aware that I can’t leave kits well enough alone. One of the things I’ve always liked to do is to add a hint of an interior. Nothing blatant, just a hint to create something of an image in the observer’s imagination.

Arrows showing where bulkhead sections were removed

I’ve discovered that I don’t like building full interiors and I don’t like lighting a model’s interior. That’s too blatant and too showy for me. I want the observer to look at the model and discover an open door and to catch a glimpse of more detail without actually being able to see beyond it.

You’ll notice in the photo below where I’ve started to make my modifications.I figured I might leave the aft companionway doors open, and have clear skylights, giving a glimpse of the lower deck. So, I cut away the centers of a couple bulkheads, painted the interior bulkheads white, planked a some small floor pieces, and inserted them into place.

Now, to be clear, I went back and forth quite a bit on how much detail to include on the model’s interior. In this case, I decided that all I really want to do is to have some planked deck space down below the hatchways and companionways. For the planking of the lower deck pieces, I used some 3/32″ wide strips of South American boxwood – the same as I will use on the main deck.

Section of interior deck in place. Note the cutout for the mizzen mast.

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