Building the Amati Gondola – Part 4

The Amati Venetian gondola kit is really starting to look like a Venetian gondola. It hasn’t even been a month, and the model appears to be moving right along. I’m guessing it will be done in the next month.

Ages of Sail

Gluing the hull sides to the frames was a bit of a challenge, as the bottom has to curve up at the ends, and the hull sides have to curve inward, so that the ends meet. It would have been nice if this kit had been designed with some sort of building jig, rather than relying on tape to hold things into place while the glue dries.

However, I did find that taping, plus the heavy use of small spring clamps did the trick. Be sure you have plenty of these on hand before you start gluing the hull sides onto the frames. This step is so important that I thought I’d post this image again of the gluing process, showing all the tape and clamps I needed to use.

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Building a Monterey Salmon Fishing Boat, c. 1916 – Part 2

First off, you may note that I changed the title of this project to reflect an updated date. The original photo was said to be taken after 1916. So, I changed the title from saying “c.1910” to “c.1916”, though the boat could be from a little bit later. I got a little wrapped up recently in the layout of the little deck house, which clearly shows a ventilator cowl, but also seems to show a little exhaust pipe peek out from behind it. It’s a bit hard to see in the photo, so I’m posting a close-up of the photo below.

Close up of the original image shows the ventilator cowling on the left and what looks like an exhaust pipe on the right.

Now, there’s a possibility that this is just a piece of paper in the hand of the man standing on deck. Bill of sale, maybe? But, it’s awfully straight and seems to be perfectly perpendicular to the deck house roof. Plus, at the beach like that, it’s hard to imagine a paper not curling in the breeze. So, I’m tending to believe it’s a pipe. Either an exhaust pipe or a stove pipe.

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Building the Amati Gondola – Part 3

The Amati Gondola build continues. It’s quickly taking shape, but it looks like it’s not without its challenges. Nice looking kit.

Ages of Sail

I added the remainder of the frames to the model, which didn’t take all that long to do. Overall, this early part of construction is pretty easy. However, the next step, the adding of the hull planks, looks to be the hardest part of the whole build.

The next step involves preparing the hull plank pieces, of which there are only two. These pieces need to be shaped to fit the curved frames. The easiest way to do this is with an electric plank bender, as described in the kit instructions.

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Inheriting Classic Model Kits

Recently, a ship modeler friend contacted me because a ship model builder had passed away, and his widow was needing to clear out their house. Among the things to clear out were a couple in-progress models, and a few kits.

This is a story that most ship modelers, particularly those who are members of local ship modeling clubs, have heard often. Many years ago, I was gifted a couple large kits from a ship modeler friend, shortly before he passed away. They are part of my large and ever growing stash of kits that I would like to build some day.

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Building a Monterey Salmon Fishing Boat, c. 1916 – Part 1

If you read my ship model projects update last year, you probably already read about this project. It began with a request from Tim Thomas, the curator of a small museum in the lower floor of the Japanese American Citizen League Heritage Hall in Monterey. He wanted a model of a small, fishing boat that was used by Japanese immigrant fishermen in Monterey to fish for salmon. There was a particular boat he had in mind, a boat called the Olympus.

I originally didn’t want to take on the project, as my record on commissioned work isn’t very good. it just becomes work and something that feels like a weight around my neck. So, I asked ship modeler Paul Reck from the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights if he would be willing to take it on. He agreed. But, when I asked him about it later, he said he’d work on it if I would work on it too. So, I initially got kind of dragged into the project.

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New Franklin Expedition Ship – HMS Erebus from OcCre

Following up on their successful wooden model kit of the Arctic exploration ship HMS Terror, OcCre has recently released a new kit of the companion ship HMS Erebus. Both ships were originally bomb vessels, are very similar, having received the same modifications for Arctic service.

Because of the similarity of the two ships, I’m not sure how successful a release of HMS Erebus will be. However, it was the lead ship of the Franklin Expedition that disappeared in 1845 while searching for the northwest passage.

Probably the most interesting build of this ship would be as part of a matched set, along with HMS Terror. But, it probably didn’t require a lot of development work to create the new kit. So, the release makes sense.

OcCre finished their example model in such a way that it looks different and interesting enough to set apart from their HMS Terror kit.

Ages of Sail

First, there was HMS Terror, one of two ships of the Franklin expedition, that disappeared in the Arctic during a search in 1845 for the Northwest Passage. OcCre introduced that kit back in 2018. OcCre’s newest release is the other ship of that ill-fated expedition, HMS Erebus.

Of the two ships, Erebus was the lead ship, under the command of Sir John Franklin himself, but the two ships were very similar. Both ships were converted bomb vessels, received the same modifications for Arctic service, including the addition of steam propulsion, and both had similar deck layouts. Now, you can build a 1/75-scale reproduction of this most famous ship, or model the Franklin Expedition with OcCre’s 1/75-scale HMS Terror kit.

The kit includes laser-cut wooden parts for the hull framing and many structural details. Wooden strips for a double plank-on-bulkhead construction, wooden dowels for masts and spars, planking material for rather unusual…

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Building the Amati Gondola – Part 2

Actual construction begins on this new kit from Amati Model. It’s interesting to see a model kit with all the framing pre-cut like this. It seems to take shape pretty quickly.

Ages of Sail

Construction of the Gondola model has begun. As expected, this is looking like it will be a pretty quick build. But, it’s definitely something that requires attention to detail and careful reading of the instructions. Builders who rush forward, may be prone to some simple, but critical mistakes. This is probably why Amati does not considered this to be a beginner’s kit.

By the way, anyone who is interested in following this build log with their own build, you can buy this kit for $129.00 plus tax and shipping at Ages of Sail here. As you are building, follow along and email any questions or note any problems you have about the build to us at We’ll make sure you get personal attention on this project. Send us photos and we’ll post them as we go as well.

Last time, we mentioned that what makes the Venetian gondolas…

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Building the Amati Gondola – Part 1

This is an interesting looking model kit. Although it’s not a beginner’s kit, it looks like it should be a pretty quick build. It will be interesting to see how this comes along.

Ages of Sail

Gondola, the Jewel of Venice is the newest Amati wooden model kit, realeased earlier this year. It is a 1:22-scale wooden model kit that measures about 19-1/2″ long when complete.

This is not the first time that Amati has produced a gondola kit. Amati had produced a different kit of a Venetian gondola. That one was a 1:20 scale model, very similar is size to this one. I don’t have much information about the old kit other than the scale and that it was a model of a gondola of 1882, which had a little cabin for the passengers.

This new kit has the appearance of the modern gondola as it appears on the canals of Venice today. So, let’s take a look at what’s included in the box.

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Ads be Gone!

If you’ve visited my site in the past, you may have noticed that ads are no longer showing up anymore. I didn’t have much issue with the ads, as they made this site free of charge for me. But, I recently had trouble viewing my own site, due to over-sized and over-active Google ads, and decided that was enough aggravation to justify upgrading the site.

So, I broke down and shelled out the money to upgrad the site. I don’t really get much out of the upgrade, other than the elimination of ads. But, the upgrade is only $4 a month. So, please enjoy the add free site! I’ll try to get some more content posted soon. Ω

Talking on Painting Paper Models

A couple weeks ago, I got a call from Paul Fontenoy, the editor of the Nautical Research Journal, and big fan of paper models. Because of my work on Shipyard’s Bremen cog model (Hanse Kogge Bremen), which required painting it to look like wood, he had asked me to join in a video presentation/workshop on the paper modeling of ships.

I’m no expert on the subject, having only completed the cog model, the HMS Alert paper model, and a laser-cut lighthouse card model, all from Shipyard kits. But, the panel needed something on painting. And while I’m not a very confident speaker, I agreed to do it. Anyway, it was only a 10-minute time slot, and the cog model did turn out rather nicely, so why not?

There was a preliminary online meeting I had with Ian McLaughlin, who was organizing the workshop, John Garnish who would handle the technical aspects of running all of our slides for us, and Jim Baumann, a miniature modeler of incredible talent that works mostly in resin/multimedia models, but would be talking about making water dioramas. All of these are incredibly nice fellows, all located in England, and they made me feel quite at home working with them. So, after thinking about it for a few days, I outlined my ideas and put together a slide presentation and a script.

Most paper model kits use printed paper for parts. For a 10-minute talk, I decided it best to just focus on my more recent work, which is with Shipyard laser-cut ship model kits. These kits are laser-cut from plain white card stock, so they need to be painted, and actually include all the necessary paints. There was stuff to say about using paint on printed paper kits, but I didn’t have enough time to say much about it, and I put the presentation together as best I could.

Luckily, the South Bay Model Shipwrights club had their meeting a week before the NRG workshop and they let me do a run through there, from which I learned a lot.

Finally, I cleaned up my slides, edited my text, did many timed run throughs, and submitted my presentation to John Garnish, the gentleman who would be stepping through the slideshows for us.

The workshop was this past Saturday and everything went really well, better than I’d expected. So, I’m grateful to everyone who helped out. The workshop was recorded and will be edited and available for viewing on the NRG website, but you have to be an NRG member to access it.

No more talks are on the horizon, but Paul Fontenoy did say he was interested in a couple ideas for articles, including one on modeling Japanese watercraft and one on the building of my Bremen cog card model. Since the card model was one of the subjects of my talk, I think that will be the subject of the first article. But, the couple weeks leading up to this workshop were really hectic, and I’m still recovering from all of it, so it’ll be a few weeks before I consider starting on that. Ω