Category Archives: All News

This is a Battle of Trafalgar Diorama???

I’m usually writing to promote ship modeling and products made for ship modelers. After all, the more promotion of the subject and more support for the manufacturers, the more interesting projects we’ll find to build. So, I was looking at some of the offerings by the Spanish wooden model company, Disar. They make some okay stuff, and recently, I’ve noticed some much nicer products coming from them.

The kits they produce seem to have decent wood with fittings stored in compartmentalized plastic box that is actually useful, long after the model is complete. Their instructions are pretty complete and in step-by-step photos style, and many of the subjects they produce are fairly unique – not just another HMS Victory or Bounty, etc.

I started looking through their downloadable product catalog for some information on them, and for those of you interested in buying their kits, they don’t sell them on their website, but you can get them from Ages of Sail and elsewhere. But, it was while looking through their catalog that I found something that made me laugh.

I found a diorama kit labeled The Battle of Trafalgar. The famous battle that saw the victory of the British fleet, but the death of Admiral Lord Nelson. the battle saw lines of French and Spanish 3-decker warships cut by the British lines. The classic, epic battle of sailors fighting from behind wooden floating fortresses. So, I’m not sure that this is a very good representation of that famous battle…


In addition, they offered The Battle of the Nile diorama. Again, a famous battle which saw a victorious  British fleet was commanded by Nelson. But, again, I’m not sure who thought this was a good representation of that battle either…

Now, it might have happened, but I can’t understand the point of a ship’s boat battling with an enemy ship’s boat while the massive warships were engaged in battle. I mean, if you were in this scene, and you sank or captured the other ship’s boat, who would really care? It wouldn’t have affected the overall battle in any way, except maybe preventing the enemy from pickup up their own survivors from the sea.

I guess it’s an interesting product for someone, but I would recommend not trying to link it to one of these major battles. I think what’s best about it is the idea it suggests of putting a small boat model into a diorama. It’s a neat idea and dioramas are always fun to look at. Ω


Building the DNB Maru – A Niigata Honryousen

A relatively simple Japanese boat is being modeled in 1/10 scale and is it coming along quickly. Here’s the first part of the build log of the Honryousen, a model of a 25-foot riverboat that was one of the recent projects worked on in Japan by boatbuilder Douglas Brooks. This boat was primarily used for fishing and for transporting gravel from dredging and construction projects in Niigata prefecture.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

In 2019, boat builder Douglas Brooks had developed a project together with an organization called The Apprenticeshop, to go to Japan and build two traditional Japanese boats with two different Japanese boat builders.

The two boats were a Niigata kawabune called a honryousen built with Mr. Nakaichi Nakagawa, and a Himi Tenmasen, built with Mr. Mitsuaki Bansho.

Photo courtesy of Douglas Brooks

The Honryousen, or simply Honryou, is a riverboat built in a style called itaawase, which simply means “plank joined”. That the term refers to a boat built entirely of planks, including the bow and stern – basically one with no cutwater. While not exclusive to Niigata prefecture, this was very common on the rivers there.

The Honryousen that Douglas Brooks built with Mr. Nakagawa was dubbed “DNB Maru”, named for Douglas, and the two people from the Apprenticeshop that came with him to Japan, Nina Noah and…

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New Shipment of Card Model Kits from Shipyard

It’s nice to see these paper kits in stock again, particularly the laser-cut kits, which Shipyard used to call Laser Cardboard Kits. They’ve since changed their lineup and now produce their boxed kits under the label Laser Cut Kits. This includes the ship models and 1/72-scale lighthouse kits.

Gone are the quay port kits, though they apparently make the dockyard equipment and a “water” base, but only for the 1/72-scale HMS Wolf kit.

The most exciting addition though are the new Cog kits. I’m working on getting my hands on one so I can do a review, and maybe an online build.

Ages of Sail

Over the holidays, we got in a new shipment of kits from the Polish manufacturer of paper ship model and structures kits, Shipyard.

The shipment replenishes most of our stocks of kits, including the big 1/72 scale laser-cut HMS Mercury and HMS Wolf kits.

The best news, though, is that we are now carrying two new ship model kits from Shipyard. These are two 1/72 scale laser-cut kits of Cogs of medieval Europe. These ships were clinker-built vessels with a single mast and a single square sail.

We will have these kits listed as soon as get caught up from the holidays. Stay tuned for more announcements about these two exciting new kits. Ω

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The Rope News – first issue of 2020

The Rope News is the quarterly newsletter from the Japanese ship model society The Rope, Tokyo. I just received the latest english language version of their newsletter. It is always amazing to see the quality and amount of work that comes out of this and other ship model groups in Japan. They are very active, even holding regular classes for first-time ship modelers using build subjects that are fairly involved, such as Woody Joe’s Charles Royal Yacht, and more recently, for their intermediate class, a 1/48-scale scratch-build of an english cutter.

1/48-scale model of an english cutter being built by Norio Uriu, one of the tutors of their current intermediate model building class.

I am told that this more recent class has 15 students in it. That’s more than all the active, attending members of both of the ship model clubs I belong to!

In any case, you can read this latest issue as it is available to view on the club’s website. I was particularly interested in seeing a build of the Kanrin Maru kit by Woody Joe, which I have. Also, there is a very nice 1/72-scale model of a Japanese whaleboat type called the Senzan-maru, used by the Tokushima clan.

Access the newsletter directly on Google Drive here:

Or check out this and various back issues on the club’s english language site here:


Zutta Tenma in 1/10 scale – Himi Rice Field Boat – Final

Recently completed a model of a Himi tabune, or rice field boat, called a Zutta Tenma. This is roughly based on one built by American boatbuilder Douglas Brooks in 2016, for the Himi city museum.

The 1/10 scale model is made from Japanese cedar, or sugi, as is the actual boat.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

The Zutta Tenma is a small Tabune, or rice field boat, from Toyama prefecture. My model is based on a drawing that I got from Douglas Brooks, which is very similar to one he used when he built one in 2016.


The todate or transom on my drawing is in two parts. I could have, made it from a single piece, but I chose to make it in two pieces. Unfortunately, the drawing doesn’t show how these are fastened together. To keep the model simple, I’m assuming that nails of some type were driven down from the top through the short piece of the todate. This is then covered by a board, the name of which I don’t know.

On the face of the todate is a carved symbol of the owner. I don’t know a whole lot about these, but was told it was a yago. That doesn’t…

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New Kit From OcCre Models – Whale Ship Essex – Now in Stock!

Ages of Sail just announced a new shipment of kits just received from OcCre of Spain. The shipment includes the newest of OcCre’s kits, the whale ship Essex.

The kit sport a VERY LOW introductory price of only $129. Looks like a good last minute gift idea for the builder in your family.

Ages of Sail

We just received a new shipment from OcCre Models of Spain, and it includes the brand new wooden ship model kit the Essex.

The Essex was an American whale ship launch from Nantucket in 1799. During a whaling voyage in the Pacific Ocean in 1820, the ship was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale. The story of the Esssex became the basis for Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick.

But, as much of a classic the story of Moby Dick was, the true story of the Essex was a more harrowing tale, as 20 of the ship’s crew managed to take to the ship’s boats. After 3 months at sea, only 8 people survived, resorting to cannibalism to stay alive. They even resorted to drawing lots to determine who was to die to save the others.

The true story of the Essex was the subject of the novel In The Heart…

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12 Days of Sail – Holiday Sale

Here’s another chance to get a deal on ship model and other kits this holiday season. You just have to make sure to place your order on the day your item is on sale!

Ages of Sail

“12 Days of Sails” Sale

at Ages of Sail

Every day, we have different model kits on sale. Find what you want to buy on the list below and visit us on that day to get the discount on the listed items. You can click on the image below to enlarge it.

Sale items and prices are limited to quantity on hand.

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Black Friday Sale

Now is a good time to buy that ship model kit you’ve been thinking about. Especially if it’s a BlueJacket kit or an Amati kit! Bluejacket kits are seldom ever on sale – they only come up on sale when there is a site-wide sale. So, this is a very unique opportunity.

Regarding the Amati kits being on sale, with the recent price drop in Amati kit prices, you can get some very good deals on some really great kits.

Check out Amati Titanic, which will end up around $370 after discount; or the Riva Aquarama, Italian runabout, for under $300.

Sale lasts through Sunday.

Ages of Sail


at Ages of Sail

10% off all products, including our recently reduced Amati line of kits. Save on all kits, tools, collectibles, plans, books, supplies… No coupon needed.

In addition, we’ve got special Black Friday discounted prices on all kits from Disar and CCV.

Sale is limited to stock on hand, so grab what you can while supplies last! Sale prices good from Friday, 11/28. through midnight, Sunday, 11/30.

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New Ancre Titles in 2019

It’s been a while now since both Jean Budriot and Hubert Berti have passed away, but Ancre books has continued to publish new titles and add new language versions to existing ones, and for some reason, I’m having a hard time keeping tabs on them. Their work keeps slipping under my radar, so I’m not quite sure what exactly I’ve missed.

But, I did get an announcement of two new titles this year, as well as the release of their 2020 calendar.

The first one, which I believe was released some months ago, is a monograph on the Louise, an Argenteuil racing yacht of 1878. The photos showing the author’s model look truly beautiful. I can’t imagine that I could make a model that looks this good. But, the subject looks intrinsically beautiful, so it would be hard to go wrong with it.

This book is available in English as well as in French, Spanish, or Italian, and at 68€, it’s one of the less expensive monographs published by Ancre. The book is 52 pages and includes 10 sheets of plans at 1/15 scale.


The second monograph announced is the Aries lighter, a French riverboat of 1833. This boat is a flat-bottomed tartan or tartanee, a small mediterranean sailing ship that was apparently quite popular in the 17th through the 19th centuries.

This 144-page monograph includes 16 sheets of drawings in 1/48 and 1/96 scales. It’s available in English, French, or Italian and will be available at the end of this month (November). It looks like it will have an introductory price of 89€ through the end of 2019. After that, the price will go up to 97€.

For more info on these, visit

These both look like they will make great scratch build projects, or just more books to add to that growing collection of nifty stuff to have on the shelf! Ω

Hozugawa Kudari Bune in 1/40 scale

Finally, a completed Japanese traditional boat model. This time, the model is a small, 1/40 scale scratc build of a Hozugawa “downriver” boat. This is the third time I’ve modeled a Hozu river boat – the first being a small fishing boat in 1/10 scale, and the second a miniature diorama of a downriver boat. This one won’t be the last, as I have another fishing boat in 1/10 scale in the works. Plus, I want to do a larger version of the downriver boat, either in 1/20 or maybe even a big one in 1/10 scale.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

If you’ve been following my blog, you might have read this one about the Hozugawa downriver boats: Wasen Models in Miniature – A Hozugawa Downriver Boat

I’ve since added a few details to the model, modernizing it slightly, with the addition of iron reinforcement brackets and a full complement of poles and oars.

I also added the loops to the hull which hold the paddles and steering oars in place when running down the river.

I wasn’t able to get official measurements on these, so I had to rely on photos and estimate the sizes. These are the sizes I came up with:

Sao (pole) – 18 shaku

Paddle (2) – 9 shaku, 7 sun wide blade

Steering Oar – 20 shaku, 7 sun wide blade

Pushing Pole – 9 shaku

Recently, I got myself a miniature shaku square about 3 sun long, so I didn’t actually need to convert…

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